26 July 2009

pricey coffee (and other respectable addictions)

I have decided (especially given the events of my last blog post) that it's high time I started living more within my Broke Theatre Student means. There's no time like the present to start living frugally, considering that a) in the present economy, it'll be necessary sooner or later, and b) I want to start fattening up my travel budget.

Here, then, is a list of things I plan to get rid of/downsize indefinitely:

  • (Pricey Coffee) The biggest and sweetest offender on my list; this is going to be hard, as the Starbucks caramel macchiato literally sings my name every time I pass that delicious, wallet-eating coffeeshop. Also the white chocolate mocha. And the chai tea. And just about everything else on the menu...Folgers homemade, here I come. If I get really ambitious, I might even quit altogether and switch to tea. Or is that any cheaper, really?

  • (Unlimited Texting) All right, so I don't actually have unlimited texting, although that would be pretty awesome. But I'm still forking over something like $50 for my phone bill every month, and it is causing my bank account some serious pain. Basically, I need to research a cheaper cell phone plan.

  • (Sleeping Late) This one's kind of a reach, but darn it, I have a lot that needs to get done and sleeping until noon tends to mean a low-productivity day for me. If I'm going to come up with some alternative sources of income, this needs to change.

  • (iTunes) Fortunately, hulu and pandora should be my friends on this one, since I don't have to own their videos/music to enjoy. Unless it's something really awesome...like dc Talk, say...

  • (Discretionary Spending) Some ice cream here, a pair of earrings there, a cup of coffee, a movie ticket or a pair of shoes...man, that stuff stacks up. Fortunately, my friends are not real big shoppers, so this one isn't as bad as it could be, but I need to start keeping a record.

I think that's enough for now. Baby steps and all. And if this doesn't work, I could always take the Calvin and Hobbes approach. WWCD (What Would Calvin Do)? That's a scary thought...

25 July 2009


Today, I quit my job.

Well. That's probably oversimplifying the case a bit. Today, I attempted to quit one of my part-time jobs, my first job, only to be informed that I had to talk to the general manager to have such a thing properly approved, and he will be in tomorrow.

(It is occurrences like these that further convince me that my life is actually a sad art house film with vague soul-food, coming-of-age overtones; the kind of thing that Tobey Maguire and the chick from Juno might star in, with Tyler Perry both producing and appearing in drag at some point.)

It is a truly ridiculous world we live in (or maybe it's just me?) where I can't even quit my job without being given the middle-management runaround. Meditating on this ridiculousness helps me to not think about the fact that I have worked this job for three years solid and no one, not a single person that I spoke to about my imminent departure, even attempted to get me to stay. I mean, it's a crappy job. A wage-slave, dead-end kind of a job. And yet, the idea of quitting it felt like failure at first. When I left today (vowing fervently that I would never, ever return as an employee; I'll call in tomorrow to speak to the GM but I'll be darned if I'm ever going back in that office), there was nobody to wave goodbye or say that they would miss working with me, or even to say "good riddance", for that matter. It just didn't make much of a difference. I didn't make much of a difference, I suppose.

To be fair, I was never in it for more than the paycheck. Like I wanted to be in food service for the rest of my life? My fellow employees (those who didn't work two weeks and then walk off/get fired; we went through a lot of flaky people while I was there), for the most part, didn't care about what we were doing any more than I did. Sure, some of us stuck out in that we actually liked the customers and the people we worked with, took pride in our work, and maybe even thought our company was a generally good one. But it wasn't something we belonged to. We just worked there.

I spoke to Faith & Co. about my growing desire to quit, long before I actually did so. She pointed out something that I had never considered before: at this stage in my life, there's no good reason to work a job I hate. Losing the extra income is a risk, sure, and kind of scary, but it's not the end of the world. And I have other options.

C'est la vie, I guess. On to the next thing. Like deciding how to productively structure my suddenly-extremely-flexible schedule...

09 July 2009

reminder time.

Today, I do not have any words in me. Today, I am tired, chubby, dull and unattractive. Today is a day for borrowing other peoples' words.

"Our deepest FEAR is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that
we are POWERFUL beyond measure. It is our LIGHT, not our darkness, that most
frightens us.
We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?' Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a
child of GOD. Your playing small doesn't SERVE the world.
There's nothing ENLIGHTENED about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure
around you. We are all meant to SHINE, as children do. We are born to make
manifest the GLORY of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in EVERYONE. And as we let our
own LIGHT shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are LIBERATED from our own fear, our PRESENCE automatically liberates

~ Marianne Williamson

07 July 2009


In my world, you do not rush a hair salon visit.

I called my salon yesterday, a place called Napps that I trust enough to deal with my not-quite-dependably-locked-up hair. The girl who answered the phone had about as much of a professional air as my fifteen-year-old sister, but she assigned me an appointment for 11am today.
“Do you have a stylist?” She asked.
“Um. The last time I was there, I spoke with Ansa?” I replied uncertainly, and not quite truthfully. The last time I was at Napps was when a dear friend of mine—we’ll call her Blue—was toying with the idea of dying her blonde hair blue. I can still remember the way the staff looked at us when we stopped by, their gaze skittering across her bright, blue-eyed curiosity to land on me, asking did I want to make an appointment? For answer, I pointed at Blue, who was studying the weave display with all the innocent inquisitiveness of a kindergartener learning her colors. Then, I gave a slight, apologetic shrug, and they seemed to understand, but I’ve felt vaguely guilty about it ever since. Don’t blame me, my shrug said. My clueless white friend insisted on dragging me in here. You know how they are. She thinks we’re having an adventure. Which wasn’t quite true, since I had been the one to tell her there was a hair salon down that way. It was the same old story with us; part of me wanted her to get a glimpse of my world, to both share it with me while yet appreciating its strangeness, its utter difference from her. Leave it to me to want the impossible. I wanted her to be a part of me, yet retain my own, distinct and independent identity.

None of this, however, was relevant to my conversation with the girl on the phone yesterday. “Ansa has some openings after 10,” she told me.
“Can I make an appointment for 10:30am, then?”
“Umm…make it 11?”
“All right. Perfect. Thank you.”

The first time I ventured inside Napps, I was maybe seventeen, and with my mother, as we perused books of hairstyles and she and Ansa—who had offered us her time, gratis, for a consultation—tried tactfully to talk me into a real style. I had masses of hair, then, wavy and split-ended and wild but long, damnit, which was what I had been working so hard for. I had lusted after long hair all my life, but the permed styles were too much work for my tiny stores of patience, and now they were telling me that, if I wanted to wear my hair natural, the first step was to cut it all off and start over from the roots.

To say that I balked would probably be an understatement.

Ansa, bless her heart, suggested a compromise. I could get cornrowed braids for awhile (like regular cornrows, only instead of ending at the nape of the neck, mine continued for about a foot in thin, neat braids), wearing them until my hair to grew out enough that cutting it wouldn’t be such a drastic change.
So I got the braids. I wore them for about six months, then took them out, and came back to Napps for my cut. By then, I was 18, and off to college in a matter of weeks. The haircut wasn’t so scary anymore; it seemed like an appropriate change, since I was going to be all Mature College Lady soon, right?
That time, my appointment was with Kelly. I strode into the small storefront as confidently as I could, walking right past a t-shirted man who turned out to be Kelly. After the initial awkwardness, he led me up to his barber’s chair and went right to work asking exactly what I was looking for. He was kind. He could obviously sense my nervousness, and didn’t make fun of me for trying so hard to be offhand about it. Also, he talked on his cell phone almost the entire time he was cutting my hair, leaving me free of the pseudo-personal barbershop talk that I wasn’t that good at yet. An hour later, I walked out the front door with three inches of hair and a new, confident spring in my step, free as a bird and feeling, for the first time in a long time, happy with the way I looked.

I look back at those pictures now and wince. I’ve never been very photogenic, and that mini-fro I was sporting back then, while comfortable, did pretty much what it wanted from day to day, based on what side of the bed I got up on and whether I put conditioner in my hair. I didn’t do much, if anything, with those three inches, besides wait impatiently for it to grow out long enough to get twisted. December of that year, Aunt Fran took care of just that, and seven months later, I walked into Napps for the third time, at 10:54am on a Tuesday morning and with all the time in the world to indulge my hair. Ansa was there to twist my ‘locks for me (or rather, grown-up twists…I don’t know that they’re entirely locked yet), and she even remembered me. I sat down in her chair and listened to the salon chatter, mostly consisting of these deft-fingered Kenyan and Senegalese women passing judgment on the Michael Jackson memorial service happening on the flat-screen over my shoulder. I read a magazine, talked to the stylists, even dozed off once or twice under the hairdryer.

Time saunters by in a black hair salon. I don’t know, maybe it does the same thing in the mainstream ones, too, but given what I know of my race’s timekeeping habits, probably not quite to the same extent. Nobody hurries. Nobody has anyplace else to be that day, or if they do it’s not any time soon. Ansa paused in her work several times to answer the phone, to finish with another client, to make conversation—even to greet a young Kenyan woman, apparently new to the neighborhood, who had come in because she had heard there were native women here with whom she could entrust her hair.

Even with all of this, I was in and out of the salon in under two hours, having tipped Ansa generously and obtained her business card for the next time. My head felt cool and a little tight from the fresh twists, and going back out into the bright, hurrying world was a little bit of a shock at first. But I carried peace with me. I held my head a little higher, feeling my locks brush around my ears, and thought happily of the long, beautiful hair I’m going to have someday.

Unless I feel like cutting it off again.

Or doing something else entirely, depending on when and how the mood strikes me.

I am, after all, a Mature College Lady, and quite at liberty to do as I please.