April 19, 2014

Planet of the Naps

The day I woke up with nappy hair, my husband punched me in the face, jumped out of our second story bedroom window and immediately started fucking the white woman next door. I would not have known what happened but for the swinging blinds beating against the windowpane and his warm imprint lingering in my bed. I stopped for a moment to feel sorrowful, the breeze from our open window forming goosebumps on my skin, but then realized I was probably a lesbian so it was all good.

I yelled “Goodbye!” to my husband from the window he left open and took my time emerging from my bedroom. I did not feel like showering and could only put together clothes that did not match and earrings that were loud and cheap. Confused and stupider, I emerged from my bedroom only to find my house in disarray. My children had gotten into my collection of lint and decided to throw it all over our living room. Unable to find the broom or vacuum, I bent down and swept it up with my hair. When it came time to wash it, as hard as I tried I could not remember how or if I ever had. I felt lazy, craved chicken and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to smoke weed laced with crack with Trick Daddy. Adorned in lint, I could feel my naps grow tighter, my skin grow darker and my lips grow fuller and fuller. A thin shield of ash formed across my skin and the more I licked it, the ashier I became.

I left for work late because I forgot to pay attention to the time and on the way out, I asked the garbage man to watch my kids and to give me five dollars for the bus ride there. Mistaking me for the raccoon that had been terrorizing our neighborhood, he pulled out a stick and hit me over the head. By the time I came to, he had already fled, leaving the garbage piled up in our front yard. Enjoying the smell, I sat amongst the garbage for a moment licking my ash and thinking about how much I loved salt and welfare. During my walk to work, I felt itchy and angry. I battled with deciding whether to steal something or protest. I decided instead to dance, scratch, and yell incoherent things to the people walking in and out of the local Starbucks. A police officer tried to arrest me. Despite my waning intellect, my superior athletic skills proved no match as I outran him through the streets of my town.

Remembering I had to go to work, I stopped off at McDonalds to dance and scratch with the patrons outside the store. Loving it, I enjoyed a super-sized value meal and took a nap on top of the ball pit under the slide in the children’s play area. The manager woke me up to join me in a short dance and scratch but then asked me to leave because I was distracting his employees. When I finally got to work, I had trouble getting in. Although the door was unlocked, I felt more comfortable sneaking in a window and I had trouble finding a window that I could break, instead of just opening. When I finally made it in, feeling hungry, sneaky and violent, I snuck into the break room and stole everyone’s food and drink. I wrote menacing notes in place of the food in breath fog and spilled flavored drink all over the floor without cleaning up. I took another nap before heading to my office. I dreamt about drug crimes, Hip Hop videos and yelling the word, “Bitch.”

When I finally found my way to office, my boss was waiting and fired me instantly. Among other things, he declared that my hair made me blacker and accused me of lying on my application about my Native American lineage. On the way out, none of my co-workers made eye contact. One, a cross-dressing black man named, Tyler Martin, did a short dance and scratch in solidarity, which, despite my unemployment, made me laugh all the way down the elevator and out of the building. I loved to laugh. When I exited, the police officer I thought I had outrun was waiting for me with handcuffs. I was indicted, convicted of Being Nappy and sentenced to life wandering the continent of Africa. The Judge offered to suspend my sentence if I agreed to serve three hours in a local beauty salon and be treated with Affirm Hair Relaxer and two packs of Indian Remy 1B hair. I chose the latter.

I’d like to thank Wendy Williams for her thoughtful commentary on Viola Davis’s choice to go natural for the Oscars for inspiring me to turn my life around. I would also like to thank hair relaxer, the people of India and celebrity hairstylist, André Walker.

Note: This post was fiction and meant to be satirical. Any feelings that were hurt in the drafting of the post were purely accidental. The author of this post is a mother of two who recently decided to go natural. Surprisingly, her husband has not left her, she kept her job, she continues to fight the urge to scratch and dance and she has not entered a life of crime. In fact, she thinks she looks kind of cute.

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

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Rest in Peace, Ms. Whitney Houston

There are so many things I want to say about Ms. Houston but the words are having trouble finding my mouth. I was hoping that she would be able to kick the butts of her demons and come out on top again. I hoped that the years of stress, sadness, anger, loneliness, and heartache would not win out in the long run and know we will never know if she could. We don’t know how she died, but it is irrelevant.

The above image of Ms. Houston that I will always remember: the album cover of her 1990 album “Whitney Houston.” Not only was her voice stunning, but her beauty was too. She gave black girls everywhere hope and let us know that our natural beauty was enough despite what others said. I am honored to have witnessed her talent in my lifetime. Unmatched by any other, Ms. Houston taught me to hope, to love, to feel. While many people want to write her off as a drug addict and a troubled soul, I will always remember her as the epitome of human: flawed and truly gifted.

Rest in Peace Whitney Houston. You’ve had your “One Moment in Time” and left your mark on us all. But now it is time to rest.

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

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Moving from Adversity to Global Action

What do you do when your life or the life of some one you love is threatened by an unknown ailment? For most of us, we head to a doctor or an emergency room. We call on the knowledge of specialist and we have faith that they will see us through. And as scary as it may get, we take comfort in the fact that we have access of some sort.

My family is dealing with a medical issue that has, and I say this as honestly as I can and with no trace of exaggeration, scared me like nothing I have ever experienced.  And I’ve – we’ve been faced with some doozies.

My husband has a 6 cm nodule on his thyroid that may or may not be cancer. And in the time that it took for him to drive five minutes to the urgent care facility near our house (a trip that he made for something completely unrelated to this) and be seen by the on-call doctor, our lives changed drastically. In a matter of minutes, my family’s security has been dismantled and I am finding it hard to see the future…

Read More at A Million Moms

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

More Posts - Website

On seeing color

On seeing colorI’ve been in an interracial relationship since 1997. It’s been a long time. In the beginning, I was adamant that I did not see color- that I was colorblind and that love is colorblind. In fact, when were were both attending college, I wrote an article for the campus newspaper bashing the student population for all the crazy crap they would say and said loudly that color doesn’t matter. Oh, to go back and change that article now!

At 34, I am no longer naive enough to believe that skin color doesn’t change things. I see it more as half of an interracial couple and the mother of a biracial child than I probably did ever before. I see it at family functions when I am often the only Black person because my side of the family is not local. I see it when we travel or go out to dinner. I even see it when we are sitting at home watching a movie or homeschooling. When cashiers think that we are two separate customers I know it’s because our skin color is different. When we go to the doctor’s office and he stands to come in with me, I see the double-take by the nurse as she has to figure us out. When the woman in the grocery store called me the “nanny” as my family of three finished our shopping, I knew it’s because of my skin color and nothing else. And as much as I want to say color doesn’t matter, it obviously does.

So, we talk about race and color a lot in our home. With a 5 year old who says, with pride, that she is “Tan,” color is something that is present and will aways be present. She knows that I am Black and that her dad is White and she recognizes that our family is different from others because we are not the same color. And we, as a family, embrace those color differences. We acknowledge that the assumptions made about us and those that we make about ourselves are in large part due to our skin color and how we are treated because of it. We have made it a point to teach my daughter that color does not designation intelligence, beauty, nor anything else.

Recognizing how color has driven people throughout history and how it continues to do so can make us more sensitive to the challenges that others face. It can help us to see  that the world is not an equal place for all and that as much as we would like to say that things are changing, some things are very much the same. I firmly believe that recognizing color and all that doing so entails can encourage us to make real changes to create a better world. So I say very loudly that “I SEE COLOR!”

Are you embracing the diversity of color in your life?

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

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The Fight for Troy Davis; a Fight for the Soul of the US

The Troy Davis case has awakened this site. Deneene Milner over at My Brown Baby wrote eloquently about her views on the Death Penalty saying:

But then my brain takes over when I consider America’s dark history of lynching, mutilating and murdering African American fathers, sons, mothers and daughters—all-too-many times for no other reason than because the accused was black and the accusers reveled in the killing. Evidence of wrongdoing was inconsequential. Emmit Till. The Scottsboro Boys. The Brothers Griffin. Those are the names we know. Scores more, we don’t. But their deaths sear my soul.

Her words mirror my sentiment- the Death Penalty makes sense in an “eye for an eye” sort of way. Unfortunately, it is far

too easy for a person (especially a person of color) to be wrongfully accused and found guilty. Human beings are fallible. We make mistakes, we are prejudiced, we are irrational, and we are filled with fear. Those traits makes it far too difficult for our Justice System to be flawless. Combined with our country’s history of hatred and our continued systematic racism and classism, there is just no way that the Death Penalty can be a solution.

What comes to my mind is that this is another fuck-up in a long line of events that has made me so sad for our country. I am a Patriot! I love America and the ideals that once propelled us to greatness. But as of late, my love of the United States has been replace by sadness and uneasiness, I don’t see good things for us; I see horrible times. And if Troy Davis, a man whose guilt is as questionable as Sarah Palin’s intelligence, is put to death, the future of this county is bleaker than ever. There is no denying that. If we cannot rely of the Supreme Court of the United States to do the right thing – if they don’t intervene in a more permanent way – we may as well burn The Constitution of the United States of America and head back into an age of darkness.

I have often spoken of Bowen’s Theory of Social Regression. The premise is that every society gets to a point when it starts to regress:

The “symptoms” of societal regression include a growth of crime and violence, an increasing divorce rate, a more litigious attitude, a greater polarization between racial groups, less principled decision-making by leaders, the drug abuse epidemic, an increase in bankruptcy, and a focus on rights over responsibilities.

I hang my head in shame and sadness as I see our regression on full display. The United States is a joke! We are a shell of what we could be – a mirage of greatness. This is a fight for the very soul of the United States of America. But the fight, the struggle for equality, respect, awareness – it has to continue beyond Mr. Davis. So this is our “Welcome Back” post. I can’t ignore it anymore.

 

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

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The Government Shutdown: Why I am angry (and you should be, too)

Boy, am I mad…

If you have been paying attention to the media lately, you know the federal government is on the brink of shutdown.  There are a number of ways to paint the picture of how we arrived at this point or who is to blame.  Understand simply, in accordance with Article I of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the responsibility to appropriate funds to the U.S. government.  In an era where partisan politics have stripped individuals of any humane identity and reached a new low, Congress has been unable to reach an agreement.  In short, while the President proposed a budget back in February 2010, over a year later and almost two hundred days into the current fiscal year, Congress has yet to behave as rational adults, do their job and agree to a budget that is in the best interest of the American people.  With no budget and the last extension set to expire at midnight tonight, a federal government shutdown is upon us.

So what does that mean for you and me?   Well, if you are a federal employee, the answer is simple.  Your jobs will shut down indefinitely, as will your pay.  This means, while our elected officials are bickering over ideologies completely unrelated to your livelihood – your mortgages, rents, daycare bills and tuition payments will still come due.  The little mouths will still be waiting to be fed and your responsibilities will continue to mount.  This issue is particularly unique to the DC Metropolitan Area, home to thousands of government employees and an African American population of almost 50%.  Federal government and its employees drive the local market.  I overheard one federal employee, a single mother, fretting over how she would continue to support her young children when everyone in her family that would provide emergency support are government employees too.  Some federal employees have devoted their entire career to serving the needs of the public, an often thankless and under-compensated job, only to be tossed aside like a nameless toy soldier for the greater cause of pride and principle.  I think D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton put it best when she said a shutdown would be the functional equivalent of bombing innocent people.

If you are not a federal employee, maybe you are a government contractor or work for a company that contracts services to the government. Maybe you are planning to buy your first home with a loan guaranteed by the FHA.  Maybe you are awaiting a paper tax return from the IRS, a passport or a visa….  Maybe you are planning a family trip to see the Cherry Blossoms, National Monuments or a National Park.  Either way, you and your plans are suddenly pawns in a chess game that you have no control over.  It’s sad.  It’s sickening.  It is downright embarrassing.  I could easily get into the facts as I see them.  I try to educate myself with both liberal and conservative media because somewhere in between the two, a little truth can be found.  However, I will not.  The only fact that really matters is that this country is so divided over beliefs that we cannot see clearly to what really matters.

When I was a little girl, I arbitrarily decided that I no longer wanted to eat beef or pork.  It had no religious implications – but it really does not matter if it did.  I read somewhere that they were unhealthy and I wanted to live a long and healthy life.  I remember declaring it to my mom and the rest of my family.  My mother, ever respectful of my journey to individuality, said gently, “You don’t have to eat beef or pork, but I still love hamburgers.”  She did not vow to starve me for my arbitrary decision and I did not commit to destroying all the beef in the house.  I learned to make a turkey burger, and she still ate her hamburgers.  This basic lesson was one that we all learn.  Disagreement, diversity of thought and mind, differing opinions, they are all a part of the human experience.  I know we have all heard the adage before, “Sometimes, we must agree to disagree.”  Why is this basic childhood lesson something our elected leaders cannot seem to grasp?

We, citizens, are human beings.  We have goals and aspirations that go far beyond political quests for power, individual goals of imposing dogmatic ideology and most importantly, some elected leaders’ overwhelming goal of limitless wealth.  While I may be more interested in politics than many, it certainly does not flood my thoughts the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed at night.  You know what I think about?  The love I have for my family, a laugh I shared with my friends and how thankful I am for every minute that I have with the people I love.  If either side, Republicans or Democrats, gave a damn about the average American, hundreds of thousands of Americans would not be worrying if and when their next paycheck would come.   It is arrogant.  It is irresponsible.  As the supposed leaders of the free world, I will say it again, it is embarrassing.  One thing is for certain, when elected officials fail, we elect new officials.  I hope we all keep this memory very fresh for the election of 2012.  I am writing down names and I suggest you do too.  Our government has failed all of us, regardless of which party you align yourself and we will continue to be failed until we show them that we demand a change.

We need a change.

Who is with me?

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

More Posts - Website