Angry about Talladega?

4 Jan

News has been swirling that Talladega College will be performing at the President Reject Trump’s inauguration later this month. And people are not here for it, especially, alumni of the university. A petition has been circulating, asking the school’s president and band to withdraw from the performance. The reasoning is simple; Donald Trump and HBCUs don’t stand for the same things. Donald Trump believes all black people (aside from Omarosa) live in the “inner city,” and uses drastically incorrect facts when referring to black people. But anyway, the point of this essay isn’t to convince you to like or dislike Trump, or even to sign the petition for Talladega’s band to withdraw.
My point is simply this: If you’re angry about the idea of Talladega performing at the inauguration, it is time for you to make a donation to your favorite HBCU. At the end of the day, this is ALL about money. At this time, no details have been reported about what Talladega will earn financially from this performance, but the Trump team has been struggling to find entertainment for his inauguration, and sources have said they were “willing to pay anything.” So, one could see how a struggling HBCU like Talladega could be enticed by a big paycheck, along with the publicity from performing at an international event like this.

talladega

Money Talks. Money Talks. Money Talks. Talladega has been struggling with their finances for the past few years. This is in part due to lack of alumni giving and lower enrollment. In 2010, enrollment at Talladega dropped to 350 students. With that amount of students, it is difficult to keep up with the costs of running a college. This is where alumni giving comes into play. Alumni donations help increase financial support for the college. The donations also signify that its graduates support a particular college. There are educational organizations that donate to schools based solely on their alumni giving rates, because why support an institution that even their alumni don’t support Pride in your HBCU is a great thing to have, but it HAS to be backed up financially.

Many of you heard about Talladega and said, “My HBCU would never…” but let’s be real. The struggle that Talladega College is going through isn’t unique. HBCUs have been struggling. And though enrollment rates are rising, it is still important for you, as an alum or supporter of HBCUs to support financially. So in the words of MY president, “Don’t boo, vote.” But in this case: Don’t boo, donate!

 

 

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Will #ZzzQuil Help Me Stay Asleep??

2 Aug

OMG, so for the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to make it through the night without waking up. I wish I was waking up because I had to tinkle, because then I could understand WHY I was waking up. But that’s not why I’ve been waking up. I really don’t even know why. According to Huffington Post, it may be a sleeping disorder, or some other underlying cause. But I haven’t figured that out yet. If the problem persists, I’ll head to the doctor to try to figure out why.

In the meantime, I’m going to try Zzzquil. I’ve heard a lot about Zzzquil, and how it’s been helping people sleep through the night. So, tonight I’m going to give it a try! I’ll keep you posted on how it helps me sleep! IMG_7302

P.S. I got this Zzzquil from @Influenster to test for free.

Demolish. (Rose-Colored Glasses)

17 May

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt is DEMOLISH.

“If you hate white people so much, why did you marry Dad?”

That question pained me. “I don’t hate white people,” I looked at my son with intense eyes. “But the injustice going on in the world these days is hard to ignore. And a lot of it comes from white people.”

“All of them aren’t bad, Ma,” he said.

“Obviously, I know that Thomas. Your father isn’t bad. Your grandparents aren’t bad people. In fact, I know plenty of white people that aren’t bad.”

“So why are you telling me to be careful? Like they’re dangerous?”

“Listen, Thomas. I just said all of them aren’t bad. There’s no group of people who are all good or all bad. I’m asking you to look around and see what’s happening to little black boys your age and younger. Pay attention, and realize that the world is a dangerous place for you.”

“But those guys are different from me. I’m not like them.”

My hurt turned to anger in an instance. “You’re not like them?” I asked. He didn’t have a chance to respond. “What makes you different Thomas? You are not special, you’re not different. Your accomplishments and your white father don’t make you better than those other people being murdered.”

Thomas had just gotten his learner’s permit, and I felt it was time to have the talk with him. My intention was to teach him the correct way to treat police officers. I didn’t include my husband in the conversation, fearing his privilege would cloud his vision. I was actually seeing for the first time that my son had his own rose-colored glasses. He didn’t understand the impact that his skin color had on his life. Instead he wanted to argue with me about whether or not I liked white people.

“Are you listening to me,” I yelled and snapped my fingers. “To some of these people, you are nothing but a nigger.”

The word stung coming out of my mouth. I hadn’t used it in all the years since I’d given birth to Thomas. I couldn’t even remember the last time. But, finally I had his full attention.

“I’m sorry, Thomas.” My anger reverted to sadness. “I need you to hear me though. You are an amazing young man. And I love you. That’s why I’m having this conversation with you. The racist people in this world can’t see how amazing you are just by looking at you. All they see is your black skin. And instantly they hate you, before you even open your mouth. And I know it’s 2016, but the danger you face is real.”

I was rambling. I didn’t have the poise that my parents had when they had the talk with my brothers and me. I didn’t have the strength to have the talk either. But I knew it had to be done.

It had to be done. In the 21st century, I had to have a conversation with my child, explaining to him that he’d never be good enough for some people. The world that his father and I created for him wasn’t reality. The sheltered view of life we provided for him wouldn’t protect him in the real world. Pain. Anger. Sadness. It was an emotional rollercoaster that had no end. And it was a rollercoaster my son would be riding the rest of his life, he just didn’t know it yet.

I hated the situation, but I loved him. So as his mother, it was my responsibility to shatter those rose-colored glasses before someone else did it.

Perfection.

14 May

Facebook is not the place to go when you’re feeling sad. In moments of self-doubt, the social network could be your worst enemy. Right in front of your eyes, everyone else’s perfect worlds are on display.

 

They just got engaged. You have no boyfriend, bae, or boo in sight.

He’s traveling the world. You might not even have a passport.

Her job is amazing and fun. You sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day bored to death.

She takes the best, sunlight filtered selfies. Your last pic update got only 9 likes.

 

Their lives are perfect, and it shows in every post, picture, tweet, snap, and update.

 

You’ve just got to remember: perfection doesn’t exist.

Surrender. (Identity Crisis)

29 Apr

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt is SURRENDER.

Being ignored was a big part of my lifestyle. I was invisible, all the time. If I was ever invited to an event, I often sat in the corner as if I’d been forgotten about.

I remember once, I was looking the best I’d looked in years. My makeup was flawless, there wasn’t a hair out of place on my head, and the gown I was wearing hugged my body in all the right places. And yet, no one cared. Photographers were yelling at me to move out of the way. Red carpet reporters were basically pushing me out of the way to get a sound byte from my husband.

My dreams of us being a power couple quickly faded, and I succumbed to being an accessory. I no longer had my own identity. He was famous; I was just his wife. I was the person he thanked during award speeches, and then left at home alone while he went to industry parties.

I wanted to scream. I was more than his wife.

I read lines with him when he couldn’t remember his scripts. I replied to fan comments on his Twitter and Facebook pages. I’ve been his stylist, his barber, his maid.

I was his everything. And nothing at the same time.

Love. (A Hair Story)

26 Apr

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt is LOVE.

“Wow! I love your hair like that.”

“It’s so long.”

“You look pretty with it like that.”

“I didn’t know your hair was that long.”

“You should keep it like that.”
That was the comment that bothered me the most. That I should keep my hair like that – straight. As if the curls that grew naturally out of my head weren’t good enough. Or, that the hair on my head was for their viewing pleasure. It’s not. It never was. They liked me better when my hair was smooth and straight.
“So, are you going to straighten it again?”
“No.” I said it politely and with a smile. I loved me best with my curls, my coils, my kinks, my ‘fro.

I loved me best when I looked the way God intended.

Why #Goals Are Important. 🍋

23 Apr

Shortly after watching Beyonce’s new visual album, Lemonade, I checked social media for the reactions. The reactions were wide and varied. There were jokes about Jay-Z. There was appreciation for the many Black women in Beyonce’s squad. And of course most of the reactions were to the lyrics, mainly the ones about Queen Bey and Jay’s marriage. But, this post from my Facebook friend stood out to me.

 

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Sooooo, are Beyonce and Jay-Z still ya’ll #RelationshipGoals ?

 

Of course, most of the people who commented on this status answered with a resounding NO. The commenters reasoning made sense: You could see from Lemonade that Jay & Bey’s relationship wasn’t perfect. But what relationship is perfect? [Hint: none.] Just because someone’s relationship isn’t perfect doesn’t mean you can’t learn lessons from it.

Jay-Z and Beyonce’s marriage isn’t the picture of perfection, but they are two intelligent, hard working, powerful individuals. They’re both at the top of their game – winning many awards and accolades. They’ve set and broken records. They share a daughter that they love. They help out various communities. These are all things I’d love to do with the man I’m meant to marry. The Carter’s accomplishments aren’t an excuse for infidelity. I’m simply saying that making someone your #RelationshipGoals doesn’t mean you want your relationship to be exactly like theirs.

Setting #Goals for your life is important. And, there’s nothing wrong with finding people (“real” or celebrities) to serve as inspiration to help you reach your goals. All you need to do is highlight their successes to guide you in creating your own plan of action.

Because at the end of the day, no one is perfect. No one’s relationship is perfect. No one’s family is perfect. No one’s career path is perfect. No one’s life is perfect. But that shouldn’t stop you from admiring others, and using the good things about them to create a life that’s perfect for you. 🙂

Complicate. (Just Friends)

17 Apr

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt is COMPLICATE.

“Y’all relationship is so boring,” Mia laughed loudly and took a sip of her drink. “Travis makes y’all do the same thing every Friday night. Dinner and then dry ass sex.”

“First of all, Mia, Travis doesn’t make me doing anything. And, our sex isn’t dry. We like to eat and then, you know.” Sierra was slightly annoyed at her friends for laughing at her relationship. “Both of you,” she pointed to Mia and Jade, “are single as hell. So don’t come for me.”

“I’m not coming for you,” Jade said. She was good at smoothing things over. “We were just saying, you and Travis’ anniversary is coming up; you might want to spice things up. You know, try something new.”

“No, I’m saying your sex life is dry. Travis is so controlling, so y’all only have sex on Fridays after you eat chipotle for dinner and watch some dumb TV show that Travis picked. Y’all probably be in the same position every time too. Dry!”

“Mind your business, Mia.” Jade said. She could see her friend was uncomfortable. “Sierra’s right…we don’t have dudes in our life, so we should just chill.”

All three girls got quiet when the waiter came to the table. He placed the plate of wings in the middle of the table, and walked away.

“Ok, so what would you do to ‘spice things up’?” Sierra asked.

“While you guys are driving to Charlotte, ask him some sexy questions. Ask him something like: ‘what kind of food would you like to use on me in bed?’ Or, ask him ‘would you rather be tied up or tie me up?’ Or, just say some dirty, freaky shit.”

“That’s a good idea,” Jade said. “I’ll Google some fun questions for you guys to talk about on the trip.” Jade pulled out her phone and began to search. “Ok, here’s a whole list. Number one: What is the most expensive date you’ve been on? That’s a fun one right?” Jade asked.

“Let me see,” Sierra asked. “These are cool. I can ask him most of these.”

The three girls spent the rest of their dinner looking up questions for Sierra and Travis to talk about on their trip down to North Carolina. Mia wanted her friend to buy some lingerie or toys – but she’d settle for some freaky questions.

 

Three days later, Sierra was ready to shake things up a bit in her relationship. They’d been in the car for about two hours, when she reached out to turn the radio down. “I wanted to try something fun while we’re driving. It’s a little game where we ask each other questions.”

“Um, ok.” Travis looked at her out the corner of his eye.

“Ok,” Sierra sighed. She pulled out her phone, where she had saved the questions the girls came up with. “Ok, where is the strangest place you’ve ever had sex?”

Travis laughed and kept his eyes on the road. “Where you get these questions from?”

“Just play along Travis. I think it’ll be fun and maybe sexy,” Sierra said. She adjusted her body in the passenger seat so she’d have a better look at Travis’ face.

“Alright. The strangest place I’ve ever had sex,” he repeated. “Hmm, I guess it would be this one time in a girl’s backyard. It was pretty strange. Her parents weren’t home, but her grandmother was, so we couldn’t go in the house. No more grass for me, though,” Travis chuckled.

Sierra laughed, “How old were you?”

“I don’t know, maybe like 16 or so.” Travis laughed.

“Ok,” Sierra said. “You can ask me a question if you want.”

“Uh,” Travis thought. “You ever wanted to be with another girl?”

Sierra giggled and shook her head, “Nope.”

The couple went back and forth asking questions. More than being turned on, Sierra was happy to be learning more about Travis. She probably would’ve never known how much he liked lingerie without this little game. Or that he’d always wanted to go to Hawaii with her one day.

“Ok, here’s a good one,” Sierra said looking at her phone. “If I gave you a hall pass for one day, and you could be with anyone, who would you pick?”

“That is a good one,” Travis said. “Probably Tasha.” He looked like was thinking for a moment. “Yeah, definitely Tasha.”

“What?” Sierra asked.

“You asked who I would be with if I had a hall pass, right?” Travis looked confused.

“But why would you choose Tasha?” Sierra’s voice suddenly got deeper. “She’s your best friend,” Sierra said making air quotes. “I’ve asked you before if you had feelings for her, and you always said no.”

“Come on Sierra, you know what I mean. I didn’t say I had feelings for Tasha. I said I would fuck her. It’s different.”

There the argument began. “So you’ve thought about fucking her,” Sierra said. “I knew you liked her. Or have you already fucked her?”

“Sierra. What. Are. You. Talking. About?” Travis rarely raised his voice at his girlfriend, but he was frustrated.

Sierra sat in silence.

“Are you serious? You ain’t talking to me?” Travis’ voice got quiet. “I’m sorry, Sierra.”

“You should be. Fucking Tasha,” Sierra mumbled.

“I never fucked her.”

“But you want to?”

“You asked me who I would be with if I had a hall pass. I gave you an answer.” Travis got into the right lane and began taking the next exit off the highway.

Sierra began her silence again, until she looked at the navigation system, and realized they were going the wrong way. “Where are we going?” she asked.

“I got to pee,” Travis said. “Do you forgive me?”

“No I don’t forgive you. You were supposed to say someone like Oprah or Taylor Swift,” Sierra said.

“Why in the hell would I say Taylor Swift?” Travis asked.

Sierra began to chuckle. Taylor Swift was the exact opposite of Travis’ type. “You can’t be friends with Tasha anymore.”

“What? I been cool with Tash since I was like six. She’s family.”

“You don’t FUCK your family, Travis. I don’t want you talking to her anymore.”

Travis sighed, “I’m a grown man, Sierra. And Tasha is just my friend. You’re my girl. I love you. YOU.”

“Then you shouldn’t have a problem leaving Tasha alone.” Sierra said.

“Sierra, I’m about to say this one more time,” Travis said as he pulled into the parking lot of a McDonalds. “We shouldn’t have even started playing this stupid game. I love you. Tasha is just the homey, I would never be with her.” Before Sierra could say anything, Travis jumped out of the car. He leaned inside. “I’m done with this conversation. Be in a better mood when I get back.” Travis slammed the car door and walked away.

Sierra sat in the silent car, upset. She pulled out her phone and opened the group text she had with Mia and Jade.

Sierra: Remind me to never take relationship advice from you single bitches again.

Don’t Get Caught Without It

31 Jan

Working at a credit union taught me a lot about money. I’ve always been pretty good with money, but there I saw many people’s mistakes and learned how to avoid them. One of the things I saw a bunch of times was people who had $0 in their saving accounts. Even a minor emergency could set them back for months, because they failed to prepare. Life can take you for an unexpected at any time. Illness, injuries, job loss, and relationship problems are all reasons to have an emergency fund.

You may say, “that’ll never happen to me.” And hopefully, nothing bad ever does happen to you. But the reality is emergencies are never planned. Life might be amazing for you right now, but that won’t stop an unexpected expense from popping up.

Bottom line – we all need emergency funds. Money expert Michelle Singletary recommends having a bare minimum of 3 months of your salary set aside. Having a year of your salary saved is even better. That takes A LOT of time to build, but it’s worth it.

So, how can you save that much? Here are 5 things I did to start my emergency saving account:

  1. Set small goals. Saying you need a year’s worth of your salary saved is too large of a goal to start with. It’s actually pretty overwhelming to think of saving that much. I began by identifying how much my average pay check was. Then, I made that goal #1. Once I hit that goal, I kept going. I’m nowhere close to a year of pay set aside, but slowly but surely, I’m getting there. Even Suze Orman knows it may take years to save this much. But you’ll never get there if you don’t start.
  2. Treat savings like a bill. Make it so saving money isn’t even an option. Figure out what you can cut out of your current spending, and put that money into your savings account.
  3. Out of sight, out of mind.  Your emergency fund should be somewhere you can get to it in a real emergency, but not in a fashion emergency. So, take it out of the bank where you do your regular spending & bill pay. If you can, have your job deduct it out of your paycheck and direct deposited somewhere else. Eventually, you may forget about the money, until you need it. Use an online tool to find a savings account that has high interest (this way your savings will make you money, too).
  4. Unexpected money isn’t yours. It belongs to your savings account. If you aren’t using your tax return to pay a bill, then it needs to go to your savings. And, as tempting as it may be to spend your work bonus on yourself, the majority of the money needs to go to savings. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
  5. Don’t Quit. If you must take a break from savings, hop back on the horse quickly. Using your emergency funds for an emergency, is fine. But work quickly to replace the money you took out.

6 Reasons to Cruise!

27 Jan

This past August, my group of friends from college and I went on a Carnival cruise🚢. We sailed from Miami, and went to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. This wasn’t my first cruise, but it was my first as an adult. I have to say, cruising may be my new favorite way to travel. Here’s why:

  1. The Food. Because food is quite unlimited, you can taste whatever you’d like. I had my very first lobster tail, snails, and alligator. I ordered a cheese plate for dessert (which is something only Vacation Courtney would do). But why try these new things? Because I could. It was already paid for, and, I knew that if I hated the crazy thing on my plate, I could replace it with chicken tenders & fries with a *snap* of my fingers. And, after all the partying I did on the ship, 24 hour pizza was a necessity.
  2. The Drinks. Ok, so the drinks and the food kind of go hand-in-hand, but I had to separate them. When I get around my friends, we tend to drink-a lot! So, again there’s a basically unlimited number of drinks to have, and bonus: no one has to worry about being the designated driver. The ship we were on had bars all over the place so I had a long island or a shot for every activity.
  3. The Activities. So pretty much everything is included in the price you pay. I failed at took Michael Jackson dance lessons, played miniature golf, saw a flash mob performance in a night club, and got to be an audience member in a Newlywed Game knock-off. The cruise ship gives you 2 options: chill & relax, or stay completely active. I love that if I want to lay in the sun and people watch, I can do that. Or, if I want to be a judge of a drag competition, I can do that too.
  4. The Excursions. The activities and the excursions probably sound a lot alike, but they’re not. The activities were things you could do on the boat. The excursions were off the boat and (unfortunately) cost a bit of extra money. But if you’re a person who likes adventure, you’ll definitely want to do one. And scaredy cats like myself can find some type of adventurous thing to do. For me an my friends, we decided to ride ATVs in a Mexican “jungle.”  This is probably something I’d be too nervous to do in my everyday life. But, Vacation Courtney was down for it. After the ATV rides, I was able to lay on a sunny, hot beach and just relax. Best of both worlds.
  5. The People. This is probably my favorite part. I got to meet and interact with people that I’d never know in any other setting. On a normal vacay, you don’t run into the same people over & over again. A cruise is the only place I can think of where you’ll have the same strangers as dining companions for many nights in a row. I’m now Facebook friends with a 50-ish Real Estate Agent from Florida. Where else could I have connected with him? No-where. That’s where.
  6. The Disconnection. This may be an anti-millennial thing for me to say, but I loved being disconnected from the world. On a cruise, you don’t have access to the internet or cell towers. So unless you want to pay a billion dollars, your smart phone turns into just a camera & mini-boombox. I loved this. Before setting sail, I called my parents to say “see ya,” and after that, I was able to focus solely on the fun. It’s actually what made #1-5 even better. And of course, after the cruise was over, my friends and I were able to flood Instagram with our cruise pictures.

So, there you have it. I’m already planning my next cruise, so I can see if there are even more reasons to go.