Money Clueless

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Image by: Morgan Daniels

Picture this, it’s a warm Sunday afternoon. I and a few of my millienal friends are enjoying a bottomless instagrammable brunch. The drinks are flowing and the bacon is crisp. It’s like the apartment scene of The Great Gatsby.

Suddenly, the bill arrives. I look around the table to see my peers contemplating that dreaded question

“Should I move my some of savings to my checkings?”

I furiously refresh my LGE credit union app, while the deja vu of opening and closing my refrigerator door in hopes that food would magically appear dances in my head. In the end, brunch won and I drove home full and slightly defeated, arguing with myself about whether I really needed cheese on those eggs.

Growing up my father had one simple rule, a mantra rather; Cash is king. A simple and annoying reminder to spend less and save more. Anytime we would pick up a pair shoes or purse that was a “luxury” he would wipe away any shopping high with those three simple words that would make the simplest purchase seem like a shopping spree at Saks. He became so relentless that my mother and I would often hide our shopping until he fell into a deep Sunday nap. Then, quickly and quietly smuggle them into the house.

To be honest I wasn’t broke; I mean at least not as broke as I have been in college.

My humble bi-monthly freshman year allowance never seemed to come and go fast enough. Between late night food truck runs and constant Sassy’s dress shopping, I always managed to have approximately $.25 in my account every 13th and 28th of the month. I now appreciate my father for being so strict at the time. It made me creatively broke. I miss the days when my friends and I would take a collection of $20, cook an entire meal, get a huge bottle of cheap wine, and enjoy each other’s company and Netflix accounts.

These days, adulting makes it a lot harder to get the girls together so the experiences happen less and cost a little more.

Here are a few of the tips to making your money work for you.

4 Tips to Making it as a Broke Millennial

There’s rice at home.

I remember the cool thing in elementary school was buying lunch from the cafeteria. I never wanted to be “that girl” who pulled out rice and stew for lunch. However, I have no in shame in bringing in homemade jollof rice and chicken wings four times a week for lunch. The only person who can judge me is my bank account.

It’s just you and your vices tonight.

Bars are fun but tabs are not. In an effort to have a YOLO night, a simple drink with the squad can turn into a frantic call the bank for “unrecognized charges”. There is no shame in staying in and inviting your people to wine down or liquor up.

Cash is King.

No matter how much budgeting is done, life happens. It’s doesn’t take much for a tire to bust or a must see artist to drop tour dates to ruin even the most planned out budget. Keeping an extra $40-$100 stashed away from yourself and your account can come in handy for life’s inconsiderate moments. Apps like Digit help to make saving money digitally and virtually painless.

Be Honest.

As much as we would love to be at every function, sometimes you just don’t got it and there should be no shame in saying that. Try to keep an honest dialogue about spending with your people. Real friends will understand.

Faux Reality

Photography by: Tatyanna Chamere

I looked up from my phone completely unaware of what I’ve been going on for the past two minutes only to catch the last bit of a conversation from two very chic women.

“I mean her life looks interesting but we all know that can’t be true she’s probably just super unhappy and super miserable. I mean look at her? Nobody can look that amazing and be that happy all the — wait, she’s coming up. She said she’s here.”

The two quickly adjusted their faces just before an equally elegant woman, LV’d down to the socks sauntered up and embraced them with an excited giggle and a big smile. They mirrored her with the same enthusiasm before they both linked arms and walked up to the café like a scene from the Sex And The City movie

In my mind, I immediately began to criticize. How could these women have been so terrible? And then just smile in her face like they had not just come for her entire life? Firmly perched on my pedestal, I turned my attention back to my phone and started scrolling casually through Instagram. Before I knew it, I had fallen off my holy than thou art throne into my own shallow pool of hypocrisy.

“Wow, must be nice to be rich when daddy is footing the bill.”

“Her Loubs aren’t even all that. I know them sh*ts hurt.”

“He ain’t even that cute to be shirtless like that all the time.”

All while double tapping to show my social sign of approval and acceptance

From my days in college, the idea of being fake friendly was not foreign to me. My alma mater is known for people showering each other with praises and graces, only to turn around and slander each others names. To say that I didn’t participate would be a lie. It was extremely easy to get caught up in the mess. I would often sit in a corner with some friends, drink some wine in “kiki” about people on social media before turning around to collaborate with them on group projects about the dangers of sexual miseducation. **nervously clears throat**

My slight wake up call happened during a particularly difficult time in my life. Brooding over a bad break up and on going school stress, I posted a picture with a cryptic caption about being happy when things weren’t going well. The picture had been taken weeks prior, when I was happier and much more “in love”. I saw my notifications ring with words of affirmations and love. With an uplifted mood but head still down, I entered my apartment elevator and moved to the back. I barely lifted my head to see two girls enter the elevator, glued to their phones as well. I could hear their cackles through my Afrobeats blasting through my earphones and decided to be nosy.

“Sis, look at her brows. They look like enemies.”

“Flat chested ass. She thinks she cute because she cut her hair. Who cares?”

The picture was mine and the two girls were people I thought to be friendly acquaintances . It hurt and broke my already fragile state into pieces.

I’m much more aware these days of how critical people can be of what they see on social media. The likes and comments, though I like to think come from a place of genuine love and respect, can also just be nothing more than a socially normative routine done to hide indifference, envy, or simple distaste. The problem with this fake reality is that getting caught up in the mess of it has become normalized. What we don’t quantify is the toll it can take on people. Sometimes it’s better to go ahead and unfollow, unlike, and log off.

Street Style: Black Friday

 

If I had to describe my daily style in one word, it would be black. For the aesthetic of the blog, I’ve tried to show off more colorful pieces in my wardrobe. As much as I adore those looks, nothing makes me feel more comfortable or confident than wearing all black. I’ve always wanted to be the physical embodiment of the color black.

Black is classic. It is not loud. It doesn’t scream or demand attention like other colors such as red or white. It quietly and calmly asserts itself, knowing exactly its place and power. It’s sharp and clean. It goes with everything. It’s timeless. And honestly, who doesn’t look great in it?

Dress: TJ Maxx |Jacket: H&M | Bracelets: From Ghana| Bag: Myth House| Boots: Dolce Vita |Rings : Pandora and H&M
Photo by: Morgan Daniels

Adopting Atlanta

Creating a life in Atlanta was never in my plans. To be honest, I had no interest in staying in Georgia past the age of 18. It always too homely and I longed for the sophisticated and fast paced life of a New Yorker. It seemed like nothing was here for me. So it surprised everyone, including myself, when I choose to stay in Georgia and attend Spelman College, located in the historic neighborhood of West End. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I let the outward appearance of West End deter me from venturing out of the gates of Spelman the first two years. Other than a handful of excursions to Lenox Mall and Little Five Points, I stayed close to the comforts of my hall. Even when my car rejoined me in the city, my friends and I were far more concerned with taking trips to other colleges and cities that we ended up neglecting our adopted hood. Now that the possibility of leaving Atlanta becomes more of a reality every second, I realizing how little I know of Atlanta.
So the question is, what do I rediscover first?

Conceited

As a child, when I’d come home to my mom complaining about being teased about my body, she’d tell me I was “big boned. And it made more sense because I was eight and  literally bigger than everyone else. I was the weird African girl who brought rice and stew for lunch, but I was also the big African girl who brought rice and stew for lunch. As I transitioned through elementary, middle, and then on to high school, my size and height became far less interesting. It was my over-developing teenage hips and ass that caught stares. 

As confident as I am with my current body size, it’s simply rooted in the fact that I’ve maintained it since I was fourteen. I’m grateful that I fill out the clothes when I wear them now, but at fourteen I wanted nothing more than blend in. I didn’t look like all the Lilly Pulitzer’s wearing lacrosse playing Mattie’s and Skylar’s of my high school. Sure, you could put both of us in the same gym uniform of Sophie’s and school t-shirt but we unquestionably weren’t going to get the same reaction from the administration.

SN: I like to think I’m responsible for the ban of soffee shorts of 2011 at Northview High. I take pride in knowing that my ass lead to the substitute for longer and uglier basketball shorts.

In those moments, often brief and uneasy, my shape brought about disgust from guys my age and disturbing admiration from older men that no one should endure. All the new attention to my body made me more self conscious and it manifested many insecurities I had no business having at 15. I took the stares and inappropriate comments of others as facts rather than short sighted opinions. I held on to them and made them my own.

Oh, maybe I do need lose a bit of weight…

Should I really wear that dress? Nah, my legs are too pudgy for it.

Of course, I passed each insecurity as a stage. My alternative emo look turned into a clever t-shirt phase which turned into faux feminist “no shorts” phase. I’d be lying if I said I can now completely ignore people’s lingering stares. My mind immediately goes to times I was ridiculed by my classmates or gawked at by super creepy adults. But people will either love you for loving yourself or hate you for doing so. It’s impossible to constantly feed into the newest fads for ‘bigger this’ and ‘smaller that’. Beauty and body standards of society are fickle. Those that I followed always left me feeling bad or feeling hungry but never better about me. I was the only one who could look at me and love or change what I see. Okay, I got a little fat. But who told you I don’t like it like that?

The Road to Girlfriends

I have always been surrounded by the guys. As mini Maame, I quickly became the trailer to my cousins. They found me annoying but I got to tag along one way or the other. I spent most of my afternoons playing wall ball on my street and trading my older brother’s “vintage toys” for whatever I found useful that day. Most of the girls that lived nearby were just out of my age limit, either too young or too old. I knew I had my mom for girly conversation but every time I saw a moving truck on my street, I always prayed they had a girl just my age.

After a while, I got older and started to venture into activities that were meant to breed sisterhood like the Girl Scouts. It was an experience I detested at the time but it first sparked my desire for an organic group of girlfriends. Feeling let down by my troop to have the true American sense of sisterhood, I opted out of Girl Scouts and took the streets to find my own clique. I tried a few times in middle school and high school but saw how jealousy could quickly turn best friends into each other’s victims. I made mental decisions to leave the gabbing and clothes sharing to Joan and gals. The crazy part was that every part of my being still longed to have the right group of girlfriends. I had seen my mother build a group that laughed and cried together, as if they had been born to be in each other’s lives. With no biological sisters and uninterested extended family, I initially struggled to find women who felt like home to me. Many times insecurities and inability to communicate cost me the chance to build and grow with certain women. I thought I had been cursed  by the Girl Scout gods to roam the rest of my life without my Miranda, Charlotte, and Sam. It wasn’t until I was completely myself that I was blessed with some of the most beautiful relationships of my life. Women change your life. And the women in my life do nothing short of that.

I could write for days about the impact that each one has had, starting with my mother but my words could fully never express any of it. The women in my life are the smartest, most stunning, witty, ambitious, rude, petty, and selfless people I know. Dressed in grace, humor, and wisdom, I’ve gained the honor watching their brilliance while being in their corner. As overly emotionally as it comes off, it’s completely necessary and overdue. It takes very special people to pour into others without searching for anything but friendship in return. It sounds simple but it’s something a lot of people, including myself, forget to do. But when someone or something betters a life, the right thing to do is to pay homage.