A New Beginning

I’ve marinated in this for so long. Over the past 26 years I have stretched and evolved as a woman, as a black American and in visible trans person. I think it’s finally time. People have discussed, suggested, urged and encouraged me to release a book. I’ve always thought I would but I think I am ready. My writing more seasoned that ever my confidence brighter than ever I’ve never had more feelings and thoughts about the world than I do now. This year after nearly four years of this blog, before age 27 I will finish my first book and begin (and possibly finish) the publishing process. This book won’t be the full story or the official memoir but a compilation apiphany’s, learnings and experiences. In a year of rebirths, renewals, revujenations this books is an appropriate fit. Everything in my life has guided me to this very moment of clarity and preparedness. I clearly see more than ever the value that is in my life and being while simultaneously understanding and coming to peace with how little value the world places on my life and being. I need to tell my story and I think people want to hear it. I feel as if I’ve experienced nearly everything in this world, but realize I know almost nothing about this world and that’s precisely what I want to share.

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Christian Carmen Jane’s, Favorite Things 2018!

Joico K-pak Revitaluxe

This treatment is like heaven in a bottle for my hair. I obsess over my hair and always desire it to be perfect but perfect hair is almost always damaged hair. The formula repairs dry, and over processed damaged hair leaving it so silky smooth and full of shine and movement restoring the hairs natural elasticity and smoothing and closing the cuticle. Elasticity is important for the movement, bounce, curl and stretch of your hair. This formula is so powerful at softening and smoothing as you run your fingers through it as you wash the product out it feels like your hair will just melt or fall apart in your hands (don’t worry it won’t!) it’s an eerie but exciting feeling especially if you know what dry brittle hair feels like. Blot hair dry with a t shirt.

Elite Tangle Ease

Everyone raves about this comb and now I am too!! I still don’t completely get it because it looks sort of like a cheap giant plastic brush, but the way these bristle are formed give you the perfect glide through your hair every single time. And the best part? Almost ZERO shedding!! The tangle ease is suitable for wet or dry hair although I typically only use it on wet hair because on my dry hair it creates static. One of the biggest reason I love this brush is for its ability to nearly coat every single strand of hair evenly in a way that a traditional brush or comb cannot. Imagine every single strand of hair being coated in conditioner, your expensive hair mask, or heat protectant. Every single strand gets an even distribution of product! That’s magic to me!!

Optic White Platinum High Impact Colgate Toothpaste

For me sparkling white teeth as is clean neat nails are small things we overlook in our day to day but in small ways they impact the perceptions of those around us. White teeth help your skin look brighter and “glowier”. There are a number of steps to my oral care including brushing 2-3 times a day, a strong mouth wash twice a day but Optic White Platinum is my number one secret for sparkling white teeth. I thought I saw drastic results only a week after use, but I dismissed it as wishful thinking, but those who’ve known me for years ask me about how I got my teeth brighter and white and strangers also stop to inquire about my white teeth and ask about my secrets! It’s clear they’re seeing what I see, and that is clear results with optic white!

Apple Airpods

This product was on my favorite things list last year however I am so obsessed that it was necessary to add it to my list this year. I cannot say enough of this product and I could write an entire essay, but I will try to condense it as best as possible. The Apple Airpods are hands down my favorite Apple product ever! EVER! I dreamed about a solution to my headphone woes; my corded headphones would always yank themselves out of the jack or leave me tethered to my phone which became less of an issue with my first pair of Bluetooth headphones in 2012 however the issue with Bluetooth is the traditional blue tooth headphones are tethered together by a wire that I’ll have to maneuver around my hair which if you have hair you know is a serious pain or I’d be subject to large over the ear headphones which typically provider better sound but they aren’t discreet and do not in any way fit my style of high heels and pencil skirts. And let’s face I’m and iphone X owner and I was an iphone 7 owner when Apple did the disappearing act with the headphone jack forcing you to essentially go Bluetooth only. BUT the Airpods are everything I need. Siri just a double tap away, I can play music directly in my ears white I clean the house, struggle home with heavy groceries or chat with my friends as I wash my face or get dressed all without missing a beat. Discreet enough to wear while at work or in settings that aren’t appropriate for the tradition headphone. This product has become one of the most important things in my daily life and would definitely make my top ten list of things I cannot live without. Recently I forgot my charging case on the bed at home for the second time in the two years I’ve had them and I was forced to but my phone up to my ear like a commoner. It reminded me of just how much I depend on my Airpods in my day to day. And if you’re afraid you’re going to lose them take advice from my good friend Lucy, “You’re an, adult keep up with your sh*t!” lol.

Color WOW Dream Coat

This product was introduced to me by Kim Kardashian’s hair stylist Chris Appleton. Dream Coat acts as a humidity proofing raincoat that covers the hair and seals the cuticle locking out moisture and adding a brilliant shine, and the best part is, it actually works!! I was skeptical to try especially at $28 for a 6 ounce bottle (which breaks down to about only three uses for my 28inch hair), but this product lives up to the hype. The key is to follow directions exactly! I have very very thick hair that even when straight is voluminous. I wash my hair then use Joico K-pak Revitaluxe to deep condition and dry my hair with a t shirt rather than a towel. When my hair is damp not wet I section off my hair spraying a generous amount of Dream Coat to saturate the hair and comb through with my Elite Tangle Ease ensuring every strand gets the product. Once my hair is coated in Dream Coat section by section I blow dry my hair straight with my Babyliss Pro Nano dryer and flat paddle brush with ceramic bristles (because the round brushes are a struggle for me) I angle the dryer straight down to get the cuticle as flat and tight as possible and go over the hair until it is completely dry. Dream Coat is heat activated so you MUST blow dry. I can say I have never had a successful blow out until Dream Coat it leaves my hair feeling as soft and silky as a flat iron but with more movement and flow than you’d get from a flat iron. My hair doesn’t look like Kim Kardashians, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the product, I attribute that her thousand dollar extensions that I can’t afford and the fact that a professional is doing her hair. The Dream Coat is a definite must for my hair routine.

Fenty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored and Uncuffed

Fenty beauty has been all the rave this year and while I haven’t got around to trying many of the products the Lip Paint in Uncensored and Uncuffed are my go to’s for lip color. I love Kat Von D’s liquid lipstick in Bauhaus which made my favorite things list in previous years. But this year I tried Uncensored and fell in love with the deepness and richness of the red. And similar to Kat Von D’s liquid lipsticks it dries matte and doesn’t have a lot of transfer. As I shifted back to my hair dark from a year of light brown hues I wanted to reinvent my style especially because my hair length is so dramatic and regal I wanted to keep the face simple. An easy filled in brow, foundation mixed with moisturizer for a softer barely there look and dark thick lashes and a nude-ish lip, which is where Uncuffed comes in. Uncuffued is a peachy nude color very similar to the natural color of my lips just with a bit more evenness. At $25 dollars each they are only a few dollars more expensive than I paid for Bauhaus over the past four years.

OPI, Barefoot in Barcelona

Pretty much anyone who likes manicured nails Loves OPI, but for me the right color is important. I typically lean toward neutral tones like white, black shades of grey, browns, metallic golds (a great accent to my skin) and fleshy colors. My favorites are the nudes and fleshy tones. The ones that give you manicured and colored nails but blend seamlessly into your skin. Barefoot In Barcelona by OPI is a pinky fleshy mauve that leaves me googly eyed. And a great plus is it matches my Fenty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored, giving me the desired natural barely there look!

Lancôme Pure Empreinte Clay Mask

Want smooth glowing flawless skin in minutes? Use the Pure Empreinte mask. I’ve been using various Lancôme products for over a decade and I love to freshen up a few times a week with this clay mask. You can feel it working and tingling as it extracts dirt and oil from your pores (the less dirt you have the less you feel the tingle) and once you wash it away it reveals brighter softer skin. One reason I am obsessed with this product is once I follow up with makeup it feels like the easiest silkiest makeup application and I realize the result of my makeup after this mask is better 100% of the time.

Doc Martens, Persephone

Everyone knows Doc Martens are the ultimate balance between style, practicality and comfort. While doc martens aren’t my personal style per say (which I define as more modern classic and sleek and sophisticated) they serve as a stylish alternative to the more unattractive conventional winter boot. Slip resistant made tough and still with a heel of course; as it is my signature. The thick block heel and and sturdy build of the shoe makes it one of the most practical and safest heels to maneuver in the coldest winter months. Doc martens also double as my rain boots when I don’t want to wear a full size rain book.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

A reality check on world beauty standards that took me 11 months to complete. And I am happy I did. The Beauty Myth explores the lie defined as beauty and walks the reader through how the way we as a society define beauty to and how that definition shifts and changes according to how society wants women to behave or be controlled. This is a dense read filled with lots of static’s sticks facts and material to leave you in deep thought and reflection. This is a book I’d go back to for a second read for further context and reflection. The themes and ideas expressed in the Beauty Myth are things everyone woman should explore for herself.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This memoir is something every black woman needs to read. Michelle Obama shares the privileged details of her past and experiences growing and maturing next to the first black president of the United States. As a black woman it is insightful it is to hear the experiences of another black woman. What is it like to be the first lady? The black first lady? Defining self for one’s self in a hyper visible hyper vulnerable but influential position. This book acts a web connecting all of the black women who read it and allowing us to see ourselves reflected in various pieces of her story,“I stood at the foot of the mountain knowing i needed to climb into favor”, something every black woman experiences. Becoming presented me with a new respect and understanding of Michelle Obama particularly in her dissonance with politics which is a thread throughout her memoir. A black woman finding self and creating space not just in the world but also in the world of politics.

Amazon Echo with Alexa

This product is definitely not a necessity but it’s one of those luxury items you can’t live without once you’ve experienced. So much can be said about the Echo and Alexa’s capabilities it’s hard to determine what to say. The Echo is like google and an assistant wrapped into one. As Alexa virtually anything and she’ll accurately provide you with and answer. Play music through the built in speaker that produces crystal clear playback crisp vocals and a deep bass. Guess how to adjust settings like the Echos bass and treble? You guessed it, with nothing other than your voice! Make phone calls send messages, order pizza or gifts with your voice, request an Uber, ask the temperature and weather conditions, create a shopping list, check movie times, check flight distances, get step by step help with a recipe, turn lights on or off, set multiple timers, play games ask her to tell you jokes, listen to an audio book, the options seem endless. Alexa even has a sense of humor; when you ask her what the best tablet on the market is she of course mentions the Kindle Fire but admits she’s biased! And with seven microphones and beamforming technology waiting for you to call out for assistance Alexa is the house guest you don’t mind staying forever.

Contentment

Contentment |ken’tentment|

noun

A state of happiness and satisfaction

I never knew beaches like this existed in New York. The sky coated in blackness. The moon glowing like a pearl right in front of you and I. Rays of light shine down from it like a UFO making its way to earth exposing just a portion of the ocean waters that ripple and gleam like silk and stretch to what our eyes make out as the edges of the earth, barely visible in the darkness of night. A scary but excitingly fascinating paradox. Like you.

Hours before we met by a pool in a million dollar mansion surrounded by energy and vibrations that were distantly familiar but difficult to transcribe into words. Much like those advertisements you see in middle America about what it’s like to be “the one” in the middle of it all, experiencing the high life, except this was reality and far from an advertisement. Breathing in a new experience and new place far too much of a cliche to peak my interest organically but somehow I ended up here; a subway, to a train, to a bus, to a ferry, to an island, to the edge of this pool in front of you.

Though a bit vulgar and forward in a drunken state I wasn’t off put by you (with a now developed relationship I understand that vulgarity is balanced by a deep moral compass). Once I pierced through the shell, I saw your heart light up as you word vomited about all of the meaningful things in your life. That last hour of the party we sat by the pool surrounded by at least four dozen people, but it was just you and I. I hardly remember speaking to anyone but you for 45 minutes.

Will the magic of this moment be left here on this island? I’ve been told that I could never fully enjoy things because I was always in the back of my mind waiting for them to end. Is this it? Does it all end here? That’s because in my mind perfection cannot exist undisrupted and so peacefully. My fear was strange, because I truly had no expectations, none at all, but to be in your presence. It was a strange kind of magic that still left me completely conscious and aware. Magic and total awareness; two other things I didn’t know could exist at the same time. When I close my eyes I can still hear the deepness of your laughs and see the whiteness of your teeth and broadness of your mischievous smile and the rich warm brown hues that make up your skin…… the casual smoothness of your voice when you call me “baby”. Remembering you when I close my eyes leaves me in an unwavering and unbreakable state of contentment.

It’s just a moment in time not meant for forever, not built for monogamous devotion, or contrived ideas of perfection but when the time comes for us to shift apart promise me you won’t forget me. “Say you’ll remember me, standing in a nice dress staring at the sunset, babe, red lips and rosy cheeks say you’ll see me again even if it’s just in your wildest dreams, ah-ah-ha”

Shit Made Gold

For nine months I forgot. The hurt was so intense I stepped away from the one thing that always ground me; writing. The day I stepped away from writing I began to lose myself more and more and it became harder and became increasingly more difficult to pick up a pen (or a key board) and get back to writing. The last time I wrote was in January about the Brown Bronx Boy, whose birthday is ironically today, the first time I have had the courage to write all year. After three years of trying to figure shit out figure my life out figure out who I was what I was doing where I needed to be and the things that made me happy. I began this year at an ultimate low

Recently I turned 26 something I dreaded because I saw was myself aging and the things I wanted and so deeply desired in life still unattained. I spent my birthday in the peace of my own company doing what I do so well meditating on thought, eating burgers and shopping. I have had luxurious birthdays spent on vacations wearing hundreds of dollars’ worth of fashions on rooftops and by the pool, surrounded by tons of people and I have had birthdays where I was too broke to leave my house. This birthday I had the resources and agency, to do virtually whatever I wanted, but I didn’t feel need to fill that space with things I thought I should be doing or things to distract me from feeling. I felt whole, I felt fulfilled

And now at his point in my life caught in between being jaded and bound by the expectations of reality society and life but still being young and carefree enough to be relevant, I feel an ultimate freedom. I am better than I have ever been, I am more beautiful than I have ever been, feel the most beautiful I have ever felt. I am wiser, more experienced I am more grounded emotionally, socially and financially than I have ever been in my life. And the greatest part of it all is I did this. I made this happen. My closest friends always tell me the one thing they admire about me is my ability to take cover shit in glitter and transform it into gold.

My life is a story, a story made for books for screens, for public consumption and I am going to tell that story by returning to what I do best, write. I am a writer.

Womanhood by Catherine Anderson

She slides over

the hot upholstery

of her mother’s car,

this schoolgirl of fifteen

who loves humming & swaying

with the radio.

Her entry into womanhood

will be like all the other girls’–

a cigarette and a joke,

as she strides up with the rest

to a brick factory

where she’ll sew rag rugs

from textile strips of kelly green,

bright red, aqua.

When she enters,

and the millgate closes,

final as a slap,

there’ll be silence.

She’ll see fifteen high windows

cemented over to cut out light.

Inside, a constant, deafening noise

and warm air smelling of oil,

the shifts continuing on. . .

All day she’ll guide cloth along a line

of whirring needles, her arms & shoulders

rocking back & forth

with the machines–

200 porch size rugs behind her

before she can stop

to reach up, like her mother,

and pick the lint

out of her hair.

Power by Audre Lorde

The difference between poetry and rhetoric

is being ready to kill

yourself

instead of your children.

I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds

and a dead child dragging his shattered black

face off the edge of my sleep

blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders

is the only liquid for miles

and my stomach

churns at the imagined taste while

my mouth splits into dry lips

without loyalty or reason

thirsting for the wetness of his blood

as it sinks into the whiteness

of the desert where I am lost

without imagery or magic

trying to make power out of hatred and destruction

trying to heal my dying son with kisses

only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.

A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens

stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood

and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and

there are tapes to prove it. At his trial

this policeman said in his own defense

“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else

only the color”. And

there are tapes to prove that, too.

Today that 37 year old white man

with 13 years of police forcing

was set free

by eleven white men who said they were satisfied

justice had been done

and one Black Woman who said

“They convinced me” meaning

they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame

over the hot coals

of four centuries of white male approval

until she let go

the first real power she ever had

and lined her own womb with cement

to make a graveyard for our children.

I have not been able to touch the destruction

within me.

But unless I learn to use

the difference between poetry and rhetoric

my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold

or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire

and one day I will take my teenaged plug

and connect it to the nearest socket

raping an 85 year old white woman

who is somebody’s mother

and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed

a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time

“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”

To Black Women by Gwendolyn Brooks

Sisters,

where there is cold silence

no hallelujahs, no hurrahs at all, no handshakes,

no neon red or blue, no smiling faces

prevail.

Prevail across the editors of the world

who are obsessed, self-honeying and self-crowned

in the seduced arena.

It has been a

hard trudge, with fainting, bandaging and death.

There have been startling confrontations.

There have been tramplings. Tramplings

of monarchs and of other men.

But there remain large countries in your eyes.

Shrewd sun.

The civil balance.

The listening secrets.

And you create and train your flowers still.