New Ramen, New Life

So this entry will combine a life update and an entry where this SBF, once again, sought out Asian food. The best part about this meal was that I got to enjoy it with the aforementioned friend whom is the reason I am an SBF seeking Asian food.

This week was quite the week. I did a lot of things that were new to me, and that completely changed my mind about the way I was viewing life and, consequently, moving through it.

I spent some time with a young man on a layover this time last week. What’s significant about this is that he was someone I trusted easily and quickly, even though I didn’t know him. Leave it to me to find a decent young man online (I don’t think I would have the same luck if I tried this again). Considering how steamy things got, what was wonderful about it was how much fun I had with him. This completely countered the fear I had of being with the opposite sex for years due to past abuse. He was considerate and kind, and most importantly, I felt safe with him. It renewed my faith in the existence of good men, and revived the long lost hope that I, too, may find one someday that I like just as much as he likes me.

I also went on birth control.

I can see y’all being like “What?!” No, I didn’t do it with any intention of getting fresh. I did it for my overall health. I finally visited a female doctor now that I have health insurance. (Yep, it was the first time. No, it wasn’t that pleasant. But I’m glad I went.) She recommended a type of birth control that will only give me a period every 3 months. I may still have bad cramps, but at least I won’t have bad cramps every month. It sounded like a decent option to me. Taking this also means that I’ll have to be more serious about my health since it increases the risk of stroke and blood clots.

Omitting butter from my life completely is non-negotiable, but maybe we can scale it back just a bit.

AND… (can you stand it?) I changed my hair!!!

Now, there was no way I was going to get a relaxer again, but I went to a hair salon for the first time in years! After I stopped using chemicals in my hair, I had a couple of bad experiences. I was scared to visit a salon after that, and the hair horror stories on YouTube didn’t help. However, I knew my hair was in need of some professional help. So I asked for recommendations from women on a Facebook group I’m in. They have natural hair and lived within reasonable driving distance. Lo and behold, a salon was recommended. I went for the consultation to feel the place out. I liked it and felt comfortable enough to book an appointment for the following week. I was not punking out now.

This was the end result.

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It just so happened that ALL of these events happened in this one week, starting with last Sunday. A new Rachel has been birthed through all of this. I’ve always been the adventurous sort, but now I’m adventurous and feel free in all areas of my life. I feel free to love, and free to take care of myself in the way that I see best. It has produced a calmness in my spirit and soul that I haven’t experienced in a very long time. I feel unshakeable now and secure in myself and with the world around me.

In short, I feel the healthiest mentally that I have ever felt. Now I can really be me.

In this very same week, I went with an old friend to experience something new. I’ve had ramen before, but not at this place. I had the spicy ramen, and it was a bowl of happiness. Although I don’t enjoy eating pork normally (unless it’s bacon), I enjoyed the slices that were part of this ramen, AND ate the fat!

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If you’re ever in Philly, I recommend this place. This ramen fed more than my stomach; it went straight to this foodie’s heart and soul. It ushered in all of the warmness of the cold seasons that are now upon us. Fall, and even winter, are the times of year that I relish. This ramen was the beginning of good times and better things to come.

Now let me sip this tea before it gets cold…

#weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee

As I drink this spiced cider, I’m glad to have you to talk to. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but there were cool things that happened too.

My emotions were on a roller coaster the past week or so because in addition to feenin, I received some pretty rough news. It affected my family and the home situation. We were told we would have to leave our home.

If you’ve ever been in that situation, now I know how that feels. I especially had a rough time because I’ve been in this house since I was 5 or 6. On Thursday, I was so in my feelings that I laid in bed, unable to get it together. It felt like I was the only one that cared about us moving so suddenly. I didn’t realize I cared so much about that house until I realized I was being forced out of it. It’s not that I never want to move out one day and be on my own, but I wanted to choose to leave when I felt ready.

Mom got me to go out to the mall with her.

This was one of those cool moments I mentioned earlier. My mom is the greatest; when you put us together, it creates an interesting dynamic that spills over onto other people. You should see what it’s like when ALL of us (mom, sister, nephew and I) are all together. People can’t stop laughing!

We walked into a higher end store, and started talking to one of the saleswomen. She showed us leather passport cases. This led to an in-depth conversation about the current political race and climate, which led to a discussion about history. What I loved most about this is that we were 3 women having an intelligent conversation, which steamrolls over the backwards thinking of those misogynist types. Yes, we discuss more than shopping, clothes, boys and kids (if we have them). Hate to break it to you boys, but I can have a conversation that airs my well-formed opinions AND do my shopping! Can YOU handle that kind of multitasking?

It’s amazing how things can change in just one day. In this same day, we went from not knowing where we’d live to receiving a call that will allow mom to reinstate her mortgage. If I didn’t know that the Lord was good, I sure do now!

Now my love life… I don’t feel as confident about that, but at least I know I’ll have a roof over my head, and a home to come back to. I hope your weekend has been wonderful, filled with brunches and shopping. And, hopefully, a stimulating conversation with a retail worker. They’re people too… sometimes highly intelligent people.

#weekendcoffeeshare

Addictive Thai BBQ & Good Company

In this segment of “SBF Seeks Asian Food”, I traveled no further than my hometown and hit up La Na Thai French Cuisine. Today was a special lunch. I had the privilege of catching up with a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while. Said friend was actually the same friend that introduced me to La Na. She is also most of the reason I’m an SBF seeking Asian food.

At restaurants, I’m not one to have a usual. I do have favourites, I’m not wont to getting the same thing. La Na is no exception, though there are two entrées that I like to change between. Today has changed that.

Today mixed old and new; I rekindled a friendship with an old friend, and tried something new to eat, which was highly recommended by the waitress. I ordered jasmine soup, and went with a thai bbq chicken that came with sticky rice and a small salad. The chicken was a thigh that had a barbecue style sauce on it.

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It wasn’t a thick smoky sauce like American bbq, but it was sweet and had a very slight kick to it, and maybe a little smokiness. Rice wine or rice wine vinegar was what I smelled and tasted. The flavors that had play in my mouth brought me to one conclusion: I want more. I must have more. Next time I go back, I’m going to break my own rule: I’m having the same thing twice in a row. And maybe a third time. In that first taste and moment, I understand why the waitress kept telling me how good it was.

Afterwards, K and I walked to Starbucks, then back to our cars because she had some work to get done before the school year starts. She loves her current job and I’m happy for her. She also lives back in the area now, so we can see each other more. This is great as I don’t have many friends that I get to see as often as I’d like. My job isn’t kind as far as keeping relationships going, but it’s nice to rekindle one even in the midst of it all.

I’m also grateful to have a new love. Honestly, I had given up on chicken and was considering relinquishing it from my diet. This has rekindled my love and hope for chicken. As I eat quesadillas for dinner tonight, I’ll be dreaming of the next time I can have that thai bbq again.

 

 

And A Deer Stood In The Road

…as I returned from my beach trip to Wildwood, NJ Monday evening. Even though it was only a day trip, to say that it was needed would be an understatement.

As much as I love my job, I was spinning my wheels. I wanted to save money to move out and also take trips here and there; however, my bank account and bills scoffed at the very idea. I honestly didn’t think I would make it to a beach this year, which is a travesty for a seasonal beach bum. When I first bought my car in January, I told myself that I would keep my boogie board in the trunk when the beach season started. I kept that word, but as the weeks went by, it sat unused in my trunk. In fact, it became an annoyance because it got in the way when putting in luggage.

Then I hit rock bottom. I was moody and sad, and I knew it was because I was stressed from constantly working when my heart and daydreams stayed at a beach. The reveries were so real that I could hear the waves and feel the wind, and smell the salty sea water.

It was then that I took what little money I had in my savings account, and hit up the beach on a Monday. I don’t understand why people hate Mondays; it’s always a good day for me. This Monday was no different. Finally, the boogie board was going to leave the trunk and be used in the Jersey shore surf. (I cried tears of joy. No, I’m not kidding.)

The reason I wanted to go to Wildwood specifically was because of Curley’s. A friend of mine has a shore condo in Wildwood, and I stayed with her last year. She introduced me to Curley’s. I already have a french fry problem, and this Jersey jewel further rationalizes said problem. They are thick-cut perfection: everything a girl could ask for in a french fry. I pined for them all fall, winter, and spring. Sam’s Pizza Palace right across from Curley’s was also in my thoughts as I waited for the beach season to roll around.

Needless to say, after a 2 hour drive, I finally got the fix I’ve been jonesing for all year long.

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After enjoying good food, I frolicked in the waves, which were great for boogie boarding. I didn’t hoop this time around, which I habitually do at the beach, but there’s always next week. Yes, I’m going back next week, but with my family this time. I will get them hooked on Curley’s also, thus helping them understand why I needed to drive 2 hours for fries.

As I turned onto the road that allows me to turn onto my street, there sat 2 cars, waiting on an indecisive deer that stood in the road.

She was a beautiful doe that stood around 4 or 5 ft tall, her hide was a brownish tan, and her ears stood straight up. The stopped car in front of me honked at her to encourage a quicker response time. Sure enough, she ran across the street, scampering out of sight into a yard with a goal post.

Maybe she’ll play a little soccer in the cool of the day.

If We Were Having Coffee

I’d be telling you that I’m glad to be sitting with you today. It’s the first time I’ve left the house since Wednesday. My period hit and I was in debilitating pain for 3 days. I took pain relievers, but the ones I take cause drowsiness. So when I wasn’t writhing from pain, I was knocked out from the pain relievers.

On the plus side, I’ve never felt more rested.

A well-meaning friend sent me an email because I told her that I was feeling unattractive. It was a very long email that, once again, had me facing the idea of wearing makeup and fake hair.

I’ve long resisted the notion of doing any of these things because I liked the way I was. I felt like a rare species: a woman that doesn’t wear makeup or anything false. It was a badge of honor for a while to be like a tough girl.

The truth of the matter is that an insecurity that had been roosting under the surface for a while was unearthed, and I had to square with it.

“I’m not good enough.”

It doesn’t help to feel like at my age, I should be wearing makeup regularly, and because I’m a black woman, I should know all about the world of weaves, wigs and extensions. Honestly, the only thing I know about any of it is what I’ve been told because I don’t wear false hair. I have big hair and like it that way; sadly, there are those that don’t share this opinion.

Persecution outside of my race is one thing, and is almost expected. However, when it comes to hair, I’ve experienced the opposite: nonblack peers seem to like my hair, and black people just kind of look at me funny, but say nothing. I know they think I should straighten it. Admittedly, it has a special sting when your own race doesn’t accept and celebrate you. Other days, I don’t care though.

Anyway, back to my complicated relationship with makeup. I wasn’t raised to wear it; in fact, mom forced me to wear it for junior and senior prom. She, herself, doesn’t wear makeup. To me, it was strange for girls my age to be obsessed with wearing it. Now though, I’m not a girl anymore. The idea stuck, though. The girls that were doing their makeup and wearing weave (or that naturally have longer hair) have been snatched up left and right by great men.

Me? I’m still here. Wondering why I must change. Wondering why I’m not pretty enough as I am. Is “being yourself” a lie?

These are the questions I asked myself after reading my friend’s email. She didn’t send it intending to stir a soul search, but that’s exactly what happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually do like wearing makeup. Sometimes. I hate the way it makes me feel… because I like the way it makes me feel. My fear is relying heavily on the add-ons to feel like I’m beautiful. I should already feel that I am. But I don’t.

So I have to ask… why am I not good enough in the raw state?

There’s something else, too. I don’t like a lot of attention. Gussying up garners attention, and that’s always bothered me. I guess because whenever I received compliments, there was always someone giving me the evil eye in the background. What’s bad is the person giving that look was supposed to be a friend. I hated that. I also wonder how bad I must’ve looked before for someone to be giving me compliments now.

I’m also super shy around men when they aren’t seeing me as just someone to hang out with. It’s all fun and games when I’m chilling with the guys, but once that “Holy crap! She’s a girl!” thing kicks in, I’m a goner.

It’s a lot, I know. I’ll leave the life revelation there, sip my tea and see how your week is going on.

#weekendcoffeeshare

Hoop Song

The gentle summer breeze

rushes past the leaves

soothing

awakening

and calming.

The hoop, a circle

of harmony, love

acceptance 

and balance. 

You race around my body

my thighs, hips and waist

slapping what is out of place

back in.

Sweat is dripping

chaos is leaving

room for tranquility

to settle in. 

How I’ve missed you my love

I’m glad I returned.

(Free verse poem written by me after a long overdue hoop session. Hope you enjoyed it!)

Blogger Recognition Award

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I would like to thank The Wounded Healer for nominating me to receive this award. This is my first award, and it means a lot to have been nominated.

I started blogging in uni back in 2002. At the time, I was blogging on xanga because that’s where my friends had been doing it. I started there to keep up with what they had been writing, and soon became interested in jotting down a few ideas of my own. I went from the one blog to keeping 3 or 4 on the same site, then stopped blogging almost entirely by 2006. One of the 4 blogs that I kept was about food, and I started that one around the time that I had finished cooking school. I even got featured on one of the pages that features food blog entries. I may have even had a livejournal, if I remember correctly. One day, I decided that I wanted to blog again, only to find out that xanga was no more… so I started blogging again in September 2013 here on WordPress.

Miss Rachel Chanel is self titled. I acted at some point, and I wanted this to be my stage name if I got more work. I also wanted this to be my pen name for writing. Fun fact: Chanel is what my mom wanted to name me. My first name was given to me by my grandmother. The “was supposed to be my name” is my middle name. This blog is about me and how I enjoy life. I don’t enjoy it every day, which can be read in some of my entries… but at least I’ve enjoyed good food along the way.

To the bloggers getting started or that have been at it for a while… gosh, I don’t know what to say. One thing I’ve strived to do with my blog is be true to my voice. If I was ranting, I try to edit it as little as possible to convey the raw emotion. Not every day is great, and that’s okay. I’ve also learned that when you release those raw feelings and share them, you might find that someone out there can relate. I’ve also discovered that more people are reading and paying attention than you might think. I’ve wanted to give up at times because I felt like no one would miss it. When you feel like that, think of the reason you started. Remember it each time you write. Surprisingly, when you stay true to yourself and to your voice, somebody’s going to read it. More than one somebody, actually. They might even like it.

For this award, I’d like to nominate people whose blogs I’ve been following for quite a while. Apologies if you’ve already been nominated (I mean, you’re so awesome that it wouldn’t surprise me):

  1. Helen Jones-journeytoamberth
  2. SouthernBelly
  3. ShunPWrites
  4. Robert Okaji- O At The Edges
  5. leaf and twig
  6. of fries and men
  7. blonde write more

All right, so we’re all honored, yeah yeah, and NOW… here’s what we must do to receive said award.

The rules of the Award-

1) Write a post to show the award.
2) Thank the person who nominated you.
3) Briefly describe your journey as a blogger.
4) Give advice to other bloggers.
5) Nominate other bloggers.

Hope you like enjoy sharing your experience!

Thanks again for the nomination; it’s my first one! Yay!

Ciao beautiful peoples! Part of me wants to do this again to nominate others of you.