Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I'm not sure how it happened but I've become obsessed with Robert Pattinson, the vampire Edward Cullen from Twilight, New Moon, etc. I'm actually concerned right now since someone's Google search might turn up this posting and then a ton of teenagers are going to be disappointed when they look at this post and don't see some British guy with a sultry, vampire expression on his face pop up.

I'm blaming it on being pregnant and over-sensitive and tired of reading boring academic books about racism here, there, everywhere. I've been putting myself to sleep most nights reading about Edward and Bella working through their love affair while fighting off all the haters. But I'm trying to push past the insanity so here are ten reasons why I need to stop (hopefully this works):

10. Reading Capitalism and Slavery and other I Hate Whitey books got me fewer distasteful looks in the swanky coffee shops in Montclair than Eclipse. Twelve-year olds can be brutal.

9. There has to be a book on pregnancy or child-rearing that I haven't read yet. Well, there's the Jon & Kate series but they're pretty wack.

8. The books lead to a movie obsession that I definitely have to stop...after the last one comes out.

7. Most of those actors really aren't all that good. I really want to slap some feeling into Bella sometimes. I mean, it wouldn't be the same if Sean Penn managed to play Edward and Susan Sarandon as Bella but dang folks, a couple acting classes wouldn't hurt. Just something like, this is my hurt face and this is my sad face...something!

6. Brian might be getting annoyed with all my "well, Edward wouldn't do that" sidebars. Poor guy. He also once told me that people told him that he looked like Brad Pitt so I'm not mad about bringing him down a few notches even if it's with a fictional character.

5. There are too many white people in that book. I know it's the Pacific Northwest but dang, someone had to have moved from Portland up to Washington state at some point.

4. I'm actually angry with Jacob, the fictional shape-shifter. It's embarrassing and shameful.

3. It's not like I don't have anything to read or work on. And then there's my comic strip and the thought of going back to stand-up comedy. I have this great bit in mind about this pregnant, 30-something, Black women who reads Stephenie Meyer books everyday...oh...wait.

2. Whenever kids have persuaded me to get into what they are into, I have been sadly disappointed; this really shouldn't be an exception. Sorry Harry Potter and all those "Black interest" books at Barnes and Noble. It's great that the kids are reading but dang...

1. There is a bit too much religious judgment and hints of homophobia in the text that the filmmakers have wisely avoided thus far. I have to skip over any mention of saving her virtue and parental worries about her not having a boyfriend. Dos mucho.

Dread-lock woman

So I have to say that every woman sporting a natural do really wants a healthy, fast-growing head of hair. The woman with dreads is no exception. I'll also say that pre-natal vitamins really do the trick. I used to do just about everything and my hair grew relatively quickly. But now I feel like I can see it growing, right before my very eyes. I quite literally can't keep up with the twisting and some of the locks have like three or four inches of new, unlocked growth. It's fantastic. The only dilemma is that I can now see the end of some of my locks and mama isn't too happy about the way they look. I have a two inch rat tail looking thing next to my keyboard right now. I cut it off the other day...from one of the locks in the back. And you know this neat-freak, germ-a-phobe wasn't too happy about that.

My parents have always pushed me to have natural hair but I also have a lot of hair. My mom used to take hours to wash and comb my hair on the weekends, hair that at one point went down my back when stretched to its limit. Once when my mom was in the hospital for a few days, my dad took me to a salon since he didn't know what to do with my hair. The ladies did some major OT with a blow dryer and curling iron (no chemicals that time) and put my hair up. The next day, in my Catholic school uniform, running around with the boys, my classmates kept stopping me to talk about how long my hair was. It was a major difference from the usual braids with ribbons pinned to the top of my head. My mom used to wash my hair on weekends. It took hours. Sometimes she would have her friend come over and braid my hair into really small, intricate designs. That took the entire weekend. By the time I was in middle school, my mom was really tired of combing my hair and she took me to my brother and dad's barber shop. It all came off. I cried on the way back from the barber shop. And I started wearing earrings.

I didn't have long hair again until now. I experimented with braids a few times. One person asked how my hair grew so long over the weekend. I looked at her, waiting for a smile or something to acknowledge the existence of hair weaves, but nothing. So I told her that I got Miracle Gro plant food from the Thrifty's at the corner. The next day, she told me she bought some and was waiting for her hair to grow too. I can't help everybody. I really can't. She needed to learn that lesson.

For a long period of time I had a relaxer. That was a pain, especially running track. If we had practice in the pool, I would basically have to walk around all day with a mop on the top of my head. And with all the practices in the sun and sweating all the time, I had to wash my hair a lot...a major no-no for relaxed hair. And the expense. Perms cost a lot. The shop will charge upwards of $80 once a month. You could get a box of perm at Target for about $10 and become handy with a pair of scissors and curling iron like I did but run the risk of perm burn after perm burn on the forehead and ears. Not cute.

When I went off to the Peace Corps, I realized that if they didn't have running water, I didn't want to risk my perm and more perm burn so I cut it all off. Bald again. I was bald for a short time when I was in undergrad; that's when my brief modeling stint came about, looking mad androgynous. For a long time after the Peace Corps, I sported a fro, sometimes to unbelievable heights. I would braid it at night to get the curls out. In the summer, when I wasn't working with kids in schools and their parents who were bugging me about being too young, I would bleach the ends and dye the tips red, blue, purple...whatever Manic Panic I could grab.

I wasn't the best at keeping my hair in good shape. A classmate of mine at UCLA sat me down one day and showed me all the things I would need to keep natural hair healthy. I was shocked. My Nicaraguan mom with her fine hair did not have any idea! It wasn't long after that that I locked my hair, knowing what I needed to do to keep my hair clean (not easy) and healthy. I have to say out of everything that I've ever done to my hair, it looks the best this way, like it was meant to be locked.