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Too Fat to Fit September 30, 2010

Filed under: Beauty/Health,Personal Improvement,Women's Issues — thesupersistah @ 5:00 pm
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If you’ve ever ridden the New York City subway then you know that it can be a tense trip. Living in the most aggressive city in the world means that you have to be on guard from those grumpy commuters with that, “step on my toes and I will shank you attitudes.”  Not only do you have to navigate the piranha invested waters of your work environment filled with social climbers, back stabbers and brown nosers, but if you’ve survived the day you can’t relax until you’ve crossed the threshold of your apartment doors.  You look at the ride home as the last stop on a treacherous and slightly dangerous ride.  If you can get into the train without getting crushed, cursed out or pan-handled then you count yourself lucky.  If you can get the most precious and illusive thing of all, a seat on the train, then that is like offering a commuter a gift straight from the pearly  gates of heaven.       

I was lucky just recently. I dipped past the dude with the briefcase, ducked around the lady with the three-inch heels and sprinted past the student with the ten-ton backpack. I plopped down into the seat and was so happy I could practically hear crowds cheering in my head.  Not having to stand for just under an hour on my ride home was God’s payback for something good I must have done.  It was a tight fit but I had just enough space to squeeze myself in between an exhausted single mother and a half asleep businessman whose bobbing head threatened to drop into my lap.  Napping while keeping the valuables in my purse was my next objective when right before my eyes closed, my eyes caught the gazes of women on the verge of sliding down the subway doors from exhaustion and fatigue.  Some held themselves upright by force of will and others did the, I’m tired and my shoes are too tight shuffle.  As I looked around there was an anomaly in the train that day –more than one empty seat!  The women ignored this golden opportunity and remained standing. Was it Armageddon and they were preparing to run?  My brow knitted in confusion and then I recognized the problem: ‘they were too fat to fit.’   These women who had in their possession what rappers everywhere call a phat ass, couldn’t sit because they had a little too much baby phat.  Although having a behind is now considered an asset, in this instance, having too much junk in the trunk was not a positive accessory.   Having eaten one cheeseburger too many in my day and by no means a small woman, I felt for these women who had to forgo personal comfort because they were terrified of the grumbling and silent cursing that would ensue if they attempted to squeeze themselves into a seat made for one with a body that had expanded to the size of two.  It must have been humiliating and troubling to be limited and trapped by their proportions.      

The situation was not unique.  Society is now making us pay the price of overindulging.  Being big means double fares on the airport, trains and vacation buses.  It means being constantly aware of oneself in a society that has no compassion for the excessively large. Big is beautiful but when you can no longer fit into standard seating is that an indication that we have taken the ideology too far? Where do you weigh in on the subject?        

Too Fat to fit?

 

Faded Beauty September 15, 2010

Filed under: Beauty/Health,Love-Relationships,Women's Issues — thesupersistah @ 12:03 am
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Today I woke up and I had more grey hair than I could count; at least ten strands more than just last year. To make it worse, the hair ruining by jet black coif was growing in grey and not the fashionable silver of rich older women. I grabbed the tweezers and started yanking. I was way too young to wake up with hair like a mop. It was depressing.  As I was feeling sorry for myself, I noticed that all the frowning was making a line down the center of my forehead. The same line that I discovered five years ago that came and went with my emotions but now looked like it was settling in for a good long stay.  I used my fingertips to manipulate the skin to ease the line from between my brows but to no avail.  I was getting old.    

I had a good run. For years I’d been mistaken for five, sometimes eight, years younger than I was, but old man age had caught up with me.  No amount of creams, products, lotions or elixirs could help me now. I’d moved from being Miss to Ma’am.  When had that happened?  What did I have to look forward to in old age besides little boys kicking away my walker or nylon socks dropping around spongy ankles? Was it me or was my waist heading East and West in opposite directions?  In mild panic and desperation, I recruited my sister to investigate the truth behind my deteriorating looks.  

“Look there,” I told her. “Do you see the wrinkles and puffy dark circles under my eyes?”  

She studied my face obediently without a hint of impatience. “Nope, don’t see anything.”  

 I let out a breath of frustration and disbelief.  

 “There, there!” I told her pointing. “You aren’t looking. There’s the grey hair and this is where I’m developing a bit of a jowl and a double chin.  You’re not blind.  You must see!”  

Being in her twenties she didn’t understand my distress and urgency. “Nah, you look the same to me.” She said shrugging.   

I decided she was useless. She was obviously trying to spare my feelings.  I should’ve appreciated her sensitivity but her deception just made me want to pull her hair.  Instead I began to keep a vigilant watch over my looks but just like Wall Street, they were going down.  It sent me into a decline until one day I remembered something important.   

I ran across the picture of my childhood friend who’d died in her twenties. I remembered all the wrinkles and greys that she would miss.  I remembered all the birthdays she would never get to attend. I remembered how her mother would grow old without her love and care.  I remembered these things and tears came to my eyes.  I was blessed to wake up every day and breathe the morning’s air.  I was blessed to have the love of my friends and family.  I was fortunate that any mistakes I’d made or any relationships I had to mend, I still had the time to make the repairs.    

If I had to give up the preserved perfection of youth for the opportunity to grow old, wrinkly and round surrounded by family, then I decided that if beauty was the only sacrifice, it was a fair trade.   

Here's to Birthday's!

 

 

Work Hard for the Money September 9, 2010

I prayed for a job. Went down on bended knee and asked God to rescue me from unemployment. After months of hitting the pavement and watching my bank account dwindle to nothing, my prayers were answered.  The negative balance in the bank account turned towards the positive. All was well in the world or was it? Why is it that when we get what we ask for we want something else? As I sat in my cubicle contemplating the universe instead of doing the piles of work on my desk, I asked myself what I really wanted. I thought I wanted money. (I do, there is never enough of it.)  I thought I wanted professional accolades. (I do, one can never be too successful.) I thought I wanted the corner office. (I do, one can hardly write blogs in full view of everyone.)  I asked myself what I really wanted and the answer came to me.  It didn’t come to me as much as it settled over me. The answer in fact had never changed.  I wanted freedom. Not the kind of freedom that everyone hopes for which is the one where you tell your boss to kiss your ass and gallop off into the sunset on a horse that you can’t ride properly. No, what I wanted was to get paid to do what I did best: writing.  I knew this because in my spare time I looked up writing conferences and searched out deals on writing magazine subscriptions. I wrote stories on things that interested me all while claiming I wanted to be a business professional.

When I visualized my life I pictured myself with my laptop in my hand flitting from place to place soaking up inspiration and sunrays.  I didn’t see myself in the too tight business suit with the spiked heels.  I didn’t see myself with the two car garage with an apron strapped around my back. I didn’t see myself directing the meeting in a boardroom full of people. What I sought was the satisfaction that comes with doing what I was ordained to do. The sense of peace that comes when you feel like you have purpose.  Ninety-five percent of the population doesn’t do what they love. I don’t want to be in that category. Most of the time people are trapped by their feelings of helplessness and their fear of the risk involved in trying to live out their dreams. Usually the dreams require sacrifice and most of us have grown unaccustomed to living on more than wishes and Ramen noodle. The pursuit of happiness usually comes at a cost and for many the cost is too high.

How do you identify whether you are doing what you love or what pays the bills? Just ask yourself a series of simple questions: what do you dream about doing when no one is looking?  What sites do you frequent on your spare time? What would you do if you didn’t have other responsibilities?  If the answer is other than what you’re doing currently then you’re in the wrong profession.  In the masterful quote from my boy Brad Pitt as the movie character, Benjamin Button, he says that it’s never too late to be who you want to be. I remember this and keep the quote close to me when I find myself settling into the ninety-five percent who like the song from Donna Summers, only works hard for the money.

It's never too late!

 

Old Me New You – Letter to a Friend September 2, 2010

Filed under: Love-Relationships,Women's Issues — thesupersistah @ 11:09 am
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I thought I saw you yesterday, in the distance, far away, and barely visible on the horizon.  Not the You I speak to daily about everything and anything as long as it’s inconsequential and surface. The You I saw was the Old You that used to cry real tears but used to smile real smiles, with teeth, tonsils and mouth open to the world. I wanted to say hello but you seemed so foreign, different and untouchable so I let you pass by. You probably wouldn’t have recognized me anyway. I’ve changed and grown and life has altered me since we last met. Life has stolen things that can’t be returned, built things that can’t be broken and planted things in my heart that grow like trees with far-reaching branches. Everything is different. But maybe you would have known me by the look in my eyes, the eyes that make audible communication between us unnecessary.  We abandoned words years ago when our conversations became telepathic. Where’s my friend? She still dreamed, still wanted things and still made life rush in and claim her even when it brought her to her knees. That girl banished words like, I can’t, it’s impossible or words used to convey fear in the form of thinly veiled excuses meant to confound.  You didn’t like that girl. She was unruly, unstable and unpredictable. She hurt too much, felt too deeply and got you into trouble. The minute you could escape her you dove a dagger into her heart and fled never looking back to see if she was still breathing. You surrendered to the placid and the peaceful and gave up the turbulence of activity for the calm quiet of doing nothing.

You were too hasty; you didn’t see what I saw. The girl you tried to assassinate was courageous, brave and had heart so big that love couldn’t be contained so it flowed over and swept things out of its path. It was the destruction of excess wrapped in silken threads of fearlessness that made her indomitable. She was a force. That girl’s gone now.  She’s slipping away and moving further and further away from my reach.  I miss her. I hope you do too. I want to resuscitate her and lure her back to your side and coax her to stay with the promise that you won’t harm her. If I succeed will she be a stranger to me as much as she is to you? Will she recognize me? I fear that she won’t. I confess that I’m no longer what I once was either. I’ve changed but I want to reconcile.

I have a plan. When I bring the girl in the distance to meet you, I want her to do something important for me. Tell her to say hello to the Old Me that has gone missing. The Me that would have held the hands of both sides of you and forced the two to meet. The Me that would have risked your recriminations, anger and upsets for the sake of doing what was right. She would have told you not to be afraid and promised to save you even against your will. I’ve grown cowardly. The Old Me wouldn’t have watched silently as the New You disappeared and separated from yourself completely.