Cogitation: A Quarter Century

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Tomorrow is my 25th birthday, which I really can’t believe. It seems like it came so quickly but then not so quickly at all. I love getting older, I know that’s rare, my friends think I’m crazy. I just feel like the older I get, the more I learn about life and I love that, every year has brought me new lessons. Also, I really can’t wait to have a full head of gray hair and have grandkids that call me MeeMaw, so every birthday gets me closer to that, hahaha. Don’t get me wrong, I love being young but I can definitely see the good in getting older.

So let’s do a lil recap of 24 and a little goal setting for 25!

In My 24th Year:

  • I traveled to California for the first time (and I got to go twice!)
  • Me and my boyfriend, went on our first big trip together to Miami
  • I learned that saying no and having boundaries really are the key to maintaining my sanity
  • I learned that sometimes friendships change and that’s okay
  • I learned that I cannot let other people’s issues stress me out, especially when the person experiencing the problem isn’t stressed
  • I learned that my employers really value my work
  • I started wearing crop tops which was kind of a big deal for me
  • I started dreadlocks and have been loving them ever since
  • I.went.skydiving!! nuff said

…and much more

In My 25th Year:

  • I want to save enough money to travel to Kenya for the first time
  • I want to buy a new car (not a new new car, but a new-to-me car)
  • I want to make some progress on starting an organization
  • I want to increase my entrepreneurial confidence
  • I want to do more community service
  • I want to save more money
  • I think I want to get a tattoo
  • I want to spend more time doing art

…and much more!!

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Inspiration: “Proper” Use of Language

I came across this wonderful video on my Facebook feed and I couldn’t help but share it. I used to be a stickler for “proper” English, correcting my friends and peers whenever I had the chance and I really couldn’t see anything wrong with what I was doing. It wasn’t until I read A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid in college that I realized that the notion of “proper” English is oppressive and not very open-minded. It suggests that there is only one “correct” way to speak English when, in fact, all of the dialects of English (and any other language) are beautiful and valid and deserve to be honored. Needless to say, I am not the language critic that I once was and this poet really illustrates beautifully why it’s important for us to challenge our notions of how language should be.

Styleation: Tricky Blues

I love these pants but it has been hard for me to style them because they are so patterned. Same with the shoes, I love them because they are brightly colored but I must admit styling a half orange and half blue shoe has been difficult. I have tried each of these items with a couple different combinations but this one has been my favorite so far!

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Creation: DIYs I Want To Try

I have a million things pinned on Pinterest that I love but I never get around to making. I also have a million arts & crafts materials in my apartment that I never get around to using. I know, it’s bad. I figure that maybe I will actually get on top of making some of these things if I write a blog post about it. That’s how all important things get done, right?

So here it goes, a list of DIYs I want to try:

1) A quote pocket

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2) A polymer clay disk necklace

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3) An Alex and Ani-like colorful bracelet (I want a real one so bad but alas, I’m too broke)

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4) A cute/weird piece of animal art for the living room

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Cogitation: Real Blogger Beauty

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I found out about the #RealBloggerBeauty campaign through the Kinks Are The New Pink blog that I follow. I think it is such an amazing thing so I wanted to be a part of it.

I started this blog for several reasons; 1) because I have been a blog reader and admirer for some time now, 2) I wanted a way to chronicle my thoughts and hobbies 3) I wanted to push myself to be more open. I can be a very closed person and it is hard for me to let even my close friends in. I like that a blog allows me to share what I want but honestly it can easily become something to hide behind. I am new to the blogging game and I know I have a ton of growing left to do but I want this blog to feel like a true reflection of myself and not something generic or manufactured.

So my #RealBloggerBeauty thing is: I am scared to tell other people about my blog. I am terrible at self promotion and even though I think my blog is nice, I am very nervous that other people won’t feel the same way. I am concerned about being judged or not being as good as other bloggers. I don’t really know when/how I will overcome this, but I have slowly been telling more people about it and this post is also giving me a release.

So there it is, I am really glad that there are positive things like this campaign going on in the world!

Cogitation: On Being Biracial

I am biracial. My mom is White American and my dad is Black Kenyan. I am African-American in the most technical sense. Being biracial is one of the most important part of my identity. In my experience, it’s hard for people to understand the biracial experience or how I can identify with two different racial/cultural groups at the same time. This piece is amazing and really puts into words a lot of what I’ve experienced as a biracial woman. This quote, in particular really spoke to me:

“And the biracial experience? Can’t say I understand that entirely, either. Depends on what we look like, on what we’re mixed with, on how we identify. I love this aspect of being biracial, but it’s also what makes it alienating… Biracial people are largely invisible as a group; we get tossed into whatever category we resemble most. We’re expected to choose black or white (or Indian, or Chinese, or whatever traits dominate). But lots of us don’t want to quietly “Circle One.” Some things aren’t black or white. Like human beings.

I don’t know the black experience, and I don’t know the white one either.All I know is my own biracial experience, which looks like this: it’s strangers addressing you in Greek instead of English because your name is Greek and what else would you be? (I know two words of Greek.) It’s telling a new acquaintance you’re biracial, then furnishing a photo of your family when she insists that you’re lying. You have to do this, though, show her a picture — because you might be the one person who can change her mind about what blackness looks like. It’s census reports that won’t acknowledge you, and a white friend screaming the n-word through his open window because someone cut him off in traffic. It’s that same friend turning around to say, “Oh. Sorry,” as though the problem is that you’re in the car, not his own racist inclination toward someone he’s never met.

…It’s befriending someone great and immediately wondering if her mom, or brother, or grandparents will say something offensive in front of you because why would you care, you’re white, right? It’s segregated proms in 2013, sobbing over segregated proms in 2013. It’s mainstream Hollywood ignoring interracial relationships, even though one in ten Americans is in one. It’s Cheerios commercials and YouTube comments and knowing that somewhere, a total stranger has called your ‘kind’ “unnatural” or worse, just because your parents’ skin tones don’t match up. Who cares if they love each other? It’s knowing your parents’ new home state — Florida — will protect you before it protects your mother. It’s witnessing one of the most exciting conversations about race since the civil rights movement, and wondering whether you’re the white voice that should shut up and listen, or the black voice that should speak out, or the mixed voice that should ???. It’s the feeling that you belong nowhere, and not knowing what to do about that, and not knowing who to ask.

And it’s coming out. It’s coming out to strangers, and friends, and lovers on the off chance that you might convince them that race isn’t one size fits all. It’s coming out to see the look on some bigot’s face when he realizes his idea of white is wrong. It’s coming out so that interracial couples don’t have to fear the America their future children will grow up in. Looking like a white woman comes with white privilege, but it also comes with the responsibility of making myself known, of changing minds. I’m treated the way all black Americans deserve to be treated, and it’s only because my dad’s genes won a round of tug-of-war with my mom’s. My skin color is just a small joke that racists—career or casual—aren’t in on.

So I come out. Again and again and again. My appearance can’t do the talking, but I sure as hell can.”

Cogitation: Books I’ve Been Reading

One of my goals this year was to read at least one book per month this year
and
it’s June and I’m on my 6th book
so
I am doing pretty well so far
and here’s my take on the ones I’ve finished

1) And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Husseini: Seriously, this book is SO good. I mean the way the author weaves the story lines is so beautiful and remarkable. I honestly couldn’t put it down and I haven’t felt like that about a book in a long time.

2) I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai: First, let me say that Malala is an amazingly brave young woman and she’s such an inspiration. I didn’t love the way the book was written, it felt a little forced to me however I am totally inspired by Malala’s story and it gave me a different perspective on the US’s relations with the Middle East.

3) A Man Named Dave by Dave Pelzer: I read this book because I wanted to know what became of the little boy from a Child Called It. I must say, this book was not my favorite. It didn’t feel very genuine to me but I do think it’s amazing what the author has endured.

4) Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Dandicat: Loved it! Edwidge Dandicat is such a greta writer that I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. It was a quick refreshing read and I would totally recommend it.

5) Salvation: Black People and Love by bell hooks: I am not even sure I can put into words what I feel about this book. It is one of the most eye-opening and perspective-shifting books that I have ever read. It made me think about so many things in new ways. If I were to go through and highlight the “Aha!” moments and quote-able lines, I would have highlighted almost the whole thing. I rarely buy books but I am definitely buying this one.