AshFinchKC@gmail.com'

Quinzel

To The Girl Wearing a Crop Top With Stretch Marks: THANK YOU

I am ugly. I am horrid. I am terrible. My reflection says to me.

If I thought I was insecure, I promise you it got way worse after I had a C-section.

Granted, a lot of it was probably the postpartum depression encouraging me to hate myself, but I looked at my large scar, the tiger stripes that now went across my body, and I cried.

I mourned for all the things I wanted to wear, all the ways I wanted people to look at me.

I am ugly. I am horrid. I am terrible my reflection says to me.

I live in an area where there is no spring, just a long, horrible winter, and an even longer, hotter summer. So my envy of girls in short shorts and tank tops goes way beyond fashion, I just wish My body was beautiful enough for me to not have to cover every inch of it all summer.

Enter, the woman, we'll call her Fran*

I never met Fran before. We were all strangers at this college graduation barbeque but all bonded instantly over our love of all things geeky. In between the Star Wars arguments and Deadpool one-liners, I found myself staring in awe of Fran quite a bit.

She was beautiful and tall. She had that glowing brown skin that was all one smooth color. Her afro bounced as she laughed when someone complimented her top. It was a burgundy crop top that said "Thick Thighs. Thin Patience." She looked so amazing in her shorts and crop top that I started to think "I wish I didn't have stretch marks on my belly so I could wear that."

Hold up, Quinzel, she has stretch marks.

I was so caught up in the comparison game, of replaying the record known as Quinzel's Low Self Esteem, that I didn't even notice that Fran was someone just like me.

And I didn't think she was ugly

I didn't think she was horrid

And I certainly didn't think she was terrible

Fran was kind, funny, and beautiful, stretch marks and all.

So what the hell was wrong with me? Why was I so judgemental with myself and so quick to see the beauty in someone else?

So this is my love letter to Fran, who made me wake up and say Fuck It, I am not ugly, I am not horrid, I am not terrible.

And I am buying that fucking crop top and rocking it.

*I made this name up, I'm not even sure I know anyone irl named Fran

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Did Someone Say GAMES????

Ahh, here we are talking about gaming again. I swear, WakandaCon is right up my alley.

And if you are going to WakandaCon tomorrow, you better bring your snacks and energy drinks, cause you about to game ALL WEEKEND!!

That's right, WakandaCon is hosting a gaming tournament all weekend. The WakandaCon site says:

We're excited to partner with I Play Games! to bring head-to-head video gaming to Wakandacon! I Play Games! was founded in 2009 by experienced video game promoter and tournament organizer Kevin Fair. Playing video games at home with friends and family was a favorite hobby for Kevin, and so bringing the joy of video game entertainment to greater video game community was a natural fit.

WHO'S GOING TO THIS??? And if you're not, pretend you're going for a second. Comment below and tell me your console and what game YOU think you can kick my ass in, if we were in this tournament together ūüôā

 

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: The Shuri Project

I don't care what you think. Shuri IS an official Disney princess. And after Tiana, she is now my favorite Disney Princess.

(For those of you who don't get the connection: Disney owns Marvel >>Black Panther is a Marvel Film>> which is owned by Disney>>Shuri is a princess>> And therefore, she's a Disney princess. Square up).

Black Panther not only put a female character who was smart, funny, and royal, she was also a Pretty Big Deal Kinda Scientist. Homegirl was creating technology that we could only dream of. The best part? She did it all without playing up the whole "nerd girl" stereotype.

Little girls all over the globe watched Shuri in awe and wanted to be just like her. Some probably even abandoned their Barbie Jeeps and Townhouses for lab coats and beakers. While at times I forget that Shuri is a fictional character, that didn't lessen the impact that she has made on millions of women and girls everywhere.

WakandaCon has a panel for just that. The Shuri Project by Henry Williams Love foundation is a summer program for girls who want to be just like Shuri. It's six weeks long for ages 8 to 12. In this mentoring program, they teach tech skills while also giving the girls a big self-esteem boost.

They gonna do a live demo of a website they've built. These babies are our future. You gotta support them.

I actually can't wait to hear more about The Shuri Project and how their website demo goes. What do you think of Princess Shuri and the impact she has on young girls today? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Games as Social Justice

I don't think I ever stopped hearing the barrage of comments "oh, do you play games? aren't you a little too old for that? isn't that a waste of time" blah blah blah

Normal people have a lot of opinions, hahaha.

Not that I ever paused my game long enough to take them seriously. But of course, when that damn swatting incident happened, gamers everywhere got a bad rap. But as all Geeky Girls know, gaming can be used for good.

WakandaCon is having a panel called Games as Social Justice. This panel will take place Friday, August 3rd at 6 pm. Hosted by Kenyatta Forbes, this panel will prove that gamers are more than how we are depicted in the media. The panel description is as follows:

This panel brings together experts in the social justice and gaming to discuss the impact gaming has on raising awareness, changing behavior, or other inequalities. How might gaming be a tool for social, political, and cultural change? Join the conversation with these panelists as they share their work and take questions from the audience.

My prediction is that they will discuss different kinds of gaming that can work as social justice tools. Maybe streaming on Twitch will work better with PC gamers and a different outlet would work for tabletop gamers. If you're headed to this panel, comment and tell us what you think. And if you're not, comment anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how social justice and gaming can work together as one.

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Queerkanda Celebrates Black LGBT Community

I look straight on the outside, but my true sexuality can be described as "IDK????" and you know what? That's perfectly fine with me.

Because of this, I understand the importance of queer spaces not just in general, but even more so in the Black community. There's something so refreshing to be around folks who understand your struggles, your life experiences, and who are open and accepting of your sexual identity.

That's why I really commend WakandaCon for having the panel Queerkanda. Hosted by Eris Eady, the panel is described as, "A conversation about the impact of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression on blackness both stateside and abroad." This panel is going to have a huge impact on those attending. Not only through showing them support, but giving them the tools to make the LGBTQIA+ community even stronger.

 

I am so excited to see what discussions will take place at this panel. What would YOU want to talk about at this panel? Leave us a comment below and it may be a great conversation starter!

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Do Your Own Stunts

See, I tend to do all of my own stunts, just usually by accident. Tripping, usually over just air, I end up in a contorted position. Upon survival, I jump up, bend my knees, hands in the air and shout "Superstar!"

While I am not formally trained in stunts, I am a lifetime member of The Clumsy and Unfortunate.

Thanks to this panel at WakandaCon, I don't have to be.

It's right around the corner though! Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th, WakandaCon will take place at the Hilton Downtown in Chicago, IL. And if Wakanda can't be real, this is the next best thing.

Another panel I need to talk to you about is the Jabari Stunt Workshop with Mark Willis. Willis was in Black Panther as a Jabari Warrior and he is M'Baku level fine, uh I mean, performed a lot of the stunts in the film. He's now taking the stunts and fight choreography used in Black Panther and teaching it to y'all, so we can all be bad-asses together!

Black Panther BTS photos CR: Courtesy of Winston Duke

This panel is happening this Friday, August 3rd at 5 pm. So if you're going to WakandaCon, comment here and tell everyone if you're going to this panel.

Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon: T’Challa vs. Killmonger Panel

Wakanda is just around the corner guys! If you are in the Chicago area, WakandaCon is taking place Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th. The convention is taking place at the Hilton Downtown hotel.

One of the panels that you definitely need to attend if you (like me) have been discussing the differences between T'Challa and Killmonger since February is T'Challa Vs. Killmonger: Exploring the Differences between the Diaspora and the African-American Experience.

This panel is hosted by Carla M. Kupe-Arion, Esq and takes place Saturday at 11:00 am. Below is the panel description:

"The dynamics between T'Challa and Killmonger depicted in Black Panther brought to the forefront a phenomenon that usually occurs in private circles or sometimes in academia: Oppression Olympics between African-born or Africans and American-born or "rooted" Black people. The differences in reactions to the movie have reignited a discussion this panel seeks to have.

Exploring the impact of the two different histories and systems that have and are still impacting all Black people will be the panel's starting point in order to highlight differences but also focus on the similarities between narratives and what we can do as we create new ones, a new history."

So who out there is going to WakandaCon? Do you plan on going to this panel? What kinds of question do you have for Carla? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon: This Merch Tho

One thing I'm excited about with WakandaCon is this merch! Granted, we don't know what official con wear will be available unless you attend the convention yourself. However, they have a bunch of neat products that you can buy online wherever you are!

WakandaCon, as a reminder, is happening next month. August 3rd through the 5th, in the windy city of Chicago. While the convention is named after the fictional country in Black Panther, there is a reason why it isn't called Black Panther Con.

WakandaCon is so much more than Black Panther. With exciting STEM panels, amazing guests, and in-depth discussions, this con is about to be the definition of "All Black Everything"**

While there are many things to geek out about at WakandaCon, one of them is the merch that is available online right NOW!

My favorite? This mug right here. I don't even care that it's $16.00. It's worth every penny to have that in my cubicle at work.

There are a few awesome shirts out there as well. But this one is pretty cool. I'd wear it everywhere.

Listen yall, if the merch is this good already, imagine what it's going to be when the con actually hits! What do you guys think of the merch so far? Drop us a comment and let us know.

**and before you ask, yes, you can attend if you are not black. Jeez, guys.

Life Lessons Learned from Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss

Y'all know I'm a bookworm by now. I was excited to add Freeplay to my Goodreads list, but I wasn't expecting to get a life lesson out of it. Seriously, every page I just sat on my couch like "Well, shit...time to make a change."

Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss was finished in less than a day. A quick read that I assumed would go into more scientific evidence about how video games actually make you happy, ended up being one of those long car rides with your dad while he gives you a lecture about life using gaming as a metaphor.

And honestly, that is just what I needed.

Jordan Shapiro, the author, is a dad himself, so that could explain it. Shapiro actually got into gaming as an adult while playing with his children and it brought them closer together.

And much like the good father he is, his book taught me so much about life that I really need to A) quite strongly recommend you read it for yourself but also B) share some of his wisdom here.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book and how they will stick with me:

 

As a perfectionist, I needed to learn that losing wasn't the end of the world. Just like in gaming, you learn more about how to beat your bosses from losing than you do from winning.

How many times in life did I need to restart, try another level, even repeat the same level again? I felt like a failure and that I was giving up. But the thing is, I wasn't taking the whole cartridge out, I was pressing the restart button.

And how many times have I been too afraid to take a risk? To jump into a new relationship when I wasn't sure if I would get hurt again? To quit a toxic job because I didn't have a new one lined up just yet (and before you say anything, I found a new job two days later. This quote is the truth).

I was surprised that this book even spoke to the social justice. With all that's going on in the world lately, it's good to be validated that I'm fighting the good fight.

 

And finally, I'll leave you with this quote. it reiterates on losing, but man is it powerful

 

 

 

Words Mean Things, But (Sincere) Apologies Do Too: My Thoughts on Justin McClure

Here are some things you need to know about me:

  • I am married to a white man
  • We have a biracial child together
  • I don't owe you a goddamn explanation for either

I say this because I often get "why would you date a white guy" and no. No. No, sir. I don't owe you shit.

When I was 12 years old, I told myself I would marry someone who loves Buffy The Vampire Slayer as much as I do. After dating a short while, I found out this dude was literally in the Buffy fan club. Wedding bells rang almost immediately.

Saying that to say, interracial couples are always under scrutiny. It doesn't matter how alike you are or that your SO, who happens to be white, was the only one holding your hand in the hospital, your relationship only exists because somewhere deep down you hate black men so much.

It's exhausting to hear that shit.

So looking at the McClures, it was refreshing. They had such real conversations, such love for each other and their children that you couldn't help but be inspired by it.

So hearing that Daddy McClure said some racist shit in the past was disappointing. It hurt because I looked up to this couple. I enjoyed watching them interact with their children in a healthy manner

But watching his apology affirmed my faith in humanity. Watch the full video here

I am a strict believer in apology form. There will be no fauxpologies on my watch. This is what I did NOT hear in Justin's apology

  • "I'm sorry if..."
  • "I'm sorry but..."
  • "I have three black children so..."

Those statements would have been red flags for me, but the structure of his apology felt sincere because:

  • He owned up to those statements
  • He recognized the impact of those statements
  • He apologized to his wife for hurting and embarrassing¬†her
  • He talked to his children as another way of showing accountability
  • He recognized that this apology may not be enough for some people, without mocking or belittling them.

I think if you still refuse to support these YouTubers after this, that's fair. This post isn't to sway your opinion. This post is to make you aware of apologies when they are sincere. In my honest opinion, nothing about Justin's apology screamed "A PR PERSON WROTE THIS" to me. Instead, after watching him be vulnerable on camera so many times, it not only felt sincere, it felt authentic to who he was.

I usually watch The McClure Twins in order to understand parenting more. But this apology video actually taught me that marriages aren't perfect, and interracial marriages have their own set of daily battles. But with the right two people, they can win those battles each day.

You know who can't apologize for shit? Roseanne.

Tell me your thoughts on Justin McClure and what you feel is a sincere apology. Drop a comment below.