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Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Send In the Clowns: A Pig in Wolf’s Clothing

I was feeling good yesterday.

I should have.

It’s my birthday week.

In honor of this fabulous occasion, I decided to dress up everyday this week. When I dress up, I always feel great. So, not putting my great outfit to waste, I couldn’t just go home after work. (I won’t be tonight either. I’m going out for dinner with a mentor/friend whom I love dearly)

I hit up a local happy hour for a half-priced delicious celebratory crab cake or two.

A well-dressed man pulls up to the empty spot next to me at the bar, and he’s in a hurry, but wants a quick bite and drink.

We engage in conversation and this man has already managed to mention everything on my short list that I STRONGLY dislike in a man in 20 mins or less.

1. He mentioned twice he had been in the music business.

2. He mentioned twice he had traveled all over the world.

3. He mentioned more than one kid he had to pick up from after care.

4. He made reference to his “first wife.”

5. He was angling for an invite for he and his best friend to my birthday because I mentioned I had about 10 friends coming in from out-of-town.

6. He assumed all 10 were women for he and his best friend to meet.

7. He gave me his business card.

8. Instead of seeing my firm handshake as a sign of confidence (as professional people do), he said I probably give great massages.

1. I love music, and I actually have a cousin who is a real mover and shaker in the industry, who works very hard, who is very humble and so are some of his celebrity friends. So when you come at me saying you are a producer, rapper or you own your own label, I yawn. I’m not one to step on people’s dreams, but I’m sick of everybody trying to do this.

2. Because of his music business career, he’s traveled all over the world. Yeah, you should try the blank, because I’ve been all over the world and know good food. I’ve met many people with full passports and piss poor attitudes. Meanwhile there are some people who never left D.C. or NY who are ridiculously fascinating.

3. People may think this is jerky, but men with kids need not apply. I’m not interested. I don’t want to share your time, attention and money with your kids and the women you had kids with. Your resources are already stretched (not just money, emotional support too). Please focus on your kids, because I feel guilty anytime you spend significant money on me. So nope. No gracias.

4. Things don’t work out. I get that. But when a man says things like, “My first wife,” that leads me to believe there is definitely a second, and possibly a third. Um, yeah, I need to go powder my nose, with my coat and purse.

4.5 This dude also mentioned his best friends are his ex girlfriends. Once again, that can happen, but usually it’s rare and with one person and the people who do that have stopped having sex and have completely gotten over the relationship and it was like years ago. If you are close with ALL of your exes you are full of shit. You can’t do it, I don’t care how cool these people are. This is probably the number one reason why this fool has numerous wives and ex wives. The most I do for the exes I don’t hate is send them a happy birthday text message, and that will fade out when they get married.

5. I mentioned my party includes an after party at my house. We just met. Hell no, you can’t come to my house. You are wack for asking.

6. You are wack for mentioning with glee the possibility of ten of my girlfriends in attendance for you and your best friend to annoy and offend while fueling yourselves with my free food and drink. I don’t think so.

7. Men who give you business cards are either genuinely networking so contacting them professionally is fine. Or dudes like this guy want to be contacted at work when their wives, girlfriends, or live-in vagina, is not around and can’t catch them.

8. When he commented on my firm handshake, as I said before, I originally took that as a professional compliment til he went south. Literally. Seriously, you want to invite yourself and your friend to my party to hook up with my homies and you want to talk about me massaging you? Really? Epic fail.

I remember why I’ve been out of the clubs, lounges and bars for so long and why I won’t be returning as regularly as I did in my 20s. It’s really funny.

Please enjoy “Uneligble” By Fantasia. Yes, shouldn’t it be Ineligible? Just sayin…

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Getting Your Professional Groove Back

Reinvention.

We all need to do it.

Pop stars tend to know and understand that after a hiatus from the spotlight or between albums and tours, when they come back, they have to elevate and change up the game to remain fresh and relevant.

Those who master this, they become superstars and eventually legends.

Say what you will, but for the Beyonces, JLos and Janet Jacksons of the world, this is a regular and necessary part of their career cycle. We regular folks don’t usually apply that when trying to maintain our own livelihoods.

We should.

I’ve been at the same job for 5 years, which I have been told in these days is a miracle. Going into year 4, I started doing more work outside of my original job title, which led to another kind of position (no raise though).

Here I am at year five, and I’ll admit it. Like the boyfriend you’ve had for a long time, you start getting comfortable. The period panties you were mortified about him ever seeing, slowly creep into the rotation. You don’t shave your legs (or other stuff) as religiously, because well the relationship has lost its new car smell. You’re tired, you’re used to him, and frankly, he’s probably slacking too.

The work equivalent is letting the hair and makeup slip, and starting casual Friday on Wednesday. Your mind drifts during meetings and you can predict your co-workers moves down to the times they like to get coffee and then and hour later go to the bathroom.

Professionally, you have to find your new hair cut, or go retro or find a kick ass alter ego for the next album. You can’t get stale and rest on old successes.

It’s unacceptable for Bey and it’s unacceptable for us too.

I’ve found that I can easily fall into a work slump.

Just like when Rihanna goes from a sharp, short, jet black hair cut for one album, to having fiery-red locks for another, sometimes just changing your look can help jump-start the rest of the reinvention.

It’s time to rekindle my work flame.

It’s time to dress prettier, smile more and put in the work on the little things that can mean oh so much.

This being my birthday week and because I’m feeling great and want to continue feeling this way all week long. I’ve made up my mind not to phone it in fashion wise. I’ve vowed to dress up everyday this work week. We’ll see if I can continue it beyond this week.

It’s true, if you look good you feel good. Then you can be more productive and more creative.

Pop Quiz: How Well Do Your Friends Know You?

I’m about to find out how well my friends know me.

To make my birthday after party a bit more fun, and even more about me, I have drafted a 30-question (30 years, 30 questions) quiz all about me.

I have a range of friends from different parts of my life showing up to celebrate my 30th birthday, and I think my questions are fair for everyone. To make it even easier, its multiple choice and some questions are true/false.

The questions range from what young me wanted to be when I grew up, to correctly naming my five exes in chronological order.

From childhood friends, to college friends to colleagues-turned-friends, if they’ve spent enough time with me and actually paid attention when I ramble on, they should be able to answer most of them.

Yes, I’ve even gone through the process of getting first, second and third prizes for the people with the three highest scores.

As an added bonus, if you are invited to my party and you read my blog, I’ll let you in on what the prizes are.

One is a universal memory card to store photos (hopefully from my party), a snuggie and an amazing portable chair you can fold up, put in a purse/pocket and take anywhere. Shout out to Five Below!

My hat will go off to the person who can correctly answer all 30, but I’m not quite sure if any of my guests will be able to pull that off.

I’m going to enjoy seeing them try.
Aight, ask em “21 Questions” 50!

Monique and Me

Alter egos are the coolest thing in the world and they aren’t reserved only for the likes of superheroes or Beyonc√© (Sasha Fierce).

A long time ago, one of my besties dubbed mine, Monique.

She doesn’t take anyone’s shit. She’s bold, she’s sexy, she’s loud. She’s going to charm the hell out of you, and she is the best wing woman any gal could have. If anyone gets out of line, she’s going to check them. She demands respect, she demands attention. She’s on the dance floor, she’s having a ball. She’s going to send a hot guy a drink and give him a nod.

She’ll put on a wig and run up and down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras without a care. She may even let one nip slip… Which reminds me, I need a new wig…

The real me: I let a lot of shit go. I sit back in the cut. I’m stylish, but conservative.

Monique is going to seal the deal; she’s going to get the numbers, her girls are going to get the numbers and the follow-up dinners too.

The real me: I’m more likely to make eye contact in hopes of luring a guy I’m interested in. I’ll be your homegirl.

Monique says, “I know I look good.”

I say, “I look ok, right?”

Monique isn’t concerned with the future, she’s about having a great time right now because she knows she will get put on the shelf soon enough. Trouble? Consequences? They don’t exist in her world.

The real me: Totally preoccupied with what’s next. What does this mean? When does the other shoe drop? Will I be prepared? Questions. More questions, more reasons the answer is no instead of yes.

Her heels are high, her lipstick is fire-red.

I like kitten heels or boots and comfy flats. My lips stay in more natural colors, and I wear very little make up.

As I get older, does this mean Monique has to completely leave the building? Or does she have to put aside/modify some of her wild ways too, so the real me doesn’t get in any serious trouble? If she didn’t show up every now and then, I’d be hella boring.

We’ll totally have to part ways once I become a mother, but I have a feeling my future husband may be interested in letting her visit from time to time. ūüôā

“Not Myself Tonight” Pretty much sums up an evening with Monique. Thanks Xtina!

Semi-Private Outburst In a Public Restroom

Whatever you do ladies, don’t cry at work.

That’s the advice that’s passed down from woman to woman in the workplace for ages.

Question is, if you don’t have your own office where you can close the door, is the bathroom a judgement-free zone?

I’ve written about uncomfortable goings on in the workplace bathroom before, but this one had me feeling some kind of way.

I was handling my business and a group of women were leaving, and I guess someone brushed against the light switch on the way out. I was mid-tinkle so, there was nothing I could do.

Four stalls down, I hear a frantic, “What the hell? (Sniff, sniff.) Like are you serious? (Sniff.) Why would you turn off the fucking lights? (More sniffing.)”

Now,¬† in the squat pose (great for your thighs and core), with slacks down to my ankles, I’m thinking, we know where our parts are, let’s finish up and keep it moving.

I walk out of the stall, and she hears my heels against the tile.

“If you’re walking in, turn on the light,” she barks.

To which I reply, “I’m walking out of the stall.”

“Just turn on the light!” More sniffing. Keep in mind there were two smaller lights on, just not all of them.

I really want to unload on this chick for her attitude, but I realize there is obviously something deeper going on here, so I turn on the light and wash my hands.

That encounter made me think. This heifer must be having a really, really bad day. She knew the rule not to cry at her desk or in public, so she went to seek the safety and anonymity of the bathroom stall to emotionally respond and cleanse from whatever is going on.

But my question is, in an office full of women, is the bathroom a free cry zone?

When women are warned not to cry, usually it’s to not appear weak in front of male colleagues or superiors.

Interestingly enough, men don’t cry, but they can get loud, or bang on something when they are frustrated out in the open. The men in our IT department can get crunk with one another real quick. But people write that off as men being men.

So what’s the difference? An outburst is an outburst isn’t it? And whether it’s reacting by crying or by yelling at someone, we all have to keep that stuff in check, walk away and calm ourselves down.

Me, I don’t want to appear weak to anyone– male or female. I usually go for a walk or abruptly take a break outside and sometimes go off site in my car to clear my head (this may involve McDonald’s, ice cream or a trip to Marshalls).

But what if you are in an office full of women colleagues and superiors? Do you think women give other women slack in this regard?

I actually do think women cut other women a break when they cry at work. They may even cry with you and give you a hug. But is it still professional? Or are should we be emotionless droids from 9-5?

As a woman, I walked out and said a little prayer for homegirl. She has to be having a crappy day. Having your cry and your moment is fine. I just didn’t like her dramatic and snippy attitude in response to a couple of lights going out while she was on the porcelain throne. You obviously have bigger problems right now, boo.

Here is an awesome example of men yelling AND women crying at work. From “A League of Their Own.” (No copyright infringements intended. I’m not using this blog commercially…yet. :))

We All Revise Our Own History

I’m reading a book about the times throughout American history the news was wrong. Be it by human error or purposely to promote a cause, sometimes crucial facts were omitted or over exaggerated. Shocking. Terrible, right?

No.

We do it all the time when it comes to our lives and telling our own stories from our past. Sometimes we just don’t remember everything, and sometimes we omit facts purposely or add a little sugar on it to promote our own personal causes or to protect our reputation and ego.

In journalism school, we are taught that we are supposed to be objective no matter what. As you practice journalism in the real world, you realize, whether you set out to or not, your experiences, your culture, your gender, your race make you see things in a certain way, through a certain filtered lens.

If you have the guts, you tell your editors about this handicap/blessing, you gather your facts from as many sides as possible and your story takes shape. However, even the way you string together the facts and in what order you place them may still cause a reader to wonder and ask you point-blank, “Whose side were you on?”

So based on your memories and experiences, when you think back about certain decisions or certain moments, how often do you revise your history?

Have you blocked things out completely because they are too painful to think about?

Have you cleaned some things up to make them seem better than what they were?

Do certain things embarrass you? Do somethings make you feel shameful?

I say yes to all of the above.

One of the most common examples of revised life history is relationship history.

We could think someone was the most amazing, loving person in the world, and when the relationship is over, they have transformed into some heartless villain whose only goal in life was to deceive you, break your heart and do you harm.

Whether I broke up with a man for horrible reasons, or the fact it just didn’t work, I’ve taught myself to remember that there was a reason I loved him. Just because the worst of my exes showed another more negative side I didn’t expect or vice versa, it would be a lie to all of a sudden act like I’m repulsed by their existence on the planet.

I can totally be repulsed by their jacked-up actions, though.

Another great example of favorable revisionist history that men have down, is the sports stories from high school. These shining moments, where they scored the game-winning point in double-overtime, playing through two sprained ankles. Some men will actually have footage to back it up, and be prepared to watch it more than once, slowed down, then paused. Even when you watch the tape, you’ll see he scored that point on the free throw line, and not the three point line, while being double-teamed. It was still the winning point though!

I also love hearing couples tell stories of how they met years later. Their versions are always going to be very different. You may even see them argue about certain details, where one person swears something happened, while the other person swears it didn’t and it was something else.

There we go with those filtered lenses.

There are people who tell the most amazing stories (especially grandparents or people who travel a lot), they are animated and they pull you in with their charm and charisma. Even if everyone knows they are exaggerating, usually the listeners don’t care because it’s so freaking entertaining. And that’s cool. Usually people don’t mind that.

But when it comes to the tougher stuff like negative experiences involving family or romantic relationships, different versions of history often clash and an underlying truth that ties you to these people can be hard for all parties to swallow. Some folks can clearly see, feel and remember their pain from loss, betrayal, secrets, abuse or whatever, while others may have decided that part of the shared history no longer exists.

What do you do with that?

I’m not sure, because sad to say, truth and history are truly two different things.

Tomorrow’s history is today’s news. How will you tell your story?

It’s Important to Me

So what’s really important?

Whatever the hell it is you are focusing on right now.

And then it will be the next thing.

If it’s work. It’s work.

If it’s loosing weight, it’s that.

Finding a date? It’s that too.

Your spirituality, your money or lack thereof. The list is infinite. You know what yours is.

Whatever it is that is nagging/propelling you to action in the morning, and laying down with you at night, that is what is most important to you at the moment. And frankly, all we have is today, tomorrow isn’t promised, so yes, whatever it is that is predominating your thoughts is what’s most important to you right now.

It could be anything. And don’t beat yourself up. Whatever it is, it’s not too shallow, or silly, or ridiculous, because it’s taking up way too much mental and emotional real estate for you to ignore, and you shouldn’t ignore it.

Like me, you may be juggling a number of pressing matters of importance. I like to give myself a break, work on one thing, then go back to something else.

For people in their late 20s and into their 30s- particularly single people, and especially single women- there is a mental battle raging between family and career and the guilt that comes with choosing one over the other, and the regret associated with whatever emptiness comes with the one you chose instead of the other. How can you win that? Either road is going to have wonderful advantages and difficult disadvantages. Have the choose your own adventure books as a kid taught us nothing?

It’s a battle I’m choosing not to fight.

When I was a kid, I was pretty sure I would have been married with a family and running my own magazine right now.

Not quite. But you know what? That’s really just fine until it won’t be fine anymore. Those thoughts float around, but they don’t dominate my mind right now.

These days, professional satisfaction, money, my spirituality, my creativity and getting myself to a place where I’m ready to and can comfortably accept the role of a wife and mom, are the things are front and center.

Over the last decade, I’ve seen three types of tracks unfold among the women I know personally and the ones I went to high school with as seen on Facebook.

The married moms, the unmarried moms, and the single, childless career women.

The married moms seem to have what we all thought we wanted. The loving husband and the family, but they seem tired all of the time and seem to not have very many other interests, let alone time for themselves. Their identities have been taken over. A lot of their wants and desires put on the back burner. Their kids and their man come first.

The unmarried moms seem to be struggling all of the time. They juggle work, their children and the voluntary and sometimes inconsistent or non-existent contributions from the men they had their child[ren] with. These women love their children and don’t regret them, but they know they would be at more of an advantage if they made different choices.

The single, childless career women kept their heads high, and killed em with the no, and kept climbing that ladder.

They have closets full of great clothes, shoes and bags, they travel when they please, but over bottles of pino, lament that they can’t find Mr. Right.

Each kind of woman wonders what life would be life if they chose the other two paths instead of the one they are on.

For me, I can poke holes in all three lifestyles. Maybe that kind of insight is helpful to me.

If there’s one thing I keep learning and relearning, is timing truly is everything.

Some would say I should panic because I’m turning 30 and there’s no man, no kids and I don’t own my own home.

I’ve learned that before I have those things, maybe there are more lessons for me to learn so that when I get them, I’ll be ready for them and it will be the best thing for me at that time.

Age is a number. Not a set deadline to accomplish some very important things that affect you and other people for a lifetime.

Maybe I’ll get married (I’d like to). Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have children (Still not sure about that one), maybe I won’t.

So what’s important? I’m a writer. I’ve been working on a book for probably four years now. I’d like to see it complete.

I have a business I’d like to launch. I want to see it happen.

I wrote a short, one woman play, I’d love to see it produced on a small local stage.

I want to make more money. I want to feel great about work three out of five days a week, if possible.

I want to always have enough money for emergencies and to travel when I need to get away.

I don’t want to lose what is important to me in exchange for a family right now. I have a certain degree of selfishness still in me. I know my priorities are going to have to change when I do have a family, but I’d like to achieve some happy medium. I have a grand fear of losing myself, my creativity in exchange for long days at the office and coming home to a house of ungrateful people eating up my food and my paycheck in health benefits. I’m afraid of coming home to a man who doesn’t find me sexy anymore and won’t wash a dish when I’m about to lose my mind.

Having it all is unrealistic, but my fears are very real and maybe that is why I am currently single and childless. But I think that’s ok.

I’ve revamped and reworded my prayers in terms of wanting a husband and family.

“Lord, prepare me properly to be ready for a family someday. I want to be mature enough and selfless enough to do it right and feel satisfaction in my service to them. No regret, no resentment. Give me the wisdom to pick the right man qualified to assist me in this and who will nurture my heart and my spirit.”

You have to grow and evolve into certain phases of life and everyone grows at different rates. Some folks are ready in their 20s, or have to be forced to be ready for their own good at early ages. I prefer not being forced to find out, and I’m thankful I haven’t been.

Nina Simone has a funny take on marriage and references some of my fears… Love this song.

Impromptu Poetry

The next time I fall in love, I don’t want to fall madly.

I’ll gladly

trade in the googly-eyed, flying blind, day-dreaming kind

for the steady, unconditional, responsible, loyal,

here today, still here tomorrow and the day after and after–

happily ever and beyond,

ever-lingering in every doorway, picture frame, under the rug and in between the couch cushions, all over this house;

in the eyes, hearts and DNA of our children and the generations that follow,

kind of love.

Come to our home for Thanksgiving and when he cuts that turkey, our guests will even taste our love in the juices that flavor it.

Because like our love,¬†that bird¬†was cooked¬†painstakingly–¬†not too fast and not too slow¬†at the right temperature. Standing¬†watch,¬†we will tend to this love with unfaltering care–

no detail too small.

I don’t want the fantasy, I don’t want the fairy tale anymore, and surprisingly I’m not sad about that.

I rejoice now, because maturity has allowed me to see,

What we imagine love to be has never been rooted in reality.

Us girls dream of our prince, of that first magical kiss.

Not his dirty drawers on our floor, not¬†yet another¬†note on the fridge door, that says, “Baby I’ll be home late. Don’t wait…

up for me tonight.”

Brotha I don’t want to annoy ya, but I’ve got this paranoia, that one day,

you’ll up and walk away.

Kiss my forehead, smile and stroke my hair out of my face.¬† You don’t even have to say the words, you’ll just simply¬†stay.

Just stay. I’m not perfect.

Just stay. Neither are you.

Just stay, the closest we’ll get to perfection is what we have between us two.

Just stay. Fine, I suck today, but asshole, you suck too.

Stay. No one else can make me laugh the way you do.

Stay. I like the way you kiss me there, and there and especially where,

the sun don’t shine–

except that time

we were on that private beach…

Stay because I know you want to. Stay because I know you want me to want you to.

Stay because there’s nothing else you’d rather do.

Stay because being the dude who stays with me, is just who

you

were meant to be.

Be with me

Because you just couldn’t know how to be anything else, with anyone else.

I don’t want the fairytale.

It’s perfectly fine we fight.

But after the jabs and tough words are thrown,

we’ll use those same lips

to kiss

good night.

Flawed: My Fine Print

My shit does stink.

Like it does. For real. I can blow up a bathroom.

I know a man really loves me if he can use the bathroom after I blow it up. That’s my litmus test. You laugh at my jokes, cool. You respect me, that’s lovely. Can you use the bathroom after I blow it up?¬†This can go somewhere, you may get to meet the folks. ¬†

But aside from that, I sat and I was thinking about my most undesirable traits, and I often wonder how other people interpret them.

I came up with this the other day:

“I’m only as lovely and wonderful or as difficult and complicated as I present myself to you. The way you interpret it is up to you. The truth is somewhere between my presentation and your interpretation.”

That is going to be my new mantra for dating, and for people who want to be my friend.

Here’s the fine print, the warning label.

I can be sensitive.

When I don’t want to be bothered, I don’t want to be bothered.

I’m a bit paranoid.

When I need to be alone, I need to be alone.

Sometimes I fall off the face of the earth to be alone for long periods of time.

I screen phone calls. And make faces when I don’t want to be bothered.

I’m non-confrontational, so when I’m pushed¬†beyond my limit, the blackout occurs, feelings get hurt.

I’m more¬†self-conscious than I’d like to be or admit.

I’m a worry wart. My worries harass me non stop until they are resolved.

I drool in my sleep. A lot. It’s embarrassing. My dentist says I have active salivary glands.

I’m not a cutter, but I think I get¬†a similar¬†sensation they feel when I squeeze zits¬†and blackheads. I have to squeeze zits and blackheads, even though I know I may get a scar.

I’m fascinated by phlegm and I have to look at it first in amazement before I ball up the tissue and throw it away.

I talk loud.

I repeat myself.

DID YOU HEAR ME? I REPEAT MYSELF. Tee hee.

These last two come from being the baby of the family and demanding attention.

I will keep a secret if I know it’s going to¬†do more damage than good.¬†Yes, I have the right to make that call.

I get jealous.

I lie about being jealous.   

If we are sharing food, I probably want the last egg roll, chicken wing, samosa, taco etc on the plate and I feel I should have it. 

I’m a pack rat. I’m not like hoarders, but I could stand to do a bit better.

I am the most non-judgemental judgemental person I know. I judge people, and their ridiculous actions, but it comes from a good place and my assessments are usually on point.

I¬†say I’m not keeping score, I’m doing this from my heart. It may be from my heart, it may be to prove a point,¬†but I’m for damn sure keeping score. Reciprocity. I take it seriously. ¬†¬†

I’m impatient.¬†

I go to church. I love Jesus.

But I drink, cuss and have a weakness for penis.

Clearly me and the Lord got a lot of work to do.

This is me. Beautifully ugly, realistically human.

Take it away Mary…

Mood Music: Live it Up, Live

Today’s a light one. I’ve been going pretty heavy and deep the past several posts.

Upon thinking about quitting “riding raggedy“, thinking about being more mature, thinking about surviving the rough times, thinking about the friends who are going to arrive en masse by plane, bus, caravan and or donkey to celebrate my 30th, I am overwhelmed.

In a good way.

I envision me and my homies having an amazing weekend and the song “Live it Up” totally came to mind. I don’t have John Legend money, but a celebration is in order.

My Medieval celebration makes even more sense and this came to me last night.

We are going to watch a joust. There’s a clear winner, there’s a clear loser and both participants got to have a whole lot of heart to get out there and potentially get their block knocked off at top speed on a temperamental steed.

I’m not afraid of 30, in fact I’m going Medieval on it.

This is my year of fighting back. I’m on my horse now, it’s time to ride out.

In honor of these warm, fuzzy feelings. I bring you John Legend. Well, YouTube brings him. You know what I meant.

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