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.

 

Au ciel

“My head’s stuck in the clouds, she begs me to come down, says ‘Boy, quit fooling around’. I told her, I love the view from up here…” 

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I still remember my first flight. I was 13 years old, and going to Walt Disney World for the first time. Childlike fascination overtook me, and I was in awe of the fact that we were high enough to be amongst clouds. Although I knew I couldn’t technically walk on clouds, I imagined being like Superman, getting to fly through and around them. From that moment, I knew I would always love flying.

Almost 20 years later, I still enjoy flying; in fact, flying is now my bread and butter. I learned in a very short space of time that there’s much more to it than simply punching a hole in the sky. There are many hands that help people go from one place to another, long checklists, and a lot of communications that must go back and forth. And paperwork. LOTS of paperwork. My office might be in the sky, but we still kill trees just as much as any corporation does. Trust me on that one.

The days are long and trying, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It’s a pleasure when I don’t have to work a flight, and can catch a ride from one place to another. If I’m lucky, I’m assigned a window seat. I settle myself, fasten that seatbelt, and look eagerly out. When the “crosswalk” appears on the ground, the engines rev up and that aircraft barrels down the runway until it lifts off into the sky, I’m suddenly 13 again. That same excitement is there, and I hope it will never be lost on me.

I was always a sky girl, and now I have the job to prove it.

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Ew, Really? Summer again?

When I saw people making a big deal about the summer solstice on the news, I rolled my eyes and honestly got annoyed.

What’s the big deal?

The ones that make a big deal of it are adults, and I can’t see why. Most of the time, depending on where you live, it’s too hot to go outside. So all you do is go out in the heat just to seek refuge from it. There are also more bugs out, and everyone on the planet gets the same idea to migrate to the beach on the weekend… so the beaches are overcrowded and unenjoyable. Who wants to deal with all of that?

Summer stopped being enjoyable at least 10 years ago for me. All I’ve ever done during the summertime is work, and try not to come to work sweaty and gross. Why do adults look forward to the summertime anyway? Unless you’re a teacher, you still have to go to work. And if you’re a parent, you now have to figure out how to keep your older children entertained. You might even give them some form of a curriculum so that they don’t lose what they’ve learned in school.

Let’s not even mention all the skin that’s everywhere. That alone makes me want to escape to the nordic regions of the world and live in an igloo. I don’t know if Colonel Sanders had to deal with breasts and thighs like that. Speaking of which, most of us adults spent the friggen springtime obsessing over what our bodies will look like, and follow all kinds of crazy diets to almost feel like we look good in our swimsuits on a beach. And you know what’s messed up? We probably only went to the beach one time during the whole season because of… you guessed it. Work.

Who is summer fun for anymore? Kids?

There was a time, though, that I used to love summer. I hated school, so I would day dream about all the tv I could watch, family beach trips to be taken, ice cream to eat, and fireflies to be caught at night. Let’s not forget the cookouts. I live in a place where there is a grilling season, and nothing is more thrilling than breaking out the grill and smelling the coals burning. My mouth would begin to water before food was even on the grates.

Summer used to mean freedom. It was a break and a rest from toil and stress. Before we had central air in our house, I use to enjoy movie trips just to escape the heat, or those midday siestas that fostered a special kind of sleep. It was too hot to harness energy for anything else. The rain felt rejuvenating on especially hot and humid days, and when the storm passed… the air was cooler, but still comfortable and inviting. It felt like a great big hug.

Those days are gone now. The only thing I enjoy about summer now are the nights. The repose I used to like about this season comes back, and my love rekindles. I always loved a good summer night and still do. I like that just a sundress and sandals is all you need. A breeze caresses your skin and makes your body tingle. I even have a couple of steamy summer memories with summertime flings. For now, though, I’m fine with listening to the crickets chirp, and holding my sandals in my hand to enjoy the grass under my feet and the earth between my toes.

And even still, I enjoy watching the fireflies bring light to the darkness.

Summer might not be my favourite season anymore, but I remember when it was. Maybe we’ll rekindle what was lost one day.

One Became Four

“Go through the door, down the steps, and it’s the second door on the left”, he said.

“Got it”, I replied.

I came out and informed the flight attendant that I tripped on a crooked step. He made sure I was okay, then vowed to fix the stair himself with duct tape.

Mind you, this conversation concerned the lavatory on an airplane. This is what air stewards do.

This is Day 3 of a 4-day trip that was only supposed to be a 1-day trip. Thank God that I had prepared myself with the right amount of food this time; my bank account would not have been able to support me on one day, let alone 4.

  • Day 1: I worked a long behind round trip from Philly to Memphis, then back to Philly. I received a call from scheduling, telling me that I needed to catch a ride to Washington DC, then work a flight to White Plains, NY. Apparently, I missed a call telling me not to catch the ride. Needless to say, I stayed the night in White Plains. It was a short overnight.
  • Day 2: Worked a flight from White Plains early in the morn to go back to Washington DC. I caught a ride to Charlotte, where there were 2 pilots that needed a flight attendant. I had a bacon cheeseburger & fries at around 8:30am (winning!), then slipped into a food coma on the ride from DC to Charlotte, NC. Worked a flight from Charlotte to Columbia, SC. Very short flight. I had complimentary cookies at the hotel, and got a crazy look when I asked the restaurant staff for bread. I had run out of sandwich bread, thinking that I was only going to be gone for 2 days. It had been stretched into 3 by this point.
  • Day 3 (today): woke up this morning and checked my schedule. My 3-day was sprinkled with pixie dust, thus magically turning it into a 4-day trip. Last day is tomorrow, for sure. It’s my last day of reserve (on call). I’ll be home for real, but not before an early start and a grueling work day. Today wasn’t bad at all, but tomorrow is 5 flights, and I gotta catch a ride home from DC to Philly. Today, I worked 3 flights, and caught a ride to Cleveland, OH.

In truth, I don’t mind long trips away from home; when I actually am home, I feel dysfunctional. I don’t know what to do other than eat and sleep, and avoid doing chores. Oddly enough, I can settle into a routine very easily when I’m on-the-go. Being away from home often is almost normal to me, like I was created to live that way. It really isn’t for everyone.

Now I must try my best to sleep, as I’ll have to wake up at 4am tomorrow. Hopefully, the coffee maker works because I suffered today. Usually, I’ll have 1/2 a cup if I feel droopy, but the coffeemaker had other plans today… like to take a vacation and not let me know about it. These things must pass through me; we’re supposed to work together, after all!

I’m kind of glad that I’ll be home tomorrow; food supplies were running low, and my bank account mocks me with low funds.

All I can do is laugh and pray that this, too, shall pass. Thank goodness for fellow flight attendants because no one knows the struggle like they do. One of them that I met today has been doing this 3o years as a part time career. Both were fun guys, and it was a joy to be on their flight.