Welcome to Cuddle Season

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Well, the first snow of the season hit the DMV (D.C., Maryland & Virginia) today.  Accordingly, I have officially pronounced today the beginning of cuddle season.  *cheers* But if this winter is anything near the brutality of last winter, cuddle season can get boring real quick. The first 3 days are fun-filled.  After 6 weeks, it can be suicidal.
I don’t want any couples fun to run out being stuck in a winter slump and as such I came up with a list of must-haves to be prepared for this winter’s cuddle seasons.  You can only watch but so many movies.
1)        Games Galore: I am talking board games, cards, and most importantly a game system.  The staples include scrabble, a deck of cards, and monopoly.  The essentials are guitar hero and rock band and anything else that forces you get off that couch and move around.  What are we playing for???? Favors.  Massages, dinners, digging the car out of the snow…
2)        Have a Club. It is too cold for women to go out in high heels and short dresses just to dance and have a good time.  So create a club in your living room.  Dim the lights, turn up the music, pour the drinks and get the party going.  So what you have only one partner to dance with.  That is all you need.  At least he is not the ugly weirdo that sneaks up behind you in the club or the stalker that follows you around after paying for one drink or the perverted groper.
3)        Goodies. Besides candles and a battery operated light source, the most important thing you need is food. Lots of food.  But don’t just get the necessities; get some of your favorite things to snack on throughout the day.  While you are at the store you might as well get some chocolate syrup and some whip cream….for the hot cocoa, of course.

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Weaning Away

We all have bad habits.  Some people smoke, others drink, and some chronically re-involve themselves with people that had previously been sworn off.
Break-ups are hard.  And while the decision to break-up might be an instant one, the actual separation can be a long, emotional process.  However, it only takes a few lonely nights, and a few drunken texts to find yourself back in a situation with a person you know isn’t worth your time or your body.  Then of course alongside with a hangover, is the morning-after regret.  Those are the times when we want to use liquor an excuse.  Other times no such scapegoat is needed.  It is way too easy to go back to what you know, regardless of how toxic, than to move forward into the unfamiliar.  But familiarity and time does not automatically equate to a better relationship.  When you have loved this person so long it is hard to separate the physical from the emotional and again you find yourself in the middle of this train wreck.  I get it.
To move forward before an utter catastrophe, you have to be prepared to wean yourself off a person.  Fingers often type without any authorization and the next thing you have sent a text or called out of habit.  I could easily give a list of the obvious things you can do to begin to wean off a person from deleting numbers to hanging back out with friends.  However, the first step and the most vital step to moving forward from an old relationship is to actually want to be in a better place.  Most times, we waste so much time on trying to fix a broken relationship or trying to force someone to love us again that we forget that better lies in our future.  But you have to want it.  You have to decide you are worth venturing out alone, but better.

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The Bad Ones Aren’t Labeled

I recently entered a heated debate with a young black man that proceeded to volunteer his thoughts on the high percentage of black children born out of wedlock.  72%, yes, it is alarming.  He essentially blamed it all on black women by stating it is our fault that we continue to engage in pre-marital sex with men that ain’t bout sh*t.  I asked him two things.
Me: Have you ever engaged in pre-marital sex with a black woman?
Him: Yes
Me:  If any of those women were to get pregnant, are there any you wouldn’t marry??
Him: Yes, I wouldn’t marry most of t them.
Me: Well, then sir you too are part of the problem.
While the data is bad, from every angle- terrible, it doesn’t mean that 72% of black children aren’t actively fathered.  There are lots of black men, though they are not with their child’s mother, are an active and involved fathers.  Sadly, you can look in our communities and realize this is not the majority.

Sadly, men do not come with nutritional labels.

The more pressing issue is that most women don’t knowingly engage in baby-producing activities with men they know ain’t about nothing.  Men aren’t labeled like food to give ingredients and percentages of how much sh*t they contain.  Are there indicators? Certainly.  The inability to maintain a job, not taking care of the kids he already has, and overall disrespectful demeanors toward women are all huge red flags.  I am not talking about those obvious signs.  I am talking about becoming involved with educated, well-employed, seemingly respectful men that still aren’t about taking care of their responsibilities.  There are no huge red flags.  The lies are so crafty you don’t know he lying until it is too late.  Sometimes bad men wear the same attire, hang at the same places, and go to the same churches as the good ones.  It is not until it all hits the fan can you determine the real good men from the imposters.  Hell, by that time it is usually too late.

So I don’t know these women having multiple babies by trifling men.  One child??  Yes.  More than one, no.  If they have more than one kid with the man at the very least he is actively fathering their children.  If a woman continues to have children by a man that has shown he doesn’t take care of his kids, then yes, we can agree that the woman is a huge part the problem.  But I am tired of “good” black men blaming our social ills on black women without taking a good look in the mirror first.  Most times, these good black men have just gotten lucky and/or spared an opportunity to show their true colors.  And if you are truly such a good man, then instead of downing women, fill in the gap for the men that fall short so the cycle won’t continue.  Then and only then can you pat yourself on the back.

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Filling in the Blanks: A Love Story

I rarely talk about my relationships in real time.  I try to make a point to either reflect on past lessons or declare future expectations. However, I will make an exception today.

I often find myself defending the progress of my relationship- sometimes to newer friends and sometimes to strangers.  The seemingly instant gravity of what most consider a “new” relationship could startle those that have met me post-college.  The reality is the man I love I have known since I was twelve; we grew up on the same street.  Although we went to the same elementary school together, I didn’t know him then because he was two grades ahead of me, and you know back then, that is a big difference.  I met him soon after I entered junior high where I was bussed to and from our elementary school.  I had just gotten off the [short] bus at our elementary school in our neighborhood and he was outside with a mutual friend.  I had seen him around before but never knew his name.  So after a formal introduction, I honestly didn’t pay him any mind but I thought he was hilarious.  I guess it was a few weeks, when he was still there every day when I got off the bus to walk me home that I began to take him seriously…well as serious as you can take someone at the age of twelve.
Even then, there was something different about him.  He was consistent and dependable something most men my age now still haven’t mastered.  He also wasn’t focused on sex or over my house when my parents weren’t home like the rest of our neighborhood.  He was missing out though because we had fun!  I got in trouble, but it was worth it, every single time.  I’ve digressed.
As most teenage love affairs, ours was an on and off thing for years.  It was not that anything bad happened between us, but I just like to think that I was trying to maximize my dating potential.  So when it was time for me to leave to go to college, his conversations about becoming serious were ignored.  They were ignored again a few years later, when I was home on a break.  Looking back, I wonder how much heartache and grief I would have saved myself had I listened then.  But then again, I wouldn’t be who I am now, nor he be the man he is.  There were a few conversations later about a new woman in his life that he was getting serious with and then we lost touch.
When I moved back to Dallas in 2008, I tried to find him everywhere.  I asked people from our old neighborhood if they knew where he was and no one knew.  I tried to reach out to him once more before I left Dallas earlier this year and moved back to D.C., and again could not find him.  I have no idea why I was looking for him… no clue; I just know he never left my spirit.  So this summer, again, I am internet stalking for this man with no luck.  I asked a few more friends that might have his number and no one did.  And then I saw a friend suggestion (good ol’ facebook) for our mutual friend, the man that formally introduced way back when we were kids.  Finally, I knew I was close. And lo and behold, the man I had been searching for was on his friend’s list.  I know, stalkerish.  But little did I know, he had been talking about me all the time too as our friend explained that he brought me up in every conversation like he had just talked to me recently.   So after, the man I had been searching for years finally accepted my friend request a week later, I sent him a two worded message: “Call me”  along with my number.  There were no hellos, how have you beens, or the usual pleasantries because 1) I was driving from a wedding in New Jersey and stuck in traffic at a toll so I had to  facebook quickly and 2) because it wasn’t necessary.  My phone rung literally 20 seconds later and we exchanged hellos with sighs of relief, but it began to storm so I needed to get off the phone.  I explained to him that I would call him as soon as I made it back safely to D.C.  He understood and said “before I let you go I need you to know I am in still in love with you.”  I hung up the phone and screamed…of joy, of course.  I called him once I made it back to safely and almost immediately realized that he still the man I once loved, except better.  We already knew the essence of each other, time hadn’t changed that thankfully.  All we had to do now was simply fill in the blanks between then and now.

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National Heroines: The Golden Girls

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

I am not sure why I was allowed to watch The Golden Girls at such a young age.  Of course, most of the sexual innuendos flew right over my head, but still highly inappropriate.  As an adult, I can appreciate the show even more for its unprecedented humor from a woman’s point of view.  Aside from the sex, The Golden Girls managed to touch on just about every social issue of its time from racism, interracial dating, unwed pregnancies, homosexuality, Alzheimer’s and other social injustices.
What the Golden Girls did to was open the door for women to have open and candid conversations about a once taboo topic- women’s sexuality.  It is because of the candid dialogue by these old horny ladies that subsequent generations of women have been able to express their wants, desires, concerns, and fears without the stigma of being unfairly labeled or ostracized.  In essence, this show helped catapult an entire movement of woman being able to freely express themselves sexually in music, movies, and literature.  While the rippling effects can be argued to have either positive or negative effects, I believe overall the dialogue did more good as a means to empower women.  The awareness and confidence in one’s sexuality can transpire to academic, professional, personal aspects of a woman’s life.
In addition to all of this, these ladies had the nerve to be hilarious, charming, witty, and some of the best comedic actors ever.  The chemistry and timing between these ladies has yet to be matched.  It is for these reasons, I believe the show deserves a national holiday.

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Build-A-Man: The Women’s Molding Complex

One of my favorite stores is Build-A-Bear.  Most of you are familiar with the concept and layout of the store.  You enter this bear factory and pick a bear color, size, and appearance.  You go to the next section and to stuff the bear and stitch up the bear.  Then you get to dress the bear how you like according to  your tastes.  And finally, you get to name the bear and he is yours and has to do what you say and go where you go…  This is how most women approach relationships.
Any man who loves me has to love me as is.  It is a sentiment I share along with many other women I know.  I am not changing.  I am not lowering my standards.  I am not compromising my integrity.  I am not going to be somebody I am not.  I am not going to try to fit someone’s expectations of me.  I will at all costs stay true to myself.  The person I have grown into and have enjoyed being for the last 28 years is the person anybody I enter a relationship will have to love.
Then we enter these relationships with what could be the most perfect of men – these poor, unsuspecting men.  We find one flaw, maybe two or three.  I suppose the right thing to do would be to love them as is.  Accept their flaws in the same manner they accept ours.  That would be noble.  Instead, we become magnifying glasses to these one, two, or three flaws pointing them out every time without fail.  Some of us actually have the audacity to ask them to change to adjust to our standards or expectations.  But we love them so we want them to be better- the better that is defined by us, the women, of course.
Dare a man ask us to change or to improve without the unforgiving wrath of a woman coming down upon him?  How preposterous is the notion for a man to inflict his standards upon us.  Or what if he became the magnifying glass to our shortcomings until self-consciousness and insecurity seeped in to a once secure place.  I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be loved conditionally- only if you do this or do that, then and only then- yeah of course, I love you.

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The Something Behind the Nothing

Allow me to set the scene…

Lady enters room obviously aggravated.  Her man asks, “What’s wrong, baby?”
She replies, “Nothing.”
He follows up with “Are you sure?”
She reaffirms by saying, “Yeah.”
Then she proceeds to slam doors, breathe heavily, and mumble under her breath in between shooting evil glances in her man’s direction.   But, she said nothing is wrong.  Well, something is clearly wrong.
After a lively conversation this weekend with some friends about relationships, we’ve concluded that this scenario happens frequently.  To men, it seems like a childish guessing game.  And well, the women agreed it was a guessing game but one in which the answer has been told at some prior time.
For instance, you politely ask your man to take out the trash whenever he gets a chance.  You have been out running around all day and return home. Your man is in the same place you left him and so is the trash.  Now you are pissed the house smells like trash, so you are slamming doors to take the trash out.  You walk back in and now nothing is wrong because you have done what you asked him to do.  But you are upset you had to do it.  Of course, this is just an example and the gravity of the situation varies.
I suppose it could be easier to answer whatever it was the first time versus replying “nothing.”  However, I believe the method behind the madness is to make it an ordeal so complete and undivided attention is given to the issue.  Often a woman’s rational, indoor voices falls on deaf ears.  So the next time, we take the more theatrical approach.
“Nothing” is always something, you just have to figure out what something that is.

Get Tested. Be Informed. Know Your Status.

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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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