Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sizzling Spicy Hot Summer Romance 2010

Ok so it's officially Summertime in NYC and it's HOT outside!!! As I drive through some neighborhoods I see open fire hydrants, kids outside playing, and couples strolling hand in hand. Two things are running through my mind at this moment and the first is Spike Lee's joint, "Do the Right Thing". I will never get tired of watching this movie and this intense summer heat makes me think of it. I'm thinking of "Mookie" and "Tina" in their steaming ice cube scene... "Thank God for the Lips", "Thank God for the Right Nipple", "Thank God for the Left" lol. Mookie and Tina had that classic wreckless love (shout out to Alicia Keys). The other thought weighing heavy on my mind these days is my own need for romance in my life. I think Spring always initiates these feelings in me and then Summer keeps them going. With my birthday less than thirty-days away I'm also thinking of how nice it would be to spend my special born day with someone special. So what's a girl to do and where would I even start??? Dating is the first thing at the top of my list this Summer but that's often so much easier said than done. I'm a big chicken (I must confess). I was so shy as a child and it's still hard for me as an adult to find the guts to strike up random conversation with the opposite sex. Completely aware of my phobia, I have recruited some of my best girlfriends to be on the lookout. Most of them know what I like and I trust that they will be great matchmakers. I have committed to being open and if a date is arranged saying "no" just isn't an option. My expectations are very minimum yet my standards are very high. I'm looking for nothing more than great convo with a great dude over coffee, night caps, dinner, brunch whatever.

In the same instance, vulnerable times like these can make it easy to run back into the arms of an "ex", especially if the connection and bond to that person was deep rooted. The older we get the more creatures of habit we seem to become. Starting a new relationship can often seem like more of a hassle than it's worth. Ladies & Gents my best advice during times like these is to just try and stay focused, and strong and always know and remember your worth! If we can remove ourselves from the constraints of our comfort zone (and what we're used to) then we can make room for something brilliant that may be waiting just around the corner. A new season can also be a great time to bring on a healthy and positive change. I've never felt more ready than I do now to move forward. I remember back when I was in college I would always say things like, "I want to be more together before meeting someone". What I've come to ask myself more recently is, "when are we ever really that "together?" I'm a constant work in progress and the beauty of being in a relationship is finding someone who knows and accepts that. I'm ready to blast Carl Thomas', "Summer Rain" and let romance take a strong hold of me. Long walks on the beach, peach and purple roses, outside eateries, Patron margaritas, and maybe even a little fruity Sangria. The great thing about a new romance is it's freshness and the possibilities that come with something fresh and new. Summertime seems as good a time as any to start. Outdoor activities and limited layers of clothing make it easy to be out and about in the city.

I'm ready to bust out the Sazon and the Adobo and make this summer full of flavor! I'm scouting out the prettiest summer dresses and the sexiest wedges. I'm loosening my tough looks when I see someone that catches my eye and I'm smiling back instead :). Eye contact and smiling are typically all the opposite sex need to have the courage to approach. This summer I'm giving it all I got and I will keep my readers posted on my progress. No more watching my life pass me by and I hope this encourages all of you to do the same! Whether you're single and looking, or happily involved I challenge all of you to spice it up! Heat up your summer with a sizzling spicy kick of flavor. On hot summer nights bust out the ice cubes and keep this summer spicy!!! Gents buy us flowers and be creative with the colors! Ladies keep it sexy especially with the toe polish (Essie has some of the greatest colors). Fellas keep it crispy with the t-shirts and don't forget to strike up convo and ask a lady if she'd like a drink. It's not that we need you to do but the gesture alone is classic and will have our attention. Couples spend lots of time outdoors and fall in love with each other all over again. Love never gets played out! Wishing you all a romance filled Summer 2010!

Much Luv


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Domestic Violence Chronicles...

As promised, when I decided to create the Brooklyn Chronicles, Inc. I agreed that from time to time I would share very intimate personal stories from my own life. For my readers that are squeamish, or very empathetic the following story may be difficult for you to read. I apologize for anyone who is disturbed by my story. If just one girl reads this and has the courage to break away from a dangerous domestic violence relationship then my goal is accomplished. It has taken me nearly 17 years, to share my story.

I’ll never forget the first time that my abuser hit me.  He was my boyfriend of 9 months at the time. I was so taken aback by the back handed slap that I just held my face. For a moment I wondered if my head and my neck were even still attached. I can remember thinking something like, “How in the world could someone physically hit another human being this hard? Sitting directly outside of my boyfriend’s bedroom window were his closest friends.  They began cheering loudly and their chants were something along the lines of, “Let that bitch know who the man is son”. I was only 15 years-old when I became a victim of domestic violence.   Two-years after that initial physical altercation my abuser nearly killed me.  Let me say this, it takes a tremendous amount of courage for a victim of domestic violence to speak out openly.  Victims are often asked questions like, “Where was your family throughout this ordeal?” I was personally too afraid to jeopardize my family’s safety and therefore I made the very risky decision of not telling them. My mom would have called 911 in a heartbeat had I let her know what I was struggling with.  I probably could have even relocated to New Jersey to live with my aunt in an effort to hideout safely. My step-dad and my older cousin would have gladly done to my abuser the things that he was doing to me.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the psychology of domestic violence.  Abusers are typically cowards that would never approach other men the way they intimidate and prey on the women in their lives. Victims don’t really know this when they’re living in the cycle of DV. We think that we’re actually keeping our family members safe by being silent and keeping them out of the situation.  I felt such large levels of shame and even a bit of pride in the sense of, “I got myself into this; I’ll get myself out of this”. The problem with this type of thinking is that the violence can escalate at a pace that the victim can’t keep with.  In some instances, victims will be killed before their family members ever realize that they were even in an abusive relationship.  The shame and the burden of the abuse began to make me feel an unimaginable amount of self-hatred and uncertainty deep down at my core. I often wondered, “How could so smart, so pretty and so life-focused be in this space?” 

My abuser knew that his secret was safe with me. There's a huge amount of humiliation bestowed upon a woman that is being beat. You don't talk about it at the grocery store or in the hair salon because it's grim and dark and way too uncomfortable for people to handle. As a victim I tried to save strangers, friends and family from knowing the horror of my everyday prison. I say prison because as a victim I felt trapped. Looking back, I might have told my two best friends at the time what was going on. They were teenage girls themselves celebrating their sweet sixteen's, enjoying high school and spending time hanging out with friends and boys. My hanging out days abruptly came to an end. My abuser shaped me into exactly what and who he wanted me to be. Through his countless plots of manipulation, I began to question everything I once knew about myself. If he said, I was "ugly" or "too skinny", I believed him. If he said, I was stupid, I believed him. If he questioned my style of dress, I changed it and when he told me school was a waste of time, I eventually dropped out. Before I continue let me be clear in saying that this man had psychological control. He did on one occasion hold a gun to my head but that wasn't the case with every account so I'm not playing the blame game here. My experiences on this journey have in fact made me stronger and I have two beautiful children as a result. When he told me that my life would be better with him, I ran away from home. Every recognizable characteristic of the happy, free-spirited, beautiful child I once was; was gone. Unwanted gifts became the exchange for unwanted beatings. In retrospect, I probably purchased my own gifts because I emptied my childhood savings accounts to give my boyfriend all of my money. When the money from savings ran out he convinced me to get a full-time job. He wanted an income that he could depend on weekly in addition to his street hustle. One particular day I was so hungry I humbly asked him for a burger and fries from Burger King. He advised me that once I picked up my paycheck, cashed it and bought the money back to him, he would take me to Burger King. My paycheck was 30 minutes across town.

He arranged for us to stay in a room within an apartment of a woman who was in her late twenties. One day when my abuser was out about I sat on the bed and listened to the company in the living room. The woman of the house had a much younger boyfriend and him and boys would gather there frequently. They would hang out and play cards or watch tv. It was the dead of winter in 1992 maybe January or February. They never bothered me and I never bothered them. It was cold and they just needed a place to chill. My latest unwanted gift was sitting on the floor still in the box. A pair of purple and grey Timberland boots. I couldn't even fathom the thought when I glanced at them in disgust that one of them would later be used to put a mean beating on me. When he walked in, I was nervous like I always was. I never knew what the mood would be when he arrived. I always hoped for the best but that could never be determined at, "hello". This particular evening he asked, "Which one of them came back here today?" "Which one of them tried to fuck you"? Once he got started there was no turning back. I explained that I hadn't been out of the room since I arrived to the apartment. You see, I was given strict daily rules when it came to other men. He would say, "You can't even give a nigga the time of day if he asks you what time it is". In public I was told to walk with my head down and to keep my eyes glued to my sneakers. At some point this became a natural routine.

If someone asked me to compare domestic violence to one thing I think I would compare it to walking out of your home butt naked. Of course it's more physically painful than that but the humiliation and ridicule of the people who would be staring and talking about you naked in public would feel similar I imagine. He asked again, "Which one of them was back here", and this time when I didn't respond he ripped my shirt open. The tiniest purple marks were on my small breasts. The marks confused me but there was no time to be confused. Unaware at the time, it was later discovered that those tiny marks were the beginning stages of stretch marks. He said they were hickeys given to me by one of the visitors in the living room and so the story went. What happened after that is somewhat sketchy to me today. It's funny how our own minds will block out the things that hurt us the most. I know I was forced to take my panties off so that he could smell them for a sex scent of someone else. Next, I remember being asked over and over to admit to the false allegations. Slapping and punching quickly turned to hair pulling and biting. Nothing could have ever prepared me for when he reached down and grabbed one of those Timberland boots. I was hit over and over with that boot. To a point that was far beyond excessive. I tried mostly to block and protect my head and I was able to do that until both my hands and my knuckles were bloodied.

My inner voice kicked in and I realized that there was nothing I could do to make him stop. I've always had a strong will to live. If seeing the blood running down my hands and face wasn't enough to make him stop then I knew I needed to open my mouth. I roared like the lioness I was born to be and till this day I don't think I've ever screamed louder. I began shouting, "leave me alone". Did I mention that no one inside of that living room moved from the living room including the woman who lived there. This was a brawl that I'm positive made the walls in the building shake. Someone finally yelled, "Yo Five-O is coming" and he fled. My abuser fled like the punk ass that he was and because I was so relieved to see him run I in my shock ran too! I ran in the opposite direction. Without a shoe on my foot (I had on socks), I ran and I kept running. I ran as if my life depended on it. Two blocks to be exact. In a ripped shirt, with socks on my feet and in NYC weather that felt like it was in the teens I made it to my best friend's building and it was locked. You didn't have a cell phone in 1992 unless you were Donald Trump or a big time drug dealer. I ran to her window and beat on it as if my life depended on it. She was home with my other best friend and their reaction might surprise you. When they came out to open the door they explained that they wanted to stay in the hallway for fear that my best friend's mom would suspect what was going on. Because I hadn't looked in the mirror I had no idea how badly bruised my face and hands were not too mention how disheveled I was. I wanted to go in her house so badly and never look back on what had just taken place. The problem with that was what had taken place was the harsh reality of my new life. It wasn't up to my teenage girlfriends to fix the drama I fully participated in causing. When we finally went inside they helped me clean myself up in the bathroom. They both constantly asked me to lower my voice. They both recommended that I go back home but I hadn't been home in months and wasn't going to return looking beat up. My friend told her mom that I was jumped in the neighborhood by some girls and so started the chain reaction of sweeping my story under the rug. What occurred this evening was way too much for my girls to handle. They loved me, yet they were still kids just like I was. With my heavy heart in my chest and my pride tucked in my back pocket I hugged my friends, wished them well and headed back to the apartment I'd left hours ago.

As I walked back to the apartment I remember feeling nervous. Not nervous that my abuser would be there but more so that the woman wouldn't let me back in. When I knocked on the door I could hear the fear in her voice when she said, "Who is it?" When I said who I was she opened immediately with fear written all over her face she said, "I don't want no problems". I was drained and I think she sensed that. I had no energy to talk or to explain and I felt like a walking zombie. I just wanted to sleep. Woman to woman I think she silently understood how I felt. She hugged me and I excused myself to the room I was staying in. She promised that if he came back she wouldn't answer and at this point I had no choice but to trust her. I knew the risk of going to jail would weigh heavily enough on my abuser to keep him away. I didn't sleep well that night. Part of me felt like he would come back and kill me. I thought about the marks on my breasts and in the morning I asked the woman I was staying with if she could shed some light. She said, "I think you're pregnant" and that was something I had never even considered. To be continued...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

When Love Goes Dangerously Wrong...

I had dinner with a girlfriend on Tuesday night at Beckett's on Stone Street. She sent me an email earlier that day, which read that she was beginning to feel "obsessed" with her long time boyfriend. Anytime I hear words like "obsessed", they strike concerned in me. I knew I had to meet with her that night because I wanted to help her work through exactly how this four-year relationship went wrong. Just to offer a little background, let me start off by saying that my friend's man is 10 years her senior. She is a successful law student, working for reputable firm in NYC, and she is preparing to take both her bar exam and her CPA certification exam. Her man is an MPA graduate living at home with his dad. My initial observance of her revealed a young lady confused, frustrated, and visibly hurt. She comes from a large family who loves and supports her daily yet that just isn't enough. She is looking for this same support and love from a man who has almost altogether stopped giving it to her. As we sat and waited for our food I asked her to take me way back to the start of the relationship. I think it's easy for us "advice givers" to just see a bad situation and to advise the hurt person to get out. The logic in that for us is that if something hurts just leave it alone and happiness will be restored. Problem with this way of thinking is that it leaves out empathy and respect for the person involved. I approached this situation very differently. I decided to give advice as if I knew without a doubt the couple were going to stay together. Not that this was outcome I was hoping for but to have respect for not only my friend but for a relationship that she has felt has been worth the last four-years of her life. The 1st question I asked her was what bought the union together in the 1st place and she explained that his good looks and caring ways was the start. They met as students in college way back when and he had her hooked since then. Her face lit up like a Christmas Tree in Rockerfeller Ctr. with this being said. Culturally they are from two totally different sides of the fence. I then asked what was the 1st sign that the relationship was in trouble? She said, "Lies". She said as early as 5-months into their dating she found out through her own investigations that her man had a 7 year-old daughter and then later found out that he had 14 year-old son with a different mother. In my mind, I'm thinking, "Why would he leave this out?", but again my empathy had taken over and I was just there to listen.

We went on to talk about the lies, and the betrayal in him telling them. My friend who has no children revealed that she tried genuinely to embrace and to accept the children she never knew about and the mothers that came attached with them. She befriended both of the childrens' mothers and came to the conclusion that her man really had no relationship with his children. As much as she tried to encourage a healthy relationship between them she admitted the jealousy and insecurity she began to feel each and everytime he had to leave her to go and be with them. I admittedly understood her feelings and honestly to her credit because she didn't know about the children to begin with her feelings made perfect sense. Her immediate family lives outside of New York City and she spent sometime reflecting on how she limited her time spent with them to keep a closer eye on him. She regretted not spending time with her 92 year-old grandmother who died in the midst of her relationship. She held back tears by this point and I brought her back to the present. I asked her what she was doing to mend or disconnect from this relationship and her answers pleasantly surprised me. She let me know that she called her cell phone provider and asked for her number to appear to be disconnected. Anyone who called from any particular number would receive a standard message stating that the subscriber is not taking calls. I said, "Ok what else?". She said she looked at an apartment within her same neighborhood (that he was unaware of ) and she decided to take it. I said, "I'm impressed". She explained, that with all of her actions in place she still felt undeniably vulnerable to her man. She said she never expected the relationship to end but even more so she never expected it to end like this. I told her that I was far from convinced that she was done with him but first I commended her for making huge steps forward towards her own self-respect.

Being a victim of Domestic Violence once myself I couldn't help sensing that some of that was going on here. I asked her if she had ever been "hit" by her boyfriend and she was adament about the fact that he had never "hit" her and right then our conversation took a drastic turn. She said, "Wait a minute", "Is pushing and grabbing to the point of bruising considered Domestic Violence?". I said, "yes". She said, "He always told me it wasn't". She said, "I asked him" and I said, "His job as your abuser was not to tell you sweetheart". She said, "Wow". For just a split second I checked out mentally and slipped into a thought of how much control my own abuser had over me. I remember thinking how bad I'd wished just one person had taken the time to sit down and have this same conversation with me. This was a short moment between me and God because at that moment I realized how important this message to my friend need to be delivered. I realized that my approach would mean all the difference in her returning to this man or not. I checked back in and she managed to reveal years of infidelity, an engagement to another woman, verbal abuse, and worse of all, subtle displays of physical abuse. A long track-record of a less than good man was open and on the table and we were reviewing it with careful detail. A light bulb came on as she begin to listen to herself tell her own intimate and personal story.

She said, "I don't feel like kissing him anymore". I said, "Why do you think that is?" She said, "I don't know. I said, "You're beginning to love yourself more than you love him". I asked her if she had any relationship with her man's family and vice versa and she said, "no". There was a religion difference within the relationship with her being a Muslim and him being a Catholic. I asked her what she would have wanted for her future children if in fact the relationship went forward and she explained that it would be most important to her that the children would be practicing Muslims. I asked had she discussed this with him and if so what was his response? She said, "He told me that he would take my kids to the Catholic Church for Christmas". I asked her how she felt about that and she said, "I don't want that". I had a Rev Run moment and thought, "Listen to people when they tell you who they are". I asked her if she thought he was joking with her when he said this and I went on to say these are not the signs that you can continue to ignore. I told her she would be setting herself up for total future disaster. Not only because this guy does the bare minimum for his own children but because he would have her future kids sitting at Mass on Christmas as promised guaranteed! I said, "Are you listening when he says things like this to you?" I asked her if she had a facebook page and she said, "No, he wouldn't approve of that". I told her there are plenty of great Muslim guys out there that are looking for the same things she is looking for as far as keeping their religion sacred. As a writer I keep a pen in pad in my purse always. I bust it out on that table and I made two columns right there in front of her. One said, "Pros" and one said "Cons". Cons must be derived from the word Convict because our Con side looked like a criminal's rap sheet. I told her let's write up the list and weigh the results.

The guy was currently unemployed, (which sadly can happen to anyone), verbally and somewhat physically abusive, unable to contribute to her household responsibilities yet sharing her bed every night that he wasn't interested in going home, 10-years older than my beautiful youthful friend and contributing to years of stress, anxiety, and insecurity. I felt like the proof was in the paperwork but I knew after 4-years of committed investment my friend was not ready to simply walk away. She began talking about the importance of no premarital sex within her family and her religion. She said her partner had threatened her on countless occasions that if she walks out on their relationship he will tell her family about the sex. Exploitation and blackmail were added to the cons side of our list. I'm thinking one ass whipping from my mans and them in the hood and this dude will stop talking so reckless. What could I do or say to make this girl understand her worth and then it dawned on me, "nothing". She would have to come to this realization on her own regarding her own self-worth. I would serve best just being her friend, praying for her safety, and letting her know that she is not in the world alone. I left our dinner letting her know that the reason she looks for Love and Respect from her man is because that is what all of her childhood relationships with family and friends have offered her. I asked her what she missed most about the woman she was four-years ago (who she used to be) before she became this relationship? She said, "B, I miss how much fun I was!", I said, "I will help you get back to being that fun-loving person"! This article is for you! You know who you are!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Letter to My Single Mothers & Fathers...

I dedicate the inspiration for tonight's blog entry to Hill Harper. Hill, please keep inspiring our young sisters and brothers with your letters and I will keep inspiring and motivating their parents. The journey to single parenthood always starts with a relationship and often times a failed relationship that somehow went wrong...

I woke up this morning feeling like a hot mess!!! The way one feels when their life is at a particular crossroad and one doesn't know what the next move will be. Being a single parent is often like playing a calculated game of chess. If my next move is the wrong move I'm no the only one who loses the game. So do "they". "They", are my 3 children. We sometimes refer to ourselves as a tribe and my daughter will stand in the living room in her best African accent and say, "I Am Your Father". No matter how many times we hear her say this we never forget to laugh. Our laughter (my other 2 kids & I) at that moment is to acknowledge that we are one. If I make the wrong move in my chess game also known as my life, they will suffer and I will be at fault. The three faces that look to me for guidance in adoration will look at me in disappointment. My blog question tonight is about a different type of relationship. Not the relationship betwen a man and woman but the relationship between a mother and her child and a father and his child. Seeing that Mother's Day just recently passed and we're on the brink of Father's Day I figured the timing on this was appropriate. Who's really raising our children?

I couldn't get Superwoman by Alicia Keys off my brain this morning. I felt like I was having such a bad day! I've learned that where there is hope there is light. I walked around my house singing, "Even when I'm a mess, I still put on my vest, with an S on my chest oh yes", "I'm a Superwoman". I breakdown silently, but often. This morning, I waited until the kids were off to school. I think it's key when you're a single parent NOT to breakdown in front of the kids. On the flipside we're only human so if it happens in front of them be truthful and explain these things happen. When a child's hero starts to breakdown then I believe that the child begins to lose hope and faith in the world way too early on. I had a penetrating thought this morning; "Who's raising my kids?" then at the same time I thought, "Who's raising yours?" I rush out the door every day with hot coffee in my hand, toast in my mouth and I blow air kisses to my kids. From that moment I am gone for at least the next 12 hours. To the outside world that makes me successful. To the world inside my home that makes me well missed.

As a working single mother I wear many hats. By day I'm the Executive Assistant to the CFO of a major Global Commodities firm, by night I'm the Writer, Author & Creator of the B.C. Chronicles and 24/7 I'm Mercedes, Portia and Jessiah's mom. The guilt I find myself facing is how much credit can I real ly take for how well my kids are doing? I mean they are children who are immensely passionate about life with creative talents I'm in awe of but again can I tak credit for that? On average I spend 3-4 hours of quality time with them daily if I'm lucky. Self-reliance is a class that my children would get an "A+" in and honestly I don't know how I feel about that? In a lot of ways I feel like I've missed out on most of their lives. I find myself constantly striving so hard to give them what they need vs what they want and I wonder as they continue to grow if they will come to resent me for that? Career moms and Stay at Home moms have had this ongoing battle forever. I might be ridiculed for this one but I think career moms like to think we can have the best of both worlds but I'm not convinced that we can? I would love to be at home to greet my kids after they've had a long day at school. Those 1st few mins after school usually hold all the high points and low points of a child's day. I would also love dinner to be served at 6 but at 6 I'm still at the office.

So what are single mothers and fathers to do? I think the answer is fairly simple. We are to love and to continue cherishing our precious children. We are to let them know that with each day that comes to pass when we head out that door and to that job that we do it with their best interest at heart. We are to embrace and show love and respect to the mothers and fathers that are afforded the luxury to stay home with their children and we are not to pass judgment because their struggle although different in some ways are still struggles nevertheless. We are Superwomen and Supermen! We are parents doing what we need to do to raise happy and healthy children. The struggle may never end but trust and believe that we can always rise above it! The best advice I see fit to offer is in humanity. Ask friends and family when you need help and always tuck pride in a back pocket so you can sit on it! lol. If you don't get the help you need the first time you knock; just knock harder the second time and they will realize on their own what they need to do. The ultimate goal is to make the world a better place. This letter is for all of you. If you haven't heard recently what a good job you're doing then let me remind you now. I'm so proud of each and everyone of you. If you're babies are still to young to talk they are proud of you too so just keep being their hero!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brown Sugar the Movie 2002 - "Sid & Dre", Could you handle your man or woman's best friend?

The world as I once knew it as a child let's say back in 1983 living on Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn has changed more than just a little bit. Technology has expanded vastly over the course of my lifetime. I can still close my eyes and see the long banana boat seat on my bike that had flowers on it. My handle bars had pink tassels lol. There's something comforting about watching an episode of "Different Strokes" or the "Facts of Life"; Well comforting for me even though that time is dead and gone, which brings me to why I selected this topic. Facebook, BBM, emailing, Twitter & web-cams have made it oh so simple for us to reconnect with old classmates and neighborhood friends. I guess technology has made cheating within relationships easier as well. When an old friend reenters my life it's like a tall cold glass of milk with cookies. The comfort that we feel with old friends may have our significant others saying, "hmmmmm". So the question I pose to you tonight is this; Can you handle your man or your woman having a "bestie"? Whether that "bestie" was down like Sid and Dre or whether that "bestie" had a similar childhood connection and reconnected with their long lost friend via the internet. How do you handle this? When facebooking graduates to text messages, and smiles that you can't seem to bring to your mates face begin to appear what do you do? We can talk about this forever because there's so many different scenarios of how this story goes.

In Brown Sugar, Sid and Dre go through hurting two innocent people before realizing how much they loved each other? Is that fair or is that true love? I don't know if I could deal with or let's say befriend a woman that knows my man better than I ever will but I do believe that many try when they're faced with a pre-existing "bestie". I often think like in the movie the many who try end up losing their sanity because the "bestie" will go hard to keep you in your lane. Where does the loyalty lie in these situations? To the homegirl or homeboy who's better liked by your parents than the person you're actually in a relationship with? Fellas, how do you guys deal with this because I'm thinking that if your girlfriend has a male best friend that's straight than it has to be hard to continue having trust. I'm a firm believer that men and women cannot be best friends. Friends of course but that constant phone, email, text, facebook, twitter thing can only lead to somebody catching feelings. If I'm putting that much energy into you than what the heck am I doing for my man? I will only speak for my gender here but fellas please call me out if I misinterpret something. When I am in a relationship with a man and that man is confiding in me and vice versa; The only other person I think I'd even be remotely ok with him doing the same would have to be his mother. My trust would feel exploited if I knew that intimate thoughts and personal things were being shared with the "bestie".

Are perimeters set in these situations? Does the man say to the female bestie, "hey you have to fall back a little my girl is uncomfortable", and then doesn't that turn the relationship between the girlfriend and the bestie sour? Seems like a lose/lose situation here to me but I know someone will comment and rationalize this explaining to me that it can be done. The way I see it playing out is when he goes over to tell her about the boundaries they'll be getting it in on a counter top in her kitchen! Women, I really think our loyalty needs to be with our gender and if you stumble across a situation like this know and respect your place. If that man is your friend then you want his relationship to be fruitful. If his girlfriend is uncomfortable with your relationship than take a minute to put yourself in her shoes and say, "If this was me I would feel the same damn way so why am I doing this to another female". As women we often have a natural instinct to be catty but if we empathize genuinely with another human being than that might change (at least in this instance). Again, this scenario can play out in so many ways. Share your own bestie/man story and we'll see what we come up with. Let's talk about it...

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Don't Care About Where You've Been, I Just Care About Where You're Going...

This title hits close to home because I've decided to share a bit of myself tonight. The raw uncut version of me. As a single woman who lives and works in New York City, I frequently find that I'm approached by all types of men and on a regular basis. "Hey beautiful, can I talk to you for a minute?", "Hey gorgeous, can I get a minute of your time?". What I find most interesting about these encounters is that my exterior always seems to paint a very different picture of what my interior actually holds. Pardon me folks I'm having a total "Diary" moment right now, "You think you know..." lol. I'm the kind of woman who always puts her best foot forward. I mean literally, if I'm headed to Dunkin Donuts in sweat pants, I will be doing it in style. Lip gloss on deck for everything lol. What men often tend to find surprising is that when they ask that 2nd or 3rd question on the list, "Do you have any kids?" My response is, "Yes, I have 3." I typically get, "3!!" "You don't look like you have 3 kids?" Confused and baffled by that point I will try to throw someting witty out to lighten the awkwardness. I'll say, "I have 3 kids", " I shouldn't look like I ate them". I get a laugh here and there but 9 out of 10 my kids who haven't even met this person have already posed such a threat that an exchange of digits or a call back will never happen. Does that sting? Of course. At the same time I've learned to retire it to, "Hey his loss not mine".

I wonder how this topic makes you feel? How many will attest to this? The above title is created with no judgment intended. Can you eliminate a person's past and accept that whatever has bought them to the present has made them what you see in front of you today? Can who they are aspiring to be in their future be more important than who they were 10 years ago. Can a woman like myself, educated, stable career on Wall Street, creative, innovated and talented with 3 children and 2 baby father's be blacklisted? Did I blacklist myself when I didn't live my life according to yours or society's standards? If you look in my backyard you will find dirt! So how does a person in their 30's find faith and a light of hope for a new relationship when baggage is typically frowned upon? How do I get a suitor to see me for me today and not for who I was many moons ago? Does a person need to give a run down of their resume? Do I need to tell a prospective love interest on a 1st date that my daughters' (2) father almost beat me so bad that it's a blessing that I'm still here today? Do I need to say that 8 years after that I tried my luck again, which resulted in the birth of my son and that didn't work out either? Is it ok to be a person that doesn't settle? Is it ok to be strong willed and a little picky? How do we live in the present??? Isn't that what God wants us to do? Help me out ppl, let's talk about it...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In a Marriage; To What Extent are You Willing to Give???

I was speaking with one of my best girlfriends the other day who's been with her husband now for 17 years. They have four beautiful children together, and after years & years of ups and downs, and a very tumultuous relationship she still finds it within herself to only say kind things about him. This particular day I could feel my girl's pain. It's the kind of pain that can only develop after years and years of being a doormat. She is one of the best moms I've ever met so I knew her pain wasn't stemming from the hardship of being a mom. I hit her with my famous, "Let's talk about it", and she hit me back with, "B, I'm in so much pain, I'm confused, I'm hurt and I don't know what to do". Now me, a firm believer of divorce not being an option for two people who are genuinely in love and in a marriage for the right reasons. I found myself torn by my personal views while listening to my friend reveal her pain. I quickly jumped into rescue mode, and told her that she is more than her marriage and that if her marriage does in fact end in divorce by no means does that mean that she is a failure, or a quitter.

My girlfriend explained to me the dilemma that she's faced with now is what a great father her husband is aside from the fact that she genuinely loves him. She is smart, independent, employed and quite capable of caring for herself and her kids without him. Actually, she has carried her husband's weight at different times during the course of their relationship. When the hurt is pushed to the side and the union of marriage and what marriage represents is examined what does a person in this situation do? What does loving a person unconditionally really mean? How much are you willing to give? If your spouse looses their job, cheats on you, verbally or physically abuses you, doesn't cook or clean, what constitutes leaving? What makes divorce an option or is it ever allowed to be an option? With mortgage payments on deck, car notes and insurance, and joint bank accounts on the table how the hell does someone just walk away? Isn't it possible that if you leave, and opt for divorce you may still run into all these same difficulties with someone else? Is the best answer to just replace your spouse and then what? Deal with someone else's bullshit? I'm torn on this, let's talk about it...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

CBS News "Sexting" Leads to Child Porn Charges for Teens

In an article by CBS News; I read once again about "sexting" and the distribuion of nude photos among teens via cell phone. The article instantly made me think of how many adults are engaging in this same craze. Adults are obviously not experiencing the harsh penalities these school aged children in the article I read are but there are penalities nevertheless. We are witnessing celebrities like Kendra Wilkinson deal with the penality of humilation years after thinkng that nude photos and videos with an ex-lover would never resurface. How do we censor ourselves as adults? How many times has someone you're only dating asked to see a picture of your boobies or volunteered to send a pic of their bulge? When is it thought to be ok to send someone we're not in a committed relationship with a picture of our private parts? I'm sorry folks but teenagers didn't come up with or develop these silly antics on their own. We are part of the blame. I have to be honest in saying that I have sent someone I trusted and thought I would go on to be with for a lifetime indecent pictures. Pictures that he could have gone on to show not only his boys, but the whole world! One click on the word UPLOAD and you're up and posted to the worldwide web. Would you send someone you're not in a committed (you & them) relationship nude pics of yourself and if so why? Would they be sent in good fun and what happens if good fun turns into heart wrenching humiliation and defamation of character? Let's talk about it...

"He Cheated With You...Now What?" (Cosmo News)

So I'm on the train yesterday when I came across a fabulous article in Cosmos May 2010 edition. The article was thought provoking for me on numerous levels. One because it nearly sugar coated cheating/infidelity by giving readers an entirely different way of looking at the subject. In the article, the woman the guy cheats with is described as, "levelheaded, and normal", vs. "a skanky ho". In summary, the article paints a scenario of you meet a guy, he has a girlfriend yet he's not married and/or engaged to the woman. He feels stuck in the relationship and for one reason or another the guy doesn't have the "courage" to walk away. As I continued reading on my commute I kept thinking to myself that if I were the "levelheaded", "normal" chick described then I don't see how I would be able to trust the guy in a relationship. I would always think back to when he was cheating on his girlfriend. On the other hand I agreed with the article in regard to the realization that not everyone is "100 percent single", especially at this stage in the game. I'm approaching my mid-thirties and this article made me look at cheating in a whole new way. It points out that if we're in a relationship and decide not to marry someone it's because we know that they are not someone we want to spend the rest of our lives with. So if the guy you meet is attached but not committed by engagement or marriage then why isn't he considered fair game? Is this a relationship doomed for future disaster or is it possible that it's the start of a beautiful healthy relationship based on the fact that the guy eliminates the girl that isn't good for him and chooses you? Let's talk about it...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Slim Thug: "Black Women Need To Stand By Their Man More"

This article was way too powerful for me NOT to comment on. I had to wait two days because initially I was simply bothered by it on so many levels. Today with a cool head and a more compassionate standpoint I realize that Slim's comments are his reality and no one can take that away from him. Many thoughts ran through my head the 3 times I read this article. Like many I'm sure, I wondered what type of relationship Slim has with his own mother and what he thinks of the decisions she has made as a woman? In my compassion, I wanted to UPS him some of my favorite books like, "The Measure of a Man", by Sidney Poitier. Reading is fundamental and I can't help but thinking somehow my country or is it my culture that failed this man? Where on God's green earth does a perception like this develop? This type of thinking doesn't happen over night. It isn't small talk in the studio. To make it worse on the flip side there was an undertone of racisim and self-hatred at the same time. Women doing what they are told? White women being the prize? Cooking being some measurement of womanhood? How did you all feel about this?