Friday, July 30, 2010

A “Driving Lesson” To Remember!

So this summer on my list of things that I want to accomplish before my life becomes consumed with never ending school work, is learning to drive manual (Stick shift). My little Brother (who is actually nineteen and ten times bigger than me), has been trying to teach me for the last couple of weeks, actually months but that’s beside the point. I’ve made some progress, but you will definitely not catch me on a major highway, or more than two blocks away from my house anytime soon. I‘ve got the whole shifting gears thing down while the car is actually moving, but I run into problems every time I have to stop, and get moving again. I just can’t seem to get the car moving without stalling a million times, and causing the car to make horrific noises, and jerking. It does that help that I know other drivers feel a little unsafe because of my presence on the road( I can tell by the way they look at me as they hurry around the car).

**On a side note before I go on. I realllllllly don’t understand why people drive manual, when there are cars that do ALL the work for you. But hey, I guess it’s still good to learn just in case.

The other day as my brother and I left the Bronx to go home (A fifteen min drive with good traffic), he asked me if I wanted to drive home. Of Course I said no, number one because it was the middle of rush hour, Number two because that would have required at least 20 minutes on the highway, Number three I would have had to stop numerous times in the traffic, and at the toll, and number four I just thought it was a BAD idea. My brother of course tried to convince me to drive home, by telling me nothing would happen, and that If by any chance I stalled on the way home I could easily just start the car and keep on driving ( In trying to convince me, he also said some things I rather not mention in the blog, lol). After telling him NO several times, and explaining my reasons he finally gave up, and we headed home. I thought my brother had completely dropped the idea of giving me a “driving lesson”, but I was SO wrong. At first the car ride home, seemed like any normal car ride with my Brother; music so loud I could hardly hear myself think, the smell of the million air fresheners he insist on keeping in his car, and that uneasy feeling I get when he decides that switching lanes every two minutes is ok.

I should have known something was up when Kadeem turned down the radio. Before I could even stop him or truly take in what was happening my brother stalled the car in the middle of the highway right before we went through the toll, threw his hands up in the air and in the most sarcastic tone, and loud voice he could muster goes “O NOOOOO, I STALLED ON THE HIGHWAY, WHAT AM I GOIN TO DO?”, he then looked at me (of course as I started screaming at him for acting like a fool),and continued. “I GUESS I’LL JUST START THE CAR AGAIN, AND START DRVING”. He then proceeded to start the car in slow motion while saying “SEEEE TASHA”. He then started moving the car again, turned up the radio and started driving again like nothing had happened. Five minutes later her turned down the radio, and repeated his little dramatic show once again. By the time we got home we had repeated his little act more than three times. He made sure that he stalled the car in all the areas that I had told him I was scared on stalling at if I myself had driven home.

Although I still cannot drive manual, I am thankful for my brothers little impromptu “driving lesson”!

My Brothers “driving lesson” did not change my mind about driving stick shift on the highway, but his “Driving Lesson” did get me to reflect on life. Life is not always like driving an automatic car, sometimes we have to manually shift gears, and of course there are times when we all stall, and have to regroup and get things moving again.

I encourage you all to remember my brothers “Driving Lesson”. Although there are times in life when things don’t go just as planned, and you don’t have to put in much work to get from one point to the next, or to accomplish your goals there are times when things aren’t so easy. We all go through things that are hard, things that take a little more effort than others. Times when we will stall, have to take a deep breath regroup and get things going again. My brothers “driving lesson” reminded me that no matter the setting (a busy highway or a block away from your house), you can always use the same techniques to get through a rough patch!

***The summer is Almost over, I better get back to my “Driving Lessons” so I can be a Pro before my bro goes back to school!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

“It’s a Different World”

I have always loved the show “A Different World”!

For the past few weeks I have spent countless hours watching re-runs of “A Different World” on YouTube (Yeah I have had some free time, lol); and although I have watched this show for almost all of my life I never realized its importance until recently.

When I was younger I enjoyed the show simply for its comedic relief. Today, over twenty years since the start of the show viewers can still be assured a good laugh while watching any episode of “A Different World”. As I got older however my love for the show deepened; and my reasons for loving the show expanded.

While in College I enjoyed the show because I could relate to the characters, and their experiences as college students, and because it gave me an excuse to watch Nick at Night every night for almost two years when I should have been doing something productive (like my homework). Also it was WONDERFUL to watch a show on television with characters that looked like me and most of my friends, doing something productive like getting a college degree. Because the characters on the show were dealing with issues such as such as living away from home for the first time, meeting people from all walks of life, pulling all nighters, deciding which party to attend, and joining community service/social organizations I found comfort in watching them, simply because I was experiencing many of the same things.

Today, what I enjoy most about “A Different World” (other my crush on the character Dwayne, played by Kadeem Hardison), is that I can still enjoy the show for the reasons I have mentioned above and many more! Catching up on episodes of “A Different World” now that I am a little older and more informed, has shown me that the issues addressed on the show such as Prayer, Freedom, Friendship, Sex, Racism, Dating ,Rape, classism, HIV/AIDS span fare beyond the scope of any college campus, and as a result people of all ages can relate to and benefit for the show.

Today we live in A Very Different world than the late 80’s and early 90’s when the show “A Different World” was a hit series, and this is clearly evident by the shows that are on television today. Now don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me is aware that I watch my fair share of what many people might consider trash, but I honestly cannot remember the last time I have watched a television show that speaks to, and accurately portrays the experiences of young Black people in America today. Although Shows such as “A Different World” and “The Cosby Show”, are not accurate depictions of life for many people in this country, they are positive and lack many of the stereo types that are the basis of many television shows today. If one cannot directly relate to the characters they can become inspired, and educated by their many experiences all while enjoying what I like to call good television!

***If or when you have some free time, you should check out some old episodes of “A Different World”, just YouTube “A Different World”.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Are you Seventeen?

When I was around the age 14/15 I was really into Seventeen magazine.

Yes, Seventeen Magazine!

**Use picture above for reference, and please note that most months the person on the cover looks nothing like Beyonce, most recent cover girl Rhianna, or me.

I can’t remember where we were or what we were doing; but I do remember being really absorbed into one of my magazines, when my mother who has never been one to hold her tongue asked me a question. A question that at the time I thought was stupid, unnecessary, and extremely annoying! She looked at me and said in a sarcastic/serious tone “Tasha, Why are you reading Seventeen Magazine? You’re not Seventeen”. She then simply said that the magazine was not appropriate for someone my age, and told me to stop reading them. Although I did not stop reading Seventeen right away, eventually my relationship with the magazine ended.

I have not opened a Seventeen magazine in years, but this morning on my way to see Mary J. Blige in Central Park (One more thing on my summer to do list; done!), I had the opportunity to skim through a recent issue of the magazine I once loved!

After spending most of the train ride reading the magazine I really wised that I could go back in time to the day my mother asked “Tasha, Why are you reading Seventeen Magazine? You’re not Seventeen”. Because, today I would have to admit to her that she was right, Seventeen magazine was inappropriate. I would even have to tell her that eight years later, at the age of 22 I was never, and will never be Seventeen.

Today I flipped through pages of ads, columns, and articles that reinforced the idea that being a size 0-2 is the way to be, and anything above needs to be corrected through intense diet or exercise. I flipped through pages that also reinforced the idea that clothes make you the person you are. I skimmed over Advice columns and letters from loyal Seventeen readers that told girls its ok to “Hook –Up” with random guys, that having a cheating boyfriend is norm, and that eating cereal for breakfast lunch and dinner is the epitome of a healthy diet. I was bombarded with images, and articles that tell Black Girls/teenagers that being Seventeen, is something that they can never be. You see Seventeen Magazine in no way begins to cater to the needs of the average Black girl, Not the hair style or makeup suggestions, the fashion advice, or letters from the “Average” Seventeen reader. Honestly, not much has changed since the last time I've read the magazine.

There were several times on my train ride were I actually laughed out loud at what I was reading, and at the fact that I actually once enjoyed it all!

I have nothing against the magazine, and can understand and accept the fact that there are probably thousands of girls out there who can relate to and appreciate everything in Seventeen magazine; but when I sit back and think about it, I’m kind of glad that I never was or never will be Seventeen.

Because Being Seventeen is Simply just… Not me!

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