Monday, February 1, 2010

Straws of consciousness

Do you ever feel like
You are grasping at straws of a dream
For a chance to dip one in
And sip out of the cup
of the good life?

Even if I draw the short straw
I could still have a taste
I may draw the short straw
Hear you me
I would never take
any drop for granted.

Even if I made a house
A house of straw
Though they tell me
There may be a wolf
That house of straw is my work
Built by my hands alone
Something finally to call my own.

"This is the last straw!" I said!
I said I wouldn't take it any more
"Not from you, not from him, not from them!" I said.
But how easy is it to stop taking straws
to stop sipping from a cup
Which sustained you
At least at some point in time?

We all fear we are straw men
building straw houses
Blindly picking the short straws
Never knowing when the last straw
Will really be our last
Built up in the beginning
to be torn down in the end....

Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of a Decade...

This is the last post of the year, and the last post of the decade. This past decade has brought me through the beginning and end of high school, the beginning and end of college and three major trips to Europe and Africa. It has brought successes, failures, and heartache. Heck the past three years alone have led me down a path that I didn't need to be following. While in the past three years I've traveled the world, won awards and scholarships, and had amazing experiences both in and out of school, it also brought about a spiritual and moral confusion which I am only now emerging from. I used to think I was the biz-ness. That I was smart, and fun, and attractive and that I didn't need anyone's help or advice when it came to life. I used to think that all I needed to succeed in life was to always be the center of attention, to always 'appear' to come out on top, or to always look like I had my ducks in a row. But in reality, all was not what it seemed. Without going into much detail, I have decided to forgo a lot of old habits. I have decided to abstain from alcohol and negative environments, for starters. My spending habits will be under control. I will be putting dating/relationships on hold until much further notice. Most importantly, I have devoted a lot of my time in the last months in getting to know God and his will for my life. It's the only decision thats made a lot of sense for me in a long time...the end of 2009 is the end of my life as I knew it.

And thats a good thing.

Cheers and blessings for 2010!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When Will I ever get that Good Hair??

I can always count on my hair to make me cry. Over the years, hair shedding, bald spots, and over-ambitious "I'm-just-cutting-the-split-ends" incident have induced many episodes of tearful angst. Today was one of those days.

I've been wearing some form of extensions in my hair since the time I was five. I think I first got a perm when I was eight. Ever since then, whether it was extensions of the kanekalon variety, or the creamy crack of the no-lye variety, I have had some sort of alteration in my hair. Ive worn braids, weaves, extensions, ponytails, and clip ons. I always thought long hair was pretty. Pretty girls had long hair. Silky hair. I wanted to do the pin curl styles like in the American Girl magazines I read. My mother was always ready to drop serious dime on my perms and my extensions, and she still is.

Flash forward to today. While in Ghana, I wore some natural afros and twist styles. It was the first time in my life that people were actually complementing me on what ACTUALLY came out of my head. Its a liberating feeling. Lets be honest, I'm not going to say I base my complete and total self-worth on how I look.

But it matters. It matters to me first and foremost as a human, second as a woman, third as a black woman, fourth as a GHANAIAN women (Ghanaians have some serious hair issues in my family) and lastly as a young SINGLE woman. It matters.

I've been on antibiotics recently for some newfound ailment of the month. And its taken a toll on my hair. My hair needs health care overhaul right now. Basically, the medications have caused my hair to shed and break (again....this happened back in 2007 as well). I'm sick of the weaves and oppression I put into my hair so I deweaved myself so that I could rock a natural style.

Since my hair wasnt in the greatest shape, I opted for two strand twists instead of pressing it out. Not my usual thing, but I'm kinda glad to just have my hair out.

Of course my mother is upset. She is already scheming of ways to buy new weave hair to put in my head, or thinking of putting on a fall or something of the sort. My mom is never seen without her weave, for sure. But a part of me felt a little hurt. Why cant she just say my natural hair is pretty? (BTW, my dad is happy with my decision) She said the twists are too limp, my hair is too short, and that its not full enough, etc etc...

Some natural hair bloggers out there.......Someone do a post about how it feels when mothers pressure their daughters to wear extensions/perms and what that means about the transmission of beauty norms from one generation to another. Because I know for a fact, my mother's mother in Ghana flipped out when I wore twists too. She said I looked like a rasta (quite derogatory in Ghana). So it looks like my sister and I will be breaking the mold on that one...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Memoirs of my Fulbright year...

My family story has all the makings of a crazy Nollywood film. It’s got all the yummy toppings- family curses, royal lineages, evil halfsisters, witchcraft, tales of war, and polygamy. Imagine finding out that your grandfather was a prominent Ashanti chief and that your father was next in line to inherit the stool. Imagine finding out that you have a long lost uncle who disappeared in Europe years ago and that your grandmother believes her own stepdaughter had him killed. Imagine being inspired by stories of how your family narrowly escaped the horrors of the Biafran War in Nigeria, and ended up in refugee camps in Ghana. I got way more than I bargained for when I decided to go back to Ghana for a year to do research on radio broadcasting. Learning the true stories of my family history is not an easy process. I had to, and still am, coming to terms not only with who my family is, but who I am as a person. …….

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What am I supposed to do..

...when I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do to get over this? I've changed my hair. I've bought new heels. I sought out the requisite doses of self esteem in the form of "It happens to everyone", or "You were too good for him", or of course, "You'll find someone better". No looking at photos. I've done the standard "No communication" passage, complete with no emails, Facebook, calls, name it. I've listened to every Beyonce/Rihanna/Carrie Underwood anthem about being strong and independent enough to pick up and move on.

I prayed. Jesus says to forgive our neighbor his sins like God has forgiven us. I do want to forgive. But what does it mean, that in my dreams at night, I'm cussing him out and ready to strangle him for everything? Have I truly forgiven? Or have I forgiven but just can't forget?

I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do, right? I'm not hopping into dating or another relationship for a while so that I can focus on myself. Got a new job, and started figuring out what I want for myself in life...

I know I'm better off......but then why is it still hard sometimes?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I don't know when...

...its supposed to get easier.

I've been back for almost three months now. Life has been an adjustment, in the very least. I am happy I secured a part-time job at Jack Fm 100.3 here in Dallas, which is nice because I get a bit of pocket change, and I get to meet new and interesting people. I manage to squeeze in hours of GRE prep in the evening after I come home from giving away weird prizes to listeners all over the metroplex.

I have so many conversations with my coworkers about life post college. Promotions is definitely the McJob of the broadcasting world. One doesnt need a college degree to do this job. Heck, you probably don't even need a high school degree. All you need is a driver's license, the ability to stand on your feet for 3-4 hours, a bright smile, and wittiness to engage with the listeners, most of which are about 25 years older than all of us Promo-sapiens. That being said, many of the promo staff seem pretty disillusioned with the world. After all, most of them have college degrees, and took this job because they couldn't find anything else to help them chip away at their post-undergrad student loan debt. I have had no less than three conversations about whether college is even worth it for students nowadays.

It makes me sad that so many people in my age group feel so let down by the government and by society. As for me, it makes me ponder my own educational choices sometimes. Is it really a good idea to "follow your dreams?" And by following dreams does majoring in so called "soft majors" like sociology, political science *cough* *cough* communications *cough* mean that you are deluding yourself and condemning yourself to a lifetime of unemployment because you don't have "real skills?" I find myself at a point where I am deciding what career academic option to take.

A part of me just wants to start working and getting work experience under my belt. If there is anything I've learned with my Fulbright its the fact that I feel like I learned more about the world in a year than I did in 4 years of college. But at the same time, I know that a bachelor's degree is not enough anymore. More and more people are getting bachelor's degrees, thus deflating the value of the diploma. So I know I need to get another degree (or 3) to compete.

But here's the thing. So I continue studying what I'm interested in? Or switch to a "sure path" like law. I guess when it comes down to it, my main concern is: "Can I find a job that will support me?"

Chasing dreams or chasing stability? I just feel like I'm in such an awkward stage, where anything is possible, and yet the world is telling you that youre just fooling yourself.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some examples of my Jewelry!

One thing I've noticed since coming back from my Fulbright is that I've taken up, or re-taken up, my hobby for making jewelry. Something about Ghana inspired me. Going to the markets, seeing the beads and and beadmaking and the amazing designs of some of the jewelry I picked up out there really got my creative juices flowing. It also helps me take my mind off of the stress of coming back from the Fulbright, which is something to not be taken lightly.

Getting used to being back in the States is no easy feat, and for me its really hard sometimes. I miss my friends, I miss the work I was doing, I miss the interactions from daily life. I've realized that the superficial things I used to value, I don't value anymore. Life in America, to me is about consumption, consumption, consumption. Consumption of food, consumption of brand name clothes, consumption of gas, consumption of knowledge.... We define ourselves by what we can buy or acquire. We go to work so that we can buy more things. Its about give and take, definitely. But what happens when you cannot afford to consume all those things? Are you less of a person? Definitely not. The people I lived with, worked with had so much less in terms of material goods. But life was rich. I won't say life was easy for them all the time. But I have learned it doesn't take much to be happy. I also did not say to be happy one needs to have things go perfectly for them. But really, I think all one needs in life to be happy are meaningful relationships and meaningful work......

Ah, I could go on and on. Here's my jewelry!

These are just some of my favorites right now. My family keeps saying I should sell them! Right now I'm doing it for creative release! Feedback is appreciated!

(I really like this pink one. Im thinking of playing around with colors for the next one. The clusters remind me of berries, so for Christmas, Im imagining some holiday berry type jewelry..)