On Loving Again: Knowing How to Love After Divorce

When you’re sick and tired you’re truly just sick and tired.  My marriage was no longer and I had been single for six years.  The ‘I’m just doing me’ phase which included a bit of “heauxing” was fun for probably like, two minutes (ok, maybe three or four), but trust me that time had long passed. The seemingly endless duds from online dating had gotten old real fast.  So I had a list.  A long one at that, two whole columns.  Full of what I convinced myself were the ‘desires of my heart.’ “These are not expectations,” I remember emphatically telling my girlfriends when they laughed at the line by line details of my “perfect mate.”  But I was convinced if I held out, I would have what I wanted. 

‘Must be 6’2” or taller, Great smile (code word for ‘all of his teeth and none of them brown OR gold’), only 1-2 children, preferably ages 8-16 at the time of meeting, etc, etc, etc. Yea, the crazy list really did go on and on!

Then one day I was approached through direct message by one of my sorority sisters, whom asked if would like to meet her cousin.  “Not really,” was my reply.  “I’m just not really interested in a relationship right now.”  Of course I was telling LIES!!! I had literally been praying that morning that God would send my companion and send him soon.  She was persistent.  “Girl, he’s a really nice guy.  Just go to dinner. What can it hurt?”  I reluctantly agreed after seeing his picture.  He was handsome, just not my average type of man I’d shown attraction to in the past.  He was visibly older (ten years to be exact), and I held a record with my friends and family for being a notorious cougar.  From her description though, he seemed nice, had a great job, and had his own place—without a roommate or a hidden “wife!”  Dinner couldn’t hurt, right? 

We opted to chat by phone within the next few days after our e-introduction.  Conversation was lightweight and cordial.  He asked me to dinner for the upcoming weekend.  “Sure.” I responded, already feeling like I’d held true to my word with my soror.  Upon arrival at dinner, as the elevator doors opened from the parking garage I saw a man with a slightly nervous smile, awaiting me with the most gorgeous red roses.  He greeted me with a genuine smile and a very appropriate hug.  “It’s so nice to see you; you are quite beautiful. Shall we head into the restaurant?”  I thanked him for the flowers and followed him to dinner.

Our conversation during dinner was different from any other I’d had with other men.  He wasn’t trying to be smooth.  He wasn’t trying to put off as though he was king of the jungle, the city, or even the table.  He was actually pretty corny.  But he was genuine.  He was honest.  He was forthright with anything I asked—and I do mean anything.  He was a breath of fresh air.  Mid-bite of my soft shell crab fried rice I decided…He’s cool. I’m going to go out with him again...if he asks.  He did.  The second date brought on a third, and a lunch date the day after.  Four dates in I thought, “OMG, we’re actually going out regularly, getting along, and enjoying each other’s company.  Could this be?  Is this going somewhere?  Is this what I want? This is REALLY going somewhere.”

Even after knowing things were moving in the direction of more than dinner and patty caking on the phone, I was still shady and reluctant.  I just couldn’t believe this guy was all the things on my ‘list,’ and REAL.  My mind begin to replay all the wonderful aspects from my former marriage and other relationships, then zoomed past all of those attributes and went straight to the bad parts.  Ugh…I don’t want to deal with foolishness again.  I don’t want to get all caught up with this dude and then find out he ain’t shit!  And I certainly don’t want to grow closer to him, possibly allow my daughter to get to know him (something I’d held out on with everyone else), only to be let down in the end.  But he seemed different.

Now all of those thoughts crossed my mind, but thank God for the still small voice I felt inside simultaneously telling me to slow down, calm my nerves, and breathe.  I reminded myself of the main fact: we’d just met, it wasn’t that serious…yet.  That exact reminder helped me process through my approach to the new ‘friendship’ and operate the months ahead with these thoughts: 

1.       Doing the work to heal from my marriage and past relationships was complete and successful. Therapy, prayer, tears, ‘get ‘em girl’ sessions, and moments of just sitting with the truth of my reality, had all been a part of my journey to healing.  It was not an easy road, but worth every minute. I didn’t rush through the process. 

2.       My healing made me stronger.

I knew the process to heal would be difficult and it was that and more.  There were days when I screamed, cried, yelled and just sat in disbelief.  When I felt like cussing, I did.  When I felt like crying, I did that too.  Therapy let me know all those highs and lows were normal and ok.  Ultimately, I came up with a plan for self-care that was specific to what I needed for healing and spent the time needed to go through each part of it. 

 3.       I was confident in my desire/ability to love.

I reminded myself regularly the uniqueness I carry as a woman gave me the ability to love.  My desires gave me the wherewithal and the confidence to get there.  A partner who matched my ‘fly’ was going to be the recipient of me and vice versa…that was amazing.  

4.       Enjoying each phase of getting to know each other without rushing anything was important.

Although after a few dates we begin to speak daily, I didn’t change any plans within my regular schedule to spend extra time, and neither did he.  We went with the flow. We compared schedules and came up with a mutual day of the week we could hang out.  We were able to take the pressure off and grow from there. 

5.       My tribe was dedicated to supporting me and holding me accountable.

My homegirls and guys were super happy to celebrate the potential of love with me, but they were also quick to tell me when I was being extra, too much, and in need of “Girl, BYE!” reminders!  Giving my crew the space to speak into my life was key on those days when I needed to be checked, or reminded I was worthy of love. 

 6.       I was clear and realistic in my expectations of myself and him.

After surviving quite a few instances of having my time wasted, I was able to be clear about what I wanted in a relationship.  With my past relationships triggers behind me, I was also able to advocate for myself on my deal-breakers, areas I was willing to compromise, and places within myself that still needed work, outside of him.  He didn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes with me.  That was a blessing!

7.       I was open to having fun, getting to know him, and accepting what came of it—even if it was ONLY friendship.

More than anything, we were both dedicated to having fun!  There was chemistry, which helped, but ultimately we accepted the differences we brought the table and agreed early on—if nothing came of the romance, we were cool and interesting enough as people to keep the growing friendship.    

Thank goodness while we are yet building a friendship, there’s a budding romance that remains! Time will tell what happens and it certainly feels good.

Until next time,

~k

I promise I’m not dreaming of my guy…well, maybe I am, lol. Photo Courtesy of KSLewis Media

I promise I’m not dreaming of my guy…well, maybe I am, lol. Photo Courtesy of KSLewis Media

ICYMI: LOVEis Recap-Episode Six

This feels like “Angela’s Revenge!” Nah, lol but #HatinHeather finally gets her turn to shine on this episode and she can’t wait to throw a whole tree’s worth of shade at Nuri. We start with seeing the aftermath of the happy couple one week or so after their first romp. They are in absolute orgasmic bliss, evident by no food in the fridge and Nuri begging Yasir to give her kegels a break! Yasir is living life like it’s golden—driving Nuri’s Jeep 🚙 while she’s at work, staying at the crib chilling, even convincing her to let him dress her for work to put his “mark” on her—I love you Yas but you need to pipe down, literally!

Meanwhile at the office, Nuri gets a good lesson in friends and workplace advocacy when Norman gives Angela the nod for writing a script (one of two she negotiated in her contract) and expects her to share the opp with her bestie...she does not. The naivety of Nuri is clear, and a little surprising. Big shout out to @maraakil for showing that notion of women being forced to stand up for their worth at work or fold to the pressure of playing “nice.” We LOVE Nuri and her innocence, but she needed that lesson! In the words of Angela, “You’re my girl not my writing partner.” Then later saying, “this is a conversation our agents should be having, not us.” BLOOP! A rift was evident between the two from that point in the episode, especially when they ran into each other later at the movies and guess who is Angela’s plus one?? Keith!!!! 👀😳 Pick your mouth up off the floor.

Keith had an earlier encounter with a cute stranger at the local bar further confirming he’s only chilling with Angela for ‘deep cover-sake.’ She happened to walk in the bar to kill time before the movie, happened to kill the vibe between Keith and bar-boo, and happened to end up on an impromptu date. Where’s my popcorn 🍿?? Nuri definitely wasn’t feeling seeing them together and had a tinge of “oh you want my script AND my dude?” But Yasir shut that down quick and got her back to reality just in time to have Angie’s back at work when her beloved storyline was drowning fast. Nuri swallowed her pride and showed friendship...hand claps all around!#kslewismedia @owntv @loveisown

Photo Courtesy of OWN

Photo Courtesy of OWN

ICYMI: LOVEis Recaps

So I've been doing these recaps each week of OWNtv's new show, LOVEis and I must say...I absolutely LOVE this show.  I really cannot express how much my heart yearned for a show that intimately details the ups, downs, and middles of the dynamics of new relationships, all set with a 90s backdrop in tow.  It's literally the best thing I've seen since the show, "Girlfriends." And speaking of that show, guess what?  It's written by the same person, so no wonder I, along with thousands of other folks around the country, are hooked! 

It was a complete no-brainer that I would support each week and watch. I mean, it's Mara Brock Akil and her husband, Salim Akil.  It's Oprah.  It's love and relationships. Yea, I'm watching, with my wine and popcorn.  What I wasn't anticipating was the complete AMAZINGNESS in the way the story shows up and deep desire I would feel to talk and write about it...each week...on schedule...with no hesitation. The characters, based on the Akils true love story and portrayed by Elle Weaver and Will Catlett (from Black Lightening), have truly made people believe in love again.  I'm here for it any way they want to dish it! 

So in you case you've missed them, here are my recaps--altogether in one place/post.  This is up to Episode 5.  If you haven't watched to this point, you're trippin.  Read these, then go online/on-demand/on something, and WATCH!! Then set a reminder to meet me each and every week on IG (@kslewismedia) (Tuesdays at 10pmEST to watch the show, Wednesdays at 9pmEST for the commentary, and Thursdays for the written recaps) for the rest of the season.  Let's catch the remaining shows together :)

EPISODE ONE

Modern day Nuri and Yasir choose to celebrate their 21st anniversary by taking us back to the beginning of their relationship (Thank God, @maraakil and @owntv)! A short intro in a coffee shop sparks a brief but pointed conversation. A “chance” encounter a year later shows Yasir’s confidence with a last minute concert invite—I mean, he had only laid eyes on this woman once, a whole year beforehand but she’s gorgeous so don’t waste those tickets! I see you Yasir!! Intrigued, but not super moved by it all, Nuri goes on with buying furniture for her new house and living her life like its golden because for her, it was. Then there’s a moment with Nuri’s work homie, #shesahaterbytheway, where Nuri is convinced to return the concert ticket. She and Yasir meet at the same coffee shop and instead of giving back the ticket, they sit for hours and talk about everything—life’s ups, downs, middles and side bars in between—btw, I’m guessing at that part, we weren’t privy to that beautiful conversation! A shared touch across the table, signifying to me the moment of knowing there’s a place of trust and more to come between the two of them, makes way for the GLORIOUS outside, up against the wall kiss that showed us Yasir claimed Nuri and he meant business!! That kiss gave me all the throwback 90s feels, along with the quick nod to the infamous “Darius and Nina” kiss from #LoveJones (I see you Mrs. Akil). The excitement of that night ends with both returning to their realities—Nuri lying on her pillow grinning like a Cheshire cat 🐱 (we ALL have been there and LOVE that feeling), and Yasir choosing the couch and good music over his soon to be ex’s attempt to give him some “come home late if you want to but ima show you you’re still mine sex.” Y’all caught that, right? He and Ruby (the soon to be ex) agree it’s time for him to move out and he grins himself into blissful recaps of his encounter with Nuri. We leave this amazing place by seeing a modern day Yasir tearfully open up about his love for Nuri by saying, “she saved me.” My heart melted in that very moment!! I love them and the show. 

EPISODE TWO

<SPOILER ALERT> But really?  Why haven’t you seen the show by now? Anyway, we are graced with modern day Nuri and Yasir throughout the episode honing in on points of the love journey. Great care is taken to show their ‘90s edition friendships with Sean and Angela, their confidants at the time of meeting. The respect factor was in full effect when Yasir told Sean he was indeed in love with Nuri, had told her, AND moved out of Ruby’s place. Sean’s reaction: HUH? Bruh, you just met this chick. “Ruby has hot water. You need hot water.” On the flip, Angela was being #stillahaterHeather telling Nuri she was stupid and about to “risk it all” by sneaking out of work to hit the concert with Yasir. Granted, I can definitely feel her on being there to remind Nuri of how hard they’d worked to be successful in the then male dominated world of TV, but sis...there’s still a tinge of hateration seeping out in every convo! “Don’t be a desperate dummy being stupid,” was her caution. I’m so here for good good gfs having a sista’s back but fallback on that lip mmkay? She still looked out in the end though. I would be wrong not to give poor Will an honorable mention for his final attempt to get Nuri’s attention. As she slid out of work after being told no one could leave, she’s confronted with him holding her coffee and “life,” so he thought, in his hands. He basically tells her she’s the reason good guys turn into F-boys, then he threatened to snitch. Kudos to her for having the balls to tell him to kick rocks—“I’m in love with someone else and btw, you just have my coffee dude, get a life!” The episode ends exactly how we wanted—seeing Nuri make it to the concert in time to see that awesome eye contact/you could get it look 👀 from Yasir, paired with the confidence of him telling her he “knew” she would come. My faves? The grown break up convo between Yasir and Ruby, her maturity when Nuri called her house and the repeated acknowledgement of “I love you” between the new boos...I’m so here for it!!! But then again, I am a geek for love, so there’s that!

EPISODE THREE

We’re starting to jump into the inevitable reality of new relationships—the wonderful “cocoon phase” modern day Nuri speaks of in the beginning of the episode, along with seeing the difficulty she and younger Yasir went through during their early days. TBH, Episode 3 gave me a slight pause. I LOVED seeing the honesty between them as they were frequently interrupted by voice messages from Nuri’s “mens-es” on her day off. AND SN: yaaassssss to Yasir in the shower! Their day of being “boo’d up” is cut short when Angela decides to meet up with an online boo for an impromptu date that she ultimately needs Nuri to help her escape.
Now to the good part...Yasir continues to let Nuri see him from rose colored glasses which leads to a spiral of confusion. After trying to sneak into his old place to find a AAA card for his car (which happened to be DOA in Nuri’s neighborhood) he gets sidetracked by Ruby whose “lipo-gone-wrong” pulls on his heartstrings so much so that he stands Nuri up on a planned date. I’m all for him being a stand up kinda guy, BUT bruh...keep Nuri’s number with you to give a quick cancellation call!! Being stood up leads Nuri into a school girl panic until her neighbor comes by and drops all the knowledge on her she doesn’t know about her “man”...his address, full name, he’s homeless, his car won’t start, etc. 🤯😳😟
Dazed and confused, Nuri shows up at the “address,” aka Ruby’s place, to unfortunately find Yasir there. In this moment he chooses to be a man of his word and protect BOTH women—Ruby needed privacy during a vulnerable time, and Nuri needed reassurance that he wasn’t playing games with her emotions. His promise to explain everything to Nuri at a later time was sealed with that good ole door closed in her face 😳. She no doubt cried and was totally in a state of shock from the rejection but I’m sure they’ll work it out next week...stay tuned!

EPISODE FOUR

The theme of Episode 4 felt like an examination of the old Whodini song, “Friends,” a deep look into our motives in relationships, and a bit of shade that only a close “partna” can bring!
Things pick up the morning after the infamous “door close,” showing the bond between Nuri and Yasir strong through strain as they spoon and cuddle with each other separately through their dreams.  We see the thought of being used tossed around over and over and have to decide which person is the real culprit: Yasir, who accepts Ruby’s invitation for a longer stay at her place, giving him a literal 'pot to piss in.'  Nuri, who reluctantly agrees to go skiing with Keith, her #2 (church/brunch guy and network exec), after she doesn’t hear from her love and Angela, aka #hatinHeather convinces her that he’s moved on. Ruby, who doesn’t wanna explain her bad decisions to mom and dad; she needs Yasir to front as her man by staying for six more weeks, plus she actually and literally cannot get around by herself! Then there’s Keith, whom we know loves the attractiveness of Nuri and her current position at work—in short, she’s a great catch and matches his fly. This begs the question: do we ALL use each other in some way in relationships? Hmmm... Major highlights: Sean and Camille’s interaction as a couple and Yasir’s attempt to check him gone wrong. Tim Reid as modern day Sean (Yessss!!!) Yasir’s determination to see Nuri and answer each of her questions (YES to giving her ALL info including that good government name Mr. Earl Wallace Green)! And that good ole lump in her throat and no time to pick her face up off the floor when Yasir walked out upon Keith’s arrival for the impending “sex where it’s cold” ski trip. SWOON moments: Yasir finally makes it over to Nuri’s to set the record on his life straight, along with assuring her of his love and that yes, he is using her…to make himself a better person. “You’re my fresh start.” Modern day Yasir however made hearts ‘round the nation (and everywhere @owntv is available) melt with these words, “When Nuri looked into my eyes, I saw the real me, a man who could become a king.”

EPISODE FIVE

YAAASSSS to episode 5!!! It started off shaky, with Nuri showing her “I can do anything you can do better” stance to Yasir, and choosing to go on the ski trip with Keith. The trip turned out to be an interesting one with Keith’s friends, also known as, “the Corny Crew,” who welcomed her with open arms and a sweater to match. Their fun night took a turn when the crew snacked on schrooms and Papa Boo (Keith) started spilling more than tea! In a crying fit after Nuri turned his advances toward her down, he confessed he was gay 👀only to renege on the convo once they returned to work. 🤫🤥  The first time Yasir and Nuri see each other after the trip proves to be their first true fight…our hearts pound along with them at each second of the argument, then melt when the modern day couple has a heartfelt moment clearly showing the memories of that day still hold strong. AND speaking of things holding strong…Nuri finally finds an old note Yasir wrote to her when their signals were crossed up, causing her to go on a manhunt for him all over the city to apologize. She cruises by their coffee spot, Ruby’s house, and probably a few other places before finally ending up back home to find him on her doorstep <SWOON>. Cue Janet Jackson’s “Anytime Anyplace” playing in the background (LITERALLY) and the couple goes HAM at each other, right there on the patio—kissing, touching, removing unnecessary clothing, more kissing…wait! Did Nuri turn off her car??? I'm not mad at any of that AT ALL!! Ok, carry on. Back to the kissing. Yasir stops to remind Nuri that she’s vowed to only have sex with her husband in that house…they pause, we pause, then Ok gurlll; trust, we ALL agree on this one--it’s on! I’ve never smiled so hard at two people rolling around on a pallet on the floor in the candlelight IN MY LIFE! I watched e-ver-y second, twice. Yes to the candles. Yes to the blankets on the floor. Yes to that awkward rain dripping onto Yasir’s back (I saw all of that). This episode felt too short…@maraakil, give us some more!!

 

What do you know about Fashion? A Review

Comment

What do you know about Fashion? A Review

What exactly is an author and media personality doing at a panel on fashion and design???

GURL-A…getting my LIFE!! That is exactly what I was doing at the recent, “What do you know about Fashion?” panel and event hosted by stylist extraordinaire himself, Mr. Brian Lamont. 

Housed in Washington DC’s popular H Street restaurant and lounge, Red Rocks, on a fun Friday afternoon, guests escaped the work week to the second floor setup with luscious vendors, food, drinks, and of course, major fashion industry designers and stylists.  It was a novice stylist’s dream come true!

Now, I am NOT a stylist by any sense of the word—I literally need help putting together clothes to run to the grocery store.  So you can guess, when I received the invitation to cover the event I experienced a range of emotions.  More like panic.  “OMG, I can’t wait! YESSSS! Thank you!!” to “OMG, are you sure? What am I going to wear??? What type of questions should I ask? OMG, WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR???” “I’m not going.” “Of course I’m going…get it together.” And this was just the first fifteen minutes after getting the invite.   

Well, needless to say…I pulled it together, and I’m so glad I did.  This event was one of the most fun and insightful panel discussions I have attended in a very long time!  Each entity represented brought a uniqueness to the conversation and shared from their hearts.  Presented in two parts, the designer’s panel with Byron Garrett of The Valdecio Collection, Chantale of Eve Lawrence Boutique, and Ebony Westbrook of ESW Jewelry, offered sage advice on starting, maintaining, and representing your product and brand.  Their passion was easily felt as they shared ups and downs experienced and how they pushed through difficulty to attain goal after goal.  It was quite easy to see the passion of each designer, as they equipped us with tips on business, fashion and life!

The second was equally full of LIFE with such panelists as wardrobe stylists, Logan Renee and Juvaughn Scurlock, Joy Copeland of the The Joy of Styling, media personality, Ashleigh Demi, and Daniel Grimsley, affectionately known in the fashion world as “FrankntheCity.”

Along with funny anecdotes on their experiences in the field of styling, they each dropped noteworthy gems surrounding thoughts on fashion:

“Anything that resonates in your soul is a vibe.” –Ashleigh Demi

“When I put on clothes I am the tea! It’s the way I express myself…” FrankntheCity

“When I walk in a room I want my clothes to speak for me.”—Logan Renee

Audience members were able to delve into the minds of the panelists by asking anything from how to get started as a stylist, current thoughts on “fast fashion,” and of course, ways the group loves to stay on top of the ever changing fashion curve. 

Being a visitor in their world, I felt quite comfortable sitting back and relaxing with the fabric and style elite, so to speak.  It was truly an event for the “fashion connoisseur,” and I was delighted to have a seat at the table.  I left with a strong appreciation for the strength within designers, the hunger in stylists, and an overall sense of knowing I’d put together an outfit for that day that was on point enough to be complimented by Mr. Brian Lamont himself J

Cheers,
KSLewis  

brian.jpg

Comment

What You REALLY Want...

Comment

What You REALLY Want...

I was recently on a relationship panel where the topic of conversation was the ever evading question, “What do Men Really Want?”  I listened attentively to my male counterparts, hoping, praying, wishing they would say something I had not heard in the past and finally shed light on the mystery at hand. 

Unfortunately, I’m not sure any of us were able to shine true knowledge on the subject.  Albeit true that most men (and women), have personal preferences overshadowing our true needs, I believe the absolute truth is, we are afraid of seeking what we want until we ourselves are WHO we should be.  There are absolute exceptions to my statement (and in my case, he’s probably a short arrogant man with no teeth), but overall asking for peace in the home, stability, faithfulness, ambition, reverence to God, etc, are not far-fetched attributes when seeking love.  So why does it continue to be out of reach for most? Because those attributes are no brainers.  We naturally gravitate to people who “seem” to have those things in tact.  It’s what we don’t see…correction, what we don’t show, that keeps us single. 

I know someone is giving me side eye at this point, but hear me out.  I’m not at all suggesting that having someone in our lives who has goals, is career-minded, and wants to be their best selves is not where Cupid’s arrow should aim…it is absolutely who we should strive for and where we want our dots to connect.  What I’m saying is that journey starts within ourselves.  Are we really ready for that person should the weather, drinks, lighting, mood and smell-goods be aligned with the stars during the chance encounter?  Or would WE as individuals mess it up? 

Everywhere I go and with all whom I speak I am clear: always show up as the most authentic self you have available.  I say “available,” to leave room for those who are true works in progress—which ten times out of nine—covers us all.  We are not perfect people.  Stop looking for perfection.  Stop saying no to someone because they are “working” on themselves.  Stop judging folks by their actions, but asking for clearance on your “intentions.”  It’s not fair.  It’s not productive.  It’s not going to bring love to your life.

Again, I’m not, I repeat, I AM NOT saying lie all of your preferences down and be open to any old shiggidy.  Nope.  Not at all.  Preferences are fine and we all have them.  What I am suggesting is that we need to be more introspective when it comes to deciphering what is “wanted,” in relationships.  There’s no true way to answer that question as an individual until we examine whether or not we are showing up as what we want to receive.   Have you healed from your past?  Be it a relationship with a love, a family member, a friend, or even just issues within yourself.  Have you taken the time to get over your issues with trust, communication, rejection, envy, and lust?  Have you gotten your financial affairs in order?  Have you dealt with the areas of your health that may not be stellar?  Even simpler, have you dealt with your anger, or attitude towards certain issues and subjects that make you see red?  How about when you don’t get your way?  Can you receive constructive feedback?  Do you fall apart and have a “grown up” tantrum?  Or have you worked that out?  These directives are all key items we should be able to manage before we begin to demand something from someone else.  I may not be coming down your street with THAT list, but trust, there are more than those concerns I’ve offered here.

Our insecurities and triggers from past relationships are the real hold up in the staying power of love.  Find ways to rectify them in your own life and love will be standing in front of you when you least expect it.  How does one find these ways you may ask?  Not sure I know the remedy for all, but I can suggest a few points to ponder and solutions to try:

Read—I would sing the song “Read a book mf-er, read a book” but that may be slightly inappropriate and the joke would then be of no use.  What IS appropriate however…there are 7.4 Billion people on this earth.  Someone, somewhere, has faced, challenged, and tackled every issue we come across.  Find their story of perseverance and hiking up your own mountain to overcome. 

Write—Reading and writing go hand and hand, right?  There’s a space of peace and therapy in writing I've found that, when one is willing, can be quite freeing of issues that hold us back.

Seek Counseling—don’t be afraid to sit down with someone and discuss said issues.  Whether it’s a spiritual counselor (pastor), a financial counselor, health/nutrition professional (personal trainer) or psychologist, people are trained and ready to help you sort out things and get on a path to being a better person inside and out, and guess what?  Don’t listen to the nay-sayers—there’s NOTHING wrong with counseling.  It’s by far healthier than the alternative, which is staying “sick.”   

Give Up—I knew that would get your attention. Give up the crazy mindset that you are not without room to grow, room to improve, and finally, room to love.  Work on you and get rid of the old notions holding up love.  Give up the control of wanting things your way all the time.  Give up the fear of thinking you’re not worthy enough to be loved.  Give up the past that’s holding you back from yourself and others. 

This is of course, not an exhaustive list but it's a great start.  When we all have taken the time to clear our hearts, minds and bodies of the clutter we've held onto for so long, only then can we begin to create the space to show up and start naming "what we want," in others.  Never forget, this journey is absolutely nauseating at times, hurtful, and invasive. But it's also freeing, feasible and worth it.  Know that I'm on it with you.  Happy loving to us all.

Until next time,
~k

Comment

What About Your Friends?

What About Your Friends?

The most assured way to be entrenched into adulthood is to have a child. Or two. Or more.  Dealing with my daughter, there are days when it’s clear I am the smartest person in the room.  While other days show me without fail that not only do I not have a clue, but I’m not even in the hemisphere where the ‘clues’ live. 

As a mother, I don’t believe I’ll ever be comfortable with not protecting my child. From the moment of her birth, I have ensured she was swaddled correctly, nursed amply, boo-boos bandaged, head covered, seatbelt tightened, sniffles wiped, crosswalk verified, side-eye reprimanded, and fair-weather friends shu---wait.  Exactly how do I protect her from her friends? 

There was once upon a time when, as children, we were taught to look to our parents, guardians, and adults we trusted to show us the way to conduct ourselves as we became ‘of age.’ As an adult, while I flip through the television channels, wade through the muck of internet sensationalism, and just plain walk down the street, it’s hard to imagine the things young people have to sift through on a daily basis when it comes to making decisions on appropriateness, friends, self esteem, image, the opposite sex, and again, friends.  In this current age of social media, selfies, live videos, and reality television, exactly who ARE the appropriate role models to show the ways of good old-fashioned adulting?  How well do those so-called examples model behavior our children are supposed to follow? I mean, really?  

I must be honest when I say I am not always as confident as I should be as an adult.  Some days I can barely get out of bed and brush my teeth.  Sadly, it’s not because I’m ill with a virus.  It’s simply because I don’t want to be bothered with the wayward twists and turns life chooses to offer me in that moment.  Complicate that with the addition of managing family, relationships, colleagues at work, staff, and lastly, friendships.  Full disclosure—I don’t always get it right.    

I recently faced the challenge of helping my daughter through a situation with other girls whom she called her ‘friends.’  They were making comments to her that, although she laughed, I could tell ultimately hurt her feelings.  When encouraged to address it, she did her best to reassure me that they were only “joking,” and that I was “doing too much.”  In short, she didn’t want to admit that maybe, just maybe, they weren’t really her friends after all.  Or were they? 

The incident took me back to times when I felt the same way, yet opted out of addressing the true issues at hand.  I’ve had ‘friends’ whom I trusted to be honest with me, even in times when I didn’t want to hear the truth.  I’ve also had ‘friends,’ that never seemed to be fully in my corner, and/or constantly found ways to compliment me all kinds of off-side and backwards ways when I was expecting to receive (translation—really needed) their true celebration. 

Looking back, I can choose to dismiss their behavior and say they weren’t really my friends, or I can recognize that like many of us (then and now), we at times face situations where we fail to feel confident enough to address issues with our 'friends.'  Or we are standing on the opposite side, offend a 'friend,'/mess up and need fair minded, appropriate adults around to steer us in the vicinity of how to respond in those situations.     

All of this sounded awesome in my mind until I had to explain it to a young girl navigating these types of relationships in a hormone-filled world.  It flowed with ease right?  Nope. Nada.  Not even remotely.  I quickly abandoned the daydream of drop-kicking the little girls in their backs until their knees buckled, and settled on spending time showering my girl with encouragement, reassurance and a little advice.  I found myself sharing a few thoughts with her I’ve embraced for myself over the years: 

Be the most authentic person possible.  Every day in every way.        

No one else will ever win at being you.  It’s just not possible.

Treat people well even when they make it hard to do so.

Realize every friend is not meant for a lifetime; some are just here for right now (and that's ok).

Everyone cannot be a friend.  Some can only be spectators.  And sometimes those roles switch. 

When everyone you know is clapping for you, you’ve missed a step somewhere.     

Give the best effort to never judge people, but if it’s a must, judge yourself by your actions and others by their intentions.

I’ll never be able to totally shield her from spats and mishaps with friends.  But I do hope she’ll learn to be confident in her abilities, her chosen actions and her voice. I also hope she'll be able to operate in humility, be quick to admit when she's wrong, and not be ashamed to ask for forgiveness.  I hope the same for us all.

Until next time,

~k

Photo courtesy of imgur.com

Photo courtesy of imgur.com

Swiping Right!

Swiping Right!

Online dating.  It’s a thing.  But who knew it was suuuuuccchhhhh a thing?!  I swear less than five years ago I thought this was reserved for folks who literally could not get a date to save their lives.  Those who seemingly were at the point of ‘I-have-no-choice-but-do-this/last resort status.’  Now however, it’s as normal as choosing between the meat selection at Wegmans and the produce aisle at Aldi.  Technically, it’s all food—some considered high quality and some will spoil within the hour—but hey, gotta eat, right?

I’ve never been big on clubs.  Much like most singles, I visited the local spot with my homies, held up a corner of the bar or a table until I could no longer shun the advances of men I had absolutely no interest in talking to beyond that night. I could usually resist having to dance with them through engaging in conversation, but in those moments when I ventured out onto the dance floor, my tried and true two-step was an acceptable substitute to the slow drag.  On those rare (and I do mean rare) occasions when someone with potential approached me, I floundered through small talk until we exchanged numbers and went on our merry ways for the night. 

Enter the new age of online dating.  I don’t know how this way of choosing a boo became so popular but it’s here and nearly 50 million people have found themselves ebbing and flowing within its tides, including me.  Most days it can be interesting, funny, even weird.  In fact, it’s easily one of the most quickly misconstrued, awkward, and glorious ways of dating ever created.  I’m smack dab in the middle of it.  Very regularly. With no regrets.   

Aside from the excitement of the automatic attention (and I’m talking from real potentials, not hookie-doo with the gold tooth), there are of course, pros and cons to this dating phenomenon.  The ultimate pro being the possibility of finding long lasting, amazing, love.  The cons on the other hand, grow by the day—and they never cease to amaze me.   

First, there are so many sites to choose from.  Based on interests, much like the days of being in the club, there is a site designated for everyone: people of color, Christian, gay, straight, young, mature, farmers, shoot, I think I even saw a site for clowns once—and that was actually pretty scary.  Point is, it doesn’t matter if the interest is widely popular or seemingly pin-pointed, there are groups dedicated to the same inklings, with the hopes of finding a match amongst themselves.  If I’ve learned anything through the online dating craze, I’d say it gets easier to sift out fakers.  And I’ve come up with a few good pointers…want to hear ‘em? Here they go:

Profile information—there’s a fine line between piquing someone’s interest and sending them running for the hills.  A nice intro paragraph strikes a balance between showing an honest, yet mysterious side, enough to start and keep a conversation going.  The accompanying pictures (yes, there should definitely be more than one pic) needs to be a mixture—one close up with a nice smile (preferably with a little teeth), one on location (maybe an easily recognizable vacation spot?), one in clothing that looks fantastic, and a full body shot.  Extra points for at least one action picture like running a race, horseback riding, or rock climbing. HA!  Pictures NOT to include: those with other people or kids, pictures with b*tchy resting face or at the club with drinks in hand.  On the flip side, when looking through others’ profiles—don’t take anyone seriously who doesn’t smile in ANY of their pics, always posts selfies from the bathroom or their car, or the shot is so far away a clear view of their face can’t be seen. 

Connecting—take as much time as needed solidifying initial connections in order to feel comfortable.  If the conversation is flowing and taking it offline feels like a natural next step, go for it.  If not, wait until the time is right.  Don’t feel obligated to move to phone conversation or even a face to face meeting unless chemistry is present.  Don’t be rushed because the person pursuing asked right away (some will ask in the introduction).  Some people exchange numbers within days, even hours, while others take a few weeks—again, go at the pace the works for the situation.  Opposite: don’t be afraid to stop a conversation immediately if it’s going in an uncomfortable direction.  The beautiful thing about phones—they can block people.  I’ve stopped someone mid-sentence before and hung up with no second thoughts. 

Hit ‘em up—talking on the phone for the first time is kind of a big deal.  It can be a make or break situation.  I’m usually pretty nervous and I have this crazy little cough that always rears its ugly head—but I know it’s my nervous tick and I work on it.  What if the person of interest has a high pitched or squeaky voice that in no way matches their looks?  What if they breathe heavily while talking?  What if they’re just…weird?  It happens, so decide how to respond and maintain that stance throughout.  For example, I have an aversion to men with soft, ‘Smokey Robinson-like’ voices.  Now, I love Smokey—but he’s 77 and I’m not trying to date him.  Nothing wrong with men who sound like him, they’re just not for me.  I’m also not checking for Barry White’s twin either.  So I need a man with a firm, yet balanced voice that will capture and hold my attention.  In times when the type of voice I like has not been present, I’m polite enough to finish the initial conversation, but afterwards, I’m blocking that number.  Quickly.  I have nothing for him.  Sorry, I just don’t. 

Other reasons I will block after the initial convo—saying hateful/disrespectful things about God (he gots to know and love Jesus); also saying hateful/disrespectful/violent things about women, family, his ex-wife/baby mama (particularly for men who have children), being combative, talking about sex, or talking so much about himself that he has no concept of me at all, like I didn’t get a word in edgewise.  Lastly, sending me a d*ck pic after our first conversation.  Now really good sir????? Is that necessary?  I’m not a hater…I just don’t want unsolicited pictures after hearing someone’s voice one time.  Give me a while on that one! Honorable mention here: I usually will block someone if he tries to carry on more than two full blown conversations with me through text and it’s not during work hours.  I’m over 40; I’m okay with texting while my availability is limited, but that is usually short, sweet and to the point.  Anything longer or repeated daily through text from someone “trying to get to know me”…I don’t take him seriously. 

Meet & Greet—much like the phone number exchange, this can be as quick or slow as desired.  Keep it simple.  A quick drink at Starbucks; an hour or so together at a favorite happy hour spot will suffice for a first meeting.  I’m not a fan of going Dutch, although I know many women who prefer it.  Having enough cash on hand to cover what I consume is a practice I began long ago, so (ALTHOUGH I SERIOUSLY SIDE EYE A MAN THAT LET’S ME PAY), solo is always an option!

Getting together like this is a great opportunity to gauge the chemistry.  I love sitting at the bar for meet and greets because we’re able to sit in quite close proximity and it allows me to get an idea of how the man I’m with is enjoying my company, along with how he interacts with other folks around us.  Do we capture each other’s attention, or am I thinking of my grocery list?  Is he looking at every other woman that passes by and I’m cutting my eyes at the dude at the end of the bar?  Are either of us making extra trips to the bathroom?  Only one way to find out and that’s being in each other’s presence.  If he’s rude to the bartender or another patron sitting near, it’s seen right away.  It’s a great way to measure the comfort level, chemistry (or lack thereof), and get a feel for whether or not my date is someone I want to see again.  Flipside: There are ways to leave when it doesn’t feel safe, appropriate, or worth the time. If EVER a date is going south and getting out needs to be handled discreetly (as opposed to just walking the heck out!), there is a distress signal most, if not all bars, have recently put in place.  Order an “Angel Shot,” one of the three ways: Neat and the bartender will gladly serve as an escort to your car, With Ice to have the bartender call Lift or Uber, or With Lime for a call to be made to the police.

Once the meet and greet happens the sky really is the limit.  It can be the start of a whirlwind romance with endless nights of phone convos and fun dates, a short fling, the early stages for a life-long friendship, or back to the virtual swiping board!  Regardless, learn to enjoy each phase for exactly what it is, be authentic in needs and intentions, and have fun! 

Until next time,

~k

Photo courtesy of Dora the Explorer incolors.club images

Photo courtesy of Dora the Explorer incolors.club images

Get A Life: #HurtBae, #StrandedBae and Such

Get A Life: #HurtBae, #StrandedBae and Such

Twitter has been all aflutter this past week and as spectators, we’ve been here for it!  The two most prominent stories and probably the most retweeted, forwarded, talked about, you-name-it, was both the #HurtBae and #StrandedBae spectacles. 

Now granted, both were at opposite ends of the spectrum to some extent.  #HurtBae pulled at our heartstrings, made some cry through memories of similarity, and brought about discussions on the sincerity of the man and woman involved.   Meanwhile, #StrandedBae, while also capturing our undivided attention, had us reeling with laughter at the foolishness that ensued between two people with a love gone awry.  Of course the feelings garnered by each were different in most respects. OR were they?   When the details were stripped down to the bare bones of both stories—weren’t they ultimately painting the same picture?  Weren’t the stories giving us another example of women being hurt by men they felt loved them, and how those same women then tried to figure out next steps on getting through their pain?  Let’s discuss… 

When I tell you the pain felt from rejection is one of the most heart wrenching pains ever known…I can’t even exaggerate.  It takes soooooo much for people—both men and women—to get to the point where they can be vulnerable to the person they ‘love,’ only to have that same person betray their trust…now that’s some painful stuff!  Add to that pain the layer of a nonchalant attitude, or better still, the attitude of ‘Yes, I did it, don’t know why, but hey, I’m sorry.  You good right?’ Um, no bruh…not good at all.  As a matter of fact if I see you on the street…ok, haven’t we all had that feeling?  Haven’t we all had moments of wishing we could mush dude in the face for all the ish he’s pulled?  (SN: chicks bring out these feelings too, I’m not totally biased here)!  Seeing red is an understatement in those situations…ask me how I know, lol!

Even still, with all that hurt, pain, rejection, confusion, disappointment, anger, bitterness, refusal to accept reality, pettiness (did I miss any?)…with all of those expected emotions, there has to be a way to move on.  There has to be a way to maneuver through it successfully.  There has to be a way to ‘Get a life.’ 

As people with the need to love—yes, it’s smack dab in the middle of Maslow’s Hierarchy so you know it’s legit—we have to figure out how to first, love ourselves and truly mean it, before we can begin to show  love to and receive it from others.   It sounds so much easier than it is in real life.  However, I absolutely believe it can be accomplished. 

There have been many approaches to this idea of getting over hurt and honestly, it truly depends on the person and where things are centered for that individual.  Some take on a new hobby.  Some take on a new educational goal.  Some exercise.  Some take on a new relationship.  [Please note—I often joke about the best way to get over someone is to get under/find another.  In some cases, this CAN be a great distraction, in others not so much; it’s NOT the only answer, nor is it always the right answer for everyone.] 

One of the ways I’ve found to be a great approach to the beginning phase of overcoming hurt is to identify where it’s coming from or what the actual hurt is triggering inside of the individual.  It could be signaling a place inside of you that was not considered prior to the incident, and that’s okay.  It’s super easy to get caught up in being angry at the person who triggered the hurt, but when the chips really fall—you have to look at yourself in the mirror daily, not that person.  If you don’t address the real issue, it will continue to come back, over and over and over.  Meanwhile, you are stacking up little hurt pebbles against others that have nothing to deal with the real problem.  Soon you will have your very own hurt wall and guess what?  The wall you build is only closing you out, while oftentimes everyone else is skipping through their lives no longer thinking about you, the incident, or anything connected.  Work on stopping that cycle.  Figure out why it (whatever the ‘it’ is, hurt so much.  Why did it bother you?  Why do you care? Aside from abuse, violence, or assault it is important to focus on yourself to keep from holding bitterness towards the other person. 

As you dig into the real substance of the problem, plan how to work towards fixing it/overcoming the hurt, i.e. getting a life!  It may require prayer (a quick go to for those who practice).  It may warrant a visit with a therapist—which is highly recommended no matter the size of the issue.  It may require surrounding yourself with those who love you and can pull you away to have some fun.  It may require all of these suggestions and more.  Regardless, don’t be afraid of the work.  Don’t be afraid to uncover some good and not so great things in order to stop hurting.  Don’t be afraid to give your best effort and ‘Get a Life!’

Until next time,

~k

Talk to Me

I’ve been taking notice of relationships a bit closer lately (closer than normal lol) and a particular element is standing out. That element surrounds the thought of ‘doing what you like,’ ‘ doing what makes you happy,’ ‘taking the sensitivity of others out of the picture and making certain you are looking out for number one.’  Do any of these sentiments sound familiar?  I hope they do not.  Not that I have a real problem with any of them…I believe people generally operate out of what makes them happy—at least what makes them happy for the moment.  But there’s something about these thoughts that have a hovering feeling of selfishness, right?

Today’s dating scene shows us more side chicks, boyfriend #2s, and open relationships than ever before—and let’s be clear, this isn’t new—this has always happened, even back in the Bible days, we just weren’t as accustomed to seeing and accepting it so openly.  Today however, it’s very much in our faces.  Dependent upon your belief it can feel abrupt.  It can feel like a sigh of relief, or it can feel like you’ve entered an updated episode of the twilight zone. 

This element was broadcast even more with a recent movie I watched highlighting the lives of multiple couples.  One was dating, but not exclusive.  One was married, but seeing others openly. One was dating and celibate.  The final couple was dating exclusively, with one partner admitting to a bisexual past.  After the initial shock the movie accomplished with each of the couples’ scenarios being introduced to the viewers, each of the stories played out in various ways as the on-screen saga progressed.  While watching I begin to wonder how these interactions would play out in real life, until I reminded myself…they are already doing so each day. 

As I traveled through my mental rolodex, I begin to pinpoint couples I knew that fit each of the characteristics shared.  Although I am not privy to all the intimate details of those I know, in considering the similarities from the movie, I wondered if the interactions and the “RE-actions” matched.  I wondered if the glue holding them together was of super human strength, or hanging by a thread.  I wondered what types of conversations had transpired amongst the couples.  I wondered if their smiles were the evidence of triumph through treacherous times, or a mask.  See, the commonality amongst the movie couples that made for great TV and ultimately, the expected “happily ever afters,” was clear—it was open communication.  It was a key ingredient with each twosome.

It was at the forefront onscreen but in real life, is communication being taken as seriously when it comes to identifying the framework of truly successful relationships?  Could it be that couples are now talking more about their needs (or what they think they need) and by nature of these talks, opening themselves up to more options in love?  Is that type of communication really happening? Is it even realistic? 

My surface answer is “sure, why not?”  My safe answer is “I don’t know.”  My gut answer is “yes…but only to an extent.”  I believe social media, movies, books, magazines, even pornography, have opened people up to be more accepting to alternative forms of exclusive relationships.  The days of being ‘vanilla,’ or what some would consider straight-forward, less than exciting relationships—you know, one man and one woman, no kink, no variety—are quickly becoming a thing of the past.  Now don’t misunderstand, that scenario is still very prevalent (and in my opinion still very relevant).  But communication has allowed men and women to feel at ease with discussing other interests, curiosities, fleeting whims, and deep desires.  It’s opening the door to operate out of exclusivity and adding polyamory, and even same sex situations while still maintaining a ‘number one.’ 

Interesting, right?   I think so.  The only time an issue seems to arise is when someone feels they haven’t been given all the details of the situation in order to make informed decisions about how they’d like to proceed.  Well, I don’t know how I feel about that, or really this whole thing.  I can appreciate it, but I’m just not sure if I like it.  Communication is hands down one of the treasured components of successful relationships and in considering the new additions taking place between significant others, I don’t know if I’m ready to have it used against me.  Yes, against me.  Because when we open ourselves up to discuss these alternative desires in relationships, we are opening the door to the possibility that the same relationship will face its demise sooner than we may want it to do so.

Do you feel communication has turned into a double-edged sword?  Or is it still the cornerstone of happiness with couples?  I encourage you to keep talking, being honest, and hearing each other out…just be ready when the door is opened!   

Until next time,

~k

What I Never Considered: Missing the Obamas

Well, it’s been a little over a full week now since I watched the two of them standing at the entrance of the White House awaiting it’s new inhabitants on January 20th, 2017.  I never considered how much I would miss the Obamas.  Not just the President and First Lady, but the entire family.  Grandma, Malia, Sasha…I’m even gonna miss the dogs.

The last eight years have not been perfect, but they’ve been a moment in history I will never forget.  They’ve been perfect for me.  We had a Black President, ya’ll.  A. Black. President! 

We had a President who brought all the black folks he could muster up to the most revered residence in Washington DC.  He made sure we saw all the goodness that is brown skin and brought it back to “Chocolate City.”  Our First Lady made it cool to eat fruit and vegetables!  And be graceful...let's not forget that fact.  They created an access to the White House that had not existed prior to their arrival.  I'm grateful for their legacy.  And I’m having withdrawals.  I miss seeing them daily.  I miss getting stuck in traffic while the motorcade passes.  I miss trying to catch a glimpse of the girls when on Connecticut Avenue.  I want to know what's happening in their lives again.  What is going on with the fam??? What is happening with the girls?  Have the movers got everything unpacked?  How is the adjustment coming along?  The answers to these questions are unknown and I miss them!!

As I have watched, cringed, watched some more, and finally decided to stop watching #45 (I refuse to call his name, or title), I have reminded myself how blessed we have been as a country.  We weren’t blessed because every bill and law we wanted passed, or every decision made worth praise.  We were blessed because there was a family in the most visible home on Earth living without scandal, without drama, without noise…without the issues we are so accustomed to seeing from political figures.  It was refreshing, and now it’s over. 

It’s been a long eight days with #45 in office.  And guess what?  We have 3 years, 11 months, and 21 days before we will welcome #46.  That is, if he makes it that long.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish anything bad on the man—not my style—but at the rate things are going, I’m just not sure how long he will last at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

In the meantime, I’m soaking up every vacation pic that seeps out with the beloved former President and First Lady, the videos from those like me who love them, old pictures of the girls, all of it.  You should too!  Unless you enjoy the craziness we are currently being exposed to through the media.  Either way, I encourage you to relish in the memories of what we had as a country and practice self care when needed based on what we are now dealing with each day. 

Until next time,

~k 

Photo courtesy of abcnews.com

Photo courtesy of abcnews.com

Comment

"Whatta Man!"

I’m going through withdrawals from my new favorite show since its winter finale aired a month ago.   There are layers upon layers upon layers of amazingness from the she-ro director, Ava Duvenay.  But “most importantly,” (yes, that’s exactly what I meant) the characters are captivating in a way that other shows have not been able to accomplish as of late.  In case you haven’t figured it out…I’m talking about the TV adaptation of the book, Queen Sugar! 

I love this show, and I love the characters so much more.  They are funny.  They are well thought out.  They are heartfelt.  They are real.  The women are gorgeous and the men are fiiiiiinnnnnneeeeee.  There is a level of truth displayed each week that makes me pause and nod with acceptance, laugh with exuberance, hang my head in shame, and at times, drop a tear. 

Now I can go on and on about the show, but I’d rather address one the characters specifically.  As a single woman, I take full notice of men who are 1) FINE, 2) about their business, and 3) Legit, and also—honorable mention, but usually a dealbreaker—4) more than 6’0 tall.  All of the men on this show are ‘about that life,’ with the exception of the character, Davis West—he’s whack and we don’t like him, ok?

That Remy Newell, however—pause—(I had to say a quick prayer), that REMY NEWELL is the one that makes me sit up straight each time he graces the screen!  Now, of course I know in real life the character is portrayed by the phenomenal actor Dondre Whitfield, who is happily married to the beautiful actress/director, Salli Richardson Whitfield.  I respect it.  For now though, I choose to drool over his character for the following reasons:

He’s sexy—He’s a farmer/cowboy/black man/milk-chocolatey, latte specimen of goodness, duh. 

He’s respectful—He had a clear attraction to Charley (the middle Bordelon sister), but remained appropriate in his communication with her until he knew she and ‘whack Davis’ were moving towards divorce. 

He’s thoughtful—He spends quite a bit of time thinking ahead, particularly where his love interest in concerned. Discussions with farm managers to smooth things over, flowers, planned dates, etc....he's a keeper!  

He’s ambitious—He stepped out and posed the opportunity for the Bordelon family to use a sugar cane he created instead of allowing them to chase their tails when other options became unavailable.  Who doesn't like and appreciate a man who will step out on faith and take initiative?!

He’s hard-working—He makes it a point to work just as hard as the Bordelon family even though he technically owes them nothing—he’s just a friend. I wonder how many of us have run people out of our lives because we overlook the intent and actions of others due to unrealistic expectations...

He’s grown—He doesn’t involve himself in petty, young, little boy mess.  He’s says what he means and means what he says.  He didn't waste time or play with words when telling his love interest he wanted her, nor did he play games when he was upset with her and chose to back away.  A man who can say exactly what he means without beating around the bush OR being vague...I’m all the way here for it!  

I’ve listed just a few of the most predominant reasons why ‘Remy’ is an A-1, top choice, type of guy.  Highlighting his characteristics has me thinking about the types of men that really turn heads.  Is it the “Alpha,” confident (read arrogant) man?  Or the quiet, more laid back man that allows his love interest to take the wheel while he sits comfortably in the backseat?  Who are we drawn to more?  Who is a better catch?  No matter the personality, there is something special about a man who can exhibit the qualities of “Remy.”  Take notice when you come across one who does it well.   

Until next time,

~k

Image from queensugarown.tv

Image from queensugarown.tv

Comment

"Good Good GFs"

"A friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts who you have become, and still, gently, invites you to grow."

 I recently had an opportunity to take a short vacation with some girlfriends. This trip was totally needed, as I was about two seconds away from either disowning everything and everyone around me or having a total b*tch-fit, and THEN disowning everything and everyone!

The one friend and I have been close for the last 14 years.  The other women I didn’t know. It was my absolute first time meeting them.

Like most ‘first-time’ encounters, I had some apprehension about how we would mesh.  That’s normal, right?  I’m usually of the mindset that although I meet people all the time, the ‘hey girl hey’ sentiments are reserved for those I truly deem close to me.  Being open to bend my rules a little proved to be a win! 

The quote I share above truly expresses my sentiment from the trip.  I had an absolutely fantastic time, and gained a couple of new friends.  From the moment we encountered one another, we laughed and laughed until we parted ways four days later.  No one was pressed about what time we were going here or there, what we were doing once we arrived, or how we chose to individually ‘show up.’  It was refreshing.  It really started me thinking about how I have ‘shown up’ for friend relationships in the past. 

I cannot say with all confidence that I’ve been the best friend-girl to others.  My intentions have been good, but many times I’ve been selfish, mad for no reason, judgmental, jealous…you name it, I’m sure I have been guilty at some point or another. 

What I have found as I grow older, and particularly on my trip, is many of us are looking for others who are just as real as we attempt to be on a daily basis.  We are not looking for perfection or mixed emotions housed in good intentions.  I believe we have the full desire of accepting people as they are—so long as they resemble the best of who we want to be ourselves! 

We want to connect with someone who laughs at the same inappropriate jokes without feeling condemned.  We want someone around who isn’t afraid to ‘turn up,’ and do a two-step when the right combination of Biggie, Bell Biv Devoe, and Rob Base come on at a party.  We want to cry on the shoulder of a homegirl, hear an encouraging word, and stop her from grabbing tennis shoes and Vaseline all in the same instance when our hearts are overwhelmed.  We want a homie.  We want a counselor.  We want a sister-girl.  We want a ‘good-good girlfriend.’  And it’s possible to have exactly that person when we start by looking in the mirror. 

You see, the women on my trip would not have been for me what I needed had I not been what they needed as well.  We allowed our sisterly best to shine through and had the time of our lives on land and sea!  I think we low-key started a tradition. 

Here’s to good good girlfriends everywhere—now go out and find yours!   

Until next time,

~k  

Nassau, Bahamas, Nov. 2016

Nassau, Bahamas, Nov. 2016

"Friendsgiving"

 The holidays, particularly Thanksgiving, is a time when I love the opportunity to be with my family, eat good food, and reminisce on times from the past.  As I get older however, I am becoming increasingly aware of those around me who have a very different experience during this time of year.  They have either lost someone they love such as a parent, grandparent, or sibling, or they have broken relationships with the same.  Thanksgiving is very strained and hurtful for them.  It’s a dreaded day, often one that’s overcome with sadness.

I didn’t realize how prevalent this situation was until recently, as I began to hear quite a few of my friends whom I know are without their loved ones, address the upcoming holiday.  It broke my heart.  It breaks my heart.  There’s nothing that I can say or really even do to change the circumstance.  I can just be a friend and try my best to maintain an appropriate level of sensitivity. 

I’ve come to appreciate the nods I’ve seen to alternative celebrations—“Friendsgiving,” being one of the most popular.  This nontraditional option has been happening for years, but has recently grown in its popularity, namely in large metropolitan areas.  Scrolling through the “innerwebs,” one can find all kinds of rules for having a fabulous friendsgiving, but ultimately, if you have a big heart and a signature dish you love to share at any potluck…you’re good. 

Thinking back, I didn’t realize it at the time, but my parents have hosted their own version of “friendsgiving” for as long as I can remember.  Whenever they opt to host Thanksgiving at their house, they invite no less than one family to join us for our meal.  When I was younger I must admit, I would get slightly annoyed at the thought of sharing not only my parents, but also the possibility of all my favorite foods with someone I did not know.  I held it in as best I could though because I mean, who wants to look like the jerk that fights a houseguest over one of the turkey legs, or the last of the peach cobbler???

Fortunately now, I get it.  There are people who are hurting.  Or new to the area.  Or just not in comfortable communication with their family.  My parents, who come from large families, have military backgrounds, and now pastor a church, understood that sentiment very early in their lives.  They modeled it for my siblings and me.  Whether we caught on right away or not.   I’m thankful for their spirit of kindness and giving, and the willingness to show us how to open up our homes and hearts. 

These days when I visit my folks for the holidays, I always ask who’s coming over and look forward to the opportunity to meet and learn about someone new.  I relish the fact that my parents are seen as a family that loves all people and cares about those who may or may not have a place to land during the holidays.  It is now a real tradition.  It is now an expectation.

I encourage others to reach out and find a way to share love with those who are missing loved ones during the holidays.  It just might touch more than expected. 

Until next time,

~k

#ForeverFairytale

Does ‘happily ever after’ exist? Hmmm <insert eye roll>.  I could name a gazillion couples who publicly exhibit the characteristics of amazing love and seemingly operate within the happily ever after each day.  Of course, their personal lives are not shown (unless we’re talking about Rob and Black Chyna), so we can only go off of the feeling we experience when the concept of love we see, connects with our ideals.  At any given time throughout my day, I make eye contact with someone, and the genuine connection happens.  It’s there.  The undeniable moment my heart moves and touches the heart of the person I have encountered.  It is at that moment my heart knows whether that person is accepting me or if they are not—that is, the surface of me they see in that instance anyway. 

I believe the same connection happens with lovers.  During an initial encounter, our hearts tell us if we are physically attracted to each other but what they cannot tell in that moment however, is whether or not we are meeting the ‘Forever Fairytale.’ How we wish it were that easy…how I WISH it were that easy.  Unless you are the gross exception to the rule, it is not.  A couple of weeks ago, hopeless romantics across the nation were treated to a small peek into the love story captured through the hashtag, #ForeverDuncan.  The inspiration behind the tag belongs to couple, Alfred and Sherrell Duncan, who became instant stars after Alfred planned not only a surprise proposal, BUT also their wedding in the same day.  Sherrell’s response was a myriad of shock, disbelief, happiness, and of course, a YES!  Much to be expected, the spectrum of trolls on the interwebs spanned from, “OMG, that was sooo beautiful! I need a #ForeverDuncan in my life,” to “If he ain’t coming with a #ForeverDuncan kind of love, I ain’t here for it,” and even down to, “Hmmph, it doesn’t take all that! She didn’t even get to plan her own wedding…um, ok #ForeverDuncan.”

Foolishness aside, this couple poured their hearts out for each other during their ceremony and it gave me ALL THE FEELS.  All of them.  Like, ‘my mama made peach cobbler when I didn’t even ask for it’ feels.  The ‘sending in the very last payment on my car note’ feels.  Oooh, and that ‘good selfie after losing 10lbs’ feels…again, all of them.

What I appreciated more than anything with this beautiful couple’s story was the truth they spoke during one of the many interviews they granted.  Their relationship clearly had some ups and downs and I’m sure withstood some heartache and pain, but one thing was certain, they pushed pass all of those things to find their #ForeverFairytale.  It was joyous to see because I believe it exists.  The cynical part of me hates that I just uttered those words but it’s true.  I do!  There is a #ForeverFairytale out there for everyone—we just have to accept the journey to get there.  I constantly say relationships are hard, because they are.  Some days I can barely pick out clothes that match, eat a nutritious meal, and stay awake at work, much less, be a viable partner to another real live grown person!  But yet, when faced with the possibility of being able to say, “it’s MY turn,” I high-tail it into a gob of goobly go-go love goo laced with all the hope, tenderness, tingly feels and awkward excitement known to mankind.  Yuck!!! Man, I want that…see what I mean?!

I wish I had a great answer for how to combat the inevitable, but I really don’t want to do so.  Instead I will encourage the opposite.  Stop looking for perfection and love a little more.  Stop thinking change will never come and believe a little more.  Stop doubting your instincts to truly connect and trust a little more.  Find a reason to say yes.  Find YOUR #ForeverFairytale. 

Until next time,

life        

Al &amp; Sherrell Duncan.&nbsp; Photo courtesy of Holla Definition

Al & Sherrell Duncan.  Photo courtesy of Holla Definition

Comment

God Bless America?

[Originally published August 22, 2016]

Much like everyone near a television, I’ve spent the last 16 days glued (when possible) to my couch, attention turned to the tube on the wall, watching the 31st Olympic Games set in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.  Since I was a child, the Olympics, and specifically the summer session, has been a stable of modern comraderie through TV.  We watch, cheer, gasp, cry, and sit in awe, as the best athletes throughout the ENTIRE WORLD compete for those gold, silver, and bronze medals. 

Although the child-like spirit within me still beamed with excitement at the chance to witness the feats this summer, there was a difference this time around.  At first, I thought maybe it was my age.  I mean, I am a fabulously young 40 now and my scope of excitement has somewhat changed since I was a child watching Mary Lou Retton and in college watching Domonique Dawes!  Then, I thought maybe it was my schedule—full grown people are (usually) busy—I’m no different—and by the time I arrive home most days I can barely sit awake for a good hour. But ultimately, I realized, it was none of these things. 

Mid-way through the games, I was hit with the unfortunate realization of why the Olympics posed a different feel this time.  In this ‘pseudo-post-racial-that’s-not-really-post-racial-but-more-racist-by-day-world’ we live in, I found myself hyper-sensitive to the atmosphere of our Black athletes and how the media portrayed them.  Race relations are horrible in the U.S right now.  Unfortunately, the Olympics did not protect us.    

Gabby Douglas was shunned as being less than patriotic due to choosing not to hold her hand over her heart during the National Anthem while other athletes who did the same, (and who happen to be men and white) were barely noticed.  Really? So that’s how we’re doing things in 2016?  Not surprised. 

Meanwhile, the duh-duh-da-duh award goes to Ryan Locte, whom after being celebrated for his outstanding wins in swimming, shouts to the world about being robbed at gunpoint, then recants his tall tale after video surveillance surfaces to prove he lied and ACTUALLY was the bully in the situation.  Again…really?  I’m so over it. 

The reason I’m over 2016 and the way in which people of color are being treated/talked about/talked to/thought of, you name it, is because this is NOT new.  It may be less subtle right now, but trust me when I say it’s nothing new to us…the ones who have endured the treatment for hundreds of years and will continue to do so.  You will no longer hear me say I’m tired being treated unfairly.  You will no longer hear me say we should be looked upon the same as our white counterparts.  Because guess what?  It’s not happening.  Anytime a 20-year-old young woman who works her butt off to gain medals and notoriety for a country that will turn on her in an instant due to hand placement can be damn near ousted, while a 32-year old GROWN man who fabricates an entire scenario, jumps ship and returns to the U.S. and THEN decides to spill honesty can be referred to as a “kid,” shows proof there is no fairness and we should stop expecting there to be anytime soon. 

The Olympics Games are one of those sacred moments of time that should be universal for everyone as they applaud their home country.  Guess what?  2016 reminded us that sacred place is not for us.  And I’m over it.  God bless the athletes. 

Until next time,

~life

Comment

Comment

'Don't Boo, Vote,' and Other Thoughts on the Election

[Originally published July 28, 2016]

I’m gonna miss President Obama. Point. Blank. Period. Seeing him on screen speaking last night at the Democratic National Convention was definitely one of the highlights of my love for his career as our 44th President of these here United States. I love him. And our First Lady. And their daughters. They are like family to not just me, but to our nation. 
People can say what they want, but our President has made our country better over the eight years during his time in office. I don’t have to run through the stats, check them for yourselves. Just know, we are better off. I have also been uber impressed with his ability to rally behind the current candidate in a way that speaks volumes of his respect level for her capacity to be the next leader of the free world, particularly when they were so vehemently opposed just over eight years ago. I do not believe most people thought as highly of her until he spoke and gave his “okay.” We needed his stamp of approval. We needed his nod of acceptance. We needed his voice on the matter. We also needed to see their embrace and to read his lips saying to her, “I’m so proud of you.” That made all the difference to me. 
I will not say that I agree with every decision made while President Obama has been in the White House, but what I can and will always say is I am so thankful for the opportunity to be living in a time when he was there. I will never deny the amazing feeling that envelopes me each and every time I see our beautiful First Lady represent Black women around the country in a way only she can so eloquently do—bare-armed and fit, hair slayed and flawless, always appropriate, always thoughtful, always a lady. I will never deny how the thought of Sasha and Malia running around the White House being little kids and doing what little kids do makes me tear up because it speaks to what was once considered the impossible being proven wrong. This is the legacy they will leave. One I feel very much a part of and am proud to have witnessed. 
Now there is a second chance to experience history, and again, I find myself thankful for the moment to breathe the air of change. It’s no secret Hillary Rodham Clinton was not my first choice for the position of #45. But I will not deny the relief felt seeing my President give us (me) the permission to say yes to her. She is the heir to the same change we believed in back in 2008, and I’m glad to be a witness. She is not the first woman to push for this accomplishment—my esteemed Soror Shirley Chisolm will always hold that place, but Hillary is the first to receive the full nomination. Tears filled my eyes once again when I saw Bernie Sanders make the proclamation (what a stand-up guy), and then to continue to see the support of others as they grace the DNC stage and speak of our next Presidential hopeful…this is a wonderful time to be present. A wonderful time to be a woman. A wonderful time to make certain my vote is counted. I intend to do just that.

 

Until next time,
life

Comment