Dry Lips and Dirty Hair

Get ready for a super long run-on sentence….

You know when you go to the movies by yourself on a Friday night because there’s this new movie with Meryl Streep (who can do no wrong), and you weren’t able to go Thursday night when there would have been less people because you had to work late, so you see all these high school kids and date night couples standing in line to buy a ticket to the new Kevin Hart movie (isn’t he making the most movies ever in one year?) and you decide to people watch while waiting in line and notice a few girls wearing heels and make-up and wonder if there’s something wrong with her or you?

Do you know what I’m talking about?

It’s like you’re looking at the girls on their dates wearing Apple Bottom jeans and boots with the fur (Lil’ John voice….yeah! …..ok!) They have eyebrows arched and drawn on to perfection and sixteen inch Malaysian hair cascading in perfect spiral curls down their backs. So you’re looking at them and then you look down at your work-week-flats and black slacks. You put your hand in your needs-to-be-washed ‘fro and rub the lip balm into your dry, winter lips. Either something is wrong with those chicks or something is wrong with me because both of us think that we’re perfectly ok coming to the theater looking like that.

You know what I mean now?

But the thing is there’s nothing wrong with that chick, and there’s nothing wrong with me. Also, despite most women’s tendency to do so, there is no need for either one of us to hate on the other. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that I can’t inquire about how long it must have taken this chick to get ready for the night or wonder if she lets her date see her first thing in the morning because certainly she looks nothing like she does tonight…. and then also snicker to myself about it. And I’m sure she wonders how I figured these shoes look good with these slacks


That’s just good entertainment. But I know she is no better than me and I am no better than she. We are equals. With different tastes and a difference presence, both of which are valuable and desired.

I was prompted to write about this because I recently did my first “poetry slam”. Is poetry slam still cool or did I just date myself? I’m not exactly sure what the kids are calling it these days, but I basically read a poem of mine to an audience for the first time. It was at an open mic night where there were several poets with different skill and experience levels. It was a comfortable, positive space where everyone was celebrated for their contributions, and it was a wonderful place to debut my poetic self.

I was nervous though, and I had to keep reminding myself that I am valuable, that my style is my own, and that it’s good enough. I don’t really hoop and holler or get loud or extremely emotional while on stage even though I am passionate and even though the poets who were loud and (faux) angry got the most reaction from the crowd. Of course, a good speaker is just a good speaker and either you are, you aren’t, or you’re working on it. The point is that whatever you are (whatever I am) is good enough. I brought something to that stage that no one else on this earth can bring because I brought the essence of myself. Who else has that? No one. I’m the best in the game at being myself. I don’t have to worry about being good enough because who can be better at being Mariah than me?

Ok folks, do not stop honing your craft talking about, “yeah Mariah said I’m good enough as is because I’m me and no else can do it like I can.” Nope, not what I said. You’re lying. I ‘m saying that your very being is adequate. Your skills, however, can always be improved. You should continue challenging yourself to go higher, be stronger, learn more, outrun, out-read, out-sing, outperform everyone. Being absolutely true to myself while getting better at the finer points . . . well, it’s a goal of mine. Maybe it can be a goal of yours too.


I'm Mariah. Jesus is my homie. I live in (and was raised in) the south. I am, as often as possible, actively grateful for my family because I understand their life giving power. Really dislike melodramatics. Really love reading and writing so much so that I aspire to be an author. What else?

3 comments on “Dry Lips and Dirty Hair

  1. Crystal Martin

    There is nothing greater than embracing the essence of self. I love that Cole. I’m also excited that you did your first poetry slam. Woot Woot!

    Cole Fanatic.
    C.M. Walker

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