Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gloria and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Those who read this book as a child will understand the title.

I had to get up way earlier than usual this morning because I had an appointment at 10 a.m. I scheduled it about 2 weeks ago and was excited because it was with an advisor and the new director of the MBA program. I usually don't get up for the day at around 11:00-11:30 a.m. I fretted over what to wear because much of what I own no longer fits. I chose the army green slacks and a black cardigan with an a black tank top underneath. It's become a regular standby in my dwindling wardrobe.

I leave the house at 9:30 a.m. because I know traffic and parking near campus are the worst. My faculty/staff pass would only get me so far. I decided against trying to find a spot right next to the building and opted to try a different lot about 400 meters from the my destination. I end up having to park further away than I anticipated and had to hike across grass, pavers, hills and a street to COBA.

I walk in the building. At first I'm a bit leary because I only vaguely remember how to get to the Student Services Center. My steps were so loud that had I been a student in one of the classes I was passing, I would have sworn someone was marching outside in the halls. I walk a bit and feel as if I'm lost. Someone passes me and I smile a bit to try to avoid that "I'm lost" look. A few more steps and my surrounding are a bit more familiar. I turn a corner and walk into the SSC.

A black girl in a hot pink shirt is sitting patiently at table. At the adjacent table, a chipper blond is having a conversation with a shy guy in a gray athletic shirt. Behind the desk, I see a women with a cloud of graying, blond hair busily working at her computer. Completely confused about what I'm to do next, I take a seat at table in front of chipper blond and shy guy. I see a dispenser with a sign that says "Please take a number," and make an attempt to casually look around at the others. None of them appeared to have a number, so impatiently I take out my cell phone.

"Good morning. University Advancement. How can I help you?"
"Tosh. Hey. This is Glor..."

I pause. A women with glasses walks to the front. "I can help the next person."

Chipper blond explains that shy guy is the next person. I wait for her to pause and then interject.

"Tosh. Let me call you back...." then, "I have a 10 a.m. with B____ W_____."

With no pause or thought at all, glasses tells me that B___W____ is out sick and that I'll have to get back on the scheduler and make another appointment.

I hop up and walk to the counter.

"You'll have to explain what you mean by 'scheduler'. I made the appointment with her directly so I have no idea how to go about doing what you just said."

As I was speaking, she stared at me, expressionless, and then she said, "Are you a first semester freshman?"

What would have been a compliment on any other day at any other time was at that moment a biting insult.

"Um. No. I work here. I'm meeting with her to discuss TAP and graduate school options." I almost regret my tone, now but at the time I meant every bit of it.

She jots down a number for me to call and reschedule. I leave defeated. My eyes begin to warm with tears as I trudge back out of the building. I take my cell phone out again. This time to call B____W____'s line.

"Hi. This Gloria G_____. I'm sorry to hear about your illness. Please call me back when you're well because I'm really interested in discussing my options soon. My office number is _____. My cell number is _____. Thanks.."

I make another call to Tosh to explain the injustice. She encourages me. Reassures me. Tells me all will be okay. And...it will. The excitement of actually getting advised was so huge that not being able to discuss it at all was disheartening. I stop at Sonic to drown my sorrows in bacon, cheese and eggs on texas toast.

When I get home I take a nap. Off to campus again at 12:30 p.m. but this time to go to work. I'm still bent over the morning's troubles, but then realize that the afternoon will bring enough of their own and resolve to get over it. I'm just now realizing how right I was about trouble in the afternoon.

Everything is set and I'm ready to go about the business of working. I check my e-mail. B____ W_____ has e-mailed me to apologize and reschedule. I tackle a few issues. One in particular takes about 2-3 hours and ends in no resolution at all. It's finally time to get the stations ready for shift.

I test a new headset, fresh off the mail truck and out of the wrapper. It doesn't work. I plug the old headset and amp into the dialer and realize I can't hear a thing through the headset. Probably an amp issue. I skip to the hallway storage closet to get soem batteries. In the room, the new batteries don't do a thing for the problem. I test a few amps, move to different stations, restart computers, reboot dialers and switch out cords. My stomach begins to turn and a lump grows in my throat. 6 of the 8 stations are having sound issues.

I see a shift manager walk by the window. I realize shift is just 20 minutes away. I call my supervisor and explain the situation. End result. Shift has to be canceled. Money is lost for the evening. So here I sit typing. Completely peeved and sure that nothing will cheer me up. This was a terrible, no good, very bad day. I guess I was due for one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Geek the Library

So, I kept seeing "I Geek..." billboards and web ads and finally decided to google "I Geek" to figure out what it was all about. In visiting the site, I figured out that it's a campaign to raise support for public libraries. I only viewed the site for about 3 minutes but in this time I remembered something I'd forgotten over the past few years. I LOVE reading novels.

I moved to Savannah, GA in the fall of my senior year of college to complete my internship responsibilities. My apartment was a block away from my two favorite places at the time---Zaxby's and the mall. I didn't have internet access in the apartment so I visited the library several times a week to use the internet services there.

There was no cable in the apartment so my free time was spent sleeping, reading my Bible and watching Good Times on DVD. My roommate and I had decided, quite spontaneously, to move to Savannah together because she'd be accepted to graduate school and we both wanted to avoid the hour commute. Although we'd been hall mates and co workers for our entire college career, the relationship had never quite extended beyond the realm of "associate," and I had no illusions that this would change just because we were splitting rent and utilities. I definitely didn't want to depend on our relationship as a way to quench the boredom associated with my Friday and Saturday evenings. I decided after the first few trips to use the internet that I would get a library card so I could read in my free time.

Time passed, I completed my intership, I walked across the stage and I landed my first job. For a reason that will probably be blogged about at a later date, I abandoned the library and fiction writing. The only time I'd retreat to fiction was to revisit old friends like 1984, Native Son or the Invisible Man that I already owned. The only time I'd go to the libary is if I couldn't find a book of interest at the Barnes and Noble in Oglethorpe Mall. Months would pass between my fiction reading. I traded in Ellison, Wright and Chopin for Augustine, Sproul and Bahnsen. My desire to read Black Boy and short stories by Hurston were replaced with a desire to read Matthew Henry's commentaries or Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest.

Last week, for the first time in 3 years, due in part to the I Geek campaign, visited the library. I didn't check out a book about religion or politics, management or sales. I decided that I would only get fiction. By the time I finished, I had 6 friends to take home and explore. The first book I chose to read was Sarah's Psalm. I found the book as I was searching for another book. I liked the cover, so I thought I'd like the story. I'm only a few pages from finishing the book and realize that had it not been for my fiction hiatus, I would be drawn to adopt some of the views that are championed in the story. The Lord has used all my reading about Christian theology to challenge me and my understanding of Him through his word. Afterall, whenever I didn't understand or agree with something I was reading ABOUT the Bible, I'd search the Bible. Whenever I needed clarity regarded a passage in the Bible, I'd consult a commentary. 

I appreciate the I Geek campaign for reminding me about my love for reading fiction. Good novels had kept me company for years and I hung them out to dry...but only for a time. There is nothing wrong with reading a little fiction as long as there is balance. I'm going to go ahead end this abruptly as I know I've gone on TOO long. Now go check out some books...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cluttered mind

I've been struggling with what I should discuss ever since I decided to get back into blogging. My mind is literally full of ideas. "Cluttered" is actually a better word. Should I discuss my thoughts about the latest sermon preached at my church, my views on the hooplah that surrounded the speech President Obama delivered to students this past Tuesday, my views about the latest Tyler Perry movie, hair care, relationships, Chris Rock's upcoming movie about the black hair care industry, or the latest drama on HCR ?

I'm really stuck.

I guess I can begin with the Chris Rock movie. Although the politics of black hair, has been documented both on film, in articles and books, Rock's fame and ability to get a major distributor will bring a new audience into the discussion. His inspiration for making this movie was his 2 year old daughter's struggle with her own hair texture. Imagine a 2 year old child, in tears, because she doesn't have "good hair." Sad in so many ways. It lands in theaters this October and I plan to see it on opening night.

I've been wearing my hair natural, and by "natural," I mean "chemical free," since late 2002. It was a no brainer to me. The process of getting my hair "relaxed" had always been cumbersome and beauty salons were unbearable.

I would see women with fades, TWAs, puffs, locs and twists and stare at them in awe, wishing I was "brave" enough to join them in their journey. I'd make excuses about why I couldn't "go natural." I mean, THEY could do it because they had a pretty face or high cheek bones or *gasp* wavy "good" hair. I, on the other hand, had a big face and strong features. Add that to the concerns that men wouldn't find me attractive, my hair is "bad," people would think I'm unprofessional or that someone might mistake me for a man and my anxiety only increased.

Finally after about 2 years of unneccesary agonizing, I subjected myself to my last "hit" in August 2002. I'd planned to wear my hair under braids for 6 months to alow my hair to grow out and then cut off the processed ends. My plans were foiled when I, in a fit of frustration, took a pair of old scissors to my hair late one evening at the end of September. I went to bed with a feeling of triumph. After looking in the mirror the next morning, triumph faded into grief. What had I done!!! After I got used to my new look (and after a hair trim given to me by my very talented aunt), I embraced my nappiness with exuberance.

I must admit that my "joy" turned to into "militancy" in my early days in napdom. I'd rove the countryside sharing the nappy "gospel" to all who would listen. I'd pout and read the horrors stories at Nappturality about insensitive co-workers, relatives and spouses. "They just don't understand the struggle"  or "they're just brainwashed" were the typical responses to those who dared to allow their eyes to glance at our 'fros too long or to ask questions about our cottony crowns. We'd turn our noses up at the receeding hair lines and "see through" hair of some of our relaxed sisters. We'd share ideas about hairstyles. We'd share homemade pomade and cream recipes. We'd laugh and some days we'd cry. We all shared the same inner feeling of freedom mixed with fear. It all seems rather melodramatic to someone who isn't in the know or even someone like myself who's far removed from my experience as a new nap. I even find MYSELF murmuring "it's only hair." Ha...yes, it is "only hair" but then again, it's not "only hair." When a woman's entire esteem and positive self perception is rooted in the appearance of her hair, it's NOT just hair. When I remember this, I scold myself for being so impatient with someone who's just BC'd for the first time, knowing that each public appearance is an exercise of courage. Shouts out to my new sisters trying to make it through their first year, chem free.

Here I am, older, wiser and 7 years into the game. I don't expect for every black woman to agree with me in my sentiments that wearing our hair chemical free is the most healthy option but I'm glad I didn't continue to allow the possible perceptions of others to keep me in an unhealthy place.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ramble like it's 9/9/09

  1. So it's 9/9/09. Next year we'll have 10/10/10 and the year after that 11/11/11. Finally, we'll have 12/12/12. The next time this happens, my body will be long dead and my soul will be with the Lord.
  2. People are funny.
  3. I love my husband more than I did on July 12, 2008. I didn't know I could love him this much.
  4. I finally called about advisement today. I've decided to do postbacc to do the pre-reqs for my MACC or MBA. Big step. Semi-scary. Likelihood of using said degree in the corporate world? Slim. It IS a life goal though. I'm a firm believer in working towards accomplishing life goals. If the sun shines and the creek don't rise, I'll be back in school in the Spring. I finished my undergraduate degree 5 years ago. Lord help me!
  5. I'm completely worn out from today's training session. Talking for 3 hours straight is tiring.
  6. Dr. Rice visited my alma mater last night and I was fortunate enough to attend. She is awesome. Sounds trite, but seriously, she is awesome. QUITE a woman.
  7. I can see the floor of our bedroom. We'll see how long that lasts.
  8. I love my Pandora Radio Station. It's perfect.
  9. My pastor preached on Malachi 1:1-10 and the Lord pierced my heart. Help me understand your love for me Lord!
  10. I'm totally over my MAC SFF. Time to finally try MUFE HDF.
I ate:
Apple slices, low fat graham crackers, Coke Zero, Salisbury steak and potatoes, low fat granola with chocolate chunks


Okay, so I have a lot of options with this thing. It's definitely a work in progress. I'm still trying to figure out how everything works over here.

The "first post"

How many blogs have I loved and left? I think I’ve broken up with at least 7. Many names and locations I don’t remember. The last was Myspace. We were good while we lasted. Our relationship lasted nearly 3 years. It was an on again off again affair, of course. I scrawled little notes here and there as I was inspired. It pretty much ended when I decided Facebook was a better social networking site. It's much more sleek and easy to navigate. It’s been at least 6 months since we’ve spoken. I think I’ll lay my hat here at blogger for a while (again). Hoping it works out.