Blogtober #8: She Writes.

A bit of self-promotion this fine autumn.

Did you know that I’ve written and published three books? Yes, you say, it’s on the Writing tab on your blog, TSP. This is true. But we’re highlighting my work on the main page today. All my books can be purchased on Amazon right here. Note that this Amazon link is also my author page, so all the books are lined up for you in a pretty row.

Raincoat For Your Senses is a compilation of short fiction and poetry. If you’re in the mood for, well, moody poems and somewhat autobiographical short stories from a 20-something writer, then this is for you. This was my first foray into publishing my work so all firstborns are special. Available digitally.

Short stories abound in The Loftiest Thing. Entirely a collection of short fiction, this book remains my ‘lil baby that could. Whereas RFYS was extracting works I’d completed in the past, this book is full of original, real time fiction that I wrote. Stories about sacrifice, love, relationships, and so much more. It awaits your library, both digital or hard copy.

My latest work, Your Elephant, After All, is 100% poetry. I used to consider myself a fictionista primarily, and then a poet when no story ideas were coming to mind. But I am both a fiction writer and a poet, and working on/publishing this book cemented the latter for me. These poems are personal, are about life and love and everything in between, and I wrote it at a time when I was personally drowning. So, working on it became a life jacket. You’ll love it as much as I do, I guarantee. (Available in hard copy only.)

That’s all she wrote for now. I’m working on some things, so I hope to expand this bookshelf. Until then, support your neighborhood authors and writers and artists, if you can.

Quarantine Check-In.

Quarantine Life. It’s been a thing. Here’s a round-up.

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Photo by Serpstat on Pexels.com

Professional Life. I’ve been working from home since mid-March. It was initially a huge adjustment for me; I’ve worked remotely before, many times, but in a space where it’s happening 8 hours a day, 7 days a week–there were a lot of tough moments. Structurally, I’m one of those folks that doesn’t mind being in an office. I learn a lot when it comes to nonverbal cues and in-person conversation in general, so I think I struggled with not being in an active people space when it came to the day-to-day. Doing everything from behind a screen–from working on projects to discussions with colleagues–wasn’t always easy. But with time, it’s gotten better. And boy, am I thankful to even have a job with everything that’s going on and an option to do it from home. So yes, continuing to gratefully take things one day at a time.

Goals: have a more thoughtful workspace. Right now, I’m at my dining table with my desktop and laptop. It’s not the most ergonomically sound or practical space, but it works. I’ve been perusing Pinterest, naturally, to make some changes. We shall see.

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Photo by Fillipe Gomes on Pexels.com

Personal Life. It’s been tough. Life pre-pandemic wasn’t easy for this singleton who longs for her Person and struggles with deep loneliness, so I’m sure you can imagine (or perhaps you can’t, and that’s okay; what words and sharing and hopefully empathy are for) that life during a pandemic and being on quarantine has been pretty hard for me. But there are always lessons. For one thing, I’ve learned–even more than before–that my peace of mind is priceless. I protect it fiercely. Which means the abundance of noise–social media, news stories, on and on–has become too loud for me, at times. So, I intentionally shut off and shut down. I need to. Another thing: videoconferencing is…interesting. Who would have thought that living in an age of so much connection would almost make all that connection so exhausting? Perhaps it’s because the power of choice isn’t there; pre-lockdown, we could choose however we wanted to connect. Now: it’s all on video and that’s it. Managing it. But I also say no a lot to invitations via video, all for the purpose of decompression. Overall, prayer has been key for me. Communicating my frustrations to a close, trusted, understanding friend or two really helps, as well. But I won’t sugarcoat it: the one day at a time sometimes has to be handling things one hour at a time.

Goals: I’ve been longing for a dog forever, y’all. Always put it on the back burner because, to me, it wouldn’t be fair to leave a dog home all day while I was at work. But now that I’ll be home for a while…seriously considering it and researching my readiness. I’ll keep you posted.

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Creative Life. I’ve been writing, actually. Working on my latest project, for one thing, and also managed to squeeze in a pandemic-inspired sci-fi short story that I’m pretty proud of. When all of this began, I didn’t even bother to wonder if a creative surge would come; after years and years of living this creative writing life, I recognize that, eventually, the ideas and desire to write will come. And as the pandemic days continued, they did. Ideas came. Stories came. Desire came. We’ll see how it goes.

Goals: finishing that project mentioned above. What’s it all about? Mum’s the word for now. Just know that I’m enjoying every bit of its creation. You’ll be the first to hear when it’s complete.

So, yes, that’s life for me so far. Hope you’re making it wherever you are.

quotes

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:

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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.

Fabu Fashion Round-Up: Elevator Runways

Hi there. You know about my new job. Prior to starting last week, I did a bit of shopping for some new wears, being that a number of my things were mostly ill-fitting and above all, I wanted to start nice and fresh for this new environment. I hit up Sears (seriously, their business-y stuff is awesome) and my boyfriend Ross for some pants, blouses, a new blazer, etc. Good finds. So when I arrived at the office last week: lo and behold, dear reader, the elevator taking me to my floor was filled with mirrors. (Yes, there were a few stars in my eyes following that discovery.) No more bathroom selfies for us, honey. And so courtesy of said mirrors, shown below are my office fashion choices from last week. I missed Thursday for reasons these gray streaks in my fro won’t allow me to remember. 


Day 1, aka Blurry Monroe: I snapped a quick pic, which explains the blurriness. Anyway, I went with your basic pantsuit. But that blouse gave me life. Have I told you that I love (no, love) tie-neck blouses??? Here’s a close-up.


Was drawn to the long tie, the sea of colors, the simplicity. One of my Sears finds. More tie-necks will be had, that’s for sure. (That’s my new bathroom by the way. That pose, however, isn’t new.) 

Day 2, aka Thigh Goals: “thigh goals” was the comment a friend captioned this when I posted the outfit on IG. I blushed and laughed and silently thanked my mum and all those squats. Anywho, still basic, still simple: blouse, blazer, pants. However, you’ll notice the scarf and the plastic bag. Inside the bag was my newly purchased space heater. Combined with said scarf, I came to battle, determined to beat the North wind blowing through my workspace. 

Day 3, aka Autumn Surprise: the weather forecasted for that day was significantly cool for the Dallas area, very fall-like and autumn-y. So I gleefully pulled out my beloved turtleneck and sweater and wore them to the office. A few co-workers raised their eyebrows. No comment. 

Day 5, aka Casual Friyay: I was told almost 100 times to remember that jeans were fine for casual Friyays, and so I obeyed. My tried and true skinny jeans with an animal print blouse that you can’t see and that long sweater. The yellow scarf topped it off, along with ankle booties that you also can’t see.

That’s all she wore. Oh, my hair: as you can see, straight for two days–following a much-needed trim–and then blissfully back to twist-outs and updos by the end of the week. 

What fashions are you sporting lately? Is your office occupied by the same North wind as mine?

Ma Maison et Mon Travail.

Went really French on you, didn’t I? But you’re used to that. Translated, it means my house and my job. Because, dear readers, after a month in my new surroundings, I’m happy to announce that I was recently hired at a new job and recently moved into my brand new apartment. We will pause for celebration.

Needless to say, I was anxious about these two things. Initially, I was staying with a kind, hospitable friend who allowed me to rent a room in her home while I figured out where I was going and what I was doing. My plan wasn’t to stay with her for eternity, so there was that particular anxiety. The kindness of others is always welcomed, but I also didn’t intend on overstaying my welcome. Secondly, since Idris hasn’t yet arrived with our marriage license and the key to our villa, your Square Peg needed a job.

The good things: a recruiting firm that I contacted early in the year, once I firmly decided on moving, was still quite open to helping me. Also: my car afforded me the chance, on days I wasn’t interviewing, to drive around and visit apartment complexes in the area. So after a few weeks of interviews and conversations with potential employers, and visiting an inordinate amount of complexes, and lots and lots of prayer…

Enter ma maison and mon travail. Again, let us celebrate.

Ma maison. I live in a nice, simple 1 bedroom place in a Dallas suburb. (I would be more specific, but…nope.) It’s quiet, save for a Chihuahua that occasionally has something to say, but he’s largely silent. As far as furniture, I have a bed and a very comfortable armchair. So you can imagine all the Pinterest decor boards currently overflowing with all the ideas I have for the remainders of furnishings and decorating to come. I’m a simple Square Peg: I basically want ma maison to look like Paris on a weekday. Lovely, uncomplicated, filled with croissants. Updates and photos will come.

Ma travail. It’s my third day at this new environment (a direct hire via that recruiting firm, yay), so everything is still minty and fresh and new. Nevertheless, my colleagues have been great so far and I’m acclimating well. Of course, the same Norse gods that secretly lived in my cubicle at the old OK Corral and blew icicles in the air apparently followed me here (search under “cold” to learn about my inability to stay warm; according to my mother, this is why), which resulted in purchasing a space heater and walking these halls draped in my usual scarf. But c’est la vie. I’m hopeful for this new professional path.

So here we are. Living on my own once again (it’s been twelve years since I had my very own place) and starting fresh with new employment. Onwards and upwards…

Oh, you want to celebrate again? Let’s.

The Day Before.

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Today.

Sure, you can expect a post on my final day at the OK Corral, my last day in the office, my final 8 hours, my final shift, my final time wondering if the HVAC guys have a vendetta against me, based on how cold it is in this place all year long. But I want to also talk about the day before.

This is it. The day before the final day.

Let’s talk about how I feel.

  • Unbothered. The professional meltdowns are hardly abating just because I’m leaving. But you can find me at my desk, chill(ed?), relaxed, and hardly fazed.
  • Unreal. I’ll be very honest with you: I’ve been unhappy at my place of employment for several years. I won’t get too detailed, but it just was never the place for me. Visions of my last day have danced in my head for so, so long–imagine my heart sinking each time a colleague who felt my pain got to make their exodus out of here. Now it’s my turn. Me. Meeeeee. Pretty unreal/surreal.
  •  Unseen. This is a giant organization. It’s unlikely that you’ll know the people you pass by in the hallways or in the cafeteria. So no one really cares about the stranger passing by them (me) with a satisfied, I’m-almost-outta-here smirk on her face. And that’s just fine.
  • Unguarded. People ask me how I feel about leaving. Perhaps they expect a melancholic reply, a palpable sadness about vacating the professional life I’ve known for the past 7 years. Or perhaps they expect an attempt at diplomacy, to not reveal how I really feel about leaving. It’s none of the above. Are you ready to go? More than ready! How do you feel? Great! 

You understand me.

Happy Tuesday, party people. Come by tomorrow, won’t you?

Fabu Fashion Wednesday: Springtime Fakery.

Meteorologically speaking, it’s spring. In real time, however, a dreary cloudiness

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Where are you, real springtime?

continues to cast an endless shadow over our atmosphere, bringing with it daily rainfall and cooler-than-average breezes. I won’t comment on the side eye I give anyone that tries to remind me of rain and flowers and things growing. (There goes that positive attitude. Le sigh.) Anyway, as you can imagine, dressing for work/the OK Corral can be an interesting experience. For one thing, my office must have a blood pact with cold air that states that the temperature inside must be freezing yearlong. So even if there was a warm, spring breeze outside, I would have to wear scarves or blazers or down comforters to keep warm during the workday. Secondly, it’s work. Other than having lunch outside or taking a quick walk, I don’t actually get to enjoy the lovely spring weather (when it comes) during the bulk of the day. By the time I leave, the spring temps are winding down.

Today’s forecast, like the 1,000 days before it, is cloudy, rainy, mid-60s. So to avoid having to drape myself in my mother’s Pashmina scarves at my desk, I decided to just dress for both the inside and the outside: I pulled out the turtleneck (which I never really put away, readers, because me and spring have trust issues) and a sweater. Before leaving this morning, my sister gazed at me and asked if it was cold outside. I told her the forecast. Eyeing my outfit, she soon raised her eyebrows and nodded. “I forgot that you’re constantly cold,” she remarked. “Do I look crazy?” I then asked, wondering about my very winter-y ensemble. She insisted that I didn’t look crazy. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter if people think I’m an escapee from some sort of weather-related asylum: as a draft whips itself around me and my desk here at the office, I’m warm.

Here I am:

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That sweater with the magnificent, giant buttons was a great find from TJ Maxx. I’ve had it forever. Because of the half sleeves, that’s why I threw on the turtleneck (Ross) underneath. And for extra warmth, of course. With all the gray and black, though, I wanted pops of color. Enter my gold hoops, which always make me happy, and my new purple lippy. The latter was a fantastic part of my recent drugstore beauty haul–in an effort to not spend oodles of cash on makeup, I’ve been visiting drugstores and finding awesome colors without the pearl-clutching high prices. This is Perfect Tone Matte Lip Color in Retro Berry by Black Radiance. Here it is up close.

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This ends my style offering for springtime fakery. Here’s to the good weather we will inevitably have, though. One day. At some point. In the near future?

P.S.: That déjà vu you’re feeling? It’s because we just discussed Fabu Fashion and springtime last week. When it was 80 degrees. No further explanation necessary, right?

Fabu Fashion Tuesday: It’s *Springtime.

*Which means the weather is wildly inconsistent.

Nevertheless, since today is a good weather day (sunny, mid 80s), I decided to dress for the occasion. Away we go.

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If you can’t tell, that’s a peplum top. I paired it with my favorite black blazer (Sears; don’t sleep on Sears) because the OK Corral keeps the temperature at Ice Queen levels and I’m cold all the time. (My mother claims it’s because I’ve worked all the “meat” off my body. She has a way with words.) Anyway, as you know, I love my peplum and recently excitedly chose this this top at a swap party that I had with some friends a few months ago. (Clothes swap parties are truly everything. One day, I’ll actually arrive with items to swap instead of greedily snatching things up.) The pants are from Old Navy. They’re a bit loose, but whatever. They’re red. I heart them so. I bought them last year and remembered last night that they were waiting for me in my closet. The snazzy, shiny flats are courtesy of Mom, who still wonders aloud about how I basically just commandeered her shoes. My “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours in mine” reply isn’t really working. That awesome necklace came from The Avenue and boasted a sale price that had me grinning from sun-up to sundown.

Onwards.

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Regarding the make-up, as asterisk springtime dawns on our area, I’ve been dabbling with lighter colored lippies. (No worries; my beloved and tried-and-true Ruby Woo knows I have other relationships.) So far, the one I’m one wearing here makes me very happy, more than the rest: Made You Pink Balm Stain by Wet n Wild. It’s a nice, lovely color for the office, I think, and I love the way it looks against my melanin. Regarding the hair: ta da, She’s back. (She is my hair, because anything that temperamental needs a pronoun, no?) As you saw, I wore crochets for the longest, and then followed that style with a new crochet look. Now we’re back to Her, but still protected in a neat cornrow updo/bun. I plan on protective styling it until mid-summer.

So there we go, another simple ensemble for Fabu Fashion.

How’s the weather where you are? Any old favorites or new favorites (lippy, styles, hair) you’re rocking right about now?

Fabu Fashion Thursday: Jump, Jump

My love affair with jumpsuits continues. I went ahead and wore one to work today. Here it is, compliments of an empty ladies washroom.

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So until today, it’s never dawned on me to wear a jumpsuit to work. I don’t know why. I just never thought of it. Perhaps it didn’t strike me as providing the professional look I typically want when trudging to the office. And then last night, while wondering what I would wear to the OK Corral the next day: Eureka. I found it. I would indeed wear the jumpsuit, pair it with a blazer and a belt, and there you go. Why? Because it’s basically a built-in pantsuit. Pantsuits, the go-to ensemble for that professional life. I mean, it’s a dream come true, really. Oh, the wonder of it all. As you can also see, I also threw on one of favorite chunky necklaces to complete the outfit. It was a gift from the bestie and I wear it whenever I can. Further deets are below, if you’re interested.

Jumpsuit: Ross
Blazer: Sears (don’t sleep on that ancient store; it’s got some hidden gems)
Belt: Ross

Fini and onwards…