On the Midnight Train (from DC): A Shoe Story

2 09 2014

Coming down the escalator, I looked at the monitor in the train station to see just how long I’d have to wait for the next train.

Sigh. Twenty minutes. I must have just missed the last train, I thought.

I stepped off the escalator with purpose and care, making sure not to let my cobalt blue Jessica Simpson pointed toe pumps hit the ground too hard, but also letting anyone watching know that I was no punk (even with my stilettos on).

It was midnight in DC after all, and I was by myself heading home from a longer than needed to be Happy Hour situation. All of this meant that I was extra aware of not trying to look drunk and/or like a fragile, demure little girl who couldn’t handle herself. But I also didn’t want to ruin my shoes just so no one would bother me.

I quickly scanned the platform and found an empty bench, plopping my body on the concrete slab since I had so much time to kill. I glanced up at the monitor again. Great — nineteen minutes left. I couldn’t believe only a minute had passed by, but that just meant that I needed to find something to occupy my time and hopefully make it go a little quicker.

Figuring the best way to do that was by writing, I pulled a pen out of my purse, along with my trusty journal and began scribbling down thoughts of mine for later blog posts. I was in a zone. I was writing furiously. I was minding my own business… that is until I suddenly realized I had company.

“Hey, what are you writing over there,” he asked, as he sat down, just a little too close to me.

He’d walked up right as I’d finished about a 1/2 page worth of material, but since I wasn’t really in the mood for chit chatting, I’d tried to ignore him. Clearly, he hadn’t received the hint.

“Uhhh, nothing really. Just some thoughts,” I said, slightly picking my head up, but quickly returning my attention back to my pen and paper.

“Oh ok. Must be some really interesting thoughts. Can I read?”

“I’m sorry, what?” I looked up again, brow furrowed so he would know that I was in no mood to entertain his fancy.

“I was just hoping maybe I could read some of your thoughts,” he replied, backing off slightly.

“I don’t think so.”

I was determined to get this dude to leave me alone, and so finally, I locked eyes with him.

He smiled.

“Listen,” I said, softening up my stance a bit. “I’m not trying to be rude. But I’m just not in the mood, so whatever you were thinking might happen here. It’s not going to. Okay?”

“Okay, cool. I get you,” he said. “And I appreciate you being straight forward. I’m not trying to bother you, promise. I just… well… I saw you coming down that escalator with your serious face on and your blue shoes sparkling on the ground, and I just was caught off guard. And then I saw you sit down and start writing and I was like, man, I need to get to know her.” I could tell he was speaking from a sincere place as he slightly ran his hands over his jeans a few times trying to combat his nerves while talking to me.

“So you just admitted to watching me for the past few minutes, you know that right?”

“Yea I did,” he chuckled nervously. “I guess that didn’t really help my case.”

“No,” I laughed. “It didn’t. Look, you seem like a nice guy and you’re attractive, but I’m just not trying to go there with anyone right now.”

“I understand,” he said, sitting back onto the bench, away from me. “I get it.”

The next few minutes passed by as I continued to write in my journal, still aware that he was sitting next to me and probably still watching me. His obvious stares made me nervous but also a little excited, and that caused me to begin tapping my heeled feet on the ground over and over.

“Am I making you nervous,” he finally asked me.

I turned to face him. “Yea, a little bit.”

“Oh ok, well I don’t want to make you nervous. But I was just thinking about what you said earlier — how you’re not trying to go there with anyone right now?”

“Yea.”

“Well what if we just became friends? I don’t know, there’s something about you that just tells me I need to get to know you — in whatever way you’re comfortable with.”

“Ummmm…” I looked at the monitor again. I was tempted by his request, but thankfully the train was now only a minute away. Saved by the incoming train, I thought.

“I don’t know. I mean, it doesn’t really sound like you’re looking for a friend,” I finally said.

“I’m not. But I’d be willing to be your friend. If that’s what you wanted.”

I looked around again and noticed the lights flickering on the platform, signalling that the train was imminent.

“Hmmmm… I don’t know. I just don’t know,” I said, hesitating, but also beginning to pack my things back into my purse to be ready for when they train came. This guy had no way of knowing, but I’d just recently ended things with someone and just wasn’t in the right place to try and date again. But he was cute… I was torn!

“Come on,” he said — smiling brighter than I’d seen him smile the whole time. “You don’t have to think too hard. How about I just give you my name and number and you can decide later if it’s something you want to use.”

“Okay,” I said. “I could do that.”

He quickly scribbled his name and number down on a piece of scratch paper he found in his wallet and handed it to me as the doors to the train opened.

“Thanks,” I said. “I’ll think about using it.”

“That’s all I ask for,” he said, smiling like a guy who knew he’d just given himself a chance.

“Wait — what’s your name,” he called out right before the doors closed. “I don’t want to just know of you as the pretty girl with the blue shoes.”

“Darby,” I said, giving him a slight smile.

“Okay, Darby. I look forward to hearing from you.”





Tips for My Future Husband — #19

28 08 2014

Let’s travel together.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was in Paris with some of my favorites, and while we were casually strolling down the street, eating crepes and drinking hot wine, I saw a couple in their wedding attire running down the street and kissing. It was in a very playful manner, and I believe they were taking wedding photos, but more importantly — it was the first time on the trip I’d seen an obvious couple doing obvious couple things. In fact, we’d been there for a few days at that point, but even though we were supposedly in the City of Love, it was the first time I’d noticed relationship love in the city.

Of course, from that point forward, every where I turned, I saw couples — doing couple things. Now, I wasn’t sure if those folks were making out in the plain of day on sidewalks and streets because they were so compelled by each other and the spirit of the city, they couldn’t control themselves, or if it was because they were in Paris, so they felt a need to make out in the plain of day on sidewalks and streets. Because you know — Paris.

Either way, even though it was a for a split second, seeing all those couples made me think about how it would be to experience Paris with my future boo. I quickly snapped out of it, because I mean, a) I was in Paris, and I was going to friggin’ enjoy that experience no matter who I was with; and b) I was with some of my favorites, so it wasn’t like I was lacking in the company department. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it crossed my mind. Or if I tried to say I hadn’t thought about it on other trips since then as well.

I know, I know — that’s not the feminist thing to say. I’m supposed to say something like, “I don’t need no man to travel with me!” And I don’t, and I’ve loved every single trip I’ve taken by myself and with my friends. And even when I’m married one day, I will still want to spend some time traveling on my own and/or with just my friends. But… I also want to add traveling with future hubby into the equation.

I used to feel bad about that desire. Like I was less than a woman for thinking of how that experience would be. For contemplating what we could learn from each other while out seeing the world (or even just another part of the East Coast lol). For thinking of how much fun we’d have. But I soon got over that feeling too. Maybe not as quickly as my feeling in Paris, but I eventually realized that beating myself up over something that’s a natural desire was just a waste of time. And I got further confirmation when I saw an article titled the 7 Benefits of Traveling Together as a Couple recently.

Well hot damn, I thought! I knew there was some good reasoning behind my desire.

And wouldn’t you know some of the first benefits they listed were things I’d thought of as good reasons to travel with your boo-thang anyway? Things like the fact that it causes you all to get to know each other even better, you’re able to make new memories together, and you find out how you work together as a team. Add all those things to the fact that I just genuinely love traveling and exploring different cities and cultures and would love to share that joy with my guy — and I just knew I had to add this one to the tips series.

So yea, I want us to travel together before we become Mr. and Mrs. D-Magic, and I’m okay with saying that now.

Heck, before we even think about becoming Mr. and Mrs, I want us to travel together. We don’t have to wait until we have rings to go out and have fun.





Celebrity Shoe Spotlight — Nicki Minaj

26 08 2014
Photo: Elle Magazine

Photo: Elle Magazine

Nicki Minaj is known for many things — her music, her charm, her business acumen, her assets (lol), and after this weekend’s VMA’s, her amazing composure in handling wardrobe malfunctions — but one thing I’ve noticed above all else is that she’s just as much of a shoe girl as I am.

Now, I don’t always agree with the shoes she chooses, but you can never, ever say they are boring. Whether she’s rocking some Alexander McQueen pumps or knee-high Giuseppe Zanotti cage sandals, you can tell Nicki’s a woman who likes to rock a bold shoe. You see this even with her more toned down look she’s been sporting in 2014 — you’ll consistently find her in solid colors (like black or nude), but also in a bold, printed, or colored shoe. Her most recent example of this was in the post VMA photos, where she’s giving poses for life in her black and white Giuseppe Zanotti Crystallized Peep-Toe Booties. The shoes were the perfect accent to the simple, black velvet, deep V mini-dress she wore — and Nicki clearly knew it.

Those shoes were just for one occasion, but here’s a look at some of the rap diva’s other recent shoe moments. Do you have a favorite?

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Five Ways to Love Yourself in the Midst of a Crisis

21 08 2014

In light of the most recent events happening in our country and the rest of the world, I’ve seen a few a friends remind their social and email networks of the importance of taking some time out to self-love and self-heal. It sounds a little pseudo, but stress really does kill you — and you can’t tell me that folks aren’t stressed the hell out these days.

Thing is, my dad always reminds me that your brain doesn’t know the difference between physical and mental stress. That it all seems like you’re banging your body up against a brick wall.

So to help combat that a little (and to pay the reminder forward¹), here are my top five suggestions to loving yourself in the midst of a crisis/storm/stressful time.

1. Take some time away from whatever it is that’s stressing you — I know, I know. It sounds like you’re just avoiding things, but sometimes you have to step away from the stressful stimuli to gain perspective and also to not go crazy. That’s not saying to get under the covers for days, but you shouldn’t be afraid to turn off the TV, power down your phone, and avoid the Internet for even a few hours to help you de-stress.

2. Do something that makes you happy — For me, that’s usually dancing or hanging out with loved ones doing nothing. Your happy place will be unique to you, but you should find it and engage in it at least until you can find yourself laughing genuinely.

3. Get a hug from someone — Yes, the photo for this post is someone hugging herself, but understand, there’s power in the touch of loved ones. Let someone hug you (even if you’re not a hugger), and let him/her do it for longer than 30 seconds. You’ll see.

4. Get some rest — Sleep is so important. And I say this as someone who is a night owl and rarely goes to sleep at a reasonable hour, but I also speak as someone who can feel the difference when I get a restful eight hours of sleep and when I barely get four. My body knows the difference, and so does yours. And your body will break down if you don’t let it refuel to the level it needs.

5. Don’t feel guilty for thinking of you — I used to have this problem (sometimes still do). When I made time for myself in the midst of a stressful situation, I’d feel like I was letting folks down or being selfish. But I had to learn that it’s not about being selfish. It’s about self-preservation. And if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t be there for anyone else.

Those are my top five suggestions, but what about you all? Do you have any that would be good to share?

1 I also want to be sure to thank those who included me in their reminders. It was much needed!

PS: WordPress tells me this is my 700th post!! WOW! That’s kinda crazy — thank you all for coming with me on this crazy ride thus far. Here’s to at least 700 more :)





On Trying Desperately Not to Feel Defeated in Light of #Ferguson

19 08 2014
Images created by Shirin-Banou Barghi and shared on Facebook

Images created by Shirin-Banou Barghi and shared on Facebook

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” — Zora Neale Hurston

Like many, this past week has been a rough one for me. I’ve struggled with watching the footage from Ferguson, MO and reading of other unarmed Black men being killed because their bodies made someone perceive them as a threat. I’ve gone from angry to sad to exhausted to making sure I’m hyper aware of everything going on and then back to angry again. I’ve wrestled with the already cynical, slightly militant, HBCU graduate side of myself that wants to raise my fist all day long (because that’s what is engrained in me to do as a Bison) and yet doesn’t truly believe anything I do will amount to much when I see peaceful protestors getting tear gassed every time I turn on MSNBC or CNN. I’ve signed petitions and talked through potential legislation with friends who walk in that arena about what can truly be done to help stop this from happening again (because that’s what is engrained in me to do as a Hoya). I’ve even contemplated how realistic it is to crawl in the bed for a few days, roll the covers up over my head, and pretend like the world doesn’t seem to be collapsing before our very eyes on our TV screens.

And while all of those thoughts have run through my head, another one remains. One that tells me, “You don’t have the luxury or the right to feel exhausted. You, who knows the history of this country; you, who volunteers in her community; you, yes you, can’t run and hide from this moment. Because your people are being treated as if they are terrorists in their own land. Because your peers are going straight into the thick of things, getting arrested for simply exercising their rights to be a part of a free press, and fearing for their lives as they attempt to identify themselves as media, hoping that makes a difference. Because someone’s child was killed, seemingly because he committed the very harmful crime of jaywalking while Black. Because yet another child was killed.”

It’s because of those last thoughts that I don’t get under my covers and just cry. But that doesn’t mean the desire isn’t there — especially when it feels like Black people are having to constantly explain our rage and pain. Be clear — this isn’t to vilify everyone, of course, but it’s to acknowledge that because of some folks’ action, I’m tired. Tired of hoping one day people will get it. Tired of being disappointed when they don’t. Tired of knowing that to some individuals, it will never be important that a Black kid bled out on the street from bullets that should have never even gone near him. Just because he is Black.

How many times do we have to see a Black mother or father get on TV and tell of how he or she now has to answer a child’s inquiry of if he will get shot simply because of who he is? How many times do we have to see the images of the brutal over reactions to Black bodies in public spaces? What’s it going to take for some folks in this country to acknowledge that we are human beings???

I wrestle with those questions too, obviously.

I wrestle with a feeling of despair that wants to take over and force me to give up.

I wrestle with a feeling of helplessness, wondering if anything I do matters when we can’t even prevent our children from being gunned down by the people who are supposed to protect them.

And because of all that wrestling, I’m so damn tired y’all. But I’m a daughter of Howard, which means I’m a sister of Zora… so I know. I know despite my wrestling, I can’t keep quiet. Despite the despair that wants to take over, I can’t give up. And despite the exhaustion I feel, I can’t tuck myself under the covers and act like nothing is happening. Not when there’s so much more work to do.





Say Yes to the Kiss

14 08 2014

Clearly y’all know I like to kiss. Well, actually, that’s an understatement. I looove kissing. But have we ever talked about all the different types of kissing between partners or potential partners on here?? I think not!

Well, never fear — the wait is no longer.

One thing to note about kissing is that the level of intimacy or passion within each kiss is completely dependent on the kissers. For example, a single peck can be just as intimate as playing tongue hockey if it’s with the right person, kind of like how holding someone’s hand can send chills down your spine if it’s someone you’re really into. And speaking of the peck, let’s start there.

1. The Single Peck: This can come in many forms — the peck on the cheek, the one in the crease of the cheek and the mouth, straight on the lips, etc… But the key about the single peck is that it typically doesn’t last longer than about 3 seconds. And that’s in cases when someone decides to lay a lingering peck on you, which, uhhhh is super sexy by the way. (Or at least I feel sexy when I do it haha.). But even with the shortest, simplest version of the kiss, there can be such variation of intent. You may find yourself giving a relationship peck to your partner if y’all have been together for a while or it could be a teasing peck between two would-be lovers.

It can mean goodbye or hello, stay or leave. It can be really soft, with the lips barely touching their counterpart (cheek, crease, other lips, etc…) or it can be intense and hard and signify anguish and pain. Either way, I think when most people mention kissing, they tend to overlook the single peck in their minds. However, the simplest version of the kiss shouldn’t be under-estimated. It’s got a lot going on in its favor.

2. The Multiple Peck Kiss: Like its cousin, this kiss is short in nature, but with its succession of kisses included in the definition, it can also last for quite some time. You see this kiss happen when someone plants short, sweet kisses on his/her partner’s face or you get kisses on the back of your neck. This kiss can also be used to go up or down a person’s body, so obviously it’s a pretty intimate one.

3. The Forehead Kiss: Ohhhh the forehead kiss… so controversial you are! I’ve found that this kiss either has one of two meanings when it happens. Either a) I really care about you/love you, etc… and want to protect you, or b) I really care about you/love you, etc… as my friend. There’s really no in between.

4. The French Kiss without Tongue: (not to be mistaken for the French double peck on the cheek kiss) This kiss is one of passion and fire. It can be a part of a make-out session, but even alone, it is able to signify the very clear intent that “at some point, I would like to rip those clothes off of you.” That’s some powerful stuff. Also, usually, when you see people get wowed or swept off their feet by a kiss, it tends to be in this category. That’s no mistake.

5. The French Kiss with Tongue: Oh tongue hockey faithful… this kiss is 9 times out of 10 leading to clothes coming off or being pushed aside. It’s very rarely a stand alone kiss, but also I realized recently, I’ve also very rarely used this kiss post my early twenties. I could be alone in this, but I think I’m probably not.

So what’s your favorite kiss? Did I miss it? I think I have a tie between the single peck and the french kiss without tongue, but really I’m likely to swoon from either one with the right guy.





On Long Distance Relationships (but not the kind you’re thinking of…)

12 08 2014

A couple weeks ago, I spent most of my time running the Washington, D.C. streets with my oldest niece and the only relative I have who lives anywhere near me (one of my sisters/her aunt). And while we had a blast, we also spent so much of our time catching up on life. You see my niece, along with my brother, sister-in-law, and other niece and nephew live in California, so while we Skype and talk on the phone, it’s not quite the same as her being here. Which, of course got me thinking about how most of the people I count as essential in my life do not live near me.

I mean we talk about long distance relationships in terms of lovers all the time and how a majority of us don’t want to participate in them, but it hit me that I’ve been engaging in long distance relationships for quite some time now. My parents are long distance. So are my bestest friends. Same thing with my nieces and nephew, my godchildren, my siblings with the exception of my one sister, etc…

And maybe that’s why I know just how hard they can be when you try to have one with someone you want to be with — because long distance relationships are hard as hell with the people already in my life.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could see my godchildren more… that I don’t wonder if my being so far away is a disservice to them. And I can’t even count all the times something has happened to a close friend that’s made me just want to hold him or her, but of course my arms don’t stretch states away. Or just even wanting to be there more times to celebrate the good in their lives. Sure I make it work — we have a lot of technology available these days — but there’s nothing quite like being in front of the person you love, you know?

It’s an interesting aspect of life these days, really, when you think about it. Because while my case might be extreme (and really, I don’t think that’s all that true either), I think most of us experience this in some way. I don’t know anyone in my generation who has all their close friends and family in the same place as them. Do you? Probably not.

Instead, I believe we’ve all been living life, carrying on long distance relationships for some time now, failing at some, succeeding somewhat at others — but never really flourishing. Because again, Skype and Facetime can’t replace the simple effectiveness of a hug or laying your head on someone or laughing with them in person. Technology can and will never be enough.

So what do you do? We can’t all make pacts to go back to where we’re from. Even if we could, it wouldn’t help matters. Sure I’d be around more of my family then, but I met some of my closest friends in college. They’re not going back to my hometown! And our parents (for the most part) didn’t experience this spreading out of relationships to the extent that we have, so as much as we love them, it would probably be the blind leading the blind if we asked them for help.

Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but mine would just say come home as if that was the cure to all problems lol.

I’m actually not quite sure that we can do anything except continue to cultivate those long distance relationships in ways that sort of make sense for each one. Some friends, I know email works better for them. Others, it’s texting. Some family members I know I need to schedule phone dates with, and some people I have to just schedule weekends and trips with. But I do those things because as much as I (and we all) hate long distance relationships of any kind, those people are important to me, and I need them in my life in anyway possible. Distance be damned.

That doesn’t make it any easier though, especially during times when they need me and I can’t get there.

What about you? Do you find yourself trying to juggle long distance relationships in your life as well? And what are some ways you think work better than others?








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