Wacky Wednesday: What Would You Do With a Room of Your Own?

In 1929, Virginia Woolf  published an essay, “A Room of One’s Own,” arguing that if women had a room of their own, quiet from the duties of being wife and mother, we would see more women writers. Woolf, in this essay, examined the impediments to women being able to write.

So, 2 Dope Sistahs explored what we could accomplish with a room of our own . . .

Da Hype 1

So, as I started to think about the answer to today’s question, it didn’t take me long to realize that a room of my own would not mean s*** unless I have a chauffeur of my own to take my child to and from school, to gymnastics class, acting class, after school math help, and every other place she spends her time.

Without a cook of my own or a maid of my own, that room wouldn’t mean anything to me either. Without 5 other “me,” when would I have the time to spend in this room?

The more I thought about this question, the more I thought about Alice Walker’s, “In search of Our Mother’s Gardens,” and the ways in which she took Woolf to task for her analysis of why women didn’t have time to write. Walker forced many women–middle-class, white feminists, to be specific–to recognize that race and class overlap to create additional impediments to women writing.

So, with a room of my own, I’d like to think I would catch up on the reading and writing I so desperately want to engage. Right now, a room of my own sounds like just another damn room to clean.

Da Realist 1

Image Courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image Courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

What would I do with a room of my own? That’s easy, peasy. I can picture it now. I’d have an awesome library! Right now my books are here, there, and everywhere. I don’t have enough space for them, but I would love to have them all in one room. Some are in the garage in boxes; some are in my home office/guest room; and others are in my bedroom. Finding a particular book requires quite a bit of detective work.

I have the layout for my room already planned. My library would have built-in bookshelves from floor to ceiling, a writing desk, and a chaise longue. No television, just a peaceful room, maybe with a little classical music playing in the background.

Oh, but what would I do in this room? The same things I normally do–read, research, study, write, and relax. I’d just have a room that is all mine to do them in.


Wacky Wednesday: Worst Hair Mistake

Hype and I are always talking about what works and what doesn’t with our hair. It takes trial and error to find out what works best. But this week we’re asking, “What is the worst mistake you’ve made with your hair?”

Da Realist 1

Image Courtesy of John Kasawa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image Courtesy of John Kasawa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I still consider myself newly “natural,” even though it’s been close to two years (22 months actually) since I stopped relaxing my hair. Maybe that’s because being “natural” has taken a while to get used to. In the time that I’ve been natural, I’ve tried lots of different products–some good, some bad. Most of my mistakes have been minor. . . except for the one rather unfortunate decision to cut my own hair.

I know that trying to cut my own hair was an extremely bad idea. If you’ve read our blog, you know that I’ve had quite an ordeal trying to find someone to do my hair in Iowa. And I just wasn’t feeling my barber at that time. In fact, I had resolved never to go back to her. I decided to try cutting my own hair (something I would not ordinarily do). After all, I cut my husband’s hair all the time, I thought. How bad could my home haircut be? As it turns out, pretty bad. I cut a huge chunk out of my hair–down to the scalp–with the clippers. I was trying to get my fade right in the back. It was a hot mess! There was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better. For the next three weeks of bad hair days, I hid my haircut under a hat whenever I was in public; fortunately, I have a large collection. I eventually went to the barber shop and got my hair cut by a professional again, but I had to wait until my hair grew back. I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone asking who jacked up my ‘fro.

Da Hype 1

Bunch of BananasSo, about a month ago, I had my hair straightened for the first time in 6 months and the first time professionally in over a year. I only straightened it to get my ends clipped. It was bone straight and quite frankly, my hair still has not recovered from the hot comb–there a pieces that will no longer curl properly.

Anyway, that isn’t exactly the mistake I’m referring to, though. The mistake I made wasn’t detrimental or harmful to my hair, it was actually a little humorous. Only a little humorous because I had some place to be that day.

So, we planned to visit some friends who live an hour away. I live in the DC-MD-VA area and everything is at least 45 minutes to an hour away. That morning, I decided to wash and deeply condition my hair. I decided that I needed to make sure I used a conditioner that strengthened and moisturized my hair because it had just been straightened TO DEATH. I decided to mix mashed bananas, honey, and mayonnaise with my favorite conditioner.

I started rinsing out the conditioner and it felt good. I mean really good.

But, then I noticed something: I had banana pieces all over my hair. My tightly coiled hair was not interested in giving up the banana pieces. I washed and rewashed and it just would not come out. Finally, three hours later, my husband (who was tired of waiting for me) comes to me and says, “people online said that this is a regular occurrence with bananas and avocados, and that you should just let your hair dry and it will eventually come out.”

Now, you know I could not go to someone’s house with “banana hair,” so I spent another hour or so more picking out bananas. I got about 80% of the bananas out of my hair before I left, but it wan’t until the next wash that I thought it was completely gone.

Will I do it again? Yes, because my hair never felt better. It was soft, moisturized, and super shiny. Next time, I may consider baby food or make sure I smash the bananas better. I don’t want my kid teasing me again, “Mommy, your hair is straight bananas today!”

Wacky Wednesday: My Starbucks’ Name

What does this say?

What on earth does this say?

I love my tall, nonfat-mocha-no whip (skinny mocha) from Starbucks.The least pleasant part of my ordering experience has to be when they ask me for my name. Yes, it’s a minor inconvenience–though sometimes I wonder why they do this when there are very few or no other people in line. Whenever I give them my first name, I inevitably get a puzzled look. And then, “Huh?” I got so tired of having my name mangled that I decided to use a nickname. Since I’ve had students that call me “Doc,” I figured that would be simple enough. What could be easier? I thought. Apparently, I was wrong, using this seems no easier.

I still get the response: “Huh?” And I say, “Doc–D-O-C.” The name on my cup of coffee has said “Dot” and also “Dock” before. But Saturday’s incarnation of my name was certainly new. See above.

Ok. I’m not really sure what this says, but I KNOW it doesn’t say “Doc.” It makes me wonder why people are having soooo much trouble with this name. Are the barristas unable to wrap their minds around my being a doctor of something? No, I choose to put a positive spin on this. They can’t believe someone so young and beautiful could have a doctorate. 😉 And I accept their compliments.

So, 2 Dope Readers, what’s your Starbucks’ Name?


Wacky Wednesday: What Fictional Character Are You Most Like?

L-R: Raj, Penny, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard

L-R: Raj, Penny, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard

Have you ever seen “The Big Bang Theory”? It’s probably my favorite show. It’s a sitcom on CBS about a group of friends–Sheldon Cooper (theoretical physicist), Leonard Hofstadter (experimental physicist), Howard Wolowitz (mechanical engineer), Rajesh Koothrappoli (astrophysicist), and Penny (waitress/aspiring actress). While Penny works at The Cheesecake Factory, the other main characters are employed at Caltech in Pasadena.

My husband seems to think that I was separated at birth from Sheldon, who is brilliantly played by Jim Parsons. I am not quite sure how to feel about this. Is this a compliment or an insult? On the one hand, Sheldon is a genius with two doctorates and an IQ of 187. On the other hand, he is weird, socially awkward, and. . . uh. . . crazy.

Sheldon is very particular about his “things.” He doesn’t like people touching them, and he doesn’t like people touching him. So, he is extremely uncomfortable with interactions like hugging. Sheldon has routines that become ritualized–always knocking on a door the same way, always sitting in the same spot, always eating certain food on certain days. He’s a fan of science fiction and comic books and enjoys dressing up as his favorite characters for costume parties, Halloween, and renaissance fairs. Finally, he is always reminding people that his name is Dr. (Not Mr.) Sheldon Cooper.

To be honest, there are some similarities between me and Sheldon. I am a little eccentric. I always say that you have to be a little bit crazy to get a Ph.D. And, yes, I have no problem telling people I am Dr. (not Miss, not Ms., and not Mrs.). While I admit to being “particular” about my things and being an introvert, I blame this on being raised as an only child. We’re a little “different.” Although I have never been the life of the party, that doesn’t mean I haven’t partied (sans costume, of course). Lastly, I do have an aversion to hugging, but my friends and family don’t care. They hug me anyway. On the show, Sheldon is fond of saying, “I’m not crazy; my mother had me tested.” I tend to think everybody’s a little crazy though, even me. I just don’t know if I’m like Sheldon.

So, what fictional character are you most like?

Wacky Wednesday: What is Your Most Embarrassing Moment?

Da Hype 1

pink pantiesIt was my last year in High School, and our school had taken a trip to see the new movie on Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington (Yep, I realize that I just dated myself). I can’t remember if this was sponsored by the Black Student Union or a class instructor required us to go. At any rate, I attended the field trip and even wrote about it later in the school newspaper.

What I remember most about attending this screening is what happened during intermission, when I had gone to the bathroom. I was wearing a plaid pink and black skirt and a super cute white blouse. I also had on black tights. I left the bathroom, switching, thinking about how cute I looked in that outfit.

Then, the fine usher who took my ticket when I entered the theater came running toward me, yelling something. I didn’t hear him at first; my cuteness was too loud for me to hear anything. It was as if I was strutting to the beat of a song made just for me and only I could hear the tune. The usher finally came close enough for me to notice that he was addressing me, so I stopped sashaying and reveling in how good I looked to hear what he had to say. I thought, “Oh, my God. He is going to ask me for my number!” I slowly turned around with my hands on my hips and a sweet smile on my face, tilting my head and allowing my hair to cover one of my eyes. I was eager to hear what he had to say. “Miss, your skirt is tucked into your tights,” he said.

“Excuse me?” I asked, hoping he would repeat himself. He was out of breath from trying to catch up to me and I didn’t hear what he said.

“Your skirt is tucked into your tights,” he repeated and this time, it seemed like he enunciated each syllable in slow motion.

I was horrified!! There, for the world to see, were my pink panties, showing through my black tights! I fixed my skirt and ran into that movie theater so quickly. I hid with the crowd when the movie was over, hoping to avoid EVER seeing him again.

Da Realist 1

Image courtesy of Keerati/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Keerati/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Let me preface this by saying that I have never been very coordinated. While I was in college, no one in my sorority ever considered me step show material. But I understand. I can’t count the number of times that I have fallen down stairs, bumped into doors, and tripped over my own feet. My mother always said I was clumsy, and unfortunately that’s true.

I totally embarrassed myself a few years ago at a party. Da Hype 1 took me as her guest to party being given by one of her friends. It was one of those parties in which someone makes a presentation of their products (like candles or jewelry). Later, the guests have an opportunity to purchase some products, and the host gets a discount for having the party.

Well, it was a lovely little party, held upstairs in the hostess’ home. There were probably about 15 people there, most of whom I’d never met. The refreshments were downstairs in the kitchen, and I went down to get some. I helped myself to some chicken wings and Coca-Cola. As I was coming back up the stairs with my plate and cup in hand, I tripped. Yes, I fell up the stairs and landed facedown. It’s the kind of thing you laugh about. . .that is, if you’re not the one sprawled out on the floor. Chicken wings and pop were all over the place, all over this woman’s nice, white carpet. I was mortified, and I blushed, turning as red as a beet. (Yes, I turn red, and it’s NOT attractive.) I apologized profusely. As she spread carpet cleaner on the floor, Hype’s friend assured me that it was ok. I knew what everyone was thinking though, What a klutz. Yup, that’s me. I make one hell of a first impression.

Ok, 2 Dope Readers, we’ve shared our embarrassing moments. We’d love to hear yours.

What Is the Most Important Lesson Your Parents Taught You?

Da Realist 1: Standing up for myself

I was very fortunate to have lots of grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles around when I was a little girl. And I think I learned some of my most important lessons from them. My great aunt Audrey had a tremendous impact on me. She never had children of her own, which is probably why she liked to have me around. She was a no-nonsense kind of person who was serious about good manners and education. She used to tell me, “You MUST BE intelligent.” So, it was clear that I didn’t have a choice.

Here is Auntie, all decked out in her Order of the Eastern Star regalia.

Here is Auntie, all decked out in her Order of the Eastern Star regalia.

Aunt Audrey (or Auntie–pronounced Aint-TEE–as we called her) taught me to stand up for myself. I was always shorter than the children my age and a little timid as well. I stayed with her one summer when I was about four years old. She would drop me at “Octavia’s”, who would babysit while Auntie was at work.  At some point, she began to notice bruises on my back during my bath time. When she asked what happened, I would say “nothing.” Finally, she was fed up and said she’d spank me if I didn’t tell her what was going on. I, of course, spilled my guts. “Mike,” the babysitter’s son, was beating me up every day. He was also terrorizing his two sisters–one was younger; the other was my age. We told Octavia, but she never did anything.

Mike was one or two years older than I was, so I was afraid of him. But Auntie told me that I better not let him beat me up again. And if he tried, I was to “bite the shit out of him” and don’t let go. The next day Mike was up to his old tricks again–bullying. He hit me, and I latched onto his closest body part, which just happened to be his stomach. I’m good at following directions, so I did not let go. Octavia came and tried to pull me off, but still I hung on until my jaws were tired. According to Auntie, he’s probably still got teeth marks on him today.

Octavia asked me why I had bitten her son. And I was happy to relay that “my Auntie told me to bite the shit out of him.” It’s probably not advice that anyone would give children today, but my aunt was old school. I did not become a habitual biter as a result of the incident, but I did learn that I could stand up for myself. And I’ve had to do a lot of that over the years.

Da Hype 1

If you sit down for any length of time with either of my two parents, they are certain to engage you in a conversation of politics. Both of my parents were working class, blue collar folks, who were heavily engaged in their unions. In places like Maryland, that also meant that they were engaged in the activities of the Democratic party.

My parents never banished me to a place for kids only when an adult conversation was in process, so I heard their thoughts on politics and their thoughts on the way politicians operated our city, state, and federal governments. My first political education came from my home. And, as I became older, I was even expected to participate in those conversations.

When Mrs. Amina, the lady up the street needed people to knock on doors for voter registration and to ensure that voters had a ride to polls, my mother was happy to volunteer me for that job. That was my civic duty. So, when the time came for me to vote, I did so, without reservations. I knew what the inside of a polling booth looked like because I had gone in with my mother for years before.

So, I learned how to engage in politics from my parents. They taught me to stay politically aware, engaged, and most of all active.

Ok, 2 Dope readers, it’s your turn. What’s the most important lesson that you learned from your parents?

Wacky Wednesday: The Most Surprising Music on Your iPod

The most surprising artist on my iPod? Well, you know that the 2 Dope Sistahs are old-school hip-hop heads, but our music tastes are also eclectic. I’ve already revealed that I listen to Mozart in a previous post. I wonder, Is there anything more surprising than that?

BillyJoelIt may surprise you to learn that I have Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits on my iPod. I started listening to Billy Joel in my 5th grade music class. Every Friday our music teacher allowed students to bring in albums (yeah, we had albums back then), and we took turns listening to everyone’s favorite songs. I was never permitted to leave the house with one our albums though. One of my classmates must have been Billy Joel’s number one fan because he always brought his Billy Joel album on Fridays. It certainly wasn’t something I listened to at home, but I’ve liked the “Piano Man” ever since.

So, 2 Dope Readers, we really want to know. What music would we be surprised to learn is on your iPod?


Wacky Wednesday: Nicknames

 What does your nickname say about you?

Image courtesy of sixnine pixels/FreeDigital Photos.net.

Image courtesy of sixnine pixels/FreeDigital Photos.net.

Do you have a nickname? If you grew up in a family like mine, a better question might be: How many nicknames do you have? I’m sure I have about nine, with three in active rotation. Most people in my family just call me a by a shortened version of my name, but my father calls me something that no one else does.

Now, my mother is very southern, so she calls everyone babyhoney, or darling (daaah-lin, with her drawl). My father, however, calls me “Shorty,” except it sounds like “Shaw-tee.” He’s been calling me that since I was a little girl. Other people used to taunt me about being short, but I always thought he meant it as a term of endearment. In school, I was usually one of the shortest kids in my class. As a matter of fact, mother claims I was so short that I could walk under the kitchen table until I was about five years old. (She exaggerates.) But I think (I hope) my father continues to call me that because, in a way, he still thinks of me as a little girl. He never seems to know my age, and he seems surprised when I tell him how old I am.Then again, I could be reading too much into this.  Maybe he still calls me “Shaw-tee” just because it’s the truth.

So, 2 Dope readers, do you have a nickname? You can tell us. We won’t tell anyone else. 🙂

**Last week’s Weekly Writing Challenge on WordPress.com was to write about the power of names. This post was my first attempt to participate.

Wacky Wednesday: Hindsight–Advice to the 18-Year-Old Me

Da Realist 1roads

When the Da Hype 1 came up with the idea for this post, I thought it was quite intriguing. As it turns out, we are not the only ones who are thinking of what advice we would give ourselves. Ellyn Spragins has books on this topic, including What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self (2006). And I just found a Pinterest board called “Lessons To My Younger Self.”

Although I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time, I didn’t write anything down. I was unsure of what I should tell myself. What are the things I know now that could have made life easier or maybe even different? Would I tell the 18-year-old to take a different path?

If I could advise that young girl from the M-I-Crooked Letter, I don’t think I would say she should make radically different choices about her life. I would, however, tell her not to take life so seriously. I was a very focused person, determined to make a success out of my life and live up to both family and self-imposed expectations. That single-mindedness kept me out of a lot of typical teenage trouble. I really wasn’t rebellious at all. But this seriousness often prevented me from having fun. It was difficult to just let myself go and enjoy life. I would tell the 18-year-old that it was okay to let her hair down every now and then. We only pass through this life one time (unless you believe in reincarnation), and we should enjoy the ride. All work and no play. . . well, you know.

Da Hype 1

I don’t want to play this game! Do I have to be honest? Ugh. Anything I say will make me a Negative Nelly. Ok. I’ll do my best:

So, I guess I would tell the 18-year-old me the importance of being kind and that nice girls finish last, if they finish at all. I have really thought about this, niceness and kindness, that is. They are two different things. Being kind to people has given me the satisfaction of genuinely blessing others with opportunities or something tangible that they needed and didn’t have. Kindness, for me, is an expression of one’s love and appreciation for humankind and for God. I cannot emphasize how genuine kindness feels to the recipient of kind deeds.

Now, being “nice,” on the other hand, often seems like performance. Have you ever met someone who appeared more invested in the idea that you perceive them as being “nice” than in them actually being amiable? I know people who, I believe, perform “niceness” as a way of cloaking their selfishness.

Let’s examine Dictionary.com’s definition of the word. Nice is “pleasing; agreeable; delightful: a nice visit.” What do you think about someone who is always attempting to please people, someone who is agreeable about everything?

Moreover, nice seems like as empty of a word as anyone can use. So, how empty really is the word “nice”? Let’s say you have just created a work of art, an absolute masterpiece, and you take this work of art that you have been laboring over for years to a friend. You then ask this friend with pure joy and excitement, “What do you think?” They respond, “That’s nice.” Wouldn’t you be pissed off?

So, for me, “nice” is empty, and if I could tell the 18-year-old me anything, it would be to aspire to be kind, not nice, because nice girls finish last. If they finish at all.

OK, 2Dope readers, what advice would you give to the 18-year-old you?

Wacky Wednesday: Your Favorite Quotation

Documentary details Congresswoman Chisholm's 1972 presidential bid. (2006)

Documentary details Congresswoman Chisholm’s 1972 presidential bid. (2006)

“Unbought and Unbossed”

My favorite quotation is short and sweet. It makes me smile and inspires me. When Shirley Chisholm ran for Congress in 1968, her campaign slogan was “Unbought and Unbossed.” She ran to represent the people in her district and declared herself independent from the influence of the party bosses that sought to control her. She was, unapologetically, her own “boss,” and I admire her intelligence, strength and perseverance.

Do you have a favorite saying or quotation that inspires you, makes you laugh, or comforts you? We’d love it if you’d share it with us.