Search

This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

Tag

life

smile. (ūüėí)

Smile!

I’ve heard it most of my life. And if you have a resting fierce face like me, you’ve heard it, too. Strangers, random folks–they all seem to take pleasure in viewing our stony features and commanding us to break into grins. Like me, do you want to push said people over to the ground when they issue this command?

The first time I heard it was from my mother. I was in my mid-twenties and she asked me if I walk around with “that face” when I’m in public. She followed that question with another query about why I look so “fierce.” I remember kind of backing away slowly, not wanting to elaborate as to why I didn’t see the need to walk around smiling all the time. But she’s my mother. She can speak her peace and even if I didn’t/don’t heartily agree, I surely wasn’t going to push her over. (She’s really strong, y’all.) But random folks? Nah, man. You don’t get to issue me commands. You don’t get to direct what I do with my features. I once had a homeless guy command me, as I walked down the sidewalk, to smile. As much as I wanted to push him over, he had other problems he needed to attend to.

What incites folks to issue this command? (Oh, and no, it’s not a suggestion. It’s a

toon
Smile!

command. If it was a suggestion, I would hear something like, “You have such a lovely smile. Why don’t you show it more?” I would still side eye them, because, again, it’s my face and I don’t need no stinking suggestions about it¬†but the need to push said speaker over would be slightly diminished.) Why is it so important that I bare my teeth to the world? I mean, it’s awesome to seem approachable, and perhaps a smile communicates that, but the assumption that I’m not because I largely walk around in my daily life without one is a bit ridiculous to me. Or how about I choose what expressions I want on my face? How about that?

A few weeks ago, gymnast and all around amazing woman Simone Biles performed a routine for Dancing with the Stars. During the judging, she was asked by one of the hosts, Tom Bergeron, why she wasn’t smiling when the judges were praising her performance. Simone’s response:

simone

Because can she live? Can she choose when or whether to smile, Tom Bergeron? (I’ll never forget when one of my uncles, while we watched Tom host some other show, remarked that he looked like he had bad breath. This comment exemplifies why my African people will always get the win, the zinger, all of it.) Anyway, social media praised her retort into infinity. Women praised her into infinity.

Because most women hear this smile command, typically from men.

Yeah. You agree with me.

And we could talk for hours about how that gets under a woman’s skin, being told by a male stranger to do something with her features that he has no right to tell her to do, but dear lady, we don’t have a million hours. You agree with me. I’ll leave it there. For now.

violaSo, no, I won’t smile on command, and unless you gave birth to me, you don’t get to tell me or my face what to do.

Happy Wednesday, y’all…smh…

 

 

Advertisements

storm warning.

Last night, it rained. Hard.

Let me tell about the rain in Texas (rather than the rain in Spain; you’re welcome). When I first moved here a whopping seven months ago–time truly flies–my friends hardly spoke about the heat. The heat didn’t require¬†discussion. I knew that the sun would be vengeful, punishing me for something I’m not sure I did. No, dear reader, I was informed about the rain. Because it doesn’t just rain here. It monsoons. Deluges. Floods. Cats, dogs, and cows fall

flood
Oh, hey, Nessie.

from the sky. High winds. Rain descending sideways instead of downwards, which indicates to me that this ain’t a game. Thunder. Lightning. Hail the size of my massive head. When I initially moved here, I once arrived at my former residence and watched, wide-eyed, as the sky turned to a shade of inkwell¬†black. As I scrambled to get out of the car before I was drenched and/or transported to Oz, I realized that perhaps for the first time in my life, I was filled with pure, meteorologically-based fear. (Sure, living in Anywhere, VA had its insane moments. Snow, rain, all of that. But having lived in that area most of life, I was used to it.) And rarely did we receive tornado, get-in-the-bathtub warnings like we do here. As I reached behind me¬†to grab my ineffectual umbrella, I moved with the kind of panic you reserve for dark evenings when someone is walking behind you or when you share an¬†elevator with just another person. (Is it just me? I cannot function when there’s just two of us in an elevator. I simply cannot.) It was terrifying. When I finally made it to the covered porch, a few droplets already falling on head, I turned around right on time as the¬†heavens began to weep. It was incredible.

Oh, and this¬†isn’t the kind of relaxing rain that lulls you to sleep. Rather, I was¬†pulled out of my sleep and driven¬†towards the window, where I peeked through the blinds and watched the sideways storm batter the ground and the cars in the parking lot. A few nights ago, hail accompanied the storm that came.. Ever hear a million rocks thrashing against your window as if they’re mad and not going to take this anymore? This time, however, there was no hail. Just angry water propelled by unremitting winds. When I finally headed back to bed, I lay there, wishing it was over. No such thing. It was determined to screech and ruin the dreams I could no longer remember. (No,¬†Leonard hasn’t returned.) Thankfully,¬†a fitful sleep eventually¬†came over me and I was able to escape the noise. In the morning, the only evidence of the storm were the leaves that decorated the surfaces of my car. If only cars could talk. (“Darling, what was that?” Imagine the scratchy, accented voice of Idris posing that bewildered question, because my car shares his name. This ain’t a game.)

So how do we make amends with this weather fear? One of the many reasons I moved here was to avoid the snow and ice of the Northern VA area, which also came with the kind of cold air that bypassed coats and scarves and headed for pure bone. I’d rather be hot than cold. Hot means I can find a Starbucks and escape the heat outside. Cold means frozen tears just because I can never get warm. And since I’ll be here for the foreseeable future, what do we do?

We find a better umbrella, stay inside, and avoid Oz at all costs.

Does it rain a lot where you are? Do you hide like me or do you laugh in the face of weather-related fears (unlike me)?

it’s morning…

Curious about how This Square Peg energizes for the day? *Or whether she actually gets energized for the day? Read about my morning routine below…wakeup

  1. My alarm is set for 6AM. I turn it off and then sleep until 630AM. It is what it is.
  2. After the usual morning things, I hop into a scalding hot shower (I don’t know about you, but there’s something about almost third-degree burn water temperature that just wakes me up) and, based of having shared a bathroom with all of my siblings for several years, am out of there less than 6 minutes later.
  3. Applying lotion and/or oil is the highlight after a scalding hot shower. It fills the room with lovely scents and aromas.
  4. I quickly brush my teeth and then wash my face. Because I intentionally woke up 30 minutes late and am now rushing.
  5. Nine times out of ten, I plan my outfits the night before. So after the skincare/beauty regiment ends, I head to the closet and quickly get dressed.
  6. If I don’t have a protective style, I quickly take out my twists and/or puff the hair. (Sometimes I do this while “sitting”, if you get my drift, particularly when I have twists in.) If I do have a protective style (yes, please, because it takes forever to take out twists and style), I just fluff and it’s done.
  7. I head to the kitchen and make a sandwich for lunch. Like a 10 year-old, I prefer peanut butter on wheat bread, no jelly.
  8. I’m out the door after determining, via my heavily used weather app, if I need a scarf or light coat or heavy coat for the bipolar Texas weather.
  9. Drive to work.
  10. If I feel like it, I quickly put on makeup at stoplights. So if you’re behind me, I apologize, but this Ruby Woo needs to go on these lips and I didn’t have time to do that at home.

As you can see, quick, easy, we’re done. What’s your morning routine? I’d like details. The comment box can handle it.

*I don’t get energized until 9pm. So there you go.

P.S.: are you wondering if I eat breakfast? I do. TSP’s belly won’t stand for all of that. I tend to grab breakfast at my job or roll by Starbucks on the way into the office, if I have time…which I most likely don’t. And if you’re also wondering if I actually get into the office on time? I actually do. The wonders of only working 10 minutes from home.

Discoveries. (Or, Eureka, We Keep Finding Her.)

We never stop growing and learning about ourselves, do we? Below are some of the things¬†I’ve realized about myself lately, because I’m all about epiphanies, epiphanies, dive-into-self-discoveryepiphanies…anyway, read on, s’il vous plait.

  1. Discovery: I receive a special kind of joy from unsubscribing to the abundance of emails that clog my various inboxes. There’s nothing like cutting the cord. And I accept that this provides a level of contentment that I can’t fully describe.
  2. Discovery: shyness never really goes away. But it becomes manageable. I have tons of friends who don’t believe that I was or am a shy person, and I attribute all of that to good shyness management; i.e., ignoring that 9 year-old who’d prefer that I retreat and hide and keep quiet. She’s cute but bossy. (Side note: I really appreciate the few people in my life who keenly see shades of that 9 year-old in my actions and completely give me room to navigate it all. It’s nice to be known.)
  3. Discovery: I give people very few chances to edit themselves. If you’re rude or mean or dismissive from jump, I rarely¬†have the desire to want to see you change your ways. Because, deep down, I don’t believe you want to. People have the ability to be better and I should want them to want to, riiiiiight? Working on this one.
  4. Discovery: if I smile at you and you don’t smile back, you’ve ruined that aspect of my day. In other words, I’ve put a lot of importance of non-verbal communication lately, more than I have in the past. But perhaps this goes hand in hand with #3. Maybe you’re having a bad day. Maybe you’re constipated. I don’t know.¬†Working on it. (I think it’s because if I’ve made the effort to be polite despite the insanity of my day, you should too? But when was human nature ever so¬†black and white?)
  5. Discovery:¬†I compete with other drivers. When you’re in the next lane and you rev up and increase your speed, I do the same thing.¬†And I like to win. Don’t tell Mom.
  6. Discovery: also related to 3&4. Despite my penchant for quietly psychoanalyzing people, psychoanalysis isn’t necessarily insight. And as much as I dig deep in my own psyche and examine my choices and actions and why I do them, I honestly don’t give that time to other people. Insight and the ability to really see into a situation and the people involved is a gift. One I don’t have. And real talk: I think this also limits my fiction and the ability to really see into my characters.
  7. Discovery: I’m not as cynical or pessimistic as I like to believe. I am the child of parents who believed in and functioned on high levels of optimism. I think I’ve been volleying between those two opposing forces my whole life: cushioning myself in pessimism but nursing, deep down, the hope that I’ll be proven wrong.
  8. Discovery: During difficult times, writing has always been a crutch and/or a distraction for me. Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that I was born to be a writer. But my inability to be creative lately makes me wonder if looking at writing¬†beyond what it is–an art form–is why I can’t seem to get into it lately. Am I placing on it requirements that it’s not equipped to handle? As in: making me feel better?

Thanks for visiting epiphany central. What things have you learned about yourself lately?

rant? what rant?

You guys. When ladies change their hair, here’s the thing: their faces stay the same.

I can’t count how many times it’s happened to me. It even happened today. Meeting people that I’ve met before and noting their obvious confusion based on a lazy lack of recognition. But we know each other, sir/madam. We laughed. We hung out. We work together. Do these braids/crochets/twists really make it hard for you to determine my identity? 

Apparently.

So here’s a PSA: some of us, especially my fellow melanin ladies, will change our hair a lot. Because variety is the spice of life and of hair, and we have that ability. Make it a goal, right now, to preserve our faces in your mind’s eye. Because I won’t re-introduce myself. 

Got it? Good.

*carefully steps off soap box because she’s afraid of heights*


(Side eye ‚ėĚūüŹĺbrought to you by rant above)

On Smart Cookies.

Let’s celebrate this Throwback Thursday with a ‘lil story/psychoanalysis/discussion/boatloadof unanswerable questions, shall we?

I’ll start by saying this: I’m a smart cookie. No shade or ego. I simply own my intelligence. And if you haven’t done the same thing, please do. You’re not walking around telling perfect strangers that you know it all. You’re just acknowledging what you know to be true for yourself: you’ve got a working brain. Woo hoo. And it’s all relative, by the way. I may not still understand binomials, but I know plenty of other things. In other words, no one is 100 percent amazing brain-wise, perhaps with the exception of the Mensa ladies and Einstein. And there are plenty of folks who side eye a pile of books but know plenty of things about life and how to navigate it. But own it, either way.

However, back in the day, this chocolate bookworm who enjoyed many days reading encyclopedias in her parent’s basement and devouring facts and information entered high school and almost immediately buried her brain. And there was only one group of people I hid this fact from: boys. Don’t ask me how or why. I was 14 years old. (Actually, with the way my birth month is set up, when I started high school, I was 13 years old. A little girl. Le sigh.) In looking back, there was no rhyme or reason to it. One day in 9th grade, a boy in my class asked me if I understood the assignment our teacher had just given us. I described it in detail, interpreting it for him, after which he said, “wow, you’re really smart.” What was my response? “No, I’m not,” I replied, laughing nervously. This happened often: denying, above all, that I had any abilities whatsoever when it came learning, analytical thinking, etc., especially when a boy acknowledged me. There was a bizarre level of panic when this happened–I didn’t want to be mocked or seen as knowing more than the guy standing in front of me. Was it innate? A weird biological response to the age-old adage of girls only needing to look pretty? After all, my mother, one of the most intelligent women I know, never uttered those words to me. I was never told to “dumb it down.” So where did the desire to downplay any kind of smarts even come from? Oh, and there were girls who uttered that “wow, you’re smart” comment to me, too, and although I still downplayed it, I don’t recall that almost manic need to dismiss their words like I would with boys.

Maybe it goes back to what I said above. No wants to seem like an arrogant jerk while acknowledging what they can do. But for women, it’s almost as if we carry 100 pounds of guilt when it comes to acknowledging what we can do, particularly when it comes to intelligence. The archaic, ridiculous notions of women’s abilities being limited to cooking meals and birthing babies have been around since time began; maybe I was carrying that on me, in me, without even fully realizing it. Maybe I was also deathly shy and didn’t want, even for a second, any attention being given to me. Which is also true. Maybe it’s all the above. I don’t know. When I entered college and realized that my education was actually up to me (in other words, school ain’t free; tuition is involved; you get what  you pay for), this need to hide my brain still took a while to go away. I remember being a college freshman in English 101. The assignment was to write about a memory. Our professor chose to highlight my essay and read portions of it aloud to the class. She was full of praise and encouragement. I wanted to fall through the ground. By senior year, when my strengths and confidence as a writer had grown, another professor did the exact same thing. I handled it differently. I thanked him and told him how his encouragement helped me. Was it age? Growing older? 18 vs.22? Or did it have something to do with a female professor vs. a male professor giving the praise and encouragement, the male approval making it seem more acceptable? Insert thinking emoji here.

(Told you there’d be unanswerable questions.)

I do know one thing: “dumb it down” has been said to me in my adult life more than once. Not at 14 and not at 22. While adulting. And although I don’t necessarily understand when I turned the corner from terror of smartness to finally feeling confident in my abilities, I do know that each time I heard that silly, objectionable phrase, I laughed in the speaker’s face. So there you go. 

These days, my abilities are only important to one person: me. Sometimes I’d love to revisit that 13/14 year-old and help her to stop choosing fear and pretense. But we’ll wait for another smart cookie to build that time machine. 

Questions for This Square Peg.

Are you somehow impervious to injury? Is that why there are no band-aids in your house, which caused you to fashion a toilet paper tourniquet when you cut yourself shaving last night? 
Why do you think vengeful thoughts when people you smile at don’t smile back?

You totally pretended he wasn’t there, didn’t you?

Why do you say “nice to see you again” when you know full well that this person has no clue who you are?

Why does doing the above tickle you so much?

Why does the phrase “I don’t think Idris is that handsome” enrage you so? 

Because, honestly, that’s one less person you have to imagine fighting at sundown for his heart, right?

What was THAT?

You intend on remaining cryptic about THAT, don’t you?

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. 

I’ll begin by reminding you, my dear reader, that I stopped drinking coffee in 2008. (See the story about the drums here.) This doesn’t mean that I don’t long for it like I long for the key to our villa. In fact, I miss that warmth and aroma like crazy. I’ve been guilty of sitting next to someone sipping coffee and entertaining images of taking it from them. Without asking. Anyway. Despite all of that, I’m still slightly frightened of that drumming. And don’t say just drink decaf. We won’t remain friends.

Enter Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Have you seen this online series from Jerry Seinfeld? The premise is everything the title suggests: Seinfeld picks up a comedian in a snazzy classic car, takes them to a coffee shop, and engages in the most intriguing (and often hilarious; they are comedians, after all) conversations with them. It’s wonderful. My sissy turned me on to the show when it came out, and don’t tell her this (the statistics of the older sister being right about everything need to remain undisturbed) but she nailed it. It was right up my alley. Comedians, cars, coffee, conversation. Cawesome. (New word.) What gets me, though, what infinitely thrills me about the show, are the scenes in the coffee shops. Not of the celebrities, but of the coffee. The images of that smooth liquid descending from the machines, of the coffee beans bursting in their bags, of that everlasting steam rising from the mugs. Add to all of those sweet images a whimsical, often jazzy soundtrack, and I’m on coffee cloud 9.

Ever since my stint at this lovely place, coffee shops have been the center of my world. (The books and coffee combination made it extra heavenly.) The caf√© in this place embodied the caf√© in every place: whispered conversations, folks tapping away at unfinished novels on their keyboards, the soft whir of espresso machines. It’s the dreamworld of creatives, people watchers, quiet types, anyone, really. The show makes me want to return to those days when I frequented them regularly. And this is my intention. At least one Saturday afternoon ensconced in a cozy nook at a local coffee shop is doable, no? And so it shall be.

So: watch CICGC, grab a cup, and forgive me in advance for watching you sip. 

Are you a coffee and coffee shop lover? Tell me all about it.

slay-o’clock.

Well, it was bound to happen. I fell off the wagon. I went back 100 steps. I lost the mojo. In other words: I returned to my sloppily-dressed ways.

I’ve mentioned to you that way back in the day, because of weight and lack of self-esteem and not really knowing who I was as a woman, I preferred the drab, large sized, Stevie Nicks/Dorothy Zbornak look. It was my way of hiding. Yet as much as I love Stevie and my Dorothy, it wasn’t the best idea. But with time and working on the inside and then turning to the outside, all of that improved. I fell in love with me, which ultimately meant buying her (me) fancy, lovely things, like clothes that actually fit and creating a simple, feminine and chicelegant (new word; save it in your dictionaries, folks) sense of style. 

Of late, however, the blah of life translated to fashion, style, everything. The return of ill-fitted, voluminous pants. Going to work with not one stitch of makeup on, not even my trusty MAC Studio Fix. Feeling like a shapeless brown platypus. 

As I’m prone to do, I had to figure out what was going on inside before the outside. 

  1. I’m still adjusting to this new area, six months later. (Right? Six months already.)
  2. I’ve been through some recent changes that have affected me emotionally.
  3. Idris still hasn’t called me. 

You know: things like that. In all seriousness, dear readers, I was going through stuff. And stuff means grabbing some parachute pants (far less awesome than Hammer’s), throwing them on, and going to work. 
But it’s time to let it all go. I saw myself in the mirror yesterday, super fresh-faced, absent of even lip balm, for goodness sakes (chapped lips to the heavens), and told myself to wake up. Stuff happens. We deal with it as we go. But no more cracked lips, y’all. No more.

So what time is it? It’s slay-o’clock. Because looking my best leads to feeling my best. A fundamental truth. We all know it. It’s not new math or the invention of something that will keep these edges laid. Looking better makes me feel better. In that vein, this morning I put on a cuter dress, put on some red lippie, and I welcomed the day. Put on your slay clock and join me, won’t you?

Now your turn: did the blah of life ever affect your personal style? What did you do about it? 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Idle head

-I think anything-

Cocoa Inspired

Welcome to "Cocoa Inspired", my cozy corner of all things beautiful and inspiring.

Tendrils

The Young Adult's guilty pleasure...

TheKSChronicles

Live.Love.Laugh

teenstravels

sharing my experiences with the sole aim to entertain, inspire and bring joy

Murder, She Blogged

Life Lessons from the Desk of JB Fletcher

ToBNatural

the life of a domesticated naturalista

all.things.la.lovelee

travel, beauty, fitness, poetry, life & other random dopeness

Lauren's Lip Glossary

Los Angeles. Esthetician. Beauty Enthusiast.

Chocolaty Prints

Explore Life Boldy

stylemewild

LOVE FASHION. LIVE WILD

bom dia, la!

travel, poetry, and all things lovely...

ChunkyGirlCoalition (CGC)

Just because you're CHUNKY, doesn't mean you have to be FRUMPY!

Beauty-2-Face

Enhancing beauty with one brush at a time

Nedoux

‚ÄúFabrics don't make exquisite dresses, stitches do.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē TS

TRAVELLING THE WORLD SOLO

The ultimate guide for independent travellers seeking inspiration, advice and adventures beyond their wildest dreams