“I only date ________ women/men.” The line between racial preferences and straight up ignorance.

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source: pinterest

This post is inspired by the recent backlash received by rapper Kodak Black a few weeks ago pertaining to his dating preferences; specifically that he only prefers light skin black women. Side note: I don’t personally listen to Kodak black or care for him really, but his comments sparked my interest because as a darker black woman, we are almost conditioned to feel inferior because our looks and personality. We are also conditioned to believe that we are the last choice in the dating pool (at least in the West). It also sparked my interest because I have been trying to figure out where our dating preferences stem from; specifically with race. Saying that I prefer tall men over short men has a lot more to do with feeling protected, and because I myself am really tall, but (hypothetically) saying that I only prefer white/latino/ men over black men raises a much deeper concern. Is it rooted in bigotry? Is it simply biological? Cultural? Media representations? Self-hate?

During an interview he was asked if he likes performer Keke Palmer, and responded by saying that he didn’t like black women like that. He then took to Instagram to clarify his previous statement:

“I love Black African American women its just not my forte to deal with a “darkskin” woman I prefer them to have a lighter complexion than me #MyPreference #FuckYou.”

At this point, I still wasn’t shaken by his statements. I have heard this statement in many forms over the years. I thought well, a preference is a preference I guess. I recently fell for a white boy, and said white boy told me he only prefers white and latina women. welp. I was obviously upset, but what if he couldn’t help it? On the flip side, what if he believed the stereotypes associated with black women? What if his family ingrained the idea that black women were inferior? Or what if they told him that he could never bring a black girl home?

I only started to roll my eyes and sigh in disbelief when Kodak decided to further his explanation for his preference by spewing complete nonsense like “black people, we too gutter” “light skins are easier to break down” “light skins are more sensitive” “dark skins are too rough”.

My word. Light skin women are easier to break down? what kind of messed up mentality is that? Easier to control and manipulate while her darker skin counterpart is so overly rough and masculine? complete rubbish.

That is my BIGGEST issue with stating racial preferences and preferences in general. If you have a strict racial preference fine, that’s alright. Don’t however, bash or put down dark skin black women or the opposite of your preference in the process. If I have a thing for taller guys, will I bash and deem shorter men effeminate? NO. If I prefer latino/white men over black men, am I putting down black men in the process? HELL no. My father is black, my brother is black.

Additional Side note: I don’t personally really have a strict preference, if a man is gorgeous, he is gorgeous no matter what his skin colour is.

What are your thoughts on preferences? Leave a comment below!

x

 

 

What not wearing makeup for a month has taught me

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source: Pinterest

 

I love makeup. I started wearing eyeliner at 14, and upgraded to eyeliner, foundation and mascara by 19. I then went full blown-full coverage by 21, so my skin hasn’t had a proper break in YEARS. No exaggerations here; makeup was worn to school, work, social outings. etc. I was never seen without it, and eventually it became kind of a shield. This isn’t a sappy post about feeling ugly without it, but I felt like I was living a double life, it became sort of a mask; at times I felt broken and severely depressed and insecure on the inside, but looked “fleeky” and put together on the outside. Don’t get me wrong, I also love how good I became at applying it. I love expressing myself and experimenting with new things, so makeup serves as an outlet in that regard as well. The anxious perfectionist in me however, believed that looks mattered in every situation. It also believed that my dark circles, pimples, blackheads, and hyper-pigmentation were best left for my humble abode.

GIRL. that is no way to live. I wanted to feel unapologetically comfortable with myself, and that started with my weight loss journey and taking fitness a little more seriously.

NOTE: being comfortable with yourself to me means taking good care of yourself physically and mentally, it doesn’t equate to letting yourself go.

Weight loss gave me a boost in confidence, and a few more stretch-marks! dang it. Hey, it just goes to show that stretch marks are not exclusive to weight gain, so I started to appreciate them more. I also started to love my natural hair a little more ( I have been relaxer free for a year now!), and now it is onto my skincare. I stopped wearing makeup to school completely but I will wear it on the weekend when going out or working.

This is what going makeup free has taught me:

  1.  that my pores are thanking me
  2.  I have more time in the morning to prepare for the day
  3. I feel cleaner and more refreshed without it
  4. My skin doesn’t break out as often
  5. Friends and Family thought I looked very tired initially, but then got used to it and eventually praised me for my skin’s overall improvement in appearance
  6. saved some $$$ by not going through my foundation in 3 weeks
  7. water is truly God’s gift to skin
  8. huge confidence booster: stopped feeling anxious about my appearance and what people think.
  9. still got hit on makeup free (not very important but yeah, men are men.)
  10. I don’t look THAT much different without it ( I never wear eyeshadow so my eyelids are usually empty).

In the end, I totally recommend it! Try it out for week. If you feel weird about going completely makeup free, try leaving out the foundation, and just use concealer and some mascara as a starter. I’m no skincare expert, but I’m excited to learn about what works for my skin.

any product recommendations? I’m a combination of oily and dry. My goal is to fade or eliminate my dark spots and acne scars.

 

 

28 Day Fitness Program! (Fitazfk)

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SO I am going to Paris at the end of the month, so why not lose some weight before I gain it all back by eating bread, bread, and MORE BREAD *squeals*. Summer is also around the corner in Canada, so fitness becomes a bigger priority for me. If you read some of my earlier blog posts, you will know that I’ve been on a weight loss journey since August 2016. My starting weight was a whopping 236lbs (or 107kg).  Note: I am 6’1 so I was able to wear it well, but at my heaviest, I began to feel and look very unhealthy.

I opted for my usual gym routine which consisted of 3-4 days of both strength training and cardio, but slowly realized that I was hitting a plateau and have been for a while. My current weight is 204lbs, and I’m just DYING to get out of the 200 pounds club. I know it’s just a number on the scale and it’s about how clothes fit, but a girl can dream.

My sister actually discovered the Fitazfk program through Youtube and Instagram bloggers and has made it her plan to get my mother and I on board! The program runs for 28 days and the workouts are just under 30 minutes.

There are 3 phases in the program:

-Cleanse (probably the most difficult phase)

-Re-instate and Engage

-Balanced Nutrition

I just finished Day 1 and I feel great! The meal options aren’t too scary, and the workouts have 3 levels so it is beginner friendly.

For more information go to their website: http://www.fitazfk.com

Can you teach people how to treat you?

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This is a topic I have struggled to come to terms with; especially when you are born with the capacity to love and overdo it (and I mean, really overdo it). Can you teach people how to treat you? If you have been treated badly by a friend, family member, lover, crush, is it inherently your fault? Will you always come across people that no matter how good you are to them, fail to treat you the same way? I personally think that you can express your expectations, set your boundaries for how you want to be treated, love yourself to the fullest, but you can’t “teach” someone who doesn’t want to be taught.  You cannot force someone you care about, to show the same level of attentiveness, affection, and effort as you do. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum and burned my self-esteem through tireless efforts to get people I adore to love and respect me the way I love and respect them.

Self love, is so important, but here are some tips to dealing with people who don’t treat you the way you want to be treated:

  1. Learning to eventually identify, reflect, and communicate the issue helps. You should never feel like you are doing so much with nothing to show for it.
  2. Walking away: having the confidence to tone it down or walk away completely is an option.
  3. Learning that people express love and affection in many different ways: your way of expressing love may not reflect someone else’s manner of expressing love/friendship.

 

What are your thoughts? Is it contextual?

13 reasons why I didn’t enjoy “13 reasons why”

PSA: I am not a psychologist, therapist, yadda yadda yadda. This is just my opinion based off my personal struggles with depression and anxiety. (that is another post altogether, stay tuned!)

MAJOR SPOILERS. don’t read this if you are planning to watch the show 🙂

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1. 13 episodes is not enough to fully highlight the phases of depression that eventually lead to thoughts of suicide/self harm.

2. Blame Game- The infliction of guilt by Hannah onto her peers, was a very dangerous play. Yes the whole show does revolves around the tapes and 17 year old minds, but it came off as “I killed myself because of you guys! ok?” maybe it was the writing or the approach, but it was cringeworthy.  “a lot of you cared, just not enough” ugh.

3. Limited character development- the characters all seemed like high school archetypes. At times I felt like it was Hannah and Clay vs their very evil friends. The characters also seemed too cliché? The troubled all-star basketball prodigy, The emo coffee girl, etc.

4. No efforts to properly handle the SERIOUS issues; Rape, self-harm, and suicide are mishandled throughout the duration of the show. I was left a little concerned for what would be the majority of the viewers (teens!).

5. The floating idea that major trauma is the only cause for wanting to commit suicide- In a short 13 episodes, the viewers witnessed two rapes (one of which was the cherry on top for Hannah’s decision to end her life). I’m NOT saying that rape isn’t a reason. We all know that rape is a TERRIBLE thing to happen to anyone, I just wish the show took a different route. Suicide can be synonymous with not feeling good enough, feeling like a burden, feeling like a failure etc.

6. The sheer ignorance of Hannah’s peers. At times I was just baffled by some of the things that were said or implied by the characters who received the tapes. (BRYCE? COURTNEY?!)

7. Parents were completely in the dark- Hannah seemed to have a good relationship with her parents, but there was NO indication that her parents could sense a change in her. Yes we can fake it, yes we may not want our parents to worry about it, but parents usually know that something is up. Maybe they don’t know the issue per se, maybe they are unable to properly express how to help, but they know.

8. The school board vs Hannah’s parents- That plot line frustrated me to no end. You would think that the school would take every action possible to figure out a way to help Hannah’s parents with their needs.

9. Liberty High’s general attitude towards student deaths- When Jeff died, “don’t drink and drive” posters were plastered on every wall (this boy was on a BEER RUN, SOBER). When Hannah died, Suicide prevention posters went up. That was it.

10. Miscommunication- a lot of Hannah’s inner dialogue was valid and relatable, but at times had me pausing the episode to rub my temples. “I told him to go, but I wanted him to stay” WHAT. BUT CLAY IS GOOD ? WHAT.

11. The buildup to Hannah’s inevitable suicide- The show treats Hannah’s suicide like the focal point of the show, the big crescendo. Suicide is not meant to be exciting or looked forward to. It’s not edgy, or to be romanticized.

12. Desensitization- The old argument goes “just because we see/play/listen to graphic material doesn’t mean we will be impacted by it” but in this case I’m not so sure. The very graphic suicide and rape scenes made me uncomfortable, and triggered very dark periods of my life.

13. The counsellor- I had very mixed feelings about the school counsellor. The show pinned him as distracted and nonchalant almost. The juxtaposition between who he is and what school kids he had to deal with before Liberty High, and the counsellor he is now, is a fault on the writers’ part. He dealt with kids from the hood; how far did he go to help them? Are kids from said hood impervious to mental health issues? could the counsellor deal with suicidal kids? nope. I wanted to like him, I REALLY did, but I guess the writers wanted to pin him as the non-helpful-faux-wise counsellor.

At the end of the day, it is a cheesy Teen Drama, but these issues are so severely important to properly execute.

“Never give 100% of yourself to someone you love!”

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 2.42.03 PM“Esther, you need to be a little meaner/a bitch. Men love bitches.”

“You do too much, you love with all of your heart. In the ends it leaves you hurt and empty.”

“You need to have higher standards and you also need to marry a man who loves you much more than you love him”

“the one who cares less, has more power”

I have heard a variation of these statement over the years; usually following a falling out with a guy or a love/crush that was unrequited.

I hate mind games. I love authentic interactions with men. I love being myself around guys I am interested in. I have however, reached a point where I think that some interactions require these temporary “tactics” or “mind games” that are deemed highly acceptable by the dating scene. I feel exhausted putting so much love, energy and effort into someone who doesn’t see my value/pushes me away, only to realize he is madly in love with me after the fact that I did my part and moved the hell on. There is a plethora of videos and books on the “how to ____ ” in regards to making a man want you more, making yourself seem a certain way when you are not etc. Some tactics are almost borderline manipulating, but branch off human psychology (we are pretty fucked up, y’all). I wish that it were ok for me to display my affections without the need pull away in order for him to notice my absence, or going completely cold turkey even though we both seem to get on very well. *slaps forehead*. Keeping a man’s (or woman’s) interest is a topic that that will stay relevant and will continue to be analyzed, put to the test, and made for profit. I do understand the inherent need for these tactics, but is there an ideal outcome where two people just can be their unapologetic selves?

It’s cool to be apathetic and nonchalant these days, displaying a side of yourself that cares too much or forgives too easily is a HUGE no-no in love and relationships it seems.

 

What are your thoughts?

Seeking Validation vs Feeling Sexy

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I recently posted this photo ^ on my Instagram feed. I posted it in early February and since then have thought of taking it down. Esther that is way too sexy, too revealing, whose approval are you seeking? You are not a Victoria’s Secret Model. on the flip side, I also had self empowering thoughts like Esther, girl! you look good. You are comfortable in your sensual, Goddess-like being. Yes it is only social media, and yes there are much bigger problems to worry about, but I am on a journey of self love/self empowerment and I find it interesting that I at least, have these opposing and sometimes contradictory thoughts on my sensuality.

As I mentioned in a previous post, most women have to deal with a LOT of pressure to be this non-realistic superwoman; look amazing 24/7, have an amazing career, find an ideal mate before 30 etc. I find that when women are too comfortable in their own skin it is received as a plight for validation from men *rolls eyes*, a severe case of daddy issues, and a lack of self respect. It is always in accordance to men in some shape or form. The funny part is, women partake in this judgement whether we like to admit or not. There are many instances where I had thought wow she must really be insecure if she is comfortable twerking in her thong for the whole world to see instead of, you know what! get it girl! do what you want! I don’t know about everybody else, but for me it is also the outlet of expression that determines these thoughts. If I saw the same girl bellydancing or whining for instance, I would have immediately praised her instead of question her security or lack thereof.

Why is that?

We are so conditioned to think there is something wrong if a woman takes charge of her sensuality. Is it that offensive? Is it that powerful?

What are your thoughts?