Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Prom Night

I have this strange habit of recognizing dates that are seemingly meaningless. Most people think it's weird that I acknowledge the day the anniversary of my womanhood, but hey, if I remember the date, I'm going to give it its moment of praise. Today I looked at the calendar and noticed that it is the anniversary of my senior prom.

It'd be a cliche if I started calling my high school years the good ole days, but they were. Back then, all I wanted to do was graduate and get as far away as possible. But then I got this taste of puppy love that made me rethink going away so far for my college years.

I remember that I waited till the last minute to get my prom dress (Hey, I still procrastinate. I can't help it) and a group of us arranged to be in a limo together. There were about four couples and when we showed up to take pictures, I realized that one of the other girls was wearing the same dress as me. Horror upon horrors! But whatever, we got through it.

We went to this fancy restaurant beforehand, where everyone smiled and stared at us. One of my friends reached out to say hello to me and had a wardrobe malfunction that would make the Janet Jackson thing look innocent. Afterward, we stood in this long line to get pictures, when this girl I couldn't stand came up to me and snidely mentioned that everyone inside was wearing my dress. Oh, what a bitch. If I had been less of a lady, I would've told her that people who come to prom alone because they discovered their 20-something fiance' was already engaged to someone else need not talk. But I smiled and swallowed my evil words.

I remember that my date got sick and couldn't dance that much, which was kind of annoying. I remember drinking champagne in the limo when another girl got sick and vomitted in the champagne container. I remember going to the hotel afterward, with my date thinking this would be the night and me knowing it wouldn't.

As much fun as I had in high school, I am truly glad to put those days behind me. It's only fitting that my Mom called me recently to tell me that she discovered my prom dress as she was cleaning out the closets. She was sweet enough to mention that the dress is a 3/4 and did I think I could still fit it? Funny lady.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Looking back, it’s probably my fault. I started this mess.

For those of you who don’t know, The Color Purple is one of my favorite movies. I’ve seen it 85745850375347547405040 times. I know most of the lines and I’m prone to bursting out with an occasional, “You told Harpo to beat me”, “Ceeeeeelieeeee!!!”, or “You sho is ugly” phrase from the movie. It keeps things interesting.

(For those of you who aren’t as obsessed with me (or you live under a rock), The Color Purple is a movie about Celie (played by Whoopi Goldberg) , an abused black woman growing up in the 1900s. She goes from victim to victor in the 30 year span of her life that’s shown on screen.)

A few years ago, my beloved Uncle Charles got his hair loced. They looked good, but he always had this little piece of hair at the center of his forehead that I thought made him look like Celie, a la’ Color Purple (see photo). So I started to tease him and spout lines from the movie. Our conversations often went like this:
(Thanksgiving dinner)
Uncle Charles: Strength, can you pass the gravy?
Strength (rocking back and forth in my chair): Oh, don’t do it, Miss Celie! Don’t trade places with me Miss Celie!

( random greeting )
Uncle Charles: Hey Strength, how’s it going?
Strength: Oh, I see Mister bought his maid to the juke joint.
Uncle Charles: You know, this game is getting kinda old. Could we end it, please?
Strength: Hell, no! I said, hellllllll noooooo.
Uncle Charles: You ain’t right.
Strength: (hands raised in the air) Until you do right by me, everything you even think about is gonna crumble.

So yeah, that about sums up our relationship for those few years. Interesting enough, he cut off his locs around the time I was growing mine. Now he calls me Miss Celie, but it’s not the same, since he doesn’t know any lines from the movie.

Anyhow, here’s what’s happening to me lately:
(at the airport two yeas ago, meeting friend who hadn’t seen my locs, which are very short at this time)
Strength: Hey, good to see you.
Friend: What’s happenin’, Whoopi?!!!!!

(Getting a manicure a month ago, chatting with the white woman next to me about a book she was reading)
Woman: You have your hair like Whoopi Goldberg.
Strength: (no response, just give her a glare that I hope is menacing)
Woman: Are you a big fan of Whoopi Goldberg’s? Did you get your hair done like that so you can look like her?
Strength: (still silent, as I mentally hum Negro spirituals that keep me from punching her in the throat)
Woman: Well? Do you even watch The View?
Strength: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home........

(Going to dinner at a new restaurant with a friend who is black)
Friend: Wow! Your hair has really grown since I last saw you. I like it.
Strength: Thanks.
Friend: Yeah. You’ve got that whole Whoopi Goldberg thing going on.
Strength: Die, okay?? Just DIE!!!

So yes, apparently, Whoopi G is my new alter ego. I'm sure Whoopi is a lovely person in real life, but no, I don't think I look like her. I'd feel flattered, if folks were comparing me to, say, a sexy Whoopi G who looks like this, instead of the asexual way she typically looks. Now I just need the general public to understand that my name is not Whoopi!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Enough is Enough (Or: My Name Is Not Whoopi)

Blogger: Um, excuse me, but what are you doing here? I know you don’t think you can fall back into my good graces after being gone so long.

Strength: Sorry, B, baby, it’s just that some things have been happening, things out of my control.

Blogger: Psfh! We all have things that happen. That’s why I’m here! You’re supposed to use me to vent. Were you cheating on me?? Was it Typepad? Or Wordpress? I swear, I’ll kill them futhermuckas!

Strength: No, there’s nobody else but you.

Blogger: For real? Well dang…. Where have you been?

Strength: It’s just so hard. I’ve been really busy. Must I remind you that I’m a graduate student? I have classes on Tuesdays and Thursday nights. Plus, I take guitar on Monday evenings. Not to mention my full time job and all the other work I have to do throughout the week.

Blogger: Blah, blah, blah. Don’t beat me in the head with bullshit.

Strength: I’m going to do better now. I promise.

Blogger: Hmph. I feel like I’ve heard it all before. It’s like you don’t even love me in 2008. This year, you celebrate our anniversary, your birthday and poof! You vanished. Into thin air!

Strength: I know, I know. But I’m back now. I’ll try not to go away that long ever again. I’m trying to get it together. Can you bear with me?

Blogger (sniffs): I thought you loved me.

Strength: I do. It’s just that life has a way of getting in the way of things. Will you give me another chance?

Blogger: Maybe. What do you have for me now?

Strength: Well, I wanted to discuss my feelings on being 31.

Blogger (sarcastically): Oh, how exciting. Next!

Strength: I can write about how I’ve been compared to Whoopi Goldberg on three separate occasions since I’ve gotten my hair loc’ed.

Blogger: Ohh!!! Go on.

Strength: And I can write about how each day, I’m forced to tame my inner Hood Chick from giving folks a beatdown.

Blogger: Well, now you’ve got me.

Strength: I live to make you happy.

Blogger: You better.

Strength: I love you, Bloggerlicious.

Blogger: Don’t call me that in public! You know how I feel about PDA.

Strength: Sorry.