Don’t Test Me

I hate tests.  I am not talking about the ones you take in school either.  I actually like those tests.  You are given a certain amount of information to acquire and then are given a set of questions to ensure that information was acquired.  Very rarely are teachers completely unfair and throw in trick questions, or well at least in my experiences.  I have given plenty of trick answers though.  I’ve digressed.
The tests I am referring to are these semi-standardized tests given by men at large.  Men, seemingly, have a secret coalition that is dedicated to make sure women are filtered through a set of random and impromptu tests.  This test includes such things like:
  • Will she offer to pay?
  • Will she open my side of the door after I open her door?
  • If possible, would she smash my homie?
I think those are the general standardized tests.  It simply separates the ones worth dating from the ones that are not.  But as a man gets more serious about a woman, the tests are more relationship-specific.  It’s crazy.  It is so easy to be caught up in being perfect that you don’t realize that you are simply jumping through one hoop after another.  This is why I provide my disclaimer at the very beginning.  It reads:
I am not perfect nor do I try to be.  My only aim is for authenticity- it requires fewer apologies.
Even then, I have still been tested by men.  I mean, I understand.  I do.  I am not even mad at men for this.  I figure one ho was made wife one time too many and preventive measures had to be established.  Good men had had enough of having the wool pulled over their eyes time and time again.
But relationships cannot be based on a series of tests.  Tests never tell the entire story.  A blank or wrong answer doesn’t reveal that a person may have just lost their grandfather who was the only father figure they had.  Nor do tests expose the sexual assault a lady experienced the week before so her studying was filled with tears.  Or maybe a man had been working two jobs just to pay his way through school so he missed the test because he overslept.  Anything could have happened that could have interfered with a person providing an accurate account of their learning.
Time is the only true test.  Time is the only way to reveal the true measure of character and integrity.  Time tells the story.

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I Like My Men… Ready

Ready and Prepared- or so I thought...

I once said, “I like my men, like my entrée at my favorite restaurant, ready and prepared by time they make it to my table or I am sending it back!” I meant it.  I mean it.  However, at the time, I was referring to the superficial- his style, his career and making him a good fit for me.

It was out of my frustration in “preparing” my previous boyfriend that the statement had derived.  He, like most men his age, was rough around the edges.  He hadn’t quite found his own style yet.  He lacked focus on things important to him.  He was good to me, but me being my helpful self was always suggesting ways for him to improve.  This is clearly why we didn’t last.  However, I did leave a positive imprint on his life, and he did for me as well.  But in months and years after, he begin to evolve into what I thought was the perfect man for me.  The one I “prepared” for me all along.  I was wrong.
As time passed, I said I no longer wanted to go through that draining grooming process.  I wanted my next man “to be ready.”  The statement in itself is not foolish; in fact, it is practical.  It was my definition of “ready” that was erroneous.  It wasn’t until the last six months or so that “ready” begin to take on an entire new connotation for me.  Ready, for me, is now more of a mindset, rather than a destination.  I’ve realize the thing that separates the exceptional from the ordinary is that the exceptional are always in route to the next point.  There is no settling or extended complacency but always willing to be the driving force in their own progression- spiritually, financially, emotionally.  Ready is willing and capable of accepting your significant other’s well being as your own.
I’m so glad I came to that realization months ago because I may have missed this.  I would have been focusing on the insignificant and unwilling to put forth the small effort toward my own readiness.  What I am fortunate to have now is a heart of eternal readiness prepared by life and designed specifically for me.  There is a stark difference in the present in the past.  In what I have learned is that hearts cannot be groomed.

Thanks to everyone that has made this 100th post possible!!

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Things I Can’t Do for the First 10 Dates

At one point in time, I used to be a huge movie buff.  I loved to watch movies.  It wasn’t until recently, when friends begin to ask me if I had seen one movie or another that I realized that I am tragically behind on my movie game.  I think I’ve been to the movies twice this year and maybe twice last year, and actually I have probably been the movies less than 10 times in the last 3 or so years.  I told you- tragic.  After I thought about it, I realized that the reason I haven’t been to the movies that often is because that is a relationship outing and not a dating outing- at least for me.
When you are in a relationship, you can go to the movies whenever because you have spent and are spending time outside of the movies to really get know each other.  However, when you are dating, the movies don’t provide an atmosphere to get to know someone better.  You can’t talk to each other, you can’t see each other, and you can’t build experiences with one another.  It is a terrible and lazy date idea.  So for me, I say no movies for the first 10 dates.  Here are a few other things I refuse to do in the first 10 dates:
1)        Double Date. People are generally still trying to prove something in the first few months of dating and when that is coupled with another couple, it can easily turn into an unnecessary competition to out-“love” the other couple.   Men try to outdo men and women try to receive the most validation.  Or the other couple can be super argumentative and make the other couple feel completely uncomfortable.  Either way, I want no parts early on in dating.
2)        Meet the Parents. It’s just too soon.
3)        Go to Church Together. I know, I know but hear me out.  If it is your church and you are actively involved, it is like meeting the family if not worse.  It just opens up endless assumptions and expectations.  The only exception I have if we go to a church that neither of us attends.
4)        Work Out Together. I think people underestimate how intimate working out together can be.  It can easily expose all of your physical shortcomings in the daylight.  Then there is the sweating, exhaustion, and overall raggedness that comes after a good work out.  For instance, last night I was doing a 25-minute Ab-Ripper X video.   After which, I was laid out on the floor for the next hour.  I don’t want to look like a punk in front of my date.

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Dear Tiny,

Welcome to Another Edition of Light Fridays.

Dear Tiny,
Let’s be clear, I blame this entire fiasco on you.  I don’t know who is worse at holding your man down between  you or Whitney.  I believe there is a general misconception in what it means to hold you man down when dealing with hood mentalities and/or illegal recreational activities.  It does not mean go down with him, it means keeping him out of trouble for as long as possible.  And well, it has been less than 6 months since he was released from a halfway house, (why is it called that anyway? Half in prison, half free??) and less than a year since his prison release.  In short, you failed.  Do you see Jay-Z in and out of jail? No.   Here are a few suggestions of how you could have better held down your man,  yourself…and your children.

The owner of a Pruis doesn't get pulled over for random traffic stops.

1)      Smoke inside. And by inside I mean a house.  Anybody’s house.  A private estate.  I’m positive you could have found somewhere other than the streets of L. A. to get lifted.

2)      Rent a Toyota Pruis. A Maybach??? Really?  You both thought you were just going to blend in and go unnoticed as two black people in a Maybach?  Ok.

3)      Provide legal alternatives. I don’t smoke nor participate in illegal recreational activities, but I am sure there is something else more legal ya’ll could be doing on a Wednesday night.  What grown person completely wilds out on a Wednesday anyway?  Moreover, the fact that you have umpteen kids between the both of you should have been motivation enough.
Sincerely,
Ms. What I Need From You is Understanding


Happy Labor Day Weekend! See ya Tuesday!

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Checking the Expiration Date- It’s Time for You to Go

Have you ever went to your refrigerator for some milk and found the milk all chunky and almost in a solid form?  It seemed only a couple of days ago, it was fine and still drinkable.  Now the milk is expired, spoiled, and smelly. Absolutely grossed out, you wonder why you hadn’t noticed it earlier.  Like milk, relationships can go way past their expiration date.

When was the last time you smelled your relationship?

Women often prolong an expired relationship because they are fearful of being alone.  Men usually stay too long beacause of convenience or misplaced obligation.  A relationship can easily go months, or tragically years, before you are able to realize that it is way past its expiration date.  And like milk, the longer you hold on to something that is no longer good, the worst the clean-up becomes.  It is best to catch it early, cut your losses, and not continue to pour your resources into a spoiled, beyond-repair relationship.
Please understand there is a huge difference between normal and healthy disagreements versus toxic and dysfunctional relationships.  And sometimes it is hard to decipher between the two when you think you are in love and are still in the relationships.  From the outside looking in, or in hindsight, the lines are perfectly clear.  This list is for those still inside a spoiled relationship and blinded to the lines.
1)        Cheating. Cheating is really so commonplace nowadays that no one is ever shocked or disappointed by infidelity anymore.  Well, that is only true if you are not in that relationship.  When you are the one being cheated on, it is the worst.  And while men are often the ones most associated with cheating, women cheat as well and, well, much better.  However, cheating is a direction reflection of lack of maturity and focus on what you really want.  Even worse, and the reason why you might as well leave, is that it destroys trust.  Trust is the most critical ingredient in a relationship.  It is the thing that separates friends from foes.  And without trust, you end up treating the one supposedly love like a stranger.
2)        Fighting. There is a huge difference between arguing and fighting.  If you are no longer able to use your words to effectively communicate how you feel and thus have resorted to a physical expression of your disdain, then it is time to go.  Hitting is a huge tell-tell sign of an unhealthy relationship.  And let’s be clear, women hitting on men are just as wrong.   There are no passes because you are probably not injuring him.  If you can’t talk about it, keep it moving.  Additionally, verbal abuse is real as well.  If you are constantly feeling less than when you are around someone, then why be with that person?  Relationships are intended to build up each other, not destroy.
3)        Complete Dependency. You pay the bills, you cook, you clean, you have the only car, and you work.  They do nothing. They contribute nothing.  They have nothing.  If a person is a continuous source of complete depletion of everything you have worked for then that person needs to go.  With the exception of someone being in school,  there is no reason to be in a relationship with someone that leeches off your love and drains your resources.
Break-ups are hard but there is life beyond that man or woman.  Wasting valuable, nonrenewable time is tragic.  Every now and then, you must put your emotions aside, and look at your relationship as if your best friend was in your shoes.  Is it a relationship you would want them to leave?  If so, then you must make that critical step toward your own happiness.

What a Toxic Relationship Looks Like 101

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A Man Scorned

Women, specifically black women, are often labeled as bitter due to past relationships with men.  It is a pretty obvious transition from the once optimistic and hopeful to the visage of resentment.
But men have feelings too.  I think we, as women, forget that.  Men are often socialized to not show emotion.  This concept is hyper-emphasized in the black community, so much that a man showing feelings for anything less than a death is considered weak.  It has stifled our relationships and our communities.  However, the lack of a direct response to a hurtful statement or action doesn’t mean that it has not affected the man.  The hurt may not even surface in that relationship; but just like women, over time, from one broken relationship to the next a man can eventually grow bitter as well.
The bitter man, I believe, is worse than the bitter woman because once a man reaches a state of bitterness; it is the point of no return.  A woman can be loved out of her bitterness, but a man will not allow anyone to get close enough to receive such love.  It is a sad sight to see.  From that point, women are a constant source of agony and disdain.  The once internal hurt surfaces in the form of hateful sentiments, scolding, and the general “women ain’t shit” mentality.
So the next time, you run into a man just angry at women for no apparent reason, remember he may be a man scorned.

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