Monday, August 15, 2016

3 of 30: 1.6 years.

I'm on a Facebook hiatus. Three days in. I didn't make a grand announcement because I don't like it when other people make grand announcements about leaving (or my favorite, deleting Facebook friends). I hide those people from my news feed.

One desired side effect of the hiatus is a chance to allow my mind to heal. This break is necessary because the constant bombardment of opinions on current events clutters my mind. I have the natural inclination to compare myself to others, so if I'm not careful, seeing the highlights from the lives of others leaves me cold. I recognize this in myself and by His grace I'm better than I was. Still not immune.

I also want to redeem the time I lose by scrolling endlessly for hours on end. I feel compelled to participate in online discussions and I can do it all day. A break makes room for productive pursuits. This isn't to say I'll actually use my time more wisely, but one less distraction puts me on the right path.

I calculated how much time I have spent just scrolling on Facebook over the last decade. Four hours on average is an understatement, I'm sure. But here's the math.

4 hours x 31 days  = 124 hours per month
124 hours per month times x 120 months = 14,880 hours
14,880 hours / 24 hours = 620 days
1.6 years.

What a waste of time! Now what if I spent that same time developing myself. Working towards a degree? Putting work into a business? Learning a new language? Smh...yeah. This hiatus is more than necessary. Time to refocus. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

2 of 30: I'm Black.

"G____, did I ever tell you about the time I worked in the ghetto?"

I humored her as I listened, for the twentieth time about that time in the 1970s when she taught grade school "in the ghetto." We had an audience. The other guests. Sitting there, all gleaming, and "white". I didn't look at any of their faces, but I looked right in hers. Humoring her. Allowing her to feel the comfort she needed to feel. I suppose she felt she was being inclusive. Perhaps she felt the other conversations about music, and people, and life in general were foreign to me. That my silence was an indication of ignorance on the topics. Do Black folks have thoughts about music? About people? About life?

Strange departure as I have known her for years now. She helped me find the florist for my wedding a decade ago. I've prayed around her table. I have cried on her shoulder. But none of these brought a closeness or a familiarity to allay her discomfort. Not the knowledge of my upbringing. A military brat with family ties to the rural South. A college educated woman with a career in a professional external position at one of the largest universities in the state. One who classifies non fiction books about politics, sociology, leadership, and theology as "leisure" reading. None of this could erase the synonymity of "Black" and "ghetto." That I would somehow find her story interesting or relevant. And why direct the question at me? As I sat silently. Right in the middle of completely different conversation with no recognizable segue to "that time she taught in the ghetto."

I wanted to scream. "Black Americans are diverse. Black.Americans.are.diverse. BLACK.AMERICANS.ARE.DIVERSE. We are diverse."

But instead, I sat and listened, and humored...well, until she went into the part about a neighbor explaining why the kids "walked that way." She made exaggerate motions with her arms and wobbled her neck around a bit. At that point, I asked her to get up and demonstrate. She didn't.

Black people are lawyers, drug dealers, social workers, teachers, prostitutes, preachers, small business owners, politicians, military veterans, news anchors, real estate agents, entertainers, dead beat parents, athletes, dentists, engineers, secretaries, morticians, writers, hustlers...

Despite this diversity, Black experience and identity in the U.S. is limited to urban inner cities and poverty. Despite never having lived in a city, yet alone any place that would be regarded as a "ghetto,' I'm associated with it because of my skin. I know those who define themselves as "white" (and not their actual ethnicity) will view me in this way no matter how long they have known me or how they know me or what I accomplish.

There is no "point" to this post. Just relaying an observation I have tested many times in my adult life. There are some who are able to treat me as an individual. Sometimes I want to be treated as an individual. Other times I don't want to be treated that way. Sigh.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

1 of 30: The "Doers"...

Scrolling on Facebook. It's what I do. A lot. I can do it for hours. I like to tell myself it's a good way to "wind down" from a long day. "It's a good mental break," I say. "Only for a few minutes," I think. Forty minutes later, there I sit or lay. In my car. On my bed. Knees up or legs crossed. Phone held 6 inches from my face. Staring at the screen. At lives, or at least what people share. At funny photo sets an memes of dogs, celebrities, internet famous twenty somethings cranking fantastic content from their bedrooms.

So yesterday, or maybe it was the day before yesterday, I stumbled upon a 4 minute video in my news feed. Caption was something like, "What if we believed in ourselves as much as Kanye West believes in himself..." Curious, I put my cursor and on the play button, left clicked, and watched. Video has strong language, so if that bothers you, don't watch.

About 1:00 minute in, Kanye appears in a white room on a white couch wearing a white shirt and says: "If there's anyone out there who is actually 'doing', they know how hard it is to 'do."

I experienced the simultaneous feeling of being punched in the gut and being embraced by a dear friend. This really "laid me bare" as the old church folks say. He identified a problem I haven't been able to clearly articulate. I have a problem with "doing" for myself. Actually DOING. I have the ideas. I have the energy. I have the desire. What's missing is "doing."

It's time to "do."

30 days, 30 posts...

Years removed from this blog, but I miss writing, sharing thoughts, revisiting the "old" me. In many ways, I haven't left writing, I just changed the platform. To be honest, it's made me lazy. Sapped my energy for the work necessary to research, explore, and tell stories.

Today, I'm committing to writing 30 posts in the next thirty days on any topic. At least 500 words, and this one doesn't count. Pumping out content. Exercising my mind, my fingertips, my creativity. Redeeming the time. Doing something more than scrolling, "liking," and typing "lolz". Something more than sharing articles and saving videos.

Time to move forward...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brown Skin Ladies: Clinique Acne Solutions Clear Skin System

This post is dedicated to all my beautiful brown skin ladies with blotchy complexions. I come bearing great news. There is hope...and it's not in a pill, a peel or a dermatologist's office. I know I have slacked off on posting, but I wanted to share this, so here I am. Maybe this will get me "back in the mood" to post more often.

Backstory: Skip to "The Point" if you don't want to read all of this.
In summer 2010, I was on a quest for the perfect mineral foundation. I did a review on Valana Minerals. In that review, I took pictures of my skin, foundation free.

Fast forward a bit to Spring 2011. I was on the search for a line that would clear up my skin once and for all. I did a little research on the web, then went to my local mall to see if they had Clinique's Even Better Dark Spot Corrector. The sales person talked me into purchasing the Acne Solutions Clear Skin System Starter Kit, which is basically a mini version of their Acne Solutions line.

I walked out a happy camper, ready to start yet another trek towards "Clear Complexion Land."

I was pleased with the results, but wasn't quite ready to buy the full sized version (retails at approximately $140, including the Even Better Dark Spot Corrector), so after I ran out of the sampler, I still used the Dark Spot Corrector with the drug store equivalent of the Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam, Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Foam Wash (why is the name so long? Serious question). Anyway, I liked it. I used it with Neutrogena's OFASC Toner and it stopped most of my breakout cycles.

Now, believe it or not, I didn't buy the Dark Spot Corrector for my face. Call me jaded, but I'd already been down the fade gel/cream road several products. I just didn't think it would really work on my face. Silly, I know. I actually purchased it for a dark mark on my chest. It was visible when I wore scoop neck shirts and I didn't want to try to hide it with make up.

Well within about 4-5 weeks, the spot was nearly undetectable. I have no idea why this surprised me. Successful before and after pictures were posted at Clumps of Mascara. At any rate, it was only after my good experience fading the chest mark that I decided it was time to try it on my face.

The point:
So...let's fast forward to about one week ago. I was looking back through this blog, trying to determine the most viewed blog post. The second most viewed was the Valana Minerals review. I couldn't help but notice the pictures I'd posted of my skin. Something was different though. A little off, but in a good way. I got up, went to my bathroom and looked in the mirror. My skin looked NOTHING like that now!

Much of the discoloration seen in those pictures has either disappeared completely, or is MAJORLY faded. What better way to start blogging again than with a product success story?! I have only been using Clinique's line again for about a month or so, this time the full sized products and of course, another bottle of the Dark Spot Corrector (which they only sell in ONE size...big).

Anyway, the pictures are below for your review.

Before (left side)

After (left side)

Before (right side)

Now (right side)

I'm doing "before" and "now" pictures instead of before and after pictures because I am still using the products.

Other things you should know:

  • I did not change my diet by excluding sodas, sweets, fried food, etc.
  • I did not increase my water intake, by any noticeable means (although you can feel free to do it)
  • I stopped touching my face all the time.
  • I became a nearly religious user of Biore Pore Strips. This helped alleviate any desire to bother the white heads and black heads that would show up on my skin. This removed the main reason I'd touch my face in the first place.
  • I use sunblock everyday (as the instructions encourage)
  • I changed my pillow case at least once week.
  • Yes, I still use MAC Studio Fix Fluid everyday.
  • I use Wonder Cloth to aid in removing my make up.

I share the above info to give a better idea of outside variables in this accidental experiment. I will check back in about six months from now. Hopefully I'll be all clear. My question is...what are YOU waiting for? Try it out and tell me how it works for you!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

10 Things...:The elaboration.

1. Don't second guess your gifts, skills and talents.

I'm not one to boast about my gifts and talents because I have never really regarded myself as someone who has any. This is not false humility or self deprecation. I truly can't think of any tangible gifts or talents I have to offer anyone or this world. Now before anyone "poo poos" me and goes on and one about how "everyone has gifts and talents," I think it's necessary to define terms.

"A gift is a special ability or capacity; natural endowment; talent" according to Now let's define "special." According to the same reference, "special" is "distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual." I know we live in a society where everyone is regarded as "special," but the honest truth is that most of us are pretty ordinary. Sure there are some of us "ordinaries" with unique characteristics, but I don't believe that many should be regarded as "special" according to the denotative meaning.

All that in mind, I don't have any gifts (ha!) There is nothing I do that can't be done by someone else or hasn't already been done by someone else. Any "success" I have can be attributed to skills I've learned along the way. That said, I'd tell 19 year old Gloria to learn as many skills as possible. I'd tell her to hone those skills, seek out mentors and positive influences to nourish those skills. I'd tell her not to second guess the importance of those skills and not to be afraid to use those skills when opportunities to exercise those skills presented themselves.

I can remember two times in particular where second guessing myself led me to miss opportunities in my late teens and early twenties. If I could go back, I'd pass myself a note that read, "Go for it."

To be continued....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

10 Things I wish I'd know 10 years ago...

I'm fighting going to bed for some reason. Boredom led me to troll the internet for old hair "idols." Shawnta immediately came to mind. I went to Youtube to see what's she's been up to in the last year or so. I chose this video. She only got around to actually mentioning 6 things but I still appreciated her candor. While listening, I felt compelled to blog on this topic, more for myself than anyone else.

I'll be 30 years old in less than one month. Thirty. 3-0. Ten years from 40. I know people who throw huge, celebratory parties, making much adieu about leaving their twenties behind. I'm not one of those people.Truthfully, I don't know where my twenties went and I actually spend quite of bit of time thinking about what I'd do differently if given a chance. Actually, I've always thought about what I'd do differently, even from my early twenties, only I thought about how I'd change my teenage years.

Is it really possible to have a quarter life crisis for 6-7 years? LOL... Seriously, though, I know I'm not supposed to say I dread turning thirty or that I mourn lost time and perceived missed opportunities. I know the right answers about God's sovereignty, my salvation and how all things were orchestrated leading me to this very moment. All the same, here are some things that 29 year old Glo would tell 19 year old Glo.

1. Don't second guess your gifts, skills and/or talents.
2. Nurture relationships.
3. Be you, beautiful.
4. Live at a 10.
5. It feels really important now, but it's not.
6. Move to DC after graduation, at least for a little while.
7. Throw away all your CDs.
8. Sometimes you have to start from scratch.
10. Go veg or vegan.

Ideally, I'll do a post on several of these topics in coming weeks.

So funny, as I typed that I have things 19 year old Glo would tell 29 year old Glo...may visit that topic one day.

Goodnight moon.