Tag Archives: individualism

The Importance of Personal Style

27 Aug
Vogues

Image by Mageca via Flickr

As I poured over the pages of the coveted September issue of Vogue (aptly deemed the fashion bible), it dawned on me how much we are bombarded with advertising that tells us how we should look (why must you choose either a strong eye or lip in makeup application?!). But truthfully (partly due to the ever-changing trends in women’s fashion), it is important to at some point in time in your life, define your personal sense of style. One that depicts how you want to be seen in the world, not to simply duplicate what you have been told to look like but what you desire and feel comfortable looking like. When you embody your style, you own it, believe in it, defend it without saying anything. You actually get the attention without asking for it. Sometimes you want to fit in where other times you shun it. At times you may have to feign confidence until you actually attain in, but either way you are being true to you.

I do grow weary of the industry telling me I should want to look like a 16-year-old girl when I have a woman’s body, but some of the stuff is cute, I must admit. I like kitschy prints sometimes and colored jeans (although this a warmed over trend from my 9th grade year). I also love glitter nail polish, while some decry it as being age inappropriate for us 30-something gals. And with all the celebrities donning them as they walk the busy avenues and sit in VIP, I love the way stilettos look, but I’m gonna be honest, most times those b***hes hurt like hell. If I do risk wearing a pair, believe that I have a pair of sandals or ballet flats near by because that’s me; comfort trumps trend . There is nothing cute about limping around in your 5 inches or blisters on your feet and my personal style won’t even allow me to fake that!

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Generational Divide

26 Aug

I’m starting to accept that there will always be a divide between generations. For eons, the youth have been blamed for the separation due to our “colorful language” and taste in music and clothes (among other superficial details), but I beg to differ.
I find that in many cases, it is our elders that perpetuate the divide with their preconceived notions that they are hopelessly dedicated to, while convincing themselves that we are selfish, egotistical brats with no respect for the past or our predecessors. The main issue I see is that our elders are set on lumping us all into one “ungrateful” group despite our individual differences. Where we as the youth have been raised to shun and defy labels, they are determined and in some way dependent on those labels in order to grasp this generation of people that they do not understand. I had to accept this as evidence when my grandmother compared me to my older cousin who outside of us being related, shares very little in common with me.
In no way do I think the youth of today are asking our elders to embrace all that we are without understanding it, I certainly am not trying to force my beliefs and existence on my parents or those before them. I just want the respect in acknowledging the possibility. The possibility that in youth there is this natural resistance to the status quo and a longing for understanding and acceptance of our desire to be individuals. This does not however compromise all of our reasoning or intellect. 

Regardless how the music has changed, we are no different from previous generations in that we all march to the beat of our own drum and rarely feel like we have to explain our reason for doing so. Instead of being treated like social deviants, all we want is to be understood and the first step to that is accepting that despite our generational divide, we all want the same in the end because we are all people (despite age). Our methods of attaining such may differ, but the basic needs do not differ from those of our elders.

Let Me Out

19 Aug

I may live in the suburbs, doesn’t mean I’m blind to the plight of others.

I’m a woman, doesn’t mean I blame my attitude on PMS.

I’m beautiful, but it doesn’t mean that I am shallow, and just because I straighten my hair doesn’t mean I’m not proud to be Black.

I’m intelligent, but that doesn’t mean that I think I know everything.

I’ve made poor choices, but that doesn’t mean I am lost.

I know which fork to use and when as well as where to place it when I am done, but that doesn’t make me bourgeois.

I speak my mind, doesn’t mean I’m not open to other perspectives.

I’m a romantic, but that doesn’t make me hopeless.

I’m a Christian, but not damning others to hell.

I love fashion, but not thriving off materialism.

I appreciate my body, doesn’t mean I’m obsessed with my image.

I’m liberated and liberal, but that doesn’t make me a freak.

I love hip hop and tattoos, but that doesn’t take away from my refinement nor make me rebellious.

I defy labels because they’re unnecessary in getting to the core of me. They won’t aid in the understanding of my behavior, my thoughts, or the woman I am. Labels limit me and I’m not one for impediments on my growth. I’m determined to prosper until my last breath and I’ll be damned if I let man put a finite cap on who I can become.

“Sexy Ladies”

22 Jun
Mudflap girl -- One variation of the unclad fe...

Image via Wikipedia

What have I learned in my 31 years? That being sexy isn’t something you try to do or be, you just are, and most of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with sex (Now spread that to all the youngsters trying their damnedest to be sexy in ankle breaking stilettos at the mall).

Confidence gives birth to sexy-ness. Your unwillingness to compromise in a world where everyone is trying to fit in. Its defining your own style (beyond fashion) and in doing so being unafraid to stand apart from the rest. Its empowering to feel comfortable in your own skin. To say, do, and be exactly how you feel at the moment, unabashedly.

To wear red lipstick in the afternoon because you just want to. To wear jeans when everyone else is wearing a dress. To voice your opinion in a matter of fact way because you actually have one. To be unafraid to break a sweat. To proudly declare that you watch Glee on Tuesdays and Entourage on Sundays. To enjoy nights in Black cocktail dresses at the opera and nights in sweats watching the NBA . That you listen to The Smiths, The Dream, and The Roots. To rock straight hair one day and a mohawk the next. To devour sushi and chili dogs without discrimination. To defy the box and stare labels in the eye unapologetically. That is sexy.  It’s a way of being that you exude and gives off the aura that attracts others to you. It may be that a “freakum” dress has influence on that confidence but rest assured,  sexy-ness has very little to do with the wrapping paper and everything to do with what lies beneath.

“Preacher’s Daughter”

15 Jan

Newsflash: Yes, I am a preacher’s daughter.

This may be a surprise to some, fascination to many, puzzling to others. I understand all of the reactions.

Let me clarify first. My father does not have his own church. I wouldn’t actually call him a preacher, (but for the sake of most understanding, the title will stay). My dad was “called” into the ministry when I was young (probably still in elementary school) and I have never been excited about the idea. He has spent the bulk of his ministry, not actually preaching but counseling married couples and doing mission trips to Africa and Asia.

This role that I was thrust into by no choosing of my own has brought about several dimensions of conflict, being that I am a modern adult who was once a “regular” teen who does believe in the importance of faith, but also believes in the importance of self-realization, actualization and many other -tions, isms, and necessary possibilities that make me a walking contradiction in the eyes of the church and sometimes those of my dad. But I’d like to call it human. What my father does, has always in my eyes been his choice and while some of my life choices mirror his expectations of me, some definitely defy his beliefs and wishes.

I find that these conflicts of life plague many people, not just the other PKs (preacher’s kids) that I know. We are often held to some unrealistic and unfair standards that personally has resulted in me not even bringing up the fact that my father has this life path. I am an individual who thinks that my best learning in life has come out of actually living and while I do not take pride in every decision that I have made , they are mine. However the discrepancy between my decisions and my father’s expectations of how I should live my life at times seem to have put a very clear wedge between me and the father whom I would love to have a transparent and honest relationship with, because simply, how can you tell the preacher that you don’t really think its wrong to live with someone before you’re married (sure it causes drama in some cases, but it is not wrong). And honestly some Sundays, I’d rather go to the beach, and run in the opposite direction of church. I like to party on Saturday nights in dark clubs with my girlfriends and I don’t shy away from the occasional martini. On my iPod, I have the spiritual and the dirty. I unwind with both. I have tattoos, and piercings and in a lot of ways am pretty liberal. But I walk the line. My respect, love, and need for God and a true sense of a “higher calling” are requisite parts of my life’s blood. All of these things combined make me who I am and I cannot fathom denying any parts of it. However, I often find myself asking What Would My Father Think as opposed to What Would Jesus Do? And both can contrast with What do I Want?

I realize though that there are many of us who walk this line. The one of pleasing others and pleasing ourselves. Living the life that other’s want for us and the one we create for ourselves. It was a fight when I was 15 and wanted to date just as much as it is at 31 and want the same.  There is no true definition of individuality and while so many of my peers may have begun to accept this, it is imperative that generations before us do as well. Never have I signed up to be a preacher. My father did. And that was his choice, just as being the head-nodding, praying,  and tattoo branded individual is mine.  Yes, I am a preacher’s daughter. But first, I am me.