The new year came to my door and I graciously accepted the gift of another try.
2012 has had it’s trip around the sun.
I have plans. Grand schemes on how this year will be wonderful are listed out on paper.
I am tying to make my list focused on the positive. I have a lot of hopes and dreams for myself, my family and our future. I’ll share those later. I am not quite done dreaming.
Today, I want to announce a giveaway that will hopefully help you feel lovely.
It is easy to beat yourself up about what you have not, cannot, will not or forget to do. We are fallible creatures and we fail often. We fail in tears, laughter if we are lucky and sometimes with jazz hands.
There is no better way to begin a year than to love ourselves just the way that we are, right now.
Take a moment to enter this Mother Flippin’ Giveaway for a $50 Gift Certificate to City Salon in Lansing, Michigan. Get that trim, wax, color, cut or manicure you have been putting off for way longer than is necessary.
My stylist, Heather Jarous has been making me look fantastic for 10 years. I consider her one of my dearest friends. She and her talented team will take very good care of you.
To enter, share in a comment here what you would like to use the $50 Gift Certificate for and like both The Mother Flippin Fan Page and City Salon on Facebook. For extra credit, tweet all about it.
I slept the remnants of jet lag off of my body on my second night in Kampala. When I awoke, I found a woman had arrived to braid my hair. I grabbed a book and headed out the door.
I was deterred.
“First, take tea.”
I glanced out the window at the woman waiting and I culture shocked. Do I make her wait while I take my tea?
Yes, in Uganda that is precisely what you do. First, you take tea.
So I did. I sat buttering my bread in pained faux peacefulness and prepared my hot tea. I sat there long enough to finish my bread and then announced that I was taking this tea show on the road. I grabbed my mug and headed out the door.
This woman was waiting for me.
She was nicknamed, “One who has twins” and when I asked what her name was, that is what she responded with.
I don’t dare try and pretend I can remember or spell that word for you now.
She had five children and laughed at the idea of my three. I was way too young to have that many children. I thought the same thing about her.
She thought I was white and refused to braid my hair very tightly. No matter how much I assured her that I wanted it tighter or that my hair had been braided before, she refused. To her, my skin was too fair and my hair too soft to endure a proper braiding. She didn’t want to hurt me or pull all of my hair out.
I can respect that.
I was a “Muzungu” or a white person. This came as a surprise to me but not to my hosts.
“Well, look at you.”
Okay, you may have a point.
We sat as she braided and I read in the warmth of the day.
I asked around before I left what the children might think of my skin tone. The not nearly black but not quite white conundrum of my life. The stop in their tracks, holler in excitement reactions gave me my answer.
My skin caused quite a stir during my trip. It inspired a man on a boda boda to tap his chest and open his hand to me for a little charity. It caused higher charges for me at local tourist attractions. It even caused some controversy for my hosts when we visited a natural hot springs. My friend Christine tried to come to my defense.
“She is a muzungu.”
“No, she is not.”
“Eh! Look at her skin. Are you crazy? Her hair may be braided like ours but she is still muzungu”
“She is not a muzungu.”
“Did you produce her? If not, than you cannot say for sure.”
This always made me laugh. I joked with our Country Manager Jennifer that in the United States we produce cars and give birth to children. I also told her I would now start calling my children, “my produce”. We all had a laugh at that.
I was even told that my beauty must have come from my African Roots.
How lovely, that change of perspective was for a little girl who grew up in a culture where blacker beauty was found wanting.
Should I feel relief though?
I was torn, happy that my darkness was more appreciated but saddened that the lighter was now of lesser value.
It made me think of statements like, “lighter than a paper bag” or “the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice”.
How silly we are. The world over, we are hunting and pecking. We are holding things up to the sky and shouting discovery of beauty. We are telling each other the color of beauty, the style, the smell and the location. Even in our knowledge that beauty is an interior finding we search on. Our eyes are liars.
This trip caused me to examine myself. It made me think about the way I love and my ability to be grateful in the moment. It made me reflect on how our beliefs are structured by the communities we live in. It made me hungry to sit around more tables in different communities. I want to see the world through different eyes.
I was able to live as a white person. That is not something every girl with one drop of black blood in her veins can say.