the hours.

virginiawoolfHonestly, sometimes the hardest part of my life is the inertia of the day-to-day. The routine. The same ole. When you add to all of that the desire to share my days with another person…everything is compounded. Don’t get me wrong; I’m pretty sure inertia sets in with another person in the next room, too. No rose-colored glasses here. But it’s still a feeling, it’s my feeling, and it’s not easy. But for the purposes of chasing down positivity: there are plenty of people who aren’t here. So opening my eyes to another day, however drowning in the same ole, is an enormous blessing.

I plan on also chasing down some of the things that brighten my days, things I haven’t done in a while because the emotional and physical energy was thoroughly absent. Museum afternoons. Exploring new cities and places. Getting back to me, one step, one day, at a time.

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Unrelenting Excitement. (And Other Things.)

I think that best describes how I felt when I heard that my favorite royal Ginger, Prince Harry, had become engaged to his sweetheart, actress Meghan Markle. I won’t even link to any articles about this news; if it’s the first time you’re hearing about this engagement, we just…we have nothing to say to each other. But I will at least share my favorite photo of the couple during the engagement announcement.

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Fresh-faced, happy, excited. Love it, love it, love it.

Needless to say, I will be throwing a royal wedding watch party for my friends and I to enjoy and squeal and point and swoon over. Because we’re 12 and we don’t care. Very few things are happening right now in the world that cause any kind of excitement and joy, so this one is it. 2018 royal wedding, here we come.

What else do we need to talk about? Are you wondering where in the world I’ve been?

I’ve been here. Well, not per se. But “here” as in around and attempting to  thrive and survive here in the Lone Star state. I’ll do a quick rundown of life so far in the land of Square Peg:

  1. About a month ago, I moved into my brand new apartment. Interestingly enough, with good planning, moving doesn’t have to feel like spikes being introduced to your flesh. Imagine that. (Thanks a lot to my sissy, who is far more organized when it comes to that kind of thing and supplied advice and links to moving articles for my reading pleasure.) The process went well. And I love my new apartment. It’s closer to town and to my friends and my place of worship: good, great, and excellent.
  2. I’ve been officially added as a paid contributor for The Maria Antoinette. Getting paid to do something I love, my dear reader. It’s surreal. Not only that, I’ve been invited to write submissions that deal with a topic I’m very passionate about: empowering women. My pieces will always deal with how a woman can look in a mirror and see her roccrown, and the journey to getting there if she doesn’t. Utterly grateful and happy.
  3. Work is good.
  4. I still love Idris.
  5. The End.

Honorable mention: I’m still working on my other writing projects. My third collection of fiction. A book of essays. Another book of essays. An actual novel. When will I accomplish all these things, you wonder? I’m wondering the same thing. Apparently I must enjoy juggling. But hopefully 2018 will lead checking those projects off my list.

C’est tout, folks. (That’s all.) Tell me what you’ve been up to.

Ma Maison et Mon Travail.

Went really French on you, didn’t I? But you’re used to that. Translated, it means my house and my job. Because, dear readers, after a month in my new surroundings, I’m happy to announce that I was recently hired at a new job and recently moved into my brand new apartment. We will pause for celebration.

Needless to say, I was anxious about these two things. Initially, I was staying with a kind, hospitable friend who allowed me to rent a room in her home while I figured out where I was going and what I was doing. My plan wasn’t to stay with her for eternity, so there was that particular anxiety. The kindness of others is always welcomed, but I also didn’t intend on overstaying my welcome. Secondly, since Idris hasn’t yet arrived with our marriage license and the key to our villa, your Square Peg needed a job.

The good things: a recruiting firm that I contacted early in the year, once I firmly decided on moving, was still quite open to helping me. Also: my car afforded me the chance, on days I wasn’t interviewing, to drive around and visit apartment complexes in the area. So after a few weeks of interviews and conversations with potential employers, and visiting an inordinate amount of complexes, and lots and lots of prayer…

Enter ma maison and mon travail. Again, let us celebrate.

Ma maison. I live in a nice, simple 1 bedroom place in a Dallas suburb. (I would be more specific, but…nope.) It’s quiet, save for a Chihuahua that occasionally has something to say, but he’s largely silent. As far as furniture, I have a bed and a very comfortable armchair. So you can imagine all the Pinterest decor boards currently overflowing with all the ideas I have for the remainders of furnishings and decorating to come. I’m a simple Square Peg: I basically want ma maison to look like Paris on a weekday. Lovely, uncomplicated, filled with croissants. Updates and photos will come.

Ma travail. It’s my third day at this new environment (a direct hire via that recruiting firm, yay), so everything is still minty and fresh and new. Nevertheless, my colleagues have been great so far and I’m acclimating well. Of course, the same Norse gods that secretly lived in my cubicle at the old OK Corral and blew icicles in the air apparently followed me here (search under “cold” to learn about my inability to stay warm; according to my mother, this is why), which resulted in purchasing a space heater and walking these halls draped in my usual scarf. But c’est la vie. I’m hopeful for this new professional path.

So here we are. Living on my own once again (it’s been twelve years since I had my very own place) and starting fresh with new employment. Onwards and upwards…

Oh, you want to celebrate again? Let’s.

306.

No, not the number of tears I’ve cried. I’m actually doing much better here in the Lone Star State! We’ll get to the specifics in tomorrow’s post, but for now, I’d like to acknowledge that number. 306 is the number of people currently following the adventures and antics of This Square Peg! It was official yesterday. That means that 306 of you stumbled on you my little nook in the Interwebs and decided that my posts about…

  • Italian villas with Idris
  • Lupita love
  • my beloved fro
  • fictioning and poetry
  • random memories
  • Pinterest rabbit holes
  • my travelista tales
  • life as a brown, African woman who found herself, accepted her uniqueness, and decorated her lips in red
  • and everything in between

…were worth clicking on the Follow button.

And I thank you.

A thousand bowls of Jollof rice at your collective feet thank you.

Abundant e-kisses thank you.

When I returned to the blogging world with This Square Peg, it was my intent to speak on the wonders of embracing all the different nuances that make me who I am. Numbers, followers, readers–these would all be great, but I just wanted to tell my story via this blog. But what would be a blog without numbers, followers, readers? Still a blog, but certainly icing on this particular cake.  Thank you, dear readers, faithful commenters (you know who you are), and family members/friends who give This Square Peg so much love.

Gratitude Friday: The Friend Zone

A gratitude Friday has been long overdue, no?

Referring to the title above, it’s not the friend zone that we all know and shudder over. My friend zone is filled with good, delightful, loving, supportive and wonderful friends, and I’m so grateful for each and every one of them. Early in life, I understood the power of friendship. My childhood best friend, Charlotte, was pretty much everything to me. (So everything that if you see the name Charlotte in my fiction time and time again, it’s no mistake.) Even at that young age, the idea of having someone so close to me and so beloved, other than my siblings, was understood.AustenFriends

What I’m exceedingly grateful for when it comes to friends:

  1. For painful truths and lessons learned when a friendship reveals itself to be not as cohesive as I believed. It’s important to me to know the true fabric of my relationships. It stinks, but it’s just important to know.
  2. For times when I meet people and we are immediately drawn to each other, something that happened recently. It caught me off sweetly off guard. I look forward to the journey.
  3. For best friends. I mean, there’s nothing more to say. All right, there is: a best friend just kind of makes everything amazing to me. I don’t know how or why. I spent time with my bestie last week and loved/appreciated every minute of it.
  4. For seeing how friendships were so important to my parents. As an adolescent, I watched my parents open their home to people they had known and loved for years. I don’t doubt that this had a lasting impression on me.
  5. For 4AM. A bunch of us talking, laughing, contemplating, shedding a few tears, and encouraging one another till the wee hours of the morning. Never has wrecking my sleep cycle felt so awesome.

Happy Gratitude Friday.

What are you grateful for? Other than it being Friday (thank goodness)?

 

Gratitude Friday: A Thank You.

On this much belated Gratitude Friday, I was inspired by the words of actress Gabourey Sidibe during the Gloria Awards (honoring Gloria Steinem), as tweeted by the awesome Awesomely Luvvie:

“I’m grateful to…my 5th grade class because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now.”

I was moved by that profound and powerful statement for various reasons. Mostly, however, what stood out for me was that she was able to look back at that moment in her adolescence and communicate both the pain of the past and the fact that it hadn’t wrecked her. And this made her grateful. But I wasn’t just moved by her words. Those words also incited a memory for me. An indelible, powerful memory of what my 6th, not 5th, grade class gave me one afternoon.

We were in the chorus room, sitting cross-legged on that nubby brown carpet as we waited for our chorus teacher to come back. The next thing I knew, I heard the following chant: “Fish lips, fish lips, look at those fish lips.” I looked up, wondering who the voice belonged to and what in the world they were talking about. There, laughing, was the boy who had bullied me since I joined this new school. And he was pointing at me. The other kids soon followed suit, repeating the sing-songy chant and pointing and laughing. Those who weren’t part of it simply looked away uncomfortably. I remember feeling confusion (I look like a fish?), pain, embarrassment, even laughing a little to lessen the blow. That didn’t work though–the chanting and laughter continued until our teacher returned to the classroom.

It’s amazing, the blueprints that are created in seconds, in tiny moments. That moment in time created quite a few. For one thing, an interesting habit reared its head as I got older: covering my mouth when I laughed. Later, it became disdain when I looked at myself, my lips, in the mirror. Later still, it transformed into wondering if people were looking at them when I spoke. It wasn’t until I reached 30 (we will discuss the wonder of 30 in another post) that I looked in the mirror one day and was fully, exhale-y, and absolutely satisfied with these lips, this face, and everything in between.

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So, like Gabby, I’m grateful to my 6th grade class because:

  • I wouldn’t appreciate these lips that look like my grandmother’s and my father’s if you hadn’t put them on blast.
  • I wouldn’t decorate them in the rubiest of Ruby Woo lipstick by MAC if I hadn’t come to appreciate the fullness of the shape you felt the need to highlight.
  • I wouldn’t be as grateful for this soul-searching journey that I was forced to go on if you hadn’t forced me to take that ride in the first place on that painful afternoon.
  • I don’t blame my old bully or those other kids for what happened anymore. I don’t blame the ones who looked away in discomfort. From what I could tell through those words and other statements she made, Gabourey Sidibe has reached the peak of her self-acceptance journey. And she’s not the only one.

real talk (gratitude).

Something a bit different this Gratitude Friday.

I’ll start by telling you that I wasn’t the kind of girl that the boys ran after. Those kind of girls were a different set; far removed from my small group of funny, wisecracking nerds who liked to correct your grammar and spout critiques about books and independent films. We were silly, goofy, at times obnoxious and snobby, in love with British movies and the Academy Awards, lovers of Barbra Streisand and musical theater. We were gangly and chubby and average and mostly unsure of ourselves, but somehow this was ok. Yet, although I was largely content with my little group of like-minded friends, admittedly, I sometimes looked at those other girls with longing. Gorgeous, popular, constantly on homecoming court, and always attached to a boy. Wouldn’t that life be far more interesting than teenaged Oscar parties with a little contraband champagne to celebrate the winners?

Adolescent longings go away. I am now a grown woman and 90% content with who I am inside and outside, with the 10% being the welcomed merry-go-round of constant change and improvement to the woman inside. But you know what? There remain vestiges of that little girl inside who longed to have a beau on her arm, although cute and cuter (the only requirements back then) have been replaced with spiritual, kind, mature, generous, faithful, and…cute. Let’s say handsome. Anyway. It would be nice to be the kind of woman who walks into a room and shuts it down. It would be nice to stop traffic, to turn heads, to so and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, please: I appreciate my beauty. It’s ethnic and different and unique and comes from Mom and Dad, and I love that, especially the latter, more than I can say. But those longings sometimes pop up here and there, you know? They do. Nevertheless, I’ll venture to say that those little girls and teenagers we left behind don’t vanish completely. They’re just quieter and far too impressed with the women we’ve become to complain. But once in a while, they just won’t pipe down.

Therefore, on this Gratitude Friday, I present 10 things I truly and wholly love about my physical self. Note that these were aspects of myself that, in the past, I despised, felt embarassed by, hid, and/or never noticed and appreciated.

  1. My eyes, which have a curious almond shape that remind me of my mother and my grandmother.
  2. My lips, which are big and shapely and come from my father.
  3. My legs, which–hello, Dolly–are shapely and loved to be shown off, when possible, by yours truly.
  4. My round face.
  5. The gap in two front teeth.
  6. My hands.
  7. The dimple in my right cheek.
  8. My smile.
  9. My ears.
  10. The way I am shaped. It’s not an hourglass, but it’s feminine and it’s mine.

 

What are you grateful for, loves?

What ‘tude? Gratitude.

In line with an interesting conversation I had with a pair of lovely friends last night, I decided that every Friday is now Gratitude Friday. Why, exactly?

I tend to be a Negative Nancy. It’s really Negative Ninja Nancy, because when I’m being so-called positive, I’m quietly, methodically sneaking in complaints like nobody’s business. (I eat the same way.) So every Friday, I’ll list 10 things I’m grateful for. Simple gratitude.

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1. My faith.
2. My mother.
3. My sissy and younger bros.
4. My…oh, God, it hurts…my job.
5. My creativity.
6. My late father’s sense of humor, love of eclectic music, and sitcoms, all of which I inherited.
7. A roof over my head.
8. Amazing, amazing, amazing friends and extended family. They’re incredible, all of them.
9. Life.
10. My 4th grade librarian, who let an extremely shy girl hide in the library instead of going to recess. I discovered some of my most beloved books in that library.

Ten more next week!

Tell me what you’re grateful for, won’t you?