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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chrihanna Gate 2012

If you haven't heard the Birthday Cake remix by now, you must be living under a rock; hell, even my mom has heard it. It's the lighter fluid that ignited the Chris Brown and Rihanna assault incident all over again. I kept telling myself I wasn't going to write about this topic. But the more I heard people talk about it, the more I began to feel like I needed to state my piece.

My opinion is an unpopular one. One that doesn't automatically vilify Chris Brown nor victimize Rihanna. I'm not going to sit and hash out what I think happened that night before the Grammys 3 years ago. I have no clue how things escalated to the point that Rihanna ended up with a bruised face and busted nose and neither do any of you. But what I do know for sure is that Chris committed a crime and thusly was made to pay for it. Whether or not Chris's punishment was harsh enough or not is also not for me to decide.

But what I did come to pass judgement on is, 1. why any of us felt that Rihanna would have turned out to be a role model in this situation and 2. why is it that we want Chris to pay for the sins of men who physically assault women everywhere? I've read articles such as this one from the Chicago Tribune focusing on the waste of a teachable moment and have been poised to ask another question. Why are we relying on celebrities to teach our children anything?

When the assault on Rihanna occurred, she was 20 and Chris was 19; what I refer to as kids. Both at the height of their young careers, surrounded by yes-men, the world was their oyster. That night changed both of their lives. Instantly the world turned Rihanna into a battered victim, who should use the event as a moment to become a spokeswoman for abused teenage girls everywhere and Chris, well, he became the 21st century Ike Turner. Literally overnight society wanted these two to be bigger than themselves; not just celebrities anymore but poster children for a cause.

My theory is that after people saw the photo of Rihanna's battered face, Chris immediately became the face for every abuser that ever walked the planet. Unlike many male celebrities before him who had been accused of abuse/assault(Brian McKnight, Terrence Howard, BeBe Winans, just to name a few) his victim had a face we recognized and adored. It was also impossible for him to deny that he did it. This wasn't some nameless woman who people generally could care less about, this was Rihanna; "when the sun shines we shine together" Rihanna. That fact alone turned Chris into Ike Turner. We may not have been able to burn Ike at the stakes since Tina did her best to cover up the abuse at the time, but this time "Ike" wouldn't be able to run from his crime. Chris Brown isn't the first man to put his hands on a woman and he won't be the last but how dare he abuse someone we "know"?

And the fact that so many of us feel like he hurt someone we know and identify with, makes it that much harder to forgive him. I would never condone what Chris Brown did to Rihanna. The punching, biting or the choking. I don't condone violence period; whether the aggressor is a man or woman, child, adult or elderly. But with that said, I will also ask at what point are people who inflict physical assault on another human being able to b forgiven for their crimes? After apologizing? After pleading guilty to a felony before the court of law? After the victim has forgiven them? After... never?

I've got a little religion in me these days, and with that said, I've adopted the theory that it isn't my job to forgive. That's between the perpetrator and God. I've also adopted the theory that no sin is greater than another. So if you forgive a liar, cheater or fornicator, so should an abuser who has repented also be forgiven.  For humans when we feel we've been done wrong, an apology is rarely enough. And recognizing that, for many Chris Brown will never be forgiven no matter what he does.

It's an undeniable fact that following the assault, Brown lost endorsements, airtime and respect. Celebs with questionable character(ie. Diddy) seemed to be the only ones who reached out to him for reasons other than wanting to cause him bodily harm.  What needed to happen following that fateful night before the Grammys wasn't a public stoning of Chris, but credible sources needed to reach out to him to help him. At the time he was a teenager, coming from a home where abuse was prevalent and as much as he spoke about not liking what went on in his own home, he no doubt became a product of his environment. What he needed wasn't grown men threatening to beat him up, but instead grown men who know the importance of respect to reach out to him and take him under their wing. I guess it's easier to vilify and turn him into some out of control monster than to be concerned about his rehabilitation.

Fast forward to 2012, Rihanna is as rebellious as ever, Chris is obviously still angry and both of them are attention seeking whores. Why again are we still expecting them to be a teachable moment and role models? I, for one, expected this reunion. I'm just surprised it took this long. Has Rihanna forgiven him? Looks like it. So what exactly do we want to happen now? If we shouldn't forgive Chris and allow him to produce popular music, worthy of awards and sold out concerts, what should happen? Should Rihanna be a spokeswoman for abused women even if she doesn't want to be?

I believe this all says something about society as a whole. It's the 21st century and we're still expecting celebrities to teach our children life lessons. How many cases of abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, overall misconduct does it take for us to wake up and realize that it isn't a celeb's job to teach our children anything but how to turn a talent into a tool to make money?

As usual, so many questions, so few answers. But I'd love to hear some opinions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Uh, Hello, Men Have Issues Too!

Somebody talk to me about men and their daddy issues. Or maybe men and their mommy issues. Because they've got them. And I for one, am tired of pretending like they don't. Ladies are you all tired too? 

Let's just clear the air for a second. Women are not the only sex effected by their childhood experiences with their parents. The man whose father left him when he was a kid is just as marred by that occurrence as a woman is! The difference is just that women are brought up to know that it's okay to be emotional and talk about your emotions while men essentially get taught the complete opposite.

"Be a man!" "Toughen up!" "Men don't cry!" 

Sound familiar? The truth however, is that sure, men may not cry but they sure as hell act out and operate out of fear due to their upbringings.

I've met the men who are afraid their relationships & marriages are destined to end in failure/divorce so they only offer up half-ass tries. Those who don't believe they'll ever have healthy relationships. Who think womanizing is the way to go because that's what their fathers, who probably acted more like boys in adult bodies than beacons of positive leadership, taught them & showed them through their own actions. I've seriously heard some things from men about their pasts that made me cringe. But what I heard also made me have "ah ha" moments about the way they act and treat the women they deal with.

If there's one thing I have learned, it's that experiences from your past are not excuses for your current actions, but they are reasons. We can deny, deny, deny until we die that our pasts heavily influence who we are, but at the end of the day, they do. And in order to harness those experiences, we have to face and deal with them. No more sweeping the past under the rug in hopes that no one will notice that your flaws are showing. 

How do men get to a point where they are able to open up and be real about negative emotional occurrences in their pasts, so that they can properly address them? 

I truly think that's the only way we can start to heal the current state of love. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a chic with a laptop and a head full of thoughts. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

Tell Me About Your Love

Seems like everybody I know has dating & love horror stories.
Men are triflin, women are needy. Nobody knows what they really want and it seems like we'd all have more luck winning the lotto than striking it rich in love.

Even though this is what I hear day after day, from the mouths of strangers and friends, I refuse to believe it. Love lives and I want you to tell me all about it.

If you've got love in your life, I ask that you share that story here. Don't be shy, tell me how it happened. Feel free to post anonymously, we don't have to know who you are to know your story :0)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Happy Valentine's Day Folks!!!!!!!

I'm single and currently dating God, but dammit I'm not bitter today!! Did I just curse and put God in the same sentence? Yikes. Y'all get what I'm saying though. No?

It's February 14th, a day that for many single folks often brings about a day full of scowls, devoured pints of ice cream, man bashing sessions and feelings of hate towards everything red, floral or heart shaped. But c'mon folks, married/engaged/single or otherwise, today is a day to celebrate love!

I've had a Valentine only once and I still love the day. Yes, it's commercialized. Yes, you should celebrate love everyday. But think of it this way, you're alive everyday and you still want people to make a big deal out of your birthday and pop bottles in celebration right? Exactly!

So what if you're not in a relationship. Celebrate the love that you do have around you. Your family members, your friends... shower them all with love! When's the last time you told yourself, "I Love You"? If you have to think about the answer to that, it's been too long. Don't get depressed because cupid has yet to shoot his arrow your way(corny huh?) and definitely don't turn into The Grinch Who Stole Valentine's Day. With that said, I leave you all with this, a little love below :0)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Dangers of Blogging

My very first post on this blog, which was back in January 2010, ended by saying:

"*For my friends/associates/ex lovers and the like who may read my memoirs and see yourselves in these stories, don't be mad! It only means you were on my mind"

Even with that warning, I knew there could possibly be people who may still get offended, upset or hurt by things that I write here. However it never fails to catch me off guard when someone tells me they didn't like something that I wrote about them. Why you ask?

1. I rarely get comments on here, so I assume the number of people who actually read this blog is preeeetty small. It isn't until someone quotes something I said or brings up a topic I wrote about that it really does hit me that there are more eyes on this blog than I thought. So making people upset but what I put here, definitely is not something I would intentionally set out to do, but when I'm blogging and purging my thoughts on a certain topic or experience, the last thing I'm honestly thinking about is how the subject of the post might feel if they were to read it. That may sound callous but it's MY blog. 

2. I never, not ever, use people's real names if I'm writing about an intimate experience. By intimate, I'm not referring to sex so don't try and scroll back through the posts to see if you missed something juicy, nasties :-) I don't even use physical descriptions of people!

3. I never thought that the men I know could actually feel some type of way about the things I write here. 

Wow, that sounded a bit insensitive... but it's true. I know men with some pretty big egos. They have confident auras and often seem like nothing ever phases them, so if/when I get called out for something I wrote here, it shocks me; and it's happened more than once. 

Having come to the reality that, look chic, folks read your blog and may actually pick up on context clues and piece puzzles together and find themselves staring back at them on the computer screen, I'm forced to ask myself the question whether some situations are too personal to write about? I completely understand that that's what people want to read, the gritty interesting stuff, and honestly that's what I want to write about, but do I want to make people upset in the process?  Should there be a filter?

I'm no Carrie and this isn't Sex in The City. There are real people in this blog and real emotions behind them. In the midst of purging my soul here and in return getting free therapy, could I potentially be scaring(for a lack of a better word) guys off because they don't want to end up as my next blog topic?

Food for thought.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Girl, Quit Lyin!

In my previous post, I mentioned the latest stat that stopped me in my tracks. Didn't see it? Here it goes:

45% of black women say getting married is very important

Before I could even finish the rest of the article, my response was, we women have GOT to stop lying to ourselves. I find it hard to believe that only 45% of women find marriage to be very important. As I stated before, I'm not saying that we should all be running around like chickens with our heads cut off obsessing over marriage, but only 45%?? That definitely surprised me. And so did some of the quotes from women who arebsuccessful and single that were interviewed as a part of the article.

"Love, the comedian, who also is single, says there is no point focusing on what she doesn’t have. “A lot of people say you’re going to be lonely. No, you will adjust,” Love says, adding that she enjoys her life, which includes partying and going on cruises, without anyone accompanying her."

"Nika Beamon, a television news producer in New York who turned 40 last year, likes to say, “I didn’t work this hard to get married.” She imagined that she would have a husband and children by now but is satisfied with how things have turned out."

"Smith, the 21-year-old University of Maryland senior, says many of her female friends are reluctant to express the truth about their love lives. “You have these driven black women here,” Smith says, “and sometimes . . . you really don’t want to talk about, ‘Oh, I haven’t had a boyfriend since high school.’ It makes you seem weak.”

I'll admit, I side-eye every woman who utters the phrase, "I'm single and even if I never get married, that's okay because I'm fine being alone. I've got a good job, a house, etc etc etc" or any variation of that phrase. And you know why? You don't mean it!

Some of us have gotten so used to being turned down and turned away by men that we've built up a defense mechanism that automatically regurgitates that line every time someone asks us about being single. And I get it, I get tired of being asked about my singletude as well. But you will never catch me saying I'm okay with the idea of winding up alone, because I'm not. And I won't lie to you nor myself about that. 

How many of us have opinions close to the one shared by the 21 year old college student? That we feel weak or less than because you're unattached? And don't lie because it's okay if you do. But the truth is, just as we have power in our professional lives, we have just as much power in our personal lives. No, you can't make a man fall in love & marry you but you can make yourself emotionally available to men and be for real about what you really want in a relationship. Too often we're forgetting how much power we really do have as women. And because we don't recognize that power we end up cowering in a corner with all of our other successful, single-and-don't-really-wanna be girlfriends pretending not to care.

Long story short, being honest about what your really want out of life is the first step to getting what you really want out of it. Think, there for you will be ladies :0)

And quit lying! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Will We Always Be a Statistic?

Feast your eyes on The Washington Post's latest article on the state on the black woman:

Survey Paints Portrait of Black Women in America

Go ahead... take a look. It's not nearly as daunting as previous articles. The story which basically summarizes the most striking points from an 800 person survey, is the first in a series of articles on the current state of the black woman in America. Apparently, the Post has found out that all black women aren't angry after all nor are we kitchen bound mammies. Well looky there. All hints of cynicism aside, the article presented some interesting findings and brought to the forefront some very pertinent issues.

Nearly 3/4s of black women think now think it is a good time to be black in America
There are more than 900,000 businesses in America that are owned by black women
67% of black women describe themselves as having high self esteem
67% of single black women would be willing to marry outside of the race
63% of women said it was acceptable to have a child without being married
As of 2008, only 9% of black women married outside of the race; compared to nearly 20% of black men
45% of black women say getting married is very important


Wait what? Only 45%? Seeing as this is a relationship centered blog, all of those other stats are great, awesome even, it's about time black women are looked at as being the dynamic beings we are, however that last stat stopped me in my tracks. Marriage is only important to 45% of us? I'm not saying everybody has to want to get married or else you aint sh*t, eh, okay maybe I am. But what I really want to know is am I the only one shocked that less that half of black women out here find marriage to be important? And while marriage is important to only 45% of black women, 63% are a-okay with having children without being married. And the black family continues to be on the decline. Hmmmmm... interesting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Call Me in 6 Months

A couple weeks ago, I'm out at the bar with a few friends. As the night progresses a man comes over to the bar that they're familiar with and proceeds to chat them up. As a break comes into their conversation one of the guys I know slides his phone over to me with a message about this man's interest in talking to me. My only typed out response is: tell him I'm dating Jesus.

As jokingly as I meant that, I realized I was 100% serious.

If you've read my last couple posts, you already know that I'm on a break from dating. I needed some "me" time as well as time to assess my situation and realize what I want and need out of life. When I started this dating break, there was no concrete end date for it, I just figured I would know when it was time to give dating another try. However, over the holiday I gave my dating sabbatical a deadline. What is it you ask? May 1st, I say. That will mark 6 months of no dating. Six whole months of voluntarily giving up all romantic engagements with men. No dates, no cuddle sessions, no late night chats, no nada.

Why 6 months? For one, I needed to give myself a deadline. I don't normally do well with open ended situations of any kind, so I needed the structure that having a beginning and an end to this provides. Secondly, a great sister-friend, who's on a similar journey, recommended the book Your Knight in Shining Armor: Discovering Your Lifelong Love by P.B. Wilson for me to read. And in this book, the author recommends a 6 month dating sabbatical in order to get to know yourself (according to her, it takes 6 months to really get to know someone; yourself included apparently). Let me just tell you all that this book is amazing. It's faith based, so if you don't have any religion, as the old folks say, trust me, this is not the book for you.

Aside from on Twitter, I hadn't really said too much about this topic, mostly because nobody ever wants to believe me when I tell them what I'm doing; especially guys. Their response is pretty uniform across the board, "uhhh, but why?". And of course I get comments about how the last guy must have really done me wrong for me to want to take this type of break. Truth is, sure, things didn't turn out favorably in previous situations, but I found more fault with the way I responded to being hurt than with the hurt that was actually done.

What's really surprising and both humors & saddens me a bit is the surprised and damn near shocked responses I get from my girl friends. For some reason it boggles people's minds that I could elect to stop dating for half a year and just focus on myself. One of my friends even went so far as to ask me, "Since you aren't dating, what do you do with all that free time?". Huh? Is dating supposed to be that much of a focal point in my life at this age? So much so, that since I'm not dating, I must be sitting around being superhuman and twiddling my thumbs in boredom?

What I gather is that most women's approach to dating is to date, date & date some more until they finally "strike it rich" and come across the man of their dreams. Well, that approach never worked for me and most often it did nothing more than spiral me into a state of vexation; hence why taking this break to regroup makes a lot of sense for me. I'd honestly recommend that more women try this approach. If you're single and don't want to be, maaaaybe it's time to stop trying the same thing time and time again expecting to obtain a different outcome. What's the definition of insanity? Hmmmm...

The most difficult aspect I've pondered on this journey, is what do I do if & when I meet a man who takes interest in me? Do I abandon my goal of abstaining from dating to see if something promising could happen? Absolutely not! That would defeat the purpose. Hopefully guys who approach me won't take it personal when I say, call me after May 1st. But if they do, so what? This time things are about me, not them.