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.”

Advertisements




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?





You Can’t Leap and Stand Still At the Same Time

24 03 2015

leaping2

A few weeks ago, after leaving from volunteering in Virgina on a Wednesday, I had what started off as a very typical, but became a pretty surreal Metro experience. You see, I was making my way home in an attempt to get on a conference call by 9:30pm on a route that normally takes me about an hour. I made it to the Metro station by 8:40pm and had figured out that if I was on a train by 8:45, I’d have just enough time to wait the normal 15-20 minutes at my transfer stop and still make it home to Maryland by 9:30.

I was cool, calm, and collected in this knowledge. In fact, my confidence in this plan working out only grew when I noticed the Metro sign saying that the next train was just 3 minutes away.

“Perfect,” I thought. “Everything is going according to my plan.”

Ten minutes later when the train was still “3 minutes” away, I started to panic. There was no way I was going to make it home by 9:30 now, I figured. And so, as is typical of me, I began to try to figure out another plan.

Should I text someone to say I was running late but would hopefully be home by 9:45? But then what if the train took another 20 minutes and I didn’t make that time either? Maybe I should postpone the call to 10pm to give myself some leeway? Or better yet, was it better to cancel the call and save it for another day when I wasn’t rushing to get home and didn’t have to try to convince folks to get on a conference call at 10pm? But then Wednesday had been the best day for everyone to speak and finalize details, so moving the call to another day might then jeopardize the final plans… And why had I cut it so close in the first place?

All of these thoughts ran through my head at lightening speed. I mean, I was in pure panic mode, y’all.

And then I heard a soft, yet stern voice say “Stop.”

“Put your phone down, and trust that you will get home by 9:30.”

Obviously, this made no sense to me. I could clearly see the time was steady ticking away, and yet what I absolutely could not see was the damn train. Stubborn, I fought against this voice. “You don’t understand,” I thought. “I just don’t see how that’s possible. I’m not going to make it, so I need to make the appropriate plans in response to that!”

“Just trust me,” is all I got back.

After a bit more hemming and hawing, I finally did. I put my phone away and said, “Okay God. I trust you,” and immediately saw the train (that still said it was 3 minutes away) ride up to my platform. Right after I finally submitted.

You know what else happened? When I got to my transfer stop — the one that I normally have to wait 15 to 20 minutes at — I only had to wait two. And lo and behold, I made it home at 9:29pm.

Now, this story may seem frivolous, but it was one of many events that have shown me over the past month or so that I still had plenty of work to do in my faith walk.

Remember when I wrote this blog post about leaping? Well guess what — surprise, surprise — I haven’t really been living like that. Not in the truest sense. What I’d been doing (and what the Metro incident showed me very clearly) is believing in something until an obstacle came up and then falling right back into the pattern of planning for things not to work out.

That’s a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is faith.

That next Sunday, two sermons (one from my church and one from a friend’s church) drove the point home even further. Both sermons touched on the Biblical story of when Joshua, Caleb, and others went to go see what the promised land looked like. The other witnesses came back speaking about the giants they saw and spoke fear into the hearts of the other Israelites, while Joshua and Caleb essentially said “Yea we saw the giants, but we know what God said, and we’re focusing on that.” (That’s me paraphrasing, clearly.)

The two key points that hit home for me from my church’s sermon were that 1) It’s not about what you think you can see. It’s about what God has told you. Focus on that; and 2) Spiritual confirmation is not just the opportunity, but it’s also the opposition — because if you can do it by yourself, you wouldn’t have to trust God for it to happen. Those two points hit home for me especially because I realized I’d been living my life just like those other witnesses, believing and then allowing what I saw (or couldn’t see) to stop my belief. Still allowing my fears to stop me from leaping. I’d even found myself saying (as I did in the Metro incident) “but I don’t see it!”

When I read my friend’s notes, I almost broke down. “You can’t leap and stand still at the same time, just as you can’t believe and be afraid at the same time.” That hit me to my core. Have you ever tried leaping and standing still at the same time? You physically can’t do it. Just as you can’t believe and practice faith while worrying and fearing and planning for things not to work out.

And I’d been actively failing while trying to do both.

Working on my book and saying “I just need one yes,” to everyone I talked to about it, but deeply and sincerely fearing that no one would really want it.

Fighting the pull to move to another city because of what could go wrong if I did.

Being hopeful about a particular relationship, but not really trusting that it would work for us.

That was me a month ago. Trying to leap and stand still at the same time.

Now, I’m trying something different. I’m much more hopeful. I’m less stressed. I’m just simply believing. And while I’m still a work in progress, I find that I’m focusing less and less on those giants. And I’m finally, finally (!) really taking those leaps.





Tuxedos on Fleek!

19 03 2015
Photo: junebugweddings.com

Photo: junebugweddings.com

Being that I’m a woman from the South, I’ve grown up seeing men and women get dressed up for several occasions. New Orleans, especially, is a place that loves to throw a damn ball/gala for any and every reason. But when you’re a kid, you don’t see those experiences from the same eyes as you do when you get older. For me, it was all about feeling grown, getting to dress up in the prettiest gowns, hanging out with my parents, and having a reason to wear my grandmother’s fur coat.

Over the past couple years, however, I’ve had the opportunity to attend my fair share of black tie events as an adult (with two in the past 2 months, actually), and you know what I realized? More than anything else? More than the fact that I still enjoy the feeling of wearing a beautiful gown? More than the time I get to spend with some of my favorite people while they show out in their best outfits? I realized that I just looooove to see a man in a tuxedo! And no shade to anyone else, but I really love seeing a Black man in a tuxedo. (There’s just something about seeing all that fineness combined with brown skin. #sorrynotsorry)

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me.

I’ve always thought a man in a suit was attractive. In fact, my friends used to jokingly say that I never dated anyone who didn’t know how to dress well in a suit. They were wrong, obviously, but admittedly, I was always more of a fan of a man who could pull off basketball shorts one day and rock the hell out of a suit on the next.

If I had any doubts of my leanings towards a good suit, though, seeing all those men looking fresh in their tuxedos certainly tempered that. They were doing just a little something extra for your girl at the last few events.

You know how men get when they see a big ol’ fat booty? How they just can’t help the stare that comes with it? They might even start internally singing “My anaconda don’t…” But as hard as they try, sometimes with all their might, that stare is just something they can’t control.

That’s me when a fine brotha walks past with his tuxedo nicely tailored, bow tie sitting right, pants legs hitting the exact right point of the ankle, shoes buffed, and shirt crisp underneath. Whew! I just can’t help it. My legs get weak. I start subconsciously biting my lower lip. My heart begins beating faster, and when I’m not careful, it very well leads to me messing up my red lipstick by the end of the night.

I mean, it is a serious problem!

One that I’m not really inclined to fix, but one that I am now willing to readily admit that I have.

So who’s with me? Does a man in a tuxedo do it for you? And if not, what’s something that’s really kind of normal that lights your loins on fire? Let’s share!





Screw Smizing, Let’s Talk About the Importance of Your Flize

17 03 2015
Photo: Forbes.com

Photo: Forbes.com

Do you know how to flize?

You’re probably thinking, “what the heck is she talking about,” right? And did she just completely make up that word?

Well, first — yes I did lol (I think). But I’m not talking about some crazy scheme or anything… just the age-old practice of flirting with your eyes (which I totally did NOT make up).

It’s not really something that’s talked about very often, but I have come to believe it may be one of the most effective ways for women to flirt with someone (especially if you’re concerned about being approached or wanting people to approach you).

So why is the flize so important?

Well, for one it’s just subtle enough not to come off desperate or skanky, but it also makes it very clear that you want that person in some capacity. And by some capacity, I mean you may have envisioned him/her without clothes on. People talk about the eyes being the windows to the soul, but they’re also just simply the windows to your thoughts. I mean, have you ever seen someone’s eyes when they’re worried or sad — completely different emotion comes through than when they’re happy or excited. Therefore, when you’re flizing, believe me, the context is clear.

For two, it involves you making eye contact with said person. Let’s talk a bit about eye contact here. There was a recent article that came out that talked about the significance of staring into someone’s eyes for four minutes. Now, obviously, you’re not doing that when flizing, but… if you can fall in love in four minutes, surely you can entice some lusting in 15 seconds.

Thirdly, it gives you some leeway away from the whole “just smile” theory that many men promote and many women screw their faces up at. Now, your flize may involve a bit of actually smiling, but one of the truly great things about flizing is that you have the freedom to determine which technique works best for you. If you feel some kind of way about giggling or smiling at a stranger, maybe your flize is one that’s a bit more intense or just lets out a smirk. Or maybe you’re like me and you start off with a flize and subtly let it form into a flirty smile. Or maybe you just come right out the bat with the full on pearly whites along with the flirty eyes. Either way, you’ve got cart blanche to make it your own!

And trust me, once you’ve made it your own, you’ll wonder why you never had it in your repertoire before. Because the thing about a really good flize is that it is completely and utterly irresistible. Or at least I should say it hasn’t let me down yet, and I don’t think it will let you down either.

(Now what you do after you’re approached is a totally different story, but at least you’ll be in the game.)





Celebrity Shoe Spotlight Follow-up — Tamar Collection

12 03 2015
Photo courtesy of TamarCollection.com

Photo courtesy of TamarCollection.com

If you’ll recall, I actually did a celebrity shoe spotlight on Tamar a couple years ago, but since then she’s started her Tamar Collection line, and wouldn’t you know it — it includes some very stylish shoes! And all for less than $100 a pair.

I think that deserves a follow-up post, no?

One thing I love about Tamar is that she enjoys a fabulous, statement shoe, but she doesn’t like to “spend a lot of coins” on it. I think that’s something we all can appreciate, right? So while you’re waiting for that next tax return check to buy your favorite Christian Louboutins (don’t think I don’t know some of y’all do that), you should take a look below at some of her offerings. I could totally see myself in the nude pump, the bootie, and the black studded sandal (at least!).

What do you all think? Will you be venturing into the Tamar Collection? And if so, which shoes do you have your eye on?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.