Tag Archives: appreciation

Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the callers. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river. Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. Don’t major in minor things. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Learn to say no politely and quickly. Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Don’t waste time grieving over past mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Every person needs to have their moment in the sun, when they raise their arms in victory, knowing that on this day, at his hour, they were at their very best. Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death bed, ‘Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office’. Give people a second chance, but not a third. Judge your success by the degree that you’re enjoying peace, health and love. Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly. Leave everything a little better than you found it. Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life and death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems. Never cut what can be untied. Never overestimate your power to change others. Never underestimate your power to change yourself. Remember that overnight success usually takes about fifteen years. Remember that winners do what losers don’t want to do. Seek opportunity, not security. A boat in harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out. Spend less time worrying who’s right, more time deciding what’s right. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life. Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get. The importance of winning is not what we get from it, but what we become because of it. When facing a difficult task, act as though it’s impossible to fail.

Jackson Brown Jr.

(via what my world’s like)

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I have so much appreciation for the folks in my inner circle.

I just want to take a second to put that out in the world. There is a little circle of people that just absolutely have my back when shit goes down, and they mean the world to me.

On Sunday night, I got in a really big fight with my father. It involved him being really condescending and dismissive, invalidating my feelings, and refusing to take a modicum of responsibility for the problems in our relationship. It also involved me finally letting go of my habit of biting my tongue around him, and actually telling him how I feel, which meant yelling and cussing. It ended with him suggesting we go another 6 months without talking “until we can learn to respect one another.” It was…rough. And I was a mess afterwards.

But I have people I can go to when I’m a mess. People who I feel comfortable saying “no” to when they ask me if I’m okay. People who will sit and listen and just say wow and sit with me in the shittiness of the situation. People who sometimes agree with my interpretations and sometimes don’t, but even when they don’t, give me nothing but acceptance and recognition even as they show me the other side. People who bring their own experiences and opinions into the situation without making it about them. People who meet me with love and care even when they’ve got their own shit going on. People who check in the next day and the day after that. There are few things more wonderful in times of struggle than hearing from someone I love that it’s okay for me to feel the way that I feel, even if feeling that way doesn’t feel good. These people are my support system, and their capacity to leave me smiling, laughing, teasing, and feeling loved at the end of a day that started off with me feeling drained will never cease to amaze me.

There are a few misguided wits who think they are being complimentary when they declare a woman is ”too much”. While it is admirable and desirable to be enough, only masochists want to be ”too much”. Being, claiming, or accepting the status allows others to heap responsibilities upon the back of the ”too much” woman, who naturally is also referred to as ”super.” ”Super Woman” and ”Earth Mother.”
The flatterer, for that is what the speaker means to be, exposes himself as an manipulator who expects to ingratiate himself into ”Earth Mother’s” good graces, so that she will take his burdens upon her and make his crooked ways straight.
When the complimenter is confronted, he will quickly disavow any scurrilous intent and with hurt feelings declare, ”I meant ”too much” to be a sign of my appreciation. I don’t see how you could misread my meaning. You must be paranoid.”
Well, yes. A certain amount of paranoia is essential in the oppressed or in any likely targets of oppressors. We must stay vigilant and be very careful of how we allow ourselves to be addressed.
We can too easily become what we are called with all the unwelcome responsibilities the titles makes us heir to.

–Maya Angelou

(via the bad dominicana)

Best birthday week ever:

So I turned 22 at the end of January, on Sunday the 29th. We started celebrating on Saturday, though, because some friends were going out of town on a ski trip, which means my week of birthday celebrations is coming to a close. 

It has, without a doubt, been the absolute best birthday week of my short life. 

Saturday the 28th, I got a text message from JA telling me not to make dinner plans. She and JC came to meet KS and I at the library where we’d been working and asked me where I wanted to dinner. I wanted to trek to a good Chinese place that was a little ways away and pick up a bottle of wine on the way, so after we met up with MM, that’s exactly what we did. When we stopped at the liquor store on the way to the Chinese food place–it’s BYOB–MM bought me a bottle of Ciroc as a birthday gift, and I picked up a good Moscato to have with dinner. MJP met us there. Dinner was great and we had ridiculous conversation as I always have with my good friends (even if there was an awkward moment when I blurted out that my mom has cancer…there’s never a good time to tell people that, but that was probably one of the worst times). They treated me to my meal, and I was glad that that whole group could get together again to celebrate me. 

Sunday the 29th was my actual birthday. My mom and my Nana drove up to campus to bring me one of Nana’s famous homemade Great-Aunt-Mabel’s-secret-family-recipe birthday cakes and homemade pecan brittle, along with a giant bag of pecans straight from Georgia. They stayed and chatted for about an hour, then made excuses when I asked them to have lunch with me and headed home. I laid around for a little while in my bed doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING til that got boring and I headed to the house, where I read blogs and chilled for a few hours while my friend CB put together a dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant for me. A bunch of my Quad friends got together and took me to dinner, where ChoosingPancakes told the waitress it was my birthday and they brought me tiramisu with a candle in it. It was cute, and no one has ever really done that for me before–once we let it slip that it was my birthday when I was at home with my family and SH, but that we had cakes waiting at home, and the waiter brought me a tiny container of whipped cream with a candle in it, which was cute, but no one had ever intentionally notified the wait-staff that it was my birthday in order to surprise me with a birthday treat before. After dinner, we went back to the house and played Apples to Apples, which I am evidently terrible at because I didn’t get any cards, haha. Then some of my other (pre-Quad friends) started to show up. We had, of course, turned Apples to Apples into a drinking game, and when more people started to show up, we devolved into just drinking. Then BC wanted to go sleep, so we had cake before he left and more people started to show up, and RC surprised me with a bottle of Disaronno, an incredibly delicious Italian amaretto, while MH and KG gave me a collection of hair products that hadn’t worked for them but might for me. We were all sitting on the floor, talking and drinking, when ChoosingPancakes did the absolute cutest thing anyone has ever done for me on my birthday: she made everyone in the room share their favorite memory of me. Some of my friends were silly, but some of them (her included) were incredibly poignant, and I started to tear up a little. (Had I been sober, I would probably have started crying. +1 for alcohol’s ability to dull my senses.) A bunch of people were doing a thesis boot camp in the morning, so shortly after said sharing and caring, half of my party contingent left, and the rest of us moved downstairs for some beirut. I played two games of three-on-three, and won both games. It was all in all a fabulous night, slightly tainted only by the fact that someone who shall not be named tried to go home with me (I blogged about that already). 

Monday passed fairly uneventfully, if I recall. On Tuesday, I got an email from the Package Room saying I had a package to pick up, and I knew I hadn’t purchased anything recently, so I was intrigued as to what it might be. I went to pick it up, and it was the entire line of Twisted Sista products, that I had won on a Brown Girl Gumbo giveaway! What a great birthday present! 

On Wednesday, I got another mysterious email from the Package Room. I still hadn’t bought anything, so I excitedly went to the Student Center, wondering what this might be. Surprise, surprise–it was a present from my friend RG! He sent me three good CDs (Erykah Badu, Rafael Saadiq, and Marvin Gaye) and a picture of us from my birthday party last year. I had been surprised by RC’s gift, but this garnered genuine shock. I’m a simple girl; making me feel recognized is like, the highest honor anyone can bestow on me. Call me cheesy, but I was touched. It was like, the icing on this huge multi-tiered cake of love and appreciation my friends gave me this week—I can’t remember the last time I felt so deeply cared about.
On Thursday, TN came down from Rutgers to take me out to dinner, since she couldn’t make it down over the weekend. We went to Alchemist and Barrister, another restaurant in town that I’d never been to, and I had hot apple cider with butterscotch schnapps (omg) and a delicious chicken pot pie. I caught up on her life and she caught up on mine and it was weird how much we didn’t know about what was going on with each other. She’s another example of how I need to do better at maintaining my friendships. (Side note, I feel like she’s hardcore judging me for no-longer-recent exploits, but whatever.) When we got back to her car, she gave me my second present (besides dinner): an awesome framed piece of art with a bird outside of a birdcage, and it’s drawn or painted on a page from a dictionary. I’m not doing it justice—maybe I’ll upload a picture when I get back to campus—but it’s SO ME. So I guess she’s an example of how even when my deep friendships change on the surface, the degree to which my friends know or understand me doesn’t change even as we grow and develop and mature.
By Friday, I was like, okay, this week has to slow down. It has just been too awesome. I was wrong. So, so very wrong. There I was, chilling at work, pretending to write my thesis, when I get a phone call. It’s from a number I don’t know, and I was contemplating whether or not to pick it up when some part of my brain was like, wait, isn’t 202 the area code for D.C.? *picks up the phone immediately* It was the woman from Human Resources at Mathematica, calling to tell me that the interview team thought that I’d be a really great fit, and she’d like to offer me the position!
I wish I had a video of me jumping up and down in the basement lobby of Fine Hall.
Like, WHAT?! This much awesomeness can happen to me in one week? I’ve been told it’s important not to seem to eager, so I thanked her profusely and agreed to get back to her by the end of the following week about whether I’d like to accept. I then called my momma and my daddy and texted some important people and tweeted and Facebooked and couldn’t wait to get out of work and celebrate…
…which actually basically waited until the next night, when KS, JB, and I drove up to New Brunswick to go to Delta’s, this soul food place I discovered but failed to actually eat at over the summer, and which we’ve been telling ourselves we’ll explore for months. When we made our reservations—because they close to people without reservations on the weekends, as KS, TN, and I learned once in the Fall—they asked us if we were aware of their dress code: “casual chic,” meaning no baggy jeans, no workboots, etc. Toto, I don’t think we’re in the dining hall anymore, lol. I wore a dress from Shabby Apple that I’d won on a Naturally Beautiful Hair giveaway towards the end of last year and hadn’t found an occasion for yet, while KS wore a nice button up shirt and khakis and dress shoes, and I do say we looked pretty shnazzy (though he did still get carded, while our waitress like, turned down seeing JB’s and my IDs, bahaha).  We started off with fried calamari and seafood gumbo as appetizers, with a pitcher of peach sangria to share between the three of us. The breading on the calamari was DIVINE, and my gumbo was spicy but rich enough that it just went down smoothly and deliciously. Then after lamenting about how we actually wanted to eat everything. on. the. menu., we finally settled on the following: for me, smothered pork chops with sides of mac and cheese and candied yams; for KS, ox tail with sides of black eyed peas and rice and collard greens; and for JB, a fried seafood medley including shrimp and catfish, with hush puppies and yams. Our plates were so full, and sweet Jesus the food was indescribably amazing. There was live jazz/R&B happening behind us and I wanted to die of satisfaction with every bite…I truly don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed an eating experience as much as I enjoyed Delta’s. We made the decision right then and there that the three of us are eating there at reunions indefinitely into the future, and that KS and I might bring our families there for graduation dinner.
…What is my life?

I got a facial today

My first facial ever. I don’t pamper myself like this often, but it was FREE! And y’all know free is just my price, lol! So I got a free facial today, thank you Princeton University, and they were using these award-winning all-natural created-by-a-botanist-at-Harvard (read: probably expensive as fuck) cremes and washes and masks and moisturizers and my face has never felt so appreciated! The best way I can think of to describe it is that my skin felt the way your teeth feel when you leave the dentist’s office after getting them cleaned. People I ran into for the rest of the night actually said I was glowing, and my skin still feels so soft and smooth to the touch! It was such a fantastic free experience (note: much like my overall Princeton career.) 


Point: Pamper yourself sometime. You’re worth it. Give yourself the care and attention you deserve.

Dear ******, or Men Everywhere,

I love the way you hold me when you hug me, and appreciate that you hug me all the time. I appreciate the compliments you give me: I’ll be calling myself a boss bitch for days, lol. But at this point, I have to let you know that I no longer appreciate this drunken cheek-kissing thing we have been doing recently. It was cute for a while, but now when it happens or even seems like it’s going to happen, I want to scream (read: whisper sexily into your ear) If you’re going to kiss me, do it right.

Love,

Maya

So unlike my dad, my mom always parks and goes in with me when she takes me to the airport. She goes through the line with me and stands with me near the entrance to the security check for as long as she can until it’s obviously socially awkward that she’s still there and she hugs me one last time and lets me go. I don’t call her out on this, because part of me really likes it. 


There’s something else she always does, though, while we’re waiting in line to check in, or whenever she catches a glimpse of my PUID in my wristlet, or sometimes even if we come across an old picture or something: she sees a photo of me from back when I straightened my hair, and she says some variation of Oh look, there’s my daughter. My daughter, with the long straight hair. My daughter, who was ashamed to embrace her own identity and spent the majority of her life trying to be something and someone she was not. My daughter, whose hair used to come out in clumps from all the heat and dangerous chemicals she put on it. Evidently that girl was my mother’s daughter, and I am not. And I’m sure she doesn’t event think about it when she says it, but a little piece inside me just crumbles whenever she says it. Like the person that girl was and the person I am will never be reconciled into one individual in my mother’s eyes. Like she’ll always want someone I’ll never be again.

And speaking of straight-haired Maya as someone I’ll never be again, this reminds me of the one thing that can snap me entirely out of ridiculous stupid not-crush phase with this guy: he has told me to my face that he thinks it’s stupid that I have vowed to never straighten again. He thinks one of the things I should embrace about my hair is how versatile it can be. He thinks I should consider straightening it for special occasions or something–AS IF  STRAIGHT HAIR IS MORE SPECIAL THAN MY HAIR, as if I as myself am not special enough for a floor-length gown and a ball. He says I shouldn’t feel like I’m conforming if I’m just wearing my hair in another style that looks good on me. I don’t even know how to interpret thinking straight hair looks good on me; a) do I still think that?, b) do I think it because I think it or because I’ve spent my whole life with people telling me that’s how my hair should look? Regardless, as much as I enjoy being with him, remembering that can kill any and every inkling of desire I have for something more. This is both relieving and unfortunate.

Conversely, to give some points to my father: When I first sent him a picture of me with my hair natural, he said it was the most ME I’ve ever looked. This is one of those things that he has said that I will never forget, but in a wonderfully positive way.

Self-Appreciation

One of my favorite natural hair blogs declared today to be a self-appreciation day, and as those are always good, I decided to follow suit.


I love the way bright warm colors look against my caramel skin. I love my collarbone and like to draw attention to it with necklaces and low cut shirts. I love that people stop me on the street to ask about my kinky curls and are shocked to hear how little maintenance they require. I love that I don’t feel like I have to wear makeup every day. I tease myself about needing to go to the gym, but I LOVE my curves. And most of all, I love that I’ve gotten to the point in life where I can shout all of this from the rooftops (read: to a little corner of the internet) without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Every day I look into the mirror and the person staring back seems more and more like ME.

What do you love about you?