Selfies Don’t Stop, Fam: 5 Things I Learned During my #7dayselfiechallenge

I do not consider myself particularly vain. And let me be clear about what I am considering as “vanity.”  True to the dictionary definition, overly concerned with one’s whatever (looks, accomplishments, etc) can look like many things. And we can talk about what “overly” means as well, as one man’s “overly” is another’s “mandatory.” For example, I don’t leave my house to go anywhere I intend to remove my sunglasses without eyeliner.  Is this vain? Some might think so. But I don’t. Which brings me to this whole “selfie” deal.

I don’t take selfies often. Of my 835 pictures on Instagram  (taken over 3 ½ years, averaging about 2 pictures a day) 5.8% (about 50) of them are selfies and/or “usies”, which are defined as the pictures when either I or the person in the picture uses our cell phone’s camera function to take a picture of ourselves for whatever reason.  That number goes up to 70 pictures (8 %) if you add pictures of various parts of my body, whose status as a “selfie” is debatable as there is no actual face to look at. In comparison, about 20% (160 something) of my IG photos feature one or more of my kids without me in the picture (I counted combo kid/me selfies in the “me” selfie category).

To be honest, I don’t care for selfies – mine or anyone else’s. Not because I am a staunch opponent of vanity – I like to look cute as much as the next person. I belong in a sorority whose identity is based largely on what people perceive as vanity.  I think selfies are awful because they are usually the same boring ass photo of your good side taken at a jaunty angle that looks exactly the same as the last 43 pictures you have taken of yourself and of nothing else. Nothing else.  NOTHING ELSE.

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I don’t know this guy but apparently he wants me to…

As a people watcher with degrees in psychology, I love a good narrative. I like to see what’s going on as much as you like to share, and selfies say to me, “You know what’s going on? ME…Me in red lipstick, me in tight clothes, me sweating from running, me, me, me.”  In fact, Psychology Today says indulging in selfies is an indication of narcissism, low self-esteem, attention seeking behavior, and self-indulgence. And while I know Psychology Today is full of shit and have been on my list of no cred since they wrote that article about Negro women not being attractive (look it up), I’m going to lend this opinion some credence. In fact, in 2014, some sad teenager became so obsessed with taking the perfect picture of himself, he spent 10 hours a day perfecting his craft, and finally attempted suicide after failing to produce that perfect selfie. WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO DO THIS?

So, I tried it. For 7 days, I tried to delve into the mind of people who have made taking pictures of themselves on a constant and regular basis their new favorite past time. So here are 5 things I learned about selfies…

#1 This shit it time consuming

Maybe I am impatient. Maybe I am self-conscious. Maybe I just have too many damn kids and not enough time to sit around staring in my front facing camera to get that perfect shot. I swore I would take at least three pictures a day and post one… but I really took like two and posted the better of the two. These are the selfies that didn’t make the cut:

Selfies

AND its emotionally consuming. See that one with the short hair (wig)? I didn’t post it because I thought too hard about it and thought, dammit, I look just like this guy:

doe

No one was about to wait on me at the do’ in my comments so it didn’t make the cut. Plus, I have this really cute baby, and was low on phone storage space, so if someone’s photo isn’t going to happen, it wasn’t going to be hers.

#2 Its Hard

I know what makes for good pictures – I have “an eye” for aesthetics.  I know what colors I look good in. I know what shapes and sizes of clothes I should wear, and all that. But finding the right lighting, angle, and horcrux to take a good selfie is like rocket science.  And while I may be many, many things, a rocket scientist I am not.

#3 You can’t take yourself too seriously

This is where the selfie kings and queens lose me.  The people of the world who “woke up like this” when they know they didn’t, or those who deny the fact that their shirtless picture or flirty pout is thirst trapping, kill me.  And this is where I start blocking and hiding people from my timeline, because whether you realize it or not, you have set yourself up to be clowned, and the internet is no place for the sensitive, especially when there are people like me who can’t read facial expressions in real life, let alone “sincerity” over the internet. I’ve hurt quite a few feelings so I tend to keep my opinion to myself (mostly because I’ve been blocked anyway)  but I will admit,  putting yourself out there, over and over again,  takes balls I might not have.

#4 People do this for fans

My selfie consultant (yes, I have one of those, who is also where i got the title from. You can check out her selfies on IG @lawanticious. She takes a phenomenal selfie) called it “self-appreciation.” But does “self-appreciation” entail screaming,” I look damn good today, but not so damn good yesterday but I took a picture of myself to show everyone that I still feel good about myself even when I know I don’t look as good as I did the day before that?”  Because to me, that doesn’t feel genuine. I know people say, “I’m feeling myself today, boo!” but does that mean I have to feel you, too? Because that sometimes feels intrusive and sometimes, every once in a while, I feel like I have been visually assaulted.

I mean, I love a good, “You look pretty today,” as much as the next guy, but I also have a family who says that to me often, so maybe I don’t understand the need to seek that adoration from the peoples on the internets. I like to think of my friends as my friends, and not some army of sycophants who should shower me with compliments… My babies ARE really cute, though…

#5 My vanity lies elsewhere

While I may not be clamoring for the attention of others with regard to my looks, my insecurities lay elsewhere. And yes, I am saying that a constant stream of selfies may indicate that you are masking a deep unhappiness or suffering from low self-esteem. Why do I make that assumption? Because doth protest too much. When you have to tell the world you feel good about yourself all the time… I’ll let you finish that thought… I have come to terms with the fact that I am a very small, moderately attractive, dark skinned woman with skinny legs and supremely nappy hair. I don’t need anyone else to tell me that they approve of these things.

But, if you notice, I don’t write much. I also don’t draw much either, however, I am very good at both. Why? Because I don’t receive criticism well, and the comments section of anything ever produced is where all hope for humanity goes to die… except for the Humans of New York Facebook page… That page is awesome. But back to ME… I still seek approval, but I would rather have people appreciate me for my intellect, my wit, my humor, or candor than for my fleeky eyebrows. I love to create things, whether it be a blog or a painting or a really cute baby, and that’s what I want people to leave little smileys with hearts in their eyes in my comments about – not my funny looking face.

That Psychology Today article I mentioned also concedes that the desire to take selfies is normal and natural, but because the selfie is a relatively new phenomenon, society has yet to be able to conceptualize their place in our world just yet. As a result, they have a negative connotation, and maybe that’s it for me. I just don’t see the purpose, and as someone who is admittedly a fairly judgy person, it’s a hard sell… I guess I could acknowledge that the selfie’s place in society is to help us reach confidence, to remind us all that we’re all here, and we all matter…or show us, with little to no words, that we’re all a bunch of self-obsessed assholes.

Either way,  you guys keep doing you. Remember, you is kind, you is smart, and you is important.  And I’ll just keep muting you from my timeline.

Here’s my final #Selfie…

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Me, writing this blog… Oh yea, I big chopped again… Man I look like my mom…

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Words Never Said 

When you’re breastfeeding, you have to wear clothes that make whipping out a boob as easy as possible, so you can usually catch me in a button down, hastily half buttoned wrong and disheveled because I’m too resentful of breastfeeding to look presentable doing it. But yesterday, I gave it a try and wore my second favorite button down – a cream polka dotted number I got from Old Navy, a store dedicated almost entirely to my refusal to wear anything with a shape or pattern. I heart you, Old Navy. 

When I put the shirt on that morning, it was a tad snug but I was sure it could accommodate my inflatable boobs after it stretched a little while wearing. I wore it to the store, and back home where it was taken off twice to pump, and unbuttoned a few times to nurse, and it never occured to me that the shirt would decide it had had enough…

Do you know what people say to you when your shirt has failed to remain buttoned, esposing your luscious, milk filled boobs at the mall while prom shopping with 5 teenage girls and two babies?

Nothing. 

No throat clearing with a downward glance. No “excuse me, miss, but your shirt has come undone.” Not even a, “Daaamn, look at them luscious tittays!” 

They say absolutely nothing. 

And not one of the above mentioned 7 people said anything either. In fact, the matter was only brought to my attention when I spilled some mango lemonade and thought, “Gee, that felt like that hit my ski— oh my god my shirt is unbuttoned to my damn navel.” 

Yup.

So friends, if you’re ever in the mall, and you see a women wrangling a preschooler and a stroller, cussing at teenage girls over tall boys and high heels, and her shirt is WIDE THE FUCK OPEN, please, just tap her on the shoulder and say, “ma’am, your luscious tittays are showing.” 

The World at 36 Inches

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I am one of those kinds of parents that is comfortable in the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing, so I tend to let my kids figure things out on their own. As a result, they are rather tech savvy. My daughter, at age 2, is actually the one who showed me how to make categories on my (now her) iPad. She also showed me how to reset apps because her daddy showed her how. Mind you, she’s still hesitant to use the potty, but knows how to download apps. And now, at age 3, she has mastered my digital camera. Whenever she gets the inclination, she grabs the camera and takes some pretty good pictures. So here is what life in my house looks like at 36 inches tall…

This is the awesome scratch on my dining room table.

This is one of those decoratove rocks in a bowl that go on coffee tables. She has clearly taken it out of the bowl to create art.

This is most of her daddy.

This one’s my favorite – Just crayons

Some self portraiture.

She arranged these on the floor for the sole purpose of taking the picture.

Her easel.

This is an interesting perspective shot of a lap desk with graffiti. I like the use of positive and negative space…which is what I say when I am trying to act like I know what I’m talking about when it comes to art.

Just thought I’d share.

🙂

I Ran Out of Gift Wrap…Okay, No I Didn’t…

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I like to wrap gifts. I buy pretty paper on super sale after Christmas, and hoard it until the time comes to use it. However, sometime i run out of paper, and its 3 in the morning and Target has the audacity to be closed. Or frankly, some things don’t get my pretty wrapping paper. So for those times, I like to use what I happen to have on hand. In this case, its magazines.

So here’s a quick 1,2,3 on making wrapping paper out of magazines.

1, 2, 3

1.) All you need is pages from a magazine, A glue stick and scissors to smooth the edges if the pages are raggedy from being torn out, like mine. I found a few pages of the same color. Sometimes i like to use pictures from the same photo shoots in fashion magazines as they tend to create a cohesive picture, but this time, i was going for the color – Carmex yellow!

2.) Glue the edges of the paper together. There should only be a tiny bit of overlap. Let dry.

3.) Wrap your gift.

I also made that bow from a tutorial i found on pinterest, also from a page in a magazine.

So, there you have it. Super easy, a little more fun than newspaper, particularly if you’re like me, and haven’t seen a real newspaper in a couple of years.

🙂

My First Tutorial EVER: Wrapped Wire Ring

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First, welcome to my first tutorial on how to make something.

I did a quick google/pinterest search to see if there was something like this out there and I didn’t see anything. But IF i am copying someone else, please let them know that I’m sorry my ring is better than theirs. Ha!

I’m going to show you how to make this:

Cute, right? RIGHT?!

So here is what you’ll need:

Got that Egyptian Musk off the oil guy on 87th and the Dan Ryan

– Super Glue – I prefer the gel kind with the fancy tip. But i would like to add the caveat that no matter what kind you use, you will still glue your finger tips together.

– embroidery floss, as many colors as you’d like

– Wire cutting pliers thingies…yes, that’s the technical term

– Wire – the wire i used is so cheap, it doesn’t tell you the gauge. It just says “craft wire” and costs a dollar at Wal-Mart. You can use any gauge as long as you can wrap thread around it… I’d go thicker and flexible…

– Scissors to cut your floss

– Something that’s about the circumference of your finger OR you can use your actual finger. I like to keep it real so i used a bottle of Egyptian Musk essential oil. *black power fist*

– The beads are optional… And need to be large enough to string on the wire.

Okay so your first step is to decide how many times you want the ring wrapped around your finger. I like odd numbers, so I went with 5. Five time around my skinny (size 7) fingers = about 13 inches of wire.

Now you want to wrap the floss around the wire.

I put a little dab of super glue to anchor the thread, the began wrapping it around the wire, until I was about a quarter of the way down. Then I put another dab of glue to secure it to the wire and added another color.

You see there’s a little overlap between the colors. Thats because the floss can sometimes slide, and I don’t want any wire exposed unless I expose it.

For this one, I added a few beads:

I also left a space of exposed wire because i like the way that looks. Dont feel like you need to do that if you don’t want to. Here’s the finished wire:

Now you wrap. Take you bottle of Egyptian Musk or your finger or whatever you’re using, and wrap the wire around it.

 Once you remove it, you should have something that looks like this:

If you’d like to keep the coil loose and able to resize, you’re done. But I don’t, so there’s a couple more steps to finish.

Fold the loose end behind the coil like so:

Take an accent color of floss and wrap around the tucked coils. Secure with a tiny drop of super glue. Keep in mind that after ripping your fingers apart a few times, it doesn’t even hurt anymore.

Now you’re done. Here’s another shot of the finished product:

And here’s one in yellow and grey with 3 coils…

And now concludes my very first online craft tutorial. If you like this one, I’ll see if i can show you how to make my über complicated Grown Up Friendship Bracelet, featured on my etsy shop (bind and coil @ etsy, link in the right column),

Thanks!

On Sunday Morning

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I am in possession of a little person. She is very small, and sometimes, very mean. But she smiles all the time (even when she is being mean), and even if she refuses to use the potty, she’s still really, really fun.

After being inspired by an episode of Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch (be good to bugs), My Little Person decided she’d like a garden. Well, why do you think I bought this house walking distance from a Home Depot AND a Target, Little Person?

So here is what we used for our lovely garden, which cost us about $8.00 total, including tools, seeds, and flowers.

The only tools we really needed…

You also need a little person. If you don’t have a little person, you can borrow one, or you can rent mine for $19, $21 on Sundays.

We picked up some flowers from The Home Depot and started digging holes. It was during this process that I discovered that I am really good at digging holes, and My Little Person is really good at filling them up… And make sure you add some water.

 

 Little people are really good at watering things.

   Welcome to our garden 🙂

Wait…was that racist?

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I have to admit, I am a tad bit reluctant to share this story with the world. To date, its only be recounted once to my husband, and of course laughed at hysterically by those who were present. And no, the innocent will not remain nameless…

Allow me to introduce the witnesses, my best friends @cindasmommy and @littlemisphd (Feel free to follow them on the twitter). Little Miss PhD (and yes, she is a doctor) currently resides in D.C., and in her spare time, enjoys reading, watching fantasy nonsense on t.v., and dancing lewdly and suggestively in gold lame’. She invited me and Cinda’s Mommy (who is actually Jacinda’s Mommy) down for the weekend to do hood rat stuff with her, and also catch one of these vulgar performances. We were delighted.

After brunch (‘cause that’s what bougie chicks do – we brunch) that included all-you-can-drink mimosas, Little Miss PhD the Dancing Girl had to go to rehearsal, leaving me and Cinda’s Mommy to our own devices, which meant walking to the nearest Nordstrom to pillage their shoe racks…

The car was parked, we cut through this alley, and as we entered the back entrance of the theater and attempted to walk down the hallway, a small man quickly enters the hallway from the left…He entered the hallway so quickly that one could even say he “jumped” into the hallway…THAT is my defense (and the mimosas!), by the way, because he entered the hallway SO QUICKLY, it was almost cat-like…like a ninja.

So I said, “Wha-taaaaaah!”

You know, karate sounds…

Which would be totally appropriate as he jumped into the hallway LIKE A NINJA who wanted to karate fight. However,

He was Asian. And he wasn’t trying to karate fight.

Which makes this story totally racist.

Cinda’s Mommy collapsed in an adjacent doorway and began to convulse with laughter. We literally had to pull her off the floor. Little Miss PhD, in her effort to remove me from people who may know her, began to give VERY,VERY specific directions as to how to get out of the building before I could offend anyone else as there were also White people, Hispanic people, and other Black people who I could yell racial epithets at.

“Okay, go down this hallway, ok? You will see stairs, ok? Go DOWN those stairs, ok? There will be a door at the bottom of those stairs, ok? Go out that door and make a right, and Nordstrom will be a block on your right. Ok?”

The worst part about the story is that my ignorance was TOTALLY INVOLUNTARY, which, as far as I’m concerned makes it totally not racist. You ACT like a ninja, Asian or not, people will treat you like one and make karate sounds when you walk by.

But ESPECIALLY if you’re Asian.

I’m pretty sure they don’t ALL know martial arts. However this one teaches break dancing so I BET he could kick the shit out of anyone at any time…like a ninja… who just so happens to be Asian. I’d also like to add the fact that I don’t think he heard me in all the hustle and bustle in that hallway. And IF said Asian gentleman heard me, he did not respond…Which clearly makes him the better person. *clenches fist* Dammit!

Its situations like this that make me painfully aware of not only my very awkward, sometimes stunted social skills, but of my own deep-seeded (or is it seated? Ceded? Someone help me put here) biases. In the wake of the Trayvon Martin incident, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that what I had said was exactly the kind of thing that not only was something very similar to what an asshole would do, but also the kind of thing that validates stereotypes and invalidates the individual. If I had seen my own child do that, I would have been mortified, and they would have been IN TROUBLE… like flip flop in the bathroom kind of trouble. So, I really gotta do better.

And for the record, I’m not a racist. One of my good friends is half Japanese. And yes, I am fully aware that these are the very same things that racists say… So to all my Asian friends, I am sorry and I mean it. Don’t feel so bad about clutching your purses now.

BUT, in spite of my apparent racism, I still bought 3 pairs of shoes for $125…POW…

Let Me Be Great

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First, let me start with saying that I love my husband. I really do. He’s funny and smart and even lets me dress him in whatever I want him to wear. He’s awesome.

However.

We work together. We live together. We sleep in the same bed. Every night. Of Every day.

But there’s good news!

My husband is out of town on a business trip… for 5 whole days. * cue end zone side step shuffle, kick ball change, pirouette, hit dougie…repeat…*

And not only is he GONE, all the way to Arizona, but he left me in charge of the tax return…It’s like Christmas! So all day I’ve been day dreaming about what I’m going to do while he’s gone. This includes:

–        Buying him a new car

–        Getting a trampoline for the back yard

–        F that – a pool! We need a pool! And not a PWT above ground number – a REAL pool…

–        Buying ME a new car

–        Hiring a maid

–        You can’t get a pool without landscaping.

–        Oooh! A water feature!

–        I think we should replace the sapling in the front yard with an imported California redwood

–        Another dog, just like the one we already have, just younger…

–        Matching dogs need matching sweaters

–        And purses to carry around said dogs

–        He really needs a new car

–        I think the bedroom should be painted. I hope he likes lilac!

–        Maybe a cat instead of a dog…

–        I should remodel the kitchen

–        House hunting

–        I need lypo

So clearly, if left to my own devices for just 5 days, I can not only blow through a whole middle class (read “anorexic”) tax return in the blink of an eye, but risk my marriage while I’m at it… So here’s the list of things I’m REALLY going to do:

–        Buy a dining room set

–        Catch up on Basketball Wives

–        Get a pedicure

And getting a maid is a maybe…

See how rather unimpressive that list is?

Why won’t he let me be great?

Some of the things i hate the most about being a grown up is being reponsible, making the “right” decisions, and talking myself out of fun shit…

One of the best things about being a grown up, though?

Reisling…

Oh, and eating your dessert first. mmmmmmm….

Pimp My Cubicle – My Inspired Workspace

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I work in a cubicle farm. Aisles upon aisles of beige, or sometimes grey, boring lifeless cubicles.

It’s sad, really…

I am also an avid fan of HGTV. I could watch it all day because most of the time they manage to do exactly what I needed to – do a whole lot to move and inspire people’s homes with not a whole lot of resources. Any my office is my “home away from home” right? So after a good episode of Designed to Sell, I decided to “renovate” my office.

Here’s the before:

Awesome, right? Lots of beige…And yet I’m supposed to come up with the latest and greatest innovative ideas here…

So i got some fabric from Ikea, T-pins, and some personal affects and voila!

My Office, After

 No, those plants arent real. Over sized file cabinet gone, allowing more space for company. A small side table with magazines to entertain, and personal items to make my home away from home a little more like me… Now, I can come up with some great ideas…