May 23, 2013

My Favorite Video: Barack Obama Schools Men on a Classic First Date

Whenever I hear about a girlfriend getting sad about dating problems...or even when I get the blues (for whatever reason..not necessarily dating related...)..I like to watch my favorite video..

It is this one..where President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (then..he was just a candidate) recall their very first date. And the way he looked at her...my goodness...makes you melt.


 

 First off...the man remembers EVERY detail of the date. How many men remember their first date almost 20 years ago??? Heck..some can't remember the date from the night before! I bet if you asked him what she wore, he could recall that too. Mercy!

Secondly, he was schoolin' dudes on how to do a first date right. That man breaks it down w/o really saying it. I got the following from him:

  1.  A Date does NOT have to be expensive: they went for Ice cream, they saw a movie, they looked at art at a museum at the Art Inst (which is free btw...) then they ended the night with a drink. Simple.
  2. Talking is important: The Obamas talked all night and much of the conversation Mr. Obama still recalls.
  3. Plan and Execute: Mr. Obama took the ENTIRE DAY for Mrs. Obama.He made time. He blocked out his schedule. He didn't text her taumbout "So you wanna fall through?" No ma'am! No sir! That man made TIME for this woman.
  4. Show some personality: Mr. Obama made sure the future Mrs. Obama saw all sides of him. As she points out "he was sensitive, cultural, patient.....". That made Mr. Obama smile from deep within. 
  5. Don't try and be all frisky on the first date: While we all know Mr. Obama is a hunk of a man, he is quick to say he had an incredible kiss with Mrs. Obama and she "tasted like Chocolate".........(they had ice cream, remember?? *swoons*)


See fellas...a great date isn't about how much cash you spend...or how "ballin" or big you do it. Ladies...it isn't about the fancy spot he takes you to. Did he open your car door? Did he wait for you when you got up from the table? Did he listen and smile and engage??? THESE are the markers of a great first date.

A great first date....It is about time, effort and execution. It is about making the other person genuinely feel special, at any cost.  It's about showing the real you out of the gate and allowing a person in your space. That is what a great first date is about....


Period.



May 21, 2013

The Dreaded "S" Word


A sorority sister of mine had some run in with a foo-well from her church. She said some ninny had given her number to a man in her single's group (Violation #1...you don't do that!) and he called her. During the call, the man goes a woman should "Submit to him in relationships, while you are dating/committed relationships and married......"

She promptly  hung up the phone. And I do not blame her.


Submission..... *smh*


Men are quick to quote random bible verses about "submission" and how men should submit to God only..and women to their husbands who ultimately, get their instruction from God.
That type of thinking is dangerous in my opinion. There is a spiritual disconnect going on there.
Submission isn't about ruling over a person....ever.


And besides, it is 2013. Get real. Feminism and social movements happened ages ago to free us from this thinking. Submission isn't bout a dogmatic way of men being "over" women. It's about mutual submission to each other (I do for you..you do for me..WE are a team who are doing the good works of God).Submission to the will and good of the Lord. 


If a woman, who is to glean her spiritual guidance from a man...where is HER own personal relationship with the Lord?? She doesn't need a man as her "spiritual intercessor". She can do that for herself. And God wants to hear from YOU..not you through someone else.


Ninjas got it twisted! Plain and simple. Men and women following some script that obviously doesn't work. It just doesn't...never has.  I see now that single women are quoting patriarchy for the good of women...and that is where the danger takes a whole new level.

I was also reminded of the dangers of patriarchy, submission and religion when I was watching Iyanla Vanzant's "Fix my Life" on the OWN network.  There, she began to work with the gospel group The Pace Sisters...



These women had been wounded and hurt and the hurt began to manifest itself in massive, dangerous weight issues. One sister was molested by an uncle and when she told, they pretty much swept it under the rug. One sister believed she had been sexually assaulted by her brother (although she wasn't sure...it came in flashes). One sister had been told "God wasn't in college" and she wasn't allowed to pursue her dream of an education! AN EDUCATION! Folks wanted to keep her in ignorance in the name of the Lord. Finally, one sister had been ashamed of her same-sex attraction, feeling ostracized by her sisters and community. She was a 45 year old virgin, who had never had any type of physical ANYTHING with ANYONE (although she knew she liked women) all because she had grown up to ONLY serve men...and ONLY serve the Lord. Their father was known as "KING" and they had to call him that........their brother in turn, manifested this same type of "ask no questions, submission" behavior to his sisters. They in turn did the same things with their own husbands.......

I find this type of patriarchy disturbing. NO matter how you try and explain it to me...it'll never work. This sort of blind devotion is what keeps slaves still in bondage. Harriet Tubman said it best: "I could have freed a lot more slaves if they only KNEW they were slaves". And in some ways..submission is enslavement and bondage of women cloaked in religion. Patriarchy in religion, causing sexual suppression and repression and depression, women not having authority over their own lives...is utter sadness and foolishness. This is why the church needs to a self evaluation. Patriarchy has no place within your relationship with God. No place! 


Look here, the only kind of submission I like is sometimes in the bedroom (lol). and even that has it's own patriarchy problems. But at least there...you know it's not "real" if you get my drift. It's fantasy. Like acting out a role. Even then...everyone knows there is an "out"...a safe word..........

The man that God wants you yo be with will see you as an equal , not a dominant partner to rule over the lord and land. He won't rule your house that way. He won't rule YOU that way. He won't do things without consulting you. Hetero-normative patriarchy has no place among women, esp women of color, who come from a more matrilineal and communal ancestry.

Maya Angelou said  later on Super Soul Sunday on OWN "All religions are a path to ALL". Meaning it's just a tool...it's just a path..what is most important is how YOU commune with God. And most certainly, it can be fostered in a relationship based on roles and madness.

"I surrender ALL. I surrender ALL to ALL. God is ALL.........."- Maya Angelou

 It is about EQUALLY submitting to God and God's will for your life. As a married couple..you are both equally doing that..equally being helpmates...equally doing things pleasing in the sight of God. I don't need a man as my spiritual intercessor. We always say "First giving honor to GOD who is the head of my life..." then all of a sudden..that doesn't apply when you get married??? Where did your interpersonal, unadulterated relationship with God go? How does it vanish when you get married and now all of a sudden..you answer to a man who, despite what you think..doesn't know you HALF as well as you know yourself to be the authority over your life. We have some strange ways, the church, and we need to do some self-reflection. It's crippling us as women, as black women, and as a community......

The only entity you need to be surrendering and submitting to is the Most High, who has no gender or pronoun other than "ALL". A relationship most of all..is about mutual respect. I respect you. You respect me. We respect what God has for us.

Perhaps "respect" should replace "submission" in the vocabulary. Maybe then we get get out of the chains that submission want to throw on us.

Just a thought.......


May 18, 2013

The Perks of Being a 30 Something Divorcee'


subtitled : The Last Blog in which I will EVER talk about divorce

I started this blog as a way to heal from my divorce. But guess what....everything has to come to an end. I am so over it. I am over talking about how to heal..what to do...how to date...etc. I've done the work. I've come out shining and like a champ.  Everyone feels like I am the go-to expert on how to bounce back after divorce. While I am flattered...again...it's got to stop. I've moved on. And so should my readers.

Nevertheless....this is a blog post about divorce. *shrug*

As I approach my Mid-30's (Ok let's face it...34 is prob already mid-30s), I realize that most of my "give a damn" gave out a long time ago. I've hit a stride. And while I do have fear and apprehension about a lot of major decisions in life, one thing is clear: Who gives a damn what other people think.

When I got divorced almost 5 years ago, I had this shame and guilt.  I felt like a failure.  Looking back I realize, what I perceived as a failure was truly a blessing in disguise. I've now come to realize there are many perks to being a 30 something Divorcee'

1) No One is putting pressure on you to remarry.

While I may be young and still in my "prime" so to speak, I really have not experienced any pressure to remarry..as in get married RIGHT NOW. I guess my family and friends knew how hard it was to sty sane after this let alone want to marry someone. People are just wanting you to "date" (or as my Auntie puts it "have a nice man-friend") and get out there and not wallow in your own misery. I get that...you want a chick to be social not necessarily see every dude as the next husband. That's very cool....

2) I can do whatever the hell I want w/o asking someone else

Cereal for dinner? Imma do that. Read all day? Imma do it.  If I wanna buy a pair of Louboutin's with my rent money....I can do that. If i wanna go the strip club with my girls... I can do that. I don't have to answer to anyone. This isnt' to say you can't do that single OR married (if you have it  like that....). But being divorced, I no long have the guilt I did for treating myself and putting myself first like I did when I was married. Guilt because I felt there was no reciprocity in doing so. That was a lesson learned.

3) Babies can wait. Despite what the "clock" strikes...

Oh gosh..while the baby bug hit me when I hit 30...I realized "Hey...it's perfectly OK to wait to have some kids". I joke with my friends that I am going to be the flyest 50 year old with a Kindergartner...but that isn't so weird. I mean...Halle Berry is pregnant at 47.  We are living longer and fuller lives. It isn't so strange. And if I do happen to remarry...there absolutely no pressure to make a "honeymoon" baby all because I am 35.

4) Speaking of second marriages....I can marry again HOW I want 

There is no timetable on if or when I get married again...if I marry at all. Furthermore, second marriages have no rules.  The first time I got married...I had the ceremony...the dress...the food..that everyone ELSE wanted...That being said...the way I get to the altar is on my own terms. And when I get there...I can wear what I want. I have a ceremony or no ceremony at all. I can wear a pair of Wonder Woman Chucks and Reem Acra at the same damn time if I want to. I don't need the massive amounts of people there... I can serve everyone Cinnabon with Arnold Palmer's and they'd be damn well pleased. I can elope or run to the courthouse. No one gives a damn  and I don't care if they do. The people who love you will be there for you no matter what. And accept the choices you do or do not make regarding getting married again.

Furthermore, I do not have to be ashamed or feel guilt about getting married for a second time..( Before I felt so guilty about the money my parents spent...the time people took to travel out of state....etc. The fact that I was a "starter wife" whose promises weren't met. I was reminded of my aunts, a few of them, who have been married two, three even 5 times (I kid you not). Some had celebrations. Some had nothing. I've adopted the same spirit and attitude as my late Aunt Madonna who really gave no types of damn about the life she led. She was a free spirit. She loved and laughed and carried on with whomever she wanted. She married 3 times...and I'm pretty sure she didn't regret any of the loves and affairs she had in her life. I want to be her...to live with no regrets.


5) Believe or not...you get a lot of respect (whether they confess it or not)

It takes a lot of balls and nerves to leave something that is "comfortable" and to jump out into the unknown.  And on the side..most times..your married friends in suck-ass marriages...and you single girlfriends with low-down donkeys are giving you a head nod and a hand-clap of praise...whether you want to or not...whether they realize it or not.

As a divorcee', you get a lot of "you are so brave". or "wow..i could never do that".  "You aren't young and dumb or naive". "You're so strong!" "You got out while you were ahead"... In a lot of ways, people admire you. So you can pat yourself on the back. It's not something to praise. It is just an obstacle you overcame. So while they may not wish the bad dating stories, the intermittent loneliness, or the financial hardships of a divorce on anyone, let alone themselves, they do admire that you are willing to take the risk

Nevertheless, other's don't have to respect you.Some people won't and will make that known.  Respect your damn self for taking charge of your life and happiness, knowing you have to be in a miserable situation.

6) My title as "divorcee'" has an expiration date...and that day is NOW.

People think that being a "divorcee" is a lifelong title, even if you remarry or not. Definitely not. Life goes on...

 I think 5 years is quite enough time to say I am "divorced". Even on official paperwork , I simply state that I am either "single" or "partnered" because quite frankly it is no one's business where I am in my life. The perks of being grown and not caring is that I define myself for myself. And right now, I choose not to define myself as a divorcee'. I'm simply a woman who was married some time ago....who is on another path in life.



So , yes, my dear readers. This is the last time I'll be talking about "divorce" or referring to myself as a "divorcee".

I have a life to live. And it's getting good...real good.

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