Birthday Cake Blues
Operator: 911 what is your emergency?
Caller: My birthday cake is on fire.
Operator: Ma’am, stop calling here.
Tomorrow is my birthday. When my friends asked me how I felt about yet another year added to my age, I answered: I ain’t dead yet. I didn’t say greaatttttt, like cereal box Tony the Tiger. I didn’t happily clap my hands like an excited 10 year old. I didn’t answer with anything resembling enthusiasm. I wasn’t a toddler with a cake adorned with 2 little twinkling lights signaling a life that is fresh and new. Lighting my candles was borderline arson that threatened to burn my house down around my ears. With my luck the fire department would send Fire Marshall Bill to extinguish the blaze. Yeehaa, it’s my birthday. (Mouth formed in a hard line of sarcasm)
Apparently, I’m far from ecstatic. What is the source of this discontent you’re wondering? For people in hospital rooms fighting for life and breath, my attitude is borderline sacrilege. I have my health, a career and people who love me, what in God’s name did I have to complain about? What was with the discontent? Why was I both pouty and perturbed? I didn’t want to celebrate. Like Valentine’s Day for girls who are perpetually single, I just wanted it to be over. Be gone, Birthday! Be gone!
What was at the heart of this gloom that had fallen over my head and left my spirits in eternal mist? I investigated the source and the answer was right there. I didn’t feel like I had everything. Sure I had a book, a career and friends. But where the heck was the white picket fence; the impossibly tall husband with the broad chest? Where was the house full of kids that all looked curiously like the Jacksons? Janet, baby, go back to sleep, mama will be there soon. I wanted it all, deserved it all and boy was I tired of waiting. In a fit of pique I fired off an emotional text to The Most High.
From: the Super Sistah
To: The Lord – Almighty
Subject: It’s my Birthday – WHAT THE HELL!
I hope this text finds you well. That’s it for small talk! Yesterday, last year, five years ago and when I was sixteen, I prayed and asked you to send me a family. Where they at, Lord! Where? I’m tired of waiting. You are supposed to be the almighty, right? Grab some clay and build me something. Trust in me? I’ve been done trusting. I’m tired and I’m fed up. Why you keep sending me these knuckleheads with issues, father? If we attract what we are, what you trying to say, Lord? I know I ain’t crazy.
Look up Stephanie in the dictionary and under my pic it says, she who is anointed and blessed. So stop playing. I’m your daughter and I’m sick and tired of these antics.
Real talk? I’m giving you another year, two tops, and then I might have to build some things my own damn self. Yes, I ‘m blaspheming. SO what!
Don’t respond, G.O.D. It’s my birthday. I gotta go and cry into my cake so I can extinguish the candles.
Peace out, Jehovah, Prince of Peace. AKA – Lil’ Dove.
Signed, the Super Sistah
BTW – I ain’t dead yet. Thanks for that. Deuces!
Sent from SS iPhone –– 3/28/2013
Is our happiness based on what we don’t have or lack instead of what we’ve been given with grace? Does the birthday card of life deserve to be signed with a sad face?
Tags: Age, Birthdays, black women, God, Identity, Self-Confidence
Scaredy Cat ~ Are You a Fear-Fighter or a Fraud?
The world is a big bad place and it’s frightening. Everything we want to do as human beings requires a courageous spirit that many of us do not have. To get up in the morning and face the world requires a brave face. To get the things we want, we have to fight and do battle with the fear inside of us that tells us we’re not up to the task. There is an insidious voice that whispers in our ears that we can’t do it, won’t do it and if we fail to do it, people with ridicule our attempts and laugh. The fear of derision, disapproval and humiliation keeps us fixed in the same spot in our lives year after year. We cannot move forward because the fear of failure holds us in its terrible grasp. Fight free!
In our personal lives many of us have had some devastating setbacks. I for one know firsthand what a worthy adversary terror can be. Anxiety and I are lovers entwined in a forbidden dance. We are enemies at an impasse. Fear and I fight on a daily basis, and more times than not, fear has the last laugh. Everything I do, I do it scared but one quote speaks to me: Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.
As a self-proclaimed fear-fighter, to admit to any type of insecurity means that I’m a fake, a phony and a fraud. Are any of us as fearless as we pretend to be? I say no. Instead, we all wear a mask of invulnerability. Life has taught us to live with the knot in our stomachs every time we try to conquer a new task. Experience has taught us to swallow past the lump in our throats. The lumps that form when we’re faced with the debilitating awareness that we may not succeed. Pride has made us hide our hands behind our backs every time they start to shake. Determination has taught us to project a calm that we do not feel. Sheer stubbornness has made us accept that we cannot make fear define us. We learn to accept that the most fearful people are the most critical. They will work the hardest to tear our ambitions down. Courageous people use fear as a driving force because they refuse to let anxiety hold them back.
Are you a frightened feline who can’t make progress because fear is holding you back? Are you a fear-fighter or a Scaredy Cat?
Tags: Confidence, courage, Fighting Fear, Personal Power, Self-Confidence, Strength, Success
Live Author Reading of the Book: Don’t Let The White Girl Win
The Don’t Let The White Girl Win book launch in Toronto, Ontario was an amazing success. Stephanie Small did a live reading onstage in front of an engaged and lively crowd. Reading from her self-help guide for single sisters, the excerpt wowed the crowd. Drawing from her own personal experience, the book which is part memoir, part satire and part cultural analysis, the Super Sistah proves why her self-help guide is just what black women need to find love, find success and find their way back to happiness.
Check out the video here:
Tags: Betrayal, Black Love, black women, Break-ups, Dating, Love, Relationships, Self-Confidence
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
Recently, I casually asked my dermatologist about one day getting Botox. He laughed in my face. “Go spend your money on something you need” he said and sent me on my way. Is he blind? Doesn’t he see the lines I see?
Every year I write a birthday post (See Old Dog, New Tale) because sadly, the Super is getting old. Grey hair EVERYWHERE old. Retirees tell me that I’m still young. I’ve determined that this is what old people say to console each other. As yet another birthday blasts by, I realize that Jennifer Lopez notwithstanding, I will never be able to wear a super high mini skirt again without self-consciousness. Gone are the days where I chat with the drugstore clerk about anything other than anti-aging cream. Goodbye makeup free face maintained by moisturizer and four hours sleep. It’s time to get used to cashiers calling me ma’am, bitches, and little boys young enough to be my son trying to make a Cougar out of me. To maintain muscle, I’ll have to up my workouts and…horror of all horrors… watch what I eat. Yeah, yeah, Father Time and I are enemies. I can complain for days, weeks if you give me some drinks, but the Super is all about encouragement, even if the encouragement is for me. So here is what age has taught me:
- I’ve learned tact. If a friend asks me if I think her daughter is a lesbian, age has taught me to say, “I’m not sure, but I’m here if you want to talk to me.”
- I’ve learned that “Karma is only a Bitch if you are” and “it’s none of my business what other people think about me.” (Stolen quotes but they’re all me)
- I’ve learned that if my boyfriend doesn’t like what he sees when I’m naked then he can take his d*ck elsewhere.
- I accept that I’m pretty enough. If I want to look like Halle Berry I have to have her parents.
- I now know that a thousand squats a day will not give me a Kim Kardashian booty.
- I realize that I’m not half as stupid now as I was in my twenties.
- I’ve learned that delay does not mean denial and everyday that I expect a miracle the closer the miracle is to me.
I won’t lie to you, getting older kinda sucks. The gift of wisdom and foresight is rarely given to the young. Aging is inevitable so I’ve decided to be grateful that my heart is still beating, my body is still functioning and my mind is still sharp. In 40 years I’m looking forward to being a Super G, that’s Super Granny. Happy Birthday to me and all the other Aries.
Should we be able to freeze time like we can freeze our faces? Do we wish we could give our birthday some Botox?
Tags: Aging, Birthday, black women, Confidence, Diet & Exercise, Girl Power, Self-Confidence, Super-Heroes
Back in the day if a man loved a woman he gave her father a horse, a cow and two mules. In them days, the price of your “PRECIOUS” to quote Gollum, cost a damn sight more than some chocolates and a Hallmark card. Men understood that for the benefit of a lady’s time he had to put in some work. He earned her affection through the persistent pursuit of her heart. Fast forward a century and now some men have forgotten what love is about. On Valentine’s, which is the most romantic day of the year, stats show that most couple’s end up succumbing to what I call a Total Eclipse of the Heart. To translate Bonnie Tyler’s song into layman terms, it means that love fades to black. When women should be shaking the sheets on the 14th, instead, most are showing their men the curb. I don’t have a Ph.D. in Sexual Healing but there is a reason for the fallout.
Tags: Black Love, black women, Break-ups, Dating, Love, Marriage, Men, Self-Confidence, Sex, Super-Heroes, Valentine's Day
I’m attempting to get my self-help/dating book published. It’s curious then that when I sprinted out of work on Friday I wasn’t running to catch a hot man for a hot date but to catch the library. My dating life in New York City might seem obscene to some and downright dismal to others. How much you commiserate depends on whether you go home to a man in your bed or to a vibrator with 4 batteries. Despite the glamour of the dating scene portrayed on reruns of Sex in the City, I’m no Carrie. For most single girls in the city, there is no line of eligible bachelors waiting to wine and dine us and then pick up the check. If we want to date regularly we can, but we’ve seen enough news reports where they find the desperate girl’s body in the trash to know that its best to choose quality over creepy.
When I explained my dating challenges to a friend he accused me of being picky. This is the label women usually get if they refuse to date the bucktooth guy from IT, the stalker neighbor from across the hall or their second cousin twice removed (shit, date him girl; it’s not like he’s close family). The label is unfair but there is a good portion of the population that thinks that women should date anyone who asks. For this reason, when I recently stopped dating a perfectly eligible man some of my single friends thought I might be crazy. What you say now? He has a job, all his teeth and he has a history of eating coochie? You don’t want him? Where he at? I’ll give him something dark and fiery. I’m assuming they meant loving and not a STD. But I digress. The dude and I didn’t get to the loving stage because there was no evidence that he felt passionate about me. I’m not saying he should have tattooed my name across his pubic bone or sent me I love you cards signed with his tears, but similar to the tune En Vogue once sang, I wanted him to Give Me Something that I Could Feel. Was that too much to ask? Raise your hand if you vote no. You can’t see me, but I’m raising both hands. I liked homeboy and had amor loco for him (that means mad love) but unfortunately for us it was still a wrap. Maybe I’ve read too many romance novels but I have no intention of being anyone’s 2nd best. What’s worse than being alone? Being a punnani placeholder for another chick. Am I right or am I right? Holla if you hear me.
Tags: Black Love, black women, Break-ups, Dating, Love, Men, Relationships, Self-Confidence, Sex, Super-Heroes
Law of Subtraction
When we’re young we learn how to add about the same time we learn how to subtract. As soon as we are old enough, fairy tales make us want to add a prince or a knight to our dreams. We conjure Mr. Right out of thin air and shape him to be all that we want him to be. We picture him tall, handsome and smart with the ability to make our hearts beat. He is a fantasy and a figment of our little girl dreams. We make our dream man perfect because we believe that we deserve the best so we don’t leave any good qualities out. He is the Ken to our Barbie and our budding self-esteem demands that we make him worthy.
As we mature the mathematical maneuvering begins. Life teaches us that a good man has more than what the eyes can see, so we add things. We multiply the facets of our guy’s character so he can be strong where we are weak. Like God made Adam out of clay we reshape our dream man until he’s a masterpiece. We’re done creating. As young women we test our dreams against reality. We delve into our first relationship with stars in our eyes and our hearts open wide. Our first love is human and he has faults; he’s far from ideal so we cross him off the list. Moving on is easy. The next guy comes (mean), then the next (lazy), and so one. Things with our prince aren’t going as planned. It’s time to reassess. The next guy is far from perfect, he has only a few of the things we need, but time is passing. We decide to ignore that he doesn’t call or treat us like queens. We’re tired and weary so we look at our childhood list and subtract. We say to ourselves, I’ll take some traits off the list but not everything. The relationship fails and we’re left with broken hearts. Was it our fault? The next guy loves someone else, the other has a problem with fidelity and the third says, ‘he’s just not ready.’ Again we press the minus symbol and subtract. We tell ourselves, I can’t have it all. I’ll take just one more trait off the list but not everything. After a few more failed relationships we consult the childhood list. We rewrite, rearrange and strike things off completely. Maybe we wanted too much. Maybe our requirements were unrealistic. With just one requirement left on the list finding Mr. Right will be easy. Our only condition now is that he love us unconditionally.
The lack of standards now attracts men who are just fractions of what they should be. We start to think that love is overrated. We don’t need it if we have someone to snuggle up with at night? Our list is empty but the thought settles into our minds that, we will take just one more thing off the list. Just one more thing. Surely no woman can have everything. Subtract.
All we want now is a man to be there and most nights he can’t even do that. The little girl with the list is gone. We look at ourselves in the mirror and subtract…subtract…subtract.
Have you practiced the law of subtraction just to add a man to the equation?
Tags: Black Love, black women, Dating, Family, Love, Marriage, Self-Confidence, Success, Super-Heroes
Black Girls Don’t Cry
When I was young I used to fight, brawl and roll around wrestling in the grass. My life was like an episode of Basketball Wives. Now that I’m grown, I’ve learned some things and realized that a karate chop to the windpipe is no way to communicate. As I’ve matured I’ve learned to get my Ohm on and practice the religion of peace. When I’m mad my fingers still instinctively tingle with the need to give out backhands; most times I resist. My boy Gandhi would be so proud. While it might seem that I’m perpetually walking around with a peace pipe and a Yoga mat, recently I was mad enough to beat up Mandela and tell the Dali Lama to kiss my ass. I wasn’t mad at them. I was mad at me. I let someone take me out of my lane, divert me off track and hurt my feeling to the point where I was reduced to boo hoo tears. That’s right, the Super cried. It was embarrassing. Don’t tell anybody.
I pride myself on being tough, invincible—indestructible if you will. I hold onto the image for my own edification even though I know it’s a lie. Being human and not truly made of steel, sometimes people do and say things that pierce my armor. After each incident of personal attack I increase my defenses until I have protection in the form of a battalion of Trojan warriors; their strength is not unlike the ones found in a condom six pack. Despite these precautions, as with all protection, sometimes it fails. The breach instead of leaving me pregnant left me pissed.
It’s my observation that it is never your enemies that slip beneath your guard and eat away at your defenses, it’s people you love. They have the unique advantage of knowing how to get to you from the inside. Let me share my techniques for dealing with the enemy inside the gates. First, no matter what is said don’t give anyone permission to cause you pain. Without exception, they must speak to you with respect. Just because you share bloodlines or childhood Barbies that doesn’t give them free reign. No one gets to tell you who you are. We are all in the process of perfecting ourselves and the refining process will undoubtedly last a lifetime. In the meantime, as we strive to improve and be better, it is our responsibility to define ourselves and reject any picture presented by the outside world that doesn’t fit with our personal beliefs. Our first loyalty and priority is to the (wo)man in the mirror. If people exist in our lives that don’t lift us up or bring us joy then they get cut off. Love isn’t meant to hurt. Those you love are there to improve you and inspire you to be the best person that you can be. If they make you harsh, hypocritical, angry or mean then the fact that you share bloodlines doesn’t save them from the chopping block. It’s never okay for someone you love to reduce you to tears. Now chin up!
Despite being defined as strong and tough, is it a lie that black girls don’t cry?
Tags: big girls don't cry, black women, Family, Friendship, Self-Confidence
Who Runs the World? Girls!
Who runs the world? Girls! Black women are exceptional. I know a lot of women who I admire, look up to and try to emulate. They have shown me how to be the best woman I can be. What their encouragement has done is that it has powered my ambition and fueled my self-esteem. I know without being told that I’m worthy of love and all of life’s rewards. Every woman has a gift and something special about them that separates them from everyone else. On my end, from the moment I knew myself I knew I was gifted. I knew that I was extraordinary, different and unique. I couldn’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, I couldn’t dodge a bullet and I couldn’t see the future — no x-ray vision. I had a cape but it was hidden. It didn’t matter. As far as action heroes went I was in the Justice League. I was a super hero and I had a name. My special power was to educate, motivate and to teach. Living inside me where all the action heroes of old. I was Wonder Woman and Super Woman wrapped up into one. I had super powers. I could recover from a broken heart and will the organ to regenerate and heal. Men could hurt me and leave me for dead but I could defy death and live again. I could give birth to Gods, balance the temperaments of the vicious and I could mold the minds and thoughts of others. I could heal hearts with a kiss and I could balance the world on my shoulders without losing my breath. Loved ones could turn against me and I could still find the power to rise as if I was impervious to harm or pain. I was the black Jamie Summers and like her I was bionic. In the twenty first century I conditioned myself to be better, stronger and smarter. I’m not unique. All women possess super human strength. We’re women of steel and it takes an army of combatants to harm us. Our weakness is our human heart which leads us to succumb to heartache time and time again. To overcome, all women of color have to claim our gifts and powers and announce them to the world. We must release our inner avatar and give our super selves a new fear-fighting moniker. We must release the super heroine living inside of us and let the extraordinary woman out. She should no longer be contained. I’m Super Sistah. I said it therefore I am. No one had to tell me. Own yourself and own the world. Beyoncé didn’t have to sing a song about it for me to know that girls run the world. As women we have to learn to live out loud. Let’s start today.
Do you run the world? What makes you Super and extraordinary? Tell me.
Excerpt taken from the upcoming book entitled – Don’t Let the White Girl Win.
Tags: beyonce, black women, Girl Power, Personal Power, run the world (girls), Self-Confidence, Sisterhood, Super-Heroes
Old Dog, New Tale
The Super celebrated a birthday yesterday. Yes, superheroes age. We get older, we slow down and we get things suspiciously looking like laugh lines. Ain’t a damn thing funny about getting old. In protest I decided to wage a war against my age.
I still have it. No one can tell me otherwise. To prove my youth I conducted a personal test. There are a lot of puppies in the world but this old dog still has a few tricks. I can dance, so I stripped down to my unmentionables leapt in front of my full length mirror and started to sway, shimmy and whine. Yup, with the reggae music pumping in the background I attempted to recreate my best dancehall queen moves. I went down with the agility of an eighteen year old stripper on her first night on the pole, but my hips got stuck on the ascent. I had a hitch in my giddy up to quote my boy, Bo Jackson. I wasn’t pleased but I wasn’t deterred. I had a point to prove. Next task. I use to like to run. I had endurance. I could run for miles without even being out of breath. This was back in my teens but I’m Super, I can regenerate. So the next time I was at the gym I set my sights on the little blond with the bouncy ponytail. She would be no match for me. As she took off on her 3 mile run I decided to keep pace. I blew past her on the treadmill, my speed mocking her steady jog until…my lungs gave out and with shame I adjusted my speed to a fast walk with an incline. The blond kept running but she did it with a smirk. I wanted to type in a new speed on her machine so she would fly face first into the plexiglass. I resisted because my actions wouldn’t change the facts.
Truth is, I can’t do everything I use to. My knee hurts from early forays into aerobics with women wearing fluorescent leotards and headbands. But there are 5 things that offer real proof that I may be seconds away from old age, dentures and Depends. All of them center around my taste in men. For instance, I know that I’m getting older because:
(1) I no longer respond to men who try to get my attention through any sound resembling a howl, woof or a growl. I’m not a pet.
(2) I no longer think the greeting, ‘what’s up shorty’ is a suitable opening line. What am I twelve?
(3) I can say with certainty that I’ve matured past the point where I think the response, ‘I hustle’ is a reasonable occupational description.
(4) A date at Red Lobster is no longer a fancy restaurant and his ‘good’ clothes have graduated from a throwback jersey and a clean pair of Air Force Ones.
(5) A man wearing his pants at his waist as God intended is no longer a turn off. I don’t want to know the color of a stranger’s drawers.
As I get older I want different things. Not all of them bad. Getting older has its perks and its drawbacks. I just wish I could have the wiser and smarter me installed into a body that can still leap tall buildings in a single bound.
I have no intention of growing old gracefully. Despite being under 40, which is only considered young by people over that age, I have plans to wrestle Father Time to the floor and kick his ass. Will you fight with me?
Have there been any changes in your life that made you realize that time was chasing your tail?
Tags: Self-Confidence, Super-Heroes