Finally! ELLE mag hit one out of the park

Finally all those skinny bitches can go home.  There is a new girl in town.  She’s big, she’s black, and she’s beautiful.  I love that I can say that, correction, that “we” can say that.  This means a lot to me as a black woman, and is a milestone for women like my best friend-who is a happy, healthy, fabulous size 22. 

I am however upset that there is controversy over whether her skin has been lightened or not…to be honest, I think that is just media crap.  I read something that said Gab’s predecessors didn’t get lightened.  Umm…how can you tell?  Can you really tell me that Megan Fox didn’t get a little photo shop on her skin color.  No, you prob can’t, because she is already white as snow.  Stop taking this moment away from Gabourey.  You can still tell she is amazing and that is all I care about.

PTSD-n-Me

I am having the worst time (worst as in emotional and stressful) writing chapters for my memoir about my childhood.  Trying to get back into my 5 year old thoughts after watching my mother die isn’t cute.  The tears that well up and stream down my face while I’m reading aren’t cute.  My depression isn’t cute!  But its OK, because I want to write about it…its healing me, I know it.

Although I remember everything, I am having trouble remembering how I felt.  I decided to look up symptoms of PTSD in kids and I was floored.

  • having frequent memories of the event, or in young children,  play in which  some or all of the trauma is repeated over and over (I loved to beat up boys during recess-I won every time)
  • having upsetting and frightening dreams (laying in bed, I sometimes have obsessive thoughts of someone coming to kill me-it was worse as a kid-getting a dog helped)
  • showing more sudden and extreme emotional reactions (Does calling my English teacher a bitch during class in fifth grade count?  Meanwhile, that was nothing…)
  • having problems falling or staying asleep (The dog helps)
  • showing irritability or angry outbursts (Grrrrr)
  • showing increased alertness to the environment (If you happen to be walking behind me, don’t make any sudden moves, I am ready to shank you.)
  • repeating behavior that reminds them of the trauma (There is a good chance this is why I only enjoy rough sex.  There are worse things…ha! )

So yeah, I may have been a classic case and I still deal with some of these issues, but looking at this list also makes me realize I’m better…and I know I’ll keep getting better as long as I’m facing it and writing about it.

Are you lost in translation, Dr. Laura?

I’m enraged.  It could be that I am jet lagged in Hong Kong right now and it is 645 am…no, it’s because Dr. Laura Schlessinger bullied a black caller on her radio show; calling her hypersensitive, blaming black activists for making the nation “hypersensitive,” and using the N-word over, and over, and over, and over again.  I had to write her, and I did. 

As a biracial (black / white) woman, I have seen my share of prejudice and have been on the receiving end of the N-word, but I wasn’t so much upset at your use in context of the N-word as I was by how you dismissed the caller’s response to her husband’s friend asking her “What do black people think about …?” as hypersensitive. Here is an idea…black people think just like white people. We have brains and thoughts…just like white people. But that fact that someone has to define it as a black thought makes it racists.  It is a subtle way of discriminating…which is racism.

I am sorry that you couldn’t answer that question, or help that caller, which is why you reduced her to a hypersensitive black girl which you later state, is the fault of black activists. Wow. She wasn’t hypersensitive…you were. And I hope your black bodyguard told you to go fuck yourself.

The chip on the shoulder was yours and I am glad you are resigning. You don’t deserve to help people when you can’t help yourself. You are the worst. And you embody what is wrong with this country when it comes to race.

 Sincerely,

Tamara Lynch-Non hypersensitive black girl.

It’s not my best letter, but it gets the job done.  I should have noted that hypersensitivity didn’t come from black activists…it came from slavery.

Too Young?

I saw my essay posted in CNN.com on Friday and did a double take.  I’ve come a long way from journaling about my crap marriage to being a writer of personal essays that publications actually want to buy.  Crazy!  But maybe not.  I have a story, lots of stories actually, and at 35 years old I don’t think that is abnormal.  Which is why I was bothered today when a guy (a sorta date) I met for a walk through the park asked “What kind of writing do you do?”

“Memoir,” I said.  “I’m shopping around my proposal right now.”

“Really?  You seem too young to write a memoir.”

“What do you mean?  I’m 35.  I have a story.  Everyone has a story…”  I say this thinking its naive for someone almost ten years older than me to say that.

He has a story.  We all have a story.  That breastfeeding baby I saw in his mothers arms in the park has a story.  Is that baby too young?  Hell no.  Breastfeeding looks traumatic.  He’ll probably have a memoir about it in 20 years.

If you’ve lived, you have a story.  Too young?  There’s no such thing.

Do What Scares You

For the past few years I felt pretty stagnant in my life and I decided to push myself to do something about it.  “Do what scares you” was a phrase I heard in a movie, but it resonated with me.  I understand that pushing myself out of my comfort zone should in theory give me a bump forward; so I’ve taken steps to do just that.

One of my “scary things” is to volunteer to help a sixteen year old girl-a Croatian refugee no less- with her S.A.T.  It doesn’t sound crazy, but you’d be surprised at the pressure I feel to help this girl get into college.  I’ve always been a good student, and I did well on my S.A.T., so it is unnerving to see her so intimidated by it.  Seeing the wary look in her eyes when reviewing the college board guide makes me want to take the test for her.

I guess the scariest thing about this is that I give a piece of myself to help someone else.  I put myself out there and who knows what is going to happen.  But that is also the empowering part.  That I might be able to help this girl.  Give a piece of myself and make a tiny part of her world better.

I just started tutoring her, so I couldn’t say how it’s going yet, but she’s smart, and I’m going to do my best to get her into college…

Which I hope will help me get back into life.

For Neda; Send Snooki

I watched “For Neda” today, which I knew was going to depress and anger me, I knew it, but I had to watch it.  How couldn’t I have?  I felt like I needed to give some homage to her story.  It’s only been a year later.

Of course the first thing you see is the image of Neda lying in the street with blood on her chest, her dark eyes trained on the camera as the light seeped out of them.  It was my mother all over again.

Neda’s killer was caught on tape, but never prosecuted.  My mother’s killer was tried and not convicted.

The similarities were too real for me today.

The pictures of Neda dancing and singing, wearing a blue sleeveless blouse and her hair in a ponytail, were sobering.  Anyone unaware of what they were watching could have mistaken her for a free American girl.  But that video was taken in her home, the only place she would have been allowed to show her skin and hair.  It pained me to think that I am able to dress that way and think nothing of it, while Iranian women are killed for it.

But freedom isn’t free, right?  Our country went through this; Salem witch hunts, the suffragists, the civil war, Catholicism (lol).   I pray, truly pray, that a quite surge of power in the women of Iran is building and eventually explodes in my lifetime.

Unfortunately, I was wiping away tears when I turned the channel and encountered….Snooki.  How does one go from Neda and the Green Movement of Iran, to an overly tan smurf with a bouffant and a bad accent?  It was like whiplash.  Actually I’d rather have whiplash than deal with Snooki.

Come to think of it, we should send Snooki to Iran.  I envision her leading the protest in a green bustier while fist pumping.  Ahmadinejad’s head would spontaneously combust and all would be well.

Wishful thinking.

Teenage Girls know more than we think

Some nights I have a re-charge night where I read or watch a movie, moisturize my hair, do some yoga, and take a hot bath…just try to relax and get back in my body.

I feel like I am taking care of myself, which feels great. The flip side is I am also more aware of the physical changes that come with age.

At 35 I am by no means old, but it blows my mind that I, a former gymnast, can’t stretch my upper body down to the floor the way I used to. That my legs are showing more faint blue veins on my calves, the circles under my eyes are darker, and I now get small pimples around my jaw and hair-line.

I happened to be looking for a new moisturizer online when I recently came across a video blog of a young girl giving a make-up and skin care tutorial. Not only was she stunning, but she spoke in a very confident manner when talking about the products she was about to show.

After watching so many talk shows, reading articles, and watching movies (aka Twilight) that showcase insecure teenage girls, this blew my mind. In 15 minutes, she gave an easy and cheap-all drug store product-make up tutorial that I wished I would have had the confidence to wear in high school. And each skin care product she used contributed to her beautiful skin; again all drugstore. And no, there wasn’t a zit on this cutie.

I tried the make-up look and you know what…I look good. Watch out Kim K! I also tried some of the other make-up looks she vlogged and I’m glad I did! Now I have a few new make-up looks for the summer using eye shadow colors that I don’t normally use and tips on how to keep your make-up from melting off in the heat.

Something as small as updating my make-up routine and finding a good spot treatment gave me a little boost in the confidence department. And to think it’s because there are young girls out there sharing what they know and channeling some of their strength into older girls like me.

Kudos young ladies.  And thank you.

Medicine Woman

This picture of Ix Chel reminds me of my mother.

Ix Chel is the Mayan goddess who was believed to have birthed all the gods and goddesses, and control all aspects of water.  She was known as a powerful healer and a symbol of divine spirituality.  Most pictures have her standing with arms raised toward the moon bathing in it’s light or conjuring lightning from the sky.

But in every picture, Ix Chel’s dark hair is long and loose,  just like my mother’s was.  And although we were ripped from each other when I was only five, I remember that she was no pushover.  She was a fighter and I wish she was here to see how I fight for her everyday.

My mother is the eye of my storm; the reason I have stories, the reason I write.  How better to get over her murder?  Right?  I like to think that my writing not only heals me, but heals my mother, and that maybe Ix Chel is with her.

Giving Thanks…Again

Why does Aunt Dara ask me if I want hot tea, then make it with lukewarm tap water from the faucet?

“I’m going to heat this in the microwave, “I said.

“Well, it will get really hot.” She warned.

“umm…yeah…hot tea.”

Is it me?