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

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

What if I didn’t what if?

Today, I want to share about fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of actually being happy, fear of a host of irrational things. Where does it come from? Why do we let it grab a hold of our dreams and not let go?

I’ve always been an overly cautious person, choosing to look at least three times before leaping. Most big and small decisions have to be met with at a series of ‘what if?” scenarios. I’m not one of those “F**K IT!” type of people. Of course, I wish I was, and I am working on it, but I often wonder what would happen if I just leapt. What would happen if I just did what I wanted to do without thinking of the what ifs?

Recently, I thought about an experience I had years ago. I had gone out with a new friend and a couple other women. We had not hung out socially before, but it was a birthday, I don’t drink and I was child-free, so I offered to be the designated driver. The music was great, the dance floor packed, I looked good, I felt good. I was having a great time! As the night wore on, though, the women I had come with found dance partners and I ended up wandering on my own. I might have looked lost or bored or something because while I was walking through the crowd, I felt a hand on my hand and a voice say, “Hey, you wanna dance?” Even in the dark, I could see what a great smile this guy had. I thought, “Hmmmmm…” I was bored, I couldn’t find my friends and I thought, “Well, I’m the driver, so really it’s up to them to find me! Ha!” so I started chatting with this young man.

The conversation was engaging. He was an engineer, originally from an African country (I forget which one) and he had a great smile. We chatted for a while and I too started smiling. All the while I was thinking, “This guy is cute, he’s engaging, he smells good.” I don’t know if it was the fact that I was basically alone in a sea of strangers or I was just enjoying the attention, but in that moment, I remember thinking, “If he tries to kiss me, I would let him.” I didn’t stop to think about the what ifs. I didn’t stop to think,

“Is he here with someone?”
“Is he single?”
“Would my friends think I was a hussy if they walked up and I was making out with this guy?”
“Is he boyfriend material?”
“Am I sweaty?”

None of that came to mind. The only thing I was thinking was wouldn’t it be nice to see what happens? I would never get to know what could have happened because my friend’s sister found me and needed me, so I ended up just exchanging numbers with him but I never saw him again.

I still think about that night as The Time I Didn’t What If. For once, I was willing to put aside all fears, irrational or otherwise, and just live in the moment and do what I wanted, do what felt good. For that one night, I was a f**k it kind of person. I just did what I wanted, not what I thought was the right thing to do. I probably should have gone looking for my friends and I probably shouldn’t have been entertaining the idea of taking that guy back to my car (EEEK!) but I didn’t stop myself. I didn’t give into the fear. Even today, telling this story, I don’t feel judgement of myself nor am I worried about your judgement of me. I don’t feel regret for thinking any of it. Isn’t that interesting?

The point of this experience is for me to remember that I am capable of just leaping and that not every decision should be dissected and overanalyzed and that sometimes you just have to do what feels good and forget about the fear and the what ifs. Actually, I should say, remember that what ifs also include:

“What if you do this thing and it’s the best thing that ever happened to you?”
“What if I get my heart broken?” What if I fall in love and stay in love?”
“What if this is the biggest mistake of my life?” What if this is the best decision I ever made?”
“What if I look horrible?” “What if no one actually cares what I look like today?”
“What if everyone is thinking about my muffin top?” “What if everyone is looking at my smile instead of what I’m wearing?”

I guess the only what if I should be asking is,

“What if I did it anyway?”

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

Plan B

Morning!

Kidlet and I went to the drugstore last week. When I pulled into the stall, I hadn’t seen the box nor did I see it when I came out of the car to go into the store. It was when I was walking back to it, I noticed the blue box on the ground.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without asking, please.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without asking, please.

For those who are not aware, Plan B is emergency contraception. Apparently if the condom broke or you have unprotected sex or you forgot to take the pill, you just pop this puppy and no diapers and university tuition for you!

I saw the box and it reeked of desperation and anxiety. I didn’t get close enough to see the actual teeth marks, but it looked like there might have been some on it. She probably swallowed it with no water either, with one foot on the ground and the other in the car then tossed out the evidence and, with shaky hands and a prayer, backed out of the parking spot and on with her life.

Plan B. Hmm…what a concept!

When you’re young, you think you will have full control over the life you want. Sure, some people at a very young age, decide what they want to be or where they want to live or who they want to share their lives with, and they bring that into fruition. It’s an amazing thing – to make your dreams materialize. For the rest of us, we have to carve out our lives day by day, not knowing what the hell is going to happen next. Our whole lives are a series of plans – in no particular alphabetic order. How many times do we think we know how something’s going to go or what’s going to happen only to be thrown completely off track? Some of us don’t get to take a magic pill to keep us on track!

If only all your bad decisions and things you regret can be washed away by a pill bought over the counter mere hours after your poor choices. Wouldn’t that be lovely? It just does not work that way. All your choices are a sum total of who you are a person and they all direct your destiny. Even if this woman was able to avoid pregnancy, her life will be changed by the “close call” at the very least. Almost getting pregnant if you don’t want to be is sobering, especially if it’s by Random Guy. Perhaps that experience, once reflected on, will lead to self- discovery…or not.

I don’t know, but sometimes the more I think I can control my life, the less I see I have actual control. Everything that happens to me these days I take in stride. I try not to get carried away and freak out because in the end, not every situation has a Plan B box that I can just rip open and swallow and get on with my life, not even bothering to dispose of the wrapping. Sometimes I get a second chance. Sometimes I don’t. That’s just the way it goes…

I’ve just embarked on a new journey fraught with uncertainty and excitement. My heart and mind tell me to have a Plan B tucked away just in case, but the reality is that now that I’ve embraced the fact that life will do its own thing and we don’t get our script until it’s too late to change it, I’m much more relaxed about stepping forward. Sure, things could happen that I probably won’t like or enjoy, but it’s all part of living.

So I go forward, with an open heart and mind, a smile on my face and only Plan A in my back pocket!

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!