Tag Archives: travel

You Winning or Naw?

Black Twitter is outraged at Amanda Seales, who portrays Tiffany DuBois on the hit HBO series “Insecure“, for pointing out a few of the ways in which you’re either winning or losing in life. I personally agree with her Tweets, particularly these:

Yes, that is a screenshot from my phone. Yes, that is my reply to her tweets.

If you’re mad at Amanda Seales’ tweets, welllllll…. do better, get out your feelings, then watch “Feel Rich” on Netflix. It’s a similar concept, but directed towards our health and eating habits versus our spending habits.

Fact: We spend too much money on the wrong shit, usually material possessions, because we’ve been taught a lie that we need that shit to feel good, look good, be successful, have sex, have friends and be happy.

Wake up.

After we buy that shit and we don’t feel better, look better or get anything else we were promised, we just go out and buy more shit, then complain about all the money we don’t have, so we can’t do things like travel, eat right, exercise or learn something new.

Wake up.

Improving yourself is possible at every income level. No excuses. No debate. You either want it or you don’t. But don’t get mad at the spoken truth. Don’t get mad at Amanda Seales because you think she’s talking about you. Get mad at yourself because YOU FEEL LIKE SHE’S TALKING ABOUT YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE DOING THE SHIT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT.

It’s true that a person’s life experiences (traveling for instance), are of greater value to their lives than buying material things (houses, shoes, cars), regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic level. And if you can afford Jordans you can also afford to travel simply by saving the money you would have paid to buy those Jordans.

“But traveling is too expensive, let me count the ways…”

Planes aren’t the only form of transportation. There’s MegaBus, Amtrak, Greyhound and they all cost less than a pair of Jordans. Google it. If you can’t afford a 5 star hotel, there’s AirBNB options that are affordable. Hell, I’ve used AirBNB and could afford a 5 star hotel, but I just like getting more bang for my buck when I travel. Let’s also keep in mind that Living Social and Groupon are in the travel business now and have great destinations and inexpensive deals.

Traveling can be spontaneous, but it can also be planned, like a goal, and give you something to look forward to, which is something that also adds value to your life. Look at places that interest you now, pick a place and save up for the cost, then go. You always plan on buying those Jordans, so you can plan a trip, too.

“Only rich, black people from the suburbs can travel and have passports.”

I’m from Detroit. Not Detroit adjacent, not Detroit proper. Detroit. Born, raised and educated. The “hood”, and I’m proud of it. I own 2 pair of basic Nike’s that retail for less than Jordans and I still bought them on sale, so they cost me less than $100 each. I own a passport. In 2016 alone I traveled away from my state by plane or car a total of ten times. In 2017, while at the airport, I enrolled in CLEAR. I’ve already paid for my hotel stay in Miami for my 7th trip there in 2018. I’ve also started my plans to return to New Orleans for Essence Fest in 2018, which has become an annual trip for the last 6 years, regardless of where else I go. I’ve been traveling since I was in the first grade, so maybe I’m not the typical black person from the hood. However, I’ve been more places than some people I know who make more money than I do and have more education than I do and live in suburban anywhere. I can honestly say I’m surprised by how many successful, affluent black people I’ve met that don’t travel, but own expensive shit. It would he nice if more black people in general set their priorities better and strived to do more than impress people by buying Nike’s or Louboutins, especially if the greatest distance they ever traveled was either on someone else’s dime or only one state away from home.

You can’t convince me that traveling is hard to do if you wear expensive shoes, that you waited on for months and stood in line for hours to buy. But if that helps you sleep at night and gives you a false sense of winning, by all means, enjoy yourself.

Personally I’d rather stand in line at TSA and at my designated gate…..but that’s just me winning.

Get Your Happy -An Open Letter to Single Women 

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I’m not the luckiest woman when it comes to romantic relationships or dating. Although I’m accustomed to being committed, because that’s been the majority of my experience, I’ve had some bad relationships that I had to overcome. Although I enjoying going out, dating has been a serious challenge for me as well. After a couple of stalkers, and too many men who put up facades, it was determined that online dating just isn’t my thing and meeting men in general isn’t always pleasant. 

Instead of doing the “woe is me” single dance, I started intentionally focusing on just being happily single/married to my career. My desire for male companionship has become the last thing I think or care about. Marriage isn’t a goal, it’s an option. And I won’t date a man, or chase a man just to say I “have a man”. I don’t even mind when men assume I’m already in a relationship or married, preventing them from even attempting to date me. I have begun to look at that as a compliment….it means I’m identified as wife material and it helps keep the men who aren’t for me away when they’re unsure of if I’m “taken”, or not. 

I literally can turn men down and not feel any regret. I’ve been doing it for a long time now. I’ve gotten very good at it. I’ve politely said “no thanks” to trips, gifts, dinners, and hotel room keys from a slew of very successful, good looking, and some very famous men, and felt perfectly fine about my decision. *Here comes the grown folks convo.* While other women may think I’m crazy for turning these men away, I know why they show interest in me and more importantly, my p*ssy isn’t what makes me a good woman, therefore, I don’t feel the need to give it to every man who wants it, regardless of his status. Even if a man is genuinely interested in me, it doesn’t change the way I already feel about myself. I know my worth, and no matter how successful, good looking, or famous a man is, my worth isn’t predicated on what he thinks of me at all. I’m not hesitant to let any successful, good looking, or famous man know that “you can Google me, too, bro”, which often, they know already; that is one factor that attracts them to me. 

I can go many of the same places they go and I’m on the same guest lists, so their access doesn’t impress me. I travel, eat at very nice restaurants and wear designer clothes, so offers of plane tickets, handbags and clothes won’t impress me either. Men in my circles grow accustomed to women who fawn over their money, status and material possessions, so when they meet a woman who doesn’t need those things from them, it changes the game and sometimes intimidates them. I’m okay with that. I’m enjoying my life regardless. I’ve found my happy.

I bring this up to say, as women, we have to stop allowing how much we enjoy living life to be determined by how much attention or affection we receive from men. Women “wait” to do things, like traveling, buying jewelry, building/changing their careers, going back to school and buying property, until they “get a man/husband”, while men do whatever they want to do before they get a woman/wife. Too often women will say things like “I want my future husband to buy me a ring/watch/car like this” instead of buying it herself. But a man will see a ring/watch/car he likes and work towards buying it for himself. A woman will say things like “I want to go to Paris/Milan/Ibiza for my honeymoon”, but a man will go to Paris/Milan/Ibiza by himself or with the fellas without hesitation anytime he can afford to. 

Too many women limit the amount of living they do because they prioritize having a relationship with a man above living happily. Those same women often become resentful and envious of other women who have learned to live boldly and happily single, doing everything they want to do…. without waiting for a man to join them or facilitate it for them. That creates a strain in the sisterhood when a woman is unhappily single around her friends who are happily single or happily married. Ladies, you are guaranteed to lose a friend, or two, when you’re not happy because you’re single. 

Life is too short to wait on someone else to live it with you. If you don’t start embracing where you are today and start living life fully, as a single woman, you’ll wake up one day regretting all the things you didn’t do or deferred simply because you were single. Get your happy. Most women meet their Boaz while doing something productive and positive to enhance their own happiness in the first place.  

Devon Franklin posted this picture on Instagram, and it inspired this open letter. 

Years to Remember

Tomorrow is the day. The day my eighteen year old son graduates from high school and prepares to go to college in the fall. I knew this day was coming. I had eighteen years to prepare myself for this. But I didn’t know it would feel like this. I raised him to have leadership abilities and a mind of his own. He’s always had more freedom and responsibility than a lot of young men he knows. No curfews, but he never has stayed out too late. No restrictions, but he’s never been anywhere he shouldn’t be. He’s had every opportunity afforded to him that I could financially afford, and some that I made sacrifices for so that he could have the experiences anyway. He’s been able to travel a little bit, but I often wish there were more places I had been able to take him over the years. He’s never caused me any “trouble”. He hasn’t had any incidences that would have resulted in jail time; he’s never tried narcotics and decided on his own to remain abstinent for the time being. All things that I’ve had very frank discussions with him about but allowed him to also make his own decisions about. Needless to say, I’m proud of the decisions he made for himself. I’ve never had to come up with bail money, nurse a hangover or potential overdose and I’m not a grandmother at thirty-six years old.  

There were many people who constantly said that I didn’t know what my child was doing when I wasn’t around because “single mothers never do and they always think ‘not my child’ and their child is the first one in trouble”. I’m glad I can gloat and tell those people that they obviously didn’t know my child. They also obviously didn’t know me. I’m that young mother that believes in old school discipline. Although my son hasn’t had a spanking since he was seven years old, he has a very healthy fear of his mother. He knows the expectations are great and measureable as my son. He knows that major disappointments are not taken lightly and that failure is not an option. It has been instilled in him.

One thing I always tried to teach my son was that he didn’t have to personally make mistakes to still learn from them. Life is a teacher and when you look at other people’s lives, you can learn what not to do, if you want to. My son understood this it seems because he often tells me that he is going to try not to make certain mistakes in his life because he saw what it did to someone else. I’m not sure if my son has a celebrity “role model”. After all, so many of them don’t want to be “role models”. But I think a few of their experiences have educated my son as a young black man as to how this world will treat you if you are not careful. One moment they love you and place you on the highest pedestal because you are scoring touchdowns and three point shots. The next minute they are persecuting you, taking away your endorsement deals and dragging your reputation through the deepest puddle of mud that can be found. So thank you to Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick and countless others who showed my son what not to do.

My son hasn’t had the best relationship with his father, due to no fault of his own, or of mine. You can’t force someone to love you, support you and exemplify what you think a parent should be. All you can do, is do better when your chance comes around. I never spoke ill of my son’s father to him. I didn’t have to. It wasn’t going to benefit me in anyway to do so. It wasn’t going to improve the situation at all. So I was very mindful not to engage in those kinds of conversations or confrontations in my son’s presence. It didn’t always work, because his father likes drama and enjoys being the center of attention, even when it’s negative. But I did manage to be the bigger person 95% of the time, even when I didn’t want to be. As a result, my son learned for himself, without any influence from me, the type of man his father is, and isn’t. I intentionally removed myself from the equation so that I could not be blamed (by his father) for how my son feels towards him. Whether his father sees it that way, I do not know. I honestly do not care.

After eighteen years of many sacrifices on my part, I don’t care what anyone thinks. I gave up my goals for higher education. I gave up a modeling career. I gave up a size six body. I gave up many, many, many, many men. I gave up countless hopes and dreams of traveling around the world, sipping champagne and buying designer handbags. I gave up eighteen years of many other things so that I could nurture the life of another person. There were times during those eighteen years when the thought of what I could’ve had caused me to become very depressed, so much so that I was even hospitalized for depression at one time. I suffered from and recovered from a chronic illness. I’ve had major car accidents that I was blessed to walk away alive from. I’ve lost good jobs, had crap jobs and got better jobs. With every hardship and loss, my motivation was that I had to continue on for my son. I had to show him that although life knocks you down, repeatedly, you have to get back up and keep living. I had to show him what it was to be super. And in the process, I showed myself.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when my son leaves for college. What do you do when your best friend, your anchor, your reason for persevering daily goes away to explore the next phase of his own life? I don’t know. This is my first time having this experience. Hopefully, between now and then my career will catapult forward to the point where I’ll have my own radio show, a couple more books published along with the opportunity and finances to travel. Maybe I’ll even meet my Superman. I don’t know what will happen next. What I do know is that tomorrow signifies a new phase in life for me and my son. When the sun rises in the morning, it will mean one thing to him and something else to me. When the sun sets in the evening the same will also be true. And I promise that I will try not to cry all day.

I had many years to remember with my son. Eighteen years and nine months to be exact. That’s a lengthy investment. Now it’s his turn to go forth and be super. He can do it. I have the utmost belief in him. After all, he is Super Son.

Younger Horizons

I’m not ready. I know I’m not. I’m not ready to stay at home ALL the time. I still want to travel, learn, grow and do many, many things. I’ve been dating men ten to fifteen years older than me for awhile. My friends tease me and say that men I date are all AARP members. They are older, but still sexy and in pretty good physical condition. In my experience, older men are (usually) more mature, more financially stable, and more gentlemanly; they no longer desire to have children and don’t require training in the lovemaking department. As I’m getting older (and the men are, too), I am really encountering some hotmess.com with older men. It’s making me consider shifting my gears even more towards men younger than myself.

Remember the date from hell I had a couple of months ago? He was in his early forties. The noncommittal, success seeking, Mr. Big in my life? He is in his mid-forties. Then there was the amateur photographer that I dated briefly, who once the involvement ended had the audacity to tell me that I’d never meet a man that would buy me Coney Island for breakfast like he did (in his early forties) and the man that contacted me via Facebook to tell me I was his “type of woman” and he had “I like freaks” in his bio (in his mid-forties). All of these men have made me ask this question:

Has the world gone completely crazy?

I’m very particular about who I spend my time with. It’s the number one reason why I’m single. I’m not getting any younger (I’ll be 37 years old this year), and although I’m still hot, I don’t like having my time wasted. Time is money. I refuse to give my time to someone who will take it for granted or treat it as if it holds no value. So, I keep the standards high, yet reasonable. For the last few years, I apparently have been under the mistaken idea that older men also don’t want to waste time, and would be better potential husbands because they’re ready to settle down and get married. That is so not the case. Older men are more scared, and scarred, when it comes to relationships than men in their twenties are. Although, they should really have their minds, hearts and finances together at their age, many of them, actually do not. So, what options are left for me and women like me?  

One option is younger men.

Not “teenage” younger, or college younger…just younger. And that doesn’t make me a cougar, regardless of what others think. I’m often mistaken for a twenty-something year old woman out on a date with a Sugar Daddy. I seriously doubt that if I dated a man slightly younger than I am anyone would even notice. So, I’m broadening my horizons. This is something I often tell women who ask me for dating advice to do. [Broaden your horizons. Step out of your comfort zone. Do something different.]You will never say I’m a hypocrite, because I live what I say. I will not necessarily give every younger man a chance to date me. I don’t currently give every man the chance to date me at all, regardless of his age. However, I will give men slightly younger than I am, the opportunity to show and prove more than I have in the past. That is something I’m more than capable of doing.

Only time will tell if dating younger men will result in me meeting my true Superman, or just another Bizarro.

Me Time – A Voyage

I truly believe in self-assessment and self-reflection of oneself. I believe a person with strong character knows their worth and their flaws. Acceptance of oneself in all your glory and imperfections allows you to set personal goals that enhance personal growth. Some people refer to it as “Me” time. I recently went on my much needed annual vacation to somewhere hotter than Michigan. I started my voyage in South Beach and from there boarded a Carnival cruise ship to the Caribbean; Grand Turks and the Bahamas to be specific. This was my third time in Miami and probably my eighth time in Florida. But it was my first time on a cruise and my first time going to the Caribbean. No, I didn’t go with a group of girlfriends. No, I didn’t go with a man (I’m not in a relationship). No, I wasn’t afraid to be alone. I was looking forward to it. I was looking forward to digging my own space under the sunshine of the south of Florida and on the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

My flight departed without incident, although they had overbooked the flight. My flight landed on time and my shuttle arrived quickly to take me to The Richmond Hotel. The Richmond was a nice, oceanfront, boutique hotel on Collins Avenue in South Beach. However, I soon came to the realization that I was the only person of color on the premises who was not an employee there. It started in increments. First, at check in I was asked to pay for the two remaining nights of my stay in advance, plus an additional resort fee for “incidentals”. When I asked what type of incidentals would that additional fee cover, I was told “in case you break something”. I quickly raised my voice a little too loud for their comfort and informed them that I would not be paying in advance, nor would I be throwing rock star parties and breaking anything during my stay. Yes, I was offended. I didn’t know if this request was being made because I was Black or if it was because I was from Detroit. Either way, I was offended and I let it be known. Especially since none of the other quests checking in had been asked to pay in advance. I agreed to pay the resort fee, but let them know that I wouldn’t pay another dime until check out.

Later, as I lay out by the pool, I was greeted by the pleasantly surprised faces of the Afro-Caribbean women and men, who either worked in housekeeping or as doormen. They greeted me in the hallways and at the door, everyday with big, proud, smiles. Mind you, this was not a four or five star hotel; it may have been a three star hotel at best. But “we” apparently, were moving on up like George and Weezie.

On this trip I also had to endure the weeding of my garden and eliminate individuals from my life. Without this trip, I may not have been able to identify those people. I just don’t believe it to be necessary for me to allow men to mistreat me or speak to me in a disrespectful manner, simply because, out of their ignorance, they “think” they can. So they got dismissed – permanently and without apology.

Aside for the small bumps, the Caribbean is one of the most beautiful places I’ve laid eyes on. I’m thankful for the opportunity and finances to be able to enjoy myself. I learned new things, met interesting and intelligent people from across the USA and in the Caribbean. I received inspiration from the sun, the sand and the coasts. I got some much needed rest and ate delicious foods. The best part is that I didn’t gain any weight and I looked great in my swimsuits.

As usual, I received the common question – “Are you here by yourself?” And I was proud to say ‘yes’. But that always leads to – “You don’t have a boyfriend?” The answer is ‘no’. The follow up is then – “You are too pretty to be by yourself.” I replied, ‘Thank you. Would you like to tell that to the men where I’m from?’ The truth is that I would never go anywhere if I waited to have a relationship first. I’ve been told my men and women that I don’t have a man because I’m too independent and that doesn’t allow a man to do anything for me. I think that is an excuse for men not to step up and try something new.

Personally, I’m not interested in someone who doesn’t want to leave the city they were born in, or is too afraid to board an airplane or otherwise step out of their comfort zone. I shouldn’t be expected to wait to be partnered up with a man in order to enjoy living. The idea that you have to wait to live is ridiculous. I would much rather explore this entire planet alone, than wait for someone to explore it with who may or may not exist. The possibility that I may not a boyfriend or husband anytime soon, isn’t a negative mindset; it is embracing a reality. It is a self-assessment. I refuse to be a little old lady that waited and waited to live her life, just to wake up one day and discover that her life is almost over. If that means that I travel every winter by myself, I can live with that.

I enjoyed my “me” time. I enjoyed turning heads and being rebellious against hotel’s request. I enjoyed walking on the beach, riding a horse in the ocean, wearing a bathing suit instead of clothes, and wearing no makeup. I enjoyed the shopping, eating, sightseeing and being flirted with by Caribbean men. I enjoyed my trip tremendously.

I enjoy my “me” time. I enjoy living life. I’m looking forward to doing it more often…even if I have to do it alone.