Current Events · Life

Black Girl Attitude

If you have 2 eyes and a social media account, I’m sure you’ve seen this meme:

image

 

The caption of the meme reads; “#Mysogynoir: When McKayla Maroney’s disappointment was adorable but Gabby Douglas’ disappointment is attitude”. To sum up my reaction to the meme, let’s just say that I was PISSED. I haven’t kept up with the olympics this year, but I still have not been able to escape the criticisms that Ms. Gabby Douglas has received this year.

I’m not just bothered by the fact that people seem to have forgotten how amazing she was at her first Olympic showing in 2012. Or about the fact that people don’t seem to be able to like both Gabby and Simone Biles because we can’t POSSIBLY celebrate two women from the same sport at the same time. For the sake of this post today, I’m bothered by the fact that this whole “black girl with an attitude” crock is still a thing!! I’ve seen more article about Gabby’s “attitude” than I have about what she’s accomplished at the Olympics. But they’re just gonna let Ryan Lochte and his rowdy swimming crew get a pass because their “just kids” whose accomplishments outweigh their behaviors.

As a black woman, I’ve had to deal with this foolish idea too many times. If I’m assertive and direct, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. If I’m not walking around with a huge smile to show ALL of my teeth, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. If I disagree with something, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. If I BREATHE, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. Like Gabby, if I’m disapppointed in myself because I haven’t performed to my own high standard, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE.

I’m not sure why in 2016, black women are not allowed to have facial expressions and emotions outside of extreme glee. It’s bad enough that women are generally considered “bitchy” just for speaking like our male counterparts–with authority. Black women have to bear that weight AND the weight of the negative perceptions attached to our emotional range. It’s disappointing. WE ARE WOMEN!!! WE ARE HUMAN!!!

Guess what!! I know this may come as a shock to some, but us black women are capable of expressing every emotion you could possibly imagine. (Woooow!! Right?) On top of those emotions, we have one extra layer–the one where we always feel the need to be conscious of our demeanor and our words for fear that we’ll be mistakenly labeled as that ANGRY BLACK WOMAN.

Welp. Today, I’ll be that ANGRY BLACK WOMAN. I’ll be that intelligent, eccentric, and emotionally complex angry black woman with my angry fro. ANDI’m going to let you know that we black women are finished and we are done with the negative connotations that come with the word “attitude”. There’s nothing wrong with being feisty, sassy, and having some attitude…unless you’re a black woman. I mean, that’s the message I keep getting–unless I’m missing something. Why can’t we be unimpressed like McKayla? Give us more credit and reducing our wealth of emotions to one thing because it’s more comfortable for you. We are not simplistic creatures, so you should learn to digest us as we are.

I could really go on and on about this subject, but I’ll finish with this:

This message isn’t just some angry message directed towards white people–like I said, I’m more complex than that–it’s meant for ANY and EVERY person who thinks it’s cool to reduce us black women this way. Yeah, I’m talking to you black men and women too–you can do much better than that. 

Life · Wellness

Sluggish


I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with my blog and everything else these days. Either I’m working my real job, or I’m struggling to get through a day off. 

A typical day off of work these days goes as follows:
I wake up around 9am, ready to have a productive day. Even though I’m awake, I haven’t actually gotten out of bed. The next thing I know, I find myself waking up again 2 hours later. I feel bad about wasting the day, so I get up and shower. I head to the living room so I can be away from my bed. 

I turn on the tv. I don’t have time to watch much during the work days, so I kinda binge on the days off. I still tell myself that productivity is on the menu–I at even begin working on something. The next thing I know, I’m waking up for falling asleep AGAIN. The cycle of me going in and out of sleep continues throughout the day.

Finally, it’s time for bed. I find myself fighting to stay awake-I don’t even think it is intentional. Because I just happen to be awake, I make an effort to have some late night productivity. Most times, I don’t get anywhere at all.

Needless to say, the whole situation is frustrating as hell. I have periods where I sleep “normally” and am not awake past midnight. It’s still hard to wake up and get my day started, but I’ve at least had sleep.

I’m over it. 

I’m tired of the back and forth cycles. I had to get to the bottom of the cause of my sluggishness and insomnia. I’ve always had insomnia issues, but that can’t be the sole reason for my sluggish behavior. If I weren’t getting up to go to work, I’m pretty sure that I would be home just going in and out of sleep and being mad at myself. I know that diet and exercise can play a huge role, so I’m resolving to see what natural things I can. My productivity is suffering considerably and something must change. 

HOW DO I PEP MY STEP?? 

Dating

How Do You Describe Yourself?: Astrological Signs

what your sign

There I was. About to go right ahead and create another online dating profile, when I thought about the dreaded “About Me” section. Whenever I’m asked to describe myself, I always feel antsy. I find it weird to sit and talk about how I see myself. I end up getting a bit panicky and thinking too hard about my self-description. Next thing I know, I’m questioning EVERYTHING about myself.

How do we know how to describe ourselves to others?

We all are trying to discover who we are as people. We all think that we have a good idea of who we are and how to relay that to others but are our descriptions even true to who we are? What we find is that the way we see ourselves is nothing like others see us.

When it comes to the online dating world one question comes up a lot: “What’s your sign?”

I thought about this question recently when a customer who happened to share my December 7 birthday brought up the subject of astrology. She asked me if I were a true Sagittarius. I told her that I had no idea. She told me that in her research, she’d found herself to be a Sagittarius through and through. I’d never taken the time to really research my astrological sign; I always thought that our mind was pre-conditioned to believe what we read about our signs because we’ve already been told what our signs are.

BUUUUT…I’m always down to learn something new. I took to the interwebs to see just what this Sagitarrius life is all about. With every word I read, I felt like someone was describing me to a T. Of every characteristic of my sign, I only disagreed with one–which makes sense, there’s always an exception to things like that. So, I guess I could describe myself based on my astrological sign?

Well, in the case of online dating I could very well type a bunch of Dr. Seuss quotes and it wouldn’t matter. Do people REALLY use astrology as a means to find how they relate to others and choose their potential mate? Or is the question about my sign just a conversation starter?  I may never get to find out.

I never did make that new online profile. I’ll get to it eventually.

Education · Life

Is College Worth It? Yes and No

is college worth it

Growing up, I never questioned whether I’d go to college. I’d always been about my studies at every grade level, so college just seemed to be the next step in the natural order of things. I’ve been to 3 different institutions. I’ve studied 3 different subjects.

I have one degree.

I didn’t question the value of a college education until I’d already gotten so deep in the process.  These days, I question my education more than ever–especially as I make my car payment for the car that I don’t have. (Too bad you can’t drive student loans.) Should I have gone to college? Is it still possible to get a position in my field of study? Should I just commit the rest of my life to finding a sugar daddy?

SO MANY QUESTIONS!!

Unfortunately, like Sway, I don’t have the answers. I’ve done a bit of research in my quest to answer the “Is college worth it?” question and I can’t say that I’ve gotten any real resolution. What I HAVE concluded is that a college education can be beneficial if you’re able to figure out how to make it sweeter. Studies show that degree holders earn more than those who only have high school diplomas–which I think kinda evens out when you think of the ridiculous amount of student debt in this country. HOWEVER, in so many cases, graduates don’t get jobs in their field of study which means they don’t necessarily earn more at all!! Long gone are the days of a degree guaranteeing a career. A degree just isn’t enough.

Degrees are amazing. Want to know what makes them even MORE amazing?

Networking.

NETWORKING IS KING!!! I’ll be the first to say: Networking has never been my strong suit.

It really is about WHO you know. The saying is as old as time, but I think that it means a lot more in today’s time. I sometimes have trouble maintaining connections with people, and if I’m completely honest, I’m sure that it has caused me to miss out on some opportunities (whether I knew about them or not). You’d think that networking is easier to do with so much technology around us–it’s not. You have to be very intentional in your networking. Networking can be a full-time job of its own.

No matter how frustrated I am with the overwhelming grip of student loan debt, I guess an education can be what you make it. I still don’t think that everyone needs to go to college–it’s ok to not want to attend. At the same time, I find it amazing when people pursue degrees beyond undergrad. I’ve also seen plenty of people make really good money without a degree. I think that it’s a bit easier to avoid these question-filled moments if you choose a degree and career path that has the most opportunity for graduate employment. There are ways out here to make whatever money and opportunity you need; you just have to invest the time to learn what it takes–even outside of the classroom. There is no one way to do it. There is no EASIER way to do it. The key to success is definitely knowledge: You can learn for free, or you can learn in debt.

Were my years spent in college worth the debt? It depends on which day you ask the question. Most days, I find that cons outweigh the pros so I may not be the best person to ask. Whether you’re a graduate who cringes at the thought of that monthly loan payment or you’re not even a student yet and are trying to decide whether it’s right for you, whenever the nagging question of the worth of college crosses your mind ask instead this question:

What result is necessary for you to believe that the struggle is worth it? A guarantee of higher income than those who’ve opted out of a college education? The idea of a career over a job? Little to no student loan debt? If you truly believe that a degree will give you what you’re looking for:

MAKE IT WORTH IT. 

Dating · Life · relationships

Online Dating: Rinse And Repeat

 

 

chocolatesEvery online dating experience starts the same way. I set up the profile and I just wait for the messages to start popping up. I’ll even waste time writing a decent bio as if someone will take the time to read it–what am I thinking? I’ll get a lot of flirts, “So-and-so wants to meet you!”, but I won’t get enough messages to match the superficial “swipe left or right” flirting. By the time I get my third or fourth “hey wyd?” or “wats up sexy?”, I’m poised and ready to deactivate my account.

Why the hell am I doing this again?

wyd 2Instead of deactivating, I press forward. I mean, how can I ever meet anyone if I can’t keep a profile for more than an hour? Ok, cool. I’ll actually strike up a continuous convo with about 2 or 3 guys. Next, I’ll get overwhelmed about the idea of entertaining more than one guy at a time–really stretching my player muscles. I may even exchange numbers, but I don’t save the numbers since I figure that I won’t need them past the first week. We’ll text up a storm–or drizzle rather–but we’ll never meet. I generally don’t meet the guy for one of two reasons: our schedules won’t match up, or I’m refusing a hookup of some sort. Before you know it, I’ve deleted the message threads from my phone.

I don’t feel like I’ve wasted time because I sometimes see the online dating experience as a welcome distraction from my usual grind. What DOES set me off is the fact that EVERY interaction ends the same way. I can only play “Ring Around The Text Message” for so long. I hate small talk.

The next step is deactivation. My patience has been depleted and defeated. After each experience, I’m left asking myself why I bothered in the first place, and why I keep giving online dating any time at all.

I’ve tried all the methods. I’ve held conversation after conversation. I’ve laid down my charm smackdown in the inbox. I’ve even taken it upon myself to approach the guy first in the hopes of actually connecting with someone I’m initially interested in. No matter what, NO DICE!!! I don’t get it.

I KNOW there are decent guys out there in the online dating world–I’m a decent woman whose been in that same world. I’m usually left concluding that those men either don’t find me attractive, OR I didn’t stick around long enough to catch one–not that they’re Pokemon or anything. I just need to understand how to make the online thing work for me, especially since it seems like that’s the only way to get a guy to talk to me in the first place. I’m sure that online dating can be a great thing, but I feel like too many people are just running amuck, so the experience amounts to nothing.

netflix

I know the whole world is not about to change for me, but what I need is physical energy. I need dating in the real world. I need to be around you in person. I need to be able to talk to you and not feel like I’m the one carrying the conversation. I need for you to not be 20 years older than me. I need for you to not Catfish me. If you’re down for some good ol’fashioned dating, then I’m all for it. I’m sure we’d have to dig into the ancient artifacts to find out what that kind of dating is, but that’s cool.

Am I asking for too much?? 

For those out there fighting that good online dating fight, I salute you. You have a patience that I have yet to master.

P.S.

I downloaded another dating app–I’ve been on there before a few times–and I have yet to even open it since downloading. I’m trying to muster up the strength to go forward. So far, I haven’t mustered nor ketchuped any strength.

(Get it? Mustard and Ketchup? LOL No? Maybe that’s why I’m single haha.)

 

 

Dating · Life · Positivity · relationships

Sticking Around Just Means You’re Stuck: The Prison Of A Bad Relationship

choose yourself

Relationships are something else.

When two people really love and respect each other it’s a little easier to know where you stand. In a perfect world, all relationships make sense. All relationships are healthy. All relationships are fulfilling.

Tough luck. This world ain’t perfect.

What happens when every day of your relationship feels like torture? What happens when you love them, but they don’t seem to love you? What happens when you realize that you’re nothing more than a convenient resource? It’d be stupid to hang around for that, right?

Actually, you WILL let these things happen to you. You are going to stick around and endure the madness. You’ll even ask yourself, “WHY AM I STICKING AROUND FOR THIS???”. Well, I can’t tell you why YOU’RE sticking around, but I can tell you why I did.

It was comfortable.

I’m not about to go through every annoying detail–I honestly don’t have the strength–but the long and short of it all is that there was a baby involved. A baby that wasn’t mine. The feelings of anger, humiliation, and stupidity that I felt were unreal. I was hurt because I felt betrayed. I was more upset with myself than I was with him. After finding out what happened, I still stuck around.

I stuck around because I loved in spite of. I stuck around because I was comfortable and didn’t want to start over, no matter how badly my trust had been damaged. The dynamic wasn’t the same, I could never really trust him again, yet there I was. I’m not the only one who’s done this. Sometimes we rationalize–or at least TRY to–to make ourselves feel that it’s better to deal with the problems we’re used to, instead of trying to find better for ourselves. I think that whole idea is TRASH. That’s what you tell yourself when you’d rather make excuses than make changes.

It took me a long time to be comfortable with my single self. He was the hardest to let go of–I definitely slipped up a few times–but I knew it had to be done. I even found myself wondering if maybe I should be with him since he knew me so well, but I got over that idea eventually. It was only hard because I was afraid that I’d be alone forever.  Over time, I came to this realization: I’d rather feel lonely from time to time while single than feel lonely and stupid while in a relationship. It’s not fair to let someone disrespect you or the relationship. It’s not fair to allow yourself to be torn apart for the sake of keeping the peace.

Sometimes, you have to choose yourself. That person has made their choices with no regard to how it would affect you, so why continue to imprison yourself emotionally to accommodate them? No, it’s not easy being single and being forced to learn yourself, but I promise that the preparation is a setup for a better point of view. I don’t know about you, but I’m over allowing someone to destroy my dignity. I’m over allowing someone to turn my love into a weakness where I allow myself to be humiliated for the sake of pleasing someone who gets to do what they want.

Letting go is easier said than done. DUH. Easy or not, it’s necessary. Don’t make accommodations for unhealthy comfort, you’re only cheating yourself. I’m not even saying that you necessarily need to start over with someone else, you need to start over with yourself.

Don’t lose yourself for the sake of comfort, you’ll never get that time back. Don’t choose to be imprisoned.

Current Events · Life · Positivity

Rebel WITH A License: Third Time’s The Charm

passed test

Thursday, August 4,2016 will go down as one of the most important days of my life. I accomplished a goal that had been 12 years in the making. I’d overcome all of the failures of the recent past. 

I FINALLY got my Driver’s License!!!!

Sometimes, I feel silly about my excitement about a license. I mean, who actually thinks it should be that big a deal? Hell, you may even be reading this and thinking that I’m hype for nothing. Guess what?

I. DON’T. CARE. [insert victorious laugh]

But seriously, if you’ve read my post “Rebel Without a License: Driver’s Edition”, then you already know about my struggle. I’ve already told you about my DISASTROUS DMV visits, but let me tell you how marvelous my last trip was.

The day threatened to not be so marvelous at first. I went to the DMV of my last failed road test and was met with a bad sign. It was a flashback to the 4 hours of hell I’d experienced the first time: the computers shut down. While everyone else waited, I politely walked out and drove to another DMV location.

BEST. DECISION. EVER!!!!

I had a short wait before being called to wait again. Still, my waiting time was short in terms of DMV time. My examiner was the EXACT one that I needed. He gave pointers without scaring me to death. He was relaxed, and his chill vibe rubbed off on me. I passed that test like nobody’s business. I reacted the way any sensible person would.

I CRIED.

Well, I wasn’t BAWLING or anything, but I definitely teared up a whole lot. A huge weight had been lifted and I had finally accomplished that goal. All of the frustrations were washed away. The one thing that kept me going was the encouragement that I received. I had to really visualize the success. I was going to pass that test because that was the only option. SOOOO many years!!! SOOOO many failures!!! 

SOOOO much success. 

 

Dating · Life · relationships

Can You REALLY Have It All? No, But You Can Have SOME

headaches

There’s nothing like the disappointment of an unmet expectation. One the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in life has been to be careful of what I expect from people–I can be horrible when it comes to this. In most cases, people will fail to meet those expectations–without even knowing that they’ve failed your test–and you’ll be left with anger and frustration while they’re just living their lives. I think that the expectations of relationships can have the same effect. If you ask certain people what they want from a relationship, they’ll tell you that they WANT IT ALL.

I’ll just come right out and say it: YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL!

Well, you can have SOME of it…if you have the right mindset. Like I said before, I think it’s important to learn to live independent of a relationship. I mean independent as in the ability to survive when you’re not in a relationship. If you learn this while you’re single, you may be better equipped to manage when you have to compromise for the greater good of your relationship. It’s okay to have standards–I’ll never tell you otherwise–but you may have to tailor your expectations to the realities of your relationship.

These days, the biggest test involves whether or not we’re able to merge our career identities with the identities that we have within our relationships. We want to be able to grind our hearts out, but we want to constantly be around our partners. We want our partners to be the sole providers as we pursue our own desires, and at the same time, we want to be around each other constantly. We may want to continue to be independent even after finally getting into a relationship (capitalizing on any time that our partner could have to develop themselves), and then get mad because our partner isn’t doing what we think they should be doing.

The point I’m making is this: You’ve done all that work preparing yourself to mingle and achieve that relationship status, don’t ruin it with unrealistic expectations. You may think that your expectations make perfect sense until you take the time to say them out loud. If it sounds like it’s one-sided and doesn’t benefit both parties, then it may need to be thrown out. If it doesn’t seem like something that can be worked out with compromise from both sides, then it may need to be thrown out.

Long story short, be careful what you ask for. You may just be asking for future headaches.

Dating · Life · Positivity · relationships

Ready To Mingle? Get Your Prep Work Done


I’ll admit it. I’ve been guilty of being a bit too eager for a relationship at times. Those of us who haven’t locked down a relationship are sometimes referred to as “single and ready to mingle”. I’ve asked myself one important question over and over again:

“Am I REALLY ready to mingle?”

When I say “ready”, I’m not questioning the desire for a relationship. I’m really questioning whether I’m able to give as much as I want to receive. I understand that everyone’s needs are the same and we have different love languages, but I don’t want to come to the table without bringing my own delicious offering. I’ve seen it over and over again, people asking the world of someone when they themselves can’t even offer a Monopoly parking space. What kind of relationship can I hope to have if I haven’t prepared myself?

I’ve learned to be COMFORTABLY and CONFIDENTLY single. When your response to the question of your relationship status is “I’m working on myself.”, people can take it as a joke. In actuality, that’s EXACTLY what you should be doing. I think it’s important to become independent of a relationship. Not independent in the sense of being single forever, but in being able to function as a whole person no matter what your relationship status. I think it’s important to be on level playing fields–outwardly and inwardly. But the most important part: learning to love yourself.

While single, I’ve had to be really honest with myself. I’ve had to reflect on my self-confidence, self-esteem, and ability to love myself. Too many people are looking to find these things in others. I can encourage you all day long, but it’s always up to you to decide to love yourself no matter what. You can’t substitute your feelings about yourself with your partner’ feelings towards you. It’s true that no one is capable of loving you like you love yourself. It’s special because only we know our deepest, darkest flaws and insecurities; if we can love ourselves in spite of those things, we’ve really leveled up.

I don’t want to relive the moments in past “relationships” where I foolishly navigated with no sense of myself. I expected things that I hadn’t given myself and was let down repeatedly. I’m hoping that my next relationship will be one where I’m able to maintain my love for myself while being further enriched by the love I receive. I hope to be able to add to that person’s life too.

Relationships are all about addition. Don’t cheat yourself or your partner by not being as sound as you possibly can. Hopefully, they will have done their own personal prep work and you’re able to focus on each other. Don’t expect perfection–I surely don’t. Just set yourself up for the best possible outcome like you would on anything else that you want success.

Life · Positivity · Wellness

I’m Not Good At Anything, How Do I Find My Outlet?

outlet

I feel like I’m always talking about how important it is to have a positive outlet. 

The very existence of this blog is a testament to what happens when you find such an outlet. Outlets are necessary because they feed our need for purpose and identity while allowing us to relieve tension. No one is exempt from unhappiness, but when we’re able to channel that negative energy elsewhere, we can have a better quality of life. There’s no denying the positive effects of an outlet, but the question still remains:

How do you FIND your outlet?

Whenever people ask me that question, they usually follow it up by telling me that they’re not good at anything. I don’t believe that–everyone is good at something and can become even better with practice. Sometimes it’s not so much about what you’re good at, but about what you enjoy doing. Maybe a creative outlet isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re meant to spend more time channeling your energy into something you already enjoy doing. For example, You may not be a writer, but you enjoy the relaxation of reading a book. Your outlet can be reading. Your outlet removes you from your stressors. 

calm activity

Before I started this blog, the only thing I knew for sure was that people enjoyed my commentary. I didn’t see myself as a writer or artist, I didn’t think that I was some kind of guru. All I knew was that I was stressed to capacity, and I loved how relaxing it was to run my fingers across a computer keyboard. I knew that I enjoyed writing and wanted to be heard, but I was no expert. (I’m still no expert haha.)

Even though I had an idea of what my abilities were, I don’t think I could’ve really settled on an outlet had it not been for the input of others. If you don’t know what you’re good at, maybe it’s because you’re too close to see it. Ask your friends. Ask your family. Ask your coworkers. You’d be surprised what others see in you. Sometimes, you may not be surprised, you may just need that extra vote of confidence.

My point is this: Don’t waste time telling yourself what you can’t do. Instead, actively search for the activity that will bring you peace and purpose.

P.S.

Maybe you’ve read all of this and you’re thinking, “I already know what I’d LIKE to do, I just don’t know HOW to do it”. If this is the case, you likely need a brain trust–someone to bounce ideas off of so that you can refine those that stick.

I’m more than happy to help you sort things out! Click here to get started on finding your outlet!