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Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Rent Is Too Damn High: Are You For Real (Estate)?

Stuart Miles/freedigitalimages.net

We’ve all heard about women marrying folks they didn’t love in order to get a green card.

Now that I’ve gotten the terms for my upcoming lease renewal, I’m almost ready to jump the broom so I can split the rent or mortgage with someone who will give me penis on the regular. But of course marriage is not that simple, but this is the one time where I feel like being an independent woman is a burden.

The reality and the pressure of being 30 that I bragged about not quite feeling yet, I’m totally feeling in the regard to home ownership. One of my dearest friends has owned her beautiful home since the age of 26. She wavers between loving her place and hating having to pay for it and the hassles that come with trying to refinance and haggle for better interest rates. I’ve long been jealous of her, and she’s often told me not to be and that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and she’d gladly trade places. She even offered a house swap for a few months, where we pay each other’s bills.

My friend makes significantly more than me, but being a single woman, she can easily share the sentiment that handling all these bills alone is tough and stressful.

Honestly, I thought I would be out of my apartment by now. Especially two years ago when I was happily apartment hunting with my fiance in the suburbs of Chicago, eager to split the bills. It was one of the parts of marriage we both looked forward to most.

I actually cussed my ex last year when I had to sign my new lease and pay a whopping additional $80 a month to stay. I was literally cussing him and blaming him for the rent increase even though he had nothing to do with it and could not hear me. But my point was, if things didn’t fall apart, we would have been in marital bliss, splitting the bills and spending our disposable income on fun trips and furnishing this great home.

As for my place, yes, I got in on a fantastic deal nearly six years ago, and some would argue my new proposed rent would be closer to market value.

I still don’t care. I’m paying too much to live here. (And no, I’m not going to get a roommate. This is a non-negotiable)

Here’s why.

My community isn’t horrible, but it isn’t utopia.

There are occasional crimes that occur. I have heard gunshots twice in the time I’ve been here, and there are so many damn children and for some reason they love to congregate in front of my building.

The other problem is since I live in a mixed community of young professionals, families, older people and other folks of varying socioeconomic backgrounds,  I’ve overheard people who I presume to be on government assistance paying hundreds of dollars less than me to live in larger apartments with more bedrooms.

I’m sorry, but middle class Americans trying to rise are the main ones who get jerked and taxed to death and then are deemed ineligible for social assistance because we make too much, because we aren’t in complete poverty. And I’m not saying that those in complete poverty should not get help, because they should, but let’s face it. Most middle class folks are one paycheck away from poverty themselves between all of the rising fees they have to pay for groceries and gas and RENT!!!

I drive a 12-year-old car and I don’t have cable people. I’m trying, I’ve been sacrificing!!!

So I feel the sting every time lease renewal season comes around.

And every time, I reassess my situation and every year I think about what a pain in the ass it would be to move.

Then I think  if I move to a nicer, more expensive apartment community, what will happen to me if the rent increases while living there? Yes, I wrote yesterday about getting a raise, so I shouldn’t care about the increase or the increase shouldn’t hurt as badly. But damn it raise or not, I’m not a fan.

Honestly, over the last six years from what I’ve paid in rent, I could have had about 75 percent of the least expensive condos in my area already paid off by now. And that hurts.

So why didn’t I buy sooner? Well, I spent the last five years getting out of debt and trying to improve my credit while working my way hope getting small incremental raises (keep in mind I chose journalism as a career, so I didn’t get an amazing salary out of school like my other friends who chose other, more lucrative professions).

I have to get my ish together and join the ranks of the homeowners. Fixing my own plumbing, electric and all of that stuff scares me. But what scares me most are property taxes. They are no joke.

And as a woman who spent the earlier part of her 20s moving around the country, buying a home will truly signify that I’ve planted roots…for the next 30 years (or 15 if I want to pay a whole lot more money a month).

It had to happen some time, so now I’ve got to get it in gear and for real.

I need to get with a great program that helps first time home buyers and I’ve got to save, save, save and sacrifice to accumulate a half way decent down payment.

I can’t go nuts and be unrealistic about what I can and cannot afford, but I refuse to buy a hell hole I have to keep dumping money in just to improve.

There’s also no point in me buying a house, house with a lawn and such.

A gal like me needs a simple, modest condo.

So let the games begin. 30. It’s so real (estate).

Take it away Luther…A house is not a home, but an apartment ain’t truly yours either.

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What A Difference A Day (and A Raise) Makes

I’m happy to say, that yesterday it was announced I got a promotion at my gig.

This is great news because I have been toiling for a very long time and to get recognition for my hard work, I’m thrilled. And to see and feel positive, real effects after advocating for myself is just a wonderful feeling.

I haven’t gotten my first check just yet in this brave new world. I assume my new position April 1, but this move has already opened a whole new world of possibilities for me in my mind.

I can handle my finances better. Have more breathing room. Be able to save more. Kick more in the ol retirement fund.The timing is fantastic because I made my final car payment about two weeks ago. Mo money! Mo money!

So now that I’ve been given this new blessing and responsibility, it’s my turn to prove to God that I won’t waste it. Or be reckless.

That said, I do have a wish list of frivolous things I feel I deserve.

I want to finally get my Louis Vuitton, but I just may take a baby step (be responsible) and get a lovely Michael Kors bag I’ve been eyeing to celebrate this accomplishment.

I’m also strongly considering re joining a gym of some sort (A brand spanking new LA Fitness opened in my neighborhood) or take some cross fit classes (they seem interesting). I let go my membership a few years ago to save money, and I think this is an investment in my health.

I don’t care what anyone says, having more money in your pocket does provide freedom and access. Getting a promotion does make you want to work harder and you feel more pleasant at work.

I want to take small trips, and go to the spa quarterly.

I also want to start saving to buy a small house or condo. I guess I am 30 now and I need not play around with this any longer.

I couldn’t find the version I wanted of this song, so because I love New Orleans and New Orleans music, shout out to the New Orleans Hustlers Brass Band. I totally want to dance with an open umbrella…

Dave Chappelle, Please Return to Calm America Down

David Chappelle DVD cover/Comedy Central

I’m so weary.

I’m so upset.

I’m so angry.

The whole Trayvon Martin situation and its ridiculous aftermath has got my pressure up, my sugar up, every thing is just up and tense.

There is so much ignorance spreading, and what kills me the most is people being called out for spouting racist garbage on the internet and television are trying to back pedal and call it everything else than what it truly is.

As hateful as they were, previous generations were honest, out and didn’t try to clean up what they said.  Angry white people just said plain and simple they don’t like black people. They don’t want to know em, they don’t want to be friends with em, they don’t want to worship with em, they are obviously less than human in their opinion.

Don’t get it twisted. apparently people still feel the same way and in this new day where a biracial man is president; under the guise of free speech, all of this direct/indirect talk of whether someone looks suspicious and probably deserves to be stopped, detained and killed and just happens to be black and male, is suggested and accepted. It’s also accepted to throw into the mix whether or not a dead kid was or wasn’t a stellar student who may or may not have engaged in stupid teen behavior deserves to be dead or shouldn’t be around a gated community anyway.

Then people can plead ignorance later and say they didn’t think it was racist, or what they said was taken out of context.

Black people and most people with a heart are particularly peeved because the man who shot and killed the child has not been arrested even a month later. Period.

People are angry because an unarmed child was profiled and killed and then on top of that, the laws we are supposed to abide by and believe will protect us all equally were supposed to work. It didn’t. People are most incensed by this.

Black folks in America have sadly become accustomed to everyday injustices, accustomed to violence especially involving black children– black males in particular, but this situation was a powder keg. This situation was just. Too much. It was just too blatant.

I wish Dave Chappelle would create a skit to diffuse this shit, because right now, everyone is mad. There are people who are afraid of the coloring and multiculturalization of the world which is well underway and has been happening and they don’t know how to react to it.

The reaction of the police, the Sanford city officials, fellow Americans who agree George Zimmerman was still standing his ground after 911 recordings show he was told not to follow the boy and he did anyway prove the disconnect in the thinking of some of our U.S. citizens when it comes to just even interacting with black people.

People are mad that some people are saying, “wait until more facts come out,” when the facts were there at the crime scene all along. People are mad the boy’s body lay in the morgue for three days as a John Doe, parents not notified (he had a cell phone) and was tested for drugs while the shooter was not tested.

People are mad about a sketchy history of the shooter that went ignored as he is allowed to still be free.  The facts some of these folks are really waiting on are the “facts” floating around about how Trayvon probably was a stereotype implying that his death probably did society a favor.

Two sides to every story. It reminds me of a great episode on a “Different World” where characters Dwayne and Ron were trying to explain a fight they got into with white guys from a rival school who they caught spray painting the words “Ni…” on Ron’s car.

Both groups tell their story, and their perceptions of one another were quite telling as their stories were completely different and littered with stereotypes.

How it ends. I’m a big fan of the cop in the end.

I am afraid for every black man I know.

This must be what it felt like during slavery when at any moment black men were separated from their families, and killed for defiance, killed for just wanting to be free men and nothing more.

This must be what it felt like for mothers and wives and daughters to get news their loved ones were lynched on the way home one evening.

This must be what it felt like for Coretta and Betty and Myrlie when they got the call about Martin, Malcolm and Medgar (they were considered suspicious too by even the FBI, they were always seen wearing suits and ties, no hoodies.).

I want to cry. I think black men are beautiful. When I think of black men I think of my amazing dad, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, close friends. They are the kindest, most gentle wonderful people.

However there are times I have been fearful of ones I didn’t know, walking down the street, or hanging out or being too loud or gathered in large numbers in a parking lot.

I would hate myself for fearing them once I was safely in my car or home, but there was a part of me– the street smart part of me that says you have to trust your instincts and keep it moving because you don’t know what anyone’s motives are. It is a fact black folk in America are more likely to be killed by other black folk. It’s a sad reality. Does this have anything to do with Trayvon?

Yes and no.

Not in terms of the right and wrong of what happened to him, but this statistic and others (including the ridiculous disparities in black males in the U.S. prison system, unemployment) contribute to the fears that compel the George Zimmerman’s of the world to act as he did.

What curious timing of such an event in the history of our nation.

The solution is to not tell our sons stop wearing hoodies. The solution is to not write blogs about how you thought all of the heroic characters in the hunger games should have been “innocent blonde haired blue-eyed” people. The solution isn’t to draw racist cartoons. The solution isn’t to put out a hit on George Zimmerman.

The solution is education, mentorship. The solution lies in reuniting families and instilling values in boys and girls. The solution is responsibility for one’s self, one’s family, one’s greater community and teaching the values of responsibility. Teachers alone can’t do it. Young parents can’t do it, and tired grandparents trying to hold up the slack are struggling to do it.

There is so much wrong. There is misunderstanding, a long-standing history of inequality and injustice and ugliness and economics and there are people of all colors who understand this and empathize and there are some folks who just don’t.

Right now we have our eyes on Trayvon, but what is making this situation so insane is what’s not being said and the fact that this one situation came out of no where and put all of America and our dirty struggle with race on trial.

The world is questioning our laws, our administration of justice for all citizens, stereotypes, fear of black men (including the president).

The rage and disappointment that black Americans have had with the justice system since forever and the confusion and frustration some non-black Americans are having with the current system and where it is heading has been a volitle mixture brewing and stewing.

The Trayvon Martin situation has brought to light the ugly truth that the United States still has a very long way to go. I think all of us to a certain extent drank the kool aid that we became a more evolved society because we voted for a biracial president in large numbers. It was a step, but it didn’t heal all of the pains.

So Trayvon’s murder, the aftermath, the handling of the situation, the ugliness of it all made us look at, what as a nation we have been so desperately trying to show the world we’ve finally defeated, and we failed. We’ve been failing.

The ignorance and hate right now is so loud. We all have to blot it out. Not do anything stupid and further damage our society and hope this is resolved in a fair and just manner.

We have to heal our black men and there’s so many complicated layers to this thing that I will never be able to articulate in one or a million posts. I’m just hurt right now.

I haven’t seen this much blatant racial madness post civil rights since the LA Riots and the O. J. trial.

We are in curious times. Trayvon Martin is not the first and he will most certainly not be the last. We have to hold those in charge and those who are supposed to protect the law accountable. We have the power to vote in Sheriff’s and District Attorneys and as I’ve said over and over, just caring about the presidential election every four years is not enough. You have to know who is running your city,  county, state and your schools and inform yourself about the candidates and vote as best you can for the people who care about the greater good.

To start, I propose that the U.S. government pay Dave Chappelle to put on a three-hour special to be broadcast on every channel, prime time to calm everyone down.

I don’t make light of this situation, but no one can deny through his humor, he opened doors in terms of making people talk openly, with their guards down about race than any organization. I’m sorry. That’s real.

All Aboard! The I Don’t Need A Man Wagon

Bandwagons are most famously used to describe people who don’t care about a particular losing team until the team actually starts winning consistently. Bandwagonism is particularly acute when said team actually has a chance of  winning a championship.

Folks start buying the jerseys, tee shirts, hats, and they pay exorbitant fees to step foot in a stadium they never bothered to before the championship game.

The I Don’t Need A Man Wagon actually works the opposite way. It attracts losers. Not in the sense that you are hopeless and wack, but those who have literally lost in love.

Bitter, angry women hop on, and even take turns driving the thing. And boy are they enthusiastic about how love sucks and is one big joke and that all men are the same and they are better off alone. They buy the shirts, the hats, and they spread the word far and wide that love is a lie and that no one can possibly have a healthy relationship because they didn’t.

Every man is going to lie and cheat and be shiftless, or lack ambition, or not want to grow up.  Chicks with the unlimited pass on the I Don’t Need A Man Wagon believe that it’s better to be angry and give up on men completely and paint them all with the same brush, because the next man is bound to screw it up too.

I don’t hate on the I Don’t Need A Man Wagon. I just hate on folks who never leave it.

In the case of a sports team on a winning streak, bandwagon fans help fuel the economy. Local restaurants are making money hand over fist, street corner bootleggers are getting paid for their wares, even the homeless are getting a few extra bucks outside the stadium. Everyone wins. Bandwagons bring people together for a common cause and generate a larger excitement.

The I Don’t Need A Man Wagon spawns blogs, books, kickboxing classes and single gal vacation packages. The I Don’t Need A Man Wagon pays for new hair cuts, freakum dresses, penis cakes, MAC makeup binges, and endless boxes of girl scout cookies, birthday cake ice cream, SPANX and all sorts of alcohol. The I Don’t Need A Man Wagon could probably form a serious PAC if they wanted to.

So the I Don’t Need A Man Wagon is necessary. It’s a traveling triage unit for broken and bruised female egos. Like sports bandwagons, the IDNAM wagon is fueled by emotion and the desired outcome of winning is always left to chance, so therefore it’s very unstable.

The key is to knowing how and when to get off and move on, which is what bandwagon riders do best anyway.

While on the ride, we all know when even the potential hint of love comes around again, we are going to yank that “this is my stop” rope and leave the rest of those whining, pitiful hags on the wagon with the quickness.

I Have Been Tagged, “Like Officially”

Like they say in the old church when one properly begins their testimony:

First I’d like to give honor to God who is the head of my life, the pastor, the deacons, missionaries, first lady, usher board, saints, friends and visitors and Sharon of the Hyperactive Inefficiency blog fame, who found it in her heart to tag me and shout me out.

I will try to follow the rules of this as best I can. I’m afraid if I don’t, I will finally reap the fury of all of those chain letters I never passed along.

So here we go.

Here are the rules:

  1. Post the rules.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post
  3. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
  4. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
  5. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

1. Who would you pick for your celebrity wife and/or husband (For example, I’d marry Jemaine Clement, Oprah Winfrey and/or Tina Fey)

2. What’s your favourite time of day? Mine’s 11:11 AM.

3. What are some of your relationship deal-breakers?

4. How many times did you change your major in university and why, or, why not?

5. What’s your theme song? Because it’s been crazy, crazy, crazy with work and school mine has been:

6. What do you think people most frequently say about you behind your back?

7.  Do you feel your zodiac sign or Chinese astrological animal accurately represents you?

8. Who would star as you in the made for TV movie about the most interesting year of your life?

9. And, what is the title of said best-selling memoir?

10. Name two posts you believe should’ve most definitely been Freshly Pressed.

11. Make up a question and answer it.

HERE ARE MY ANSWERS

1. I’m stumped when it comes to celebrity husbands. It’s a three-way tie between U.S. President Barack Obama, Raphael Saddiq and Ghostface Killah.

2. My favorite time of the day is 8 p.m. at night because I’m not working, I’m taking my birth control and nothing makes me happier than knowing I ain’t nobody’s mother until I’m ready.

3. Relationship deal breakers: You don’t have to be in church everyday, but you have to believe in God. You must perform oral sex. You need to be employed. You should always offer me the last egg roll, sushi, or slice of cake. 

4. I never strayed from my path. I knew I wanted to study journalism since the 8th grade and so I did that. I should have been good at chemistry and came up with a chewable, mint-flavored Viagra tablet.

5. Theme song. Hmmm. Probably a great one for me would be “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Classic. I thought this song summed my life up when it first came out and I was 18. I’m almost two months into 30 and it still fits like my favorite sweatshirt.

6. They say, “Damn, she got a fatty (meaning large, ample posterior).” 

7. I do think my zodiac sign is on point. It’s freaky sometimes and it makes sense I’ve never dated another Aquarian. The one dude I do know who is an Aquarian with a birthday a few days after mine, he annoys the hell out of me. We are too much alike. So there’s something to it. But there’s something to anything if you choose to believe in it hard enough.

8. Hands down Sanaa Lathan. She would be me and the year would be last year. She is a fantastic actress and I love how she handles heartbreak, confusion over love and then coming out on top. I think she’d capture the heartbreak of my engagement ending, and she’d do a hell of a job doing the scenes where I went to the bridal shop to cancel my dress, and when I got in my car and went to Myrtle Beach to get away from it all and my car breaks down. Yup. She’d kill it.

9. Title of the best-selling memoir, “I Told Yall I’m A Strong Bitch.”

10. Two posts that should have been freshly pressed. I’ll go with the most popular. “PSA: Fellas, MAN UP”  and “A Girl’s Original, Ultimate Valentine.”

11. Ask and answer a question? To be or not to be? That is the question. But it also seems like an answer too, no doesn’t it?

Now it’s my turn to ask questions.

1. What made you decide to start a blog?

2. How did you come up with your blog name?

3. What are you most afraid of?

4. What is the thing that comes most naturally to you?

5. If you could only choose to eat and drink one thing every day for the rest of your life what would that food and that drink be?

6. What was a thing you thought as a child was so cool and found to be totally overrated once you reached adulthood?

7. What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you?

8. How long have you been friends with your best friend in the whole world?

9. What youtube video is guaranteed to make you smile or laugh every single time?

10. Besides writing, do you have any other creative outlets and what are they?

11. What is your favorite “I’m pissed off” song?

And here are the 11 bloggers I hope will take the time to participate:

1. Hyperactive Inefficiency

2. The Better Man Project

3. Sorryiamnotsorry

4. Self Professed Product Obsessed

5. C. Dominique Gibson

6. Kiss and Hide

7. The Awakened Life

8. Unknown Black Male

9. Tasha’s 365 Musical Journey

Ok. I’m out of gas and I need to start following more blogs! So I’m done at 9.

Now to notify these fine folks! I dig all of these blogs, and thanks again Sharon for the love! Someone is out there paying attention to my random ramblings!!!

Mindtwisting Poetry: The Ascent of the Somebody

Everybody loves somebody.

Everybody wants to be somebody.

Somebody seems to be the body to be.

Everybody often feels like nobody.

However nobody is better than anybody.

Because anybody can be somebody someday.

Everyday, it still looks like somebody is the best body to be.

Somebody knows full and hell well

that somebody else thought they were a nobody.

A nobody who would rather be anybody else.

Until somebody made nobody believe

they were somebody too.

Then somebody else took notice,

spread the word

that nobody was indeed somebody.

Then everybody believed.

Every somebody was a nobody

somebody saw as something more.

The Men Are Where You’re Not

I had a great weekend.

I got to meet up with old friends, out-of-town friends, and meet new people.

Every group of brilliant, beautiful women I encountered, the majority of us were single and did not have boyfriends and weren’t even close.

Each woman took a different approach.

Some said, “Forget it, I stopped having sex.”

Some said God will send the man.

Some said “we got along, the sex was great, now he doesn’t want it anymore? I’m offended. Why doesn’t he want my ass? He would at least want that right?”

Some said they don’t mind putting objects up a man’s butt and he should feel free to express himself sexually without fear of being seen as homosexual.

Some said, you need to trust your instincts if a man likes things up his butt too much and stop trying to be over open-minded to the point of losing your own boundaries or sacrificing your own sexual comfort zone. You are not a prude if you don’t do everything.

Forget some said. I said that.

Some said they would go to a strip club with their man, while others said they absolutely would not. They feared getting hit in the face with a flying crab, from off of the dancers…

These conversations, as varied as they were, always returned to, well, where are they?

I felt like an outsider really, because I’ve been relishing my singledom as of late. My heart had been broken so badly, I have nothing to lose anymore. I’m taking the time to pursue interests I let slide and finding joy in that.

I do get lonely, but it is a temporary thing. Men are everywhere. It’s not that hard to get a date, it’s not hard to get sex.

It’s just hard finding the right man you click with and want to stick with and who wants to click and stick with you.

When I suggested brutal honesty to the girl who was pining for a guy she had great sex with, another chimed in and said it’s bad to put her cards on the table and look desperate.

I said well alrighty. Personally, brutal honesty from saying, I’m not feeling this situation to talking bluntly about sex, and bluntly about relationships has worked well for me. It was a shocking revelation. I’ll let those chicks figure it out for themselves.

I did give them these tips. One girl almost looked ready to write it down.

I said the men are friends of people you know and will be at house parties thrown by a friend of a friend.

The men are going to be at the restaurant you stop in one night after work on a random weeknight.

The man is going to be the one working on the Habitat for Humanity project you finally decide to sign up for or a meetup.com group outing.

He’s going to be standing in line at Boston Market after work because he has no one to cook for him (I’ve seen fine men at Boston Market).

He’ll be the one to help you when you are sucking at your first golf lesson or indoor rock climbing class, but still having a great time, not taking yourself too seriously.

He’s going to be walking back from lunch on a street you never walk down because you make a bee line to the same sandwich spot back to your job and never divert from your routine.

He’s going to be the guy that watched you walking down the street looking angry, stressed or too busy to be bothered.

He’s going to be the guy who saw you diss and dismantle the pride of the last guy who tried to buy you a drink and then decide to say forget it.

He’s going to be the guy one table over who heard you say “men ain’t shit” over drinks with your friends.

He faithfully goes to your gym, an hour earlier, or an hour later than you.

He is where you aren’t until you decide to show up.

And show up looking put together (don’t need expensive clothes or a lot of make up or sky high heels), and armed with a positive attitude.

So it’s all about timing, and it’s all about taking a good look at what you do with your time, where you go, who you are with and then taking a chance to flip the script, shake up the routine.

There was research I read a long time ago that said people should not drive home the same way every single day because it dumbs down your brain and you will eventually be on auto pilot and not as alert and more prone to get into accidents.

Same thing with your dating life. If you want to meet new people, you got to change the routine and your route.

Let’s get this Monday going…This beat makes me feel like Mary is on the hunt.

Impatient People Always Get Hustled

Every time I’ve been hustled or almost hustled, it’s because I was being impatient.

Every single time.

If you have ever been hustled or hoodwinked or cheated out of your hard-earned money, you feel a number of emotions. You feel like an idiot, you feel ashamed, and you certainly don’t want anyone to know how dumb you were, because your loved ones are going to tell you, whatever the deal was, it was way too good to be true.

I was reminded of this lesson, yet again today.

I am in the process of launching a line of t-shirts. I love it. It’s loads of fun, it’s exciting to me, I follow all of the blogs, and gather inspiration from other designers.

I have been working on this slowly and steadily. I took business classes, figured out the numbers, etc. I have been painstakingly making pretty expensive samples with high quality shirts with a reliable company that I’ve been really happy with.

And they don’t have shiesty, shady user agreements that basically say by me having them print my shirts, they have rights to my designs to use forever and ever, however they see fit.

Well, today I slipped up.

I got tempted to race ahead faster than necessary. A living social deal with my printer’s competitor was just too good to pass up. I could get more samples done for less money, with the same high quality brand shirts and be more prepared for the photo shoot I have planned in the summer.

So I quickly jumped on the deal.

Until I got to the competitor’s site and realized it was trickier to navigate, and it had a lengthy, read very slowly with a magnifying glass user agreement. They basically said, sure, your intellectual property belongs to you, but you transfer all of your rights to us, by using us to print your shirts. We can do whatever we want with it. They even used the words “forever.”

I had a familiar pain in my chest and stomach that I knew of from about a few years ago when I wanted a Louis Vuitton bag, went to a knockoff website in the middle of the night, ordered one and then with the clarity the next morning brings, I canceled my bank card. I knew I was dead wrong and I was going to pay dearly for all of the fraudulent transactions that I was sure to follow from letting those fools have my card number.

For whatever reason, I was tired of waiting until I could save up enough for the real thing and I wanted it right then. I didn’t even care that it was fake. It was so strange. It was impulsive and it was stupid.

I’m not saying Living Social or the company in question are shady, because they aren’t.

But for me and what I’m trying to do with my brand, I can’t leave anything to chance. Their deal just wasn’t right for me and would be a bad business decision, leaving me powerless down the line.

I’ve been working too hard for the last several months just to hand it all over to someone else just because I was being impatient, and just because I didn’t take the time to read the fine print. It would have been disastrous to get the shirts, be pleased with them, and go on their site and see they are selling my stuff and I’m not seeing any of the profits (they do have an affiliate program, but from what I understand designers get pennies off of it).

It all reeks of bad record deals, where young artists were tricked by the glitz and glamor a new car and clothes but had no rights to their own music masters or residuals.

Lesson learned.

I am affirmed through this potential mistake that I have been moving at the right pace with my small business. Things have been going just fine. I just got back two great samples earlier in the week. I tried to be cheap, I tried to take a shortcut. I tried to move faster than necessary.

It was an emotional decision I shouldn’t have made. I’m glad I canceled, I’m glad I didn’t go ahead and print with them.

The repercussions would have made me ill. This song is in honor of my impatient tendencies.

PSA: Fellas, MAN UP

David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

I don’t know what’s going on today, but I read two articles that have just annoyed the crap out of me.

I told yall before that I’m hard on men, and they need to act like men. I’m not even trying to diss gay men (before anyone tries to start that mess), because I know gay men who handle their business, who work hard, who don’t complain and who are probably the most respectful and protective of women in their lives and honor and love those women, so this ain’t for them.

This applies to the punk ass men, I have been reading about today in this one article from phillymag.com.

It’s a lengthy read, but my goodness, it goes on and on about how young men these days aren’t motivated really and aren’t that responsible and how they are more than likely living at home with their parents and how women today are more likely to have their shit together than the men they have to choose from.

I’m just sick and tired.

I guess it didn’t help that a man approached me while eating my dinner alone the other night who was very awkward, and put himself down at least five times during our convo. For the icing on my cheesecake, when he asked me for my phone number and I said no, he asks me for a ride to the Metro. Like I didn’t just turn him down and reject him. But somehow, I’d give him a ride…um. Sure.

This is what we’ve come to.

What does this fabulous bachelor do for a living?

He took a deep breath, then said he was on his computer all day. But he actually schedules movers.

Fine, make an honest living. I’m not mad at that, but step your game up. Have some confidence and have some pride. (He told me I use big words, he doesn’t read, but he isn’t stupid.) Geez.

Because he said he said he does mixed martial arts, I decided to have another larger and more sane suitor walk me to my car once I closed my tab. I didn’t want to get attacked in the parking lot.

So back to these triflin ass men. Not all men are triflin, but we as a society are letting them slip, making excuses for them, doing everything for them and now we got a generation of hot ass messes, blaming the economy, blaming the rise of women in the workplace and everything else for their descent.

Um, you are descendants of cavemen. Have you ever seen those old school pics of the men who built skyscrapers eating lunch a gazillion feet in the air on just a beam??? They went and handled business and they weren’t going to complain about stupid stuff.

These dudes were eating lunch. On a beam. In the air! And you’re having a crisis because you aren’t working because you’re better than the jobs that are available, on your mom’s sofa, eating a sandwich she made for your pitiful ass, wearing clothes she probably washed for you (old funky, triflin, waste of flesh).

Those men aren’t better than you punk asses because of what they were able to physically do and their ability to provide and you aren’t better than those men because you have a college degree and/or can change diapers. Manhood has a lot of shades, but I still think there are some concrete things that cross race, income, culture.

You must be able to financially and emotionally take care of yourself and your family.

You must have something in you that compels you to protect and defend yourself and your family (be it physically or in addressing disrespect) even if it means getting your ass whooped as long as you stood up.

You should have pride in who you are.

Cavemen were living under the most ridiculous of circumstances, but they got out there and they made shit happen. Cavemen did not go back to their mother’s caves until they got on their feet. You don’t have to fight wild animals these days in order to survive. Cavemen had far fewer resources and luxuries than you broke ass college graduates still camped out at mom’s house because you still trying to pay back 100k in student loans and too prideful to take other jobs to help out.

Boo hoo.

Man UP!

So I go through my day, and another story crosses my path.

There are a bunch of punk ass fathers who are complaining about a Huggies diaper commercial that is making fun of fathers trying to change diapers.

The punk ass dads who claim they are so secure about being at home dads are the ones making the biggest fuss.

What on earth do you have to prove??? You aren’t a punk ass because you are at home taking care of your kids, that’s awesome, you rock.

You are a punk ass because you’ve decided to organize the rest of the punk asses to complain. You should have spent that time organizing a play group.

You are a punk ass because by creating this stir, you are telling people you are in fact insecure about being involved, hands on dads. I watched the video, and I didn’t see anything crazy. Most dads who are involved in their kids’ lives have changed diapers, most of which may not do it all the time.

And just because they are living the at home dad life, for most households, the majority of childhood duties are still being handled by women and will continue to be that way. There are dads who actually would be lost and going nuts if they had to handle their infant for two days without the aid of the mom. That’s just what it is.

Huggies punked out, pulled the ad and apologized. But that’s to be expected.

Their products are made specifically to take other people’s shit.

Maybe I’m an insensitive jerk, who is clinging to old school gender roles, yet wants to have her cake and eat it too, but damn fellas, these types of articles are becoming way too commonplace now.

Those men of the cavemen times, the Dark Ages, Slavery, and the Great Depression were just like you in a lot of ways, grappling with sense of self, wanting respect, feeling pressure.

Being a well-adjusted, non-whining ass contributor to society, your women and your kids is in your reach.

MAN UP.

The Toilet Is My First Stop On My Way to Greatness

Seeing your dreams or an idea actually take shape in a real way can be an amazing feeling.

It can also be very, very scary.

When I was a hard-core reporter, before any major interview, I always had to wake up that morning and take a dump. (Maybe I have a very mild case of irritable bowel syndrome.) Only then would I feel better. Even if it was a phone interview.

The very strange thing is, once I took the “nerves dump” I knew it was showtime and there was no turning back. It’s time to work.

Take the dump.

Take the deep breath.

Do it.

Done.

There is such a thing as healthy fear, so anytime we endeavor to do something that has the potential to be amazing, like speaking in public, performing, presenting ideas, accepting an award, participating in a sport or competition, there is something that makes us nervous and excited. At least this is the case for me.

Healthy fear reminds us there is potential to fail, but it’s well worth the risk.

Healthy fear tests us and actually prepares us for when we take things to an even higher level. With practice, we can hone healthy fear and use the familiar feeling to remind us we’ve been in this spot before, we’ve succeeded and will do it again.

In this piece from Forbes.com, Barbara Stanny breaks it down most eloquently (and honestly wrote the post I’m trying to write and did a much better job) and declares, “Fear Is Good!

Her most stand out lines in her commentary that I intend to apply to my life IMMEDIATELY:

“Fear has a new purpose—to warn us of approaching Greatness.”

Fear is the clearest signal we will get that we’re on the precipice of greater success, greater happiness, greater impact.”

“Imagine if more of us finally realized that Fear is nothing to fear.  Quite the contrary. Fear is Good. Imagine if every time we got scared, instead of freaking out, we gave each other a big high-five and exclaimed: ‘YES! We’re on our way to Greatness.’ ”

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