The Balancing Act

I actually had begun writing this about 3 months ago and never got around to finishing it.  It was then part of what I desired for my next relationship.  Now it is what I actually have.

Women are sometimes neurotic.  I am no exception.  When I was younger, at times my emotions blurred reality.  I would go off. I would assume.  I would presume.  While this is not the norm now, I would be lying if I didn’t admit irrationality sometimes creeps into an otherwise sane existence.  That in mind, it takes a very special, patient, and vocal man to handle me.   Did I mention patient??
As I reflect on my past relationships, the men all had one thing in common- they balanced me. Nowadays, I’m a lot calmer and emotionally consistent.  I am still silly.  Very silly.  A fool yet laid back.  So they were as silly or sillier.  Well, that is not a balance for most, but it is a balance for me.  Sometimes, I feel like being the life of the party, and other times I seek refuge in a cave with a good book and strawberry lemonade.  They were cool with going out as much as staying in the house. Whereas my frustrations are usually goal related- where I am versus where I want to be.  They would brainstorm solutions.  I am super forgetful.  They always remember.
If relationships are supposed to be an (better) extension of who you are, I find myself questioning what I bring to the table.  What do I enhance?  What truly separates me from the crowd?  I am a modern traditionalist.  I love to cook.  I can’t stand filthy environments so I am compelled to clean.  Yet, I am educated, opinionated, and vocal.  While I have my own, I am very dependent.  It is a whole team of beautiful people that at one point or another help keep me afloat just when I feel like I am sinking.  I make no claims of being every woman.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I stopped focusing on what I lacked that I was finally afforded the opportunity to build upon what I do have.  No one has it all together.  We all lack pieces of the puzzle. It is with that realization that it dawned on me that I balance him too.

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You Can’t Turn a Jump-Off into a Husband

We have all heard of the phrase, “you can’t turn a hoe into a housewife.” It was once widely accepted as an universal truth.  However, that seems to be less and less the case nowadays.  But there is a much lesser known phrase that still holds true: “You can’t turn your jump-off into your husband.”  Well actually, it was just some insight a friend shared this weekend that I felt needed to be shared with the masses.
Men, most men, have very clear and distinct separation of someone they would marry versus someone in whom they would just have sex.  Hell, they even have standards between who they would be in a relationship with versus who they would marry.  The traits a man wants his wife to possess are typically more defined and enforced than someone who would never be a potential wife.
Women seem to not have that standard.  Oh there is the standard in theory!  Some women go as far as to make detailed lists and vision boards of their dream husband.  Contrarily in actual practice, it is take whatever you can get mentality.  If he only offers sex, you’ll take that.  If it is dating, you take that. And if he wants a relationship then you’ve hit gold and from there you readjust the list of things that are important to you to fit who he really is and willing to offer.  But women, like men, must embrace the you can’t turn your jump-off into your husband philosophy.  Allow that man only the opportunity to serve whatever role in which he is currently qualified. Just like companies don’t hire people that haven’t finished sixth grade to be CEO, you shouldn’t allow a man that doesn’t meet your minimum requirements for a husband take up space, time, and resources that should only be available to someone worth it.  And honestly, if he is worth it, he won’t take away from, he will only add to your overall well being and way of life.
It is the holding on of things less than what we desire that inhibits us from receiving what we really want and what we really need.  It is also the amplifying of the mundane that distract us from the real goal and lowers our standards and expectations.  So if you have a jump-off, let him be just that- ONLY that.  Definitely don’t make him your live-in boyfriend and give him husband access.  Reserve that for the right one.  Keep your standards.

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Forever Young: 10 Years Removed

Welcome to another edition of light Fridays

Well, today marks the beginning of the festivities for my 10 year high school reunion.  (*shout out to the class of 2000*) Though I am sure it will be a great time full of laughs and reflecting, I can’t shake one feeling: DENIAL.  I am in complete and total denial that 10 years have passed and so quickly.  I am no longer in my hometown and consciously made no plans to be there because it is hard to stay in the comfort of my denial if I actually attend.  Well, that and I don’t think much has changed since last I saw everybody.  As matter of fact, Facebook has basically dissolved the “I wonder how such & such is doing?”
When I was 18, I was full of potential, strong-willed, and goofy.  At 28, I am still the same person.  Or maybe I am not.  Maybe I am completely different- more sure, more determined, and more self-aware.  After reflecting, I realize I have no reason to be in denial.  I am in a beautiful point in my life and it needs to be embraced.  Actually I am glad that my high school years are long over because  I thoroughly enjoy the autonomy I have in my life.
Right now are times that I really want to cherish.  The times where we have access to the world we want.  Stupidity has fled and responsibility is welcomed.  Moves are being made and our mark is finally being made on the world.  And 28 is still young, right??

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Becoming Better: The Eternal Student

The older I get the more I am coming to terms that I will forever be a student in the life journey.  There is no point of complete understanding.  Love is no exception.  While, I attempt to define its parameters for my life daily, I am constantly learning something new about love’s characteristics.
From a young age, I always sought to hang around people that where I wanted to be.  My closest friends and family were at least a few years older than me.  I watched closely, I mimicked their behavior, and I analyzed the results of their actions whether good or bad.   By the time I reached their respective ages, I had it down pat.  And while I had my own share of obstacles, I had a blueprint to solve them.
Nowadays, I find myself around married couples, and more specifically, married women.  I have always thoroughly enjoyed the time that I spend with them.  I love to ask questions.   What was your first argument as a married couple?  What are the biggest changes?  What is the most rewarding thing about marriage?  And my favorite, “how did you know he/she was the one?”  They all replied the same, “You just know.”
I never thought I would get to the “just know” phase in my life and as I begin this journey from the familiar and safe to the unknown, I find myself looking within for a blueprint to follow.  Little did I know I would find the blueprint in the unknown.
Communication. Respect. And Understanding.
I am very familiar with them all individually.  But the totality of all is the blueprint to loving truly.  It is a tripod, if you will, so you can’t have two without having the third.  One is completely insufficient.  I have no desire to be insufficient.
It was this information and an earlier conversation with a good friend that kind of brought everything home for me.   She said, “Marriage is not just cooking, cleaning, and wearing playboy bunny suits every night.  That still is not enough.  To be a good wife, you have to be willing to be a student and always willing to learn.” I have always prided myself in knowing it all. *smile*  However, I feel there is a greater reward in having someone in who will nurture me to be the best person possible.  Currently in route to my best.

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One Strike & You’re Out

Life is seldom perfect.  People very rarely meet all of your expectations, unless you have no expectations at all.  Nonetheless, we find a way to overcome challenges and find a way to keep smiling and enjoying life.  We know eventually the tears will stop and better days are ahead.  However, that tenacity to push through life doesn’t always translate into our relationships.  A reader recently reached out to vent about her boyfriend who every time a problem comes up his solution is to leave the relationship.  Sometimes there are valid reasons to leave, but most times men are just scared and lack emotional problem solving skills.
We, as people, have been trained to find the easiest route at all costs.  It is the American way.  It has translated into our education, careers, and our relationships.  And with so many failed marriages, unstable homes, and absent fathers there is no wonder that men often feel the best solution to a problem is to run.
The abundance of women willing to jump in and take a woman’s place doesn’t make it any easier to convince a man to work through an issue. Thus the result of asking for out anytime there is any type of disagreement in an otherwise normal and healthy relationship.   Little is publicized about the benefits of working through problems because very few nowadays get to the other side of their problems together. However, the bond and trust that evolves after facing obstacles, using your words to address them, and tackling the problems together is more than worthwhile and in essence becomes the foundation of a stable “we can work through anything” relationship!

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Recipe for Disaster

…you know, I was thinking more about Fantasia and how this entire situation could have been avoided.  Dude was married, separated, and claimed he was never going back to his wife.  Yet and still, Fantasia still ends up single, distraught, and facing a lawsuit from the wife…
Some men do put on guises and pretend to be all you need.  However, some men wave their caution tags loud and proud, and we women decide to ignore them or feel like you will be immune from heartache. Women are often in the kitchen preparing their own recipe for disaster.  I’ve been there.  Sometimes the signs are blurry and the lines are vague.  I’m here to help out.  Here are the men to avoid.
1) The married ones. The separated ones.  The ones that live with their girl whether they claim they are not together anymore.  The ones you can’t get in touch with after 10pm because they are with their main girl.  Sidelining is only cute for but so long.  You can’t be a sideline and want the main’s attention and respect.  You don’t want to be a sideline, then don’t participate in sideline activities.  Simple.
2) The ones that don’t care of their kids. There are some dudes (and women) that will tell you they have kids but they ALWAYS have time for you. You see the dude all the time but he doesn’t EVER have his kids- EVER??  I completely understand not wanting to introduce the kids to randoms but if you have been with a guy for months on end and he has never had the kid then that, my dear, is a red flag.  If he doesn’t take care of his responsibilities how is he going to commit to someone else?
3) The ones that can’t hold a job. It doesn’t matter as much what he does as much as how well he does it.  If he has a track record of getting fired or quitting a job every 2 months, he probably can’t commit to you either.  If he always runs away when he a challenge comes up at work he will do the same to you.
4) The ones that nothing is EVER their fault. We all know people that bad things continuously seem to happen to them but it is NEVER their fault. EVER??  Men that don’t accept responsibility for the things that they can control are weak.  Leave them alone.  And by doing so, you too take control of your actions and stop being the victim in every relationship.

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The Break-Up Survival Kit: The Fantasia Edition

I just read Fantasia’s sad story on People.com.  The singer, who tried and failed to commit suicide, was giving further insight to her situation saying she was tired of being hurt and done wrong over and over again.  Damn.  I mean we can all grasp that constant and repetitive heartache will take its toll on your spirit, but it is all about how you deal with the disappointment and pain. Fantasia in mind, I decided to create a Break Up Survival Kit, a little break-up cocktail if you will, to help you get over any man.  Hopefully that way you won’t feel the need to check out because of any dude that obviously was never worth your time from jump.  So here we go.
1) Ice Cream– It is so cliché but that is because it works.  Food brings comfort.  But it is a short temporary fix that you can’t over indulge in because you have to keep your figure to get the next man.
2) Beyonce- No one injects self-esteem, I don’t need a man-dom , and overall woman’s power more than Beyonce. Also dancing to all the songs is the perfect exercise to increase endorphins that will not only make you look better but feel better too!
3) Any Tyler Perry Movie– Nothing says ‘men ain’t bout nothing’ quite like a Tyler Perry movie. It is just always comforting to know no matter how bad you had it, a woman in a Tyler Perry movie had it 100 times worse. Plus there is always a “coming to Jesus” ending that renews faith that the feeling is only temporary.
4) New Dress- In a long term relationship it is easy to find yourself in a rut and no longer putting forth your best. A new dress, verses your comfortable sweats and tee, always has a way of making you feel fancy again.
5) New Shoes: Again cliché but it is a fact women walk much different in heels vs. flats.  Your head is up high, shoulders are back, a little more pep in that step.  All of which are ingredients to not only ‘faking it until you make it’ but to get the attention of the rebound guy.

Sending this one out to Fantasia!

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Talking to Your Man: Achieving the Desired Results

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Overnight, the news footage of Antoine “Hide Yo Wife, Hide Yo Kids” Dodson went viral.  Everyone’s timeline was full of quotes and links to the video.  One husband went as far to make a picture of Antoine Dodson his profile picture.  I actually laughed when I saw it, but his wife didn’t think it was the most appropriate picture to represent him and in essence represent her and their family, which is completely understandable.  Her public approach to the situation was unlike anything I have ever seen a black woman ever do.
She simply said, “When people check my profile and it’s says married to “Mr. such & such”, your new profile pic is displayed.  Something to think about…”
Her approach was much different than my lifelong approach of “I’ma need for you do x, y, and z.”  I have seen many other women do it before me and it seemed effective enough.  Well, until resentment of being spoken to like a child set in and right before he left… That in mind, I felt it was necessary to create a quick guide for women to translate what they want to how they should say it to achieve the desired results with his manhood in tack.

What You Want to Say

What You Should Say

If you go out one more night to kick it with your boys while I sit home with the kids, it will be a problem
“Oh you are going out with your friends again tonight? No problem, “Kids, your daddy wants to take you out tonight with his friends.’  Babe, I will have the kids stuff together so they will be ready to go with you.”
Damn, I know I asked you take out the trash yesterday
He says,” Hey babe, you seen my keys.” You reply,” Um yeah I did.  I think your house key is at the bottom of the trash can and your car key is in the outside trash bin. I think.”
Stop leaving your dirty dishes all over the place.
“Hey dear, I’ve noticed you are always too tired to take your dishes to the kitchen after you eat, so I looked into hiring a (male) housekeeper and he will be approximately $350 per week. I figured that would be more important than your golf membership.”
If you play one more video game I am throwing that system out of the window.
“I know you really like that game, but I really wanted to spend some times with you this evening.  And afterward we can stop by game store to see if they have anything new you many want.“
Get off that couch and come help me with these groceries.  You wanna eat right?
“Hey hun, I am leaving the grocery store and headed home.  I stocked up and got your favorites.  You mind meeting me outside in a few minutes to bring everything inside the house?

Hey, I am still a novice at this new form of communication.

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The Identity Crisis of Black Men: Big Meech, Larry Hoover

I’m a hip-hop head.  On any given evening after work, I turn on my rap playlist on my ipod and instantly become gangsta. On my commute home, blasting my music, and reciting lyrics- I am murdering cats; I am a dope boy; I’m balling out in my Lambo just living the life.  Then I get home, put my car in park, turn off my ipod, and return to normal.  It is easy for some to compartmentalize rap music as just entertainment.  However, it becomes the demise of a community when it is the most desired lifestyle because it lacks true substance.  It is even sadder when these rap artists are so confused on who they are they feel they need to portray drug lords to have a viable market and street credentials in the black community.  I have called it the “Big Meech, Larry Hoover” Complex.
Though I an not a black man, I have had lifetime court side seats, and I am the loudest cheerleader, supporter, endorser and sponsor for Black Men.  And from that standpoint, collectively, black men are lost and confused -some, most…not all.  They are trying to define themselves though socioeconomic status, religion, sex, and sexuality.  They have no idea what their role is in their family, community and society which is understandable because it is not like there are millions of examples running around.  And while black women are not far behind, I think there are more positive examples of black womanhood than black manhood.
So exactly what is the standard of excellence for black men?  Well, it varies.  There is not one definition of success for it can be achieved and measured a thousand different ways.  The focus should more be on setting a clear standard for failure- the denying of true self, circumstances, values and mores to mimic those images selectively dispersed through media for validation, economic gain, and/or achieve a certain status.  The face of what it means to be black and a man is vast; however there should be a collective agreement that black manhood will no longer hold the connotations of one that neglects his responsibility to his education, his family and children, his community and ultimately his respective betterment.
And while there is nothing wrong to have aspirations to be a hip hop artist, I would like to see more of young black boys say they want to be next Kanye, Common, Lupe, or Mos Def- those that are true to both the art and their own stories.  Then maybe we can raise the next generation to appreciate who they are and thus define the roles they play in their families and communities.  Then they may even to aspire to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and be the catalyst needed to change not only the images of black men portrayed in media but also globally redefine what it means to be a black man.

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Walking the Walk

When I first started this blog, I was writing just for me.  I had no idea that anyone would care to read it.  But as people begin to read it (thank you all so much), I held myself to one standard- that I will always write for me.  For the most part, I have maintained that standard.  The most intimate blogs has served as a love letter to me, from me, to remind me where I no longer wanted to be and more important, where I wanted to go – forward.
In these posts, I have touched on everything that I have learned about my past relationships that have shaped who I am today.  I have also tried to negate the superficial and focus on the things that are really important to me and things I feel like should really be at the foundation of any friendship or relationship.  However, sometimes superficiality lives closer to the surface in our real lives than they do just in theories or ideas.  For instance, the size of the ring, the house, and the cars, or the profession, or education begins to come into play, but I have to remind myself they are not the things that make a relationship a loving one.  However, sometimes we get caught up in the appearance of things and for some that is okay.  But for me, I have never been that person where those superficial things matter.  Nor do I judge or think I am too good for something or someone because I am not by far.  All of which is easy to write or say, it is slightly harder to walk the walk that I written to myself within these posts.  Had I not written these posts, I may have missed it and settled for the superficial to maintain appearances instead of taking these steps in the right direction.

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