Break who? Me? Today? I think not.

This morning I woke up and felt like I can take on the world. Sometimes you feel like the ant, sometimes you feel like the shoe. Today I feel like a steel-toe size 13 boot!

Hair is cooperating, makeup is good and blouse is cute: all systems go! Determination is my co-pilot today!

Have a great Thursday lovelies!

Vikera

Image taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not copy without permission.

Image taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not copy without permission.

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It’s just hair

This post was hard to write. It’s hard to type when you’re rolling your eyes the whole time! Sheesh!

The source of today’s frustration is that ruckus about the magazine article showing how people with straight hair can get an afro. A lot of people seem to be upset by it. It’s being called ‘cultural appropriation’: a term that I hadn’t heard about or truly understood until last week.

The internet tells me that appropriation is “the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission”. I counter that with “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” perhaps.

I have worn my hair natural for about 9 years. I have a thick head of hair, which used to be even thicker when I was a teen, so early on, my mother had it chemically straightened, so it could be manageable. I continued that process until I moved to Vancouver. Unfortunately, the climate change was tough on my hair and it was hard to keep it healthy. I decided to keep it in its natural state and I never looked back. For me, my naturally curly hair was just my own and it was easy. I wear it because it’s relatively free to maintain and it’s easy and I think it’s authentically me. It’s not a political statement nor because I’m from the Caribbean. It’s just what’s growing out of my head. Need I remind you about my latest tattoo?

This photo was taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not copy without permission.

This photo was taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not copy without permission.

This whole cultural appropriation thing with regards to hair is kinda over the top for me. The article doesn’t make a cultural or political statement about afros, its headline simply says, “You (yes, you) can have an afro even if you have straight hair”. It makes no reference about race. Either I’m not understanding it properly or there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. I think that model was used to show that if you have fine, straight hair, you can have big hair with volume, as in, you can have a completely different look temporarily. You know, just like people with curly hair that get it flat ironed and have a completely different look temporarily.

I happen to think my hair is my most versatile accessory. Even when I had an online dating profile, I wrote right on there, “One thing you should know about me is that you can never assume you’re going to know what my hair looks like.” I change my hair ALL the time. I wear it super short, I add extensions, I dye it, I wear it straight (flat ironed) and I wear it big and fluffy. Every Thursday or Friday, I scour the internet looking for new styles and new ideas. I see something I like that would flatter me and watch some videos about it and then make the change. I never once stop to think about the origin of the style. Honestly, I don’t really care. I’m not going to lie.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte

I wear head wraps on the weekends “like an African woman”. I don’t care that it’s an African-inspired style, I care about the flexibility of being able to leave the house in ten minutes without having to wrangle my hair into something decent. I don’t think about an African seeing me and thinking, “Look at her, she’s not even African, but she wants to wrap her head like us?” For me, a head wrap is not an homage to my African heritage, it’s a piece of cloth. The end.

To me, hair is just a thing. It’s not a political statement. In American history, the afro was a symbol. Women didn’t wear their hair that way unless it was to make a point. Even now, sometimes I get a Foxy Brown comment, which I don’t really understand, to be honest. I do like the attention my hairstyles get, but to say that it has a larger meaning than I have too much time on my hands, I don’t know.

The article shows how you can change your hair from straight to voluminously curly. I’ve read the comments on some websites and there are some that asked, “Why couldn’t they use a Black model? Here they go, not giving Black people credit. Here they go, using White people to celebrate Black successes.” Well, forgive me, but Black models will already have curly hair, no? Oh right, everyone’s sporting straight hair or weaves or extensions these days. So you’re mad because you have curly hair that you don’t want to wear and choose to wear your hair straight, but are mad because people with straight hair want to wear their hair curly? Hmmm…again, either I’m not getting it, or this doesn’t make any sense.

I’ve always thought the beauty of my curly hair is the infinite possibilities it allows me and I get excited thinking about what I can do with it. If someone can show me a way to change up my look (for free and relatively easily), then why the heck not?

Can someone explain to me why I should be offended?

V

The Internet is bullsh*t

Okay, so the title is a bit strong, but read on…

So Kidlet and I were running an errand on the weekend. A song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while. Naturally, I began car dancing. I’m a GREAT car dancer. I can drive and shake my shoulders like nobody’s business. The car slowed at red light and then I really started dancing, putting my hips into it. I then felt a kick on the back of my seat, “Mum, stop!” I thought, “Huh? We’re just getting to the best part of the song!” “Mum, stop dancing!” I looked beside me and realized that both people in the car beside us were looking at me. It didn’t bother me really, but I thought, “I should be able to car dance if I want to!” I asked Kidlet, “Are you embarrassed of me?” What he said next is what blew my mind.

“Mum, do you want people to laugh at you? What if they’re taking video and then they put it on the internet? What if they put it on Facebook and then everybody just laughs at you? Is that what you want?”

Yeah. That happened.

Am I just naive? Maybe I just don’t get it. Is this something that people have to think about these days? What the hell? It took a while to process. I suppose he had a point, but it wasn’t something I never, ever thought about before. Sure, sometimes when I’m engaging in a shenanigan or two, the thought does cross my mind that perhaps what I’m doing is unseemly for a woman of my age, but my car dancing? Bite your tongue!

His reality is that people who are different or who are just living their lives are subject to JUDGEMENT on a global scale. Maybe twenty years ago, shows like American Funniest Videos were good innocent fun, but now, kids are killing themselves trying to escape from the fallout of viral videos. It weighed heavily on my mind.

Then last night, a friend on Facebook posted a picture of a female topless sunbather whose breasts had not recovered from breastfeeding. She was wearing sunglasses and looked like she was sleeping, so it could be that she didn’t even know the picture was being taken. My eyes were drawn to that picture since you know how I feel about my boobs. The woman was wearing a bikini and you can see the stretch marks across her belly, so she probably has had children. Anyway, I didn’t need to see the stretch marks, I know the cause of those boobs because I have a pair that do not look dissimilar.

The comments on that picture broke my heart. They really did. I piped in with

Vikera Hunte When you push out some chirren and feed them for a year each, then you can make any comments here….

but it didn’t make a difference. My three comments and one other were the only ones that were not negative. Everyone else seemed to think it was the worst thing they’d ever seen. The reality is though that this is how life is now. Anything is open for ridicule and judgement regardless of the cause. While I was taken aback by Kidlet’s comments in the car about my car dancing on Saturday, I had proof that he had a valid point.

The internet is a place where you can bring good and positive things to the light. It’s a place where things you never knew about can be seen, like those flowers whose petals go transparent when they’re wet (or was it frozen, I forget) or you can see what people or places look like in countries you’ll never be able to visit. The internet can also be CRUEL.

So where is the line? Can I not car dance anymore? Can I not sing (and dance) while I’m doing grocery shopping because it makes me happy? Can I not wear my bikini if I don’t have the perfect breasts and perfect body according to “people” even though my body is ravaged because I brought another human into the world?

Sigh.

Vikera

p.s. While I do not actually think that the internet is bullsh*t, it’s becoming or has become a weapon of mass destruction and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all!

Don’t get lippy!

Good morning!

After a relaxing long weekend, I’m back to the grind. Instead of doing things around the house and being a responsible adult, I spent many, many hours shopping. I didn’t buy much at all, but what I did buy was a FABULOUS lipstick!

Ahem...this is my picture. Git yer own!

Ahem…this is my picture. Git yer own!

By way of pleasure, this little purchase really packs a punch. It makes me happy to see my smile (moreso) when I look in the mirror. Even though I was home alone yesterday, I reapplied a few times to make sure I kept my purple smile. I’m going to wear that sucker until it begs for mercy! haha…

I went to get a mini makeover for a girls day out this weekend. Historically, I’ve never been a big fan of makeup. It’s only recently, like this last year, that I’ve been interested in it. I have time on my hands when Kidlet is with his dad, so I experiment and do research. I’m not confident yet to proclaim that I have any kind of true knowledge, so getting my makeup done was quite the experience.

[Note: this is not the makeover makeup. This is me fooling around….poorly.]

The second time for the month, I was told what ‘good’ lips I have. The first time was at my dentist’s office. I had been going over my teeth cleaning bill with the receptionist and we started talking about what’s covered under extended health benefits. We got around to talking about boob implants and that someone she heard of was able to have her implants covered. She then told me about the time she paid about $1000 to get her lips plumped. She told me, “You’re lucky you have good lips.” I thought, “Huh?” I smiled and thanked her. Like tanning, I just don’t get it. A friend has to keep explaining to me that I don’t understand those things because I don’t need those things. I feel like, why would I NEED better lips…I don’t get it.

Then at the makeup place too, over the weekend, I was told that “you can pull off any colour because you’ve got great lips”. What are great lips, I wonder…If I had to walk around worrying about the list of things I already worry about and then have to obsess over lips too, it would make for a very stressful life.

Currently on my worry list:

My three loads of laundry waiting to be done.

What am I making for dinner for me and New Boyfriend tonight?

I have about ten reports to prepare for work.

How am I going to stay awake today?

What’s for lunch?

Should I wash the car after work today?

I have to take the garbage out.

It’s 7.37 and I haven’t showered AND I’m still writing this post.

What shoes am I wearing with my new dress to work?

This is what I’m currently worrying about since I woke up an hour ago. To think that I would have to think about my lips too? Sigh.

I don’t want to diminish anyone’s feelings (that’s a new thing I’m trying to work on – not diminishing people’s feelings just because I don’t see things the same way), but the way I figure, if we can’t or won’t change things, can’t we just learn to accept it?

Having said that, I will admit to you, if I had $5000 free and clear, I would get a boob lift before you can say “lip plumper”! It’s not something I worry about too much, but it’s one of those things like a clean house and keeping the kitchen sink clean for a week and staying up past 10 pm…you know…like a genie wish! 🙂

Going to jump in the shower and put my lipstick on 😛

Have a great week today, my friends!

Vikera

Soothing sunsets

Good morning!

I went to watch the sun set a few weeks ago and only just got around to posting pics. Betsy’s at it again!

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

I was looking at these pics again and I think I’m finally getting the hang of relaxation. That evening was very simple. We threw some simple food in a bag, grabbed a blanket and went right after work – maybe it was the person I was with or the time of year or the kind of day I had at work or the warmer temperature or a combination of any of these things, but that evening stands out in my recent memory as one of peace. It was either the wind blowing off of the water that soothed me or the slow, hypnotizing descent of the sun as it headed toward the horizon, but looking at these pics makes me feel to take a deep exhale.

On another note, I think I’m going to post again this week. I have something on my mind BUT it’s supposed to be mid/high teens degrees C (sixty-ish degrees F) this week and I would much rather be outside frolicking 😛 Seriously, though, I have to share this thing and get it off my chest, so standby.

Have a good next few days. Stay out of trouble or get into trouble: whichever makes you happier. ❤

V

Through my own eyes

Good morning everyone!

Do you think when you look at yourself you see yourself through the eyes of someone else? When you make your decisions, do you subconsciously let others weigh in?

I’ve always said if it wasn’t for my mother being who she was, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. She was always in my corner boosting me up and letting me know that I could do anything. Sure, there were times when her advice was misguided because she feared for me and my well-being. Our opinions differed only because as a mother she wanted to protect me and I wanted to take risks. Now that I am a mother myself, I get that. She always let me know that I was smart, she let me know that I was beautiful and that I had many things to offer. She let me know that I was worth something and that I was a prize. Hearing that all through my life gave me confidence, it gave me strength, it made me stand up for myself and it also made others treat me the way she saw me.

You teach people how to treat you.

It’s only now, when she is no longer here, I see the fact that for a long time, I had been looking at myself through her eyes. My kindness and gentleness, my sense of fairness and generosity, my loyalty and honesty are all things that she wanted me to be, what she thought me to be and I manifested that and became all those things. Over the years, I had become that woman.

Interestingly enough, while I had a voice in my heart telling me how to be a good person, there were also other voices creeping in with disparaging words; words that told me that I am other things too. In the past, there was someone in my life through whose eyes I also saw myself and the Vikera I saw was not so good. The Vikera I saw was lazy, loud, aggressive, overly talkative, too smart, a mediocre mother, cheap, naive, a little bit stupid and overly ambitious. I saw myself through that person’s eyes for a long time and it took its toll on me.

Over time, I started to believe those things, in varying degrees. My mother had created such a strong foundation that this other stuff couldn’t possibly be true, but for pockets of time, I did question if I talked too much, I did think that I could be a better mother, I did wonder if I should dampen my rambunctious, vivacious personality. I realized that I started looking at myself through that person’s eyes.

Isn’t that strange?

Luckily for me, though, over time, I started looking at myself through my own eyes: a skill that took A LONG TIME to get a handle on. It took a long time to start looking at myself objectively and judging myself and my actions based on the person I wanted to be not who someone else thought I was.

I do not judge my actions based on what others think about me. I judge my actions based on what is right and fair to others.

This circles back to how strongly I feel about the media and body image and all of that stuff. This comes back to all these forces in our lives telling us things about ourselves that we may not necessarily buy into but before you know it, we start believing it and repeating it. We start looking at ourselves through others’ eyes – others who do not have our best interest at heart, others who don’t know who we are, others who try to hurt us, others who are not trying to build us up. We have to be vigilant, we have to be aware. We have to think if our opinions are actually our opinions or if we are voicing or thinking someone else’s.

I do like my rambunctious personality, I am hella smart, I am definitely loud and funny, I can be lazy. I am a wonderful mother. I hate doing dishes and laundry. I can do anything. I have thick thighs. I am a procrastinator. My wit is everything! I can be too generous sometimes. I am loyal. I love hard. I snore.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

All in all, I’m not perfect, but I’m fucking awesome and will only get better! <— That’s me looking at myself through my own eyes and I look goooooood!

Have a great day guys! ❤

V

Yeah, it’s not flat…and?

Monday? Again? Seriously? Well, if we must, we must.

I haven’t posted about body image in a while. I guess it’s been winter and every body has been under 14 layers of clothes. Okay, so despite not trying (and much to my friend’s annoyance), I have trimmed down a bit. Not sure how it happened or when, but it did. I notice it in the way my clothes fit. I notice it in the smaller clothes I buy these days.

As I’ve said before, I don’t exercise. I am not interested in going to the gym or any of that stuff. I did give it a go though. Last summer, I was a bit more active: getting out on my bike and generally being busy. Now, I drive to work, so there’s minimal walking and it’s been cold, so I’ve been indoors way more, yet, I’ve trimmed down. I’m not going to lie, I do feel healthier and less jiggly.

We were invited to a house party for New Year’s at a friend’s house and on a whim, I bought a dress to wear. It wasn’t something I would EVER wear, let’s say, two years ago. I would never expose my stomach because it wasn’t flat and toned and with nary an ab in sight. These days though, I’ve really gotten used to my new old body. In the end, I never did wear the dress. I thought it might have been too fancy to wear to a house party and opted for something a bit more casual. Flashforward three months and I had to attend a dance festival social and I thought, “Hell yeah!”

One night last week, one of my besties came over and I tried on the dress and she gave her stamp of approval. My stomach still wasn’t flat and it was still going to be exposed, but I was stoked. I asked Kidlet, “This looks great, right?” Here he comes with, “Yes, but your belly is a little big-ish!” What came next was the gasp heard around the world! My wee kidlet had an opinion on my body? What? Um…

Right there and then, I thought, this world is F**KED UP. At first, I thought, “Wow, prior to that comment, I felt good about myself and my non-flat stomach and now there’s this cold bucket of water poured unceremoniously over my self-confidence.” The second thought was “What does this boy know about flat stomachs?” Though not actually flat, this is the flattest my stomach has ever been, so what’s he comparing my body to? The third thought was, “Thank goodness I don’t have a girl because right about now, I’d be even more PISSED!”

I’ve discussed this before. If your wee kidlet has an opinion of your body, and a negative one at that, what the heck is wrong with the world? What about unconditional love? What about loving yourself? Then the panic set in…does HE have things about himself that he wishes was different? EEEEEEK!

Okay, I may be overreacting here, but still. See? This is why I am a believer in positive body image! This is why I’m always trying to see the beauty in people. This is why I’m always trying to lift people up. This is why I always compliment people, not just women, but people in general. There are all these latent opinions and judgements lurking out there that HAVE to be counterbalanced. Grrrrrr….I know people who don’t like their ankles or their necks or their ears or their knees or whatever! Sigh. I try to tell them it’s okay, it’s good, but I’m only one person. Double sigh.

Inadvertently, though, by even buying that dress, it was to counterbalance the perception that only rock hard abs can be put on display. I wasn’t making a statement when I bought it, but I sure am making one now! By wearing the dress, I’ve said, “Yeah, it’s not flat. And?”

IMG_2716 cropped

We have to make up our minds not to give in to what ‘they’ want us to think about ourselves. We have to push through and accept our bodies as is! It’s the only one we have and if it’s a healthy body, ROCK ON!