Your Friends Don’t Like You

Okay, so maybe they don’t dislike you, but maybe they don’t like you as much as either of you believe. I know that’s a lot of negatives in one sentence but so are some of your friends’ true intentions. Let’s talk reality. There are some really genuine humans in the world. They look out for you just as much as you do for them. Your friendship is reciprocated and easy. They truly care about your wellbeing. You don’t have to talk daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Then there are the ones you should probably learn to sever and never look back on repairing your friendship.

Alignments are often mismatched and instead of separating ourselves from people we find reasons to hold on. You’ve been friends since college, worked together in the same small office, or had similar interests that drew you to each other. But such as life, you shouldn’t force anything that doesn’t organically fit your progression. Speaking of progressing in life, when others are struggling in an area that you’re succeeding in you will begin to see their true colors. Think back to when you bought your first house, got engaged, a promotion, and those major milestones that meant so much to you! You clapped so loudly for your friends with their accomplishments, yet when it was your turn the silence was deafening. I’m not sure how you react, but for me, if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s hard not to take it personally.

What I’ve decided to do is adapt more of a c’est la vie outlook on one sided friendships. I’ve decided to not make the first move. In a sense, to not ”court” my friendships. Those formative gestures of forming friendships, realizing and celebrating similarities, and being supportive of endeavors. What happens when your friends don’t match your efforts to sustain your friendship? For me, I’m very upfront and will let them know what I need from our friendship if it’s important. I completely understand that life happens, but so does effort. We all live busy lives whether we live by a schedule or procrastinate everything.

Could it be jealousy? I don’t honestly believe that everyone is jealous of their friends or even a majority of people. That’s an unhealthy trait. I do however believe that if your friend has been secretly struggling to get a promotion on their job and you’re on your fifth promotion in three years, they may struggle really hard to congratulate you. If you just bought your first home but your friend has been struggling to qualify for a loan or to get the money needed for a down payment, they could struggle with your new home. Oftentimes it’s not about you but the void they have inside. They could just not fathom how all of these amazing things keep happening to you. People will see your gains and have no idea of how much you have loss.

Want to know if your friends are clapping for you? Check your vibrations when you’re near them. Are you anxious? Do they always seem to be in competition with your existence? When in a group, do they try to bring you down or break your spirit? If it seems like a challenge to be friends with someone they may just not be your friend. You may just be keeping an enemy closer to you than a friend who stopped liking you.

Lessons of Encanto

I love Musicals! I’ve been in many choirs throughout my childhood and even my early 20s. Combine music, a great story, Disney and I will watch it as a 30 something year old adult with no ounce of guilt or embarrassment. Without giving away too many spoilers on the actual movie, here are a few lessons that I picked up on while watching.

The soundtrack is beautifully crafted. My social media timeline has been filled with the “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” song but the song  “Surface Pressure” about the growing pressure of being the strong one in the family who handles everyone’s burdens and how heavy that load can be had a deeper and more familiar message for me. If you’re anything like me, family members young and old will spill their woes to you and when their shoulders are needed, often you’re told you’ll be fine because you’re the strong one.  What I took from the movie and from life’s lessons, sometimes you have to allow family and even friends the necessary room to carry their own weight because carrying your own and theirs isn’t your responsibility.

Mirabel is a 15 year old young lady who wants to help her family. She doesn’t have or know her power. The message I got from Mirabel’s story is delayed but not denied. Often we may not get something we’ve wanted and feel like we are missing out on our blessings while everyone else is reaping theirs. We may search for ways to make our wishes  come true and still not get them by our own deadlines. When we learn to stop forcing,  put in the proper work, and believe that we are of value do we see our dreams unfold. 

The family weirdo isn’t always weird. Sometimes they know things about the family that people don’t want to discuss. They hold secrets. Enter Bruno. Bruno knew much about the family and yeah “we don’t talk about Bruno no no no!”. Maybe they should have talked to Bruno. Things left unsaid, conversations left unspoken can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. Getting things out in the open and being forthright instead of sweeping things under the rug may help more families than hinder them.

The gift of second chances. Sometimes we fall and get comfortable after being down for so long.  Everyday is a new opportunity to get things right, better, and to learn from yesterday. We all have the power within ourselves to become the best version of ourselves. We can rebuild ourselves anytime we feel a crack within our own foundation. Perfection isn’t real and it shouldn’t be a standard we put on ourselves.

The Journey Continues

When I transitioned from relaxed hair to natural hair back in 2007/2008, I didn’t tell anyone. I had completed my undergraduate degree and moved to Tampa to start my adult life in corporate America. It was an exciting time for me.  In 2007, I was 22 years old and had been doing my own hair since I was 10 years old.  I had always worn my hair bone straight, in it’s natural hue of black, in box or micro braids, and rod sets or roller sets. I had only played with rinses and a few highlights in college. I went to one stylist my senior year of college who, perhaps is the reason I’m not fond of going to the salon, damaged my hair. After that moment and moving to the increasingly more humid and rainy weather than I was accustomed to, I decided to do more protective styling and low maintenance styles. I also didn’t want to relax my hair as often as my job was remote and had me traveling all over Florida.

My job soon uprooted me to Atlanta in 2008. My hair at this point was getting back used to Georgia’s weather and I was into working out (bring back those days).  I had been in touch with a cousin’s girlfriend at the time (now wife, gotta love love) who was a straight natural. I had no idea what a straight natural was at the time. All I knew was that she worked out daily, had the prettiest Bantu Knots results, and was relaxer free. I told her how I wanted to continue not relaxing my hair but wasn’t quite ready to wear it big and curly. She introduced me to natural hair on YouTube. At that time,  there weren’t many girls on there.  I started following a few who I’ve actually become friend with.  After I cut off my relaxed ends I had a cute bob and wore my hair straight. I could straighten my hair better than any pro I knew. I would often be asked how I got it so straight, bouncy, and didn’t have heat damage. That is how Mskelabug began! As a starter page to watch hair videos and then to share how I straightened my hair. I had so many views and wondered why people wanted to watch little old me straighten my hair in my bathroom.

With all of the love came all of the “why would you go natural?”, “ that is not going to be pretty on you, it’s going to look like a Jherri Curl!”, “I knew her when she was a baby and she did not have curly hair, must be a texturizer!”, and when I wore it curly more it was “I like your hair better straight!” as though I submitted surveys asking for feedback. I’ve never done anything for anyone’s entertainment, especially when it comes to my own appearance. Being authentically me got me millions of views on YouTube, brand partnerships, networking, and great relationships with a lot of people. It also allowed others to embrace healthier hair choices for themselves. It’s ironic that the same people who questioned my hair choices are all natural now. Same can be said about those who asked why I was on social media 10 years ago before it was a thing to share your life (Vlogging is what we called it back then) and saying it’s not like you get paid to be on there. Analytics and studies now say we were ahead of our time being our authentic selves and now everyone is catching up. It’s okay to follow the beat of your own drums. Most of the time, it sends you in the right direction!

I was active on YouTube for a few years.  For me, I could only show my subscribers so many times how to do a three strand twist, my rod sets, how I straightened my hair, etc. I liked the ease of direct access to post and respond to people on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I did miss the interaction with the loyal ones who always commented so I would always attempt to do a video every few months to check in. If  I’m honest, editing is time consuming for someone like me who likes one takes (which most of my videos are) and direct/quick easy options. Social Media has it’s waves of do this not that, this works better, etc. Trends come and go! I never thought of natural hair as a trend but recognized how quickly my peers had began pushing their own products. I did consider but by this point, I was  heavily involved in a new career and promotions. That’s a post for another day. I was also into more protective styling with Knotless Braids, wigs, clip ins, and changing the color of my hair. All still DIY! I was bored but loved and have always loved the versatility of natural hair.  A little over two years ago, I was living in Louisiana and had started one of many attempts to loc my hair. I didn’t let them stay in because I knew that I wasn’t quite ready. 

I’ve been researching locs for the past five years or so. Research to me is so important when it comes to locs because for me, this time around, if I decided I wanted to relax when I was transitioning it would’ve been a lot easier.  I still could go back to being a loose natural but the route back would be a little more tedious. I had to decide which type of locs: traditional, micro, sister.  Do I want square, triangle, or free parting. What are my goals for how I want them to look once they mature?  Growing up I had my late Aunt Dorothy who always wore natural styles. She was literally the first person I saw in micro braids as a kid. I knew as a child that I would loc my hair one day but when I wasn’t sure. Remember, I’ve been doing my own hair since I was 10. I decided to go with Microlocs and will interlock. 

Saturday, January 9, 2022 I began my installation process. It took me approximately 19 hours and I did take a few breaks. I did not interlock because of some hesitations, but after speaking with some loc’d friends I am reconsidering. I have a lot of locs! I may end of combining some in the near future.

So join me as my healthy hair journey continues.

2022: Try A Little Tenderness

TLC melodically told us to not chase waterfalls and stick to the rivers and the lakes that we’re used to… did we though? Waterfalls are so much more appealing than the soothing rivers that we know will take us up and down stream. The much easier route seems like a bore. Rivers can have turbulence. Lakes can be shallow or deep. At this point, it seems like chasing anything really is the issue moreso than what you’re chasing. Let’s allow 2022 to be easier and not unnecessarily complicate our lives chasing waterfalls that weigh us down literally, figuratively, and emotionally!

Raise a glass as well as your standards in 2022! Be a little more gentler with yourself. Allow room for growth, mistakes, and lessons!
This year we should try the tenderness Otis Redding sang about and maybe our hearts won’t be so hardened and burdened. After you’ve let go of everything you cant change, begin your list(s) of things you want ro accomplish. These goals can be long term or short term.

You can either quit or keep going. You cannot do both. Be gentle.

What We Can Learn From Joe Goldberg from “You”

By now you have either watched or heard about the Netflix series “You”. I binged season 1 and 2 as soon as they appeared on my New Releases list. I won’t necessarily spoil it for you in this post (but if you’ve not yet watched it and don’t want to know anything about it, step away from this post and come back later) but I will tell you something I just realized regarding the series.

I truly enjoyed both seasons and am sad that I have to wait a year for season 3. I enjoyed it so much that I did what I always do, recommended it to family members to watch. Yes, I’m the one they ask if there is something good to watch on Netflix. Oddly enough, if you were to have a glance at the types of movies and shows we watch, you’ll notice we like movies that deal with the psyche.

I saw all of the memes going around social media with things Joe might say regarding various situations. Here are a couple:

Joe is the kind of guy who believes in love at first sight. It’s kinda romantic until you remember that he is basically stalking people. What I noticed about him that was brought to my attention by my brother is what Joe notices about people while he is stalking them, Not only does he stalk them for his own guilty pleasure but he is attempting to upgrade them. Hear me out. It took my brother repeating this over to me and me seeing the endless memes to better understand it.

Joe analyzes his subjects and sees what he considers as their flaws and how he in some way could improve them.. for him and them. He definitely has some type of mental health issue (definitely not trying to label him as a narcissistic psychopath but his shoes fit well).

Now go back and watch both seasons, the memes, and let me know your thoughts!

The Presbytère: A Louisiana State Museum

The year 2005 was such a detrimental year for the state of Louisiana. At that time I was in college back in Georgia. I can recall watching the news and hearing about the pending Hurricanes heading towards New Orleans. I remember feeling anxious for the people there but hopeful that the storm would just pass them by. Fast forward to August 29, 2005, a day that forever changed the residents of Louisiana.

There are two things that this museum hopes to show you: that this state is resilient and celebratory throughout everything. I have been able to witness that in my few months of living here. Downstairs of the museum is dedicated to the Hurricanes that struck: Katrina and Rita for example. Upstairs is dedicated to Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana.

When you walk around the first floor you get a sense of the mass destruction the storms caused in such a short amount of time. News Reports, eyewitness accounts, and artifacts left behind from the storm surround you as you walk through the exhibit. Below are a few photographs from the First Floor Living with Hurricanes: Katrina & Beyond.

Fat Domino’s Piano

One of the most touching parts in the exhibit for me was Tommie Mabry’s Wall. It was his daily diary beginning just one day prior to the storm to weeks following that he kept on his apartment wall. The details, pain, heartache, and fright he must’ve felt are all immortalized on the wall.

Find below a few photographs I took of the Mardi Gras exhibit:

I definitely recommend a visit to this museum while visiting New Orleans. The building itself has a rich history worth noting. It was built in 1791 to match the Cabildo alongside the St. Louis Cathedral. It is located in the French Quarter at 751 Chartres Street. Visit their site to learn more about the museum and schedule your tour.

New Orleans Food and Spirits

If you’re looking for Cajun Seafood outside of New Orleans, stop by this quaintly styled restaurant in Covington, LA.

Okay, so I am mostly a Pescatarian so I was super excited to eat some delicious seafood. If you live in Louisiana or are visiting, you MUST have some Chargrilled Oysters; so of course I had to have an order myself. They were absolutely delicious. A few places I have tried have been too charred or too salty. These were perfect! I opted for the 1/2 dozen as I had ordered the Hawaiian Salmon with Potato Salad as my entree.

The salmon was cooked medium and was juicy; not dry at all. It was a pretty big piece as well so I left feeling full but not overly stuffed. The potato salad wasn’t your traditional texture and was moreso whipped than chunky. Overall, I enjoyed my meal and would definitely go back.

If you’re interested in dining there yourself, visit their website here to see the menu.

Audubon Zoo Lights

I went to visit the Audubon Zoo Lights and I must say that it extremely beautiful. If you want to visit, the remaining dates and tickets can be found here. There are shows, opportunities to take pictures with Santa Claus, Elves Workshop, and much more. Below are a few of the animal-themed lights and other displays I got to see as I ventured around the park.

Christmas Movies: For Our Viewing Pleasure?

I must admit, I have never been into the sappy Christmas movies that we see yearly on Hallmark,  Lifetime and now OWN.  As of the last two years I have gravitated towards them more. Not necessarily for the “you can only be happy at Christmas if you have your Knight in Shining Armour to take home to your family” message.  Yes, it reminds us that nobody wants to be lonely; but true love comes when it’s supposed to come. What I have found seems to be a deeper message.

Don’t get me wrong, every year I watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” and cry my big eyes out! It’s my favorite traditional Christmas movie of all time! I know every year that Clarence will get his wings but it makes me cry nonetheless. The hardships we saw with poor George Bailey and his family just simply trying to make it holds a special place in my heart. The sappier Christmas movies these days attempt to do the same but don’t bring the same effect of movies of their prior days.

Life gets busy and often hectic. We get into our own routines, we make plans for bigger and better, and we often find ourselves feeling like we are missing out on something. Next thing you know time has passed by and we wake up feeling unfulfilled.  The Christmas movies have these reminders that we need to take a step back, remember who we are, what’s important, and to take charge of our lives.

I always watch these women who remind me of myself: overworked,  slightly jaded,  and ready for something new.  Sound familiar? I think these are a few of the reasons many of us snuggle up on our couches winter after winter to watch Christmas movies. Maybe…just maybe… the little child in us still believes in Christmas miracles!

Protecting Your Peace

The most important thing a person a can have is inner peace. One word I have heard more than I have cared to hear this year is toxic. Typically when one speaks of toxicity, they are speaking of others and not themselves. I am hopeful that in 2020, people are more accountable for their own actions instead of blaming others. The constant shift blaming to deflect guilt, to avoid shame, or to downright have pure angst towards someone else MUST be draining.

I’ve consciously made it a point to not take myself around anyone if they do not bring me peace, joy, or happiness in any form. I believe in protecting my space and energy. If you’re an empath like me, your energy can be thrown off by someone else’s energy because you are attuned to other’s moods. The positive and negative vibes emitted from them can attach themselves to you and either energize or drain you.

Negativity is not only something that you don’t want to be around, but also speak. There is power in the tongue. You’ve heard that before, right? When you speak what you want you’re manifesting but did you know when you speak negativity you’re also manifesting it? Begin speaking the things you want into your life instead of dwelling on the bad.

One thing that I like to do for myself when I get home is light a candle. For me, this small act of lighting a candle signifies a few things: warmth from the flame, soothing aroma from the scent, and an overall sense of calmness. This might not be your daily routine of relaxation, but find one. What you may find is that whatever you had to deal with outside of your home doesn’t matter for those few moments that you’re taking for yourself.

Let today be the day that you rid yourself of your bad habits. Make a commitment to yourself of being positive in your decisions. Do not wait until 2020 to protect your peace. Dedicate the next few months of your life to you and see how amazing things go. You’ve done so much with trying to please others, let’s work on you now!

Here’s a shot to you! Cheers!