Tag Archives: marriage

Love Therapy

We all have issues. Some of us are just more honest about it than others. Some of us are aware that we have issues and some of us are deeply in denial. I’m going to share something with you that very few people know about me. I have a fear. A fear that causes me to use a particular defense mechanism because it’s easier than doing anything else. I have a fear of being alone. This fear in most people causes them to always want to be in a relationship even if it is unhealthy, just so that can avoid being by themselves. Since I’m not like other people, in my case, this fear causes me to want to remain single so that I don’t have to be worried about a man leaving me alone.

My entire adult life has been full of men who have abandoned the relationship. They’ve all had reasons that they felt were justified. My son’s father left me because I wouldn’t continue to have a sexual relationship with him while he was in a relationship with another woman. My ex-husband left me because he could no longer abuse me and he was cheating on me with another woman. My ex-fiance had his family plan a wedding for us, then I discovered that he was seeing another woman that he was keeping a secret from his family. One ex-boyfriend told me he didn’t want to marry me because I didn’t make enough money. One man I dated for nearly a year told me that he didn’t want a relationship with me because he wasn’t “ready“. Another ex-boyfriend of mine cheated on me because he said I get too much attention from other men. These are all forms of rejection, abandonment and betrayal that I have experienced over the years and resulted in me to developing this fear. Some people would refer to it as insecurity. It’s not insecurity. Some people would call it baggage. It’s really an instinctual response to protect myself from perceived or potential harm. What I have discovered is that a lot of people have this same fear. We all handle it differently. Some of us lash out at others to drive them away. Some of us hold on to others for dear life. Some of us may decide to remain in solitude because it’s less traumatic than going through break ups. 

My fear is resulting in me losing people who I love. I lost a friendship that I value because I am fearful of the friendship developing into a more intimate relationship. My effort to communicate was an epic fail.  So, I’m going to see a therapist that specializes in sex, intimacy and relationships. That may seem counterproductive because I’m not in a relationship, but in spite of my fears, I would like to be…one day…before I die…if God willing.

I truly think that there are a lot of good men in the world, I just don’t believe any of them could want a relationship with me. That is a part of my fear. Why did this fear manifest itself and what can be done about it? I don’t know if anything can be done about it, but my goal is to become better at expressing myself and then conquering the fear itself. The fear causes me to hide from the idea of a relationship with a man I love because I’m afraid he will eventually leave me; either for another woman or because he just doesn’t believe me to be worthy of him. I recognize that this fear hinders me in other areas of my life, and in my career. The fear causes me to be withdrawn in social atmospheres because I’m afraid of feeling rejected. The fear causes me to seclude myself because I’m afraid that others will not appreciate or accept me. As I take this journey to conquer my fears, I want to share with you some of the “triggers” that cause people to have a fear of being alone and what you can take into consideration if you’re in a relationship with a person who has these same fears or has trust or abandonment issues – or if you’re in a relationship period.  

1. Don’t use the word love if you don’t mean it. Love is an action word, not a stick of gum. When you love someone it’s best to show it to them, more than you say it. Personally, I’d rather have a man who never says he loves me, but shows me everyday with his actions, affections, protection and by claiming me as his woman or wife.

2. Be compassionate. You’re dealing with another human being. They have feelings too. Even if you don’t agree with how they feel, be compassionate towards their feelings and try to gain a better understanding of where it comes from. Everything isn’t always about YOU in the relationship. There’s someone else involved in that relationship as well.  

3. Pay attention. If you want a relationship with someone, paying attention to them is necessary. Pay attention to what bothers them, what makes them happy, what makes them sad and how your actions contribute to that. Learn what their likes and dislikes are. No one believes you truly love them if you don’t know anything about them. It’s not logical to us as people. When a person says they love you, but they don’t know your likes and dislikes, favorite color, what makes you sad, your favorite movie or anything else that makes you YOU, you feel like they are playing games with your emotions and you will react as such. 

4. Don’t use the relationship as a weapon or method of control. Too many people are always threatening to leave someone if they don’t do what you want them to do. Telling a person you are going to divorce them, leave them or cheat on them is the wrong approach. If you are not happy with that person and you don’t accept and appreciate them for who they are, you should not be in a relationship with them. If you feel it is necessary to use your relationship as a weapon or method of control, you need to seek therapy for yourself. That’s not love. That’s being a bully.

5. Be reliable. Do what you say you will do and be there for the person you love. If a person doesn’t feel that you have their back, they won’t be open with you. If they call you in a time of need and you never answer or show up, they won’t find you reliable. If you value a person in your life, showing you are reliable, and that you have their back and are in their corner will help them feel more comfortable with you and they won’t be guarded and withdrawn.  

6. Respect people’s timeframes. Some people believe that they have an eternity to have a relationship with someone. If you aren’t looking to get married until 2035, you should not say the words love, relationship or marriage to someone in the year 2012. It’s misleading. Consider that someone you love may have had a near death experience that makes them want to live every moment like it’s their last. They aren’t going to wait for you to be ready before they live their life to the fullest. You could lose someone because you don’t respect their timeframes and how they want to live their moments in life.

7. Respect the human factor. People make mistakes. Do you prefer someone who can take responsibility for their mistakes or someone who blames everything on everyone else, including you? In a relationship, both people are responsible for that relationship. What you do, say and don’t, will impact the strength and longevity of the relationship. You’re dealing with another human being who has feelings, problems and past experiences. Show concern more than you find fault in them and they will do the same with you. Treat a person the way you want to be treated.  

8. Be trustworthy. Don’t expect a person to trust you because of what you say, because you’re not like “other men/women” or because you think they should just trust you “just because”. Trust is earned. Trust is not given. Particularly for people who have experienced betrayal and infidelity. You have to show yourself to be someone a person can trust. See numbers 1 – 9 for ways to accomplish this.

9.  Know what a person expects from the a relationship. Understand a person’s views on relationships. This comes from having effective communication with a person, by being honest about your own expectations and by listening to theirs. This also comes from paying attention and showing compassion. You don’t have to agree with the person, but you should be aware of what they want and need out of the relationship. Then you can determine if you are capable of building a relationship with them instead of hurting them later.  

10. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s never a good idea to get a person’s hopes up and not follow through. This goes back to being reliable and trustworthy as well. If you over promise and under deliver, you look like a liar. Even if that is not your intention. People will call your character into question if you are “all talk“. If you are going to do something, do it. If something unforeseen prevents you from doing what you said you will, make a phone call, apologize and reschedule for another day or time. You can’t expect a person to keep giving you chances to disappoint them.  

11. Don’t communicate in 140 characters or less. As much as I love technology and gadgets, I also hate the effect they have on interpersonal relationships. We’ve gotten so comfortable with not having human interaction that we literally attempt to establish, have and maintain relationships using texting, emailing and social networking. This is not a good foundation for a relationship. Mostly because people have misused these tools in order to do harm to others. When someone constantly experiences meeting men/women on Facebook who are only interested in having sex, and that’s not what that person is looking for, if you met them on Facebook, you can’t expect them to just react differently. They are operating from what they know. They are protecting themselves from harm. You have to show that you are not the same, not just say it. There’s nothing better for solidifying a personal connection than face to face contact with a person. There’s nothing better than being present in their space, inhaling their pheromones, looking into their eyes and hearing the inflection in their voice when they speak. Take the time to get off the internet and get into each other’s personal space.  

12. Learn to agree to disagree without anger and animosity. Everyone you meet with not agree with you. If they do, you are doing something wrong. People are entitled to have a difference of opinion. Even if you are extremely compatible with someone else, you will never agree with each other 100% of the time. Learn to express how you feel in a way that doesn’t cause anger or animosity, yet allows you both to speak your minds and have a better understanding of each other. Some people just need to vent. When this occurs they turn towards the person they love and who said they love them. They want that person to be a sounding board. Their outpouring may or may not have anything to do with you directly. They just need you to be there for them and let them be vulnerable.

13. Don’t placate a person. No one in their right mind thinks they are right 100% of the time. A person dealing with abandonment or trust issues, or who has a fear such as mine, wants that one person that will prove them WRONG about how they feel. They don’t want a person agreeing with them to get them to stop talking or to end the disagreement. They want the person they love to be honest with them, tell them and show them that the fear they feel at that moment is not warranted. This doesn’t work if you placate them. It might only make them angrier and cause the already existing issues to escalate out of control.

14. Spend quality time together. Whether you call it quality time, intimate time, quiet time or date night, it’s important for two people who love each other to have time in the same space together to enjoy each other’s company. It doesn’t matter if it’s indoors or out; whether it includes activities or just laying in the bed holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes. Time together between two people builds bonds and strengthens relationships. It allows for a connection to exist and remain. People who have the best and longest lasting relationships are people who spend one on one quality time together and make it a habit to do so on a regular basis.

15. Listen to the person. It is said that we have two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much as we talk. If a person says that they have a need from the relationship, listen to them closely and measure if you can meet that need or not. Silly and superficial expectations don’t count. I’m referring to reasonable needs and wants that a person expresses, such as “Honey, I would like for you to help me with the housework more, so we can spend more time together on weekends instead of me cleaning all day.” That’s a reasonable need.

16. Be honest. The biggest issue that causes people to fear being alone, being abandoned or to have trust issues is that the other person they are dealing with is dishonest in some way. Not many people can be honest with themselves, let alone with other people. Sometimes even withholding small bits of  information can appear to be dishonest. A person who doesn’t have bad intentions, something to hide or isn’t playing emotional games is more able to be honest, even when it hurts your feelings. At least you will be able to respect them for telling the truth so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.     

17. Compromise – The 80/20 Rule. You will only get approximately eighty percent (80%) of your emotional, financial and intimate needs met by the other person in the relationship. You have to be willing to compromise the other twenty percent (20%) and go without those needs or do those things for yourself. Expecting someone outside your relationship to fulfill that 20% is a recipe for disaster. Leaving one woman for another woman because she has a bigger booty or a smaller waistline is fuckery, when the woman you already had at home is a good wife, good mother, good friend and partner to you. Get your priorities in order in your relationship.

18. Give the same level of love that you expect. You reap what you sow.  Enough said. 

19. Measure the pros and cons. I’ll never forget the scene in Why Did I Get Married, Too?” when Patricia (Janet Jackson), told Angela (Tasha Smith) and Dianne (Sharon Leal) that they should“write down all the good he’s ever done and all the bad he’s ever done. And if the good outweighs the bad, you need to be big little women and fix it”. Resilience through the hard times is what people want to see that you are capable of. Marriage vows say for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for a reason. Are you the type of person that runs from a problem before you try to fix it? Are you a person who will quickly dismiss someone you say that you love because they did something you dislike or that offended you? This behavior tells a person you don’t think they are “worthy” of you, your time, your attention, your energy or your love and that you are not able to be there for the long haul. It translates into “You’re not good enough for me to stay and work this out.”

20. Be happy. Being happy is a decision. One of my favorite songs is “Be Happy” by Mary J. Blige. When I was going through my divorce it was on heavy rotation. The answer to true happiness lies within yourself. Another individual can not make you happy. It’s not their responsibility to make you happy. They can only enhance your existing happiness. If you’re not already happy with your life, even without being in a relationship, you should reassess if you should be in a relationship at all.

21. Learn to forgive. If you truly love someone and you want them to be your friend or spouse, you must learn to forgive them when they make mistakes in your relationship or fall short of your expectations. No one is perfect. If you think you are perfect, seek therapy for yourself. If your relationship is not abusive, full of addiction, infidelity or anything demeaning or harmful to you, your health or happiness and it’s worth fighting for or saving, the first step is to forgive.

22. Sex ain’t better than love. There’s a difference between physical and emotional intimacy. People desire to be loved, appreciated, respected and acknowledged…outside the bedroom. If you are not capable of this, you should not use the words love or relationship until you areEmotional intimacy is the most valuable type of intimacy between two people. It means that they trust each other, are reliable, communicate effectively, know each other well, and have the other building blocks necessary for having a healthy relationship.  

Look at a relationship like a tree. Trees have to be planted. The tree has roots that develop into a trunk, which sprouts branches, and grow leaves or fruit. If your roots are weak, your tree won’t be strong, your branches will be limp and your tree won’t bear fruit. And if it does manage to bear fruit, the fruit will be rotten to the core. Take responsibility for your actions or inactions in your relationships and make an attempt to grow. If you love someone, truly love them, and they have fears of being alone, have trust or abandonment issues, make an attempt to work through their issues with them before you walk away. You could be that one person that teaches them how to love and makes a difference in their life.

~ Love is the strongest element on Earth. It can heal a broken heart, rescue a lost soul or it can be used to destroy.

Married To Super Woman

I follow Michael McDaniel on Twitter and we’re Facebook friends. Recently he posted a question asking if a person would marry themselves. It was a very interesting question to me because I knew what he meant. He wanted people to examine if they were the kind of person they would want to be married to, if they were the opposite sex. It’s a self-assessment of ones values and qualities. We often don’t self-assess ourselves and our faults or even our good qualities. We just go into relationships seeking validation and perfection from the person that we are in a relationship with. We often forget that we attract who and what we are most of the time. In those instances when you attract those who pretend to want to be what you are, knowing that they fall short of your expectations and standards, you get a pass. But it’s a short pass because you don’t have to give that person your attention.

So I thought about Michael’s question as it relates to me personally. I’ve had more than one person tell me that I’m my own husband. I don’t think people who said this about me meant it as a compliment, but I took it as one. I took it as a compliment because it means I embody the qualities that I would want in a mate if I had one.

  • I’m dynamic
  • I’m confident
  • I’m talented
  • I’m intelligent
  • I’m a good parent
  • I’m suspenseful
  • I’m a person of action
  • I’m articulate
  • I’m ambitious
  • I’m hardworking
  • I’m inspiring
  • I’m self motivated
  • I’m unique
  • I’m aware of how other people perceive me (and I often don’t care because my purpose isn’t to please everyone else) 
  • I’m a protector of those I love and care for
  • I’m a provider

Now, I’m not the dysfunctional woman who doesn’t believe that she needs a man. Men and women need each other. But in a society where marriages last less than 90 days and people get married because they think they love someone, but didn’t take the time to get to know someone, I’m okay with the idea of being married to myself. After all, what is marriage? Marriage is a committment before God to another person. If two men or two women can marry each other in some states, I should be able to marry myself and it be acceptable until I meet a man who is equally yoked.

I’m not saying that we don’t need the affections of or appreciation from a person of the opposite sex. I’m saying we need to take inventory of ourselves before we can expect someone else to have what we are looking for. Having a spouse isn’t going to make a tremendous difference in my life. At least, not that I can see at this time in my life. Any man who wants  a long term relationship with me will truly have to enhance every area of my life. I have what I have because of the work and time that I have invested in myself. Likewise, I lack in areas where I lack due to my own fault. I am responsible for myself. But when the day comes for me to be a partner with and wife to a man (if it’s in the Master’s Plan), I want to bring more to the table than my pretty face. Particularly since so many men think that’s all I have going for me. I want to be a positive contributor to the relationship in every way, shape, form and fashion; emotionally, spiritually and financially. I also want to be a motivator to my husband. 

In my experiences, it has been the men who said they loved me the most who treated me the worse. I no longer value those three words; I care more about the actions of a person. Being “married” to myself is a level of dedication that I give to myself that isn’t predicated upon how someone else feels about me or what that person thinks of meI’m “married” to myself – the woman that I am and the woman that I will become. I fully love and appreciate myself more than a man could. I know myself better than any man does.

Feat not, for I am not losing my romantical mindset. I’m also am not saying that Superman doesn’t exist. He’s just extinct. In fact, there are several men interested in filling the position of Superman in my life. Which is how my upcoming reality show Finding Superman came to exist in the first place. Many men have tried, and several have failed over the years. A man can no longer proclaim he’s my Superman and expect me to do hand stands in excitement to be with himA man has to embody the traits and characteristics that a Superman should. I’m also putting my life on reality television because I want a man who is proud to be with me and wouldn’t have a problem saying so publicly. Being with me requires going places, networking and attending high-profile black tie events. Superman can’t be a hermit or be ashamed of being seen with me. Many men say what they feel (and what they think I want to hear) privately. But I want someone who is willing to go through challenges, publicly, in order to show me. The job of Superman is not one for the weak, fractured, or timid. It is for the right man and it isn’t easy.

Go to the Finding Superman Reality Show Official Facebook Page and show your support with a LIKE and a SHARE. The show will be filmed here in Detroit and will not depict African-Americans or women negatively in the way that other shows have done recently. The show is also Super Fan interactive, so the Finding Superman Reality Show Official Facebook Page is very important for those who will watch the show because your vote will count. When each Fan Challenge is met, information about the show will be released. We are just  TWO (2) LIKES away from releasing the contestant criteria. Then we can move on to completing the next Fan Challenge and the next stage in the project. By the way, my friends and family will be heavily involved in the process, although I will not so that I can remain neutral.

In the end, there can only be one Superman.

~ To whom much is given, much is required.

Miss Independent

By George! I think I’ve got it!

Men constantly say they want an independent woman. It seems that they do not understand the definition. Many women proclaim that they are independent women. They also have no clue as to what that really means. Everyone should be independent. Independent means that you are capable of taking care of yourself and what belongs to you. Independent means that you have a level of stability that is not reliant on other human beings. It means that you can work, and you have the basic necessities of life that include food, shelter and clothing. Independent means that you are secure within yourself. It means that you are capable of doing almost everything you want and need to do. An independent woman knows what she feels, can say what she believes and embraces her power. An independent man has a healthy relationship with his family and friends, is capable of providing his basic needs, is reliable and understands his role as a man. 

With all the men looking for independent women and all the women claiming to be  independent, why are there so many SINGLE people complaining that they can’t find anyone?

Independence is shown in actions, not in words. You can scream how independent you are all day long. And you can say you want independence in another, but until your actions show it, you don’t know what it is.

Independent does not mean that men and women don’t need each other. If man didn’t need woman, God wouldn’t have made Eve in the first place. God would’ve just allowed Adam to roam around by himself in the Garden of Eden and Adam would’ve eventually died. Alone. That would’ve been the end of mankind. Therefore, it can be argued and agreed upon that men and women need each other just to exist. Without one, the other will become extinct over time. That’s the reality.

When I hear women say they are independent and don’t need a man, I shake my head and roll my eyes. That is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. Their misguided idea of independent is this: ‘I don’t need a man to pay my bills, I can pay them myself. I don’t need a man to get a car, a house or anything else, because I can get that for myself. I don’t even need a man for sex, I own a vibrator. No man can do anything for me. I’m independent.’ That is complete fuckery. Without a man – whoever your father is – you wouldn’t exist. Independence is not a shield or a sword for you to use against men. Independence is necessary to make sure that you survive with or without a mate, but it’s not a means to an end. So what you don’t ask a man for money. That just means you give yourself away for free. So what you can buy material possessions. They eventually go out of style and depreciate in value the second you walk out of the store. Being an independent woman doesn’t release a man from his role in this world. It just means you are capable of taking care of business if something happens to your man (he’s injured, loses his job or dies). A man is still required to protect and provide for a woman. That woman may not be you, since you’re so independent and all, but one day that man will protect and provide for a woman.

As independent and self-sufficient as I am, I at least need a man who’ll come and change my flat tire for me… and I’m Super Woman.

Men who say they want an independent woman are telling the next biggest lie I’ve ever heard. When men say that to me, again I shake my head and roll my eyes. I know eventually that same man will tell me he doesn’t feel needed or appreciated by whomever he’s dealing with intimately. All men want to feel needed and appreciated by a woman, by their children and at work. Any man who says that they want a woman who will never ask them for anything because she already has everything is lying. If you’re not needed by a woman, you have no place in her life. If a woman can’t ask you for anything, what are you there for? It can’t be for the sex. Remember, she’s independent so she doesn’t need you for sex because she owns a vibrator. If a woman can’t call you and ask you come fix something, lift something, move something, pay for something, help with something or any other manly task that takes place outside the bedroom in her life, you will never be needed or appreciated by her.

A truly independent woman will only ask a man for help if she has already exhausted all other options available to her and the issue is still unresolved. Therefore, if she’s calling you, either she thinks very highly of you or you’re her last resort. Either way, as a man, you’re needed in that moment. What man doesn’t want that? A man who truly understands the definition of an independent woman knows that means she’s capable of taking care of his family, managing his household and having his back when he needs her to. A man who truly understands that also knows that he’s paying for her time, attention and affection in one way or another if she is his woman. He’s protecting her and providing for her.

Here’s another reality for you. If a man can pay for porn, pay to go to a strip club or pay to buy a men’s magazine, he’s paying for sex, therefore he should also be able to pay for his woman’s wants and needs. A woman asking you to pay bills, help her financially or even take out the trash is not a gold digger. She’s a woman with some level of standards and expectations. She’s telling you the expectations of being involved with her. If the woman you are dealing with sexually is not your woman, you are still benefitting from your involvement with her and doing so without a committment. Last time I checked all benefits cost something. You don’t get medical insurance through your employer without having to go to work everyday. So why do you think you’re entitled to have a sexual involvement with a woman without having to also work for it?

And understand this men, your other male counterparts that are agreeing with you to your face and on Facebook, telling you that woman is crazy and saying that you shouldn’t be with that woman because she asked you for money (or anything else) are laughing at you behind your back. Those same men are going home to their wives or girlfriends and paying ALL OF HER BILLS, taking out the trash, fixing what needs to be fixed, and going to work the next day to do it all over again and again to keep her happy. Why? Because those are her standards and expectations and in order to be with her those are the things that he has to do. He wants to be with her, so he does it. Even when you are married, you are paying for your woman’s attention and affection in one way or another.   

Why do men think this mindset towards women is okay? I’ll tell you why. Because women let men get away with it. Yes, women, I blame you. Men only do to us what we allow them to do. When you are easy – a man doesn’t have to take you out, he can come to your house and have sex with you anytime he wants to, he doesn’t have to commit, he doesn’t have to give you quality time, etc. – you’re cheapening yourself and all the other women that man will meet after you as well. You’re letting him believe that he doesn’t have to work for you and therefore, if he didn’t have to work to get you, he doesn’t need to work to keep you or work for anyone else after you either. I’m sorry, but my daddy taught me that I’m a prize and even with all my independence I can’t cheapen myself as a woman. I believe that a man should be the provider, regardless of how much money I make. I believe that a man should protect me and do man’s work. I believe that a man should spend money on me if he wants my company and attention. And if I’m with a man for an extended period of time, I have the right to ask him for money if I need it and sometimes if I want it. There’s certain things I only do around the house when my son isn’t home. And when I mean not home, I mean when he’s seven hundred plus miles away at Clark Atlanta University. He does the man’s work and if it’s something he needs helps with, he calls another man to come assist him. Seriously.

I know what you’re thinking: why does she have her son fixing stuff and doing man’s work that she can probably do herself? BECAUSE I want my son to know, understand, appreciate and solidify his role as a man so that when he has a wife and a family he can protect them and provide for them. I don’t want him to believe that he can live in a woman’s house and not have to work. I don’t want him to believe that his penis is a magic key that gets him everything he wants from a woman and he doesn’t have to do anything for her in return. I want him to be secure in his manhood and it starts with him understanding that there are standards and expectations. I bet that same man who doesn’t give a woman he’s sleeping with any money and calls her a gold digger, will give his mother money if she asks and sometimes if she doesn’t. Why? That’s the standard his mother has established. He knows that he’s expected to protect and provide for her. Why shouldn’t he also do that for his woman?  

~ What do I need a man for if he’s not going to protect me and provide for me? I’m independent.

 

Acting Like A Lady

I’ve been acting like a lady long before Steve Harvey wrote “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man“. I’ve been blessed to have a few men in my life put me up on game, and it doesn’t hurt that I was raised by good men who taught me to set standards when it comes to how I live as a woman, and that I should not lower those standards for a man or his ego because I am the prize. These men taught me to have a reasonable expectation for how I’m to be treated on a date and by men in public – a gentleman opens doors… all doors… all the time, and you step aside and let him do that. I was also taught that men judge themselves by what they do, who they are and how much money they make.  I’ve know this to be a fact my entire adult womanhood. This is also referred to as a man’s ego being connected to his wallet. These are just a few of the things I’ve learned from men; my grandfathers, father, uncles and male friends, over the last 37 years of my life. However, like other women, I’ve had difficulty with relationships with men and I’ve even been accused of acting like a man. I’ve had a lot of first dates that don’t materialize into anything more because I won’t lower my expectations of how a man should treat me on a date, nor will I necessarily have sex with him on the first date. I’ve had men ask me for my number, yet never call…or call and never call again. For the longest time (approximately the last 20 years), I couldn’t fully comprehend WHY dating and having relationships with men was such an issue for me. Although my best male friend and my male relatives told me repeatedly that I wasn’t DOING anything wrong, I constantly wondered ‘WHAT is WRONG with ME?’ It’s that female insecurity thing that a lot of women have when dealing with our male counterparts. We’re either in extreme denial about our issues, or we’re constantly trying to correct non-existent ones.

Then I had an epiphany.

I’m a bit of an enigma as a woman. I don’t care about being in a relationship (been there, done that), but I do care (because I want someone to celebrate and enjoy life with other than my son). I want a man in my life, but I don’t need a man to be happy and fulfilled. I can do almost anything a man can do, but I prefer to have men do those things sometimes so I don’t have to. I’m honest to the point that bruises some men’s egos, but I’m sweet and pink when I need to be. I’m aggressive, primarily in business, but I know when to be submissive to a man. I desire balance, but refuse to make sacrifices that take away from who I am. I’m open, but I hold information back. I’m nurturing, but I don’t accept excuses. I also raised a son as a single parent, but he’s not the mama’s boy people expect him to be as a result. I am that strange combination of woman, heavily influenced by the men in her life,  that very few men have ever understood, yet they are drawn to me like moths to a flame – until they get burned and fall to the ground. The enigma woman. And I’m not the only one.

When Steve’s book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” was first released, I didn’t want to read it because I was writing my book about relationships during that time. I agree with 99% of what Steve says, therefore, I didn’t want my views to be perceived as me copying from him to sell books, because it was obvious that my book would be released later than his. So I changed what I was writing from a relationship book to a fictional novel based upon the same experiences and advice and titled it “He’s A Problem. One of the things that I want to depict in “He’s A Problem  is how women make the mistake in believing that they can change a man and how that attitude is a contributing factor in why our relationships fail sometimes. I don’t believe you can change anyone – man or woman – they have to want to change themselves. Change begins within and sometimes the catalyst is going without.  I’ve already gotten heat from men who assume that “He’s A Problem” is a man-bashing book written by an angry, bitter, lonely woman who can’t get a man. I even got hate e-mail from one man telling me that I need to make sure I examine myself after I finish talking about men’s flaws.  WOW! I asked him in response “How can you judge the context of a book that hasn’t even been published yet?”  That is both ignorance and fear. Ignorance because so many men assume that single women are all bitter, angry, lonely man-bashers, and fearful that they may somehow be exposed in the book and lose out on future opportunities to play games with women. These are some of the same fears that men have about Steve’s book and why some of them consider him a traitor to all MANkind. But Steve isn’t the only man who knows the game and has been teaching it to women. He’s just the first to write it all out in a book for women to read.

This weekend when I went to see the highly anticipated movie “Think Like A Man“, I didn’t expect to LEARN anything new, I just expected to be entertained and lend my support to filmmakers and the  all-star cast. The movie was phenomenal! However, I feel that Steve Harvey forgot to portray the woman like me. The enigma. The woman who already knows that men need to feel accomplished within themselves before they can be with a woman. The woman who knows that the majority of men attempting to make her acquaintance are doing so with the intention of sleeping with her. The woman who has male influences that she can go to who will tell her the ugly truth and how to protect herself from players and recognize mama’s boys. The enigma woman is willing to walk away from a situation when she sees it isn’t going anywhere. The enigma woman is often mistaken for the Woman Who Is Her Own Man (portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film), but she in fact, is the one woman who knows that she can’t make a man into a MAN; he has to WANT to do and REACH for that on his own – even if she is a motivating factor. I’ve met so many men who aren’t there yet. Regardless of their age, education, career or background, some men just haven’t solidified their footprints in cement to the degree that they would like to in their own lives. These are the men who always say they will have a relationship “one day” or “when they get their money right”. I understand and respect that and have learned to recognize and avoid that as well. I tell those men to call me when that day comes and if I’m not otherwise engaged we can see what happens. I don’t have the time or patience for the waiting game. Time waits for no MAN. I truly believe that a man who thinks I’m worth the effort and wants a committed relationship, will put in the work he needs to as an individual and come into/return into my life prepared. And it won’t take him forever.

Although I didn’t learn anything new from “Think Like A Man“, I did LEARN more about myself as a woman and I have better insight into the minds of men and how they perceive me. I learned that as a woman I’m not doing anything WRONG. Maintaining my standards protects me from men who don’t want a committment. If I lower my guard too much, I will end up with someone who is only sports fishing, not fishing to eat. In fact, I’ve been doing everything Steve Harvey suggests that a woman should do in order to have the relationship she wants – prior to reading the book or seeing the movie. And I’m not going to change that. I’m just going to be more consistent. I just need to remember what the men in my life have tried to drill into me and believe it for a change – I just haven’t met the RIGHT man for me yet. Not the perfect man…the RIGHT man. Or maybe I have already met him and he’s getting himself together so that he can protect and provide for me the way I deserve.

Until then, I’m going to continue to act like a lady…and think like a BOSS. I have things to do.  

Check out one of my many projects Sequins & Suits Charity Gala, May 11, 2012 at The Henry Hotel in Dearborn, MI. Tickets are on sale now at EventBrite. Please support this cause so that we can teach young women how to act like ladies also.

Mean Girls

Earlier this month, researchers at Iowa State University published “Frenemies, Fraitors, and Mean-em-aitors: Priming Effects of Viewing Physical and Relational Aggression in the Media on Women“. The study, which observed 250 college women, found that viewing mean girl antics such as social exclusion, gossip and emotional bullying on shows like Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop and Real Housewives of Atlanta, primed viewers to be more aggressive towards each other. The part of me that believes in Sisterhood, found this surprising, disturbing and sad. The part of me that is logical, viewed this as a sign that we are weak-minded, easily influenced and lack moral fortitude. The part of me that is in entertainment said ‘here we go, blaming television for our problems again’.  When Essence Magazine first published a related article on their website, I posted the following comment:

“They say if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. The fact that a person’s behavior can be altered by watching other people’s ignorant behavior on television is very sad and disappointing. I think it speaks more to how weak-minded and fickle these women are if they begin to emulate the bad behavior they see (on television). So then my question becomes this: if they are inundated with more positive behavior represented on television, will they adapt and emulate that positive behavior also? I’m just saying, while we’re brainwashing, we should make it worthwhile.”
 

I’ve previously admitted to watching reality shows. Lately, I’ve found myself wondering “whose reality is this really“, where women are constantly backstabbing, backbiting, fighting and behaving as if they are wild animals fighting over the last scraps of prey, that they didn’t even hunt? This behavior is evident on Basketball Wives (which has turned into WWE Part 2 in Miami), Love & Hip Hop concluded their season after lots of fist fights and drink throwing, no matter what city they were in, and Real Housewives of Atlanta has turned into Sheree versus Everybody Else. Not to mention the woman who threw a ziplock bag full of flour on Kim Kardarshian while she walked the red carpet at a recent charity event. Who does that? Mean Girls do that.

I’ve never been the type of woman to surround myself with a lot of other women. I was raised to believe that you only need one really good girlfriend and a few close girlfriends, but no more than five. I’ve lived like that for almost 40 years now. I’ve learned through experience that the more women present in a room, the more problems could arise. In my younger years, I had more than my fair share of girls and young women who were jealous of me for what I viewed to be silly and superficial reasons, so I preferred to keep to myself. I believed that things would improve as women matured, and if not, that’s okay because I enjoy my company just fine. 

Then something happened.

I met a Mean Girl. Unbeknownst to me, she was already in my midst – like a snake. She is someone I’ve known for the last few years and considered to be a dear sister-friend. I was clearly wrong and had ignored her character flaws, possibly out of love or because I just wasn’t paying attention. Maybe she was just that slick. Well, recently she showed her true colors, as snakes often do. For the last few years, I’ve been so busy working on things in my life that were important to me (traveling, building the Super Woman Brand, sending my son to college, and enjoying my life), and avoiding men with hidden agendas, that I completely overlooked the woman who had come into my life with a hidden agenda of her own and envy in her heart. She flew right in under the radar and nested herself into my life for the sole purpose of getting whatever benefits were attached to being associated with me and being known as my friend. And she got away with it for years. Once she couldn’t get her way any longer, because I have my own life, goals and dreams, she began to show herself to not be a good friend, but to be a superficial, insecure, vindictive and malicious person. My life had never revolved around her to begin with, but for some strange reason, she assumed she was my only friend and that I somehow relied on her for my mere existence. I found that to be hilarious. She actually had the blatant audacity to send me a text message that said “you’re gonna need me before I need you“. For what?  When I think back, that wasn’t true, and wouldn’t be true. She hadn’t contributed to any of my personal or business accomplishments. She hadn’t introduced me to anyone of importance. She hadn’t done anything truly significant. So again, I ask – for what? She doesn’t have anything that I would covet and my only competition is myself

Just like the Mean Girls on reality television, she began to say terrible and untrue things about me (mostly behind my back to anyone she thought would listen, because that’s what cowards do). I immediately recognized this as an attempt on her part to make her feel superior because she is insecure. Strangely enough, she’s at a time in her life where she should be happy. She’s recently got married and has a beautiful blended family, bought a house and has a grandchild. So when others would be relishing in their life’s accomplishments, this woman is directing her energy into attempting to discredit or harm me. Obviously, she’s not very happy. However, I’m not responsible for her happiness and nor will I take responsibility for her unhappiness.

Mean Girls develop their own false truth. A false truth that is often laced with insecurities and judgment against others, that they persuade themselves into believing in order to compensate for what they lack as an individual. Fortunately, for me (a) I have real girlfriends (b) I have self-esteem and confidence that is virtually unbreakable by another human being, and (c) I have a life. Therefore, I’m not too concerned about this woman and the lies that she attempts to spread out of anger and animosity. No one of any importance knows her or cares about the venom she’s spitting. I’m also not too concerned about any other women like her, regardless of who they are. Personally, I believe that if she were both a mature and respectable woman, she’d have a conversation with me, face-to-face, woman-to-woman, instead of talking about me to other people behind my back like a second grader. Instead of telling other people what (she thinks) I am or not, she’d tell me directly what her problem is with me. Instead of her stalking my Facebook pages to see what I’m doing, and who I’m doing it with, she’d be enjoying her new husband and family. Instead of telling other people how much money (she thinks) I have or don’t, she’d be building her own career. By the way, if she wants to count my money and assets, she should make sure to include my copyrights, trademarks, service marks, intellectual property and stock dividends. I don’t have a lot of material possessions because I don’t need them to be happy. I have everything that I truly need; God, food, clothing, shelter, family, career … and a fabulous shoe collection.

I truly pity Mean Girls. They are so consumed with making other people miserable, being dishonest, fighting and being manipulative, that they miss out of the joys of true friendship and sisterhood. They are so concerned with the latest trends and material possessions, that they forget what life is truly about. No matter how much stuff you buy, you can’t take it with you when you die. No matter how much stuff you buy, it won’t make you a happier or a better person. No matter how much stuff you buy, it’s not going to add value to who you are, because you’re likely buying it to impress people who don’t like you very much or are just as materialistic. If a woman considers her material possessions, her mean attitude, who she’s married to, what kind of car she drives or what city she resides in to be the sole determining factors of her worth in comparison to another woman’s, she has a very sad existence.

She’s not just a Mean Girl… she’s also a Sad Girl.

I learned to be more observant of people who try to come into my life, as a result of this experience. But I still don’t have time to revolve my life around someone else’s to make them feel good about themselves. I’m responsible for myself. My goals and achievements are mine to either attain or take responsbility for if I fail. Plus, jealous words from unhappy individuals don’t hold any weight in my world. My world is already Super.  

*Those I trust most, are those who have earned my trust, by not betraying my trust* – Urban Confucius

 

Refocus and Stay Focused

After the dawn of a new year, with the Republican primaries and the birth of Jay Z and Beyonce’s baby girl, some people have already begun to lose focus on what is important. Of course the Republican primaries are very important; particularly because we need to know who will be running against President Barack Obama. But the birth of Jay Z and Beyonce’s daughter has been the entire focus of many individuals. Yes, they are pop culture and music icons. Yes, we love them dearly. Yes, they are entertainers who entertain and give back. But, seriously, some of it is going too far. There were already so many people doubting (and hating) on Beyonce’s pregnancy, that the mere act of turning on any entertainment television program gave me a near migraine headache. But now that she has given birth, people are still finding reasons to doubt (and hate). Now people want to know why she had a caesarean instead of a vaginal birth. People want to know why she had a midwife instead of an ob/gyn. People want to know did they really rent out the whole floor of the hospital to keep people from being nosey. Yet, these same people have probably not made any steps or headway towards achieving their own goals. Some of them probably haven’t set any goals at all.

Since I’m working on a major event for 2012 called the I Feel Good: Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference (∞), completing my first magazine article due to the editor in a few days (∞) and completing a television spec script (∞), I’m going to give you these words quickly, and then move on to my own tasks, goals and life.

I greatly admire Beyonce and Jay Z as people and entertainers. I often say that I’m a Beyonce looking for a Jay Z , because I admire their relationship and partnership. But I don’t let their lives consume mine. At the end of the day, what they do has very little baring on my life, goals or lack thereof. I have a laundry list of my own talents, issues and goals to focus on this year. Therefore,  if there is something you want to do, but it isn’t getting done, or if you are not achieving your goals, or if you are not improving your community, or yourself as a person, but you have time to decipher the alleged meaning of little Blue Ivy Carter’s name, you should immediately refocus your energy into your own direction and do something more positive for yourself. The same energy that is being put into playing word games with a child’s name and making assumptions about the origin of her name based on (in my opinion) fictitious religious beliefs, is the same energy that can be used to go back to school, start a business, mentor a child in need, volunteer at a nonprofit and many other useful and productive tasks. Jay Z and Beyonce are already multimillionaires and no amount of gossip or innuendo is going to change that. Instead, allow their work ethic and marriage to be motivational and encourage you to strive for higher heights. After all, some of you have named your children stranger names than Blue Ivy and no one referred to you as evil for doing so.

Smooches!