All of the Lights

You guys, only 3 days left until NEW YEARSSSS!!! Arguably one of my top three favorite holidays despite also being arguably one of the most stressful. Making plans at all, let alone plans that don’t empty your bank account, proves to be the true Christmas miracle year after year. This is one of the first years that I actually have a plan set more than a week before the actual event! It did in fact empty my bank account, but you can’t win ‘em all, right?

Even though getting shit together can be a dubious endeavor, I at least always know what I’m wearing by November (October). This year I decided to go with a patterned glitter, floor length, long sleeve black dress from Nasty Gal. Don’t worry, it’s completely sheer because I still wanted to look a little slutty ;). ALSO remember that badass fur coat I posted pictures of a few months ago? Defffffinitely busting that out—can’t wait to look like a high-class, 70’s Madame.

Check out pics of my proposed outfit below, have a happy New Year, and let’s all make it to 2016 in one piece, yeah? Sweet deal.

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Dress: Nasty Gal

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leaf closeupshoes

Shoes: Charles David | Earrings: Pangea/H&M Hybrid (Long Story) |
Statement Ring: Pangea

full outfit

Coat: Flashbacks

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“Do You Wash Your Hair?” (“Miley, What’s Good?”)

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a party at a friend’s house. Right before everyone got up to get food, a blonde girl came up to me and said “Oh my gosh, your hair is SO beautiful!” “Thanks!”, I said back. She then followed up with: “Do you wash it?”

…..

*crickets*

……..

*side eye emoji*

……

*looks around for hidden camera*

For everyone who’s missed the implication of her question, this woman has essentially just asked me if my hair is clean. Do I bathe? Do I participate in normal hygiene practices?

After glaring at her with the shade of a thousand redwoods, I slowly, and in my most condescending tone, managed a “…..yyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh………” Upon realizing she had possibly offended me (while also being slightly confused as to how I’d been offended), she offered “—I mean, well I just meant like how?? Just cause it’s so—“

Now before I explain how I put her out of her misery, let me just make a couple comments here. First of all, “do you wash” and “how do you wash” are two VERY different questions. The first implies, as I said, that there is a good chance—good enough for me to ask—that you do not wash, which I shouldn’t have to point out is extremely insulting.
The second question, though better because it at least assumes the premise that you DO wash your hair, is still problematic because –and let me make this very clear: IT. IS. NONE. OF. YOUR. BUSINESS. Bitch I don’t even know your name yet and you’re gonna come at me with questions about my cleansing habits? Fuck outta here.

Unfortunately, it’s not like this is a new thing for me. Being the only black girl in most of my social spheres for most of my life has led to innumerable inquiries, both polite and less so, about my hair and/or hygiene. But here’s the thing I want us to all understand: Black girls, or any other marginalized group for that matter, are not here to be your informational guides to how they live their lives. I have no obligation to explain to you the (often arduous) process of getting my hair done, or if it’s real, or how I maintain it, or how much of it is mine, etc. That’s none of your business, and you can have a seat. Transgendered people do not have to tell you if they’ve had “the surgery” yet. That’s none of your business, and you can have a seat. Hijabis do not have to tell you what’s under their hijab. That’s none of your business and you can have a seat. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be curious and ask about other people’s cultures or practices that differ from ours in order to expand our own perspectives. Curiosity is different. Curiosity is welcome. But certain curiosities can also be cured by Google. If you are REALLY that interested in how I get my hair done or how I clean it, Apple produces a lovely little pocket-sized computer that makes phone calls and everything! I’m sure most of you have one, feel free to use it. And if you do find yourself wanting to ask someone about themselves, all I ask is that you first make sure you’re doing so with respect. Like for example, a better way to go about this conversation would have been the following:

“Oh my gosh your hair is so beautiful!”
“Thanks!”
“Yeah wow, it’s so intricate, taking care of it must be a lot of work”—

At that point, I could either choose to say “Yeah, it is” and end the conversation, OR if I wanted, I could go into all the things that I do to take care of my hair. Either way, she has expressed appreciation for my hair and admiration for how I maintain it, without low key accusing me of being unclean. See how easy that was?

ANYWAY, so we’re still standing next to each other trynna get food after having this horribly awkward encounter, and I assume, in an attempt to ease the palpable if not suffocating tension, she starts to make small talk about the spread. As you may have guessed, I had ZERO interest in continuing any communication with this broad, but I noticed this super interesting thing happened: all of a sudden, even though this girl had totally been an idiot and offended me, I felt like I had to be nice to her to avoid being seen as (perhaps yet another) “unfriendly black girl.”

AND HEREIN LIES THE FUCKED UP THING ABOUT RACISM (well, one of them):

Something racist happens. Someone of color has been rightfully upset. But by some CRAZY twist of pure fuckery, the offended ends up being the one taking care of the offenders feelings, lest the offended be deemed as “having an attitude problem” or “not a team player” or “hyper-aggressive” or my personal favorite: the “Angry Black Woman”. So here I was, the only black girl at this party, I had just basically been called dirty by this bitch standing next to me, and I’m having to make dumbass quips about potato chips in order to avoid the Angry Black Woman stereotype. Ain’t that some shit. I cannot TELL you how many times I’ve heard a white person say, in one way or another, something like “I dunno, I just feel intimidated by black people, they’re kind of scary. I tried to say hi to a few of them once and they were unfriendly.” And I’m like, WELL DID YOU SAY SOME STUPID SHIT?! Did you walk up like “AY YO WASSUP PLAYAAAAA?!” and try to make a “cool” hand-shake happen that neither of you had previously agreed upon? Did you ask if watermelon was their favorite fruit? Did you ask if they make Kool-Aid at Thanksgiving? (Actual thing that happened on a Fox News segment) Did you ask them if they had a father? Did you use the N-word? DID YOU ASK THEM IF THEY WASH THEIR HAIR?! Lol LIKE. Come onnnnnnnnnn y’all it’s not hard. I know we’ve all been fucked over by this racist system our country’s been steeped in since its inception and it makes things weird but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is common sense and mutual respect. Maybe ask someone’s name first before diving into their hygienic routine. Maybe ask them what they like to do, what music they listen to, where they got their sweater. There are a LOT of ways to build bridges here people. Asking if someone washes their hair is not one of them.

IT’S CHRISTMAS Y’ALL!!!

Merry Christmas month you guys! At my church we just started a series for the season of Advent called “Wait For it… Something Something About Waiting and the Season of Advent” lol. Clearly I’ve forgotten the actual title, but MY POINT IS it got me thinking about the season in general. I feel like it’s cool to celebrate the Christmas story that happened 2000 years ago or whatever, but I think sometimes we forget that the Christmas story is still happening now. For example— I’m gonna talk about myself because that’s the subject I know most about :). But Matt, one of the pastors at Flood, often describes the Christmas story as “God interjecting Himself into the Human Story to bring us life and restoration.” I dunno, I may have made half of that up, but it’s something like that. And I feel like I had my own personal Christmas story a little over two years ago when God interjected himself into my story to save my life – again. And I was no picnic to save either, believe you me. I was broken-hearted, apathetic, and on top of everything else, a complete and total asshole. You know how when lifeguards save a drowning person, the victim is supposed to relax and stop flailing so the lifeguard can do their job? I was the 300 pound man still kicking and thrashing as God was trying to bring me to shore—it wasn’t pretty.

But I was sooooo in the dark—and I want to talk about that phrase “in the dark” for a second too because I feel like, at least for me growing up in the Church, that phrase was always used to describe non-Christians or “unbelievers” with only the thinnest veiled tone of condescension. Pastors and patrons always talking about how we needed to reach those poor “lost souls” who don’t know Jesus yet, and needed to be saved. But I never really heard them talk about Christians needing to be saved, and I would argue that Christians and non-Christians alike are in need of saving ALL the time. I know plenty of non-Christians who have their shit way more together than I do, and I know plenty of Christians who need to figure it the fuck out. People, both pre- and post-salvation prayer, need help. Here I was 23, a Christian for as far back as I could remember, and I couldn’t see shit, let alone have any idea who Jesus was yet.
There’s a Mumford & Sons lyric in “Roll Away Your Stone” that goes “Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think? And yet it dominates the things I see.”
Boom.
Called out.
Roasted.
I heard that line and it hit me that “darkness” doesn’t necessarily mean evil, the way it’s often touted from the pulpit. It’s literally just the absence of light. The absence of clarity. Standing in a pitch black room that may be as familiar to you as your own bedroom, and still not being sure where the dresser is. You don’t have to be a non-Christian to find yourself in the dark. Darkness will come, I think it’s just a thing that happens. At some point you’re gonna feel lost, or mad, or confused, or maybe hate God. And having recited a prayer a week ago, a month ago, ten years ago, 50 years ago, is not going to save you from that. But it helps me to remember this story. That 2000 years ago, God interjected himself into the human story to help us out. That 2 years ago, God interjected himself into my story to help me out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating Christmas (obviously, I’ve already bought and/or constructed 5 fake Christmas trees and accumulated literal POUNDS of tinsel), but I also think it’s important to stop and think, how is God trying to interject himself into my story now? Do I feel like He is? How do I feel about the fact that I don’t think He is? I expect a written paper and thoughtful discussion next time we meet.

In the meantime, please enjoy pictures of my 5 Christmas trees and pounds of tinsel 🙂