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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


Sybaritism 1 (look it up, Ninja)

Never in my life have I been accused of being ugly, but like every girl/woman, I didn't always see what others claimed to see in me. Somewhere I either picked up a big bowl of mediocre self esteem or took lessons in humility to heart like a pacemaker. Beautiful? Ehhh...I wouldn't have ever said it. It could be my lack of height or the Fountain of Youth genes I'm carrying that prevent me from looking in the mirror and EVER seeing whatever age I am at the time. Ugly Duckling? Not my storybook. But I certainly never fully bought into my hype. As I type...this shit sounds cocky, like it's heading in some hedonistic direction. After all these years, I just may be due a little self-indulgence in my fluthamuckin self.

So, take a trip with me. Figuratively speaking of course.

There are few places I've been where I've felt like the starlet, the celebrity, a a princess, than when I'm in New Orleans. It could be their total appreciation for the redbone concept, or the uniqueness of me passing a paper bag test but choosing to wear my tresses natural. I don't know for sure. When I got there, at the tender age of 18, I was a stick figure. Not much distinguished me from boys at that time but my choice of clothing and all the hair on my head. And not just any old boy--a 12 year old boy. Somehow, I managed to still top the "she could get it" lists of incoming Freshmen and upperclassmen alike. The word "cute" followed me around like a stray.

Cute's not an exciting word. Children are cute. Puppies are cute. Hell, even puppets can be cute. I was treated like my currency was higher than what they were saying to me. Cute was what I was told, but other things were said behind closed dorm doors and on the Duck Pond over 40 oz of malted barley and hops. Bets were placed around who was gon' get IT first. They should've bet me. Only I had the answer to that. And that pot should still be building. The only rap I was going for at the time was from cats with contracts, airtime, and videos. That meant none of those dudes were eligible for the virgin kitty. That didn't stop them from developing relationships with my smile, my crystal ball hips (they told a future I couldn't read), and my feet (especially). I was cussed out for wearing tennis shoes and covering up my toes. I was paid for the opportunity to suck them, WITH HOT SAUCE. Everything gotta be spicy in the N.O.

Did my head blowuptuate from all that attention? No. I returned home the same half in/half out girl I was, but with a little more savvy. That humility was still holding strong. I didn't claim ANY of my attributes, physical, intellectual, or talents. Terrible, right? Yeah, I know. Back at home, I was still treated well, but not like I was some type of "cute" anomaly. I have reaped the rewards over the years of being considered one of the beautiful people, but spent more time--after I came to believe in it myself--trying to dumb it down so as not to make others uncomfortable. Humility on high dose IV drip.

Fast forward 6 few years and all of a sudden the things that maybe those fools gentlemen saw then came to pass. I abandoned my tragically A [cup] status for better grades, as bras go, and many more layers grew on my onion. I walked with it everyday and didn't notice what was happening, but [male] friends pointed it out to me through their looks of surprise and questioning with incredulous voices. I had no answer besides "I get it from my mama." And her mama, and my dad's mama. It's in my jeans genes. Now, add 15 years to the last time New Orleans has seen me, as well as many of those people who created the comedic backdrop for my life at the time, and you've got trouble.

So, I returned to the city that crowned me a princess as a queen. I strolled through my court to the rhythm of quickened heartbeats and fluttering eyelashes. "Damn girl, where'd you get all that from?" and "You thick as hell, girl, how'd you do THAT?!" Questions that, again, cannot be answered. My changes were highlighted by the fact that most of us haven't aged as well as to be expected. Black, I learned, does crack, if you ain't livin' right. The men had breasts to rival the women's and everybody's asses had stretched wide. Folks looked like they don't sleep and eat well. Some even looked like they was on that shit. I felt bad for them for a half a second, as women threw shade at me all night, giving me the "skinny bitch" side-eye. Then I got over it. Not my problem. See, I believe in preserving ya swexy (swagger+sexy=swexy). The body is sacred and should be worshiped as such. I love mine, because I love me. And if I ain't gon' take care of me, who else will. I like knowing where my waistline is, and there's no excuse for those ladies who haven't traveled the path of motherhood yet. Popeye's biscuits and french bread Po'boys canNOT be the final say on who/what you cuddle up to at night.

I walked away feeling thankful. Thankful that I've been raised in healthy living and have remained committed despite my exposure to so many delicious foods and lifestyles that could clearly send me over the other edge. I'm thankful for my good genes. I'm thankful for the encouragement of others and interests that keep me active. I'm even thankful for the examples of what not to be so I can continue to be motivated to preserve my swexy. Find your motivation and do what it takes to preserve yours.

Forgive me. I had a "ME" moment. It happens.

Watch me move.

PS-Not meant to be offensive. It's post reunion energy. You know how reunionizing can be.

-Fellas, the entry to your 30's is not an invitation to get sloppy. It's the sign that it's time to step it up. Women don't like battling their men over whose bra it is in the drawer. Please believe it.