Dating the Complete Opposite

Everyone makes lists.  You have grocery lists, to-do lists, and your ideal partner list.  Once upon a time, I was completely opposed to the latter.  I felt a list constricted your ability to meet great people and ultimately who God has for you.  However, the problem was never the concept of the list but the lists I heard often lacked substance and were very superficial.  I am still very much opposed to those lists.  There are lists that can serve as guidelines for what you really want in your next relationship.  Even the posts over the span of this blog have served as a list of traits needed in a man and things I never wanted to repeat from past relationships.
Before, I suppose I had a mental list, but like most women dated the complete opposite.  The traits that are concrete in theory are actually waived, if not completely ignored, in practice.  So when I see comments like women truly don’t know what they want or women say one thing, yet date the complete opposite—maybe there is some validity in those statements.
But the truth of the matter is men do the exact same thing.  They have these lists for the ideal wife. She has to meet whatever requirements, yet consistently wife up less than chicks.  Of course, it doesn’t work out and they blame the women for falling short when they never should be allowed to play in the first place.
So today, I am simply promoting writing lists.  Write it out old school style with a pen and paper.  Try to be your least superficial self.  Keep it short and meaningful.  Trust what you have learned thus far in life.  And this time try something different, save yourself a headache and heartbreak, and actually stick to the list.

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Keeping Her Happy

Recently a friend tweeted, “You can never make a woman happy.”  Of course, all the men chimed in and retweeted this statement affirming its validity that is indeed impossible for a man to make a woman happy.
Of course, this is not true.  It is rather easy to make a woman happy.  Her favorite candy, a sweet mid-day text, or a big, long hug are all easy, reasonable ways to make women happy.  In essence, a little thoughtfulness goes a long way with women.  I think we can all agree on this.
KEEPING her happy—well that is entirely different story.  Women have very short memories and convenient amnesia, so whatever a man did last week has already been forgotten.  It is not because it wasn’t sweet, thoughtful, or whatever sacrifice wasn’t appreciated either.  However, the process of keeping a woman happy is literally a never-ending process.
Usually when you think of long, never-ending processes, you associate the task as hard and tedious.  However, as stated before, it is easy.  A man just has to keep doing it.  Men have a tendency to begin a relationship by going all out.  He opens all doors, plans nice dates, calls and texts often, and is willing to do whatever is needed to secure his position in your life.  Two months into the relationship all of the wooing is gone.  Where does the woo go?? A woman who has become accustomed to certain behaviors from a man expects that treatment to always be the case.  In addition to the things a man does initially, as the relationship progresses, the expectations of what a man should contribute to her life grow as well.
Initially it can seem like a lot, but a relationship should be treated as any other living creature.  You have to feed it, tend to it, trim it and make sure it has a nurturing environment in which both the individuals and the couple collectively can grow.  You can’t expect a plant to continue to live if its owner expects the water it gave it last month to be sufficient for this month. Whenever that person decides to go back and check on that plant, it will be dead.  Relationships are the same way.  Both men and women must check in, but it seems to come more naturally for women.  By time a man realizes he needs to check in, it may be too late.
The key to keeping a woman happy is simply for a man to be consistent in his care.  If she is happy, then she will go through great lengths to keep her man happy.

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Connect & Impact

I know it is Friday for most of you, so I am going to keep this real light.

We are created to connect and impact.  It is my prayer that all of you find someone to connect to and celebrate family, food, and fun.  The act of love is the greatest impact we can have on another person.  Love requires action.  So I encourage you all to give in some way to someone that needs it- you both will be blessed in the process.
Blessings,
Ms. Thankful~n~Grateful

Enjoy your holiday weekend! See ya’ll on Monday!


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A Lemonade Toast to the Good Life

About 5 or 6 months ago, I decided to take a drinking hiatus…for a month…during the summer…while living in D.C.   It was quite a challenge because there was always something going on- a friend’s birthday, concert, a house party, or it was just a long Tuesday.  For anyone that lives in a major city with a predominately 20 to 30-something population knows that going out and alcohol typically goes hand and hand.  But I was determined to get through this hiatus to make sure I never got to the point where I felt like I needed to drink to have fun.
While I know heavy alcohol consumption in your twenties is nothing new, it seems my generation has decided to take it a step further.  We want to be the most drunk, go through the most bottles, have the biggest hangover.   Where before there was a stigma associated with the people that always got wasted every time they went out, now it seems to be fashionable.  Yes, getting wasted is trendy.  It is almost laughable, but then you realize how sad it is.
So, the hiatus was for me to go against the trend and tune back in to me- sober.  After the first week, I realized I enjoyed the sober me way better.  I used to only drink occasionally prior to working for a company in D.C whose employees were mostly in their twenties.  Then I started going out after work with my white co-workers (whom I love). Yeah, it was pretty much downhill from there.  They give you something like try this.  You do, you live, and so you go harder next time.   Tolerance is an exercise, and well, I was in shape.  Then life took its course and I ended up back in Dallas and no longer felt the need to drink often.  I was back to having a drink on a rare occasion.  I still went out all of the time.  However, though I was still hanging with the same age bracket, alcohol was no longer the prominent trend but rather a backdrop to the social scene.  I experienced no pressure to drink or received crazy looks, if I said I was just going to have lemonade tonight.
Then I moved back to D.C where again the social environment damn near demands a few cocktails on any given day.  And I found myself drinking just because it was available.  Pointless drinking.  I was not drunk all the time because I still have a high tolerance, but just back drinking again because it is trendy.  It was after my hiatus that I realized how productive and more focused I was sans liquor.  My Saturday mornings were filled with breakfast and great ideas with enough energy to implement them.  My life began to take slow turns for the better.  By day 30, it dawned on me that my life is great.  I have no sorrows to drown like the generation before me drunks did.  And while I am by no means giving up alcohol altogether, I am just completely over the excessive drinking just cause.   There is so much life to offer and this is my prime.  I don’t want my best years to be a blur especially when life is this good!

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Over-feeling Yourself

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting and befriending a wide away of people from a vast array of educational, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I appreciate each person equally for who they are and what they bring to the table.  I had no idea beforehand people that would be more successful than others.  Nor could I predict the role some people would play in my own successes.  I know I am blessed to have such a successful circle.  What perplexes me is when I stumble into people that are overly pretentious, snobbish, and flat out stuck up.  It is despicable to see how some people feel that they are beyond acknowledging and replying to people- whether on a social site or in person. Real life celebrities are more humble and gracious than some people.  Or is it that everyday people think they are a celebrity.  Everybody can’t be Kanye.
Black people who are pretentious make me sick to my stomach.  Black people who by the hair on their chin barely made it out of the hood are the very worst.  I often refer to them as the pseudo-bourgeois because they have absolutely no assets in which to be bourgeois about. You know, the ones that rent their house, lease their car, rent their rims, spend money they don’t have to have the latest bag or shoes and then have the audacity to be arrogant.
A very small percentage of black people do come from relatively affluent families (in comparison to other blacks but are still wwwayyyy behind whites).  While they still get no pass for being stuck up, it is more understandable.  Sometimes snobbish attitudes are passed down from one generation along with their inheritance.  However, the trip to poverty can be swift with a few bad investments, a loss of business, and/or criminal charges.
Then there are those blacks that have made it and are established despite the odds against them.  They are first generation professional degree graduates, entrepreneurs, and businessmen.  And in my experiences, it is these people that are the most grounded after their respective successes.  I suspect it is because to come out of nothing you need both an exceptional work ethic and people to help you along the way.  Those same people that helped a person should also be contractually bound to remind you from where you came and keep you grounded.  After all, success means little without the ability to connect to the people that got you there.

Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful. – John Wooden


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Why Rappers Should Write Books… For Kids

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

With today’s youth sPelln eVERything liK DiSs, I am afraid of where our future is headed.  Once upon a time, it was embarrassing to not be able to properly spell words.  It was out this embarrassment, the need for spell check and autocorrect applications were developed to serve as a mechanism to avoid such shame.  But now, both youth and adults alike think this improper spelling and formatting are acceptable and preferred forms of communication.  I am afraid the Standard English language will be lost.
On top of that, we live in a digital society.  I’m not sure if my grandchildren will even have a physical library in 30 years because everything is in electronic form.  However, there is no substitute, not even the Kindle that gives the gratification of holding a book, turning its pages, even smelling the book, and then getting to the last page and completing the book.
All of this in mind, I thought it would be genius if rappers did in fact write books for children, our children.  But it would have to be some of the most influential artists of our time that could reach the younger generation.  There are several reasons rappers are the perfect candidates to getting black youth to read books:
Everybody Wants to Be a Rapper: I mean even Oprah wanted to learn how to rap. Rapping has been adopted as a universal form of expression regardless of age, background, education, or status for the span of four generations. It seems everybody, regardless of level of talent, wants to be a rapper which why it was genius that Def Jam released the interactive video game RapStar.  Now lets work on some interactive books for Leap Frog.
Metaphorically Speaking: What separates real emcees from gimmicks are their grasp of the English language.  Every thing from an extensive vocabulary, vivid imagery, transitions, and elaborate metaphors are prominent pieces of what make artists great.  A master and manipulator of language can show young people how important it is to be an avid reader and to how to use language to constructively express themselves.  Maybe then kids can use their words instead of violence as an outlet of their frustration with the social climate.
The ultimate goal is to get our youth excited about reading and writing well. Rappers can use their influence to generate positive results in both written and oral expression from our youth.  So I definitely tip my hat to Jay-Z with the release of Decoded early this week.  The book is selling out in some parts of the country, so hopefully a young black male that has never read for leisure is reading his first of many books.

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Rather Hear It From a Man?

I’ve heard several times over the years that women shouldn’t seek relationship advice from other women.  Others have gone as far to say it doesn’t matter if the woman is single, in a relationship, or married that all relationship advice for women should come from a man.  Well, of course that has never sat well with me.
Before I completely dismiss the ridiculous notion of the statement, I will say it is possible for a woman to give another woman bad advice, of course.  It is also possible for a man to give a woman piss poor bad advice as well.  I believe the claim is based on an assumption that all single women are bitter and women in a relationship don’t want you to be happy either, which to say at the least, is erroneous.  Not all single women are unhappy or bitter.  Women in general typically seek advice from someone they trust and someone that genuinely has their best interest at heart.  When my friends are in healthy, loving relationships, I have always been super excited for them.  Their relationships serve as an example that true, real love is possible and plausible.  It helps give me a realistic sense of how long-term relationships work.
When I worked for an organization last year in Dallas, I had the privilege of befriending two slightly older ladies- both black and both married.  I am most grateful for those friendships because these ladies were soooooo open and honest about the inner workings on maintaining a happy work/life balance.  The love and commitment they had for their men was abundantly clear, however, it was also clear that commitment is work, hard work.  Love is easy.  Lauryn Hill once commented about how when you go to Disneyworld, all you see is the beauty, but they took her behind the scenes and had a chance to see the real laborers and the machines and the grime and grit it takes to make everything work.  I feel that is what these ladies did for me- take me behind the scenes.  What it taught me was that I had a long way to go before I was really ready to be in a lasting and fruitful relationship.  There were still lessons I need to learn, pride I needed to let go, and still personal goals I needed to achieve on my own before I dare even think about bringing another person into the equation.  Out of those real conversations, I decided to write and document my journey for myself in the effort to make sure my lessons are retained and that just maybe I can provide a short cut for someone that has been in similar situations because I definitely took the long way!
All of that to say, genuine people give genuine advice- man or woman.  And truly only women can understand the complexities and intertwining that come with being a woman- irrational moments, love, lust, wants that contradict needs, and just trying to hold it all together.  As a woman, I try to find the balance between my emotions and plain ol’ common sense.  Most times, I can make them intersect.  Other times, I need to call a friend- a woman, who has been there, and not afraid to open up the back entrance to show me the behind the scenes view of the how to make this thing work.

I found the link I referenced!

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A Wendy’s Type of Chick

Last Friday, after an especially long week, I decided that a margarita and some quesadillas were of the utmost importance and my way to an On the Border.  The margarita was weak.  Anyway, due to where I was seated, I was forced to overhear a conversation between a middle-aged black couple obviously on a date and evidently still in the getting to know each other stage.
The lady, loud and defensive in her tone while wearing the lowest of low v-neck blouses to ever grace a chest, decided to share a story of how her friend’s man had left her friend and how trifling he was.  As the conversation transitioned, the man began to talk about his portfolio and how much he had made in the stock market recently.  I just shook my head.
It seems every woman is looking for a good man and every good man is looking for a good woman.  Obviously the competition is stiff and fierce on both sides of the field as no one wants to be stuck with an imposter.  I get that you have to use what you have to stand out and set yourself apart.  I get that.
What I don’t understand is ladies claiming they don’t want a man that only wants sex yet wear virtually nothing.  That I don’t get.  If I can piece together the pictures of your avatars from facebook, twitter, and/or tumblr and get a complete portrait of you naked- you’re doing it all wrong.  It seems to be an ongoing contest to see who can outslut the other.
Similarly men that do not want a gold digger probably shouldn’t be talking about financial portfolios, income, or property two dates in.  All that conversation attracts is women that only want your money.
For both, these acts of desperation scream “This is all I have going for me.” And well, maybe that is true but you don’t have to let the other person know so early in the game.
The goal is for everyone to market themselves appropriately for the partner in which you hope to find.   Men cannot expect to have money pictures and not be asked by a lady to pay for something.  I know some males that are constantly losing because they are forever tricking paying for a girl to spend time with them.  He thinks if he pays for dinner, hair, and rent and then spend some time with him then she likes him.  Anybody would love you if you are just giving money away with little to no investment.  Why do you think the lottery is popular?
It is also a delicate art, to be universally sexy without being trashy.  Equally difficult is to present yourself as fun, but not only be someone’s good time for a night.   A good man will respond appropriately based on how you present yourself.  So when you see a dude you let hit last week after he brought you some Wendy’s out on a date with the next lady at 5-star restaurant don’t be mad.  It doesn’t mean he is a dog, you probably just marketed yourself as a Wendy’s type of chick…

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To the Black Women that STILL Love Black Men

***This was requested a while ago, but it seems as if the timing is most appropriate now.***

Recently, it seems that black men have been attacked from every angle possible.  From the media coming at Obama’s throat, from black women, from another Tyler Perry production,  and even cartoons on youtube are having a field day magnifying the shortcomings of black men.  There was once a time that at LEAST, at the very least, black women would support and defend black men at all costs, but it seems most of those have jumped ship…  I say it is their loss because it is clear black men are still a prize…even white, asian, and latinos women recognize this.  And really how can you not see it?
Black men are fine…as hell.  Personally, I don’t see how a woman could ever abandon that godly physique.  Shoulders so wide and broad that they are strong enough to love you, children that aren’t his, your family, and your past.  And after a long day at work, his arms embrace all of you effortlessly and instantly relieving the stresses of your day.  It is with his magical touch that finally your guard can come down and the façades worn to appease corporate America can be taken off because in his presence you have entered a safe place.  And you value this because it is the place where you get to be just you.  Only his full lips can smack your cheeks that force the most genuine smile out of you.
Black men are confident.  As a matter of fact, black men set the bar on confidence.  He is confident about the things he has done and equally confident about the things he has never done.  You see, this confidence rests not on what he does but who he believes he is regardless of others’ opinions. It is that confident stride, whether it is the brother in the mail room or the one in the corner office, that grabs your eyes attention every single time.
Black men are strong.  I know this is a label often reserved for black women- the strong black woman.  However, the strength it takes to be a black man that goes day to day without the respect, praise, or recognition deserved is in a league of its own.  Often they have no voice at work or have to fight harder for gain the respect of his white counterparts, and then come home to black women.  Well, we know how that goes.  Even with his boys, there is only so much as men, as black men, that they can share without appearing weak.  So the load, the burdens, the pressure, the frustration, failures, hurt, and pain they just carry…silently.  Every day.  Yet, somehow they find a way to be the charming, funny, lighthearted yet soulful men in which we depend to always do what is needed of them without exception.
All they ask in return is a little understanding, respect, and allow them to be men without undercutting their efforts and roles.  I know, they are completely unreasonable, right?
So to the black women that look beyond what is fed to them through media outlets, to those women that don’t use black men as a scapegoat for their own issues, to those that love and believe in black men without exception, you too deserve an applause.  We’re fewer in number, so we have to make sure we cheer louder so our men can hear us.

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Life Is Good

I know, I just disappeared.  My deepest apologies.  Life has been quite a whirlwind the last several months, and I honestly just needed time to focus on the things that would undoubtedly affect my future.  That said, in my time away from the blog, I have received a new promotion at work and am in the processing of moving into a new (very nice) place, and working grad school tests and applications.  Life is finally working itself out for the better and I must say I couldn’t be happier about it.  Life is good.
I have received many questions about the state of the blog, and I am so grateful to have such a faithful following.  You all have made the rough days brighter, so thank you.  While this promotion takes away from the time I previously used to write, I am dedicated to finding a balance to continue to do what I love and what I get paid to do- both well.  I hate half-assing anything with my name on it.  So I won’t.
The most asked question among my friends since I took a break from the blog is, “has your finding love and/or being in a relationship now made you feel like you no longer have the need to write?”  I think that is a valid question because so much of my blog up to that point was about self-assessment and the things I desire in my next (and hopefully, prayerfully LAST) relationship.  In while being in a relationship does deplete some of my free time outside of work, I hardly ever wrote after work anyway.  However, in regard to the question, I feel the complete opposite.  I feel as if I have so much more to write about and from a better perspective than before.  If anything, the relationship should add validity to what I’ve always said, eh??
Well, that is all I have for today.  So much to write about this week, but I wanted to start here before I just jumped back out there.  Again, thank you.

 

Life’s good!

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