Lessons.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This post is inspired by a very moving and honest post on In My Sunday Best, where blogger Sade openly discusses her experience with relationship rejection. Read it and reflect; I appreciated her candor and discussing the inspiring lessons she learned about herself. As I read it, it reminded me so much of my own journey. A journey fraught with rejection.

Before I go on, I want to thank my tried-and-true readers for hanging with me in this little corner of the webverse. I’ve always considered This Square Peg to be an online journal. And in a journal, you talk about the highs (loving my natural hair, my writing, my adventures) and the lows (managing my depression, emotions, and the various disappointments of life). Thanks for supporting your Square Peg through it all, with your comments, your follows, your reading.

My first foray into admitting my feelings for someone and the rejection that came after happened in the 8th grade. At the time, I didn’t necessarily feel rejected; although my declaration of “love” was by no means mutual, I still felt that the object of my affection and I became somewhat friends after all of that. Nevertheless, it started the ball rolling. The combination of movie fantasy, being a romantic (more on that later) and an intense desire to be loved/be in a relationship were usually the catalysts. Despite being a shy girl, something came over me during those moments–being bold and expressing how I felt meant more than anything. Throughout my 20s, it happened time and time again. Meeting a guy, finding myself attracted to him, eventually opening up and telling him how I felt. I continued on despite the pain of rejection; somehow, there was a degree of hope that one day, the person I was meant to be with would cross my path. But hope isn’t steel. Eventually, it all started to affect me: what was so wrong with me? Why didn’t they want me in return?

After this happened, I was officially done. I told myself that even if I was attracted to someone, the weariness on my heart and the embarrassment of putting myself out there with no mutual return were simply things I no longer wanted to risk. I was also suffering from what Sade eloquently described as “rejection as reflection.” Their rejection of me had translated into seeing myself with incredibly negative eyes. Unworthy. Unpretty. The rest. By the time my 30s came along, although I became committed to now loving myself and repudiating that negative self-view, there was no way I was ever going to put myself out there again when it came to relationships and matters of the heart.

These days, I continue to remain stalwart in not approaching a guy with my feelings; I’m fine with the menfolk doing some work. However, I also don’t believe in coyness or not being open if I share his feelings or his interest. I don’t believe in stringing people along. But that man hasn’t shown up.

Yet.

Let’s talk about that word, yet.    

A friend recently described me as a romantic. Deep down, I balked at the description. Something about that word completely turned me off; I imagined treacly women who were hopelessly waiting on fairy tales and other unrealistic, rose-colored wants for a relationship. Sure, I believe in love and in falling in love, but I’m also not naive to the uneasy parts of relationships. I lived in a household when things got all too real, at times. Never doubting that my parents loved each other, I was equally exposed to times when things weren’t so pretty and escape, by all parties, seemed ideal. So being described as a romantic wasn’t my favorite thing. But it’s me, folks. I had to analyze why it put me off so much. See the previous sentences. I associated a romantic nature with a weak nature. Weak and unrealistic and living in a total fantasy world. But that’s unfair. A romantic person who believes in love and wants it for herself can also be a realistic person who has her feet squarely planted on the ground. So yeah, I’m a romantic realist. It is what it is. Thanks to that friend who got me thinking and ruminating.

So, to wrap rejection and the yet in a pretty bow: not allowing my history with rejection to douse me with negativity, cynicism, and a belief that love will never come is something I’m trying to balance. I don’t want to give in to mentally throwing away the idea of love because it hasn’t appeared, or base my feelings on things not working out in my past. Like Sade reasoned, none of those guys were meant for me. Looking back, I can make that statement with absolute certainty.

Share any thoughts you have in the comments.

 

 

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Your Elephant, After All.

Dearest reader, last Friday, I published my third book. I seem to favor anthologies and this publication is no different: Your Elephant, After All is my third collection, and this time, it’s poetry. I am exceedingly proud of this book, especially because it was born during a difficult time.

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As you know, life hasn’t been the easiest for me lately. There have been more downs than ups, but thankfully and prayerfully, I continue to push ahead. Two weeks ago, I was wide awake in the early hours of the day (the requisite 3AM), my mind racing, and decided to find something to read. Somehow, I ended up on the Notes app on my phone and somehow, I ended up reading some of my own poetry. Of course, I had nursed plans for a third book of poetry months and months ago, having created the draft and formatting of the pieces in both written and electronic form. But, owing to my creative ADD, my attention soon went elsewhere.  Enter two weeks ago, 3AM, and a resurrected desire to come back to my temporarily abandoned project.
From then on, I started working on the book almost every evening. The title changed. I edited some, if not all, of the poems. draftThe original idea of 22 poems turned into about 38 pieces. I decided that this would be my first book with photographs. Needless to say, if you’re passionate about anything, the process can be enthralling. As an artist, the creating part is nothing short of breathtaking. And honestly, it helped to take my mind off, well, my mind. Even if that meant just a few hours a day of purposeful activity, the refocused energy was welcomed. After a pretty rapid cycle of work, I was finished last mid-week. By Friday, the book was live on Amazon. Some other details about YEAA:
  1. The title came from one of my favorite poems I’ve ever written and it fit perfectly for the theme of the book. To me, elephants (my longtime favorite animal) represent majesty, melancholy, supremacy, sadness. Basically the two-sided coin of life. And these poems run the gamut of all of those things and more.
  2. This was my first time publishing with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Before KDP, I used CreateSpace, also owned by Amazon; the two have now combined together. It was a fairly easy process. From cover creation (I used my own artwork, but KDP offers plenty of cover choices to pick from) to establishing the price of the book, the process was smooth. General frustrations came from ensuring that pagination and margins and all that were right, but that’s part of creating something visually appealing, so in the end, it was fine.
  3. YEAA is available in paperback only. Note that my first two books were made available in both hard copy and digital, and I’m aware of what’s more popular and convenient. Nevertheless, I really wanted to explore removing the digital book feature as an option and sticking with hard copy only. Being a reader myself that 99% of the time goes with digital, I also still love physical books. Their feel, their gloss, their look. So I went against my own comfort level and decided to try something different with this collection.

I’m really proud of this newest creation. Not only am I expanding my profile as an author, I was inspired to continue to focus on my work and plan for my next offering. It was also refreshing to just be knee deep in words and formatting and pagination and creating–and away from days of being mired in my own endless thoughts. So here’s to insomnia, I think, which started it all.

Lastly, to you, dear reader and supporter of this tiny corner in the blogverse: thank you. Whether or not you buy my book, you’re always here. I’ll take that.

Blogtober #25: At Home.

I just saw this on Le Pinterest and I think it definitely captures the duality of this time of year.

homebody

Who else is a fall homebody? Because yes, I love taking in the beauty of the electric fall atmosphere, but oh, yes, do I also love hunkering down in my warm apartment, encased in a warm blanket and mindlessly watching episode after episode of my beloved Law and Order. (You were probably expecting a less intense show, huh?)

All Autumn Homebodies: unite…

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Blogtober #3: How to Enjoy Autumn, Wherever You Are.

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Photo by Vladislav Vasnetsov on Pexels.com

Because some of us don’t live in areas where we get to breathe in the vivid fall colors and hues and wear snazzy peacoats and wear booties and close our eyes as the crisp breeze surrounds us like an old, trusted friend. Some of us live in Texas. Or Alabama. Or Florida. Or…the Virgin Islands. And regarding where I reside in the Lone Star state, it does get cool in the late autumn/winter. We may not get the amazing colors, but there’s certainly room for lovely coats and sassy booties. Nevertheless: it’s not the same, is it? Boo hoo.  But we shall make do.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here’s an Autumn Wherever You Are Guide for those of you in areas that traditionally don’t have the full, seasonal experience:

  1. Starbucks to the Rescue. Every fall, to the delight of the masses, Starbucks brings back its popular Pumpkin Spice Latte beverage. Personally, I can’t even. Pumpkin ain’t my thing, and I can’t even fathom whatever Pumpkin Spice is. (I stick to my chai latte year-round.) But a lot of folks love the autumn-y drink and I won’t take that away from them, because whatever makes your palate happy is fine by me, especially if it’s related to fall. So, if you live in area where balmy breezes fill the atmosphere even in mid-November, get your derrière to the local Starbucks, order this drink, and pretend you’re somewhere in New Hampshire.
  2. Weekenders and Staycations. I’m a massive fan of getaways, even if it’s from Friday to Sunday. Sooo…find a fall-y place. Get thee to that place. Spend a nice weekender/staycation there. Rinse and repeat. Fall-y places can be any states in the New England area such as Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. And before you say, “but Square Peg, there are tumbleweeds in my wallet. Weekenders and staycations involve money.” My response: get thee also to Groupon. There are always getaway travel deals to investigate and use. I assure you that one can be found. Why don’t we still use thee in daily speech?
  3. Art Imitates Life. You know I’m artsy fartsy. Naturally, when art and life intersect, it’s a beautiful thing. When autumn and art intersect, even better. Want to take a gander at classical art that evokes autumn? Head to your local museum and fall in love with the works of the Hudson River School; the pieces done by artists in this school, such as Thomas Cole (one of my very favorites), are brimming with landscapes and nature and always give me that fall-y, changing of seasons, introspective feeling. Get thee to a museum!
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Photo by PUSCAU DANIEL FLORIN on Pexels.com

4.  Art Imitates Life, Redux. It’s not just classic, autumn-inspired art that gets me. I love film as an art form, and I certainly love films that provide that autumn feeling. From cinematography to plotting to images of foliage and small, New England towns, there are plenty of movies that will feed the autumn longing during your eternal summer. Here are a few:

  • Dead Poets’ Society
  • The Village (Honestly, anything with William Hurt reminds me of fall. I have no idea why.)
  • Dan in Real Life
  • Autumn in New York…is easy to choose as an option, but this is one of the worst movies of all time, y’all. Yes. Of all time. It’s so terrible. Watch it if you like, but you’ve been warned.
  • Indian Summer

5. Rise to the Occasion, Even Briefly. You know how at the slightest hint of warm weather you see folks walking around in flip flops? Even though it’s not really that warm? We may side eye those folks, but honestly, they’re expressing a level of excitement that I find almost inspirational. They’re doing everything possible to take advantage of the change, even it means exposing their poor toes to draft, not-that-sunny weather. Let’s be those people, dear reader. When the weather wherever you are dips in temperature, cools down a bit, etc., throw on a nice wrap or mock turtleneck or whatever you can find that can incite that autumn-y feeling. It may last just a day or may be a fluke, but at least you’ll be dressed for the day.
6. Fall for the Photo and other Misc. Items: See below.

  • Got any photog friends? Grab them and set up a fall-themed photo shoot. I’m serious. Look: what do you have to lose? Every home store has fall-inspired decorations. Grab a few, find a nice park, and go for it. Have fun.
  • Light a woodsy candle in your place.
  • Wear orange and brown whenever you can.
  • Two words: Autumn screensavers.

There ends my list. Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration for how to be autumnal wherever you happen to be in the world. And fall isn’t your thing, that’s fine.  Just tell me what your favorite season is in the comments below, won’t you?

Onwards and Autumn-wards.

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Photo by Caleb Wood on Pexels.com

Because Solange.

Okay, dear Reader, you know I cut my hair.

Well, I cut it again. And again.

After the first cut, I went back to my stylist and asked for another cut, to even things out, and to color it, as well, since the gray hairs were like all these changes are making us nervous so we ’bout to legit multiply. Here’s how it looked after the second cut:

I went with a wine-y, berry color, which may not be evident in these pics but will be soon. Having been red and brown red and burgundy and jet black, I wanted something in the reddish family, but a bit different than the hues I’ve tried before. Fun story: when my stylist washed out the color, it only lifted on my sides and back of my hair. purpleThe middle remained completely unaltered by the color. So…she added a bright purple color all over, hoping that it would aid the lift…and it did. But that bright purple…whew.

So I was happy with the changes.

Or was I?

This past week, I headed home to VA to spend some much-needed time with the Mama and my family. (It was awesome.) While there, I contemplated cutting my hair again. Deep down, although I liked my look, I wasn’t 100% content. Why? What was I looking for?

Her.

Stylistically, wedding-y, everything-y, Solange has long been a marvel for my eyes. And I certainly remember my gaspy (new word, just created by me, you’re welcome) reaction to her gorgeous big chop in 2009. It was everything. Do you hear me? Every. Ting. I think she was hiding in my subconscious this whole time, patiently waiting for me to bring her back up and acknowledge that this was the hair destination I was headed to. Because even the other photos I had for inspo were cuts that looked exactly like Solange’s.

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Solange inspo.

Interesting, right? Anyway, the previous cut was fine, but there was a fro-hawk-y nature about that middle part of my head, and as much as I love frohawks, I’ve had that look before. I wanted something different. I wanted Solange. I wanted simple, chic, lovely, even–all of what you see above. So, when I had some time while home, I drove to the local Hair Cuttery and asked for my third cut.

With the color and this new look, dear Reader, I believe we have reached Destination: Solange. Or, more importantly, I can 1005 percent say I love my new look. Check it out.

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A few more things:

  1. I need a barber. My stylist is awesome and started this style change rolling, but to maintain this look, I’ll definitely need a professional barber. The search begins.
  2. I love this look.
  3. That’s all.

Have you had this experience? Loved a look but deep down, wanted something more? Shall we meet in the comments below?

Monday Allergies and Bons Weekends.

I’m seriously considering seeking out an allergist. I can’t handle the first day of the week, y’all. Like I seriously cannot. I fidget. I have mental hives. I nearly itch. I literally lay in bed and rally against waking up, as if Monday is standing beside my bed with her arms crossed and an annoyed, impatient expression on her face. Ugh.

The weekend was fabulous, my friends. On Friday (which I claim as a weekend day), I joined some of my mom friends for a trip with their tween/teen daughters to Deep Ellum, an artsy, delightful area in downtown Dallas. It was my first time there, still being on tourist status after a year and five months, and I loved it something awful. There was a rustic flair everywhere; lovely murals; great venues and restaurants. My artistic heart was booming quite happily. Pictorials below, y’all.

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Friday evening was warm and lovely. On Saturday, Texas displayed its crazy weather and drowned us in thunderstorms and rain. So I hung out on my couch that evening and watched a bit of telly and tooled around on the iPad.

On Sunday, me and a friend decided to check out the Dallas Jazz Age Sunday Social after brunch. They had me at jazz age. Folks were dressed up in their flappery best; even the menfolk got into it, giving it their Robert Redford The Great Gastby best. There was music playing; classic cars driving down the avenues (I love classic cars from bygone eras), museums showing doctor’s offices and general stores from that time. So much fun! Really spoke to my vintage everything heart, and it was a great addition to seeing the local color/being a tourist in my own backyard initiative. See photos below.

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Fun and laughter were had. (Can I mention that I’ve been really enjoying taking pictures lately? Not of myself–although, hey, it’s a thing I enjoy–but of objects and nature and other people. We’ll chat about this growing love later this week.)

How was your weekend, my little cabbage? 

World. Class. Chocolate.

ladies

Danai and Lupita. Okoye and Nakia. Africa and Africa. New Muse and Still Muse.

World Class Chocolate and World Class Chocolate.

When I was a little growing brown girl, I saw women of color in my home, in my community, among my relatives. But I didn’t realize that representation outside of that nexus was important until I was much older. A young woman is exposed to so much in the media, especially during those formative years where popular ideals of what’s “beautiful” take over and unleash their particular brand of power. I wish I had seen images like this when I was fifteen years old, y’all. I really do.

Nevertheless! I see them now. And I love it into infinity.

I also love that millions of little growing brown girls are seeing images like this, too.

Happy Friyay…