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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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this square peg

nope. can’t do it.

When I was a senior in high school, I did something that defied all the parameters of shy girl status: I auditioned for a musical in my high school.

*cue shock*

Yes, your Square Peg, who enjoyed life behind the shadows, who always volunteered to be the narrator (and when she wrote her own stuff made herself the narrator, thank you very much), decided very much on an adolescent whim that she would audition for the spring musical that her high school was putting on, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumLots of innuendo, lots of farce. I knew nothing about the musical prior to auditioning. There was no Wikipedia back then. Anyway, I loved the title, I loved musicals, I loved theater, I loved my school’s drama teacher (who was also my beloved Film Studies teacher when I was a sophomore and introduced me to the wonder of Citizen Kane, among other things), and I was high on this adolescent whim. I knew I could sing. So why not?

How to Audition for a Musical (Or How Not to, Depending on your Perspective)

  1. If you’re 17 (or 35 or 59 or whatever) and a veteran of several chorus classes, it would be nice to know how to read music. Because guess what? I didn’t know how to read music. (Still don’t.) When I was handed the music for the songs I would be singing that afternoon, Comedy Tonight and Lovely, I might as well have been handed stacks of hieroglyphics. And I probably had a better chance of deciphering those than the music I was given…
  2. …but because I was learn music by ear, I waited until dead last night to audition for each song. This gave me time to listen carefully to the notes, the melody, the arrangement, and allowed me to actually stand on stage and sing. Not too shabby, either.
  3. It might be a good idea to remember that even though you’re one of dozens that are auditioning, you can’t go up on stage with those people. You actually have to stand at the front of the stage and sing. Alone. And yet, moments before cardiac arrest took over as I approached the stage…
  4. …I found a way to position myself by the piano and not really at the front of the stage and I focused on my drama teacher, who was awesome and encouraging and likely CPR-certified in case I did keel over from the fright and butterflies.

I got through it, you guys. And I had fun.

But remember when I said I knew nothing about the musical? Well, although I didn’t score the lead roles of Philia or Pseudolus (and this was really no surprise; other than pretending like I don’t want to strangle rude people, your Square Peg is hardly an actress), I still got a role in the musical.

The role? A courtesan.

If you check out the link to the musical, you’ll see see that the story takes place in ancient Rome, where a slave (Pseudolus) tries to win his freedom by helping his master woo a courtesan named Philia. Well, there would be a house filled with other courtesans along with Philia, and I got a role as one of them. I think her name was Vibrata.

Except, even though your Square Peg is a wordsmith, she wasn’t quite sure what a courtesan was. So, while overcome with excitement at landing her first role in a musical, she went home and went to her trusty dictionary, where she looked up the word.

courtesan (noun): a prostitute with a courtly, wealthy, or upper-class clientele

Yep, I went right to my beloved drama teacher and told him that there was no way I could be in the musical. Excuses about my parents not really feeling the amount of time I would spend outside of school were given. And no, they wouldn’t have cared for that, but you know the bigger issue, don’t you? My mother would have somehow learned that I was playing a hooker. And she would have killed me dead. I mean, as sneaky as I was in getting away with staying out late or hanging out with people she didn’t really know, the heavens would have revealed it to her in a dream. No doubt. Just like she knew that her oldest daughter was making funny faces behind her back one day (without turning around), my mother would have discovered the truth. And your Square Peg would be no Square Peg at all, because, again, I would have been killed dead.

My drama teacher was very understanding. Maybe he knew the real truth, that an African girl playing a hooker–no matter how tame it would be for a high school production–would have been shipped back to the Motherland in a pine box.

I was in the audience on opening night, cheering on my friends in the show, cheering on the director, cheering on the brave girl who replaced me. And in the back of my mind, imagining the death that would have been unleashed by my mother’s hands. So along with all that cheering was massive, massive relief.

I still love the theater, of course. Musicals, plays: the stage continues to thrill and amaze me. And it’s even sweeter from the comfort of my seat. Haaaaaa.

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?

connecting…

And while the wires and strings and synapses connect, sometimes blogging and writing and This Square Pegging fall by the wayside. Nevertheless, I’m here now, dear reader. Well, I’ve always been here–but life and changes and connecting  made it a bit harder to remember to talk about the process with you. This platform wasn’t far from my mind, though. And like the love of donuts, I’ll always come back. (Take some positivity from that last statement, however you can.)

So, it’s 2017, huh? Insert wide-eyed surprised emoji here. 

But years come and years go. Whatever the numbers are on the calendar, may things continue to connect for you as they always have and always will.

Onwards and upwards…

Blogvember #15: Your Square Peg.

Had no clue what to talk about today. My equilibrium is off and I want to nap. So here’s a photo of me at 8 years old, sitting for a passport photo, giving you frosty face/don’t come at me/who do you think you are?/just try me. An expression that has served me well through the years.

Happy Tuesday.

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.

20 (Maybe) Weird Things.

I’ve said it before: we’re all weirdos. See the following.

seuss
Right, Idris?
  1. I read over people’s shoulders on the train, especially when they have hefty, voluminous books in their hands. I mean, how can I be a legitimate bookworm if I don’t hoard what you’re reading?
  2. If you stand too close to me anywhere, this is clear evidence that you want my kidneys.
  3. I don’t necessarily mind the scent of gasoline. (Stop raising your eyebrows. Doesn’t that acrid aroma take you back to the days of school buses and running to get to class on time? No? Fine, it’s just me then. Le sigh.)
  4. Speaking of school, I get a little sad when September comes. Reminds me of the return of school and losing summertime, air-conditioned basements, and leisurely family time/trips to the local library. Poor kiddos.
  5. When I hear this song, I weep. I don’t know why.
  6. Speaking of inexplicably sad songs, I crave them sometimes. The melancholy can be oddly uplifting.
  7. In elementary school, I was in class with a girl named Marni Levy. One of my Dad’s friends owned an auto shop which was next to another shop named Levy’s. In my mind, I believed that Marni’s father owned that shop. Because of the last name. It never dawned on me that the world is undoubtedly filled with millions of Levy’s.
  8. Can you believe I still remember Marni’s name? I just Googled her. And found her. Oh, the Google. We were in 4th grade together.
  9. By now, you understand that I’m a low-key private investigator. Let us give thanks for Columbo, Jessica Fletcher, and Hercule Poirot. I really believe in my skills, y’all.
  10. To this day, I can’t check my pulse. Because I have no idea what I’m counting. And really, does it matter? As long as we all know how fast or slow it’s going?
  11. I have safe songs. Songs that prevent me from throwing myself to the ground and bawling during stressful and/or anxious times. When I hear these songs, I calm down. It’s amazing. I’m sure there’s a psychological link to a relaxing memory somewhere. Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears, Drive by the Cars, and Dancing in the Dark by my boyfriend Bruce Springsteen are a few. (By the way, the term “safe song” came from an episode of Ally McBeal. I latched on to the term immediately.)
  12. If I must drink a green smoothie (like being forced by a kidnapper or a bank robber), I don’t want to taste the green part. I better not taste that green part.
  13. My actual shoe size is 8 1/2. But I wear 9, 9 1/2, and even 10 sometimes. Because my toes are alive and sometimes cannot physically take being in certain shoes. Like they need room to breathe. It’s the weirdest thing.
  14. I inherently associate smells with memory. See #3. It’s not weird, per se, but it’s tough to explain to people why you’re backing away slowly from them because their perfume reminds you of terrifying kindergarten teachers.
  15. “Conspiracy theorist” is an appropriate description of yours truly. They’re watching you. All of them.
  16. I read the ending of books first before I buy them.
  17. For a long time during my adolescence, I truly believed that I was adopted. Like, really. Actual mother: Diana Ross. Or a queen from a faraway land. Same thing.
  18. See #15. There are at least two people in history that I believed faked their deaths. But we won’t get into it now, folks. Not trying to scare you this early in the morning.
  19. I’m a sassy, swinging, modern girl. But I may or may not be clueless about the lyrical content of most songs.
  20. When “LOL” became a thing, it took me a while to not use it as a verb in my mind when reading it. (“Wow, she’s doing a lot of LOLing.”) I also perhaps maybe Googled it at first to see what in the world it meant. Add “SMH” to that list, as well.

There is it, folks. A few quirks and oddities that I contentedly call my own. For the record, I certainly believe that “weirdness” is all relative; life would be quite shapeless and gray without the downright different ways we all perceive things. So take a deep breath, install Google on your smartphone, and enjoy your life.

Bon weekend, mes amis.

relax…relate…release…

This past weekend, I had a much-needed, long-overdue massage. Incidentally, one of my former masseuses mentioned that I should be doing these once a month. relaxrelatereleaseAs lovely as that sounds, since Idris hasn’t yet proposed, my income just doesn’t allow for that yet. But with the increase in my exercise regimen (I’ve joined the back-to-back daily workouts life; more on that in another post) and more importantly, the quiet cries I hear from my joints every time a workout is completed, it’s time to use that Groupon app and find some massage deals, isn’t it? Anyway, during the session, my masseuse promised to give me a list of areas on my body where she noticed muscle tension–from there, I could go online and research stretching tips for those areas. Well, I got that list. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t a few places here and there. There were five areas she noted, all places that I tend to feel muscle tension throughout the minutes, days, months, years, that pass me by.

And that leads to my confession, dear reader: I don’t think I’ve ever been fully relaxed. Ever. Sure, I’ve had moments where I lay there and feel at peace, serene, undisturbed. But not 100 percent, you know? Not just like languid and droopy with relaxation. Case in point: just last week, prior to this massage, I was laying on the couch in our living room. Ostensibly relaxed, right? My eagle-eyed mom looks at me and asks if there’s anything wrong with my foot. I respond that my foot is fine. She then asks why it seems to be at attention, straight and rigid. I shrug and respond that I don’t know and that it feels fine. When I told her about the masseuse and her list of five areas, she reminded me about our conversation about my foot and how it looked tense. I thought it over and over and realized what I mentioned above.

rrrHonestly, I believe that This Square Peg came into this world not only quietly, but enshrouded with a ball of tension and pre-adult anxiety. So not African, right? Most of my countrymen and women are relaxed, easygoing, go-with-the-flow kind of people. (Yet another thing I didn’t inherit.) Not this one. I think I was born ready to run, ready to spring. I’m never even fully asleep when I sleep. Always aware, always listening, always ready to club someone over the head with a can of potpourri or whatever usable weapon I can find. My beloved dad, who worked at night, used to say that when he came home in the mornings from work, he knew one person would always hear the key going into the front door and would be ready to greet him: me. It was true. I basically sleep/rest/relax with an asterisk next to my brain: *asleep/resting/relaxing, but not really.

Le sigh. So what do I do? Google “how to relax”? Psychologically identify why tension coils around my bones and muscles? More massages? We shall do them all, especially starting with making use of that Groupon app I mentioned above. I have a feeling that if I incorporate massages into my regular schedule, perhaps I’ll finally begin to unwind. After that, I’ll need a leather couch, someone with a pen, and long conversations about just why I believe someone needs to be struck with a can of potpourri in the middle of the night.

How do you relax?

things i currently need #8: swimsuit edition

I will preface by telling you that This Square Peg is perfectly fine in her swimming trunks, a tankini top, and a cover-up. Because she’s quite comfortable with being comfortable–including at the beach. And as much as I adore the beach for being the great body unifier (in other words, no matter what you feel about how you look, the beach will teach you about the variety in bodies, shapes, and sizes, so accept your temple and move on), I simply prefer keeping this African chocolate temple covered up, by and large. However. Sometimes a girl works hard on her health, and the physical incentives suddenly don’t feel like being covered up that much. So here are some ideas I have to interrupt that cover-up life, courtesy of Pinterest. (I plan on being about that sand and ocean life this summer, by the way.)

Love love love the retro vintagey look anyway, but I especially  love seeing it in swimwear. Super cute, fashionable, and finally allows some of us to live out our Annette Funicello beach movie dreams and fantasies. (I’m not the only one, am I?)

A retro top + high-waisted bottom for a two-piece swimsuit? Golden. Golden.

Whoever came up with peplum swim tops must know how much I love peplum. Right? Because I love peplum. And I adore that I can wear it as swimwear.

That’s all she wrote, folks. May summertime greet us with sandy beaches and re-enactments of scenes from Beach, Blanket, Bingo. Onwards, upwards, and beachwards…

Thank Ya, Mama.

 
Thank ya, Mama, for genes that make me look 21 years old. I don’t want to return to 21, but it sure is nice to look it.

(This photo was snapped by my good friend and talented photographer during a trip to NYC a few weeks ago. That’s her IG handle. Check out her work. You really want to.)

((Go to How Old-Net and waste plenty of your precious time posting photos of your face to see how old you look.))

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