Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Golden Rule

I can be a bit practical. I try to live my life by rules that I came to develop as I grew up observing other people's relationships. As I'd mentioned in a previous blog, I wasn't one of the pretty girls in my clique of high school home girls. No, sadly I was the fat girl that observed from the sidelines. So while they learned by doing, I learned by watching and hearing them bitch about their problems. Its funny thinking back on it, but at the time, being the girl that men weren't checking for stung like hell. The good thing for me was that even though I wasn't dating, I had plenty of guy friends and my guy friends were kind enough to school me on the ways that men operate.

One of my guy friends was also the boyfriend of one of my best friends. He and I would sit on the phone for hours just talking about life, relationships and the whole bit. I dubbed him my play brother. And my best friend hated it. One day he and I were on the phone for nearly 3 hours. (Stupidly) I called a mutual friend of me and the girlfriend and professed to her that I'd just had an awesome conversation with this guy. In all honesty, it was all love. As I said before I "reeked of virgin" so this guy wouldn't ever put that much time into trying to get with me. But we did have a great bond. When his girl friend found out, she was LIVID. Apparently she and another friend had been on the phone trying to will him to call her (because goodness forbid she call him first) while the whole time he'd been on the phone laughing it up with me. My best friend did what any girl friend would have done and demanded that my friendship with her dude end. By that point he and I had bonded so much that I was heartbroken by the ultimatum. He suggested that we stop talking as much, but remain cool and just not let old girl know that we were still folks. She and he eventually stopped talking for one stupid reason or another and she and I are still best friends over 10 years later.

Anyway, a couple years after that, I had a boyfriend and I was on the other side of the coin. My best friend and my boyfriend became cool. Fast forward 10 years and she and he are friends, she and his baby mama (my sworn enemy- a pill popping crack whore) are best friends. Her best friend, my sworn enemy, told her that we aren't allowed to be friends. A grown ass woman stopped talking to me because her friend was jealous. When the dude I was dating and my (at the time) best friend became buddies I tried to stop it because I knew where it would lead. Jealousy, rumors, speculation, bad looks. He knew I didn't want him to be buddies with my homegirl, so he pursued it just because that's the kind of world class douche bag he is. So the more I wanted them to not be cool, the cooler they became. They are now pretty much extended family.

That and some other things I went through came to led me live my life by a very strict code: friends, my man, my family and my job are to mix in no terms. EVER. By that I mean that my family couldn't hang with my dude and become best friends with him, I'd never work with my man, my friends can't hang with my co-workers. Basically no intermingling of those 4 aspects of my life and I will die or kick ass to keep it from happening.

Don't get me wrong, one of my homegirls can come to the house and chill with me and my son's father any day. Deen once gave my homegirl $20 to pay the last bit of her rent. But if we discovered that they had mutual interests and suddenly she wanted to start hanging over to talk about comic books and the movie "Heavy Metal" I'd quickly nip that shit in the bud. I wouldn't want my sisters calling my dude to talk about their relationship problems. In high school my little sis was in middle school while trying to hang out with MY friends and that took a toll in my house and in my friendships. I was once stupid enough to work with my best friend (yet another chick- its funny how many best friends i've been through- I do have a constant set of friends though). My (former) best friend was a jealous pathelogcial liar that tried her best to get me hired on to try later to get me fired (shit got so bad, I quit). She turned my coworkers against me and to this day most of them still don't talk to me and I don't even know what lie(s) she told them to make them hate me. So because of that I don't want my man, my friends or my family up in my stuff at work.

I know some people think my golden rule is insane and/or paranoid, but I've realized that it really is best to keep everything separate. When folks start mixing things get complicated. I don't want to fall out with someone in one section and expect someone else to be brought into the middle. Loyalty is very important to me and I know how hard it is to be loyal when you've developed a bit of a connection to both parties. So the best thing to do is to make sure that no connection is ever started. Call me what you want, but I know how to keep drama to a minimum.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

there is no bad hair- please let me prove it

today was the birthday party of my little sister, karah. the birthday party was at a place called "leaping lizards" which consisted of a bunch of blow up bounce houses for children to play on. the circle that my stepmother and father run in is the uber new parents. most of them are older educated people, many of which waited until they were over 35 to have their first child. needless to say, the whole damned clique is nothing but soccer moms in mini vans. my stepmother is white, my father is black, and many of the couples in the soccer mom clique are also biracial, and some of the children are even adopted. theirs is a scene where its not hard to know who belongs where if you pay attention long enough.

today at the party, i observed two dark skinned girls that may have been about 7 or 8 years old. they seemed happy and healthy as they giggled and shared cake and pizza with one another. the one thing that struck a slight cord with me was their hair. it looked- well HIDEOUS. knowing this particular circle, i quickly deduced that the older white woman that kept coming to check on the girls was probably their adopted mother. their hair- oh the horror. one girl had a head band on, and her hair was (and i'm not exaggerating or making this up) literally one big nap. i mean seriously, her hair looked like it was all locking together. the other girl's hair was parted (badly) into six small afro poofs that were tied down with pink barrettes. and while it looked like there was at some point an attempt to style her hair, it too was long past needing some upkeep. their hair had absolutely no moisture. i knew the girls were African and their hair texture was tough, but there was no reason at all for these young girls to come out of the house with their heads uncombed for what seriously looked like a month or two.

i don't want to seem like i'm just being shallow and thinking "god they look a hot mess" because honestly, they looked clean from head to toe. they also had (what i'm assuming was) a brother with them, and he was clean and his head had a nice low, neat haircut. i tried to think of nice diplomatic ways to strike up conversation with their mother about hair conditioning products and the best kind of afro comb and hair pick to tackle their manes. i thought of the "just for me" comb in conditioner and a good afro pick and then an afro comb to completely fluff them out. the one in the head band would have had a beautiful crowning fluffed out fro and the other one could have gotten her hair into two cute afro puffs. if their mother would have even asked, i would have had no problem going over there to wash comb, and even braid their hair myself. i just found that it was so unfair for the girls to look so bad just because their mother obviously wasn't aware of how to properly care for their hair.

i've been natural for about 8 years and i remember what a challenge it was for me to learn how to care for my own hair once i'd cut the perm out. suddenly moisturizers and conditioners were so much more important. those cutesy little rat tail combs were only used for parting my hair, because they sure as hell weren't going to tackle my naps. the fact is, very few people even know how to properly care for natural black hair. and i guess that why i felt so sorry for the little girls. i wouldn't have suggested to perm their hair, but i would love to share my knowledge and experience of how to properly care for their tresses.

i asked my stepmother about the girls and she confirmed that they were adopted and that their adopted mother was a missionary that met the girls on a trip to Africa. she also said that the girls go back to Africa for a year and then come back to the states to live for a year. when i asked her the best way to approach the girls' mother about hair care, my stepmother suggested that i not. she told me that she has another friend with an adopted black child and any time anyone suggests a way to fix the child's hair she grows defensive. (WTF?!) why even adopt a child if you're not going to be willing to do everything possible to make sure they're properly groomed? anyway, i commend their adopted mother's attempt at keeping the girls close to their roots (no pun intended). but one thing i've seriously learned is that white people truly don't understand how big of a thing hair is in the black community. even on the continent of Africa, hair is decorated in elaborate and beautiful ways. to let their hair look so bad was not only an embarrassment, it could even be seen as disrespectful.

by that point, i looked around i think the girls had left with their mother already anyway. frankly, if i'd have gotten into a conversation with their mother, i don't think i could have resisted the urge to suggest dax, hair food, bonner brothers, African pride, tcb, or sta-sof-fro for the girls. my brain isn't wired to shut up when it comes time to help defenseless children. sorry, that's just how i roll.

i hope that when the girls go back to Africa, the second they step off the plane someone snatches those girls up and washes, picks, combs and braids the hell out of their heads. because they are innocent little girls and they deserve to look pretty too.