fun with mansplaining.

Mansplain (verb): The explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

(Read about the etymology of the word here.)

So has it ever happened to you, my dear lady reader? Where you say something quite well or eloquently or meaningful or clear to the listener(s) in the room and the man/men in the room take it upon themselves to mansplain you in theeeeee most condescending and/or patronizing way?

For me, having experienced this largely in a professional environment, I tend to want to do this:

lizlemon1

Without the reference to mac and cheese.

Anyway: it’s maddening. Being a Black woman in a professional environment already has its moments–must my hair always be a talking point?–but being a Black woman in a professional environment that speaks meaningfully and has someone feeling the need to “summarize” what she just said (active listening is one thing, but openly and condescendingly explaining what I just clearly said is quite another) is a whole different animal. To go even further: I completely understand if something I say isn’t clear. No one is a perfect communicator all the time. But instead of ‘splaining, why not ask me if you need clarification? Even even further: would I be equally incensed if another woman in the room did the same thing? I can’t answer that because no other woman has ever done this.

*sets microphone on the ground because they’re expensive*

Here’s another fun thing: when a woman expresses herself and is described as speaking lizlemon2emotionally. Y’all. Y’all. Here’s the thing: emotions will sometimes come through. Professional doesn’t always mean robot automaton who has no feelings. We spend 40+ hours with these folks. If you detect emotion in my voice when I’m communicating something: is it necessary to say something about it? Can we move on or nah? Must we highlight it? Or can you listen, take in, express whether you agree/your thoughts, and we move on? Oh, and passion and emotion aren’t always the same thing. Just saying.

By now, you’ve guessed that these are specific events. You’ve likely supposed that I don’t hate anyone, certainly men, but I’m a full grown woman person being and am open to discussion and dialogue without subjecting folks to condescension/speaking down to others/disrespect/dismissal/being reduced to “emotion”.

Please return to your regularly scheduled onwarding and upwarding.

Level Up. [2020]

So last year, I feel like you and I, dear reader, entered a new phase of realness on This Square Peg. This is a lifestyle blog, yes, and we discussed various aspects of my life, including openly sharing with you that 2019 mostly stunk. I initially wondered if these were things I even wanted to share. It’s not easy to be vulnerable, no, but it’s way harder when you have tons of eyes reading about your experience. Nevertheless, I’ve always been a fan of 1) catharsis; 2) encouragement and empowerment; and 3) helping people. If one iota of this life and working through those tough times helped anyone with any of those three things (even if sharing simply meant bringing some clarity and understanding to those who know me beyond this blog), then I’m happy and proud. In that vein, I’m here to announce that not much will change with TSP in this brand new year…

Except: we are leveling up. levelup

I will continue to remain real, vulnerable, and open with you. Highlights. Lowlights. Life life life. But as much as I love my privacy, I plan on sharing some tings with you this year and I don’t intend on holding back. I’ll still be private–don’t get it twisted; I have to protect my government name–but the process of sharing will be wider. Because at the end of the day, I need you to be good with you. And if I can add a ‘lil something to that beautiful end result by sharing tidbits of me, then we shall have all of that. Quite honestly, too, I need to continue to be good with me. That involves talking/writing through this journey. So, we’re in this together, dear reader.

My first share of 2020: I have a secret wedding board on Pinterest. It has categories. It shall remain secret because my inner 11 year-old doesn’t like folks taking her ideas. {shrug}

Happy 2020. How do you plan on leveling up this year?

In Review…2019 Style

My tried-and-true chicelegant (spell check nearly imploded with this nonexistent word, but whatevs) aesthetic didn’t change much in 2019. Here are some of my favorite looks from this year, with a bit of commentary.

When it comes to jeans and pants, I’m your typical pull-your-pants-up-every-ten-seconds kind of gal, because I tend to pull sizes a bit bigger than I should. (Le sigh.) But this year was a marked improvement. I went for more jeggings and leggings this time around, which resulted in better fits and just looked way nicer.

Dresses and skirts are my favorite things to wear. They just are.

I wasn’t kidding.

The collaged photo in the middle is from our annual worship convention this year and my theme was skirts. (Anyone else theme their outfits for events? I love doing that.) All those skirts came from Ross–all to the shock and awe of my Mom, who thinks I should be shopping at Nordstrom at my age. If I can score chic and lovely clothes for a lesser price, I’ll be staying at Ross. After loving everything I wore this summer, she agrees with me.

The Blonde Ambition Tour.

And finally, these three. The last photo is from last weekend at one of our worship events. I played around with color and combinations here and I was really pleased with the results. Woo hoo…

 

‘Twas a good year for personal style and fashion. My goals are to continue to dress for my body and accentuate better, remain chicelegant, and experiment more. As for the revolving door of hair styles and colors: of course.

What are your personal style staples?

things i currently need #12

You’ll see a definite theme. (See current needs #11 needs here.)

vacances1

Somewhere in the Maldives.

vacances2

Pretty please, Positano.

vacances3

Oh, hi, Oregon.

You get my drift. My last real, bonafide vacation was in February 2016, when my girls and I went to that lovely trip to Paris. (Plenty of photos of that trip; search “Paris” and swoon.) It’s high time to get somewhere and find relaxation. Self care. It’s necessary. I do plenty of it stateside, taking time for myself, but I need to do it in another land/on a beach/in a hot spring/on a gondola. Hoping that early 2020 gives me that opportunity.

Happy Friyay, y’all. Any planned trips?

In Review…

I can honestly say that 2019 was a tough one. I struggled a lot this year, and I can openly changingsay that it took a whiiiiile for me to get back to a sense of solid ground. And let’s be real: there will be ups and downs in life anyway. Hills and valleys. Light and dark. And although I wasn’t living in a dreamworld that life, my life, was all roses, this year presented a tunnel of darkness and deep emotions that seemed really hard to navigate. Here are some lessons I learned and am continuing to learn on this journey we call life:

  1. Speak. Even if it’s one person that holds your confidences, who helps you wipe your tears, who assures you that you’ll make it through that tunnel: say something. Let them know you’re barely holding on. I’ve been blessed with that person, and also others who intuitively hold me a bit tighter when we see each other. Those folks may not know the details of what I’m going through, but can sense that I need them. Even in an embrace.
  2. Exchange. My constant goal is to pay it forward. Be the person I needed when I was down. Be there for others as they were and are there for me.
  3. Write. Although I didn’t do a lot of fiction writing this year, I wrote a lot of my feelings down. I needed to work my way through them. Here’s to catharsis.
  4. Hope. It’s not the easiest thing to hold to the heart, hope. Especially when disappointment seems to reign and push you into deep negativity. My bestie and I were discussing this recently and she asked, with all the efforts I’m making to look ahead and not behind, whether I have any hope left. “A little,” I said. “Hold on to that,” she replied. I intend on doing just that.

A brief year-end review. I plan on doing another one as we drift closer to 2020. But I need to say the following: I’m so grateful to my awesome God, my wonderful family, and my dear friends who helped me to remember the light waiting at the end of this weird, endless tunnel I found myself traversing. If nothing else, with everything I witnessed this year, there was something incredible in there: the divine. 

How was your 2019 (so far)? I’d love to hear about it.

necessary to say.

I saw this on Instagram and nodded my head vigorously.

Dark times come, certainly, with depression. But sometimes you can be–for lack of a better term–a functioning depressive. You’re living your life. You’re smiling, laughing, going to events and spending time with friends. And then you come home, breathe through the minutes before bedtime while laying on the couch, and then head to bed. This can happen every single day.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, if you’re going through this: I’ve got you in mind. I know how it feels. Sometimes putting a picture to it, identifying what is happening to you (how can I be depressed if I’m living my life? you may ask yourself) can make a world of difference.

Corn(y) and Cheese(y)

Fun fact about This Square Peg: I’m a shameless, sincere, straight up goofball. I jazz hand, I make silly faces, I tell/laugh at dumb jokes, I opera sing in the grocery store, I dance like a weirdo. And I have no qualms about any of these things. Being serious is a thing. Being not serious at all is also a thing.

I was reading an interesting post on social media where the author made mention of “corny love.” He said it lovingly about the relationship he and he wife have, and it got me thinking.

We shall have corny love, he and I, whoever he may be, and we shall have it in spades. My goofballery will amuse him to no end, especially during times when perhaps levity is what we need to make a situation bearable. He may not be on the upper echelon of silliness like me, but being open to it is key. I insist on corniness and cheesiness. On text messages that tickle and delight. On sharing my wild, interpretive dancing. On laughter well into the night.

Because even though I don’t share those aspects of my personality with everyone (and I don’t), he’s the one who will have it all. Jazz hands included.

An Autumn Path.

I’ll be honest: this quote, albeit lovely, still triggered me a bit. Because I’m so autumnpathtired of traveling alone. And when it comes to my favorite season, there’s an unbearable aspect about it: enjoying the beauty and electricity in the air by my lonesome. I’ve discussed this before–that something about fall that drives the desire to be accompanied by another even more than usual. The feeling remains. Heightened by crisp evenings and the turning of trees, no less.

I wish I understood why. I long for a change. Until then: I’ll continue to enjoy the “finest company” around me.

 

procrastination nation.

round wall clock
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

Dear Reader,

I’ll be moving soon. Still staying in Texas, but moving to a different city. After two years in my apartment complex, it was time for a change. After searching and perusing, I found a lovely new area that I’ll share more about in a forthcoming post. But before one moves, one must pack.

And…yeah.

Read this if you need a reminder about how I feel about packing, especially when it comes to moving.

At the end of this month, I need to be ready to go. Ask me if I’ve done single thing to prepare for this timeline. Go ahead, ask me. Did you? Good. The crickets you hear are your answer.

I’m reminded of when I was in college. Knee-deep in essays and homework and my on-campus job and my off-campus job. When there was a deadline for a paper, I would write that thing at 2 in the morning the day it was due. Typing furiously on the computer in our basement at some ungodly hour. And I would, nine times out of ten, score high. Naturally, I started to believe that my waiting until the last minute to complete my homework was the key to my excelling; the last minute fear and adrenaline was somehow resulting in amazing theses statements and sentences. It had to. (What can I say? Youth.) Anyway, procrastination became a bit of a crutch. My younger brain theorized that waiting until the last minute met success.

Enter adulting. I do my best to get things done on time. Emphasis on my best. No worries: I pay my bills on time. But when it comes to a project at work that has a loose deadline…

Were we talking about packing?

I haven’t packed. Haven’t moved a thing. Empty boxes and crates crowd my living room, waiting to be used, calling out to me. We have 18 days…

18 days…

Self-Preservation or Nah?

One of my characters in one of my stories makes reference to not dousing her hope with her usual brand of doubt and cynicism. I am her and she is me. (Incidentally, one popular writer-related question I get is, “who are the people you’re writing about in your fiction?” I am them, they are me. What writer isn’t writing about themselves in some way? Anyway, digress. Back to the outside of the parentheses.) The truth is: I am terrified of hope.

We need hope. We thrive on it. It keeps us going. I hope in a lot of things. In a brighter future. In seeing my father again. In finally living what the Scriptures describe as “the real life.” But there’s one giant aspect of life that I hesitate to hope in, for fear of repeatedly breaking my own heart and spirit: love. I’ve discussed my track record when selfpreservequoteit comes to relationships. I’ve yet to meet my Person. The pathway to said Person hasn’t been easy; it’s been sad, disappointing, weird, head-scratching, and just ultimately completely unfulfilling. Naturally, when this happens more often than not, the wall builds itself. Brick after brick of solid, hard doubt. And when hope tries to poke her head in (could this be…?) I nudge her away and steel my chest for what realities may hit me in the face.

Admittedly, it stinks to look at things this way. But can you really blame me? Without the benefits of preserving myself, my sanity, my heart, I’d be in a corner somewhere, rocking back and forth and worse off than I already am. Of course, we must then discuss self-fulfilling prophecies. A good friend, more often than not, has reminded me that I tend to manifest negativity when it comes to finding my Person and finding love. She’s called me out on statements such as: no one wants me anyway, and whatever, I probably won’t find him, whomever he is. Regardless of whether my comments were made in jest (they were, on the surface), in her estimation, those comments end up becoming self-fulfilling prophecies: if I am expecting these things for myself, then I’m basically writing my own future. I’ve agreed with her and have promised to work on not pronouncing such negativity for myself. Deep down, though, I’ve struggled to communicate that those comments and related, unspoken thoughts come from a fear that believing the opposite and resting in hope will just leave me completely wounded, waiting, and disappointed. And so I frame things in dry, deprecating humor, hiding truths. (I try to avoid the whole self-deprecation thing as a rule, especially since I’ve done so much work to not relegate my own self to zero status as I did in the past. But old habits rear their heads when we’re talking about fear.)

Where is the balance, dear reader? How can I be both hopeful and realistic? How can I stop submitting to fear by way of self-deprecation and be mindful of what I say/nurture my own self, without appearing as if I’m on a one-track groove whenever it comes to talking about my personal life with my friends?

When I find the answers, I’ll let you know.