Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Don't Assume a Prissy Woman
is a Weak Woman

Woman in department store

A few weeks ago I went to a house/birthday party. On top of the good food, endless drinks and post-tequila Soul Train line,  there was a drag show in the backyard.  One of the acts impersonated Tina Turner and performed "Private Dancer." I called the drag queen LaTina Turner because she was, well, Latina. A few people in the audience stuffed money down her cleavage to tip her. I enjoyed the show and decided tip her. Mind you, I'm prissy so just imagine someone with a little bit of swag like Sandra from "227" or Whitley of  "A Different World" walking up to the stage area. I pranced up to LaTina Turner and delicately slid the dollars down her sequin dress.  As I returned to my front-row seat/beverage cooler, some woman with a camera next me stops snapping pictures, turns to me and snidely says, "Did you have to be dainty about it?" READ MORE

I had no idea who this woman was and why she was up in my business. I didn't respond because she caught me off guard. The show was still going on and I was in the front. I didn't want to cause a disturbance. Everyone was having a good time and she decided to be nasty. But I've ran into prissy-haters like her before. My whole life I've dealt with women who thought because I am prissy at times, that makes me weak. Then when I stand up for myself and check them, they realize they were mistaken. Maybe they think I've put the feminist movement back 50 years. Or maybe they're insecure. I think the answer is B.

I am Proud to be Prissy! I like makeup, fashion, the color pink, lace, satin, dolls,dresses, romantic comedies, Miss Piggy, apple martinis, all things Sex and the City and Disney movies. I think there should be a channel that airs nothing but What Not To Wear and Say Yes to the Dress 24/7. I have no problem asking a man to kill a bug for me and I don't have an athletic bone in my body (see my recent hiking mis adventure). I bat my eyes when I see a cute guy and sometimes walk with a switch. AND, AND, AND I went to charm school. That's right baby! I know which fork to use at the dinner table. The only place where I lose prissy points is in the shoes category. I don't wear high-heels often because I don't have an arched foot. But I make up for it in the handbag department.  That's all a part of MY femininity. I don't look down on a woman who carries herself differently. My friends have teased me about my semi-Whitley ways, but they know that's how I am and accept me. On the feminine scale I've befriended women who ranged from butch lesbian to the keep-it-simple bohemian sista who only wears chapstick,  all the way to Prissy Princess x 10. Their definition of womanhood doesn't make them any less or more of a woman than me. I embrace them just as they embrace me.

Josephine Baker was ultra-feminine, and rebelled against race discrimination in the entertainment world. Dororthy Height dressed to kill in her signature  hat and suit ensembles all while making power moves for black folks' civil rights. Princess Diana was regal and righteous. One day you see a picture of her in a beautiful gown, the next day she's in a hospital holding sick children. I'm not saying these women were necessarily prissy like me. They're all examples of very feminine women who packed power and influence.

There are many ways to spell W-O-M-A-N. As a black woman, I look at my enslaved ancestors who were looked upon as labor and not ladies. That thinking of black women being "sub-woman" still lives today. But like Sojourner Truth said in her famous speech, "Ain't I a woman?" Nearly 160 years later that question is still relevent today. Except I think the question is more pressing in the black community today. But I'll get to that in another post.

To answer Sister Truth's question I say,  "Yes, Yes, Yes I AM A WOMAN." I say YES, I'm a woman when a man holds a door open for me. I say YES I'm a woman when sexism closes the door of opportunity on me and I kick it down. I say YES I'm a woman when I still pursue my goals and dreams after someone tells me "no." I say YES I'm a woman when I spray on perfume and admire myself in a yellow sundress and floppy straw hat. I say YES I'm a woman when I'm out serving the community. I say Yes I'm a woman when I tell them "No."  I say YES I'm a woman when I speak out against sexual abuse of women and children. I say YES I'm a woman after baking a mean sweet potato pie.  I say YES I'm a woman while grocery shopping in my USC sweatshirt. I say YES I'm a woman when I'm turning  heads in a black cocktail dress. By the way, those are the heads of black men, white men, Asian men, Latino men, etc  Honey, I say YES I'm a woman when those who can't handle me try to steal my joy. I say YES and  just keep on going.

Why did that woman at the party felt the need to be rude? I don't know and life is too short for me to try and figure out an answer. All I know is some women spell "woman" I-N-S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y. When you're REALLY true to yourself, you simply spell "woman" with two letters: M-E.

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  1. I think I'm a combination of prissy and weird! It's an interesting mix! I love dolls too!,lip gloss, romance novels, pretty flowers, and hello kitty!

    I don't like the color pink though. An ex of mine used to call me his "little white girl" and said I lived in candy land...I was like WTF?? I was born and Raised in harlem! lol, But I was raised by my grandmother. She was very lady like, and carried herself beautifully :)

  2. @ Nicole--What's with people calling black women "white" because they like nice things or want a certain lifestyle? So if I shop on Rodeo Drive, go to a spa, pursue a top education, or want a man to treat me well that makes me a white girl? Or even delusional as your ex-boyfriend implied with his Candy Land comment? Wow. I guess settling for something of a lesser quality makes me "black." I'm glad Oprah, Michelle Obama, Josephine Baker, Beyonce, Mellody Hobson, Robin Roberts and women like your grandmother don't possess that view.

  3. Yes! he actually said I lived in "Candy Land". I will never forget that as long as I live!I love beauty, I find it in everything; from nature, children, animals, astrology..all of these things bring me happiness, and that's what life is all about. :)

  4. I take it that's one reason why he's an ex? I think it's great that you can see beauty in so many things and you're right that is what life is all about. Sometimes we have to seek joy and life is too short not to be happy.

  5. I'm prissy too cocoafly and I love it. I love it when a man opens the door for me or when he picks something up for me that I've dropped. I love pretendin to be the damsel in distress, oh yes I do. I love being a woman, and I understand why many guys want to be women too because it's fun. Yes, I'm prissy, and it ain't nothing the nonprissy women can do about it.


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