Monday, December 10, 2012

Hi, I'm Diana & I'm Unemployed

If you haven't heard already, I'm now a part of the league of unemployed. I was one of 400 let go from the quasi tech, daily deal selling , LivingSocial.

When I got that phone call from my boss and my HR rep telling me that my position was being eliminated, I didn't really know how to react. My face looked like this:

But inside I was numb. As information and questions were fired off through my receiver, " Do you want to arrange to pick up your belongings? Do we have your updated address so we can send you your severance information?... It's not you, it's us", all I heard was "mwa mwa mwa mwa" just like when the adults speak in Charlie Brown.

I'll be honest, I've never been let go, fired or anything... ever. I didn't LOVE what I was doing but it paid the bills so I definitely wasn't planning to leave without a more fulfilling option presenting itself. I didn't know whether to feel panicked, happy, sad, disappointed. But I will tell you what questions popped into my mind first, "how the heck am I going to pay my rent? and, will I need to return that handbag I just bought for Black Friday? maybe I should finally look into egg donation?".

I guess you'd call that panicking, but calmly so. After hanging up the phone, I dialed up my mom and texted a few friends to share my shock & awe. I guess I felt that if I told someone, it'd be like pinching myself and I'd wake up from what I was sure was rapidly approaching nightmare territory and instead be sitting at my desk having one of my usual tyrannical fits over a sales rep not heading one of my requests. Wait...

THIS is a quarter life crisis!

The phenomena I had given up writing about in lieu of  focusing my talents on my other projects: my lifestyle blog The High Life, my 9-6 and baking; was now staring me right in my face. Or better yet reading me my last will & testament as a LivingSocial employee, over the phone.

I'm 27, no longer a kid but surely not what I envisioned a true adult being... somewhere wading around in what I've come to call extended adolescence and now is the time for me to figure out what my true career path should be. Time to take my passions and run with them. Turn those dreams into a reality. But where do I start?

Yeah, filing for unemployment is definitely a great place to start, but what next? What is my next step? Where's the next adventure? I love the retail industry and have been searching for the perfect opportunity to get back into the corporate side of things whether in buying, advertising/marketing or branding. However, DC isn't exactly a hub for retail or fashion. So will I need to return to NYC or maybe this is the push I need to move to London or Dubai. I don't know. But what I do know is that I'm ready to do what I love.

After the initial panic subsided, I felt an odd sense of freedom. There's a blank slate before me and only time will tell how the slate will be filled.

Do you know of any open opportunities that align with my experience? How do you know what my experience is? Well I've conveniently posted it below. If you don't believe in your abilities no one else will right? Right.

LivingSocial July 2011 – December 2012
Market Programmer
 Was responsible for the deal quality and scheduling for 8 selling markets located in the US South East region
 Partnered with my counterparts in the production, editorial and photography departments to ensure that deals are produced accurately and to the merchant’s satisfaction
 Worked with Account Executives and Sales Managers on a daily basis to maximize revenue potential
 Guided the sales' team in each market to ensure that they were securing adequate inventory to sustain their market
 Evaluated all inbound contracts from the sales department to ensure that each deal is of an excellent overall quality
 Used empirical data in order to identify sales & market opportunities, as well as understand the buying behavior of our subscribers
 Managed the deal queue for my markets across all verticals (dailies, families, At Home) in order to maintain a competitive mix and diverse selection of concepts

CUSP-Neiman Marcus September 2010 – July 2011
Selling Stylist
 Cultivated and maintained customer relationships in order to drive business
 Maintained top sales for my location from November 2010-January 2011
 Grossed over $700,000 in sales for the store during the eleven months I worked as a stylist
 Worked in conjunction with my team to maintain the visual aesthetic of the store
Macy’s Inc. June 2009 – September 2010
Advertising Coordinator – Fine and Fashion Jewelry & Watches
 Acted as the main point of contact between the merchant and advertising worlds
 Maintained ad proofs, merchandise for photo shoots, and sign-offs for all ads
 Compiled and configured layouts for storewide direct mailers and ROPs
 Scheduled and facilitated weekly advertising presentations to the production department
 Collaborated with the Advertising Director and marketing department on a daily basis to ensure ads were completed in a correct and timely manner

Macy’s East July 2007 – June 2009
Assistant Buyer – Fashion Watches
 Ran weekly reports and analyzed sales’ trends in order to drive the business and maximize sales opportunities
 Maintained open to buy as well as weekly ROF for respective brands (Fossil group, G-Shock, private label brand)
 Compiled styles for advertising mailers and ROPs in order to strengthen brand awareness and increase revenue
 Was responsible for a $26.0 mil business within a $55.0 mil buyer-ship for the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 seasons

Spelman College Atlanta, GA
· Major: Psychology Minor: Economics
· Graduated: May 2007
· G.P.A.: 3.77 / 4.0

~ D

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Brand New Day

 It's May 1st. So I know y'all know what that means...

There are so many emotions flowing through me right now that I can't even begin to explain them. I mean, I feel like it's my birthday and in a way I guess it is. After 6 months of not drinking and not maintaining any romantic relationships with men what so ever, I present to the world the new & improved me.

Dramatic much?

I guess so. But who cares, because I deserve this dramatic re-entry into the world. Over the past 6 months I've learned more about me than I ever thought I would, or even could. I dug deep within and pulled out my own insecurities and laid them on the table for me to see. For the past couple years I wore a mask that made me appear to be a tough cookie, that was cold as ice and bothered by nothing. But that was a lie. I was in pain and had buried it so deep that I didn't even realize it was there. I had allowed my past to not just shape me, but to define me and enough was enough, it was time I sat still and let myself be molded by a higher power.

Initially when I made the decision to stop dating it was because I was tired of trying the same things and not getting different results(which looking back on it, makes no sense). I was in the thick of it and it was tough for me to see what really needed to change, to evolve. I quickly discovered that it wasn't just that I kept running into men who didn't know how to treat me right, some of which I've chronicled here, but it was that I honestly didn't value myself and my purpose enough to know that I had to take responsibility for many of the things I experienced; particularly in the name of chasing love. Hell, I was chasing something that I didn't really even know the meaning of.

I had to learn how to connect with myself and with God. That it was more than okay to lay my burdens down because God's got it. That it's okay to cry and even to let those who care about me see me cry; because tears aren't signs of weakness, they're physical manifestations of growing pains. And in life we're ever growing & evolving.

Whitney Houston was right when she sang The Greatest Love of All; learning to love yourself is the greatest love there is. When you love yourself you're able to set healthy expectations for all other areas in your life. No one can make you happy if you aren't happy with yourself. Sure, maybe the love of someone else can temporarily feel the gaping hole left by not loving yourself, but eventually that lack of self love will raise it's ugly head and you'll realize that you aren't truly satisfied. Men leave, women change their minds, but you can't leave yourself; so you may as well learn how to love yourself or be content covering bullet wounds with band aids for the rest of your life.

Don't get me wrong here; everybody doesn't need to take a 6 month sabbatical from the things they're indulging in in order to rediscover what's most important. For some it could be a weekend retreat, just some 'me time' here or there. Do what works best for you. What I am saying though is that you do need to make time for yourself, to clear your mind, face those past experiences head on that have negatively effected your actions so that you can stop using them as excuses and crutches; so you can move on and be better for it. Maybe your parent(s) abandoned you, that man hurt you, that woman broke your heart; don't make your pain your story, allow your triumph to be your testimony. We've all been wronged by someone, somewhere at some point in life, you never know when your experience and how you learned and grew from it may change someone else's life.

In this whole process, there are some women that I really have to thank, who held me down in more ways than I could have imagined. LeighAnn, I'm so glad we were able to get things back on track :0) I don't think either of us were aware of the blessing you bestowed upon me when you shared Psalms 27 with me; I've read that verse nearly every day since then. Gina where would I be without ALL of our chats about men and how to strengthen our faith as we seek companionship?All in God's time! And Dunni, my sister in the struggle! lol I didn't think I could make new, genuine friendships after the age of 21, but I was proved wrong. When nobody else understood, you did, and I can't express how thankful I am for that. Only one more month to go and then a summer filled with #respectfulrecklessness can commence!

See how I've learned to better communicate my emotions towards others?? Growth lol. There so much more in store for me, more than I can even fathom. I hope you all will continue to read along as I turn the page on this new chapter. Hell, I actually think this is a brand new book entirely :0)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Taking No Prisoners

Today, April 1st marks one more month of my dating sabbatical. ONE month.

I've thought about it, said it, and now typed it and I still don't believe it. The past 5 months have flown by. Actually I think "flown" is an understatement. I swear it was just yesterday that I was shedding tears over situations that failed to work out with the guys who were in my life and that I merely blinked and here I am now, 5 months removed from one of the most trying periods in my life. And now that i'm nearly at the completion of my journey, I can honestly say that words cannot describe the change that I've felt take place within myself over the course of this break.

I feel stronger, wiser, smarter, better connected to myself and my purpose in life and most importantly my relationship with God has been strengthened by leaps and bounds. I have a clearer idea of what I'm looking for in a life partner and what type of relationship I want to have. There was so much that I thought I knew about love, relationships & myself but really I didn't have a clue. Some times when you're deep into something it's hard to get a realistic view of what's really going on. That's what was happening to me while I was dating. Dating a couple guys at once, entertaining this guy and the next one, but never really getting much out of any situation I was involved in. Having dates end up as nothing more than fragmented "friendships" and wondering why I wasn't getting the relationship that I thought I wanted?

Turns out, I was spending too much time operating out of pain and fear to be able to cultivate a healthy relationship with a man. I was unknowingly delighting in the pain of my stories, wearing them like war wounds. I didn't have a healthy relationship with me, how was I really supposed to maintain one with someone else? But while knee-deep in it, I couldn't see that. I just knew that I didn't want to be alone.

While I still have a month to go, I must say this journey coming to an end is quite bittersweet. There are new emotions that I have yet to finish processing and an action plan I'm till formulating. But let me tell you all something. When I get back in the swing of things, I'm not putting up with any bullshit. Excuse my French.

You see, after learning just how important I am, and truly beginning to love myself, I would be taking 100 steps backward if I simply go back to dating, business as usual. I've come to see dating as being an interview of sorts; but instead of trying to find the right person to fulfill a position for a career, I'm looking to hire my life partner. I realize there will be men who will turn out to be the wrong fit for my life and that that doesn't make them bad people, it just doesn't make them the right person for me.

With that said, this is MY life and that means that I make the rules. Especially since I'm the one who has to live with the consequences. I've always been the type to make rules and then bend & break them; I've made more exceptions than I can count, and I know this is something many of us are guilty of ladies. But not this time. And if you know & love me and see me even pretend to break the rules, I challenge you to call me out! Some times we all need some one to help keep us on the right track.

Monday, March 19, 2012

So... What's Your Sleep Number?

I've had several conversations that have led me to this topic. From Paul Brunson's MDMQ the other week, to having a brief on-line chat with a real life male virgin, and having one of my guy friends tell me he assumes most sexually active women have slept with at least 20 men by this stage in life 0_0; I can't help but wonder how important it is to know how many people your mate has slept with.

Have you ever asked someone how many sexual partners they've had? Does it matter? Is it the type of question that buries itself in the back of your mind? Or do you just not care? If someone asked you, how would you feel? Would you be taken aback? Offended? Would you be honest?

So many questions, so few answers. I've personally never asked a guy this question, partially because I think I never really wanted to know the answer. I blindly assume most men who are sexually active have slept with more women than I would be comfortable hearing about, so I'd rather not ask because I'd end up like the guy in the above video. As the saying goes you ought not ask questions you don't really want to know the answer to, right? I mean, what if the number was really high? Would that cause me to think he had been too promiscuous in the past(ah yes, men can be promiscuous as well)? What if it was really low? Would I believe him or would I think he was lying?

I think the biggest issue here is why someone's sleep number would even be of importance. If the person you're with is honest and even more importantly healthy, should it even matter how many people they slept with before you? I also, wonder if the number of partners a woman has had has become less important to men. Everyone has been saying heauxs stay winning these days, so has it become less of a issue if a woman has to use both hands & feet to count the number of people with whom she's made a beast with two backs?

And for the ladies, if a man told you he was a virgin or had only 1 or 2 partners, would you think that something must be wrong with him? We have to be clear about the fact that there are obvious double standards in this situation. Ones that herald men who have had many sexual partners, because of course practice makes perfect(sarcasm) and taunts men who have limited sexual experience because that's not what society "expects" from them. And of course the opposite is the case when it comes to women.

So speak on it people. Does your mate's "sleep number" matter to you? Why or why not?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Power of the P-*-S-S-Y

Ah ha! That title got your attention, didn't it?

Last week I was honored to attend a dinner and discuss with Mr. Bereolesque himself, Enitan Bereola II, and a few other dinner guests. We discussed everything from whether it's okay or not for your mate to be hanging out at the out on a regular basis, to cheating and sexual compatibility. Out of all the topics we discussed, and the knowledge that was shared, there was one point that was made that night that stuck with me the most and it came from Enitan:

Women don't know the power they really do have in relationships.

The moment I heard this, my brain pumped it's breaks! My girl friends and I had been discussing this very idea ad nauseum for the past few weeks. We've come to the conclusions that many women these days, ourselves included at one point or another, have forgotten how much power we hold when it comes to dealing with men. And that has most certainly left us on the losing end of the relationship scale. Let me be clear though, I'm not talking about the power of sex. 

There's no denying that women, particularly young, college-educated, professional women have been beat over the head with statistics that point to the belief that men of equal or greater stature, are in low supply and high demand. And anyone who knows anything about the principle of supply and demand knows what this type of situation creates; a culture where women start to operate out of fear and panic. A panic stemming from the fear that if they don't act quickly, they'll be destined to lives of loneliness. So to avoid such an "undesirable" situation women have begun to compromise ourselves. There's a silent competition going on out here among us ladies and slowly but surely we're throwing all of the rules and subsequently our power out of the window. 

We've become 'yes women'. We want to do whatever we think a man likes and wants before some other woman can. But the odd thing that we've neglected to remember, is that men like a challenge. They are easily bored and turned off by women who do everything they ask them to and answer to their every beck & call. Of course they enjoy that in the beginning, who wouldn't? But more than likely he'll end up with the woman who isn't afraid to tell him "no" sometimes and presents more of an interesting challenge for him.

Women forgetting that they have an undeniable power is what has prompted countless articles, blog & books about women needing to have and stick to their expectations &standards. Expectations/standards aren't about wanting a man with 6 figures and a BMW, they're about wanting someone who will respect you. put you before others, love & protect you. Those are expectations and standards that matter. Who cares if he's driving a S-Class Benz, owns his own home, and makes 6 figures if he treats you like sh*t?? 

You don't have to be caught in a rat race with other women trying to campaign and do the most for a man(who you can only hope will appreciate your advances) because you don't want to be single. If you want a man, go out and get him! But not by compromising your expectations and standards, thus giving up your womanly power. Believe it or not, we're the ones who set the tone in relationship. If you act like you don't care where the relationship is going, he won't either but if you want something serious, make that clear. And if he doesn't seem to be interested in that, pack it up and move on. We lose so much of our sanity pretending to be happy in less than ideal situations because we just want to be with someone. We've got to put that fear aside and embrace that power!

Oh, before I go, there is one last note. While this post turned out not to be about the power of women's lady parts(ha), I have to say that there is power in waiting to have sex with a man. And I'm not saying you have to wait until marriage, but make him work for it. Men are extremely sexual beings, so of course he may try and put the moves on you from what seems like day 1 but that doesn't mean you should oblige him just so he won't run off and become interested in someone else. Even if he does seem irritated by the fact that you won't cave into his desires, he'll also respect you even more for telling him no. That's something many men won't come right out and say but ask one of your good male friends, they'll probably tell you I'm right.

That power of the p-*-s-s-y? Let's use it wisely ladies.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Seriously, What Is The Big Deal About Sex?

Last night relationship adviser, Paul Brunson, posted his question of the moment(nicknamed MDMQ) on twitter and the responses exploded. The question he posed was, "Is sex necessary before marriage?".


Being a not so recent joiner of team celibacy, as I have shared here before, the question automatically peaked my interest. It's a topic I've discussed many, many times with my friends and I couldn't wait to see what folks had to say. I honestly thought the number of people who said "yes" would totally outnumber those who said "no" but it turned out not to be as skewed. However, "yes" sex is necessary did prevail as the popular answer, making up around 68% of the responses.

Of course many of the folks who said "no" were members of the Jesus crew and got to going on about sex being used as a replacement for God in relationships, sex being worshiped and so on and so forth. But what I really wanted to watch were the responses from those who said yes. And naturally, they were quite entertaining.

Without fail, quite a few men likened sex being necessary before marriage to test driving a car before you buy it (-_-). Which to me is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Maybe one of my male readers wants to explain that rationale to me, I'm all ears... well, eyes. Most "yes" responders said they felt that way because you have to make sure you're compatible with the person you're marrying and that that person is skilled enough in bed because that can make or break a relationship. But with that I have to ask, can it really?

If you love someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them, is lackluster sex enough to call it all quits? I'd have to ask whether the bond was honestly that strong in the first place if it's that simple to just walk away from them. Bedroom skills can always improve, but it takes patience and open communication. If you're having sub par sex with your mate and you haven't told them it's sup bar, you're just as much to blame for the situation as they are. How is someone supposed to know they aren't good at something if you just go along pretending to be satisfied? Closed mouths don't get fed, remember that.

For those responses that said you need to have sex with the person you plan to marry in order to make sure you're compatible, I just say, huh? Is sex the biggest thing that connects two people?

That took me back to a convo I had with a guy I dated, where I was asked what I missed most about sex. My response was 'the intimacy'. The poser of the question responded, "but we have intimate moments." And I actually had to pause for a moment. Intimacy is possible without sex?

It wasn't a concept I had ever thought about before that moment but once I did, it all seemed to make sense. Especially because sex without intimacy is DEFINITELY possible and happens all the time. But anyway, you can intimately connect with someone who you've never made a beast with two backs* with, never even laid in the same bed with. And part of me feels like making those types of connections can draw you closer to someone. It all just depends on how you're spending your time with that person.  You're not just getting together and hanging around that person because the sex is right, but because you enjoy the conversation, you enjoy the way you feel just being near them.

At times I think we give sex too much power. It's as if sex is no big deal(when we want to give ourselves permission to indulge in it) but then a huge make or break deal all at the same time. What if you fell in love and married someone and due to one reason or another, maybe a medical complication, they could no longer have sex. Would you divorce them? Sex is the glue that binds two people together, right?

But what do you all think, is sex necessary before marriage? Speak on it, I'm listening.

*Read Othello, you'll get it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

If One More Man Tells Me What To Do...

Over the past few years, we've been told by men in mass media to recognize when a man's just not that into us, raise our expectations, lower our expectations, act like ladies but think like men, give the blue collar man a chance etc etc etc.

Is it that these male authors and bloggers* really care about the "plight" of the 21st century woman, or do they merely see a golden opportunity that could lead to books on the NY Times best seller list, movie opportunities and money in their pockets? Anybody got a stat on how much money the relationship advice industry has raked in in the past 5 years? Because I really would like to see that. With all the buzz that continues to go on surrounding women and love, I can't help but continue to notice that many of the talking heads out there on this topic are men. And for the most part, it isn't men talking to other men about how they can straighten up and fly right, but men talking to women about what we can do to make sure we don't end up lonely, bitter, cat hoarding spinsters (-_-) Just as I'm writing this post I spy a tweet about Tyrese and Rev Run coming out with a book for women called Manology and a part of my soul just died.

I totally understand the theory, "who better to tell women what men want but a man"; however, I think it's deeper than that. Women can't learn how to attract a men who is seeking women, if they don't know how to really be a woman in the first place. I'm pretty traditional if you haven't noticed yet and I've certainly realized that women have begun to lose their way. I think it's time that we go back to the basics. Women need to be showed how to dress and carry themselves in a way that we command respect and love before we even open our mouths.

We've gotten to the point where independence and gender equality are being confused with just running around doing whatever pops into our heads regardless of what the outcome may be. If we weren't the emotionally charged beings that we are, that would be fine. Many of us have decided that letting a man find us is no longer the way to go and we have to step up our 'A' game to compete with other women to find Mr. Right. Women are truly out here chasing men, both figuratively and literally, a concept that is backwards to me. By no means am I saying that women shouldn't put forth an effort but as one of my favorite Bible verses states, "a man who finds a wife, finds a good thing". That's right, a MAN, not a woman who finds a man that she can persuade, swindle or guilt into being her husband. We've gotten so swallowed up into thinking that in order to get wifed we have to start thinking and acting like men that we've gotten damn near obsessed with the race to get a man.

While we're out here changing our way of life & thought to match what some man has taught us this week, it's important to realize that finally finding a partner to settle down with isn't going to be our life's saving grace. We're not going to go from insecure, unhappy single women to happily ecstatic, confident girlfriends and wives just because a man decided to show us the attention that we deserved all along. It goes deeper than just changing how you approach dating and how you think about men. And that's an important note that I feel is being left out far too often.

Also, why is it that more female authors/bloggers are not heralded for giving stellar life/dating advice catering to women? Is it because women don't trust other women enough to believe the things that come out of our own mouths? Is it that women only like to hear relationship advice from men? Or that men really do give the best life advice? Is it some twisted manifestation of the lack of male presence in many of our childhoods/endless desire to find a father figure that makes us jump at the chance to take advice from men who at least seem to have our best interest at heart? That may have been far-fetched, but remember I majored in Psychology so everything has a deeper meaning, IMO.

I have to shout out Demetria Lucas here, author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl For Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. I followed her blog for years and thus anticipated the release of her book last year. Gladly, she did not disappoint. Her book did not merely focus on the plethora of ways to get a man but how to live life to the fullest while journeying towards Mr. Right. It wasn't only filled with checklists and diagrams on 'gettin chose' and that's what I loved about it. That's what I feel we need more of. Teach women how to be the best they can possibly be and how to truly love ourselves from the inside out and the happiness will follow... the men will follow. Unlike us, men are simple creatures. And since a woman's confidence is definitely a top selling point for them(they love confident women, can't get enough), how about we get a guide for women on how to act like women and strengthen our love of self in order to become happy, uplifted, confident women who in turn are undeniably... man-attracting machines??  :-)

The other day on Twitter, I asked who would be the one to write a book for women on decorum and etiquette, a couple of my followers said: Me. I'm preeeeetty sure they were just joking but maybe I should...

*I don't think all men who write books & blogs geared towards women are bumbling idiots, there are a couple I enjoy. I wrote about them a couple posts ago.