#TuesdayShoesday: Fabulous Shoes You can Wear to a Reunion

5 05 2015

You guys! This week marks the 10 year anniversary of my graduation from Howard University. I mean, what?! I can’t even begin to believe my friends and I are celebrating our 10 year reunion for undergrad, but this is where we are. But here’s the thing about Howard, and probably many other schools — it’s always a fashion show, especially for special events, and even more especially for special events for alumni.

Which means if you’re going to make an entrance and attempt to wow the folks you haven’t seen since you all wore your caps and gowns, you absolutely have to get your shoes right. Now, I don’t know each person’s personal shoe style (although I may do a post soon on how to determine your own), but I do know good shoes. So if you have a reunion coming up soon, and you’re still searching for the best statement shoes to slide on your feet, below I’ve listed a few options I found and fell in love with recently.

Oh and great news — the prices range from $25 to $350, so you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to step out in style.

Check out the shoes below and let me know what you think!

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Do you all have a reunion of some sort coming up this year? If so, have you picked out your shoes yet? And will you be trying to purchase any of the ones in this slide show?





That Pesky Foreboding Joy Thing Again

28 04 2015
Photo courtesy of ABC's Grey's Anatomy

Photo courtesy of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy

Foreboding joy.

It’s a concept we’ve talked about on the blog here already, but one that I wanted to explore again after the controversial death of beloved Grey’s Anatomy character, Dr. Derek Shepherd.

For those of you who don’t watch the show, Derek and his wife Meredith have been the main characters of the show for the past eleven years, which is saying something because for all intents and purposes, it is an ensemble cast show. And yet, their love story has always been pretty integral to the story from the very beginning. We open with them meeting, and we grew to really care about their up and down, will they or won’t they relationship.

Well, they did, finally. They got married, adopted one kid and had another, and even after they found themselves arguing a lot this season (and Derek almost cheating, well he did kiss someone but then ran away as quickly as possible), they somehow managed to find their way back to each other and were really, really happy.

This is when I (and anyone else who watches the show) knew something was going to go terribly wrong. Two episodes later, he was missing. And the very next episode, we found out that he’d died in a hospital of a brain lack following a car accident.

Whew. When I say that episode tore me to pieces, I’m not lying. But I’m also not alone. All over my timeline, I saw folks admitting to deep, ugly tears while watching it. And sure, I think it’s partly because we’d all become invested in the character and also because Shonda Rhimes knows how to tear your heart out with a perfectly timed song, but mostly I think it had everything to do with all of our tendencies towards foreboding joy.

You see, the reason so many of us expected that something was going to go wrong with the character on the show is because we expect for things to go wrong in our own lives when we are too happy. How could the Grey’s Anatomy world be any different, right?

Dr. Brene’ Brown says it better. She says, “Having spent several years studying what it means to feel joyful, I’d argue that joy is probably the most difficult emotion to really feel. Why? Because when we lose the ability or willingness to be vulnerable, joy becomes something we approach with deep foreboding… [and it] can feel like a setup. We wake up in the morning and think, Work is going well. Everyone in the family is healthy. No major crises are happening. The house is still standing. I’m working out and feeling good. Oh, shit. This is bad. This is really bad. Disaster must be lurking right around the corner.”

Essentially, we’re all scared shitless of being too happy.

That’s why it hurt so much watching Derek die the same day he so eloquently professed his love for Meredith. It’s because watching that happen confirmed all our fears of it happening in real life. Not consciously, mind you. But I think it stirred up those latent (and maybe not so latent) fears in all of us.

I get that. For several years after Montana was killed in a carjacking, any time I couldn’t reach a friend, family member, or especially someone I was dating, I would immediately panic and think something had happened to them. I’d give myself 3 hours (much like Meredith gave herself until 5pm) to hear back from them before completely losing it, but I’d be going through every horrible scenario in my mind.

But even after I got over that, foreboding joy found a way to creep into my psyche. I recently dated someone, fell in love with him, and then talked myself out of the relationship. Why? Because when you have foreboding joy, the kind of happiness I had with him only serves to make you so frightened that it will end that the only thing you can do is stop it before something or someone else can take it from you.

Foreboding joy.

It’s that thing that makes newly married folks realize just how mortal we all are now that they’ve vowed to spend the rest of their lives with someone. It’s what makes moms and dads stand over their new babies, because they realize the most random incident could take all that happiness away in an instant. It’s frightening. It’s debilitating. But more than that it’s not living a full life.

Brown gives an example of this in her book, Daring Greatly. “A man in his early sixties told me, ‘I used to think the best way to go through life was to expect the worst. That way, if it happened, you were prepared, and if it didn’t happen, you were pleasantly surprised. Then I was in a car accident and my wife was killed. Needless to say, expecting the worst didn’t prepare me at all. And worse, I still grieve for all of those wonderful moments we shared and that I didn’t fully enjoy’… [this] story illustrates how the concept of foreboding joy as a method of minimizing vulnerability is best understood as a continuum that runs from ‘rehearsing tragedy’ to what I call ‘perpetual disappointment.'”

She goes on to say, “What the perpetual disappointment folks described is this: ‘It’s easier to love disappointed than it is to feel disappointed. It feels more vulnerable to dip in and out of disappointment than to just set up camp there. You sacrifice joy, but you suffer less pain… [but] once we make the connection between vulnerability and joy, the answer is pretty straightforward: we’re trying to beat vulnerability to the punch. We don’t want to be blindsided by hurt. We don’t want to be caught off-guard, so we literally practice being devastated or never move from self-elected disappointment.”

Thing is though, we don’t actually stop the pain, even when we’re not letting ourselves enjoy the joy. This is exactly what happened with many of us who watch the show. I knew something was going to happen to Derek. I felt it from the moment I saw them being too happy, and guess what? That stopped me from just enjoying that moment, because the whole time I kept saying, “something bad is going to happen. He’s about to die.” And yet, when he died, I still cried. It still hurt. The expectation, the foreboding joy, hadn’t stopped the rush of pain from flooding. Just as it doesn’t stop it in our real lives.

It didn’t stop me from being devastated after I pushed the guy away enough that he left. And it won’t stop any future pain going forward. But that’s the thing about foreboding joy — it wants you to believe it will. It wants you to believe if you control the happiness, you can make it without suffering the pain.

It is wrong.

If that Grey’s Anatomy episode taught us anything (besides the fact that Shonda Rhimes will kill off any character at any time, seriously — it’s like Game of Thrones in a hospital), it taught us that. And I hope those of us who experienced it will look back on those ugly tears and use it to inform us in our actual lives. I hope it will inspire us to embrace the happiness, to lean into the vulnerability that comes with joy, and to not be so worried about what comes after.





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.”








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