I got tagged by The Glamorous Bee to participate in this “Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me” thing.
It’s been circulating around the blogosphere for a while now. The first time I saw a blogger reveal five random personal facts was on one of my favorite Trini blogs, The Manicou Report. It was pretty cool to see “behind the scenes,” so to speak.
Afrobella is personal – I share my thoughts about beauty and style, the products and advice that work for me and my family, the beauty icons I respect and the great interviews I’ve had – but I still intend to keep my private life completely private.
I already feel like I’ve posted too much about me, so I had to think long and hard in order to find five things about myself that I haven’t already mentioned in this blog. Whew! Here goes.
1. Even though most would say otherwise, I am a pretty shy person. My in-laws would probably burst into laughter reading this one. I definitely come across as a gregarious, friendly, talk-to-anyone, laughing all the time kind ‘o gal. I love going to divey bars, drinking and chatting with strangers. But when it comes to attending fancy parties, or speaking before large groups of people… I just freeze up. This dates back to my childhood.
I remember being around 6, and winning some kind of bookstore related prize that culminated in an event in the atrium of Long Circular Mall. I think the gist of it was, I was supposed to read in public with a bunch of other little kids, but I got freaked out and refused to go. And the prize was a great collection of children’s storybooks, including the C.S Lewis Chronicles of Narnia. I still remember.
When I was graduating with my masters’ degree, I was asked to participate in a MFA student reading at my favorite Miami bookstore, Books & Books. Even though I felt very proud of my thesis, I actually had a nightmare about participating in this event, and consequently backed out. Just the idea of having to stand before a group of people and read my fiction freaked me out so badly, I had to pass that opportunity up.
In my job, I have been asked on several occasions to judge poetry contests, or participate on panels, or speak to groups of teens about working in the media. I’ve had opportunities to be on television, and I’ve respectfully backed out of all of these things because of my shyness. I know I will need to confront it head on in order to achieve my dreams (one of which is appearing on Oprah to discuss natural beauty and all things Afrobella), and believe me, I’m working on it.
2. I only learned to drive two years ago.
My mom doesn’t drive, one of aunts doesn’t either. Consequently, I grew up always kind of thinking that you didn’t really need to drive, and as I grew older it became a bit of a fear. I got my license when I was seventeen in Trinidad, but the instructor basically yelled at me throughout the test, to the point where I was actually in tears at the end. To my eternal surprise, he said I passed after all of that screaming.
Needless to say, I never wanted to drive and thanks to an extensive group of accomodating friends, co-workers, and classmates, I never had to. Until I moved to Miami, where the city is so sprawling that you need to drive. I rode a fierce red bike to classes at the University of Miami every day, until my bike got stolen during an amazing Edwidge Danticat reading I was attending. I took public transportation for a while, but this isn’t a great city for that, and my new job downtown required me to be mobile. So I sucked up my fears, got a great instructor, got my license, and bought my car in 2004.
Now I don’t know how I got along without driving for so long!
3. I am fascinated by weird marine life. I’m not sure why, but there are few things I love more than watching documentaries about cephalopods – the mysterious and intelligent class of invertebrates that includes squid, cuttlefish, and octopuses.
I am also fascinated by jellyfish.
I’m not quite sure why, but I there is something about these ephemeral, color-changing, deep sea creatures that I find beautiful and riveting.
I recently saw a great National Geographic documentary about the Japanese fishermen who photographed the first live giant squid. Call me kooky, but that’s the kind of television I love.
4. I’m a total Anglophile, but I’ve never been to England. I just find the culture fascinating, the accents charming, and the street style just seems so funky and interesting!
My current favorite Brit singers are Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, whose album is on steady rotation in my iAudio right now. This is her video for “You Know I’m No Good.”
I hear glimmers of Ella, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Randy Crawford in her voice, yet she’s totally original. I’m loving her, but from what I see on the celebrity blogs, she really does need to go to Rehab.
5. Currently the only magazine I subscribe to is Bust. I am a recovering magazine junkie, and at one point I was getting Rolling Stone, Spin, Jane, Vanity Fair, and Cooking Light delivered monthly. I felt like I was drowning in shiny paper, so I let all of those subscriptions subside. Now I just pick up whatever I want whenever I want, and I make a point of buying the magazines I dream of writing for, like Bust, Essence, Vibe Vixen, and of course, Oprah.
And that’s five fun, totally random facts about me.
** Here’s a bonus: I absolutely loathe bananas, and coffee. The cloying-sweet smell of bananas makes me feel nauseous. And coffee makes me physically ill.