Archive | September 2012

Just Say No…I Dare You!

Cause I am a Superwoman / Yes I am, yes she is / Still when I’m a mess, I still put on a vest / With an S on my chest / Oh yes, I’m a Superwoman ~ Alicia Keys

I think women are naturally wired to be people pleasers. Forgive me for generalizing, but I think it’s our nurturing nature and desire for peace that makes it hard for us to simply say “no” even when we want to. It doesn’t help that society is putting pressure on us to be a “superwoman.” I reject this thinking and the pressure that ensues as a result of this mentality.

I really struggled with saying “no” to people’s many demands. There were many times when I had so much on my plate and couldn’t take on another thing, but I took it on anyway because the feeling of letting others down weighed heavily on me. Everybody wants to feel needed, right? If by some miracle, I did say “no” then I felt the need to offer a lengthy explanation of why I couldn’t do something.

Thankfully, I’ve been healed of the “people pleasing syndrome” and can say “no” with a clear conscience. If I don’t feel like going to an event or somebody asks me to do something for them and I don’t have time – I simply say “no.” I let go of the guilt. I let go of the explanations. In this case, less is more. A simple “no” is sufficient. Are people going to be around when I drive myself crazy meeting their every need? No. I made a decision to say “yes” only when I genuinely want to do something and say “no” if I don’t. It’s a simple concept, but it set me free from sacrificing my comfort and happiness for the sake of pleasing others.

Life is about balance. It’s about finding that helpful medium between helping others and not running yourself into the ground because at the end of the day nobody can take care of yourself like YOU! Besides, how helpful can you be if you’re exhausted and not operating at your full potential?

Be good to yourself and know when saying “yes” is appropriate and know when saying “no” is appropriate and feeling guilt free about it.

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A Mother’s Practical Love

Mothers love their sons and raise their daughters.”

I ’m not sure where this adage came from, but I certainly feel like there is some truth to it. I remember discussing this with my therapist as we explored the implications for the Black community. It seems that Black mothers tend to “baby” their sons and stress the importance of independence to their daughters. We discussed our various theories on why this is the case. We didn’t come to one root cause of this phenomenon, but we both agreed that males and females are socialized very differently in the Black community. 

In taking a step back from the land of generalization, I think about my upbringing. I can’t speak to the relationship my mother had with my half-brother, but we never had a loving relationship. We had good times but, in my opinion, there was no depth or unconditional love present in our mother/daughter relationship.

As I think back on my youth, I’m beginning to recognize that she showed her love differently than the traditional expressions of love that one expects (physical affection, listening, investing emotionally, etc.). My mother showed a more “practical love” that was defined by offering advice and showing me how to be an independent Black woman. I can’t be upset or expect something she wasn’t able to give me. I think realizing that she was unavailable to giving/receiving emotional love allowed me to let go of a lot of painful feelings.

SIDE NOTE:  I’m really grateful that my father was in the household because I’d seriously be an emotionally bankrupt person if he wasn’t there. 

Needless to say, I’m still working through my “mommy issues” and this continues to be a long healing process. However, I want to take a moment to celebrate the things she did right because I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for her.

Here are some of the most valuable lessons I learned from her: 

Have your own bank account. My mother was all about her separate money. Of course, she paid bills with my father, but she did not believe in the co-mingling of money. Personally, I don’t mind having a joint account with my future husband, but I do plan on having another account for my personal use.

Appearance matters. My mother was a CLASS ACT. She dressed to impress all the time. I think that is why I enjoy dressing up so much. I just remember how much she stressed the importance of appearance.

Always clean up after yourself. “It’s nothing worse than a nasty woman” LOL. I remember my mother saying that to me all the time when I was younger as she “encouraged” me to clean up. Being clean was very important to her. To this day, I still very conscientious about cleaning up, especially when I’m a guest at somebody’s house.

Be mindful of how you engage with other women’s husbands/partners.. Sometimes women are quick to give you the side eye when relating to their significant others. I don’t give anybody a reason to think otherwise of my actions. I’ve learned a few things from her when interacting with married/taken men to ensure that it doesn’t even LOOK inappropriate.

Pay your bills and be responsible.  My mother was a stickler about paying bills and handling her business. Her credit score was always good and she kept extensive records/documentation about important matters. I am definitely the same way and I attribute it to her business-savvy nature.

Those are only a few of the MANY life lessons that I’ve learned from my mother. I’m thankful for her practical love and I definitely see the value in it. However, sometimes I just simply wanted a hug or an “I love you” – not a lesson. I hope (and pray) that when I’m a mother that I can provide both practical love and emotional love to my children, especially my daughter. 

The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Albino Girl

This originally appeared as a note on my Facebook page but I decided to re-post it on my blog because it really does capture a lot of my experiences as a person with albinism. I’m also posting this because some pigmentos in my life don’t get the whole “low vision” thing. 😉 When I say, “I can’t see” I am not lying to you. TRUST ME. Enjoy!

I LOVE the web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” because it’s incredibly witty and well…awkward! I am inspired to offer my own awkward moments being a Black woman with albinism. It can be both frustrating and comical at times. It’s all in your mindset—you can choose to take everything seriously or you can embrace it while finding the humor in it. In the meantime, enjoy the top 10 awkward moments of being a black woman with albinism from my point of view. They are scenarios that I find myself in quite often.

I hope my friends in the albinism community can relate. For the pigmentos, I hope you can be enlightened about my experience.

10. That awkward moment when I walk into something and try to play it off like I really didn’t just do that. It happens sometimes. *Kanye shrug*

9. That awkward moment when I’m standing at the corner and a car is trying to turn and I can’t see the person gesturing with their hands for me to walk across the street. So I just stand there for several moments wondering when to cross. Now we’re engaged in an awkward dance where I’ll move and then he/she will move and so on until he/she will either make the turn or I literally step out on faith to cross the street.

8. That awkward moment when I see somebody and they ask me why I’m “acting funny” because I didn’t wave back at them. Real talk: I can’t see when you wave at me.

7. That awkward moment when I am being mistaken for another person with albinism.  NOTE: We don’t all look alike. I am not your cousin’s sister baby’s mother.

6. That awkward moment of hearing a car honk and then walking toward the car and almost getting in and then realizing that I don’t know that person. Let me explain. When I was younger, my mother conditioned me to listen for her horn as a signal to let me know she was there (because I couldn’t see). I’ve carried that into my adult life and now I ask people to honk their horn when they pick me up. It gets tricky when I hear horns and think it’s my signal to go the car.

5. That awkward moment when I hold up something close to read it and people ask me why I am holding it so close. They assume just because I wear glasses that my vision is 20/20. If they only had a clue about how low vision works.

4. That awkward moment when somebody asks if I are you biracial. No, unless you count being BLACK and BLACK as biracial. Besides, we’re all “mixed” with something or the other but I consider myself to be Black/African American.

3.  That awkward moment when some random dude tells me that his friend’s girlfriend is an albino. *blank stare* OK, and…what is the point of you telling me that dude? Do you think you and your friend are going to have “matching girlfriends”? Have a seat sir!

2. That awkward moment when I’m talking to somebody and they ask “are you looking at me” or better yet when you say something and a person looks back because they think I not talking to them. Yes, my eyes dance around and no I can’t control it. Now that we got that out of the way—if my comments are directed toward you then I’m talking to you. I’m just saying.

1. That awkward moment when somebody asks me to look at something and I can’t see it but I act like I can just to make it less awkward. I do it ALL the time. The lesson here is to not ask a person with albinism if we see something because unless we’re very close to it—then we’re not able to see it.

Trouble Don’t Last Always…

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much”~ Mother Teresa

Since it’s already established that I’m a church girl (see my previous post) I’ll share one of my favorite gospel songs. It’s called “Trouble Don’t Last Always.” This song has a great message. The chorus of the song simply says: I’m so glad / trouble don’t last always.

And it don’t (or it doesn’t if you want to be grammatically correct!)

I’ve learned that life is about seasons. We experience the transition of seasons in many areas of our lives.  We’re either entering into a storm, in the midst of a storm, or coming out of a storm. It is possible to be in one season in one area of life and be in another season in a different area simultaneously.

I’ve had plenty of stormy seasons in my young 29 years. I’m thankful that I’m a resilient person. I have been able to get through so many painful circumstances with my spirit in tact and my light still shining bright. However, I can’t take credit for that because I know God has kept me though it all. I’m human and for the sake of keeping it real — there are times when I’m going through something and I have my moments where I break down and cry. That’s certainly okay, but I wipe my tears and face (no pun intended!) the world again.

Life is not easy or fair at times. However, I think there is a productive way to handle difficult circumstances. I believe part of that is “letting go and letting God” because most times we can’t control the circumstances in our life anyway, but he definitely gives us grace to withstand them. The other part is being determined to get through it and know that trouble don’t last always.