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.

cutinspo
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?

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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…

real talk.

blooming

Life will stink.

Life will get messy.

People will let you down.

Friends will shut you out.

Work will feel like a jackhammer.

Creativity will be stifled.

Love will be slow.

Time will lag.

Dreams will remain dreams and not the reality you want.

You will look in the mirror and not like what you see.

This is life. 

But you already know that, don’t you? The hills and valleys of life are readily known by you. And me.

You’re alive. Sometimes you will sag and not bloom, but you’re alive.

It will be OK.

Onwards and Upwards.

Autumn Promises. (#3)

Dear Autumn,

I promise not to blame you for not being the traditional you in a state where it’s summer fall3year-round. It’s not your fault that heat lives in every tiny corner in this lone star state. (And I’ve been promised at least 70-degree days, even if the leaves won’t wholly turn, so I’ll take it.)

I promise to get back to creative writing, something I tend to do more of during your inspiring season. It’s been a blast with other forms of writing, but there are about 12 short story ideas that currently demand attention and they punch hard when they’re not acknowledged.

I promise to engage in Blogtober this year. Yes!

I promise to take time for self-care. With shorter days and cooler, darker nights on the horizon, running around town and burning the candle at both ends will have to take a backseat. (Perhaps eternally? Your Square Peg isn’t in college anymore and she keeps forgetting that.) More blankets, time on the couch, and chai, in that order.

I promise to finally go shopping and bring more color and creativity to my personal style. It’s been blah for me lately, clothes-wise and otherwise. Le sigh.

I promise to keep a standing date at the bookstore on Friday nights. Autumn has always been about books and reading, too, and I need to smell some pages and listen to the hushed hum of book-related conversations.

I promise not to side-eye all the rain you will undoubtedly bring. Part of the bargain, right?

I promise to continue to stay away from whatever a pumpkin spice latte aims to provide.

I promise to just breathe. I’ve been aching for deep, sustained breaths lately.

I promise not to get it twisted: seasonal beauty won’t take away the stresses of life…

…but it’ll give me chances to look up, appreciate, and engage. fall2

Here’s to the coming autumn and enjoying every bit of it.

What are you looking forward to this fall?

p.s.: More autumn promises are located here and here.

when they met.

eclipse
Photo courtesy of NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

If you haven’t heard, a total solar eclipse took place yesterday, August 21. Pretty historical stuff. I was excited beyond words, not necessarily because of the historicity of it or the celestial phenomenon, per se. I, This Square Peg, a writer of words and a purveyor of poetry, have used the moon as an allegorical foil/subject since I started writing eons ago. There was something about that big, gray, somber ball in the sky, not peppy and cheerful like the sun, ruler of tides, that struck me in a purely deep and artistic way. To me, there wasn’t a man in the moon. Symbolically, she was a woman in every way. My kind of girl. Powerful and moody and boss. Naturally, I frequently turned to her in my poetry. In my fiction, she’s always a character; whether providing silvery light for my character before his/her eventual epiphany or the third person in a two-person scene, viewing the action with a cool, disaffected gaze. In my poetry, though? In my poetry? The moon runs things.

When I was moving to Texas and engaged in my bout of horrifying packing, I found a poem that I wrote in college. The subject? Frustrated love. (Nothing new there.) The allegorical character? The moon. The denouement? An eclipse.

poem

So college-y. So eclipse-y. So moon-y.

I was able to see the eclipse yesterday, courtesy of a co-worker who shared his special sky glasses with me and some of my other colleagues. Because our city here in Dallas wasn’t on the path of totality–those cities would see the full, total eclipse; we would see a partial eclipse–I didn’t get to experience the moment my moon met the earth and the sun. But halfway is still pretty cool, no?

Here’s to my fabulous moon and her big moment yesterday.

moon2

speechless.

flannery

Writing fiction has been a no-go, party people. And I miss writing fiction. Yes, I’ve written some poems quite recently (here and here, if you feel like reminiscing), but I am 100 percent a writer, lover, and creator of fiction. I don’t exactly know what’s going on. Let’s think it through:

  1. Is it because I haven’t given my muse other platforms of art to be inspired by? Honestly, living here in the Lone Star state is still very much a transition: personally, emotionally, and especially artistically.  I’ve yet to stroll down the cool, marble hallways of an art museum. I have been to a few concerts, yes. Most recently, I sat in the audience, tears cascading my face, while Alvin Ailey dancers took my entire life with their powerful, breathtaking performances. That was inspiring, absolutely. It got me writing. But the moment was kind of fleeting. Is it because I’m not exploring art more?
  2. Is it because I’m a lazy writer? Look, there are times when an idea comes to me and I start typing and…I stop. Because I don’t want to do it anymore. Because I don’t feel like it. Because I just want to read People Magazine online and mentally judge the choices of silly celebrities.  Because I want to scroll through Instagram and “happen” to find photos of Idris. Because because because. But real talk? Even though the distractions are awesome and it’s nice to turn off the creative brain once in a while, I feel queasy when it happens. I want to write. Is it because I’m not trying hard enough?
  3. Is it because I’ve run out of ideas? Notice above that I respond when an idea comes to me. So they still come. In fact, some great ones have come and they continue. So what’s going on, dear reader? Is it because I let some of them just sit there, unacknowledged?

I’m sure you’re sitting there shaking your head and muttering that some of these questions/problems have obvious solutions. Go to the museum, then. Stop being lazy, then. Acknowledge those ideas, then.

Yeah yeah yeah.

I just wanted to write this post. Get it? I just need to keep writing. Even if it’s not fiction. Maybe that will come. For now, just keep writing, Square Peg. Just keep writing…

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes Finaux (#28,29,30)

The final three poems. It’s been wonderful sharing this poetic April with you. Whether it was something I wrote or a classic, beloved piece, I was reminded of my enduring love of poetry, and I hope you were, too. Sometimes we moved in sync with the month, sometimes pieces came at you in bulk, like today. But here’s something interesting about today’s bulk: they’re actually in sequence, a series of allegorical haikus I wrote about the same person. (Does anyone else count the 5/7/5 on their fingers like me? If you also carry the 1 in your head, I welcome you, my kindred spirit.) I thought it fitting to end the last three days (4/28, 29, 30) with a three-parter.

Hope your National Poetry Month was filled with iambic pentameter and all that good stuff. 

Pomegranates for Persephone 

I. 
here’s some honesty:
as search parties mobilize
I’d rather stay lost

II.
of grain and harvest
reeking of cereal and corn
this life awaits me

III.
this mantle she wears 
back-breaking work veiled as gifts–
I ate willingly. 

National Poetry Month: Le Poème #27

Is she posting in real time? Yes, dear reader, your eyes do not deceive you. A poem for the actual day. Stranger things have happened.

I wrote this yesterday. Yay to moments of inspiration while waiting for a cardio class to begin. I should tell you that I’m a big fan of allegory. In artwork, in writing, etc. Regarding poetry, I’d gotten away from allegory when my poems became more of a confessional art form. It was my chance to just be raw and open without using literacy devices. But sometimes the muse misses the past. So here’s today’s poem, which employs my tried and true allegorical vehicle: Greek mythology. 

Athena’s Lament

The exit from a man’s head 
is no guarantee that I have free
entrance into a man’s heart.
You see my armor, balk at
my aegis, confusing my 
breastplate for the Gorgon itself.
And no, it’s not the loveliest thing 
in the world to see–Medusa was 
no beauty queen–but why aren’t 
you looking at me?
(Instead of my armor?)
There are times when I wish
this wisdom was transferable,
so that you could see that wars 
are about battlegrounds and not
about us…
I wouldn’t fight you, my dear, 
for the ability to think doesn’t make
me your enemy. 
If anything, I also like crafts.
Does that bother you, too?
(I doubt it.)
My house on the hill can crumble 
in ruins for all I care, we don’t need it,
we can get a condo somewhere–
just stop forcing yourself to push 
me away.
For by now, you must know
you must,
that I am strong enough to 
stop you from leaving. 
So make it easy.
Stay.  

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes (#14,15,16,17)

I’m starting to enjoy sharing poetry in bulk with you, dear reader. It really speaks to my lazy/I’m old and forgetful and wait, I have a blog?/I have a 1,000 things to do side. Forgive me. We do what we can, huh? Below are poems for the past three days and today. All written by me. Enjoy.

Oh and you’ll recognize some of these pieces because I’ve already posted them for your reading pleasure. I’m a recycler. *shrugs*

The Refrain
#14 – Friday, April 14

my constant refrain boasts the childhood belief of manipulating effect by wishing for the opposite to happen.
and so “you will leave me” escapes my lips with the hope that no, you will not leave me, not now, not ever, not when I love you so.
but I continue to carry the cool of the nonchalant, the unaffected, whispering the refrain as if I am discussing the rain or this traffic–
–hoping that you are not privy to this juvenile show and somehow confuse my vain wish for a future I would kill to keep from happening.
but you are not privy to anything, are you, are you, while my refrain echoes within the empty rooms and silent hallways of a longdeserted home.
Birthright
#15 – Saturday, April 15

Before I could even learn to appreciate you, I was desperate to shrug you off, this mantle that clung to the nuances of my dark skin like birthplaces and legacies.

You were the mirror I was ready to turn away from, the reminder that I was nothing like them; not mysterious and joyous, but something to point at and destroy.
And what of it? Merely the source of special names and special people, merely the home of my creators, merely a rich, colorful center.
Before I could even learn to appreciate you, they informed me that I was simply a location hoarder, not real like them, just the holder of an address that was not worthy of me.
You were the mirror I intended to claim, the reminder that blood and culture can be whatever I want it to be; not a clingy shroud of shame, but something to be proud of and accept.
And what of it? Merely the source of special names and special people, merely the home of my creators, merely a rich, colorful center.
Birth and death, accents and colors, time and memory: you are mine and mine alone.
Let them cajole and caw.
I bear it well and I bear it unaffected.
Like the solid stance of a landmass, a continent,
you and I cannot be moved.
Elegy/Texas 2
#16 – Sunday, April 16
I’m in the mood for you.
For your fanciful cowboy tales–
For your romantic sunset–
For that gleam of mischief in your bright eyes–
and for the sadness I saw in them, too, the kind that told me who you really were.
I’m in the mood for you.
For your arrogant understanding of me–
For your occasional inability to understand nothing at all–
and for the sadness I wanted to take away so badly, the kind that your actions couldn’t hide.
But moods pass.
So did you.
And sadness quietly changes partners.
Zelda
#17 – Today, April 17, 2017

so I’d like to believe that you
were his Daisy Fay,
holding him at bay,
until all that could glitter could
finally become gold.

and for a time, you
and your pretty egg were
the toast of the town,
flapping around,
drunk on jazz and roses.

but you forgot, didn’t you,
that such things don’t last forever;
that precious metals fade,
even our own minds betray,
when our own wings become clipped.

you could only flap for him,
as it were;
suppressing your own will
to write in order to remain still
as if he had a hold on history.

perhaps you were punished
for being his Daisy Fay
and holding him at bay
when all he wanted was you there
at the very start, by his side.

nevertheless, harbors do wear away
and lights turn from green to gray
and jazz music no longer plays—
when we are waylaid
by burials that rule the day.