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Archive for the month “August, 2015”

Who Are We Really Competing With When We Critique The Exes’ Next?

Human beings are so competitive even when it’s absolutely useless to be so.
Especially when we are in an imaginary competition with our exes’ current girlfriend, wife.
The most ridiculous part is when we compete with women from his past.
So we compare ourselves regardless.
I’m thinner, I have a better body, I’m more educated, she has kids, I don’t and the list goes on and on.
Our friend even get in on the action, and as well-meaning as they are, even when you aren’t really thinking about the comparison game, they pull you into thinking about the comparison game.
It’s kind of petty, but it’s something we naturally do because we tend to think highly of ourselves, especially when it comes to the type of girlfriend we may have been to the other person who at one point agreed to be with us seriously, or even if it was a casual hookup or 40.
So we pull people we know nothing a part based on a scant amount of information, even if we’ve happened to take a look at their public social media accounts. If your competition is gorgeous, you look for any flaw in their body, intellect or personality.
If the person isn’t attractive, you question your exes taste, you say that they downgraded from you or upgraded to you.
And all of these things temporarily make us feel better, but why?
Your ex is an ex for a reason. It didn’t work out. What is it about human nature that makes us still care about what they think of us?
It’s probably that same part of us hoping that ex runs into us when we’re looking our best or us going that extra mile to be super fabulous if we know they are attending and event we’ll be going to.
Deep down inside, whether we still want the other person or not, we always want them to ALWAYS want us.
That’s why it’s easy to take a phone call from a friendly ex who wants to reminisce about the past or compliment you on a photo they happened to see of you online.
As I get older, bashing the past and present girlfriends of my exes or even guys I’ve been interested in is loosing its pleasure and just makes me feel petty.
It makes me ask internal questions about why I care and why I’m competing with someone who isn’t even thinking about me.
Or maybe she is and she’s comparing herself to me…

Givers Fatigue (No more crowdfunding solicitations, please!)

Don’t get me wrong. I think Kickstarter, Gofundme, whatever is awesome when folks want to raise money for worthy causes and rally friends and family together quickly to help a person in need.

But we’ve seen over and over in the news where people have taken the kindness of others too far. One woman simply wanted people to fund her trip to Vegas so she could see the Pacquiao Mayweather fight, one guy raised a butt load of money to make potato salad. The end result, was $55,000. The originator of the campaign was said to have planned to give a lot of the money away to hunger-fighting charities.

Ok, so even the ones that kind of start out as a joke, can go on to do great things.

However, I’ve been seeing somethings that have been kind of frustrating. There are people who actually want other people to help them pay for vacations to “save their relationship” or even crowdfunding to help people pay for their weddings.

People are asking for money to pay for semesters of school, the sob stories are endless.

And it’s not like I don’t have a heart. On more than a few occasions, I’ve seen and contributed to crowdfunding efforts to put people into the ground.

These kinds of things upset me. Our culture is turning away from responsibility, and the joy of really working hard toward something, saving and then enjoying the fruits. At least have an old school rent party! Damn.

People need to learn more about life insurance so cash-strapped loved ones aren’t passing the hat online.

A great friend of mine would never have asked her friends to foot the bill for her amazing trip to Italy. So instead, she opened up an account with smartypig.com, a free site where you can save money for whatever it is you want and set goals to get there. Personally, I think especially for weddings, people need to start there before asking everyone for money, to actually FUND THE EVENT!!

Some people have the rationale that people give the couple money as a gift anyway, so if the couple can’t afford and really wants the wedding or honeymoon of their dreams, they can just use the money they’d get anyway up front to pay for it all.

But I don’t think that’s the point of monetary wedding gifts.

The true, point of monetary and of registry gifts isn’t a chance to let you live out your childhood Nickelodeon Toy Run fantasies out in Target, or Crate and Barrel as an adult, but be the jumpstart to helping you and your new spouse build your new home and transition a bit more smoothly into your new lives together.

I’ve always felt that when you throw a party, large or small, it’s a given that you’ve taken on a lot of the responsibility and cost to provide YOUR GUESTS with a great time.

If your guests offer to help, or offer you money, or want to bring things, then it’s an added bonus. But when I throw something, I have an expectation to make it so, that the guests just show up and enjoy themselves because I invited them. The only time, I wouldn’t do that is if there are ticketed events, and even still, I’d get a group rate, tell everyone in advance the cost and it’s up to them if they want to join.

As a society, we’ve got to do better. I really don’t mind helping people, but after a while, it gets really old because for some of this stuff, as grown adults, you need to take care of your own business rather than depending on the generosity of others for every little whim.

Once again, I don’t have a problem with helping people who are ill and have crazy medical care bills, I don’t have a problem with helping a college student just starting out or is just short of a couple thousand to graduate, but to ask for money every semester and ask for the entire cost of tuition… sometimes your baby can’t or shouldn’t go to that school and needs to go someplace less expensive where you can get a better financial aid package.

There is such a thing as over extending your resources, and you don’t ever want to do that in the event you truly are in dire straits. It’s important to exhaust whatever possibilities you have first before setting up that kickstarter page and potentially turning off your friends and family who are already, like you, paying their own bills, taking care of their own responsibilities, wanting to go on vacation too!

For the most part, I do think crowdfunding is great and for mostly worth-while causes. But yup, you will totally get the side-eye from me if you seriously want me to fund your pay my student loan campaign, when I have student loans of my own. And some people might say, hey, if people want to give, regardless of the situation, that’s what they want to do. And sure, people are free to do that.

Maybe I’ll start a campaign to help me contribute to other people’s crowdfunding efforts without going broke…

Would you give??


Later, lifers!

What Are You Willing to Be?

On Jill Scott’s latest album “Woman” she has a simple interlude during which she runs off the typical man’s ultimate short list for the kind of woman he wants.
“You want me flawless. You want me patient and sweet. You want me willing. You want my honesty. You want me to be appreciative. Respect your space, ignore your fears. You want a good girl and a freak,” she speaks.
Then she sings the following, a lovely reality check.
“You want something that you’re not willing to be.”
Oh, that’s when I lost it. I was waving my hands in the air, swaying back and forth.
Jill done did it again and in less than 2 minutes.
We all have expectations. And for some odd reason we place even higher ones on the people we want to have in our lives as if we aren’t flawed and that the person isn’t being patient with us.
Reciprocity makes and the lack thereof breaks every relationship romantic or otherwise.
When people feel like a situation is one-sided with no signs of improvement, you can expect that relationship to end.
A life lesson that keeps coming back to me is that just as I want to be heard and my opinion and feelings to be respected regardless if the other person agrees or not, the other people I interact with want the same thing.
It’s not unreasonable.
However, we’re selfish people. We can only account for our souls and the actions our flesh and bones carry out. So sometimes it is hard to imagine what it’s like to see ourselves from someone else’s point of view.
Jill’s sentiments weren’t the first time I heard the concept of becoming the person you’d want to date.
I’d heard it on a panel at Essence Fest a few years back and I’ve even read something to that effect in Dr. Phil’s book, “Love Smart.”
And honestly, this draws on the law of attraction too. If you’re out of shape, someone who’s in shape may not be beating down your door.
If you don’t smile at people, they probably won’t smile at you.
The interesting thing about being a human is we do feed off of each other. We feel more comfortable with people who are like ourselves, because you can find obvious things to connect on.
So, from time-to-time, I ask myself if I’d date me.
Do I like how I look when I look in the mirror?
Do I like the food I cook for myself?
Am I proud of the work that I do or the activities I engage in?
Am I loving to the people in my life?
Do I make time for people who I love?
Do I make time for me?
Am I taking care of myself?
I do think all of these things help usher in new kinds of people in your life. You’ll radiate something.
Lately, I’ve been seeing posts about how folks tend to meet people or even strike up short-term relationships while traveling, and I can see how that happens.
When I travel, I’ve picked out all of my favorite clothes that make me feel good, stuff that I wouldn’t be able to wear at work. I can be a bit more sexy. I also tend to try new hairstyles, so I feel like a new version of myself. I wear brighter colors. I’m well-rested, I’m curious, I’m open to whatever the day has in store.
The vacation version of me seems to be an ultimate version of myself. I’m not thinking about work or any of the things that stress me out, I’m strictly about the business of my happiness and satisfaction and embarking on something different and making the most of the moments.
I’m bolder because I’m certain I probably won’t see these strangers ever again. And like me, they are also about having a good time if they are traveling too.
So getting back to Jill, I’ve been wondering about being more willing to incorporate my vacation self into my everyday life. Because that’s the version of myself I’d really like to date!

Impromptu Poetry: Let’s Connect

A voice, eye-contact, a touch and a smile says so much more.
The intention in inflection is heard and clearly understood. No need to scroll back, analyze and then assume.
Touch me and I feel you.
No emojis necessary. No responses out of order.
1/3, 3/3, 2/3.
No room for misunderstanding when looking you directly in the eye.
No jumping to ill-informed conclusions based on too much insecurity and too few facts.
Pleasant pauses in person mean letting the conversation breathe and the intimacy build, while a pause during a text can mean he’s on to the next…
The ultimate mic drop is a kiss.
Let’s mutually decide to power down and unplug.
End this digital conversation and start another offline…
This is how we communicate better.
Let’s connect.

With Each New Trip, Comes A New Epiphany

There’s plenty to blog about today as I’ve just returned from Toronto to attend my first ever Caribana. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed hanging with my travel mates, some of whom I’ve never traveled with before. It was a success!
But with every trip, when I come home, I have a renewed sense of purpose and wanting to live out my life in a bigger, better way.
In 2013, the result of this post-vacation feeling pushed me into looking into grad schools, then applying, then taking the GRE and then getting accepted and starting in 2014.
In 2014, after 7 years of working in the same place and going on at least 4 different interviews over that time period and none of them panning out, a job I didn’t think I got had offers waiting for me upon my arrival from the Cayman Islands.
So it’s 2015, I’m half way through my studies in Grad school, I’m working very hard at that new job I took on in 2014, and after Toronto, I’m looking around wondering, “What’s next?”
The thought started to enter my head that maybe after nearly a decade in the Washington, D.C. area, moving someplace else to start fresh might be a good idea. Last year, that idea only seemed to be reserved for after I graduated school, but thanks to online education, it’s really not the deal breaker I made it out to be.
For 9.5 years, I thought to myself I have not had a stable healthy relationship with any male who actually lived in the D.C. area. Two of the relationships I had while living here, were long distance.
I was starting to wonder, if it was me? If it was D.C.? And if together, we weren’t a good match for my love life.
Let’s face it. It’s a competitive city.
We compete for jobs, we compete for great places to live, and women, whether we want to admit it or not, we’re out here competing for the same men.
We know it and they know it and for this reason, the game has lost its fun factor.
Most women in any city will say there are no men there.
What Caribana revealed to me most was there are men everywhere. There are men of all kinds who are interesting, kind, funny and considerate and hard-working. There are men who are selfish, egotistical ass hats who have subpar penis.
So I wondered to myself, where were these men in DC?
Are guys only fun when they go to an event in other parts of the country or the world? Are they more open? Am I more open?
Could I waltz into a club and channel my Caribana vacation self and charm someone silly? Is that my problem?
The DC, everyday version of myself hates the clubs and has no desire to dress up, heel up, make up and play the game. Sure, I’ve been slumming it at local TGI Friday’s and I guess I shouldn’t complain about what I get.
I refuse to go back to online dating because it’s exhausting and annoying.
So, I can admit, half of the problem really is me. I can’t blame D.C. and I can’t blame how wack men are these days, especially when I’ve turned down really nice guys, who I’ve complained I have no chemistry with.
In terms of me taking care of myself and doing things to make myself happy and making choices for me and only me, I’ve been doing a fantastic job.
But my love life has taken a position on the back burner. I told myself that this selfish phase I’m having really doesn’t allow for me to give anything to anyone else, but there’s a small part of me that calls bullshit.
And that voice is getting on my very last nerve and keeps me up at night. That voice makes me wish for the intimacy I’ve shared with exes that is nothing but a memory, that voice makes me wonder about what random flirtations really mean or what they don’t mean.
That voice makes me wonder if I guy I met on vacation who lives in this area will give me a call and want to actually meet up.
I don’t deny any of my feelings. I think they are natural. But something is pulling at me for change and it’s not surprising. I started out my adult life on an adventure tip. Out the gate, I moved to places my friends and family would have never gone or tried to leave a long time ago. I tested my mettle, and there’s a big part of me that feels like I lost that adventure in the name of security. But even when I was running around, moving from place-to-place and job-to-job, I wondered what the secure life would be like.
I told a friend, I’m never satisfied. When I’m hot, I want to be cool, when I’m cold, I want to be warm. When I’m in a situation, I want the opposite of what I’m in at the moment.
I have a problem with patience, I have a problem with process. I can change my mind on a whim, however, I believe I’m a steady person and a reliable friend.
While I do have fantasies about what my next meaningful relationship will be like and how happy I’ll be and how grateful I’ll be for it, I also fantasize about random romps with strangers if I had the courage and the ability to just walk away and never look back. Is it conflicting to want to be fully present in both of those situations, even though they are polar opposites?
Probably, but that’s how I feel.
I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do. But when I don’t feel like making a decision, it would be ok to go with what’s decided for me sometimes.
I like to be alone with my thoughts and work things out in my mind until my thoughts wear me out so much, that I want to be held by someone. Then, you may enter my space.
I shared my recent thoughts of moving with a few friends and they had varied responses, most of which were for me to do what I felt like I needed to do.
One joked that it would be my luck that once I moved, I’d meet someone from this area. That same friend, who is in a relationship then gave me the, “chin up, he’ll find you” phrase. Ugh.
For single people, when people in relationships tell you that, the only feeling comparable is when employed people tell unemployed people exhausted and demoralized by consistent rejection that the next interview will be “the one.”
In both cases, you know people mean well, but you don’t want to hear it.
They’ll tell you how great you are and can’t understand why you don’t have a man or a job because you’re qualified in fact you’re over qualified, and that’s the problem!
While this so-called pep-talk (and I’m guilty of giving these) is going on, you either really think about your shortcomings preventing you from having the job or the boyfriend, or you get mad at the system because given the right chance you know you’d be great.
I’ve learned a long time ago that a lot of things are based on timing. There’s an ebb and flow of life. There are things you have to look and listen for in your heart and in your gut to lead you to the next point. I get impatient with what seems like the slow-moving points because I have no idea what’s ahead, be it good or bad. Sometimes you just feel like you’re stuck in one place. One thing is for certain, even when you’re stuck you either find the strength and motivation to unstick yourself, but if you sit around long enough, something will come along and move you and when that happens, it’s involuntary. It may be due to necessity, or fear or a little of both and I can’t stand operating in fear.
I believe in God. There are all kinds of scriptures about being still or standing still. So maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s a big part of my lesson or journey trying to identify the peace in stillness over the loud ass sounds of my thoughts, fears, insecurities and anxieties.

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