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.

Now I’m going to tag some fellow bloggers I want to know more about! Oh boy… Nichelle, JCD, Sylvia, and Lianne and Andrea, you’re it!

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Nichelle says:
January 14, 2007, 5:14 pm
OMG!!! No you didn't tag me! Girl, I've done about a hundred of these on my other blog, Anovelista.com. Here are the links because I don't have the energy to do one now! Here We Go Again: http://anovelista.blogspot.com/2006/04/here-we-go-again.html A (Little) About Me: http://anovelista.blogspot.com/2006/03/little-about-me.html
Mahogany_Butterfly says:
January 14, 2007, 6:11 pm
I have a fear of driving as well... I'm 23 and I really need to get my license *sigh*
Sylvia says:
January 14, 2007, 7:29 pm
I LOVE AMY WINEHOUSE!! My sister got me hooked on her and is bringing Lily Allen's album with her next time. Also listen to Corinne Bailey Rae (you probably already do). I'm actually working on a post about Billie Holiday now! Great minds... ;) Oh and I fear driving too even though I have both my European and American License :(
Stunner says:
January 14, 2007, 7:42 pm
I got that same tag too. I remember those cussing I used to get from my first instructor.
January 14, 2007, 10:53 pm
jerseybred says:
January 14, 2007, 11:19 pm
Add me to the fear of driving list, one day I just have to go for it. Thanks for hipping me to Amy - nice song.
Coffy says:
January 14, 2007, 11:33 pm
add me to the no driving list.
AppleDiva says:
January 14, 2007, 11:54 pm
Afrobella, I am glad to know that I am not the only enamored with the stylings of Amy Winehouse. I found her on iTunes, when they had free videos. Please do not sleep on her, when her album, "Back to Black" hits U.S. For real though, Amy needs to go Rehab. ASAP!!! Hey Sylvia, CBR's CD is good. I love it. I can't wait for her future offerings. Please check out Terri Walker. Start with "Untitled!" Very good!! My favorite beauty blog!!! Thanks for all you do.
bella says:
January 15, 2007, 12:39 am
Thanks, Jocelyn! I'm dreaming (and pitching) like crazy. Do you no-driving gals live in a city with great public transportation? If I'd moved to New York instead of Miami, I'd be a subway-taking, cab-hailing pedestrian and proud of it! AppleDiva, your Amy Winehouse comment on my Ella Fitzgerald post tripped me out! I was on the way home from work, having listened to her whole album en route. It was like you read my mind. I love her, and I hope she has staying power. So often my favorite female singers are one-album-wonders. *ahem*Lauryn Hill*ahem*
Carolyn says:
January 15, 2007, 1:12 am
Another reluctant driver here! And I’m also a fan of Amy's! I love your taste in music - it's so much like mine! LOL
thope says:
January 15, 2007, 9:12 am
I too love Amy Winehouse! The Back to Black CD is wonderful. For all of you that are just now hearing about her, you must get one of her CDs.....fast!
AppleDiva says:
January 15, 2007, 11:47 am
Afrobella, Amy has 2 albums. The first is "Frank" ... Super Great ...and you know "Back to Black". She is a musical genius, for real. "Frank" and "Back in Black" have 2 different sounds, yet totally Super Great.
Joy says:
January 15, 2007, 2:01 pm
Hey Afrobella, It's funny you should mention AMy Winehouse i just got her album Back to Black & have been listening to it on my iPod all week... haha Oddly I have a fear of driving too ( i thought i was pretty much alone in this but it seems i am not - thanks fo rsharing that= ) ) I really love dropping by on your blog every day... Could you please (if you have the time & the inclination) discuss magaziness you like in more detail... I have been reading Marie Claire recently and although the fashion is great it's not really afrobella centric... Just a thought though. Peace.
Mani says:
January 15, 2007, 3:16 pm
Hey Bella! Thanks for the mention. I love your five things. With regards to public speaking, you and I are the same. I'd rather eat a block of soap. I would like to believe I started a "Five Things" revolution, but I doubt it. I did however notice a lot of "Five Things" posts after I published mine, but whether or not that was because of mine or because I was more aware of them after I did mine, I don't know. Thanks for sharing though!
crashhappy says:
January 15, 2007, 6:54 pm
Girl, holla back @ another "cephalophan". I'm sure you caught that PBS "Nature" episode all about octopi. That's some good tv right there. Also feeling the Amy Winehouse. Her voice sounds lived in, tho she's relatively young (on "Frank"'s "F*** Me Pumps" she disses near 30-year old barflies-- and I cringe!) But concur with other posters, that girl (ironically) needs rehab. And a nice trip to a buffet. To both of which she'd probably say "Noooo, no, no."
jerseybred says:
January 16, 2007, 10:00 am
Bella, in answer to your question about public transportation, it's OK. I refused to drive so I have to use it.
AFKG says:
January 16, 2007, 4:42 pm
Bella when are you coming to England? I feel really bad that I do not have Amy's CD yet, I well definitely buy it this weekend thanks to everyone’s endorsement
Niki says:
January 16, 2007, 6:25 pm
Add me to the "fear of driving" list. I don't feel so alone any more! LOL I have been behind the wheel of a car (enough to get into an accident) and I can parallel park, but I haven't been behind the wheel in 5 1/2 years. Thanks to public transportation, the occasional taxi cab, and an accomodating boyfriend and friends I don't have to. But I don want to get my license though!
Coffy says:
January 16, 2007, 7:46 pm
the public transportation here is pretty good,but if i could overcome my fear of driving i would be on top of the world.
miss elbah says:
January 16, 2007, 7:46 pm
Lady afrobella thank you! thank you! thank you! for putting me onto amy winehouse! If you have any other british singers please post or for that matter any singers that should be recognized if your up for it i have a band i absolutely adore!!! and would love for you to hear thanks. excuse the typos (lol) so sincerely, Moi
AppleDiva says:
January 16, 2007, 8:46 pm
Miss elbah, Check out Terri Walker & Hil St. Soul.
The Glamour Bee says:
January 16, 2007, 8:56 pm
Hi, 'Bella. Thanks for playing along! Hope you had as much fun doing this as I did.
bella says:
January 17, 2007, 1:41 am
I had lots of fun, Glamor Bee! Thanks for inviting me. crashhappy, damn I missed the octopi. I'll have to check my local listings. Miss Elbah, I'll do a big post about the music I love soon! It'll probably deviate from the Afrobella norm, but whatevs... Driving feels empowering, y'all. Seriously, once you find a good instructor it's a wrap. My very first lesson, this man had me on the highway! I was terrified, but I felt so proud of myself afterwards. Now I'm cruising to work on 95 every day, no problem. If I can do it, anyone can!
maryann says:
January 17, 2007, 4:34 am
i heart lily allen. i'm a total anglophile too, even tho i haven't stepped one foot the first in england. i've also developed an affinity for brit female rappers. m.i.a. and lady sovreign are excellent.
Julia_Claudine_Deveraux says:
January 17, 2007, 1:12 pm
Oh I'm so honored that you tagged me! I'm working on it TODAY! Please check within the week for a reply! Bella, I only learned to drive in the recent years!!! Don't feel bad! I'm an Anglophile too!!! Especially in the early to mid 90's when Oasis, Blur, Prodigy etc.. were the hot items. And thank you for hipping me on to Lily Allen, she rocks!!! I can't wait until her CD drops officially! I'm a BUST mag reader too! Gosh you truly are my sister from another mother!
Anouk says:
January 17, 2007, 6:31 pm
That's funny. I just heard miss Winehouse sing for the first time AND am afraid of driving, too. I have to admit I don't even dare to ride my bike alone (and I live in Holland!)...
Trischelle says:
January 20, 2007, 5:16 am
Hi bella and friends, London is amazing!! i moved here from texas to get married last year. great shops, food and people. I was worried about finding a natural hair salon for twists but just like the states you have to keep going until you find the one that suits you. I love it here and i am here for life. if you want to visit anytime you have a tour guide in me. i am always looking for chat friends so say hi anyone!!
kia says:
January 20, 2007, 5:25 pm
hey bella, i was anti-europe at one time. i studied spanish for a long time and didn't want to have any parts of spain... then came along "Do it Like Beckham" the cute movie Indian-girl-loves-soccer-but-doesn't- want-to-be-confined-to-her-Indian-culture-in-Europe-for-her-love-of-soccer-yeh?lol! now, i'm enamoured by European and English cultures. It's nice to "get to know you." =)


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