Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

My obsession with the Klan

In Education, Encouragement, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on February 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm

You read that right. And, yes. I DO mean THAT Klan. The Ku Klux Klan. I find it/them fascinating. Since my days at Agnes Scott College, I have been doing primary and secondary research on the history of the Klan. Some people find it odd that I (a reasonably sane Black woman from the South) actively search for ways to research and write about the Klan.

They stand for death, for hatred, for an era that most would care to forget, and for attitudes that many wish did not exist. That is precisely why I research the Klan. In touching their old literature, in viewing their brutal pictures, in reading accounts of their ghastly activities: I feel that I have faced the ugliness of the past and it has not and will not destroy me. I have pulled the sheets away and revealed the ghost to be little more than humans cowering behind the color of their skin. I have exposed the deathly underbelly of the American identity, but I still believe that there is room in this country for justice.

For Black Southerners, the Klan is a resonantly eerie and threatening reminder of how far this country has come in terms of race relations and how far this country has yet to go. Yet, in my heart while I research and while I write, I recognize that I am. Regardless of their marches, their parades, their lynchings, their beatings, their violent words, and their threats: I exist as a mixed-up conglomeration of brown-ness. That hatred does not negate my existence. That ugliness does not change the beauty of my own family’s history.


Pityriasis: I pity the fool

In Encouragement, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Uncategorized on February 20, 2013 at 4:04 am

I had pityriasis rosea over the summer. If you don’t know about pityriasis, think chicken pox meets psoriasis meets poison ivy covering me from ankles to scalp. It itches. It burns. It swells. It’s red. It’s raised. It’s lacy. It’s dry. At first, I thought I had shingles. Then, I thought maybe an allergic reaction to some medicine.

If you have it right now, I am VERY sorry. Sometimes, doctors aren’t familiar with it–so it might take a while to diagnose. It takes even longer to get rid pityriasis. Chances are that your doctor will prescribe you an anti-inflammatory that comes in cream or oral form. It can last for months, BUT I got rid of mine in about a month. If, however, you have yet to be diagnosed or can’t afford to go through that whole process–here are some tips.

1. Get some sun. I tried many things, but my cure did not kick into high gear until my wonderful parents evacuated me from the city to the beach. I spent nearly an hour in the sun every day. Of course, I slathered on sunscreen. But, my rash began to fade QUICKLY. Literally, an hour in the sun will make a difference. Take a day off of work (because, let’s face it, if you have pityriasis–you are not going to be getting any work done), and find a spot with plenty of sun.

2. Shea butter. For me, my itching calmed down if I kept my skin moisturized. The important thing is to choose a moisturizer that will not irritate the rash. Pure shea butter did not irritate my skin.

3. Coconut oil. Another great and non-irritating moisturizer.

4. Lukewarm showers. I read on the internet that I should take cold showers. I hate cold showers. But, hot showers will NOT make the rash feel better–trust me.

5. Stay cool. I’m sorry, but pityriasis is a show stopper. I couldn’t get sweaty. I couldn’t get overheated. I couldn’t get too stressed out. If I did, my rash would sprout hives and get tingly. Sexy, huh?

6. DON’T scratch. Rub. Rub. Rub. But, please don’t scratch. You DO NOT want to get an infection from broken skin.

7. Benadryl cream. For those moments when rubbing just….won’t quite work (like a job interview). This is a great item to take with you everywhere.

8. Chamomile tea. Plain, pure chamomile tea has both a calming and an anti-inflammatory property. I had pityriasis in hot Georgia, so I would brew LOTS of strong chamomile tea, sweeten it with a little honey, and chill it. I would sip it ALL day. Delicious? Eh. Not really. But, I would feel cooler, calmer, and be a little less hive-y.

If you have questions, please leave me a comment!


Thoughts on my Tummy

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution on February 1, 2013 at 3:34 am

I spent, like, an hour last night thinking about my tummy. Quite frankly, my tummy causes me a lot of distress. It is the one part of my body that I unequivocally do NOT like. I am going to cut it straight with you. My waist measures in the neighborhood of 34″ (or less depending on my hormones). I want it to measure 30 inches. I want to have that severe hourglass look. I don’t now, and I feel less pretty. Plus, I have the inevitable ticking biological clock thoughts that if I can’t get my waistline together now, chances plummet to get it together after having a child in my late 30s or 40s.

It’s squishy.  You can’t see my bellybutton (though I was born with a decisive outtie).  At the top, it’s flat. But, at the middle and bottom, it’s…puffy. By no means is it firm. My love handles cause me a little concern, too–not as much as my actual tummy. I have stretch marks–but those don’t bother me either as I got them when I was 17 and young and beautiful.

I can run a 10 minute mile; actually, a 9 minute mile some days. I can do some incredible things in Pilates. I am great at writing a brief and doing legal research. I have a nice singing voice. I have a cute smile. But, I place a lot of emphasis on my tummy.  And I hate it when I do that! It’s senseless and pointless. But, somehow at some point in my life, I learned to equate the flatness of a tummy with a person’s beauty.

There it is. When I/if I have children, I will strive to make sure that they don’t make connections between things that don’t go together.