A dear friend of mine recently celebrated his 40th year on the earth with a big, splashy birthday bash. For someone who remembers sixteen clearly that number seems huge. It hovers around the corner taunting me with the knowledge that I will eventually be that age in the next 10, 5, 4, 2 years, months, weeks, ah forget it! What difference does it make when I will get there, it just matters that I will get there too soon. My point is that as I celebrated with my friend, I looked around the club and thought to myself, damn! Where does the time go? As I rocked my thirty something year-old self to Michael Jackson, as I shimmied and shuffled to Mary J Blige, and as I attempted to keep up with the new tunes that requires a far more agile waistline than mine, I surveyed the crowd and had trouble reconciling the faces of the people I saw. The faces didn’t match the kids I knew from the playground or the smiling teenagers from the school yearbook. Who were all these old people? When did we all get grown with worry lines, kids, mortgages, Dodge Caravans and mommy style?
Don’t get me wrong, some of us had put up a ferocious fight with father time. There was evidence of the struggle being waged by the use of concealer to disguise dark circles, the use of spanxs to fight flab, and the determination to eradicate fashion faux pas with a steady diet of Vogue. Still time had marched on and exposed us as frauds. It showed when the music began and folks launched into the Cabbage Patch followed by the Running Man. It showed when some of us started to Bogle with a hint of Dutty Wine. It was evident when the livelier of us attempted to form what was slightly reminiscent of a Soul Train line. Many who had long ago given into laugh lines didn’t even attempt to shake their groove thing. Instead they sat in dark corners and tapped their feet to what they could catch of the beat.
It didn’t help my aging spirit that a young relative I dragged to the party with me, laughed as I attempted to Get Down On It with Kool & the Gang. Repeatedly through the night, she reminded me kindly that I looked GREAT and I only looked a little tired around the eyes. Gee, thanks. With all sincerity she said, it’s inevitable that as you get older you lose all your swag. I don’t know if I agree.
Like the celebrities that fight time with Botox, face lifts, crop tops and miniskirts in winter, should we refuse to give into time? Should we fight getting older or just throw in the towel? Do we rage against the dying of the light to quote my boy Dylan Thomas? Or do we hold on to our youthfulness and sexiness with both feet and hands? Is being an Old Ass an eventuality or are we as Old as we choose?
Tags: Aging, Bithdays, old school, Self-Confidence, Style
Fat or BabyPhat?
A few days ago on Yahoo I read that by the year 2030 more than 50% of the population will be clinically obese. Lord help us all if a Big Mac and fries becomes the meal of choice. Specifically the health of black women has been on my mind. I often wonder if women of color take their health seriously? Do we spend as much time as we should maintaining a decent body weight for our heights? As black women are we an intricate part of the obesity epidemic? Have we gone past babyphat to just plain, fat, fat?
This is relevant to me because yesterday I ate a whole box of chocolate by myself: Toffifay for those of you who are wondering about my special brand of chocolate crack. I ate it joyfully but felt awful afterwards when I thought about what damage that 600-calorie snack was going to do to my waistline and to my BMI.
I’m sorry to bring this weight issue up again as I promised my readers in a moment of weakness that I would refrain from discussing my obsession with my body and all its moving parts. But in this post it’s not my body I’m focusing on, it’s everyone else’s health.
In my upcoming book I ask the question, are black women’s weight issues the reason for their dating challenges? Some say yes. Others say no. The jury is still out.
Weigh in on the weight issue and tell me if you think that black women have moved past babyphat to something else.
Tags: black women, Diet & Exercise, Self-Confidence, Weight
Black Girl – White Face
The Super comes from a family that likes their offspring, light, bright and every shade south of being ebony. Our origins, if we traced them, come way of the mysterious Middle East. Now, although the present day generation is in every way chocolaty, there are still pockets of the family tree that long for our light-skinned past. Don’t get me wrong, the Super herself is no activist. Back in the 80′s, to my shame, my ideal man was described as, “light skinned with good hair.” Yes, I know, just slap me already. In the day, sadly my future spouse had no characteristics beyond being café au lait with abundance of non-kinky curls. As I thought about my mindset way back when, I realized that as backward as my thinking was in the time of acid wash jeans, even now people exist that haven’t evolved past the plantation. I present to the court of public opinion, exhibit A: the use and abuse of bleaching cream. Forget black don’t crack and the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice, for some, the only adage that resonates is white is right. Don’t misunderstand, I’m all for beauty enhancement products and fashion, but going from cocoa to cream, to me, is not like buying a new dress, getting a perm or going from a B cup to a D. If you’re born beige, brown or tan that’s one thing, but I’m against using bleach cream as a weapon. To my mind, there is no reason beyond self-hatred to kill, murder and annihilate all that is ebony. Pigment is not the enemy. For the millions who make hydroquinone related products the #1 seller in the beauty store, in the vast majority of the cases, the lightening of the skin detracted instead of enhanced their looks. Instead of an array of colors and complexions that make black people attractive, we have an assortment of men and women walking around looking like bottles of mustard. Unnatural hues and the telltale light face and brown hand isn’t sexy.
What’s wrong with us as black people that we deny our own flesh? We tell ourselves its fashion, style and a desire for change, but when we risk cancer and other ailments for a creamier complexion, our troubles are deeply psychological. I know the media and society has much to answer for in making us believe that black, brown and any shade of the night is unattractive. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we must love and accept what the mirror sees. Don’t fall prey to the colonialist ideology that there is no beauty in black. White-wash the mind; it is only the misconception of our true beauty that is unappealing and murky.
Black girl in white face? Is it right for women of color to bleach away their black?
Tags: black women, Bleach cream, Confidence, Race, Skin lighteners, Super-Heroes
It was dead. Lifeless. It couldn’t have survived a fall from such a height and it hadn’t. It lay there inert, crushed and broken. I looked down on its crumbled form and resisted the urge to drop to my knees and scoop its broken contents into my hands. Cupcake can you hear me? The red velvet cupcake with its butter cream icing from the hot new bakery Crumbs didn’t answer. I considered the 5 second rule of eating things off the ground and instantly realized that I had hit rock bottom. It was official. I had a problem. How could I coach and counsel women towards success when I couldn’t even master myself? I had an addiction to sugar like Eric Benet had an addiction to sex. We both needed help. The urge to eat the dusty snack from the ground was my sub-conscious crying out for help.
AA was for alcoholics. Rehab for those with an affinity for the pipe. Weight Watchers was for chubby chicks with severe addictions to tasty snacks? The latter was me. I fit the profile. I’d never met a cake, cream puff or pie I didn’t like and my obsession had finally driven me around the bend. I’d always liked dessert a little too much which guaranteed that I’d always had an intimate relationship with the white stuff, sugar that is, I’m not Charlie Sheen. If I didn’t want to be the size of Two and Half Men then I had to stop trying to commit sugar suicide. As it was my metabolism was staging a protest. My body was already making its displeasure known. In the fitness classes I took as an antidote to over-consumption, my body couldn’t keep up. In my Zumba class my feet were like lead. In kickboxing class the bag was beating the hell out of me. Two chocolate bars minus one workout didn’t compute. I was out of shape and my addiction to the sweeter side of life was to blame. No one, least of all me, wanted to see a Super hero with a pot belly. My love affair with sugary snacks had to end. I couldn’t let the cupcake beat me. My hands trembled as it grasped the mutilated body of my sweet snack that had jumped to its death to avoid me. One second. Two. Poof. The cupcake was gone. What happened? I suspect foul play.
My lips show evidence of crumbs. Did I kiss my cupcake goodbye before introducing it to the circular file-waste paper bin or did it meet with a more shameful digestible end? No one knows for sure and I’ll never tell.
Do your lips crave the taste and texture of the sweet stuff? Have you committed Sugar Suicide?
Tags: Bad Habits, black women, Diet & Exercise, Super-Heroes, Weight
I am NOT my Ass!
A reader once accused me of being vain and beauty obsessed. I argued that she was an idiot and should spend more time reading my blog before hurling knucklehead remarks. Now in retrospect I think she might have had a point. Skimming through some of my more inspirational and uplifting posts, I noticed that there was also another trend. With shame and chagrin I realized that I had written more than one post about my posterior. Did I have a fixation? Was I body dysmorphic with an unhealthy focus on the state of my behind? Forgive me readers for I have sinned. Besides being black, which in itself comes with its own beauty baggage, there are reasons for my unhealthy obsession. Follow me if you will while I endeavor to explain where my booty psychosis began.
I have what you call adequate ass. It’s an ass that has potential that’s never fully realized. I have the sway in my back that promises a fatty of Janet Jackson proportions, but instead of exploding outward in an abundance of bounce, my ass runs straight into my leg and disappears. As much as I bemoan my dimensions, I realize that it could have been a lot worse. My family tree on my father’s side boasts some unfortunate shapes. The multicultural bloodlines has blessed my female kin with overly large breasts, thick waists and bums that lay flat without a hint of curve. I escaped the horror of this silhouette through my maternal grandmother’s straight out of Africa roots. Her DNA softened the trauma that could have been my body type by downgrading the possible triple F bra size to an acceptable porn star D. It cinched in my waist moderately and gave me a bum, while not excessive, was more than adequate on anyone not black. All said, my bum had its perks. Naked, it is a mini Picasso wrapped in J brand jeans. It doesn’t dent, hang low or flop around (that will come with age). Born any place North of the mother land and I would have had a mini masterpiece on my hands.
Having said that, I would like to admit that the men in my past haven’t helped me with my pathology. Many of them expressed concern the first time they saw me from behind. Most accepted my booty on a consignment basis. They still longed for the bouncy but they made do with my lack, because as they put it, ‘I was a nice girl.’ Yeah, I had booty baggage, but just like India Arie released her insecurities when she declared I am not my hair, I am NOT my ass. Today I will declare that I have come to accept, if not adore, my booty and my body. We are cordial acquaintances working on being more. We are respectful of one another’s limitations and provide one another polite, if not excessive, praise. I no longer envy the chicks with booties big enough to write its own name in the sand. My curves and I have made peace. Readers, I can’t promise that this will be the last of my posts on the topic of my posterior but I will try to keep the madness under control. The Super still uplifts, preaches and prods women to accept themselves and be more. I’ll endeavor to spread the word and not my cheeks.
Has a hated body part made you into an obsessive freak?
Tags: Bad Habits, black women, body image, Confidence, Girl Power, Weight
Barren or Baby?
The Super has no babies, no bambinos, no chile and no children. My mama is a granny without a single grandchild to her name. When I was getting educated she rejoiced in my childlessness and would tell anyone who would listen that I was pursuing perfection and had no time for a passel load of kids. Fast forward a decade or so and now my mother would borrow, steal and beg if I would give her something— anything, brown and fat and just under 8 pounds.
The Super is not barren; kids are possible. For me the timing just hasn’t been right. Sometimes I have the penis in my life to make a baby happen and sometimes I don’t. My dilemma is that time is running out. I’m not a hundred years old, but forty, which was in the distant future, is now a few blocks down the road. It’s do or die time. I hear my biological clock ticking, banging and slamming hard against my ear. I envy men with their ancient sperm that they can take out and use at any time. Fifteen or eighty, it doesn’t matter, they are good to go. I’m jealous that they can wait forever and change their mind at the last hour. Women just don’t have that luxury. Left up to me, I would wait a few more years, travel around the world a few times, accomplish a few more things, save some more ends and then welcome a child into the world. I would make a great mother. My own mother is aces so I’ve learned from the best. I want children and not having any isn’t an option, but damn if being female isn’t somewhat inconvenient. I’m a bachelor at heart except I have lady parts. I love relationships, the kids and all that family has to offer; I just need more time.
Mother Nature is being a bitch. She’s breathing down my neck, threatening to fry my eggs into an omelet and shut down my baby maker if I don’t get to it. Boyfriend or no boyfriend, husband or no husband she could give a good god damn about my plans and my priorities. I have to close the deal sometime in the new millennium before the Mission becomes Impossible. Somewhere my baby’s daddy is walking around and a child is screaming, “Mommy” at the top of her lungs. I hear you calling little one but I’m busy rewiring my biological clock.
Are the only options Barren or Baby if you can’t stop the clock from ticking?
Tags: black superheroes, black women, Careers, children, Family, fertility, motherhood, pregnancy, Relationships
My Booty as Bait
These days eligible men are scarce and the fight to land and lock down a good man has some women going to extremes. In their pursuit of Mr. Marry Me some ladies pull out the big guns and use their booty as bait. I’m not knocking the next girl’s tactics but there is a right way to do things and then there’s just plain wrong. If you’re built like a thoroughbred with a body banging enough to inspire instant lust, I’m not saying you have to keep your best assets under wraps. Get your Serena on if you must but remember the best part of the gift is the unwrapping. If you expose all your wonders to the world what is there left to see? My young female readers are rolling their eyes as I speak. They’re envisioning me at my computer writing with a half-grown-in mustache, chin hair and a long-sleeved sweater despite the balmy seventy degrees. No, not me. The Super is all for the sexy. If our exteriors are the canvas then we should paint ourselves with beautiful strokes. That said, men are visual and upon meeting us they conduct mental mathematics about our availability based on what they see.
“Pants tight enough to restrict breathing – one date, maybe two.”
“Dress short enough to see my future – dinner consisting of some hot water and then back to my place.”
These impromptu assessments about women are usually wrong but men could care less. The judgment has already been made and they will treat us accordingly. In my teens I once wore a hip-high semi-see through shorts set. I paired my attire with knee-high boots and a black bra and panties that showed more than a few hints of skin. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: straight Ho bag who needs a citation from the fashion police. I beg your forgiveness for my fashion faux pas, but hell, it was the nineties and I was a teen. I got the attention I was seeking but it wasn’t the good kind. Instead of attracting the interest of the honest, humble and educated men I was seeking, instead every freak, sneak and player set his x-ray vision on me. Back then I thought the body was made for revealing but the attention I got was the type I didn’t need. As I walked the streets that day strange men attempted to pinch and prod me making me wonder what made them think that they had the right. Just because I was dressed like a stripper didn’t mean I was one. Hell, I had the grades to go to University. I was smart! That didn’t stop me from also being stupid beyond imagining. Wearing the shorts which the Jamaicans call Batty Riders, the Americans call Daisy Dukes or Pussy Printers for those that live anywhere past Jersey, didn’t guarantee me the man of my dreams. Instead, it attracted the dudes that were only interested in the place in my shorts that formed a V. These men admired the shape of my ass instead of the shape of my smile. They were attracted to the exterior with little to no interest in the real me. No one wants to be loved for their body parts and no one should be. I’m not opposed to the split in the dress, a low neckline or the dress that hugs the figure just right. Accentuate the positives but allow men to see beyond the V.
Finding a good man is hard. Is it now necessary to use our bodies as bait?
Tags: black women, Confidence, Girl Power, Men, Relationships, Sex, Style
I went to the gym today. Push, pull, heave, run and lift. I’m glistening and I’m hot. Muy caliente— hot. ¡Ay, caramba— hot. Missy Elliot rapping the lyrics of her song called:
Really Hot. I make temperatures rise— hot. Do you get my meaning? Make no mistake, I’m not bootylicious like Beyonce or long and leggy like Rhi. My body is beautiful because it’s bionic. If you’re old enough to remember Jamie Summers then I need not explain what bionic means. This body of mine is something better than beautiful. It’s strong and powerful and built to last. It’s the kind of body doctors admire and I don’t mean plastic surgeons. This body of mine is like an Energizer battery. It just won’t quit. Without conceit I declare that my body is perfection.
Screech. Who scratched the needle over the record and woke me up from my dream? Sh*t, is that my belly hanging slightly over my waistband? Wait! I could have sworn that my naked nipples pointed straight out and not down. Damn, doesn’t the song say pull up to my bumper baby? What if I don’t have a bumper because since birth it has been stolen by thieves? Its okay, my opinion of my body still hasn’t changed. I love everything about it and it loves me. We’ve been through a lot together my body and I. How can I not adore a body that was there when I needed it? I can’t.
I once asked a portly and very rotund friend what he liked best about his body. I fully expected him to say nothing. Instead, he professed without blinking that he liked everything. When I showed skepticism he quoted me Psalms 139 which says, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I can’t say that I immediately adopted his body beautiful campaign. When I looked into the mirror I saw plenty that I wish that I could change. Like the best plastic surgeon I would delete the slight chin, lift the boobs and actually add junk to the trunk. I would narrow the waist and add some muscle to the overall design. Masterpiece complete. I don’t own a scalpel that powerful and the last time I checked wishing on a star never accomplished anything. I never loved my body in its natural state. Then one day I got sick. I had a health scare that made me look differently on this masterpiece which is me. I decided then and there to love my body. It had survived tests of endurance that its sexier counterparts had failed. No matter the symmetry or lack thereof, when I needed it to endure, my body kicked into overdrive and saved my life. This vessel that I had hated since the third grade was the most wonderfully designed body that God had ever made. It was stunning. So I urge all women who hate their bodies to love the skin they’re in. Stay lean, eat your vegetables, exercise and make the body you have a fat burning and disease fighting machine. Few of us are born Halle Berry with a body designed to make men salivate. But your body is amazing in any form. Love it and it will love you back.
When was the last time you looked at your body with lust?
Tags: Diet & Exercise, Personal Power, Self-Confidence, Weight
Recently someone called me fat – to my face – out loud. They basically called me a pig, an oink away from being bacon. I wish I could tell you it was some deranged kid with Tourette’s; it wasn’t. Supposedly I gave offense and as punishment I was on the receiving end of words like a whip’s lash on wet skin. I used all my super powers to shield my self-esteem but my mind set the moment to record and has been pressing rewind. That’s the power of words, they reverberate.
The Super has never been tiny. Like most women I have weight issues. Was that why someone with no noticeable body fat chose that particular insult against me? Did they mean to inflict pain or were they just meaningless words said in a single moment of cruelty. I can’t decide. So instead I turn my attention to the words themselves and analyze them for truth. Am I fat ass? If you asked me I’d admit to being P.H.A.T (pretty, hot and tempting), but now I have to reassess. Truth be told, I’m meaty, strong and thick. If I was a biscuit I would be buttery with barely a hint of lard. I’m smaller than the average American woman and a few inches taller. I’m a bit of an amazon just a few muscles short of being Serena. But I digress. The question I guess is not really if being twelve pounds over my BMI makes me obese, but whether I dismiss words hurled in heat. Tell me people, despite provocation, real or imagined, is any insult acceptable when thrown with force? Tell me what you think?
Tags: Diet & Exercise, Friendship, Self-Confidence, Weight