Monday, August 14, 2006

Sideshow Bobblehead

I waited until the last minute again, and failed to make a timely hair appointment. Thus, when I took out my twists this weekend, there was nothing else to do but cover my head with a scarf. Although my hub likes the un-tamed look, I know better than to go outside with my hair all over my head. After all, it is not the70s, I do not live in Hollywood, so I cannot successfully channel Pam Grier, Tamara Dobson or any other bad mama from that era.

So, I am going to take the plunge and attempt to wash and style my hair...again...please pray for me...

The truth: I love my natural hair texture precisely because I pay someone else to make it look good. If left in charge of my own styling, I would eventually end up bald. I don't want to look like my brother.

Another truth: That is the real reason why black women perm. Our mothers could not wait until we were old enough to get that first relaxer because trying to style a little black girl's hair is a half-day job. Mamma needed a break.

More truth: A lot of sisters are right to be concerned about the "professional image" of natural hair. Braids are fine for a few months and dreadlocks may become more acceptable, but for those of us in between those two looks, there are not that many natural hair styles that translate well into the corporate marketplace. As much as I like my stylist, she set me up four weeks ago with an off-to-the side flat-twist style that made me look like a ten year old child. It was cute, but I am long past the point of being cute on a regular basis.

Last bit of truth: I will probably spend the next three hours pulling at my hair, so I'd better get moving if I plan to get anything else done today.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I Heart Project Runway

OK, so in the midst of my hectic semester, I find myself scouring the Internet for all thing Project Runway. Have I ever been this obsessed about a TV show before? Perhaps, but thanks to my new cable modem, my obsession is fueled by my ability to check multiple websites with a single click!

This season is by far the best. I was not that into the first season, although I did spend one crazy weekend watching the marathon. The second season, while much better, also did not intrigue me as much since I just saw the finale the other day. But this season, I am watching as it unfolds, and I am loving every moment.

Last night, Michael Knight, my man from the ATL won and I could not have been happier. And apparently, a bunch of other PR fans are pleased as well. This group of designers is so talented that I think it is anyone's contest.

Well I've gotta run, else I'll be late for class. Auf Wiedersehen!

Monday, August 07, 2006

More Doubt and Self-Loathing

The past six weeks have not been a great. I think that once you experience a certain plateau of joy, life spanks you and forces you to swallow some horribly bitter pills. Most people call it reality. I call it self-flagellating torture.

I came back from Europe feeling on top of the world. I was well rested and my mind was reasonable clear from the cares of my daily life. I took a few days to get back into my normal routine (more or less), and then I forged ahead with plans for an exciting semester and other good things to follow.

Then I started to get the old familiar pangs of under-employed guilt. I wondered whether I was just convincing myself that I was in a good space to avoid the reality that I was still broke, idle and lonely most of the time. And as soon as I allowed those feelings to take root, they've been nearly impossible to yank.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling kind of blue , so I called my parents to check in on them. My father answered the phone and relayed a very cryptic message for me to "pray for guidance". It made me cry, and even after rationalizing to myself that he was just trying to be helpful, it still makes me cry. He hasn't explained his rationale (he left that up to my mother), but I can only guess that his concern about my future has been building for some time now. A week or two earlier, he handed me a stack of job announcements.

Then last night, my younger brother offered his thoughts on the conundrum of my future. He jokingly said that I was headed for soccer-momdom (of course, assuming that I ever have children), so he wanted me to figure out a way to fill my time until mommyhood becomes a reality. I feebly defended myself on the basis that I am trying to figure things out.

The thing is, I've been trying to figure things out since 2003. As much as I try to put a brave face on things, the truth is, I am more confused about my purpose than I ever was.

I like teaching, but I am not sure that it can become a permanent career move. For one thing, the pay is so lousy compared to the amount of work involved, thus I would need a second job, which is exactly the position I am in anyway. If I want to really change careers in that direction, then it would mean an additional investment in another degree, which I am not able to make. I still need to pay for this expensive law degree...

So then the only other logical choice is to return full-time to the law. And that is the rub. As much as I like being a lawyer and solving people's problems, I have not found this field to be particularly hospitable to me. With a few exceptions, my jobs were disasters. And the reality is, the problem is not the profession, it is me.

I was never cut out to be the type of lawyer one needs to be in order to be called a success (read rich). I have the chops to be a pretty good lawyer, but in some ways, I feel that I lost the confidence necessary to achieve that before I even got started. I've never been able to shake the notion that I don't deserve this, that somehow, all of this has been a fluke. Who wants a lawyer like that?

A friend forwarded me a website started by this woman about leaving the legal profession. I was intrigued, not because I am ready to give up, but because I was surprised to learn that there were people out there who also found aspects of the practice frustrating. Thankfully, when I've entertained that sentiment in the past, something always happens to make me reconsider, sort of like divine intervention.

Now that I have written this all out, I don't feel as terrible as I did an hour ago. An emotional burden has been lifted, but then writing has always been my cheap version of therapy. So now I'm thinking that in some very odd cosmic way, I'll be okay. I'm not a failure afterall.

It has been said that in life, it is when one is just about ready to give up that an opportunity is revealed. Instead of heading off a cliff of uncertaintly, I could be right where I need to be in order to receive the next challenge life has in store. So dear readers (all four of you), keep your fingers crossed that there is a blessing headed my way...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Back into Michael

It started last week at a crab feast. While we picked through mountains of Maryland Chesapeake Bay crabs, someone played the Michael Jackson "Best Of" CD. While sipping the cheap beer and watching the children dance around on stage, we discussed the joke Eddie Murphy told many years ago about the lyrics to "Billie Jean" and how Micheal must have thought he had fooled all of us because the video was about a mystery man who could light up the squares in the pavement of the sidewalk--nothing at all to do with a young man who might have gotten a girl pregnant.

Oh, Michael! What the hell happened?

Who didn't love MJ as a child? He was the most fantabulous entertainer of all time. His music, his ground-breaking music videos, and his electric performances entranced us. We were not distracted by the fact that he looked weird and had a high pitched voice and wore sequins even in the daytime and wore high-water pants and white socks with penny loafers and colorful leather jackets in always hot and sunny California and had that drip-drippy jheri curl and travelled with small children who were unrelated to him and never seemed to have a girlfriend and lived in an amusement park and seemingly disappeared when his sister Janet released "Control" only to re-emerge a few years later looking even weirder and whiter. We still loved him. He was the greatest.

Even when we all moved onto to other musical interests, Michael still had the power to draw us back. We all thought "Bad" was a decent enough album in hig school and "Dangerous" was a big hit among my friends in college. I don't recall that I bought "HIStory" (as a matter of fact, I don't even remember when it came out), but I might go buy it today simply because Michael released it. And that last album with Chris Tucker in the video, if I knew what it was called, I would buy that one too.

No matter what Michael has done (or hasn't), I will always be a fan. Anything he puts out is infinitely better that the music most of the other popular artists have released. I just completed a music survey and I hated almost everything they had me evaluate. MJ is one of these rare artists that never go out of style.

My recent MJ rehabilitation has a lot to do with the fact that I never accepted the conventional wisdom that he was a unrepentant freak. He is crazy, but then again every child of Joe and Katherine Jackson seem to have inherited some level of insanity (has anyone else noticed how off the wall Janet has been since she hooked up with Jermaine Dupri?). I just don't believe that this is a man who would ever intentionally harm a child. I think he did some inappropriate things with children, but like other celebrities who behave badly, he just needs some therapy, a new agent and wait the obligatory five to ten years to make a come-back. By that point his own children will be old enough to sit next to him during the mandatory Oprah interview to insist that he was just misunderstood.

While I don't buy any of the conspiracy theories that there are people out there who are out to get Michael Jackson, I think it is time that we face facts so that he can finally do the same. MJ is a victim of his own self-inflicted excesses. His troubles are representative of the fact that he surrounded himself with unscrupulous people who used him. At some point, I hope that his real friends will step up and save him, not only from the bad people, but also from himself.

In the meantime, I plan to revisit the classic Michael Jackson. It is a lot easier to remember that he was once less strange than he is today, but it gives me hope that one day he will recover. It has been said that there is a very thin line between genuis and insanity, and he is probably the most tragic embodiment of that fact. Instead of treating his life and career like the proverbial car wreck on the freeway, maybe we all should just politely look away and keep going (all the while jamming to "Billie Jean").

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Too Much TV

I spent a good half of my day yesterday watching "America's Top Model." I spent three hours on Sunday glued to "Project Runway." In any given week, I can watch as much VH1, E!, TLC, and Lifetime to have written several books, cleaned my house at least three times top to bottom, and any number of un-done tasks around my house.

I am a TV junkie.

Is there anyone else out there who can attest to my addiction? While watching a few hours of "The World Series of Pop Culture" I realized that I could answer at least a third of the questions. If I had known that there was a nation-wide search for contestants, I would have signed up. Why not get paid for all of the TV I watch these days?

I've written about my TV obsessions before, but the issue now is the paralysis I feel whenever I waste significant chunks of time in front of the tube. I do accomplish other tasks, but it just feels as if my life is still passing me by as I watch repeats, makeover shows, baby shows (my new obsession thanks to TLC) and court shows. Let's not forget that I still enjoy my Brit-coms. And I've been staying up at night to watch "Sex and the City" and Keith Olberman's "Countdown."

Actually, it is not as bad as it seems. It just feels that way because TV has replaced human beings for me in terms of regular interaction. I can watch TV and forget about the fact that it is too darn hot to do much else. I bet that this current phase will end as soon as the weather breaks and I can go outside to do things again. That, and when I finally get a little money in my pocket.

Ok, I get it...I need a life and soon.

On a brighter note, I did complete one of my short story ideas. I need to edit it, but I am very proud of myself. It took an entire day (one that could have been used for something more productive), but at least I did not waste a day on TV and I got something done for myself. Yay me!