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Women Of Color – Beautiful For So Many Unrecognized Reasons

That being said, me being a creative man, I gravitate toward things that are colorful and vibrant. By colorful, I mean that literally and figuratively. Women of color just astonish me. That means, Indian, Native American, African, Latin, Arabian, Polynesian, Asian and anyone else I left out.

Why do I Love Women of Color?

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Not just because of a skin color, but because of the heritage, the culture they all come from and the history of said culture.

From the beauty and vocals of Dorothy Dandridge, to the dancing grace of Maria TallChief.  Or, we can easily tout the powerful presence of Eva Peron or Tejano vocalist Selena Quintanilla-Peréz. What about the eminence of Hatsheput or the Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement Rosa Parks? I find all of them the most attractive. Not just physically but on a much more profound level.

What About That Look?

That being said, I can’t leave out the physical aspect. The facial features, the various skin complexions, tones, contours and hair textures. Did I mention the accents? There’s nothing like a Latin woman born in the Northeastern section of the United States. Or, a woman born in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica. What about the culture and beauty of an African woman from Nigeria, Somalia or Ethiopia? The storied history behind those countries’ women and all that comes with the heritage. What about an African-American women from all-over the United States? They themselves bring a certain uniqueness that I find most sexy.

From their  level of intellect, charisma and fortitude, to their independent yet humble nature. That melanin carries historical perseverance and pride, while the tensity of their hair represents the strength of their people. How can you not find that beautiful?

 

These women are more than just a beholding of beauty to me. They are the very definition of perseverance and inner strength. Which, is so much more significant when you view women of color.  You must look beyond the surface.

Women of Color Are Profound

Think of the native African or even the African-American woman and what they or their ancestors endured and continue to encounter in today’s society. Slavery, War, Segregation, Racism, Sexism, Discrimination, Genocide are all trials embedded within their beings. When you look at a woman from these cultures, you have to see more than a face. More than pulchritude. More than sexual commodity to be had. They are the essence of overcoming an oppressive state of being.

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Photo Credit: Marc de Groot

Women of color are born into a world where they are automatically at a deficit because of their gender. Even with the feminist movement and the rapid advancement of women’s rights on the rise in the United States and other countries. Women are still at a bigger disadvantage than their male counterparts. Add to that, a lot of these women are born into cultures where they are beneath the men and have to scratch and claw their way to prominence. There’s a certain beauty in that… a certain sex appeal. And a definite strength.

 

The Deficit

In a earlier blog I spoke about, “Dating and the Plight of the Black Woman.” I highlighted the literal canyon of obstacles black women have to overcome just to be seen as intelligent, desirable and beautiful in the dating world when compared against women of other cultures. To give you a small example, I want you to do something for me:

  1. Pull up another window on your phone, tablet or laptop.
  2. Do a google search on, “beautiful women.”
  3. Click on images.

What did you see? What did you notice?

5 out of the first 100 images are of women of color. I would’ve gone farther, but I chose not too. You have already received my point. Women of color are not considered, “as-beautiful-as…” white women.  This is the deficit that women of color face. They already have to work 5 times harder just to be viewed as beautiful. Can you imagine how difficult that is, in the world of modeling and fashion alone? That is unacceptable. However, as shown above, it’s a harsh reality for women of color.

Hadley Freeman from, theguardian.com states in her article about black women and fashion…

Black models never, with single-digit exceptions in a decade, appear on the cover of major fashion magazines, because, as the black model Jourdan Dunn told the Guardian last year,“people in the industry say if you have a black face on the cover of a magazine it won’t sell.”

 

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My Final Take

That is how black beauty is viewed the world over. Vogue, Elle, GQ, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, and more… rarely place women of color, let alone black women on their covers.

I for one, believe that all women are beautiful in their own unique way. No matter how they pull up in a google search or if they regularly grace the cover of internationally syndicated fashion magazines. Women of color will always be beautiful to me, inside and out.

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Happy Birthday to My BFF!

Proverbs 18:24 (MSG)

24 Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family.

So many birthdays are happening this year! Some of my best and dearest friends are turning 40. I turned 40 earlier this year and am thankful that I get to witness their celebration as they embark on their 40’s with me.

One of these awesome people is my best friend. We met at the age of 13 and have been through hell and back. No literally. We’ve fought, stopped speaking and gone our separate ways only to find out that we are the missing links in each other’s lives. True sisterhood.

I’m not perfect and she’s not perfect, but she encourages and believes in me in spite of everything I could ever do or not do. She is my rock! She was the main supporter when I was falling out and crying over my failed marriage. She just listened, wiped my tears and loved me more. Isn’t that what friendship is about?

I always swore that if I ever became rich and/or famous that I would never change because she wouldn’t let me. She would keep me grounded and remind me about my humility. She is just that awesome. So, welcome dear friend to your 40’s!

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Visualize Love

You know what? I want to love and be in love. That was my birthday wish for 2015. It’s only two months into the new year, but it’s February and this month is about love (at least until the 14th, LOL) and I wanted to make sure that I verbalized and visualized my wish. Yep, visualized. Love hasn’t happened so I started thinking about creating a vision board for love. But, before that I needed to be specific about the kind of love I wanted. So, here goes…

I want the kind of love that leaves no doubt. You know that kind of love where he walks in the door and sees me and his face lights up because being home with me is better than being out in the world. Why? Because I provide refuge from his journey fighting all the evil forces outside of our home. The kind of good loving where we calm each other’s weary spirit just by being in the same vicinity. Where we accept that we are not perfect, but we vow that we will never demean or belittle each other. Where we won’t call each other out our names in anger and where we will always make up before we go to bed because we know that by staying angry and sleeping with it we are inviting trouble into our home and we are not having that.

I want the kind of love where my son will feel the strength of this man’s spirit and know that his mommy is in good hands because THIS MAN loves his mommy almost as much as he does and that makes him feel safe. I want the kind of love that a strong man won’t ever deny and he would tell a woman in his office or a man on the streets that no one is better for him than me. Why? Because I am the missing puzzle he’s searched his whole life to find and he knows that we just fit.

I want the kind of love where disappointments are just that. They are not preludes to bigger blow-ups or causes for domestic violence. I want a strong and healthy man who can talk and communicate his feelings to me both good and bad and know that I will always listen. Why? Because he talks to me as an equal partner and not as a last resort. I am the first person he finds when his world seems out of balance because like I said before we calm each other’s weary spirit.

I want the kind of love that will leave me breathless when I talk about the man that God has sent my way. The man who makes me smile just because he opened his eyes. The man who knows that I love him more than I could ever say and that each time I cook for him, it is because I want to and not because he expects me too.

I want the kind of love that doesn’t hurt. You know the kind of love that they talk about in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I want that old fashioned love that Frankie Beverly and Luther Vandross sang about. I want the kind of love where we know each other’s love language and we make sure that we are listening and embracing the language. I want that good ole love that won’t ever fail. That’s what kind of love I’m visualizing in 2015. But, until it comes, I will continue to love, honor and respect myself. I will strive each day to be the best person I can be until the day that God sends that verbalized and visualized kind of love my way.

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I Am My Sister’s Keeper

Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~Louisa May Alcott

I am my sister’s keeper. Not just my actual sisters (I have two), but my girlfriend’s too. I care about women and love my girlfriends immensely. They are the most powerful, inspiring, straightforward and loving women I have ever known. They listen, support, encourage and push me to keep my head up in spite of adversities. They are my support network. Better yet, they are my sistergirls!

My sistergirls have picked up my son from daycare or school when I was stuck in traffic and his dad was stuck in a meeting. They have kept my son overnight when I’ve been too tired to play mommy. They have kept my son when I have traveled out of town to their city for a date night. They have kept my son when I was an emotional wreck and had no family in sight. They have drank with me, shopped with me and gave me some of the funniest and best advice ever.

The bond between two women can be an incredible experience. You love the person and they become a beat in your heart. They don’t change your relationship with your significant other, they encourage it and remind you that no matter what…nothing will ever come between you two. They understand that you’re too busy to get together because you’re playing wifey or supermom. They cook meals when you’re sick so you can focus on getting better. They are just awesome!

Sistergirls are a requirement for any woman. You need that support. God has provided me an awesome network of women that do that for me and more. When I go to them with my “issues” they just listen and give me a non-judgmental and practical approach on how to handle things. “Whatever you want to do girl, you know I got your back” is what they say.

How encouraging is that?

Recently, I had a man tell me that he worries about me being everything to everyone. He said, “If you give of yourself tirelessly who will take care of you? What will you have left in the end?” I smiled and said, “Enough”. He looked at me puzzled. I said, “God gives me enough. Enough heart to love and strength to be the support that my sistergirls are too me. Yes it may seem like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, but the load I carry is not heavy. It is enough. I am enough and I can handle it.”

I need my sistergirls more than they need me. I’m always the one calling them with the latest and greatest thought, idea or piece that I wrote and I want their advice. They give it to me. Without hesitation. When I have a break-down and cry about a situation, they love me and support me and remind me that “God never gives you more than you can bear.” They are the ones that have encouraged my writing and they are the wind beneath my wings.

But lately, my sistergirls have been going through things that I can’t fix. Do you know how that annoys me? They make things better for me and I want to do the same for them. I know I can’t carry their burdens, but I share in their heartbreaks, disappointments and pain. I willingly love and try to inspire them with subliminal tweets, posts, texts and Instagram love. I want to be their rock because they are that to me. So, you know what? I will.

I don’t want a man telling me to not concern myself with their problems because that is not what sisterhood is about. We live, we love, we laugh and we cry. Shared joys and disappointments. If you are my man and you’re going through something, don’t you want my support? Yep! Absolutely! So, understand this…there is no greater love than sisterhood. I am my sister’s keepers.

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No Fat Chicks!

Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is put ourselves out there. You know go “all in” to show someone we are ready and willing to be available to let happiness and love come into our lives. Dating has changed dramatically since I was last single. I’ve expressed how I’ve tried the on-line dating thing and my experiences from some of the men. That being said, I wonder what would have happened if no one tried to contact me after I posted my profile? That was the case of one woman who wrote an article about her experience on XO Jane last month.

The article titled “IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Tried Online Dating And No One Even Messaged Me Back” was depressing to me. I mean her profile and picture looked nice, what was wrong with men? Why didn’t they find her attractive? The author, Patrice Bendig, was crushed that not one person messaged her back. She put herself out there and was emotionally crushed by people who never got to find out how incredible she was.

She said that her self-esteem took a hit and as a curvy girl, my heart ached for her. I think one of the hardest things women (especially curvy women) deal with is finding someone who will admit to liking a thick um and wanting to be seen in public with them. All things curvy women fear. The fear of rejection is real and I think we need to stop acting like loving and dating a curvy girl is the end of the world.

Why would it be? Just because I have a little more cushion doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in exercise or am one step away from being featured on an episode of “Obsessed: I Weigh 650 Pounds and Can’t Get Out of Bed”. Nope. Not me. I am not ashamed of my size and I don’t want a man who is ashamed to be with me. I love the shape of my hips and the curve of my thighs. The stretch marks from carrying a king. All badges of honor that I wear well while working out on the treadmill.

Curvy girls come with a certain level of confidence, but that confidence is fragile when you find yourself dating and trying to meet new people who think you need to just work out and they will help you because they are a certified personal trainer. I’m always cautious about men who approach me and say they like thick women. They find curvy girls sexy. Really? So, everyone else is below par if they are smaller? Why are you saying you are a closet chubby chaser? (May not be rational, but I’m guarded).

Even one of my favorite plus size bloggers, CeCe Olisa blogged about her experiences in an article on Refinery 29 titled “Is Online Dating Different for Plus Size Women”. CeCe said “It can feel like everyone has an amazing dating life but you, and it can feel like you only attract people who have issues or fetishes. But, someone reminded me that those things happen to girls of any size.” But, do skinny women get humiliated like a faux curvy woman did in this Tinder experiment? (In case you don’t know, Tinder is an app that matches people based on appearances).

Probably not. I mean the guys who conducted the social experiment even said that women’s biggest fears about meeting a man on line is that he is a serial killer whereas a man’s biggest fear…meeting a fat chick. Wow! Let’s sound the alarm and have a revolution against ignorance. What happened to men who appreciated beautiful women inside and out? Where did they go? Can the non-jerks who love God, their family, curvy women and are employed please stand up?

In an “Instagram I got to show you how I can twerk like Nikki Minaj and close the partition like Beyoncé age” it makes me wonder how many times curvy girls will keep getting the short end of the stick in dating? Are we resigned to believe that we have to take what we can get because they’re not a lot of options out there? What happened to getting to know me first before trying to guess my pant size?

A lot of stuff huh? Well I’m going to deal with it like my momma said, “Put your big girl panties on and formulate a plan.” My plan is simple. Keep my expectations low, my self-esteem high and have a lot of confidence to carry me through this foolishness. Rejection is a part of the process. Rejection builds character. It is in our painful experiences that we can grow and realize that we were built to last.

¡Viva la revolución mis hermanas

(Long live the revolution my sisters!)

Here’s the social experiment video:

Screaming…I’m Beautiful

I read this incredible post that talked about definitions of beauty. The article entitled “50 Reasons You Are Beautiful” was just what I needed because I was having one of those days were I felt I wasn’t beautiful. You know those days where your hair sucks, you have a breakout and you just can’t seem to get your make-up right? Well, it was driving me nuts!

I hated going to work not feeling or seeming “put together”. So, I sat there fuming and really just getting down on myself. I was having a serious problem with my own self and started feeling ugly. In my meditation moment I reflected on how wonderfully made I am and started to feel a little better, but dang, this fly away piece of hair was annoying the heck out of me.

Enter God. God talks to me in a KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) manner and I love it. He allowed me to read this posting and realize that I am beautiful. Just the way I am. Not based on my looks, but because he created me. I am screaming…I’m Beautiful and let me tell you why.

I Have an Attitude of Gratitude

I am thankful for all the blessings and disappointments that I suffer. I believe in taking the good and bad of life and knowing that I am blessed regardless. No one thing is because I am super smart, super beautiful or super successful. It’s because I have a super attitude of gratitude about who I serve. Gratitude is beautiful.

I Am a Boring Nerd

Yep, I said it. I am a boring nerd. I’ve always tried to shy away from this because I didn’t want folks to know so I would jump up at any chance to go out to a party or to the club instead of just being me. I love to sit at home reading a good book. There are many days that I don’t even turn on my television. I just appreciate the silence and focus on growing and expanding my mind. I love politics and any and all legislation that affects my job, life, or people. But guess what? Being a boring nerd is beautiful.

I Can’t Dance

Nope. I can’t. I can move with a beat, but I’m not as smooth and sophisticated as some other women you may know. I’m not that gracious on a dance floor, but that’s okay. I like to be held. I dance to my own beat and you know what? Not knowing how to dance is beautiful.

My Nose is Weird

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my nose. More hate than love, but you get the picture right? It’s a nose that doesn’t fit in anywhere in my family. It’s awkward and long and kinda round, but it doesn’t seem to go with my face. It just is there. I’m always nosing around trying to find glasses that fit my face or better yet, my nose. But you know what? Weird noses are beautiful.

I Can’t Walk in Heels

I never truly learned to walk and balance in heels so anything beyond 3 inches is asking for trouble. Unless the shoes have thick heels, are platforms, wedges or anything that stabilizes my clumsiness, I can’t do it. I’ve had to make due with cute flats that allow me to maneuver through the day, but I always hated the fact that I wasn’t coordinated enough to master walking in heels. But, you know what? Walking in flats is beautiful.

My Waist Size is in Double Digits

I posted before about how I’m learning to embrace my femininity and accept my double digit figure each day. It’s been a growing experience and I realized that no matter how much I work out, how healthy I eat and how much I want to be small (without surgery of course), I may never get there. Instead of punishing myself for my flabby tummy or the rolls on my side I just smile and blow kisses. I may never get to be a perfect size 8 and you know what? That’s okay. Why? Because the round me is just as beautiful.

There are many more things that make up the whole of me that point to my beauty both inside and out. I’m thankful for all the things I’ve experienced and I love me.  I’m going to print out this list and tape it to my mirror to remind myself of these things every day and know that I’m beautiful, simply because I’m me. And you know what? So are you.

Vacation Chronicles: Tampa

I returned from a great weekend in Tampa bonding with my best friend yesterday and I wanted to share some things that I’ve learned about me on this mini-vacation of self-reflection. As many of you know, I’m doing a lot of soul searching during this time to try and find out what my needs are and what my wants are. Apparently, they’re not the same. LOL. So, I started from the minute I got to the airport and decided to jot down a few things that I learned or rediscovered about myself.

▪ I like flying. It’s only when I am taking off and my stomach does that flip and I think “Oh God, please don’t let us crash” that I truly realize what a blessing it is to be able to fly in an airplane. The best part about flying? When your airfare cost $2.10.
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▪ I can travel with one carry-on and not the whole world. I’m trying to downsize my wardrobe when traveling and only packing the essentials. This Tampa trip allowed me the opportunity to see if I could do it. You know what? I could and I did.
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▪ I like hotel living. Even after living in a hotel earlier this year for 4 1/2 weeks, there is something sweet about not having to make my bed or pick up my towels, wash clothes, cook or clean. Yep, I’m spoiled.

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▪ I can relax. I can actually sit back, relax and have a vacation without planning out every single aspect of the trip. I am letting go of my controlling tendencies and just going with the flow. Taking the road I think I should travel. No matter the length, I’m enjoying the ride.
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▪ I love sisterhood. My best friend and I have known each other since we were 13. This was the second time that we have traveled together and the first time for us traveling by ourselves. (not counting when she visited me almost every weekend when I lived in NYC) to sort of commemorate and renew our friendship. We had a very relaxing time.
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▪ I love the beach. I love water and I love sand. I love the feel of the sun kissing my skin so gently that my skin color turns a golden brown or as my friend described “a pretty orange color”.
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▪ I love trying new drinks that I’ve never tried. Especially when they’re cheap. I am a nerd with cool tendencies and I love it. Check out this cool drink I had called the purple nerd.
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▪ I’m simple. I like good food, family and friends. I also love a good book. Finished reading the entire Divergent Series. On to the next one. I think I’m going to read Black Women in White America by Gerda Lerner next.
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▪ I’m sharing. I’ve always been very private in my writing and sharing of information about myself, ideas and family and through encouragement from my bestie, I’ve learned to open up and let people in. This blogging and writing has become real and I love when people say that they can relate. It means you get me.

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This year has been one for the books. But, my faith has been strengthened and I am taking charge of my own destiny. I am looking into my future with courage instead of despair and believing, no knowing that I will be fine.