Posts by tiffy4love

Since I was a little girl, I've always dreamed of helping people. I knew that I had the skills to enhance people's lives in any way that I could. As of now, I'm looking for any venue to utilize my desire to help people. And I want to use writing as one of those venues. Writing was and still is my art, my talent, my calling. My writing has blossomed during my college years. It has it's own tone and it's just waiting to grow like the roots of a willow tree. I want my passion for writing to show the beauty of Neo-soul music or any other entity I feel comfortable writing about. Hopefully, a feel for who I am is hidden within the realms of my posts. But, I'm a laid-back, down-to-earth person who is very loving, patient, caring and a bit silly once you get to know me. My God, family and friends are elements that stay close to my heart with every passing day. I love to play soccer, tennis and basketball. Like every other person in their 20s, hanging out with friends is an essential activity as is also spending quality time to myself. =). And of course, writing, reading and listening to music are must dos in my life. There's more to know about me as there is to every person on this planet. If you really want to know more about me, send me an e-mail. I don't bite.

The Evolution of My Kinks

I have made many changes to my hair lately. It’s weird; when I was younger, I barely did much with it. I feel like even after I started going natural is really when I started experimenting more with the kinks. My hair used to be straight, shiny and flat. Now, it has so much more volume. It has a mind of its own. Every day, it looks a little different. Sometimes it wants to recede a bit and hide from society while on other days it chooses to stretch itself more; of course, though, when I put it in certain styles it makes it easier. Finger coils, twists, braids, and bantu knots as well as just keeping it out are the various ways I choose to show it.

Trying all these styles gave me the opportunity to learn so much more about it which was one of my goals of going natural. I learned about why it becomes dry. I learned about the different types of oils and lotions I can put in it to keep it moisturized. My hair experienced brown, red and currently purple hues to add on some unique flavor. I also showed it off with mohawks, afros and tapered cuts.

At times, I have struggled with how to put my hair for interviews or for the professional environment in general. I choose not to wear braids or anything tight to protect the health of my scalp. (Though I do miss those styles so much) I often also adorn or cover my hair in African print head wraps to preserve a style or to simply hide a bad hair day. It is still a challenge understanding my hair. Every day is a new adventure in the land of my naps. Yet, I am an eager learner and I accept the opportunity for knowledge.

Anyway, I cannot believe how diverse I have become with my hair over the years; especially the past two years. However, the coils sitting on my head is a reflection of who I am becoming. As I inch closer to 30, the 20-year old Tiffy would not recognize who she’s become today. But I know she would be proud.

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Marvel Magic: Black Panther

***Spoilers Ahead***

Many of the various cultures making up much of this planet were excited to see Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther which came out this past Friday, February 16. Hype for months went down for the premier of the Wakandan super hero in this epic installation of Marvel. Many are gassed for the awesomeness this movie brings. Well I know am. Fans either dressed up or dressed down for the royal magic emanated from this film. I was actually one of them.

 

 

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Hey, I couldn’t help it. Normally, I don’t like to dress up too much, but this was an opportunity I could not miss. When my friends and I went to see Black Panther, it was more than just a movie for us. It is a symbol of progression for our people. It is a united front for Black Americans and people from the continent of Africa. It is a presence of excellence that we rarely see on film. (Literally, the last time was Coming to America) It is a positive image of our people. It is a Black super hero who is the main protagonist. (Blade was dope too though)

This was also one of the few times people actually dressed up to go see a film. I mean really dress up. It reminds me of the early days of film when people used to get dressed up to see the latest movie; decked out in fancy hats and gowns. In the beginning of the 20th Century, when film was still in black and white and was silent, movie goers would put on their best threads in excitement for the latest installation of cinema. Even during the later part of the century, people would get down with their groovy selves and look fly for film. However, it has died down a bit for being a spectacle to dress up other than for just cosplayers or comic book nerds. (Love y’all. =)) It is exhilarating to see fans dress up in traditional African garment or their own eclectic twist adorned in their own personal flair. Donning the various styles from the African continent, this was also an opportunity for Black Americans to make a connection with their African roots.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that there are numerous directions I could go with how dope this film was. However, I will focus on what stuck out the most for me. Right above was literally what Black Panther brought to the table for scores of individuals before even seeing it. Now to focus on the actual film.

Tribal Wear:

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The first thing that stood out for me was the diversity of their attire. It wonderfully captured the essence of what is worn in the nations across the continent. There were 11 tribes seen in the Marvel film including the Surma and Mursi tribes in Ethiopia where you see the body modification lip plates, the Zulu headdress of South Africa worn by Queen Ramonda (Angela Basset), the futuristic garments of the Massai people of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania worn by the Dora Milaje army and more. You can see all of the dress worn in the film yourself here.

The Tech:

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Can I say out of this world? That is the best way to describe the technology of Wakanda. It was extraordinary that they were a nation shrouded under mystic waterfalls to bestow a nation embellished with such advanced tech. Vibranium is a powerful metal that absorbs sound waves, other vibrations and kinetic energy. It was deposited to the planet thousands of years ago and is now a special source which generates the city of Wakanda. It was incredible to see how high tech the nation is.

The Characters (Especially the empowering women):

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Everyone seemed to have their own story line other than just the prestigious T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). However, they all had their own incredible tales of independence, passion and loyalty to their cause. We learned about his love interest who was more than just that. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’O) was a spy who wanted to do more for her people and help others in need. She was very independent and was loyal to her cause as well as her nation. Shuri (Letitia Wright) was my favorite. She was responsible for much of the advancements made in Wakanda – as a teenage princess. Sister to T’Challa, she kept him in check and was an incredible asset to the country. I also loved how witty she was. (I can’t wait to see her interact with Tony Stark) Okoye was a traditionalist loyal to her nation. She was a dynamic fighter who fought to protect King T-Challa alongside the ferocious women of the Dora Milaje army (They are also a homage to the eminent Dahomey Warriors of Benin). Even Killmonger (Michael B Jordan) as evil as he was, had a very relatable back story. Many can understand his rage and can have respect for what he aimed to do to a world so drastically colonized including his own.

We Got You: 

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It was beautiful to see how T’Challa trusted the women in his life to have his back. He had his brilliant sister, his courageous love and the strapping femme warriors of Wakanda on his side. They were with him in battle and were a voice of reason when not. It was MARVELous to watch on film. (See what I did there. He he.) It is a bondage that we must entrust within ourselves. We can be there for each other. We are one in this journey of life; let us unite and avoid being divided. It was also incredible to see the unity between Black American and African culture. Our heroes got to see the struggles of the broken communities in urban settings through the unfortunate bridge that was Killmonger in how his story came to be. Like his ancestors, he was stripped from his culture and banished to a foreign land where he was no longer connected to his past. However, T’Challa became a beacon of hope not only for Wakanda but for the inner city community where Killmonger was raised and witnessed much destruction of those he loved. This story line was a fantastic example of how we all should come together in learning, understanding and taking action in becoming a united front against the oppressive forces that attempt to take us down.

Overall, this movie was beyond dope. It was a collection of powerful messages that we all needed to see. As a Marvel fan, this was my favorite film thus far. And not just because my heroes were black, but also because of the overall progression of excellence in the myriad of themes exuding hope, pride, thought, history, culture, loyalty and so much more. While I sat there in my African inspired threads, it felt real for me in what was taking place for us all. If you have not seen it yet, if there is any pessimistic doubt or barriers eating at your spirit, do not let if keep you from the brilliance that is Black Panther. If I or others sound too hyped up, challenge our position and see it for yourself.

 

The Shy Butterfly

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This was me possibly in fifth grade or middle school; the Fear Street loving, braces having me. Here, I’m happy to be taking a picture, but I’m not used to smiling. You wouldn’t know what my teeth looked like because I rarely smiled. It was a rare commodity for me. My mouth was shut tight like a hyper security center protecting something sacred. My words were private or at least they were stored and kept away from the world in my mind. Letting people know who I was was something I could not dare do. I spoke when spoken too and liked to sink into the vessels of my soul. My thoughts and my feelings were a secret I could not let just anyone see. Only those people who could deal with my silence and be willing to walk past my force field of protection could maybe get a little sense of who Tiffany was.

Today in 2018, this Tiffany still exists but far more open than once before. The castle of Tiffy is open for all (For the most part). My smile is a regular gift I provide to those around me especially those who care. My thoughts are welcome to those willing to hear them. My feelings are still a bit locked up tight, but I definitely open up the safe for those worthy of hearing them. In 2018, I have evolved far more than this Tiffy that you see above. I used to be so quiet that my voice would get scratchy when I finally did open my mouth. Now I’m a chatterbox to some friends (Well when I have some drinks to loosen up the ole vocal chamber) I love meeting new people and showing them a puzzle piece of who I am. Of course, it would take years to solve the puzzle of Tiffy, but I believe the same goes for every human.

I am more of social butterfly, but I definitely still have my introverted ways. Sometimes, I want to be alone and unbothered by the world. Friends or family call and all I want to do is delve deeper into my space of solitude. I’m out in the streets or nature and at times I just want to be alone, collect my thoughts and experience my surroundings in my own skin without the companionship of another. When I write, create, listen to music or read, my alone time is definitely of utmost importance to me. Then there are situations when I am around others that I either get awkward or I recoil in my shell; especially when I am around others who are super outgoing or extroverted. This invisible form of protection has blocked me from social encounters my whole life. I am not willing to just throw it to the side.

My wings, you will see them soaring at times. At other moments, you will see them hiding under the enclosure of a leaf. But I have definitely blossomed from the cocoon that was once my home. I am free. I am Tiffy. Take me as I am; Nothing more, nothing less. And for other social introverts out there like myself, you are awesome when you show your wings but also when you don’t.

Super Fly: Black Comic Book Festival 2018

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Tony Medina, author of “I Am Alfonso Jones” and myself.

This past Saturday, I was in Harlem and just happened to pass by the Schomburg Center. There was a line with people waiting in this crazy cold weather. Curious, I asked someone what was going on. I found out that there was a Black Comic Book Festival going on that day. I knew about it, but thought I missed it. This was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

After waiting in the annoying freeze, I encountered the library for research and black culture filled with comic book enthusiasts. Different tables showcased the melanin authors work on the main floor, upstairs and in the basement. It was dope. I geeked out and bought like four. I honestly wished I bought more. There were various books filled with pages of crime fighting child engineers, a super mom trying to win back her child from her own company, an infested South Bronx world overrun by zombies, and more. One author even created an encyclopedia of Black Comic books. Someone was even selling the entire collection of Black Panther. (They had a bunch of dope content on Black Panther the day before) However, the book that most intrigued me was a graphic novel about a child who was murdered due to police brutality. It follows the child in the afterlife as he meets others on a ghost train to guide him through in the spiritual realm. I had to get it.

As a writer still navigating my way through this creative space, it was a real treat to meet accomplished melanin folk doing their thing. I loved how they brought their dynamic energy to the editorial space and gave it life for others to enjoy. I wish them all the best and hope to get more of this experience next year.

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Happy New Hair!!!

Happy New Year!!! How you doing? Lol. Today, I wanted to mark down the transitions my hair has gone through in the past year. I have made drastic changes with it from 2016 to now. Check out how my hair used to look back in early 2016 :

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How my hair looks now:

 

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I went through the transitioning stage (that was a challenge), cutting off the rest of my permed ends, working out an Afro, trying out a brownish red tapered look and now currently rocking out a fiery mo-hawk. During my permed days, I would just depend on the hairstylist to make my hair magic. Now I make my hair magic. Or at least try to. =).

It was not easy understanding my hair. I am still learning so much about it and am still making mistakes in this journey. But I am overall happy about it. In the past two years, I tried different products, went to CurlFest, looked at different YouTube tutorials on various topics like dry hair, my hair type and unique hair styles. Last November, I even went to an awesome class by Ancestral Strands where I learned more in depth about the biology of hair and the best oils to use to treat your scalp and hair qualms. (Now my hair consistently smells like lemongrass. Lol.)

Through this self-discovery of my hair, I have evolved. My tresses have grown with me; flowing and screaming for attention at times when touched. I am here for you; my strands, you are a part of me and you carry on as I develop. Here on the Heartbeat Life I decided to showcase the transitions my hair has made. I am excited to see how it flows in 2018.

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January 2017

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March 2017

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May 2017

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July 2017

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September 2017

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November 2017

Living Up to Your Truth

 

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Nola Darling (Tracey Camilla Johns) Credit: IMDB

So Spike Lee has always been an iconic film maker in the wacky world of film. He is a mogul to look up to not only in the African American community, but as an overall creator of art. Growing up, especially if you come from Brooklyn, you had to catch a Spike Lee joint. I tried to keep up with as many as I can. When his movies was popping, I was a little Tiffy crawling and running around on the carpet of our Brownsville/East Flatbush apartment. I can never forget the favs: Do the Right Thing, He Got Game, Crooklyn and School Daze. Upon hearing about the remake of his 80s hit “She’s Gotta Have It,” I decided to check out the original. Home girl was living it up. Ms. Nola Darling had three attractive men pawning after her. The black and white flick was bold in introducing a type of romance you rarely see highlighted. This woman was owning who she was and not allowing anyone to control her desires. She saw the good in all three men she was dating; Jamie was the poet who kept her feeling secure, Mars had her rolling in laughter while Greer was all about the sensual experience. She had the best of all worlds; she enjoyed the makeup of what they had to give cause she had to have it all. My point in this little write up is that Nola Darling was a woman unafraid to live how she wanted. She refused to bend over to society’s standards; she refused to bow down to the roles placed on women. Nola was honest in what she wanted. She often times mentioned that these men could leave if they could not rock with her ways.

I admire and respect her for her strong stance. She is a mountain of unwavering beauty which seeks to be honored for how she sees herself in the world. She hated to be called a freak. She hated to be boxed in by men or by society. She needed to define herself to her own choosing. I resonate so much with that. In truth, I did not like that she was dating three men at the same time when they all seemed to want her for themselves. However, I loved that she was so strong about what she wanted.

Our culture says that women must only be with one man while men are praised for being with countless females. We allow men to define us based on what has been passed down by our parents and their parents and so on. We become defined by what we see in the media. We get dressed up in labels to honor without much choice. Otherwise we get the side eye or attitude from anyone within distance. We are defined on whether we are married. Our womanhood is tested on whether we have kids or not. We are judged on if we can make great homemakers. Growing up, I learned it is standard for a woman to know how to cook, clean, and raise kids. Oh and she got to have a bangin’ body too. All of which revolved on whether a man wanted us or not. This is what I was used to, but it is exhausting. (While writing this, an image of Barbie popped into my head. *shudder.*) In the midst of this tornado of labels, where do I come into the picture? Can a brother like me for me and not just whether I can throw down in the kitchen? I have always been about something deeper; Connection for me is key. Intimacy is key. Intellectual stimulation is key. Spiritual growth is key. Communication is key. Anyway, Nola breaks through the barriers of what society tells her to do. “F*** you societal labels. I’m doing me.” (My own words of what she is doing.) In a sense, Nola is living in her truth and not the one someone created for her. This, for me, is perfection.

It is important for us all to live in our own truth. The compelling authenticity of Nola is her stance in not allowing anyone to define her. The remake of this incredible tale does a great job in doing this as well. (I binge watched the series on Netflix. It is pretty dope. I like the characters more actually and love how they highlighted today’s issues. Nola is also such a dynamic artist. She makes me want to pick up a brush.) I think we should all not allow society or other people to define us. Live up to who you are in the best way you know how. Let your true self shine.  Don’t ever let anyone overshadow the essence of who you are. I know I won’t. Thank you, Nola for being you.

Falling Into Peace

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I am currently working on a paper for a class, but decided to take a mini break to release my creative energy. This energy was balled up all day and deserves to be let out. Almost two weeks ago, I decided to randomly drive out to Long Island to check out the Fall Foliage. My favorite part about this time of the year is experiencing the beauty of the various hues which pop out from the trees here in New York. I remember when I had this one job with Bricks 4 Kids in Scarsdale. It was far from where I lived, but the best part about it was working with the little munchkins and the drive up. Riding past the city bustle of Queens and the Bronx led to a serene, immense strip of road that made up the Hutchinson Parkway. Less cars, more lanes and a scenery of collective trees huddled together adorning the path ahead was the experience of upper New York. It was difficult not to stop and just bask in the beauty. So this year, I figured why not take the opportunity to bask in one of nature’s wonders more closer to home.

I was in Queens and looked up the best places to view the Fall Foliage closest to me. I decided on Sands Point where it took me about 30 mins to get to. When I arrived, there was literally a castle awaiting me. It had this pull and spoke in silent whispers among the surrounding trees. The warm Friday weather was equally inviting in providing me the ease to exploring. Of course when I started my venture, I got a bit lost. Lol. But the best moments at times arrive in not knowing the destination. While lost, I stumbled into a gorgeous wedding that was nestled on a look out point above the Long Island sound. I embarked in the woods and was greeted with friendly spirits passing by, a collage of yellows and oranges, and a variation of picturesque settings; it was just what I needed. My favorite moment was sitting on a bench on a foot bridge encompassed by the lovely arcs and bends of nature. No city sounds, just the Earth; it’s exactly what I wanted and what my soul was asking for.

As I make November the beginning in my commitment to self-love and self-care, my trip to Sands Point was the first in my journey. I can’t wait to shower myself with love through more spontaneous trips, self research and action to better health, meditation, positive vibes and just an overflow of love and light from anything I put my energy into.

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