Bear and I used to read The Colors of Us by Karen Katz together. She’d ask to hear it almost every day.
“My name is Lena, and I am seven.
I am the color of cinnamon.
Mom says she could eat me up.”
Lena wanted to paint a picture of herself, but her mom pointed out that brown isn’t merely brown. Bear would ooh and aah as she turned the pages, absorbing the medley of shades in Lena’s neighborhood.
The children’s picture book took a simple approach, describing each character’s skin tone as something the main character understood…french toast, honey, butterscotch, peanut butter, chocolate cupcakes, nutmeg. Bear would point excitedly at a page and name someone she knew who looked like that. She never tired of naming which skin tone was hers, and it was her favorite game to match people we knew to characters in the book.
The book’s message is clear: brown is not simply brown. Brown is a palette. Brown is beautiful in a hundred ways.
So here’s what I want to know: why don’t I weigh 115 pounds?
For real. Not because I’m exercising or watching what I eat or meditating myself into a zen space where I no longer feel the desire to overeat. I’m wondering why on earth I don’t weigh 115 pounds because I eat with vultures.
It’s been years since I watched Whoopi Goldberg’s “long blond hair” segment in her stand up routine, but it’s something I’ve never forgotten. Whoopi plays a young black girl who dreams of being white. She drapes an old white skirt over her head, smoothing it as if stroking her luxurious hair. The character wistfully hopes to become white with long, blond hair so she can appear on The Love Boat.
The implications are clear: beauty is measured by a white world’s standards, and those standards are what you aspire to if you want the American Dream.
While we talk a good game about diversity in American culture – models of all shapes, sizes, and colors; movie roles for minorities; increased visibility for people of color on television – you can’t expect the tide to recede just like that. It took a long time to shape our culture, and it won’t change back overnight.
Writing a stream of consciousness birthday post was so much fun I thought we’d roll with it for Forever Family. (I first stumbled across this concept over at The Captain’s Speech. Paul’s sharp wit keeps me in giggles – you should check out his blog.)
So buckle up and let’s go.
As those who know me can attest, I am a grown a** woman. Sure, sometimes the laundry pile gets a little tall and maybe you’ll find dog hair tumbleweeds under the chairs, but I keep this place rolling. The kids are dressed (usually in clean clothes, too), the dogs make it to their vet appointments, the family calendar is synced, and school stuff gets handled.
It’s like a well oiled machine around these parts.
Bwahahahahaha! Just kidding. We’re more like a squeaky wheel that occasionally needs extra air, but we’re holding our own.
And yet sometimes I’m done. D-o-n-e, done. We shall call this list:
Doyin’s real world dad education. Preach.
“In 2016 I realized…
- Potty training has the ability to completely break my spirit.
- I bathed my kids at least three times as much as I bathed myself.
- I’ve been kicked, elbowed, head-butted, etc. in the Hang Low more times in the 5.5 years I’ve been a dad than in my whole pre-dad life combined.”
23 Things I Realized As a Dad in 2016 – Daddy Doin’ Work
It’s not like I really needed the help to up the bizarre factor in my life – I’ve already had plenty of things that made me pause and cock my head. But there’s no doubt about it: the arrival of children in our lives more than doubled my wtf moments. Welcome to another edition of:
Things I Never Thought I’d Hear Myself Say
“Don’t poke the dog’s butt with the sword. Seriously. Don’t.”
“No, you really, truly are not getting a phone for Christmas.”
“How can you be disappointed? I literally told you that you weren’t getting a phone for Christmas. With actual words. And hand gestures.”
“Why is the coffee maker sticky? And the cabinet door above my head?”
“No, I can’t approve that app right now. We’re on the interstate.”
“Be careful driving the go cart on the ice.”
(shoves handful of Doritos into mouth) “I have no idea why it smells like Fritos in here. Oh, wait…that’s the dog. The dog smells like Fritos.”
“Dear Baby Jesus, I’m sorry we use the word ‘suck’ so much.”
Interested in other peculiar moments in our
crazy life? Check out WHAT did I just say?!, Things I never thought I’d say… and Things I never thought I’d say, part 2 .