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Category Archives: Self-Discovery

To Twerk or Not to Twerk? That is the Question


miley-cyrus-twerk-unicorn-onesie-twitterEven before we all seen Miley Cyrus do it to a married man on national television and before she “made it popular” on YouTube in a unicorn onesie, the issue of twerkin’ came up in my relationship. You see, Mr. Right, like many young men his age, is no stranger to worldstarhiphop.com. And people look to worldstar for some of the most outrageous, most outlandish, and shockingly uncouth antics of the people we inhabit this world with. It’s like World’s Funniest Home Videos for black people. For those of you unfamiliar, sometimes that means looking at a video of a bus driver punching one of his passengers. Sometimes the big video of the day is a woman twerkin’ in a bucket at a cookout. So at the end of one of these worldstar video binges, Mr. Right casually asked me “Babe, do you know how to twerk? Would you twerk for me?”

Immediately, this turned me off. And the questions began. Why would a man want his GTY_miley_cyrus_twerking_vma_awards_thg_130827_16x9_608fiancee to twerk for him? Is that just his way of getting his ratchet woman fix? Does he expect me to do what those ratchet girls do? Why would he be attracted to ratchetness? His question also subsequently led to a further discussion on whether twerkin’ makes a woman ratchet, whether twerkin’ makes a woman sexually promiscuous, and whether twerkin’ makes a woman thirsty for male attention. We both threw out our thoughts and opinions. And at the end of everything, he concluded, “I don’t see no problem with it if you’re doing it for me”. So I decided that if it’s something that he likes, I’m not completely opposed but I need time to break down my walls and barriers and decide how I really felt about this twerkin’ business and why I felt that way. As I went on my to twerk or not to twerk journey, I discovered a few things.

1) This adorable twerkin’ how-to video by YouTube fitness guru Keaira Lashae

2) A slightly different perspective on the twerkin’ phenom from JaeTracie

3) And this article

http://www.buzzfeed.com/joelanderson/2-live-crews-uncle-luke-campbell-wishes-miley-were-better-at

The thing that stuck out to me the most in the last article was Winnie Mandela‘s defense of Uncle Luke (all those links are worth checking out if you have the time btw). She claimed that there is a certain amount of booty throwin’ and tossin’ that’s in our heritage and culture. This was news to my ears. I mean sure I knew black people and dance had a strong connection. But could you really argue that twerkin’ was in our heritage? So I wanted to know more about it. And I found that there is evidence of some sort of traditional booty dancing in almost every country of Africa. Lacking a connection with hip-hop culture, it is a far less sexualized, vulgar, and demeaning practice. It is quite beautiful actually. See below:

And to know this new information excited me!!! But hurt me at the same time. I was hurt that I had to feel ashamed and embarrassed by the likes of Miley Cyrus. And even as I watch the infinitely more talented Twerk Team, I can’t help but feel like I’ve gotten a cheap, modernized and arguably even tainted version of something so uniquely beautiful. I felt robbed of an opportunity to do a more traditional booty dance for my future husband–dances not affiliated with stripper and video vixen culture, crowds of men with camera phones, revealing costumes, and men trying to “make it rain” on me. Now my only opportunity to dance for him is bending over, back-arched, popping it to some Gucci Mane on in the background? It’s not fair!!

women-dancing

At the end of everything, I am still undecided. I know I like to shake my booty from time to time. And I definitely don’t see anything wrong with that anymore. I know I am impressed by the muscle control and athleticism of the Twerk Team.  But I can’t see myself making a twerkin’ video anytime soon. Because as JaeTraecie points out, there’s a certain amount of checking your self-worth at the door that comes with this revamped and modernized dance craze. Unfortunately, it’s become mostly raunchy opening the door for more disrespect, objectification, and over-sexualization of black women. Unless of course, you know how to keep it cute and classy like my girl Keaira Lashae and like twerkin’s distant traditional booty dancing cousins from Africa. But what exactly creates that line between classy and trashy twerkin’? Is it the way the woman dresses in the video? Is it her motivation or intentions when creating the video? Or is it the overall way that she carries herself? Maybe if you’re not trashy, your twerkin’ won’t be trashy either. But I am still not exactly sure why some booty shaking black women embarrass me (i.e. Miley Cyrus’ jumbo teddy bear sidekick twerkers) while others make me feel proud to be black! However, what did become much more clear was the reason why my man would be attracted to and enticed by these booty dances. It is in his blood just as it’s in mine.

The Last Letter from the Editor: And It All Leads Up to This…


IMG950508To My Beautiful, Glorious, Courageous, and Intuitive Readers:

You read the title correctly. This will be my last letter directly to you on this blog :(…I know some of you are thinking it’s been months since I wrote a real post anyways and now I’m writing to tell you I’m almost done writing. Tis true. And that’s partly because of the summer. Something about the summer makes it difficult for me to buckle down and write. But the other part of me was debating whether I would continue this blog at all. Or pass it along to someone else. Just when it was starting to get good, just when I was starting to see so much growth and improvement, just when I started to take this blogging thing more seriously–c’est la fin! Well, nearing the end. I think I’ve got about two more solid posts in me. But I guess that’s life. And I’m not mad about it. Because all this debacle has been for a great reason. I promise!!! You ready for this? Are you sitting down?

Last month, Mr. Right-For-Now proposed to me under a glorious sunset by the water. I said yes! I’ll never forget it was on the same day of the George Zimmerman verdict–simultaneously the most beautiful and ugliest day I’ve experienced to date. We were at a bar celebrating when we found out the news. Fortunately, it takes more than one asshole running free for murder to put a stop to life, to put a stop to PROGRESSION. So we are planning an elegant broom jumping ceremony in my favorite season–Fall of 2014. Which makes me his future Mrs. Right Forever. And as I’m fully enthralled in this new phase of Love–engagement–it seems the old persona is gone. The woman who started this blog 3 years ago in search of something real after finding so much rubbish has found solid gold. And I plan to cash in while I can!! Therefore, I must say farewell and THANK YOU to all the LOVELY people who made this incredible journey possible.  You laughed with me. You cussed him out with me. You made up with him with me. You grew with me. You bettered yourselves as I bettered myself. You challenged me. You encouraged me. For 3 years.

100MEDIA$IMAG0325Now I’m here in this wonderfully beautiful new place. I am fully present–watching and learning STILL as engagement brings new things to light. I remember asking one of my girlfriends if I should do something for Mr. Right-For-Now in return–as a gift or as some type of gratitude for the proposal. And she said ever-so-wisely to me “no. I think you’ve done enough!” And I just smiled to myself. Because I understood her so clearly. The man got down on one knee and told me he couldn’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be than with me for life. I had certainly done enough–at least for now. No more improvements. No more strategies. No more working night and day on being the best girlfriend/fiancée/future wife ever. For now, I’m just resting in my excitement for us! I’m resting in my contentment! And enjoying planning a wedding (AHHHHHH!). I thought about doing a new blog series for you guys on engagement–and maybe I will write a piece on it. But it’s such an intimate experience and much of this blog comes out of my willingness to fully disclose my shortcomings and championships as they happen. Now, I want to focus on living in each and every one of these moments with my future hubby–staying grounded, attentive, and in-tune with myself. This is the last year I have as a “single” woman and I’d like to have it to myself as selfish as that may sound. Hopefully, you understand where I’m coming from though. Because it feels good to say I have done enough.

Of course I still want to continue bettering myself and learning as much as I can about relationships. Someone once told me, “marriage is not the destination. It is a journey”, suggesting that many women get the ring and believe that is the ultimate validation. I do not want to imply that at all. I’m definitely not done progressing just because he proposed. But my mission has changed just a tad from when I started on here.

I believe that Black Love is the cure for many of our community’s afflictions. So I would Love to transition to a blog talking about Black marriage, Black families, and issues related to how my Black community can achieve more wholeness. I did that IMG950509 (1)here. Somewhat. However, the time has come, I think, for a stronger platform–especially in light of things like the lack of justice for Trayvon! So this is goodbye for now. It is the easiest goodbye I’ve ever said. Not because I don’t Love you. But because our time is nearly up.  When you know your time is up, you’ve got to make room for new things. And because I’ve given you guys so much of me–so much of us–that’s always here on these pages for you to access, it’s not really a goodbye at all. From first date to proposal, I leave you my Love legacy. So when you’re having a rough dating day and you just want to give up, remember me on your Black Love journeys. Remember that Black Love is better when it’s real. And it IS real. We are proof. Remember that good Black guys sometimes win. And they win big!! Remember that Black women can and DO marry and stay happily married–even in the midst of social networks, people living like they’re auditioning for reality TV shows, and booty calls that come way too easily. Remember that no labor of Love goes unrewarded. The universe is waiting to unfold all it’s greatness on you!

Stay tuned for my last few posts. Enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Then, keep me in your heart as you guys are always in mine. Learning to Love like this has been my greatest accomplishment to date. And I hope I’ve inspired some of you to pursue that same path. Because Love never fails!

Sincerely yours,

The blogger formerly known as “Ms. Not-Right-Now” hehe

P.S. For my truest of fans, keep a lookout for my rebirth because there will be one. Suddenly, I have a new found understanding of why we all had to suffer through Puff Daddy becoming Puffy and then P. Diddy and then just Diddy. As I recreate myself and my brand, I will have to change names. Don’t worry though. Me and this writing thing, we go way back. And we ain’t done yet!

 

‘When You Know, You Just Know’ & Other Love Lies

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“I always imagined this magical moment where the world stops, jazz music plays in the background, and I lock eyes with a beautiful stranger whom, somehow, I’ve known my whole life”

I always imagined this magical moment where the world stops, jazz music plays in the background, and I lock  eyes with a beautiful stranger whom, somehow, I’ve known my whole life. Neither of us needs to exchange any real words. We already mutually understand–instinctively of course–that this is the last relationship we will ever have. He asks for my number and 3 months later we’re married with 2.5 kids. There aren’t any arguments on marriage timelines or how we want to raise our kids. There aren’t any doubts and questionable habits that make you wonder if God seriously intends for a person to mate with just one other human being for life. And there certainly aren’t any intermediary break-ups where both people questioned their rightness for one another. Because, as they say, “when you know, you just know”.

But the day I met Mr. Right-For-Now looked absolutely nothing like what “they say”.

Princess-And-The-Frog-movie-705124 So I kept waiting for the magic “aha” moment when I would suddenly “just know”. It didn’t happen when he first professed his Love for me in a poem.It didn’t happen when I found myself crying gleefully in the shower, overwhelmed by my Love for him. It didn’t happen when he began to break down his emotional barriers just to be with me. It didn’t happen when I chose to put more trust and faith in him than I’ve put in anyone besides myself. It’s been exactly 2 years, 9 months, and 12 hours. And that moment has NEVER happened. I’ve never been completely-absolutely-without-a- shadow-of-a-doubt certain that Mr. Right-For-Now is the only soul on earth for me. So naturally, I began to think my uncertainty means he’s not the one. You know, like that awkward moment when you kiss the frog expecting a prince and he turns into a frog too?  I never got to the fairy-tale “when you know, you just know” moment like they said I would.

Then. Everything changed.

Recently, I had lunch with a married mentor of mine and he gave me the most practical bit of insider information. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, certainty is simply an emotion. Therefore, it changes with the wind. When something happens that we’re happy about, we’re sure that a person is for us. When things don’t go the way we thought they would go, then we start to doubt. He assured me that I would never be completely certain because knowing is just a feeling. Today, I may feel like Mr. Right-For-Now is the best decision I ever made. Other days, I might feel like I made a mistake. And that’s normal. But none of it truly matters because marriage requires you to Love another person in spite of how you may feel on a day-to-day basis.

TianaI sat there, mouth agape staring into the distance. At first, I just sat there blankly. Then something snapped inside and I became ANGRY–bloodthirsty almost. Who the fuck came up with that bullshit “when you know, you just know” then, I wondered. I’d waited my whole romantic life for a certainty that would never come!!! I felt bamboozled like a little kid waiting up for Santa only to discover mommy and daddy putting toys under the tree, drinking the milk, and eating the goddamned cookies. I mean next you’ll be telling me a couple can’t really have 2.5 kids!!! This was BY FAR the biggest Love lie of them all since happily ever after. And suddenly I hated every Disney movie and romantic comedy I’d ever seen (except Crazy, Stupid, Love. Completely unhateable movie). Especially the ones where the girl or guy leaves their current girl or guy to be with some other girl or guy that they JUST KNEW they were supposed to be with instead (think Maid in Manhattan or The Princess and the Frog). LIES! LIES! LIES!

When the anger dissipated, I realized how blessed I was to come into this piece of wisdom. My mentor pointed out a most convenient Frogandfrogtiananaveentruth to me. That as humans, we’re too fickle to really know anything. Even our facts are debatable and up to interpretation. Life, by definition, is too unpredictable to know. Mike Tyson once stated, “everyone has a plan ’til they get hit”. And suddenly all of my uncertainty made sense. I only felt unsure whenever he and I faced an issue that seemed unlikely to yield my desired outcome. Him and I, we aren’t perfect. We go THROUGH things. Yet Hollywood likes to paint this picture that Love is easy with the right person (another LIE). So why all this pressure on two romantic partners to know without a doubt that they’re meant to be together?

I decided after that lunch to take the unrealistic pressure off my boo and I. We don’t have to know. But  if you cannot know for certain, then what’s left? You can believe! And I believe, and have believed for a long time, that I am made for Mr. Right-For-Now. He believes he’s made for me. And that’s enough. In the end, I did have one of those Disney moments where I learned I already had what I’d been waiting for all along. Faith in Love is enough.

THE END.

I Just Want to Be Your Lovergirl: 7 Reasons Why I Love My Relationship

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I need your Love and I won’t bring no pain

A little birdie told me that you feel the same

I’m for the real, and for you, I’m true blue

Let’s make a deal, sugar, all I want to do

Is be your one and only lover

I just want to be your Lovergirl

I just want to rock your world

black-couple5God put me on this Earth to rock some man’s world. Probably Mr. Right-For-Now’s. And you know what? I’m Loving every minute of it. Sure he gets on my nerves. Sometimes I feel bored and restless. I mess up. He messes up. We argue. But at the end of the day, there’s far more good than bad so I am PROUD of me and my baby. We’ve traveled a good distance since our start. And I couldn’t have handpicked a better partner to ease on down, ease on down the road with (IDK I guess I’m just in a music mood today. I’m writing this while watching VH1 Soul). Frankly, I Love us. And at the risk of sounding egotistical, conceited, or cheesy, I wanted to share some of the reasons why I Love us. BTW, I strongly urge you to read this post while listening to the embedded video at the bottom. This is a rock out for Love kind of post, if there’s any such thing!!!

(7) We Encourage One Another to Follow Our Dreams

For many of my acquaintances, achieving in your career and in your Love life at the same damn time is a balancing triumph worth adding to the act at UniverSOUL circus. Having both, like the Obamas, became an obscure almost unheard of thing to ooooh and ahhhhh at. And yet, Mr. Right-For-Now and I spend a lot of time making sure we don’t step on one another’s career toes. We check-in and communicate when one feels jealous of the other’s success (yes, it DOES happen). We ask for what we need from one another to get certain things done. Then, we take turns. Sometimes things are about him. Sometimes things are about me. No, neither of us are nearly as accomplished as we want to be yet. But we’ve gotten to the point where we rest assured each new grind works better for the pair. If I’m a bird, he’s a bird and if he flies, I fly.

(6) We’re Growing Up Together

As much of a grown ass woman I might have thought I was, there’s nothing like my baby’s Love to actually grow me up. It’s easy to say “I’m mature”, “I’m patient”, or “I’m faithful” when there’s no one around to press your buttons, no one you have to wait on, and nothing tempting you to cheat. My relationship is the proverbial check my mouth wrote that my ass now has to cash. Since the moment we met, we’ve been pulling each other’s cards. Mr. Right-For-Now always had this uncanny ability to see me. Some lessons you only learn from a Lover because he or she knows you like no one else will ever know you. And since we’re both young and malleable, we are SO willing to work on ourselves to satisfy the other’s needs.

(5) We Never Back Down from a Challenge

Happy-black-couple-300x199Since day one, Mr. Right-For-Now and I sensed that this relationship thing wouldn’t be easy. I mean our first couple of months–you know the months where everything is supposed to be crazy.stupid.love–we were long distance. Whomp whomp. Killjoy right? Actually wrong. Though incredibly arduous and emotionally draining, the distance gave us the space we needed to get other things sorted out in our lives outside of one another.  We learned resourcefulness, gratitude, and creativity. Going through that fortified us. So now when him and I face an ugly, undesirable challenge, we both pull out every weapon in our arsenal to get the job done. Kind of like Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

(4) We Communicate Well

Mr. Right-For-Now’s my best buddy and a great friend. I can call him up right now and say “okay I need you to hear me out as my friend, not my boyfriend” and he’ll try his damndest. Sometimes we just sit in the bed together saying the silliest things holding the weirdest conversations like two kids making up their own language. We understand one another. And even when we aren’t on the same page, we take the time to get back on the same page. With complete transparency and honesty, I feel like I can tell him absolutely anything. At this point, I think we have said pretty much EVERYTHING anyway–good, bad, and indifferent. Communicating is one key to Love we’ve already got on our keyring.

(3) We’re Self-Aware

We know what our problems are both individually and collectively. We have a running list (it’s actually not long) and prioritized the things on it. What needs to get done now? What can wait? What things can we live with? Some parts of our relationship, we run like you might run a healthy business. But that works for us. Neither of us are afraid to do what works for US whether that be reading books, going to therapy, conferencing with friends. It doesn’t matter. Even though it often looks different from what works for others or from what we see others doing, we know ourselves and we know our Love.

(2) We Make Intimacy Important

black-coupleLet’s just say that if there’s a meeting in my bedroom, Mr. Right-For-Now is never late. And I probably don’t mean that how you’re thinking it. What I Love so much about our intimate life is how we committed to connecting with one another in every way that you can connect with another human being. Into-Me-See means everything from talking quietly in bed to catching one another’s eye at the family functions. It’s always like there’s some inside joke that only the two of us know about. It’s metaphysical foreplay that never ends. We passionately pursue sexual, spiritual, mental, and emotional oneness.

(1) We’re Not Perfect But We Are Though

I’m bitchy. He’s an asshole. I go to bed late. He wakes up early. I wear my heart on my sleeve. He keeps his tucked away. We’ve experienced and expressed the full gamut of negative human emotions–jealousy, mistrust, insecurity, arrogance… But we make it work. Two imperfect souls perfected through fearless Love. Nothing more and nothing less. What’s better than that? Nothing!

When it’s all said and done, I just want to be his Lovergirl. I just want to rock his world! Love you boo <3. And this songs for you.

I Have A Confession to Make…

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I don’t usually do this. But tonight I am writing a post to help me release some inner turmoil related to a seldom talked about but often felt human emotion that I’m currently experiencing. So here goes the confession…

You see, I can be a VERY  jealous and envious person. And not necessarily in that traditional don’t-you-dare-look-in-my-boyfriend’s-direction way. Ironically enough, that kind of thing doesn’t bother me. No. I mean something more like assuming that everyone is happy but me, wondering what those happy people have that I don’t, putting myself down for not having said “thing”, and then longing for this mysterious x-factor that would supposedly make my life better.  When I was younger, I would go as far as looking at Facebook pictures of women that looked happy and wish I had whatever it is they had that made them so happy. Only I never found out what that was because I based my assumptions off faulty premises. I saw pretty, smiling faces and assumed happiness. But when it came to my life–which I knew in far more detail–I only saw the lack and I only felt the constant longing. As you can guess, I carried this trait into all of my past relationships and even, unfortunately, into the current one. Sometimes, the constant longing proved a good thing. It propelled me endlessly toward solutions when we had problems. It helped me accept and receive feedback and criticism so that I could become a better partner.  Finally, it encouraged me to speak up for myself and challenge the men in my life to meet my needs. But other times, envy made it harder to wait and to trust and to feel content where I am. Tonight certainly seemed more like the latter. I watched two people I don’t particularly care for do something that I’ve always wanted to do. And I became so suddenly unhappy with my situation. Why did they get to do this? And why did I have to witness it? Why wasn’t it me up there? The negativity multiplied and spread through my body like a sickness. Jealousy must INDEED be a disease because I caught a bad case of it. Despite the fact that Mr. Right-For-Now works overtime to ensure that I enjoy my relationship life and that I have no reason to envy anyone else’s, somehow I always find myself longing. I am not proud of my response. This isn’t me bragging. This is me feeling weak, sick, and ashamed. Even though I appreciate everything Mr. Right-For-Now does, I still felt the poisonous sting of jealousy because someone else got something I wanted. I still feel it now as I write these words. Envy is my vice and it has been for a long time. And I don’t have a list of thought-out solutions, clever fixes, or innovative suggestions for myself or for anyone experiencing this. After all, I don’t really think you can avoid feeling jealous.  But I will use this experience as information and an opportunity to grow. God revealed me to me tonight. I learned that no matter how much I may have grown to Love myself, grown to trust my partner, and grown happy in my relationship, someone else’s life and relationship can still influence me. So now I know what I need to work on to mature.

Thank you for letting me share! I feel oodles better just admitting this. You know what they say, “the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.” In that same respect, the first step to expelling envious emotions is expressing them. I hope to write again soon with news of my progress. Goodnight Loves.

The Deconstruction of the “Basic Bitch”


Of course, you always have the right to remain basic

Of course, you always have the right to remain basic

The derogatory insult I hear thrown so fervently around by people my age these days–everywhere from the Twitterverse to church parking lots–is the accusation that a particular woman is a “basic bitch”. Made popular by comedian Lil’ Duval and YouTube phenom turned actor SpokenReasons, a “basic bitch” indulges in various forms of inappropriate and immature behavior. These immature and inappropriate actions are always determined by the party doing the insulting and change with the perspective of that specific insulter. For example, one person may find you “basic” for donning a brightly colored hair weave. While another person thinks women who wear any type of head scarf out in public are “basic”. However, according to urbandictionary.com, the general consensus seems to describe “a bum ass woman who think she the shit but really ain’t” or my favorite “just an extra regular female”. It exists as the polar opposite of the “bad bitch”. Though I do not condone using the word “bitch” to either uplift or degrade women, I do like the idea of a “basic” class of earth dwellers identified by their extraordinary ability to be ordinary instead of exceptional. “Basic” works just like when you go to the gas station and ask for “regular”. It’s the standard package without any upgrades like when you want a Lexus but you don’t really have Lexus money so you get the most basic Lexus you can afford. No extras. No add-ons. No substitutes. Just the standard. You didn’t mature or grow up. You didn’t get better with time. You just stayed “basic”. So for the sake of this post, “basic” is an uncanny ability to aspire to mediocrity. Though we’re all born special, somewhere along the way many of us–myself included–become “basic”. I think it starts around puberty. And ends when you want it to. As adolescents and young adults struggle to find acceptance and their own minds, they pick up many “basic” philosophies from the people around them as well as media influences like movies and music. This is how you learned to navigate and survive your world. But as you age, you cannot bring those “basic” attitudes and behaviors with you as life gets more complicated. If you do, those things will weigh you down and keep you from ever reaching a deeply loving relationship and marriage destination. Therefore, I present to you a few “basic” ideologies I learned somewhere along the road and had to shed in order to keep traveling this journey with finesse and grace. Maybe you’ll be encouraged to leave your own “basic” baggage on the side of the road.

“Basic” Behaviors & Attitudes I No Longer Subscribe To:

1. “I need a hood nigga to handle me”

The idea that a hood nigga can offer the most stable and enriching environment to raise a family is a ludicrous one. Though I can see how women get things confused. Thugs have many of the qualities a woman looks for in her man. They protect and provide for their families. They take charge of situations. And they certainly don’t let a woman walk all over them. Women are often attracted to their strong leadership. Personally, I just thought good boys were all boring and life would be a much more thrilling ride with Mr. Wrong. But having a man that makes his money illegitimately, whatever the hustle, brings a host of other things with it from jail time to jealousy. Those things usually get in the way of creating anything real. long-lasting, or stable. And having a man that makes his money legitimately but operates like a crook and a thief has its pitfalls as well. So be careful who you’re allowing to handle you. Make sure he/she undergoes a thorough moral background check.

Apparently you can boast your basic status to the world for $29.99

Apparently you can boast your basic status to the world for $29.99

2. “Money over bitches” or “Don’t chase hoes, chase money”

Admittedly, I’ve never believed this myself. But there are so many adult men who still walk around saying this, I feel the need to discuss it. This is a “basic”, childish idea on two totally different levels. Of course economic development and independence are important–absolutely no argument there. However, to live a balanced life, you should chase your dreams and pursue healthy relationships. The pursuit of money will leave you without any real wealth. For example, if you simply get up every morning and grind it out at work, you’ll get a check and you’ll make money. Unfortunately, you will have to maintain that pattern to get the money. So God forbid you lose that job or you lose the ability to get up and go to work, then where are you financially? If you’re going to explore anything, explore how to create wealth–the type of money you don’t have to grind it out every day to get. And on the other end of this, refusing to chase after women will leave you lonely. Do you need to chase down every skirt that walks past you? Hardly. But the good ones are certainly worth chasing and their worth and value in a man’s life far exceed that of money! A good woman can make you smile even when you’re penniless. And you can’t put a price on that. The key is determining which ones are worth your time and attention and which ones are not.

3. “I can save him/her”

Whatever the ailment, whatever the predicament, saving someone does not create a Loving union. I always envisioned the biblical Eve being a helpmate for Adam and so as a woman like her, I believed that my role. To help men. So I always dated men that were below me in a sense and would spend a lot of time and energy trying to pull them up to my level. I would imagine myself bringing him to have a closer relationship with God, or getting out of the drug dealing life because of me, or suddenly stopping his lying and dogging ways and committing to me. But I always saw more for those guys than they ever saw for themselves. And in the end, they always backed away–feeling they could not live up to my expectations. It is not necessarily “basic” to think you can change someone. People definitely change due to the influence of others. The basicness comes from offering your assistance to those who did not ask for it and do not want it. You can only change a person that already wants to change for his or her self.

4. “If I’m going to have sex with him (or mess with him), let me at least get something out of it”

Ahhh. This reigned as my motto for most of college. I thought myself somewhat better than most women because I wouldn’t just lay on my back for no reason at all. I didn’t believe in giving up something for nothing. So I would get expensive dates, money, clothes, groceries, whatever I may have needed. I didn’t consider myself a gold digger because I never sought out men with big bucks. And I didn’t see myself as a whore because I wasn’t taking money in direct exchange for sex. It didn’t even always escalate to sex. I would make men “pay” for my time. But at the end of the day, I sold myself tremendously short because I put price tags on my most valuable assets. I used material goods to justify messing with men I should’ve left alone. Some women make themselves worth vacations in the Bahamas while others rather get their rent money. Either way, you’re worth far more than any of that. You’re worth real Love. Now I’m not saying don’t let a man dote on you. I think a man you’re dating seriously absolutely SHOULD dote on you. But I’m talking about messing with men solely because of what they can do for you and contribute. That’s not fair to yourself or to him.

5. “Never let ’em know that you care”

If you still don't know what a "basic bitch" is, put the term in the search box of youtube and view away.

If you still don’t know what a “basic bitch” is, put the term in the search box of youtube and view away.

Mostly, when I said I did not care about someone or something, I meant it. But what gets confusing is when you finally DO care because you still end up acting and behaving as if you do not. I went many years not really caring or at least thinking I did not care, and then one day I did care. For whatever reason though, I thought caring was a weakness. It seemed like if he knew how much I really cared, I would lose my power in that relationship. So I did not express that care directly. And that relationship didn’t work out for me in the end. The second time the care bear attacked, I decided to try a different approach. I cared, knew that I cared, acknowledged that I cared, and expressed that care. I learned quickly that vulnerability is much harder and shows much more strength than not caring. True relationship power comes from vulnerability. Pride will make sure you end up alone. Everyone’s pretending like they don’t care. But they’re just pretending. Or they’re stuck in a numb place. There is nothing extraordinary about that. Dare to care. Because someone has to.

6. “If he can do it to me, I can do it to him”

This was a toughie for me to let go because I’m a pretty spiteful and vindictive person. I remember a long time ago my grandmother told me I’d “cut off my nose to spite my face”. And I didn’t get it then. But I soon learned. I based many of my actions off what the other person did to me or what men had done to me in general. So if he cheated, I cheated. If he juggled his women, I’d juggle my men. If he cursed me out, I’m cursing back. I always felt some type of entitlement to hurt a person back when they hurt me. And even if I didn’t do the exact same thing as you, I’d find a way to wreak vengeance. But basing your actions and reactions off of another person’s may be the most “basic” thing of all. On judgement day, I’m going to have to answer for myself. And I don’t think “see what had happened was, he started it” is going to fly with any deity. Really, I had to learn that I just wanted people to acknowledge and understand my pain. After a person does that and even if they don’t, the best thing to do is let it go. Karma usually makes a better teacher than you or I anyways.

In what ways are you still operating basically in your relationships? Do you think it’s about time that you self-upgraded? Share your thoughts!

Oh and enjoy this video from SpokenReasons.

Another Letter from the Editor


To My Beautiful, Glorious, Empowered Readers:

Me in 2013

Me in 2013

Leading up to and in this new year, 2013, I have reflected, analyzed, and mulled over many things. And to some of your disdain, my posts have become a bit less frequent. I figured I at least owed you an explanation as to why. So please allow my transparency. Maybe it will help someone.

Over the last few months in my relationship with Mr. Right-For-Now, I have been obsessed with one thing and one thing only: the ring. Much of this blog has been about me learning how to Love and be Loved. I’ve dedicated myself to elevating higher than the you-can’t-find-a-man-and-keep-him-cuz-you’re-too-sassy-independent-and-unattractive rhetoric geared toward black women. All with the hope that if a regular, young black woman could do it, so could others! And as I’ve become a better and better girlfriend/woman/partner/lover/friend, through my self-exploration, relationship classes, and relationship research, my impatience with the dating game increased. Because if I’m honest, the goal of all this elevating was a ring–the ultimate pudding proof that I (and others like me) can do this Love thing in spite of everything. And although I’m smart enough to know everlasting Love doesn’t start nor end with a ring, I wanted what I wanted how I wanted it.

Sometimes, our own wants and desires blind us. We cannot hear or see God’s working or more importantly God’s timing. This may happen a bit more often in my life lol but maybe someone reading can relate. I feel like I do the work, I do what God asks me to do, and then I want my blessing. My own ego and entitled-ness does not permit me to hear God clearly shouting at me, your time is not now! Prior to this ring example, it took me five years to graduate college with two degrees. But in a last-minute effort to graduate on time, because I simply wasn’t the kind of girl who needed to do a fifth year, I took 18 credits, in addition to working an overnight job and acting as president of my collegiate honor society. As a result, I failed two courses–which severely lowered my GPA–and missed out on many hours of sleep. And still ended up doing a fifth year. It was a completely humbling experience. I remember crying to my sisterfriends, a bitter and angry spoiled brat because I hadn’t yet graduated. But who was I to think myself above having to do a fifth year? In the end, that extra year resulted in my meeting Mr. Right-For-Now. Had I graduated on time, I may not know him to this day and I certainly would not have dated him.

Mr. Right-For-Now & Ms. Not-Right-Now at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball 2013

Mr. Right-For-Now & Ms. Not-Right-Now at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball 2013

So when I realized my impatience for my ring put a dark cloud over my relationship, I pulled back on the reins. Whoa there. Easy girl. I must be here again because I did not completely learn my lesson the first time. And God will bring me back here again and again until I get it right. So I’ve thrown my hands up. And accepted the most simple of facts, if he hasn’t proposed, one of us or neither of us is ready. I could read a hundred more relationship articles today and that fact will remain. Now I’m not going to trick you and tell you that I’ve been some kind of happy camper since this realization. Actually, it’s been quite the opposite. I’ve been struggling and at a loss of words and advice for my other young sisters and brothers out there–hence the lack of posts. Because I do not have the answers. And I’m questioning the questions. I don’t know if we’ll work out and I don’t know if Mr. Right-For-Now will be Mr. Right-Forever. All I know is that there is a protocol for waiting that I haven’t been following. So I’m attempting to become a better waiter in 2013. And I don’t mean in the sense of waiting on my man or any person really. But because there will be lots of waiting in life. Especially for the finer things. And I figure I better get good at it now.

I love you all. And wish you LOVE in all shapes, sizes, and colors this year! There is no force greater than that of Love on this earth. Love connects us all.

Yours Truly,

Ms. Not-Right-Now

1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 2)

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I cried. Hard. Not because we ended but because I realized Love would never feel like that again. My mother just finished explaining to me that First Love is the combination of new feelings and naiveté, ignorance and innocence. She’d meant it to comfort me. But I found no solace in that revelation. I knew too much now, I’d grown too much now, and that would keep me from Loving another man again. At least in that I-don’t-really-know-any-better-never-ever-felt-heartbreak kind of way that I had Loved him. And that Love felt so damn good. Now, I was Danity Kane damaged. With Erykah Badu baggage. So my half-hearted attitude towards dating someone else seemed completely justified! What was the point if I’d never get that old thing back? Could my next Love give me even half of what he’d given me? Would I always compare each new suitor to him? Ignorance really was bliss.

People always want to meet that one right he or she and fall in Love. But the keyword is fall–meaning it’s a fluke, a freak accident even. Like when you fall down the stairs (and who wants to do that on purpose?). But it’s because we don’t understand that it doesn’t start and end with First Love. First Love is simply the doorway to a much bigger and greater Second Love. And do you know why Second Love is better? Because you don’t fall in it. You choose it. You make a conscious decision and an intentional effort to Love and be Loved. Now, don’t misunderstand me. This doesn’t mean that First Love and Second Love have to occur with different people–a First Love can easily transition to a Second Love–but a First Love and a Second Love need to have different mindsets. A person in Second Love understands that Love isn’t a good enough reason to be together. Love doesn’t make a relationship work. And staying in Love for an extended period of time takes effort–because sometimes you have to show Love even when you don’t feel it. I couldn’t possibly understand back then that I would never feel for another man what I had felt for Mr. Lies-About-Everything because I’d never be that insanely stupid naive again. My ignorance about my own needs and wants in a relationship made that First Love feel so great. I didn’t realize once I knew better, I’d do better. Heartbreak taught me to give my heart away with caution. The failure of our pairing proved that Love doesn’t always work like superglue. And I discovered the Love for a significant other often infringes upon the Love for self in an unhealthy twosome. I’ve never really been the kind of girl that makes the same mistake twice. As they say–fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m busting windows out your car. So to keep from becoming a bitter caricature of my former self, I took my sour batch of First Love lemons and turned them into sweet Second Love-ade.

When Lessons Learned Doesn’t Mean Love Lost–Forever

Many of you park it in First Love and keep paying the meter simply because you’re afraid someone else will get your spot (missed pt. 1? check it out here). It’s in the lot but it’s not even the best spot in the lot. You still have to get out and walk a good ways. You’ve had opportunities to move closer but you stay glued to that one space–convince yourself you need the exercise. If you move and someone else gets to the new spot before you do, then what? And God forbid someone else takes your old spot. Then you’ll have no space in Love at all. So you never move and you never grow. Because someone told you that it’s better parked somewhere in Love than out on the street. But what you don’t know is that the Second Love lot waits a few blocks further down, closer to your dreams. And you’ll only discover it when you give up your spot here. You can only find it after you’ve done a little street parking.

Second Love, much like First Love, is a place. You can get here with the same person you got to First Love with or you can find a new passenger. This time, it doesn’t really matter who you’re riding with or who you are while you’re riding, but how you’re riding. Do you keep two hands on the wheel, alert and uptight? Or do you drive with your feet, reckless and inattentive? You have to take what you’ve learned about yourself in First Love and make it work for you in Second Love. It is a cerebral Love. It is a responsible Love. It is an evolving Love. It is NOT self-seeking. Second Love acts as the relationship land of milk and honey–meaning you can find the maximum relationship satisfaction here. And its inhabitants live by a simple mantra: Love, Learn, Grow. Unlike First Love, Second Love has a deeper, spiritual purpose. It lives to help you do what you couldn’t do alone. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there’s any average age people experience this because I believe many of us never make it to the promised land. As marriage rates decrease and divorce rates increase in the black community, it seems most of us get stuck somewhere between First Love lot and street parking. But I assure you that this place exists because–I’m here.

If You Lived In Second Love, You’d Be Home Now

Now I’m not trying to toot my own carhorn. I haven’t been here long. And I still have a lot to learn about living life here. But I made it because I found someone willing to grow with me, someone who addresses issues head-on, and someone who falls in line with my purpose in life. We don’t run on pure Love power, we run on Purpose power. I Love Mr. Right-For-Now. But that’s not why we’re together. We both understand that Love isn’t enough. So we’re together only because we can soar much higher helping each other than if we were flying solo. I’ve supported Mr. Right-For-Now in his quest to become a Certified Public Accountant. He supports my dream of getting my PhD. And when I say support I don’t mean we both said to each other “I support you”. I mean bona fide support which includes sacrifice–the kind of sacrifices you can’t/won’t make in self-absorbed First Love. I entertain myself and find new things to do when Mr. Right-For-Now can’t spend time with me because he’s studying. Mr. Right-For-Now plans to move away from his family so he can follow me to Atlanta where I’ll be attending graduate school. I do it for him and us. He does it for me and us. There’s no “I” anymore in Second Love. Everything is about the good of the unit. This may sound foreign to many of you. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s okay to be selfish. But it’s my belief that two people in a power couple have to take turns sacrificing in order for each person to reach his or her full potential. Like Michelle and Barack. Nicole and Boris. Will and Jada. Otherwise, they’re just–well–a regular couple. Think about it.

1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

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1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

It’s funny how you can date and cry over somebody for three whole years and never truly see them for who they are. I know that’s why they say Love is blind. But what they mean to say is First Love is blind. Because you look in your First Love’s eyes and see a hologram projection of what you think Love is–a projection born from your early childhood experiences and messages, the media, and the people around you. You see almost everything BUT the person in front of you. How could you possibly see them? You are navigating a new sea of emotions, feelings, and chemical imbalances, a new relationship dynamic featuring a strange dependency, and a new awareness of self. Where exactly does the actual person you’re dealing with fit into that myriad of mess? I’m here today to tell you what no one told me. First Love isn’t meant to last because First Love is all about you.

I understand that I may have already lost many of you. Because life has taught us that First Love is this wonderfully great thing. Love  in and of itself is enough to carry a relationship through anything. And that oftentimes, you’re first Love is your only true Love. Many of us, despite moving on and dealing with new people, stay stuck in First Love one way or another. Sometimes, we physically go back to the person. Sometimes, we never really give up hoping that our first Love comes back into our lives so we don’t give new prospects a solid chance. Sometimes, we fall in Love again but we keep tabs on that First one. And many more of us haven’t even left our First Love yet despite that nabbing feeling that it’s over. I’ve been in all four of these predicaments. This post was born out of my personal grapple with First Love. And when I realized Mr. Right-For-Now had a similar debacle, I figured we can’t be the only two that have experienced this. So I wanted to make an argument that First Love is a very necessary experience because you learn so much about yourself. But there’s more to Love than First Love.

Before we go any further, let’s define the undefinable. What is First Love? It is not to be mistaken with Puppy Love or childhood Love, first longterm relationship, or the first sexual encounter. Although all of these states of being can produce similar mind-numbing effects, First Love, for our purposes, is decidedly a bit more adult and independent. It has more to do with who you are when you feel it than what you actually feel. First Love is the first time you really get serious about another person and are mature enough to know what that means. Parents aren’t really involved. You go out on dates. You may have even lived together or seriously contemplated marriage. It is the first time you say “I love you” and have an actual concept for Love in your head. I’d like to argue that many of us experience this Love within the ages of 17 to 25. And that the mindset of someone in First Love is that Love is all you need. People in First Love put up with a lot from their partner. But always end up back together. It is a resilient Love, a committed Love (lasting 12 months or longer), and a passionate Love. It is an intimate Love–I remember feeling like my First Love knew me better than anyone on the planet. He knew me in ways I didn’t yet know myself. We all know the expression “fall in Love”. I think that when it comes to First Love, that is precisely what happens to most of us. You are walking down the street, taking an unfamiliar route, when suddenly your tire slips into a deep pothole. You are jolted and startled–no prior knowledge of this pothole or what to do when you hit one. I mean sure you’d heard of potholes, even seen them before, might’ve known a few people–your parents for instance–who’d fallen into them while you were in the car. But this is your first time being in the driver’s seat and running into one. You get to make all the decisions about this situation for yourself. It isn’t driven by sex. It isn’t driven by rebellion and teenage hormones. It isn’t even driven by a mutual agreement to parent a child together. First Love runs on pure Love power. I do not want to put First Love in a box. I know women who haven’t experienced First Love until after they’ve already been married once. But I do want to present cases in which I’ve seen it frequently arise. It’s euphoric. It’s exciting. But it’s selfish.

First Love is selfish. It is all about me, myself, and I. This Love is not about the actual person that we fall in Love with. It’s more so about what that person does for us and how they make us feel. Why does First Love have to be selfish? Because it usually finds us in a very selfish stage of our development. As I mentioned before, it comes in the time frame where we have to start making decisions about our futures on our own. Am I going to go to college? Am I going to get a job? Am I going to continue living with my parents? Should I buy a car? There is a newfound independence that we experience as we age and wean ourselves from the support of our caretakers. We have just developed a new power to think and do for ourselves. And we try to exercise this power within the confines of a relationship as well. The relationship itself exists to ensure fulfillment of our personal needs–the need for consistent sex, companionship, and adventure. And our problems all have to do with how the other person isn’t meeting those needs. He doesn’t take me out enough. She’s always mad at me. He’s all up in my face, can he go home! She doesn’t do it how I like it. First Love is also selfish because oftentimes, it’s born out of selfish motives. I remember I was seeing several guys on and off Temple’s campus flaunting my ability to be with whomever I pleased whenever I pleased, when I realized that I cared for Mr. Lies-About-Everything more than I thought. We’d been hanging out and talking as friends. He’d made it clear he wanted more than a friendship. But it wasn’t until I realized he’d been talking to another girl I knew that I figured I should have him all to myself. I didn’t decide to be his girlfriend because I wanted to take things to the next level and commit myself to someone I cared about. I decided to be his girlfriend because I wanted to have the right to be upset about who he dealt with. I needed to validate my own feelings toward him. Finally, First Love is selfish because more than it teaching us about the other person, it teaches us about ourselves. You begin to learn what turns you on, what turns you off, what traits complement you, what traits you can’t stand. That first person usually becomes the template for your future mate. They teach you all about your likes and dislikes. First Love also reveals your true identity. Before First Love, you didn’t know that you were the slitting tires kind of person. Before First Love, you didn’t notice that you really have a problem being emotional and vulnerable. It took me three years to really see Mr. Lies-About-Everything for who he was because I was so busy projecting onto him who I thought he was–who I wanted him to be. Oh I knew things about him. A lot. I’d stood close by his side for many a day and night. So I noticed when he lied to me and acted unfaithfully. But I didn’t intervene. Because my interpretation of Love was that even when the two people in Love do unLoving things to one another, the Love itself would get them through. I didn’t put my foot down. I didn’t make any demands on him. Because I figured things would work themselves out. That’s what I thought I’d always seen. My Love for him simply reflected what I thought I knew about Love. I never accepted him and I never accepted us for what we really were. My eyes were wide shut as they say. And I wouldn’t have known who I was in a relationship if we hadn’t ever fell in Love.

No one ever told me that First Love wasn’t meant to last. And that Second Love could be so much better…

Sex and the City


Four beautiful women in their 30s sat around a small table discussing the new post-chivalry dating possibilities of the millennium.

I Love the Sex and the City writers for staying so true to real life. In the end, the only one who gets the fairytale Love is the one who never stopped believing she could have it.

“Look, if you’re a successful single woman in this city you have two choices,” the blonde one roused. “You can bang your head against the wall and try and find a relationship. Or you can say screw it and just go out and have sex. Like a man.”

“You mean with dildos?” the brunette asked, confused.

“No! I mean without feelings.”

The other two women–another blonde and a redhead–listened eagerly as the first blonde explained a prior sexual escapade where she felt absolutely nothing for the man in her bed. But the brunette’s eyebrows furrowed in bewilderment. The concept of “having sex like a man” flustered her. She still believed in romance. And she doubted the blonde’s ability to feel absolutely nothing.

As I listened to these four women talk, I was reminded of the troubled state of my sex and womanhood in the 21st Century. I, too, had gone through a period in my dating life where I approached things “like a man.” I took what I wanted and didn’t particularly care about the other person’s feelings. I called back if and when I felt like it. And I had sex without feelings. So I asked myself if the two-can-play-that-game attitude–pioneered by women in the 90s and carried on by women in the 2000s–really did us any good? It didn’t help me have better relationships with men I wanted to take seriously. It didn’t get me a proposal from some guy amazed by my ability to f**k him and leave him. It didn’t keep me from getting my feelings hurt by men. And it definitely didn’t even leave me with a stack of mind-blowing sex stories :(. My days of “having sex like a man” resulted in the same thing it often results in for men–emptiness and no true connections. I filled myself on temporary comforts only to end up hungry again. I do not regret experiencing sex without emotion. It created a needed boundary between sex and Love in my mind. But it wasn’t a completely fulfilling and satisfying experience–physically nor emotionally. And as I contemplated what I’d been through, seen other women go through, and the gripes of those four women at the table, I wondered why did modern women want to be like men so badly?? What is so bad about being a woman??

I have a theory. It would seem that us 21st century girls have been suckered into subconsciously hating ourselves. We are overrun with and internalize the sexist propaganda that comes with life in America. We have somehow systemically learned that emotion is in fact weakness. And we’ve distanced ourselves from our abused, battered, and manipulated mothers, grandmothers, and aunts. We have watched them accept things from men (or other women) that we would never accept ourselves. And in our frustration with the women of a different era, we’ve found solace in what we perceive to be masculine behaviors. Instead of being the abused, we’re the abusers, the oppressor instead of the oppressed.

Any woman who actually has “had sex like a man” without any emotional attachment knows how powerful that can make you feel–at least initially. But when it’s time to explain to a man you really like how many guys you’ve been with and he doesn’t really want to hear anything over 5, you feel like shit again. Or when it’s your birthday and you want one of those guys you’re just sleeping with to make you feel special  and you realize that none of them can–and none of them want to. If women were honest with themselves and with their EMOTIONS, we’d realize the truth–that casual sex poses emotional dangers for us. Because at the end of the day, we want to feel Love. Women, after all, were created for Love.

Whether or not casual sex is good for women is a highly debated issue (check out Can Women Enjoy Casual Sex? from Psychology Today). And even though I am leaning more towards the side that says it’s not so great a practice for MOST women, I am in no way advocating that women should NOT have casual sex. I know. Now you’re sitting at home like “wait, but you just said…” I know what I said. I also believe just like the four women illustrated above women do not fit into a single box. There may be women out there like the blonde (aka Samantha Jones) filled with enough self-Love that they do not need life long companionship. I’ve never met them but I’m sure they’re out there. Even I’ve had casual sex that made me feel sexually empowered not because it was so great but because I was exercising my pussy power. I got to say when, where, and how it would be done. And if he didn’t like it, he had to go. What I am trying to say about casual sex is examine your motives as a woman and do not deny yourself your innermost desires. If you want Love (like the brunette and the other blonde), say you want Love.

I’ve come across many women who try to deny themselves their own nature. They say things like “it’s not that serious”, “I’m not that kind of girl. I just wanna f**k”, or “I’m just having fun”. But when the right person comes along, they’re swept up faster than you can say Swiffer. Not realizing that all they are doing is denying their own humanity, they’re own womanhood–feeding into the propaganda that tells us it’s not okay to be vulnerable and emotional and to want a relationship. We feed into the messages that tell us somehow men are more powerful and have more control because they’re less sensitive. But it takes the most strength to be vulnerable–whether you’re a man or a woman. The hardest thing in the world is sharing your heart–not your bed. If you are having casual sex while maintaining the ultimate Love for self  and not compromising on what you want, than by all means “do you booboo”. But do not fall into casual sex because you’re afraid to pursue the Love you want and need. If you put yourself out there for Love, the Universe will not return to you empty-handed.

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