Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Barack Bug

The post below was initially written in April of 2009. As we near the end of President Obama's first term, I think it is fitting to re-post. We are less than 60-days away from Election Day and I haven't heard too much buzz. Please read The Barack Bug and share your current thoughts of the post.

Now that I have your attention, I feel the need to express that you should read the entire post before judging or forming an opinion. I think you will all agree that at the point it seemed possible that Mr. Barack Obama could actually win the presidential election, YBA (Young Black America) began to think and act differently. My first reaction to the new aura that seemed to be felt by most of the world (but definitely D.C.) was "this is great or horrible." With many people who previously had very little expectations of government finally forming at least a slight interest in the election process, barber shop and corner conversations changed. In fact, there was a large percentage of YBA that had been living "unfulfilled" lives which started thinking about improving themselves. I heard several of the drug-slinging high school drop-out youth in my neighborhood talking about how they had decided to change their ways. Some expressed that for the first time they felt they could actually achieve something. Several expressed their unhappiness with their role in assisting with the rapid downward spiral of urban Black America. Drug dealing, once viewed as the only (at least the easiest) means of employment, was no longer appealing to many of these young men. The affect that Mr. Obama's success had on such a large group of people was frightening. I remember wondering what the response would be if Mr. Obama failed. Would too many people fail to realize that even in defeat there is often a valuable lesson to be learned? Would more people accept the bogus, but common, excuse of not striving for anything because the system is set up to have us fail?
I now want to ask if we are still feeling THE BARACK BUG. Have the masses carried out the plans made during the election season's emotional high? Has anyone stopped selling drugs, attained a G.E.D., continued post secondary education, become a better parent, or kicked that habit? You are foolish if you think President Obama will be judged solely on the decisions made in the Oval Office. He will also be judged (although unfair) on the progress of the previously forgotten society. Yes, the same drug-slinging, high school drop-out, and pregnant teen population referenced earlier. Those that have the ability to offer help to this often ignored group should be judged on the amount of time devoted to these individuals in need. Did all of the newly discovered ambition leave after Inauguration Day?

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Million Pounds

So, I've been gone for a long time. This may be cheating, but below is something I wrote in 2009. I am going to, once again, attempt to be more disciplined and submit a minimum of two posts per month. This serves as therapy and I could use some now. Enjoy!

A Million Pounds

Can you imagine growing up with only extremes?
Can you imagine being told, by many people, “you’ll never see the age of 21?”
Picture this, on the same day you also heard “you’ll change the world.”
I’ve always felt as if I were living two lives
What makes it more complex, is nobody with an opinion
Could ever imagine the other opinion having been thought
I’ve been praised for the same things that caused the negative comments
The things that caused the negative thoughts
are what allowed me to finish school, start a promising career,
be co-founder of two companies, and positively impact several lives
How confused should one be after realizing the right path has always
been discovered while getting away with doing the wrong things
I have so many fears that I’m forced to succeed; who knows what I’ll do if I fail
What reaction will I see then?
Will all doubters boast & celebrate
Will all believers give up on me and their own dreams
Shit, how will I handle it
Will I continue to cry alone or celebrate because
One Million Pounds has finally been lifted off of my shoulders

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why You're Not Married

A friend provided a link to the article below on their FB page. I thought, if nothing else, it was thought provoking. I am curious to read your thoughts. Is there any validity to the writer's viewpoint? Enjoy the following article, written by Tracy McMillan.

You want to get married. It's taken a while to admit it. Saying it out loud -- even in your mind -- feels kind of desperate, kind of unfeminist, kind of definitely not you, or at least not any you that you recognize. Because you're hardly like those girls on TLC saying yes to the dress and you would never compete for a man like those poor actress-wannabes on The Bachelor.

You've never dreamt of an aqua-blue ring box.

Then, something happened. Another birthday, maybe. A breakup. Your brother's wedding. His wife-elect asked you to be a bridesmaid, and suddenly there you were, wondering how in hell you came to be 36-years-old, walking down the aisle wearing something halfway decent from J. Crew that you could totally repurpose with a cute pair of boots and a jean jacket. You started to hate the bride -- she was so effing happy -- and for the first time ever you began to have feelings about the fact that you're not married. You never really cared that much before. But suddenly (it was so sudden) you found yourself wondering... Deep, deep breath... Why you're not married.

Well, I know why.

How? It basically comes down to this: I've been married three times. Yes, three. To a very nice MBA at 19; a very nice minister's son at 32 (and pregnant); and at 40, to a very nice liar and cheater who was just like my dad, if my dad had gone to Harvard instead of doing multiple stints in federal prison.

I was, for some reason, born knowing how to get married. Growing up in foster care is a big part of it. The need for security made me look for very specific traits in the men I dated -- traits it turns out lead to marriage a surprisingly high percentage of the time. Without really trying to, I've become a sort of jailhouse lawyer of relationships -- someone who's had to do so much work on her own case that I can now help you with yours.

But I won't lie. The problem is not men, it's you. Sure, there are lame men out there, but they're not really standing in your way. Because the fact is -- if whatever you're doing right now was going to get you married, you'd already have a ring on it. So without further ado, let's look at the top six reasons why you're not married.

1. You're a Bitch.
Here's what I mean by bitch. I mean you're angry. You probably don't think you're angry. You think you're super smart, or if you've been to a lot of therapy, that you're setting boundaries. But the truth is you're pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it's scaring men off.

The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband. Here's what my son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn't think so. You've seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men. I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man's fear and insecurity in order to get married -- but actually, it's perfect, since working around a man's fear and insecurity is big part of what you'll be doing as a wife.

2. You're Shallow.
When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man's character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you're not married, I already know it isn't. Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit.

Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. And men of character do not want to marry teenaged girls. Because teenage girls are never happy. And they never feel like cooking, either.

3. You're a Slut.
Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore -- but they're not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you're having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop. Why? Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin -- it doesn't stay recreational for long.

That's due in part to this thing called oxytocin -- a bonding hormone that is released when a woman a) nurses her baby and b) has an orgasm -- that will totally mess up your casual-sex game. It's why you can be f**k-buddying with some dude who isn't even all that great and the next thing you know, you're totally strung out on him. And you have no idea how it happened. Oxytocin, that's how it happened. And since nature can't discriminate between marriage material and Charlie Sheen, you're going to have to start being way more selective than you are right now.

4. You're a Liar.
It usually goes something like this: you meet a guy who is cute and likes you, but he's not really available for a relationship. He has some condition that absolutely precludes his availability, like he's married, or he gets around town on a skateboard. Or maybe he just comes right out and says something cryptic and open to interpretation like, "I'm not really available for a relationship right now."

You know if you tell him the truth -- that you're ready for marriage -- he will stop calling. Usually that day. And you don't want that. So you just tell him how perfect this is because you only want to have sex for fun! You love having fun sex! And you don't want to get in a relationship at all! You swear!
About ten minutes later, the oxytocin kicks in. You start wanting more. But you don't tell him that. That's your secret -- just between you and 22,000 of your closest girlfriends. Instead, you hang around, having sex with him, waiting for him to figure out that he can't live without you. I have news: he will never "figure" this out. He already knows he can live without you just fine. And so do you. Or you wouldn't be lying to him in the first place.

5. You're Selfish.
If you're not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don't have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy -- or at least a guy with a really, really good job -- would solve all your problems.

Howevs, a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much s**t to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put the woman on notice: Bitch, hello! It's not all about you anymore! After a year or two of thinking about someone other than herself, suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford comes along and decides to significantly other her. Which is also to say -- if what you really want is a baby, go get you one. Your husband will be along shortly. Motherhood has a way of weeding out the lotharios.

6. You're Not Good Enough.
Oh, I don't think that. You do. I can tell because you're not looking for a partner who is your equal. No, you want someone better than you are: better looking, better family, better job.

Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period. Not understanding this is a major obstacle to getting married, since women who don't know their own worth make terrible wives. Why? You can fake it for a while, but ultimately you won't love your spouse any better than you love yourself. Smart men know this.

I see this at my son's artsy, progressive school. Of 183 kids, maybe six have moms who are as cute as you're trying to be. They're attractive, sure. They're just not objects. Their husbands (wisely) chose them for their character, not their cup size.

Alright, so that's the bad news. The good news is that I believe every woman who wants to can find a great partner. You're just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage will make you happy. It won't. Once the initial high wears off, you'll just be you, except with twice as much laundry.

Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something -- it's about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do. Probably because for them marriage involves sacrificing their most treasured possession -- a free-agent penis -- and for us, it's the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland.

The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don't deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway -- because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self -- you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Letter To My Unborn Child

Tupac had a song titled "Letter To My Unborn Child." This song is definitely one of my favorite Pac songs - okay...I actually say this about most of his music. I was impressed that he was aware and accepted the fact that he may conceive a child that he would never meet. This is an uncomfortable reality that many people often deny.

As a child I struggled with knowing that I lived minutes away from my biological father and somehow managed not to have developed a relationship. For half my life I have attempted to convince myself that I could never meet my standards as a parent. During this time, I actually prayed that I would never be tested with the challenge of being a father. With hindsight being 20/20, I now better understand what fueled these thoughts. I believe it was what I needed to do in order to put myself in a position to be the father I always wanted.

So, here is my letter...I've been through a lot in life. During my life, I've learned that everyone goes through a lot. I've learned that falling and failing become less important than the reaction to falls and failures. I've learned giving may or may not be better than getting, but there is no doubt that it is more rewarding. I've learned karma does exist and many things will occur in life that having faith in a supreme being is the only way to keep sane. I've learned that crying isn't just for girls. I've learned that love is the best and worst emotion known to man. I've learned that loved ones will leave your life and people will change - some for the better. I've also learned that hating someone normally hurts you more than the person you exert the energy to hate.

All of the lessons that I've learned in life taught me that fearing life is the worst way to live. Experiencing as many emotions as possible often makes the better emotions so much more enjoyable. Knowing that learning from past experiences makes future hurdles much easier to handle is knowledge that is often learned later than desired.

This letter is no attempt to scare you, in fact its intention is the exact opposite. It is meant to encourage you. Hopefully this letter will help you to learn, understand, and interpret life lessons at an earlier age than I did. This letter should also let you know that you are capable of doing any and everything you truly desire, as long as you are willing to sacrifice.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Truth Hurts

What do you do when you create a lie to hide the truth and sometimes that lie hurts more than the truth you're attempting to ignore? What are your options when you start believing your lie? Even worse, what happens when you no longer recognize that it was once a lie? Unfortunately, for more than half of my life I have only considered five of my relatives to be my family (at various times this number went to three). In a recent post, I Have Two Purebreds, but..., I admitted that all of my girlfriends worth mentioning have close knit families. I can now confess that I have always envied those that looked forward to family reunions, holidays, and family functions primarily because it was another chance to see family. In fact, I have often been accepted as family at these events by the families of close friends. Although true friendship is invaluable, there should be no bond stronger than that of family. Yeah, that shit sounds good...but that wasn't my reality.

As is often the case, a recent tragedy reminded me the importance of seizing opportunity. It also showed me that a united family can, at the very least, make difficult challenges possible to overcome. I'm currently no where near thinking I am part of a united family, but I can say my family has it's united groups. This isn't all bad. This shows me unlimited possibilities...all in due time. Will my family ever mimic the Cosby's or the Wayans'? Probably not, but I'm currently willing to accept any improvement from the current situation.

It took the death of a relative, sympathy for a loved one, and my discomfort with the aforementioned loved one traveling on the road for at least twelve hours in one day for me to see some relatives that I hadn't seen (or thought of) in a decade. Even after that, it took me seeing several people in pain and an unforeseeable breakthrough, which initially looked like a breakdown, for me to get to the point of wanting some change.

The truth hurts. These words have been said together many times. I chose the title of this post because I may have finally realized that I need a better sense of family to ever attain the level of success that I truly feel is in my destiny. If you know me, you know that hurts. Being a sociable loner isn't going to work forever.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Take Your Time & Hurry Up

I'm not sure exactly when this happened. I do know conversations are now different. Sometime conversations are really different. I grew up in a community that experienced many teen pregnancies. The good girls know...until they were 21 or 22. When I would discuss my social status, future family plans, and general life goals with people I often received a pleasantly surprised look on the face of others when I shared that I didn't have children. I recognized this shortly after graduating college. In fact, this scenario repeated itself hundreds of times. However, something has changed. That look, the pleasantly surprised one, is different now. That look has turned into some other look. A look I didn't immediately recognize. It is still a look that represents shock, but now I think it morphed to confusion and disbelief. That same look you've probably displayed when you see a 10 with a 5 (you all know what I'm typing about). The look prompting conversation I'm referring to occurs during the conversation asking if I have children. In the past, my "NO" response would be followed with "Oh, really? That's good. You should wait." It is now followed by "Ah, really? Hmm. Why? Well, you do want children, right?" This is when the look takes place.

When did it become weird to wait until one has settled into a manageable situation to have a child? Why is it not normal for newly weds to take some time getting to know each other as spouses before starting a family? Why do I now feel the need to explain why I don't have children? I have only seen four of the seven continents. I have only left the U.S. nine or ten times in my life. If I want any, I know I'm not ready now. I still need to check a few activities off of my "PreDaddy Days" list. If I don't want any, is that really that strange?

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Have Two Purebreds, but...

So, today I had a thirty minute conversation with a total stranger about our dogs. He had a female Red Nose Pit Bull. I was with my two dogs. Nearly an hour after the conversation with this stranger ended, I realized how much the both of us know about our pets. However, the conversation also showed me how little I know about my ancestry. I can tell anyone who wants to listen about at least four generations from my dogs pedigree. Unfortunately for me, I don't know nearly as much about my family tree. Family has always been a touchy subject for me. Those of you that follow my blog (or know me) may know the two - three strong relationships I have with relatives.
I recently realized that I often date women that have close knit families. Maybe I want my view of the perfect family so bad I am willing to get it from another person's family. Maybe I've given up on achieving that level of trust and comfort from my own family. Either way, it is very scary for me to accept. I wonder if my disinterest in researching my family tree stems from the poor relationships I have with the relatives I can see and touch now. Maybe I fear the possibility that I will find something that will cause me to further question who I am. So, what do I do now? Admitting an issue is the first step, right? Should I attempt to repair some of the sour relationships I currently have with family members? Should I start aggressively researching my family's past. I may keep you posted on some of these answers.