I Stopped Watching the News

I don’t watch the news anymore because it is scary.

As I get older, I start to see how it is increasingly slanted and not in my best interest. Whose interest is it in? I’m not quite sure, but according to the Internet, it’s these people:

liberal-mediaNone of these corporations has ever helped anyone in my family, so I’m not sure why I should believe they are in my best interest — and I don’t. I choose to turn to the Internet for my news, more specifically social media, because the mass opinion of the public is of greater interest to me than the propaganda of the elite few.

In my experience, American corporate propaganda has historically made my life harder- remember the whole slavery is okay because it builds the America economy argument? I still believe that argument was not in my interest.

But it’s cool, ’cause the American public has said sorry, right?(Click the speaker above to enable the sound, it makes everything better.)

Yet another example of the mass public carrying the weight of a selected few, dying and crying for the crimes of the hidden. What’s crazy is, the slave-owning families aren’t the ones constantly saying sorry! They’ve moved on to new ways to screw everyone else.

YAY!

Now that we addressed the whole slavery thing, what am I afraid of now?

The attack on individualism. It’s happening and it is very real.

I should probably explain a little bit about myself before I say this – I am from South Carolina. This is what that means to me:

  • I understand the government is rarely on my side and is quite aware of my existence (so I don’t F* with them)
  • I speak softly and carry a very large stick
  • I respect the institution of the Black church as a means of community
  • I know that trust is something that must be earned, especially if you are not from my neighborhood
  • I value my privacy
  • I believe that the community can provide

These values have been instilled upon me through hundreds of years of slavery and sharecropping. They are what I believe have kept my culture strong, and have ultimately allowed me to travel far from my sharecropping roots to the liberal ‘promise land’ of the West Coast.

When I pay attention to mainstream media, I watch my nature of distrust, community focus and a flat-out survival instinct be under attack.

Yes. Attack. What I mean is, it is not okay to separate anymore. We must be inclusive. We must allow people into our communities. We must share our secrets. We cannot gather. Most of all, we should trust the institutions that are in place to protect us. That is how slavery worked and it is how it works for many minorities today.

cows

The difference is, it’s not just us this time. White people are feeling attacked too, and this is what happens when white people feel attacked:

white racist

So they can’t be the one’s pulling the strings ….. nope, there is someone else behind it. These people perhaps?

liberal-media

Here are some examples of topics the liberal media suggests you do not disagree with, lest you be Anti-American:

  • cream of wheat This is racist
  • Homophobia-Public-Health-Warning This is okay.
  • trans This is relevant.
  • disability  This is a right.
  • illegals This should happen more often.
  • josh duggar This should be expected. 

I was going to post a confederate flag here, but I didn’t want to remind anyone about slavery since …

My point is – If you suggest anything than what you are being told to think, you are something worst than a communist, you are a radical. Your career will be ruined, your family will disown you, and you will be considered a threat. Conform or face consequences worst than death.

african witches

It’s America’s modern-day witch hunt and there are few willing to speak out against it. (Click to read about the one occurring in Africa)

And this is why I no longer watch the news…. because I’d like to continue feigning ignorance.

Feel free to share: This post. or Your Opinion.

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Every Part of You Is Precious; Even Your Butt

I’m writing this blog post, mostly out of a favor to a woman named Barbara. I met Barbara at a Jamaican Pizza Joint that sells the best Vegan jerk chicken you’ve ever dreamed about… but that’s another topic.

Barbara’s the mom of a beautiful little baby girl that almost made me consider having another… then I remembered that I like sleep. While I was loading my four children into my hand-me-down minivan (ain’t family awesome!), Barbara walked up and asked if my 2 year-old was wearing a cloth diaper.

Why yes, she was.

Remember my post about chemicals in my hair.. well, I’m even more freaked out about chemicals on my butt. And about the same time I decided I was done with relaxers, (at least the first time) I also decided my babies would wear as few Pampers as possible.

 

Here are three facts about Disposable Diapers:

  • They don’t leak. That’s thanks to not good fabric, but straight up chemicals. The same chemicals that are linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (in tampons). Seems reckless to expose your baby (especially baby girls) to that risk.
  • You just throw them away, along with everything else. Disposable diapers make up 2% of waste nowadays. They are typically not biodegradable, and are 70% trees. At least you can recover the energy from the 30% petroleum that is left over.
  • They don’t stink up your house. Instead, they stink up the landfills with poop. Hey, it’s not like the Pamper people didn’t warn you, they clearly say flush the shit down the toilet… yet who does that?

 

So now that you know the facts, here are some truths about Cloth Diapers.

They are cute

If your idea of cloth diapers is something like this:

 old cloth diapers

You’ve got it all wrong.. Cloth diapers actually involve a cover, the diaper, and possibly a liner and look more like this:

Cute pink diaper

Check out Rumparooz, Blueberry, and Thirsties for some super cute diaper covers that don’t leak. (These are just some examples… find your favorite brand! Mine is this one:

They Can Be Simple

Everyone always asks me if it’s hard to deal with cloth diapers… The answer is ‘not really’. First thing, forget about the safety pin.. That’s only used at baby showers to scare pregnant moms. Real cloth diapering moms use Snappis.

Modern cloth diapers can be all-in-one or even pre-folded so that you don’t have to do any work. Pre-folded ones are the ones you’ll find in stores like Babies-R-Us and Walmart. You’ll need a cover and some Snappis to go with them.

I indulged and bought these… working on kid#2 and year #3

You don’t have to touch Poop

C’mon now, that shit is gross. Try getting flushable liners that make it super easy to go cloth. Tear off the flushable liner, place in a diaper, baby poops, lift dry part of liner, flush it all down the toilet.

If you do not want to waste paper, you can also use a diaper sprayer… it’s like a personal water hose in your bathroom.

diaper sprayer

My final cloth diapering advice is laundering. Do not make it more complicated than it needs to be. Seriously. You can either wash as is in your washer or pre-soak in 10% bleach water (not recommended on bamboo diapers). Some people recommend against that, especially if you buy the high-end diapers, but that’s what I do when they are particularly soiled.

Here is a pretty straight forward guide to washing cloth diapers.

If you absolutely don’t want to wash diapers, or you are a new mom, and could use some help…. Hire a diaper cleaning service – It’s surprisingly reasonable, especially when they provide the diapers, soap, and labor. Yeah, I cheated and used them for the first 6 months of two of my children – don’t JUDGE ME!!

Got more cloth diaper questions? Ask away – I’ve got 8 years of poopy diapers under my belt.

Are You a Fake Naturalista?

I got in an argument with my husband the other day about this lady’s hair:

Real Time with Bill Maher

Here is how it went down.

“Her hair is really pretty.”

“That’s not her hair.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not, she is just trying to make a political statement.”

Wait … what?

Let me give you some background about my husband. He had locks back before it was trendy… in the early 90s. He wears his hair long because he can, and believes there is a clear difference between dreadlocks and locs, which he has once called “a candy coated, ice cream parlor foo-foo party.”

From his point of view, dreadlocks are supposed to be an extension of a natural lifestyle –something that is free from additives and manipulation. For him, she was not wearing authentic dreadlocks because they were too neat, colored and obviously done in a salon.

Now I, being a fan of perfectly cared for locs, took offense at his judgmental response. First of all, her hair looked awesome (and I wanted mine to look like that). Second of all, could you really judge someone by their hair?

But I considered his argument.

Now, let me first say – this is all hypothetical. I don’t know anything about this lady, her hair may actually be that color… and she may actually just be amazing with a single strand twist, but let’s say it’s the other scenario.

Why would someone chemically color their natural hair? Because it looks good

Why would someone have a beautician do their locks? Because it’s easier and looks better

Compare that to the motivation that most people have for wearing locs. You know, maintaining a natural lifestyle ……and it makes you wonder about the motivation of anyone who also has perfectly styled ones.

But does it even matter? Even if some people choose to use chemicals on their locs, or tools to create and maintain them, doesn’t the fact that they want to look like that say something? Is it the same as wearing an afro wig in the 70’s or buying organic labeled food nowadays because its trendy? Does it hurt the natural movement to have shortcuts and un-natural alternations, or does it help by introducing it to a larger community?

I still don’t have the answer to that question… and if I had a couple of hundred bucks, I’d be right in that stylist chair getting my hair locked and dyed.

Am I a fake naturalista??? Perhaps… Is it somewhat political???  Perhaps.

Do I care? Nope.

Silence Might Save Us

There’s so much noise in our lives; so much of it unnecessary. People simply talking to be talking — making noise but not saying anything.

Young Woman Thinking

It gives me a headache.

Especially online. I mean, you give people a voice via the Internet and they proceed to continue on like the world is waiting to hear everything they have to say.

We don’t.

Shut up.

Instead, it’s time to be quiet. I mean really quiet so that we can hear. Many times, the answers are already there, almost as if it were a common knowledge we could simply reach out and grab. The answers are shrouded by the interference of lies, cries, and deep-seated sighs. We are hurting and want to be heard, but we forget that it’s us we should be listening to.know-it-all-and-knowledge

The answers are there if we seek them.

I’m not saying I have them – I’m far from enlightened. I do realize they are there however, and regularly seek out that peace that will allow me to connect with them.

In darkened silence, floating on air I can stop the noise designed to confuse, drain and manipulate. I can control my access to deeper peace, knowledge and love.

We all can.

Then once we’ve accessed it, we can communicate it. The crazy thing is, we can communicate in ways greater than words. We’ve just forgotten how.

I mean …..  this message is just a serious of numbers designed to look like words…

Yet so many of us feel like we need to scream. We need people to know how we feel. We talk so much we are forgetting how to communicate in any other way. Our souls are growing mute.  We are forgetting how to love.

Instead we destroy. We tear down and claw at each others necks to survive. We murder to make ourselves feel better, instead of learning how to communicate with ourselves. We do nothing, because we are too lost to listen to solutions.

1310AF71

We are going nowhere because no one is listening, and everyone is talking.

I’d like to take a moment of silence for humanity.

I think we really need some help.

A Side of Homecooking, Save the Crap

Last week I took a cross-country trip starting in Virginia and ending in Seattle with my family. What I experienced along the way was something sort of amazing. Honestly I could write a book on my experiences, but I’m going to save some of that for later – what I’m going to talk about right now is the food.

My trip started in Richmond, Virginia with hubby complaining about needing some collard greens to start the journey. I however, wanted to get on the road – we had a long journey in front of us.

blackjackWe made it about 60 miles before I knew I had to pull over (unless I wanted a mutiny). We landed at Black Jack Soul Food Restaurant.. or should I say Google landed us there.. and we were greeted with smiles, good food and true hospitality. My husband, a cross between Vin Diesel and Ice-T got some funny looks, but the minute he requested ‘anything that goes good with a good plate of collard greens’ the waitress knew she wasn’t going to have a problem.

It was a good start to a long trip that took us through the Middle South, SouthWest and Rockies. All was well until we reached Albuquerque. After days of questionable food, it was time for some good homecooking.

Unfortunately, all we could find was PapaDeaux, a seafood chain that I   thought papadeauxmight compare to the fried fish I got in Virginia. While they did have fancy settings, creative seafood dishes, and a kid’s menu, they lacked the hospitality, care, and quality food that we found in the tiny restaurant in Virginia.

We arrived at our hotel that night with no utensils, small portions, and a very big bag of packaging. The next morning we woke up with tummy aches – a great way to spend the next 10 hours driving.

The experience made me think about what good food really means. It doesn’t mean fancy packaging and dimmed lighting. It doesn’t mean waiters with wine service training and themed bathrooms. Good food means warm smiles, welcoming attitudes and food that doesn’t make you sick. Good food is walking into an establishment and feeling like you were at home.

Good food is extra cornbread and extra cold sweet tea.

Somewhere in our society we have lost the meaning of good food and replaced it with convenience and decadence. We look for experiences that feed our egos instead of our souls.

I am thankful that I started my trip with the welcoming staff of Black Jack Soul Food Restaurant. They gave us more than a great plate of fried fish and collards, they gave us soul food.

A Black History Story: How My Grandpa Lived to Be 110+

It’s Black History Month. That short month of the year where we honor the many black contributions made in America. For 28 days, (29 if we’re lucky) we will talk about the same Black History heroes that have been passed down for generations.

I love Black History Month, but I believe that black history is made up of just as many unknown everyday heroes as the ones we all know about.

I’m going to take this moment to write about my black history hero- my model of holistic lifestyle and a patriarch of his many offspring- my great grandfather, Willie Holliday, Sr.

Why does he deserve this blog post?

112 year old sharecropper

Willie @ around 70 years old

Well, like many Black American heroes, Willie never received the recognition he deserved.

Willie was born sometime between 1892-and 1894 and lived until 2004…. That made him between 110 and 112 when he died. Although official birth records where rare for South Carolina sharecroppers, World War 1 registration papers and marriage certificates give a close idea to his actual birth date.

How rare are people like my grandpa Willie?

Probably not that unheard of…

Search the oldest black man on Google and you’ll find a list of men not unlike my grandfather.. living well beyond 100, yet getting very little recognition.

 

My grandfather’s name is not on there… and if it weren’t for the Internet, America (and my family) would likely forget the legacy of strength Black America has been built upon.

Sometimes, I would sit and think about why my grandfather’s name never received any recognition. Even when he turned 100 I wondered, why doesn’t everyone think this is a big deal? I’ll never forget Grandpa as he sat at his 100 year old birthday party, dressed in an all-white suit with a white top hat, lined with 100 one- dollar bills. I’m not sure he understood that the 100s of people there were all his descendants. He sat peacefully among his family, slowly nibbling on the cake with his face on it.

See, grandpa was born a sharecropper and he died sharecropper. Yes, he did some other things- raised 10 kids or so, became a deacon, etc.. but the majority of his life was spent in back-breaking farming in the hot South Carolina sun.

He worked the lands his father had, (when he had been born during the heights of the Civil War) the slave owners, the Plowden family, still depended on my family’s labor to support their livelihood. He raised his family in a small one-room shack, now dilapidated on the side of a state highway.

Willie was never revolutionary. Even when Thurgood Marshall came to town, urging his children to demand equal rights, Willie stayed quietly working, hoping for a better life for them in the big cities.

As Willie’s small town went to the Supreme Court in Briggs vs Elliot (precursor to Brown vs Board of Education), led by his cousin Henry Briggs, Willie continued to put food on the table. Equal education was great and all, but who wants to starve to death while fighting for a bus?

http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/4-five/images/plaintiffs.jpg

Some of Willie’s friends and relatives that joined Atty. Marshall (Courtesy americanhistorY.si.edu)

He fought his own battles however, manning the bells for the only black church in the county for years – which was more of a political meeting space than anything else. The bell was retired after he couldn’t make it to services… except for that one time they rang it again – at his funeral.

Willie was stoic, determined and healthy despite the dramas of World War 1, school desegregation, and the Great Depression. By the 1990’s he was comfortably living with his youngest daughter frying fish at will..

Because no one could fry fish the way he liked it.

My memories of Willie are of a strong black man, with a calm spirit, great sense of humor and a dedicated work ethic. He reminds me that not all battles have to be fought publically, that steady diet and exercise keeps the body healthy, and that a strong spirit brings peace- even in old age. Willie represents a generation of Black Americans that kept this country rolling… a generation that our society has built upon.

I say we find the everyday heroes in our families and give them the recognition they deserve!

Should Have Just Listened to My Folks

If you follow natural news (or any news at all) you may have heard about the fake crap people have been selling in the health food aisles of your favorite superstore.

The labels say supplements but the ingredients are sometimes actually houseplants sprinkled with a little bit of herbs.

Am I surprised? No, it was bound to happen. For some reason we need to have things bottled and stacked on a Wal-Mart shelf before we believe it’s good for us. When did this happen?

Back when we started listening to our televisions rather than our parents…..

Being holistic is not a fad. It is not something that is sold on shelves. It is not something that you can subscribe to for a week, or get on sale next to a pair of low-cost house shoes.

Holistic living is a mindset, and when it truly is, you won’t fall victim to the schemers that are attempting to sell it to you.

Afrocentricity, and specifically African-American – centricity is a culture built on holistic living. We were the ones who, because we were unable to purchase ‘quick fix remedies’, relied on the ability of ourselves and our environments to survive. It is the reason why the descendants of American slaves were able to thrive and prosper in the years immediately following emancipation (taking political office, starting businesses and founding schools) without the financial fortitude or academic training to have access to the conventional medical procedures of the non-African-American society.

cocaine cure

In other words, when the rest of America was treating common ailments with cocaine, heroin and morphine we were improving our immune system and working through it… because we had to.

 

Yet, this practice of ‘functional’ natural living did not seem to reduce our life expectancy.

So, what holistic practices have we lost over time?

Cod Liver Oil …. Just because . Yeah, my mom still grimaces at the thought of it, but she also doesn’t need cholesterol medication, has a functioning kidney and hardly ever has medical issues.

Sassafras Twigs kept my dad’s teeth clean up until he was introduced to a toothbrush (as an adult).. Fifty years later and many boxes of Baking soda later, still no cavities.

Spirituality that cleanses the mind of stress (now a common cause of disease and poor immune function). It doesn’t matter what you believe- try convincing anyone in my family that prayer won’t fix it, and you’ll have a problem. Perhaps there’s something to that?

Well, we’ll know it works once Wal-Mart start selling a sassafras root drink that is cod-liver based and slightly psychotropic.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Being holistic is as much a part of African-American culture as the lyrics of “We Shall Overcome” – it’s an experience that is engrained in our heritage.