An Open Letter to My 16-Year Old Self

16 candles

Teenage years.  UGH.  No amount of money could convince me to go back there.

Unless it was over a million dollars….. Which I would promptly invest in Yahoo.  Then go hide under a rock during highschool, become a genius, and emerge a semi-functional billionaire adult.

Let’s face it, there’s no solid ground under your feet when you’re a youngster.  Everything is shifting, constantly. Hourly, daily, weekly.  Friend groups, facial acne patterns, curfew rules, personality traits, and just about everything is a fluid concept at that time in your life.

7 things I would say to my former-awkward self:

1. NOBODY. FREAKIN. CARES.  They’re not looking at you.  They’re not counting the pimples on your face.  They’re just counting their own in the mirror, worried about what everyone else is thinking.  They are, however, gauging a general vibe of confidence.  If they sense a crack, they’re going in for the kill to divert the attention from their own pizza-face.

2.  SHUT YOUR MOUTH.  You don’t know anything.  You hear me?  A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  Sorry, but it’s true.  You have guts for days, kid, I’ll give you that, but you don’t know squat about yourself, people, or the relationship between the two.  That’ll change.  Just shut up and listen for… about 5-10 years.

3.  SMILE.  People pay attention to people who smile.  It’s the single most easy way to get noticed, in a good way.

4.  READ YOUR BIBLE.  In order to get to know God better, you must spend time with Him.  There are only 2 ways of doing that.  Prayer is the easiest.  So sit down, and build a habit of uncovering all that He gave us through His Word.  It will never return void.

5. THAT BOY, HE DOESN’T REALLY LOVE YOU. But your Creator does, and He, in fact, invented everything about you that’s cool to begin with.  Don’t waste all that you’ve been given on Captain Cool-Car.

6. SCHOOL IS IMPORTANT.  The purpose of homework is not so much to teach you something specific that you’ll use daily in adult life, but it’s teaching you how to LEARN.  How to absorb information.  And it’s building discipline that you will most certainly need in any area of life.

7. CALM DOWN.  When you’re little, (and I don’t mean just in stature, but also in maturity,) you’re closer to the ground, so small things seem big.  Huge, even.  GINORMOUS!  Don’t freak out.  It’s only huge to you, AND remember that everything is changing hourly anyway, so just wait. It’ll go away. And if it doesn’t, wait another hour.

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Large-chested Woman

Large bra

I am well endowed.  Have been since I first sprouted in middle school.  When my mom took me to get my first bra, my Dad joked that we were going to buy an “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.”  He didn’t know the unfortunate truth of that statement that was to come.

I get that women everywhere want large breasts.  Actually, I take that back.  Women don’t REEEEALLY want large breasts.  They think they do.  Because somewhere, some guy told them bigger was better.  Or they heard it on TV.  Or a movie.  They read it in a magazine.  They think they want to be big because it results in more attention, desire, and ultimately, approval, love and acceptance.

I’m not exactly a fan of my D-cups.  They’re not horrible, but they are just…. way too big.  They make my back hurt, they get in the way of just about everything from playing guitar to scrubbing the shower, and they nearly give me a concussion every time I go jogging.  It amuses me to no end how women assume that I love them, and that if they had them, they would love them too.

But you know what happens when  you assume.

It makes an ASS out of U and ME.

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Large-Chested Woman:

1.  “They’re just…..so….BIG.”  If she loves them, well then, you’re single-handedly helping to fuel this cultural lie that highly-sexualized bodies are the only way to get noticed.  Surely, there’s something else you could compliment her on?  And if she doesn’t love them, well, then you’ve just pointed out the pimple.

2. “Oh, stop it, you could totally go bra-less.”  Umm, HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?  No.  Bra-less isn’t an option, but thanks for not taking me at my word, and reminding me that I’m doomed to live in a “chestity belt” for ever and ever.

3. “Can I feel them?”  Man or woman, this is never appropriate.  I don’t care if we’re best friends.  They’re mine.  And my husband’s.  And he doesn’t like when other people use his toys.

4. “Bend…….AND SNAP!”  This kind of vulgar behavior repulses me.  Especially when you consider the fact that I spend more time playing them down than I do buying shoes.

5. “My boobs are so small!”  I would gladly switch with you, if I could.  So thanks.  For that.  Can we talk about your awesome cheek bones too?  And then bond over a mani-pedi?

 

 

 

 

WORDS – Writer’s Block edition

Writer's block

Insomnia.

Must create.

Out of bed.

Shower.

Coffee shop.

Computer.

Ready to type.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Something?

Nothing.

Nothing.

Squirrel!

Nothing.

Nothing.

Coffee.

Still nothing.

Something!

Finally.

Re-word.

Hmmm…

Dissatisfaction.

Delete, delete, delete.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Phone call.

Check Facebook.

Still nothing.

Read interesting blog post.

Hmm, good idea.

Already taken.

Bummer.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Check Twitter.

Text message.

Still nothing.

Loud woman enters coffee shop.

Inspiration!

Type, type, type.

Copy.

Paste.

Hmmmm…

Delete, delete, delete.

Read old blog posts.

Terribly amusing.

Chuckle out loud.

People staring.

Still nothing.
Be here all week

PUBLIC DISPLAY OF PROTECTION

“Will that be all, hon?”

Trying to blend into the floor, I hung my head and mumbled a response.

“Mmm hmm.”

The cashier grabbed the box of condoms like it was nothing more than your average gallon of milk.  But to me, she might as well have been spelling my name out with fireworks. “SHE’S BUYING CONDOMS.”

Condoms

Oooh nooo, I realized.  Wrong size.  Having just become sexually active, (with the man who would later become my husband) I didn’t know the rules.  Will he be offended if I get the wrong kind?  I’d heard that guys were very concerned with size, and I didn’t want to unwittingly emasculate my new (and inaugural) boyfriend by getting something too small.

“Um, I’m sorry, I think I got the wrong ones.”

“Oh yeah, which ones do you need?”

“Probably something a little…er, bigger.”  I couldn’t believe I was saying this.

“No problem, Al will grab them for ya.”  She swiftly fetched the walkie-talkie from her belt and barked the order.  Her deep southern drawl formed a chorus with the other walkies in the building and echoed off of every surface.  “AAAAL!!  This here young lady needs help with the CONDOMS!  Can you grab a couple boxes of larger sizes and bring them to register 2?”

Thanks.  I’m never shopping here again.  EVER.

I paid for the contraband and left the store, feeling a whole new wave of conviction about what I was about to do.  Sex with someone who I wasn’t married to was wrong, I knew it and believed it.  But it wasn’t enough of a reason to stop me, at that time in my life.  I spoke fluent “Christianese” but had not pursued a relationship with the Father.

Two years later, both my boyfriend and I began to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We became convicted about our sexual activity, and became celibate during our 9-month engagement.  (Hardest thing I’ve ever done, AFTER having given this man my virginity.  But the Lord was faithful and we made it to our wedding night.)

A few weeks before the wedding, we were at the apartment that we would later share, setting up some things.  My fiance had moved in by himself a month earlier.  There was a knock on the door, and a package delivered to the doorstep.

It was addressed to him, but without thinking I sliced through the tape and pried open the cardboard flaps.  Inside the box were several other containers, about shoe-box size.  I opened one.

CONDOMS.  Hundreds of them.  More than I had ever seen in my life.  I was mortified.

My soon-to-be husband came around the corner from the bedroom and saw me, stunned, with a handful of rubber.

“Oh.”  He stammered.  “I ordered some condoms online.”

“Some?”

“Yeah.  Well, we don’t want to run out!”

“No, I guess we don’t.”

“And you know, it’s always so embarrassing when you buy them at the drugstore.”

THIS MAN.  He’s a keeper, I thought.

We had condoms coming out of our…. cabinet for years.  YEARS.  By the time we wanted to discontinue use of contraceptives, we still had two boxes left.

It was around then, our second Christmas as a married couple, that we received the invitation to our friends’ house for a “Dirty Santa” party.  It was the perfect setup.

I carefully wrapped the box of raincoats, topped it with a bow, and we left for the party.  The hosts of the shin-dig were our friends from church, who were only a few years older than us, but had 6 kids.

I placed the present under the tree.

Half-way through appetizers, I panicked.  My husband saw the look of trepidation, followed me to the Christmas tree, and caught me red-handed trying to remove the gift from beneath its branches.

“Leave it!  It’s going to be hilarious.”

I wasn’t convinced, but he assured me he would take the blame if the prank fell flat.

Presents were opened, and one “steal” was allowed.  Number 9 was called, and our box, with a big “nine” written on the top, was selected and presented to its new owner.  The only teenager at the party, whose mother was in the home group with the large family.  I nearly died as the 16-year old boy ripped the wrapping paper, and lifted the lid of the box.

Those darn fireworks seemed to go off again.  “THEY BROUGHT THE GINORMOUS BOX OF CONDOMS!”

A few people laughed awkwardly, but the real punchline was about to land.  The man of the house and father of 6, drew the number 10.  Instead of choosing a new gift from under the tree, he marched decidedly over to the teen, glaring, and snatched the box from the boy’s fingers.

The entire party erupted in laughter, as the irony of the decision sank in.

As I caught my husband’s eye, we smiled at each other.

“Public display of protection,” I whispered.

 

 

How to get accepted into Black culture

White among Black

I am white.  I live in a very white part of town, (Mid-sizedtown, USA) go to a very white church, and hang out with mostly white people. Being white is okay, but it’s a little…vanilla for me. Had I gotten to choose the culture from which I sprouted, it would hands down be African-American.

Now let’s get one thing straight right here, I am NOT racist.  It seems as though that term is launched at every other person who acknowledges that there’s a difference between being Caucasian and being Black.  I, in no way, mean any disrespect, I just don’t see the point in trying to argue that we’re all the same.  Yes, we’re all of equal value, but WE’RE NOT ALL THE SAME.  And that’s totally awesome! We must acknowledge that this world of ours is made up of a vast array of experiences, skin types, languages, hair colors, and cultural background, and there’s so much to be learned from people who had a different upbringing from ourselves.  How to fry chicken, for instance.  Among other things.

Even though I’m white (on the outside), I have lately been paying more attention to who I am on the inside: BLACK.  I’m not a buxom, middle-aged Black woman, with spiral-curly hair, who waves her index finger, arches her eyebrow, and purses her lips when she talks.  I am the tall, slender, fashionable black woman, who never wears animal prints. My kinky curls are under control.  I’m loud and boisterous only when the situation calls for it, and can manifest the appropriate amount of attitude when people need a good verbal slap across the face.

The problem?  I’m not black.  But I’ve been trying a few ways to get accepted into Black culture, and I’ve hit on some foolproof actions.  Follow these 6 steps, and you’ll be guaranteed a spot in the club.  And in this club, somebody always getting krunk.

1. DON’T ASK PERMISSION.  If you ask for permission to join the group, the answer will most likely be no.  But if you assume that you’re “one of them,” no one will ask questions.  (This usually goes for most social groups in any setting.)  Let’s say you’re at a crowded restaurant at lunch time, and all the tables are taken, except for one large “communal” style table, almost-full of African-American women.  Don’t ask “do you mind if I sit here?”  Walk right up, pretend you’ve been friends with these ladies forever, and say “you girls are so sweet for saving me a seat!  You be looking out for a sister, I appreciate that.”  And sit down.  Just sit down.

2. USE SLANG.  Without being over-the-top.  You gotta know what you can pull off.  For instance, some people can get away with “B!+@&, while we out hanging at AJ’s crib, she showed us her threads she be throwing down the Benjamins fo, and then that new playa of hers roll up, and give this sermon on keeping up wit’ all her bling…” Others of you, will have to make do with “girl, when we went to AJ’s house, she showed us her expensive clothes, then her boyfriend came in and complained about buying all of her nice jewelry,” with a nice “it was cray-cray” thrown in there.

3. DRESS A LITTLE ON THE WILD SIDE.  Black women are daring, in ways that us boring white girls would never have the imagination to be.  Now, you have to know how to work it no matter what you’re wearing, and don’t go too far off the deep end.  It will look as though you’re trying too hard.  Whatever you wear, you gotta throw in some attitude.

4. ALWAYS THANK THEM.  You’re out shopping, and a black woman says that she likes your purse.  Don’t just smile.  Make firm eye contact, cock your head and bit, and say “thanks girl.”  And if you want extra points, you can throw in a “you know I love me some leather/stripes/buckles/whatever.”

5. PUT “ASS” AFTER ANY WORD.  You might be offended.  But it’s true, and you know it. It works.  100% of the time. In fact, this is a great one to start with, since you don’t need no have developed any of the other aforementioned skills to pull this one off.  “My lazy-ass cat won’t even go in the litter box.”  “Her ugly-ass dress should never have left the store.”  “That hot-ass barista is looking at you.”  Even stuff white people like can have an urban flair when you throw this word in.

6.  BE LOUD, and LATE.  For those of you white folk who are a little too white, this one will be tough.  But the basic idea is that you want to speak loud enough to draw some attention to yourself.  And always run on CPT.  (For those who don’t know what that means, you’ll have to Google the Urban translation, because if you’re white, you’re not allowed to say it.)