Learning to be Honest in Dating

23 04 2015
Photo: stopkiruvnow.blogspot.com

Photo: stopkiruvnow.blogspot.com

Honesty is something a lot of us talk about. We say we want folks to be honest with us. We claim we’re honest individuals. We even say cliché statements like “honesty is the best policy,” but I would argue that many of us tell little white lies all the time when we’re dating.

Lies about our actual interest level in the other person. Lies about how much baggage we’re bringing into the situation. Even lies about what we’re hoping or not hoping will come of the connection. We all do it or have done it.

And it’s something I’ve been actively working to stop doing in my life.

But anyone who has lived will tell you that putting something into practice is a lot harder than just working on it in your head.

And so a few weeks ago a situation came up where I’d given my number to a gentleman, but I’d realized I was no longer interested in him. Before me, I had a few choices — I could ignore him when he contacted me as many folks like to do these days, hoping it would get the point across without ever having to tell him the real deal (but I think that’s kinda petty, and I hope I’m more mature than that); I could go into disconnected and cold mode, hoping that he would become disinterested and stop calling me (but interestingly enough, whenever I’ve done that, the guy has always stayed around longer); or I could just be honest and say “hey listen, you seem alright but I’m just not interested in seeing where this can go anymore.”

I chose the last one.

I know that probably seems like a small step for some of y’all, but it was a huge deal for me. I’m so used to trying not to be the bad person that I’ve definitely allowed relationships to last much longer than their natural expiration date, and this was my small way of saying no more. I could clearly tell me and dude weren’t going to work out, so why waste his time or mine.

I’m hoping to continue to put my honesty in dating into practice,  but I know I’ll have stronger tests still. It’s one thing to tell a guy you’ve known a couple weeks you’re not interested;  it’s a different story entirely to have the courage to say things to a person you’ve known for years.

But I’m getting there. I’m learning that what I’ve always believed really does hold true — you can say just about anything as long as it comes from a respectful and genuine place, and honesty (like forgiveness) is sometimes less about the person you’re being honest to and more about saving you.

What do you all think? Do you find that you sometimes tell little white lies in relationships? And what’s the hardest things you’ve ever told a partner? Pretty sure mine was when I told an ex boyfriend who wanted to marry me that I didn’t see a future with us. But right after that, I dated 2 guys back to back for months when it should have been over in weeks.

So clearly your girl has work to do lol





“Mama I Made it”… on the Importance of My Accomplishments Jar

21 04 2015
A peek at my jar...

A peek at my jar…

This New Year’s Eve, I decided to try something a little different to set myself up for the new year. I didn’t make resolutions; I made an accomplishments jar courtesy of an idea from Buzzfeed.

The basic idea behind the jar was that we all spend so much time focusing on getting to the completion of our goals (a BIG problem of mine, sometimes) that we miss out on the beauty of when we actually accomplish those goals — big and small.

So essentially (to use one example of mine), I should take the time to be excited about completing my query letter for my book instead of running past that achievement and only concerning myself with the completion of getting my book deal. And thing is, every time you complete something, whether silly or serious, publicly important or just something you silently said to yourself, you’re supposed to write it on the piece of paper, date it, and place it in the jar. When the year is over, you go back to the jar and re-read everything you did to remind yourself how much you did over the year.

There are so many reasons why this has been good for me so far, but here are just a few of them.

1. It forces to me to “stop and smell the roses.” I can be very focused and ambitious at times and sometimes lose sight of the small achievements that have to take place before I get to the big ones. Writing a note every time I complete a goal makes it that much more real for me.

2. It puts my gratitude on fleek! You know what happens, or at least what has happened with me, when you’re constantly writing out things you’ve done on even on a micro-level? You begin to realize just how much of it is not your doing. I find myself thanking God all the time now, for like… everything.

3. Which, in turn, keeps me faithful about the larger goals. I read recently that one of the best ways to stay faithful during a waiting period in your life is to constantly be thankful for what’s already in your life. I read this after I’d started on this accomplishments jar journey, and it was like confirmation to what I’d been feeling, and how much less stressed I’ve been.

4. It’s like the Twitter version of my journal, and it makes me commit to the feeling of accomplishment. You know how so often we look up and wonder what we’re doing with our lives? Folks start going through mid-quarter life crises and things? Well, this is a written account of what has been important to me in this year, what I sought out, when I was happy about a specific event, etc… but because it’s done on post it notes or small scraps of paper, it has to be in short and small details. No full out journal postings that start getting into rambling about how I completed something, but now I still have all this left to do. Nope. It’s short and simple. “I lost 20 pounds.” “I paid for someone’s lunch today.” “I woke up without snoozing my alarm sixteen times before getting out of the bed.”

5. It makes me happy. I haven’t even gone back and read anything yet (because technically, you’re supposed to wait until the end of the year lol), but when I see those notes piling up in my jar when I get home, I get a sense of joy. It tells me that no matter how hectic work might have been or if I feel like I didn’t finish something I wanted to complete, I’ve accomplished a lot just in the past four months.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like in December.





QOTD: Do We (as a collective) Really Love Women?

16 04 2015
Photo courtesy of Essence Magazine

Photo courtesy of Essence Magazine

I can’t tell y’all how excited I was to see this image come across my screen this week. I saw the picture Ms. Debbie Allen put up last week (and squealed appropriately), so when I saw this was what she was talking about… y’all, I’m pretty sure I haven’t been excited about a magazine cover like that since it was something I actually worked on. And on top of all the “yassssss” proclamations I saw from women exclaiming the pure awesomeness of this cover, I also saw men on my timeline talking about the power of this cover. They were all right. And it made me so happy to see us celebrate women in this way. I was overjoyed at the love we were collectively showing these beautiful, intelligent, dynamic, and inspiring women.

And then I saw this article about a young woman who was raped during Spring Break in front of several bystanders while no one (not a single person!) attempted to stop the rape from happening. What?!

I mean what?!

How does something like that happen?

Well I’d argue it happens because while we celebrate women seen in the public eye, we live in a culture that really doesn’t love women. Not in the real world. Not when it comes to real life traumas.

How do I know? Because Darren Sharper got 9 years for pleading guilty to raping at least 9 women in four different states. Because women and men alike stood around and watched (or neglected to notice) a woman get raped in broad daylight on a beach in Florida. Because states all over this country (including my own lovely home state of Louisiana) continue to try to do everything possible to regulate what a woman can do with her own body, including but not limited to charging women with freakin’ feticide.

That’s not love, y’all. It just can’t be.

So where’s the disconnect?

How are we able to celebrate images like this and talk about the love everyone has for their mamas when they accept awards and celebrate Hillary Clinton running for President and First Lady Michelle Obama just being all around awesome, but we can’t recognize the pain in the women right in front of us? Is it because it’s too difficult to handle? Is the disconnect something that happens out of necessity or just from a lack of care until it’s someone who is close to you or someone who’s in the spotlight?

I really don’t know the answers to all these questions. But I do know there’s a distinct disconnect for some reason. And that’s not to say it’s exhibited by everyone. Some of us really do show out with our love and support for women, but as a whole? As a collective? In this country? We have some serious work to do.

What do you all think?





Throwback Thursday — When I Finally Wore My Perfect Date Dress

9 04 2015

Hey y’all, it’s Thursday, and I’m preparing to make my way to celebrate a friend’s birthday in Las Vegas!! And since I was slack and didn’t give you all a blog post on Tuesday (sorry!), I figured the least I could do was post one of my faves from last year around this time. Spring is in the air, it’s sundress time, folks are going to start going on more dates now, and for me, it’s the perfect reason to have a good #tbt blog post about the time I wore one of my favorite sundresses on a pretty amazing date.

Hope you enjoy!

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We didn't exactly look like this, but it felt prett darn close... Photo: http://knowmore.tv

We didn’t exactly look like this, but it felt prett darn close…
Photo: http://knowmore.tv

It was a little less than a year ago now, but I still remember it like it was yesterday — the day I finally wore my perfect date dress.

If you’ll recall I’d purchased this dress some time ago, not with the knowledge that it would be a perfect date dress at all. But once I got home, tried it on with some heels and a cardigan, I knew. I knew that the only place it could be worn was a date so perfect that it suited how I felt in that dress.

And how I felt was happy, sexy, confident, giddy, pretty, alluring, and more. It was, in a phrase, a dress that made me feel special.

So I waited and waited and waited to wear it because the last thing I wanted to do was to waste that kind of dress on a date that wasn’t worthy. You may think that’s a lot of pressure to put on a dress… and you’d be right. What I inadvertently did was put so much pressure on the notion of wearing the dress, no potential date became good enough.

In fact, I went on quite a few dates between when I bought the dress and when I wore it. And each time I had a chance to wear it, I thought, hmmm I don’t know — I don’t think this guy or this date is special enough. And so I put it back in the closet, maybe to wear for the next time.

What I should have realized at the time, and what I realized much later on, was that the dress was symbolic for how I felt about those men in general, but also about me. I mean, who says to herself, “this guy isn’t special enough for a certain dress”? I should have immediately asked myself afterwards, “well then why are you going out with him?”

But because we rarely realize those things in the moment, I didn’t ask myself that question. Instead, I dated… and I waited… for the guy and the date who would make me want to feel pretty and alluring and sexy and confident and happy and giddy and special all at once.

That date finally happened last summer.

What’s remarkable is that there was nothing particularly special about the date. It wasn’t some grand production or fancy occasion. We basically walked around the city, talking and joking while my arm was wrapped inside of his, and finally made our way to the restaurant where we had dinner and pretty much spent the next four hours laughing.

It was fun, sure. And we had a great time. And the dress did make me feel everything I thought it would when I finally wore it for more than just my eyes to see.

But what was most important to me about that night (and actually what was the part that made the moment so awesome) was that I finally stopped waiting to wear the danged thing. I realized something that I’ve also since realized about my writing and my work and my heart — that until you share it with others, it’s just a pretty dress hanging in the closet. It has no meaning and no memories associated with it. It is, for lack of a better word, dead.

It’s not until I wore it and allowed someone else to see how beautiful it looked on me that the dress truly came alive. Now, it is not just a generic perfect date dress, one where I could imagine how I would feel wearing it with the guy I like. It’s the dress I was wearing when the guy I like looked at me and couldn’t stop smiling. It’s the dress I was wearing when I took the initiative and slipped my arm around his (that’s big for me, yall!).

It’s the dress I was wearing when I decided to stop waiting for life to be perfect before I enjoyed it.

This dress has memories now. It has a story. And even if it wouldn’t have turned out well that night, although I’m very glad it did, it still would have been for the best that I finally pulled it out of the closet.

Do you all have anything like that, that reminds you of a time when you made a pivotal decision for yourself?





The Biggest Relationship Cop Out and Why It’s Hurting You

2 04 2015

Change.

Such a simple word with quite a complex meaning. Webster defines it as “to give a different position, course, or direction to; to make a shift from one to another; to undergo a modification; to undergo transformation.”

But I say one of the biggest characteristics of change is its scariness. Oh you’re one of those people who don’t think change is scary? Hmmm, well I would argue that not only do a majority of us fear change, a majority of us act like we want it and will do it when we really don’t and won’t. In fact, I believe change is something a lot of us talk about in theory, but many of us rarely practice.

And it’s also where I think many of us go wrong in our dating lives.

Stop me if you’ve ever heard or said the following statement: “I can only be me, so if a man/woman doesn’t like me, then that’s his/her problem.” Or “I can’t be someone else to get a guy/girl to approach me. The person I’m supposed to be with is going to want me for me.”

Okay, now, I get the sentiment behind the statements. Yes, you have to be true to yourself, and no, no guy or girl should be looking to change you into what he/she wants you to be… but don’t most of us pride ourselves on not being who we were ten years ago? I can’t count how many times I’ve told someone “I’m not the same girl I was at 23″ or 25, or 27, or hell even at 30. I also can’t count how many times folks have amen-ed and agreed with me. And yet, the same people who will swear they’ve changed for the better will turn around and say that they don’t need to make any further changes when it comes to their relationships. That this is who they are. Period.

That just can’t be!

If we are all seeking to improve ourselves at all times, why do we get caught up in the idea that it’s somehow negative or not empowering to improve ourselves to be better mates?

My theory? It’s because we’re a generation of people (mostly, not everyone) who were taught that bettering ourselves should only really be about us. We go to school to improve ourselves. We get good careers to better our lives. We travel to make ourselves more cultured.¹ And all of that is great, because it taught us independence and self – sufficiency, but what it didn’t do was teach us how to translate that bettering of ourselves into partnering with someone.

So I get it. I really do. I get the hesitation toward saying “I will figure out what my part is in the things that have gone wrong in my dating life, and I will actively focus on changing that.” It goes against everything we know. We’re supposed to change just for us. But the problem is if you’re doing the same wrong shit over and over again, and you don’t want to change it because you don’t believe you should have to, chances are you won’t have to change a thing because you won’t ever need to. And the problem with that thinking is that every happily married couple I know talks about what they had to change in their lives to get to that point.

This is why I call it a cop out. Not changing is the easy thing to do. It doesn’t take any skin. It doesn’t break you out of your comfort zone. Saying someone has to accept me “flaws and all” without any attempt at working on those flaws is the easy thing to do. It gives us a reason for those relationships not working. It puts the blame on the mystical “other.”

The harder thing to do is to take an honest assessment of yourself and say, “some of those folks just weren’t right, but sometimes, I was complicit as well.” And then to look and see what you can do differently.

I had to do that. I had to look back over my relationships for the past 8 years or so and ask myself what was my part in their undoing. And you know what I realized? I have a problem sticking around. I leave or don’t get invested in the first place so that when something even slightly uncomfortable comes up, I can leave before he does. It’s why I haven’t had someone break up with me in years. It’s also why the longest relationship I had during that time period we didn’t even actually call a relationship until it was over. And outside of that, none of them have lasted over 6 months.

That’s not good for someone who wants to eventually get married and have a family. So you know what that means? I have to change. I’ve got to do the work to make the changes that will help me a better partner for my future guy. Yes, that’s about bettering me, but it’s also about knowing that if I want to achieve that goal of eventually being happily married and having kids, I can’t be worried about how that process may not look very feminist-y or how it’s not just focused on me. I can’t afford to take the easy cop out and keep doing the same thing while expecting different results.

And if you’re feeling stuck or don’t like what you see in your dating life or relationships, you can’t either. It’s only hurting you going forward.

1 And yes, I know many of us volunteer and seek to impact change in others’ lives, but even that sometimes can be about what’s gives us “fulfillment.”





What My Drink of Choice Says About Me

31 03 2015

I’m a whiskey girl, well bourbon to be exact, but we’ll say whiskey to keep it simple here.

So when I saw Elite Daily did a post on the 10 Reasons Why You Should Always Go For the Girl Who Drinks Whiskey, I got super excited. Yes! They’re going to give me all the ammunition I need to show why men should be lining themselves up at my door, I thought.

And they did, I guess… but really the only reason they gave that lived up to my excitement was #1 — she’s a little badass. For reasons, obviously.

More importantly though, the article made me think about how our drink choices really come to be synonymous with our attitudes in life (well, that is, if you drink alcohol) and how mine show just how much I’ve changed over the years.

You see, I wasn’t always a whiskey girl. At various times in my life, I’ve thought of other beverages as my signature drink. For example, in my teens, I was all about rum cocktails and white Russians. That was when I thought I knew what I was doing in life (and with my drinks), when I really had no clue whatsoever. In my college years, I would drink just about anything (except beer, I was never that desperate), and that’s kind of how my life was. I tried what felt like everything in my career (went from newspapers to broadcast to magazines to websites in a 4 yr span), in my boyfriends, and in my hobbies, and still never quite felt comfortable in my skin.

In my early 20s, I was all about the beloved Cognac named Hennessy. This was when I finally started making decisions in my life, and so while I had narrowed down my signature drink to one (and my career to one), it was really more of a reflection of what I wanted to be. I wanted to be the risk taker that that drink implied, but I wasn’t. Hennessy was almost like my alter ego.

In my late 20s, you’d mostly catch me partaking in a glass of wine. By this point, I’d settled into my career and was all about relaxing and unwinding when I got the chance — a beach (any beach!) was my idea of the perfect vacay. And while I was looking to be more refined, it was also the beginning of me not worrying so much about how I was perceived by folks who barely knew my middle name.

And now, well now, I love a good bourbon drink above all.¹ Which, if you believe Elite Daily, means I’m in touch with my emotions, I don’t believe in half-arsing things, and of course, that I’m a badass. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that! It’s just that I think my drink and my attitude in life are less about what make me a catch and more about what makes me happy. But if the two work together,  I won’t complain.

What about you all? Do you have a signature drink? And if so, what do you think it says about you? Buzzfeed has a funny list here which I completely disagree with for whiskey which you can use if you need to.

1 That’s not to say I won’t drink wine or Hennessy or a rum cocktail every once in a while (because I still do), but my preference will be bourbon if offered the opportunity.





Perceived Sexiness vs. What’s Really Sexy

26 03 2015
Courtesy of my closet.

Courtesy of my closet.

You see those shoes up there? They seem innocent enough, right? Don’t let them fool you, though. Not too long ago, they were the cause of one of my most embarrassing moments yet. But to their credit, they also helped reveal a crucial detail about what I find sexy in a man. So I guess I can’t shame them too much.

Let me back up a bit to give you guys some background.

Remember when I talked about how I recently attended some black tie events? Well, for one of those events, I decided I wanted to wear my black tulle a-line ball gown. And even though most would not be able to see the shoes I wore underneath, I also decided that I wanted to wear the shoes shown above with this gown. This plan (wearing the shoes with the gown) was perfect, as far as I was concerned, for several reasons: these shoes are hawt; I knew they’d compliment my pedicure quite nicely; I knew I’d be able to keep them on for a long period of time (if not the whole night); and I’d only worn them a few times previously, so I figured it was time to let them out of the closet and get some shine.

Well… what I hadn’t counted on, of course, was the fact that I would be eating and drinking my way through a city known for eating and drinking for 5 1/2 days before I needed to put the shoes on. What I hadn’t counted on was my feet swelling up to look like I was 6 months pregnant.

And I think you can tell by the photo that those shoes are absolutely not meant for swollen feet.

Yet, there I was, gown on, make-up done, hair done, trying to squeeze my sausage feet into those shoes. It was by far the most embarrassing thing to happen to me in quite some time, but you know what made it worse? A guy that I like, who was looking very sexy in his tuxedo, ended up being the one to help me put the shoes on. That’s right. Instead of me standing in front of him, looking regal, giving him my best flize, watching him as he mouthed “damn you look good” and blushing because I knew I did but it was still nice to see him acknowledge it, I was struggling, twisting on the bed trying to get my damn shoes on when he walked in.

Just picture this: Him literally holding each leg up (right, then left) while I’m desperately trying to push my feet in further, as he is simultaneously working his magic (and using all the strength known to man) to zip the shoes up from my heel to the top of my ankle.

I wanted to die.

I wanted to take those shoes, use the heels to dig a whole in the ground, bury myself in that whole, and never come back up again.

When I say I was embarrassed… y’all… whatever word you can think of beyond embarrassed still wouldn’t be able to describe how I felt. Mortified? Humiliated? Disgraced? Nope, still not enough.

But once I got over the embarrassment (kinda, you really can’t get over that), I started feeling something else. Something unexpected. Something tingly. Something surprisingly great. Because while yes, I was uber embarrassed about my feet, there was this very sexy man in front of me offering to help me, with no judgment, with no jokes (until later lol), showing up when I needed him. He was kind, and he was calm, when I was two seconds from crying and freaking out inside.

And if how he looked in the tuxedo hadn’t already done it for me, that move right there certainly sealed the deal.

It showed me that I can perceive sexiness as fulfilling all of these physical preferences I like (straight white teeth, great smile, broad shoulders, etc…), and a guy can do all the perceived sexy acts I like (hugging me from behind, kissing my neck, etc…), but what’s really and truly sexy is when he just shows up and supports me, without me asking for his help. Even when it just involves the silliest, most embarrassing thing. Especially when it involves the silliest, most embarrassing thing. Because that lets me know I’ll have his support when it’s doesn’t.

What about you all? What’s something that you find sexy in a guy or girl that’s not typically thought of as sexy?








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