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Archive for the tag “girlfriends”

Good Friend, Bad Friend?

Clearly mental health had consumed my mind so much this week that by the weekend, I was worn out.

A number of things kind of came crashing down on me and led me to not do much all weekend long. I didn’t have the energy to even study, which made me feel worse for not being productive.

In my previous blog, I discussed Miriam Carey, the woman who crashed into the gates of the White House last week and led authorities on a car chase to the Capitol. I mentioned how close to home her story felt.

But there were other things at play this weekend. I already felt some kind of way because I had to ask my father for money to hold me over until pay day, and I hadn’t done that in a very, very long time.

Then for some reason, I made matters worse by asking my dad how much of his parent loan for my schooling did he have left to pay.

The number sank my heart and to think of how much he had already paid over the last ten years knocked the wind out of me. But he was so sweet and so encouraging. And his love continues to humble me. I got of the phone feeling terrible.

I called my sister and I was emotional. I was sad that my dad seems to have always had to sacrifice so much and has such a difficult life. I took it a step further and my sister and I had a conversation about my mom and what my life was like dealing with her issues, while my sister, much older than me, was living her own life very far away.

I told her I was jealous she didn’t have to endure or see or hear the things I did at the age I had to deal with. I told her some stories and she was shocked. She said she’s always felt guilty that she couldn’t be there and that she didn’t understand the progression and when and where and why things got so bad. It just seemed like she came home once and life had completely changed.

What I appreciated most from the conversation was my sister clearly understood I wasn’t blaming her or upset with her, but that it was important for me to tell her how I felt and I think it was a conversation that was filled with love and understanding.

A few other things continued to make me emotional.

I requested my transcripts for the grad school I’m applying to and asked for a personal copy.

I’m glad I did. Sometimes your version of history doesn’t line up with what’s in black and white.

I had serious struggles while I was in school. The semesters I did well, I did really well. The semesters I tanked, I REALLY tanked.

Fortunately, I eeked out just enough to make the overall gpa requirement for admission to the program I want to get into. It’s so funny, because nearly 10 years ago, I figured just get through this, graduate. I’m not going to grad school anyway. I’ll be a journalist.

Oh life.

Then the last thing to add fuel to the fire was being stood up. I was looking forward to my date with Renaissance on Saturday. And when he blew me off to haze pledgies 20 minutes away, being annoyed was an understatement.

We had good conversations. He seemed interested in learning about me and not just surface, silly things. He asked me great questions.

But what made things go off the rails, was when a good friend, who has a tendency to often say the wrong thing, said the wrong thing.

When I shared I was having a bad day and emotional week, judgements started flying. And her preoccupation with something else and telling me she didn’t have “time for this shit tonight and to pull it together” made me nuts.

She further told me I needed therapy and that I shouldn’t date until I “got myself together.”  That was insulting because I’ve been working on myself for nearly three years, not really dating anyone seriously at all. I’m a woman and I’m allowed to be disappointed if a guy I was interested in stood me up.

She further said that I should go to therapy before I spend thousands of dollars to go back to school because it’s clear I’m searching for something.

Because I didn’t feel like fighting or justifying my feelings or actions, I simply said, I’ve been wanting to go back to school. That is not an irrational decision. It’s because I’ve hit a wall at work and all of my dream jobs basically require that degree. I’ve thought about this.

She’s already thrown shade about me going back to school, saying it’s pointless if it lands me a job that won’t make me more money than I make now.

Gee. Thanks.

I do give props to the friends who have checked on me and just listened.

The friend who shades me dating and going back to school, decides after the event she was too preoccupied to deal with my shit for, she’d stop by the house and bring me food. Which was nice.

The tension in the air was thick. I did my best to be pleasant. She hugged me and jokingly shared bible passages of encouragement and on her way out said, “see, you need friends who can knock on your door!”

I waved goodbye, thanked her and went back to watching t.v.

Then an hour later, I got a bunch of text messages about how “we’ll get through this.” And how my parents would never forgive her if something happened to me.

I didn’t realize I had become suicidal.

I texted back. “I’m not suicidal.”

She returned with, “You better not be.” And then she went on about dragging me across a finish line.

At that point, I was unable yall.

I guess she felt guilty about her response to me the night before, but now she was laying it on too thick, and it was actually annoying me more. I felt that she did mean well. But it was frustrating.

She went from one extreme to another.

If anyone has advice on this, I’ll be glad to hear it.

I’ve complained about this person before and I’ve made excuses for them. All of my close friends know this and they are always prepared for our semi-annual falling outs. I decided that I’m not going to end the friendship, but always taking one for the team gets tiring.

Leave Baggage Claim Alone, Black Folk. It Did What Rom Coms Do

I’ve had numerous people say to me they weren’t going to see the new movie “Baggage Claim” because they thought it was going to be corny, predictable, formulaic, blah blah. A number of people also said they can’t really stomach Paula Patton, including the person I went to see the movie with.

In my opinion, Patton was a fine choice for the optimistic, still-working-it-out, oblivious Montana Moore. Her seemingly flighty persona and physical comedy seemed natural for the part.

baggageclaimI was trying to think of other black actresses who would have pulled it off, in my opinion would have been any of the female leads of the cast of Girlfriends (Actress Keesha Sharp (Monica) would have knocked it out of the park, she does the sexy, funny girl really well. I love her on “Are We There Yet?”) , because they all have serious comedy chops, and are extremely good-looking. The only problem, even though they all look amazing is, they would have been too old for the role. I refuse to throw Sanaa in the mix, because she has been done to death. Yet I love her.

Now that I think about it, Raven Symone would have been a really interesting and ballsy choice for Montana (they ain’t ready), and would have nailed it, especially the speech at the end about loving herself.

Wait, now that I’ve listed all of these people… either way, I digress, Paula did her job. She was still adorable.

The younger crop of actresses are relegated to being sexy objects of affection or neck-rolling, no mess-taking, independent women.

Basically all of the people I’ve talked to about Baggage Claim were other black people. I don’t know how white people felt about it. I didn’t hear them gushing about it at work, so they just didn’t care. These kinds of movies kind of don’t register on their radar, because anything with a majority black cast, I tend to get the feeling there’s a belief there’s nothing there for them, meanwhile on the flipside, people of color don’t have choices. Most TV and movies have mostly white casts with one person of color just thrown in, but it is universally accepted by all audiences. We find the connections to characters unlike us anyway. But reverse it, and you just don’t see white people in the theaters for movies like this. You just don’t. “Think Like A Man” may have been the exception because of the fact that Steve Harvey is inescapable these days.  (They were moved by “The Butler” though… I do wonder if they’ll take it a step further and see “12 Years a Slave” but that’s another blog.)

My argument is this. If you ask a lot of black women, we looooove romantic movies and comedies and we don’t care who the hell is in them.

I adore Julia Roberts in basically anything and most black women will agree “Pretty Woman” is a classic. And “Dirty Dancing” we know the words, we know the dances, the music and we will scream, “Nobody puts baby in a corner,” with fervor.

“The Holiday” is one of my favorites and who doesn’t love Bridget Jones? Cmon.

“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is another fav. I can’t get that yellow dress out of my head. Ever.

So after naming all of these movies, it just amazes me how critical black people are of romantic comedies. The few that see the light of day.

I don’t know if we just stopped believing in love or because in our real lives it’s such a fucking battle, we can’t even enjoy poking fun at the journey and how love really makes us look goofy and silly. We have to be cool all the time. We have to be proving a point or that we are just as worthy as everyone else. Ugh.

That shit is tiring.

Why can’t black girls hide in trash cans outside of their lovers house? Or step in dog poo?

My heels get caught in sidewalk cracks all the time, and my dress will blow up on my way into the office.

It’s funny! It’s great. It makes me laugh at myself. Sometimes I have lipstick on my teeth and one time I almost walked out of the bathroom with my dress tucked into the back of my granny panties. These things are humorous bites of life we find ourselves still laughing at years from now.

Must we be so oppressed that we can’t create movies that reflect that too?

We always argue that people of other cultures paint us with the same broad brush culturally.

I actually feel like there’s some parity in the world when we can have a corny, predictable, silly, romantic comedy too. Was it over the top and totally not realistic?

Yes.

That’s what makes it a great movie. For people who are so technologically savvy, we have lost our imagination. Sometimes a cardboard box is a space ship, people. Sometimes it is.

I don’t want to constantly see a movie about how hard it is to be a black person.

We love, we laugh and we embarrass ourselves all of the time in the name of love. You’ve read my blog. You know I have moments.

So while everyone waits with bated breath for “The Best Man Holiday” (which I’ve already said I’m going to see three times in the theater), there are a bunch of people knocking Baggage Claim without giving it a chance and I think it’s unfair and unnecessary. For those who don’t know, “The Best Man” is one of the crown jewels of black romantic comedy in the cannon of black romantic comedy. Great story, great cast, great portrayal of black folk. The others include, “Love Jones,” “Love and Basketball”, “Brown Sugar,” “Something New,” “The Wood,” “The Brothers,” and I will include “Think Like A Man.”

I can’t wait.

Baggage Claim fit the rom com criteria.

Sad girl wants love.

She knowingly or unknowingly along with or without Friends and family hatch a hair-brained scheme to catch a man.

Poor unsuspecting man gets drawn in.

Meets sad, crazy girl, who wants love more than anything else.

He realizes she’s crazy and it all falls apart.

He realizes he can’t live without her and goes chasing after her, or she realizes she can’t live without him…

Basically whoever messed up the most has to run through the airport, train station, opening night, performance, business launch, somebody else’s wedding… etc. to say they were sorry and make up.

Nothing more, nothing less. It wasn’t going to be a groundbreaking glimpse into the dating life of good, black folks doing well for themselves.

And if it was, I wouldn’t feel like watching it. Instead of being funny and light, it would be sad and depressing and I have enough of that in DC in real life.

So lighten up, haters.

Lessons In Cattiness, Real Friends, No New Friends? IDK…

Oh that Facebook.

You know my love and hate relationship with it. Probably last year or so, I wrote about the painful end to a friendship that really made no sense but actually did make sense because I blindly stumbled into it anyway. I think it was convenience for both parties and when the party was over, it was over.

I don’t think this ex-friend is a bad person at all, but we just didn’t need to be in each other’s circles anymore. So it’s ok.

We are Facebook friends and because I just got tired of her documenting every moment and poop and I was a little jealous of her weight loss, I had to hide her posts. But I do wish her and her family well. They’ve been through a lot.

I happened to look on her page again because there was a rare post that made it through my filters and got on my homepage.

She’s back to the same old same old, but it looks like her boyfriend actually stuck around this time. She was notorious for having a good run for three months and it all falling apart.

So of course there’s so much irony. I can’t seem to find and keep someone around, but I thought about the loss of that friendship and what I ended up gaining.

After losing that friendship, I’ve solidified old ones, I’ve become close friends with one of my cousins (who I have admired forever and looked up to) and our relationship is stronger and deeper than ever. We even travel together now. I no longer see her as this ideal person, but as I told her recently, I’m so honored that we’ve become friends as women and that she’s allowed herself to see me not as a little cousin, but as another woman too. I told her that I love her even more because she’s let me see her flaws and be vulnerable and it makes me even more proud of how strong and amazing she really is.

I’ve made new friends who are hardworking, beautiful, funny and genuine and intelligent. Did I mention genuine? It’s mighty difficult to hit your 30s and meet genuine women and decide to become friends. It takes a lot of faith on the part of all parties to A) be themselves B) be secure enough in themselves not to make assumptions and then start the comparisons which leads to jealousy and mistrust. One of the young ladies I met through this very blog, the other, a friend of the friend I met through this very blog! I can sit in a restaurant with them and laugh for hours or have scandal parties in sweatpants, or go have ice cream with them on a Tuesday night and just be myself. (Take that Drake, I do want new friends especially if they are going to turn into great old friends).

There’s nothing fake, phony or pretentious, they aren’t clamoring to be in VIP sections or be seen, and they don’t have to run the streets. They are just as happy hanging out at the mall as they are at a party. But they can get jazzed up too. I think we are often the best dressed people in the room at most places we go, and that’s even when we are “casual.”

So I’m very thankful. I had to learn some lessons about friendship and about how people’s prominence in your life does shift. While some people take a seat or take a break because of their life changes, other people step up in unexpected, necessary ways.

And that is beautiful.

Accepting the shift isn’t easy.

Sometimes when old friends fade out, you are upset, you feel like they walked away with all of the things you gave them, but what did you get in return?

I got so caught up in how I helped that one friend get a job, that increased her salary and led her to getting a new job with an even bigger salary.

But I didn’t give my ex-friend credit for showing me how to expand my skill set by teaching me how to do her job on websites while she was on sick leave, setting me up to do it full-time and two years or so later getting a raise and leading the department and getting a new title.

I saw her as getting more than me and moving on to better. But all the while, things were slowly coming into place for me. If I didn’t learn something new, I could have easily been laid off when the company went in a new direction. So looking back, being more mature about it, she helped me immensely too.

Old friends may surprise you by how selfish they can be, new friends can surprise you with how giving and caring they can be already.

Regardless, prepare yourself to be surprised.

Then there are friends who are steady, steady, steady and tried and true that will not change, will always be dependable and God, you need those folks in your crew too, they are the foundation and I’m beyond blessed to have folks like that. No matter how moody, how silly, how frustrated, or man-obsessed they will give you your space, they will check on you right on time and say exactly what you need to hear whether you felt like it, or wanted them to or not.

Me and one of my dearest friends who makes me nuts like no other, I’ve written about our epic battles, we’ve come to another level of maturity. I’m better at expressing my feelings and calling her out without being harsh and blurting it all out at once when she’s completely upset me. She’s better at listening to me and trying to consider my feelings before hitting our danger zones.

Even though I don’t get to see my sister often, I love our phone conversations. We were on the phone for about two hours on Sunday. Me, talking about the difficult single life, she talking about the difficult married and mom life. We exhaled and laughed a lot.

I saw that old friend’s Facebook page and it made me think of all of these things. That’s awesome.

But I’m still not unleashing her regular posts on my timeline.

No thanks.

 

I Sense a Pattern: The Friends I’ve Had to Let Go

Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Throughout a number of phases in a woman’s life, girlfriends come and go. We have beefs big and small. Sometimes we make up, sometimes we breakup, and then there are the occasions when you know a friendship has ended for good.

Whether it happens in grade school, or high school, or even when you are “grown,” it still hurts when you come to the realization that you have come to the end of the road with someone you shared a lot with. I think it hurts more when you are grown, because you assume that you both should know better and know how to not hurt people.

Girlfriend breakups are particularly tough, because even if we are madly in love with a boyfriend, we expect that most romantic relationships have an expiration date, but not the bond we share with our girls.

“Friends are the family you choose” and I think we all may tend to hold our close friends to a higher standard than our own families when it comes to giving and expecting their support. We may even extend more patience to them when we feel they are being selfish, because friendship is an at will relationship– either side can choose to terminate at any time. There is something that attracted you to that person as a friend, and that same thing causes you to want to keep their respect and love.

There are some friends you can have a fight with every six months and be the best of buddies after a few days or weeks of a cool down. After one genuine and sometimes teary heart-to-heart, and both parties are back on track.

Some friends you hardly, if ever “fight” with because somehow you’ve become so in tune with each other’s moods and eccentricities, you know when to leave the other person alone, and you both appreciate it greatly.

Then there are other friends, where it seems like whatever has gone down between you can’t be repaired, and to continue the friendship would seem phony. Your encounters are no longer relaxed, but feel awkward and contrived.

Girlfriends breakup for a number of reasons, but the main reason I’ve seen over and over again in my life and in the life of other women I know (and the ones on t.v. and movies) is someone feels shorted and thinks the other person is being selfish.

There’s been a pattern for me when it comes to my terminated friendships.

These types of women were highly intelligent and super driven. They grabbed attention everywhere they went, and produced a certain image of having it all together.

They also thrived on appointing themselves as mother figures to people who they deemed needed their guidance and help. They always had advice and seemed to get validation from fixing other people’s messes. The bigger the mess, the greater the self-esteem.

They always had to be in control of everything. People had to be reminded of how important and smart they were. It wasn’t unusual to hear them mention their accomplishments in various conversations.

I served as their side kick in public and their confidant in private. My low-key, non-confrontational personality served them well, and did wonders for their egos.

I surmise that these types of people gravitate to me, because I exude a certain kind of confidence and come to the table with accolades of my own, but I don’t try to compete with them. I’ve got the credibility to be good enough to be associated with them, but I don’t care to outshine them.

These women will appear to have a lot of friends, but these friends usually “can’t be trusted,” or “they are jealous” and must be kept at a distance.

These types like to confide in me, and then I turn into a receptacle for all of their problems and baggage.

Yet when I have a problem, they minimize it, expect me to get over it immediately and resume focus on everything going on in their world.

These types of people never ask me what’s wrong or if I’m alright. These people find a way to make an issue I have be about them. These people compare their problems to my problem and say because I’m not going through what they are going through, I shouldn’t be as upset or stressed.

These same women have been bossy and sometimes talked to me like a child or made demands that I move when they say move. They keep mental running tabs on what they’ve done for people in case those folks have to be put in check later.

These people want me to be the first in line to drop everything when drama or disaster strikes.

The day that I don’t, to them, I’m the most horrible person ever, and all of the other times I’ve gone out of my way to support them have been permanently erased from their memory.

I’ve always wondered, if these kinds of friends ever saw me. Or saw who I really was. Did they notice that I can be sensitive too? Moody? And that because I don’t want to deal with your problems right now and all of the time, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.

I was one of the few people not asking these overachievers for anything. I knew they were good people at the core, and they had traits that I admired.

I guess me not asking them for anything meant to them that I could and would accept everything.

Sadly, the people like this whom I’ve let go in the past don’t change much when I cross paths with them again later on.

They bombard you with tales of what great things they’re doing and how busy they are, and still never ask you how you’re doing. And when the awkward exchange is through, I laugh. I am comforted to know that it was perfectly alright to let that person go.

Rant Warning: The Dangerous Act of Comparison

Grau Cordin/Freedigitalphotos.net

A good friend who is in her 30s told me over a few glasses of wine, that if women were truly honest with themselves and especially their women friends, our relationships wouldn’t be so complicated and we could combat the jealousy that sometimes seeps in.

She’s right.

In that moment, I told her that there are times I am downright jealous of my friends– her included.

I want what they have. There, I said it.

Some of my friends have awesome cars. I have an 11-year-old car that’s hanging on that I won’t finish paying for like two months from now.

Some of my friends have beautiful homes. I have a modest apartment in an ok neighborhood.

Some of my friends make way more money than me.

I watched a friend purchase a handbag that cost more than the rent I was struggling to pay at the time. She wanted me there not to rub it in my face, but because she was proud she could finally afford something like that and wanted me to be there. We both dreamed of shopping in those stores as broke college kids. She had arrived. Me, I’m still stuck in traffic right about now.

I was there, I was proud, but at the same time I was nauseous, envious and bitter. I was paying for gas with couch change and waiting until my direct deposit kicked in so I could eat at the McDonald’s dollar menu at 12:01 a.m.. Those were the worst financial times for me ever.

Back to the honesty, I eventually told her how I felt that day and I knew she didn’t set out to make me feel like a broke-ass loser, and after a teary exchange, all was well.

Some of my friends get to travel around the world. I’ve been as far as south as Mexico (had to work two jobs to get there) and as far north as Canada.

Some of my friends are in solid relationships. Well, you saw my blog, the one I wasn’t afraid to write anymore. I’m totally not a candidate for a solid relationship right now, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting the same thing too.

Comparisons are a bitch. Facebook doesn’t help. I say over and over again Facebook is a PR machine for regular people. You can edit your life and make it seem kick ass to everyone else. You can bend the facts. Case in point: A friend of mine told me about his 11-year-old student whose Facebook page lists him as a graduate of Georgetown University and CEO of Chuckie Cheese.

It makes no sense to me, because the people who really know you know the truth and think you are stupid for lying and there’s no need to impress the people you aren’t really that cool with anyway. They really don’t care. Or if they do, they are lying about their lives too.

My life really isn’t that bad. I’m thankful for what I have, I really am. But I just have these moments. It’s torture, because I don’t wish bad things on these people. These are my friends. I’m just temporarily jealous.

I even said a prayer to God, to look ahead, and not look around me. To stay focused and actually get the strength to make my life better on my own terms, take control of the things I can control and not try to compare myself to others.

I’m competitive by nature. And to me, the essence of competition is comparison. Performance has to be measured and someone is just going to always be better than someone else at something. That’s life.

The thing is, for every great thing that’s happened to each of my friends, they’ve totally paid a high cost for it and worked hard to achieve it. I roll with great people. They’ve gone through things I probably couldn’t have handled. While those material things are sweet, there are situations and struggles I know for a fact those friends would gladly exchange those material things for.

Part of being grown is being honest.  Some days when I feel crappy about myself, I compare myself to other people. Real talk. Even when I know in certain aspects, their lives aren’t necessarily “better” than mine, I’m still jealous.

Sometimes.

 

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