Thursday, December 27, 2012

Online Dating At Its Worst

I have been online dating for the past few months. Yes I admit it openly.  It is 2012 almost 2013 yet I still feel this stigma from online dating.  Which is pretty funny because a lot of people have or have had an okcupid profile at some point.  In fact I have seen more than one person that I went to undergrad on there.  One person even called me out, oh the embarrassment!

Anyway, this is not my first dive into the online dating pool.  I actually tried it out a few years ago.  At the time I was going out on no dates, I mean none, zero, zip, well you get it.  I decided to stick my toe into the waters of the interweb.  I ended up trying just about everything paid and unpaid.  I had a great time.  A lot of the men came with stories, which also came with nicknames (I miss giving nicknames).  One person even turned into a boyfriend.

Since most of my experiences had been good, or good enough I should say, I thought that beginning online dating again this year would be fun and a good way to get over my ex.  It hasn't been fun....at all!  First, I don't know if dating in general has changed over the past few years or if I have higher standards.  Perhaps it is a little bit if both.  However, most a lot of it I have been experiencing has been TERRIBLE.  So terrible in fact that I delete my account every few months and decide to swear it off.  That is I swear it off until my friends go on all of these fun dates while I am sitting at home alone with my mom...

This afternoon after receiving a dumb message from someone I decided that for the rest of this post that I would share stupid messages from online guys.  Consider this your Christmas present  :)


Guy 1: Hi gorgeous
Me:  Hello
Guy 1:  I'm Jean ,will like to know more about you
Me: Ok like what?
Guy 1:  What's your interest ,you do for fun ,book ,movie ,food ,more
            a diner date ,exchange info ..if
Me:  Umm I wrote that all in my profile.  Did you even read it?
Guy 1:  Yes


Guy 2:  are you really that cute
Me:  Is this a trick question? lol
Guy 2:  I guess you answered the question very well...
Me:  What lol.  This is me.
(Silence for almost a month)
Guy 2:  Merry Christmas to you your friends and family

Guy 3:  Hi, Merry Christmas. how are you? My name is Baba and lives in London,UK . You look so cute. Lets consider this as two mature people and be straight forward. I will like to know you some more.I watched your images and profile and i respect your intelligence. I am single and want believe that u stand the reason why i am here. I enjoy going to parks, Cinema,s and come to conclusion wan,t to enjoy life to the fullest and can,t do that being single.


First message:  
Guy 4:  So when can I call you

This was after a few messages back and forth...

Me:  That sounds like fun. I want to do that for my mom soon. We shall see. My work schedule. Well I work two jobs. I am a lawyer during the week and I work retail on the weekends. Sounds like fun right?

Guy 5:  Hold on your a lawyer and you work retail sounds interesting..... Well big question for you I need your professional opinion on this could you text me <number>

Me:  Is it a legal question because I am not giving free legal advice lol


Guy 5:  Uh no pro bono Lol what happened to helping the community.It's nothing serious just a civil matter. Would have like to known if I could have filed suit or not. Do you practice in Maryland. How about this I will let you represent me if I have a case is that fair. See we can already have some common ground. Side note what do you do for fun


Me:  First of all...why is your name law student? Are you not a lawyer? Secondly, you don't even know what type of law that I practice. For the record I do child welfare law, it is very niche. And not everyone attorney is a litigator, in fact most aren't.



Guy 5:  I mean technically you can practice anything you want as long as your licensed know whether or not you specialize in that area is a different story ;). I dropped out to pursue a business venture back in 2010. Let's get coffee so we can have a healthy debate ;)









Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Grinch

This season I have felt a little down and a little moodier than usual.  Is it my period?  Maybe.  But I think it is more than that.  I think I am kind of becoming the Christmas Grinch  *cue suspenseful music*.

One of the first reasons that I believe I have a grinchy disposition is because of my experiences with the holidays.  I grew up in Illinois as an only child.  The rest of my family lived hundreds of miles away in Maryland and Virginia and I only saw them about twice a year sometimes only once a year.  Christmas used to be a fun time for me putting up the tree, decorating the house, and even admiring the lights of the neighbors.  But at some point either when I was in middle school or high school it was no longer fun for me.  I ended up dragging up our fake Christmas tree from downstairs by myself.  I put up all the decorations, by myself.  My parents had no desire to help me anymore.  After awhile I had no desire to to engage in Christmas decorations anymore either.  To this day I don't partake.  Sickness surrounded my family around this time too so it is just kind of a sad time anyway.

Over the past few years I have really started looking at Christmas differently.  It hit me the most through the most recent sermons that we have had at church.  Christmas is becoming increasingly commercial and secular.  I know that the Christmas decorations at my part time job were up in September!  It doesn't bother me because if anything I find it funny that many of my non Christian friends also celebrate Christmas with their families.  Christmas has turned into more about the gifts and the presents and less about the birth of Christ.

Would everyone hate me if I stopped giving and receiving presents for Christmas?  I just feel that we should focus more on spending time with each other and doing good deeds rather than spending money on presents that no one truly needs.  Does anyone else agree with this?


Friday, December 21, 2012

When One Door Closes

I think the saying is "when one door closes another door opens."  This is a statement that I have always believed in theory but not in practice I guess.  But perhaps I should have, because things always end up working out in that way right?

Here is an update on what seems like my never ending drama with my ex.  It has been over three weeks since our meeting that never took place and a little over two weeks since I sent my response to is apology email.  I have not contacted my ex AT ALL, not as he contacted me.  Even though he has still been on my mind, I have no desire to actually reach out to him, and I am feeling pretty good about it.

Much to my surprise closing the door on my ex has actually opened the door to some new people.  In fact, I actually went out on a date this week.  It was nice and he is nice.  I won't go into further detail because I don't want to jinx anything but it is definitely nice to get out there again, even if it is for one good date.  Now I feel like I have been meeting other new people as well.  I even recognized that I have been able to go places and hang out with people in the past that would have caused tension for me because of my ex.  I now have this renewed feeling that I will not end up being the cat lady.

For the past few weeks I have been thinking about the impending holidays and realizing that I will not be sharing it with my ex.  For so many years I had longed to have someone to kiss when the ball dropped and four two year I had that.  Realizing that I wouldn't be doing the same this year made me feel anxious, sad, and hell I am still contemplating taking a Tylenol PM and sleeping through New Year's.  However, I am also a little bit excited to start 2013 fresh full of new possibilities (which I will write about more next week).

So before I retire to bed since I work at an inhumane hour tomorrow, let me toast my bottle of water to closing old doors and opening new ones!  Cheers :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Review of: It's Complicated...

So on part of my quest for love and my love of discussions, I enjoy reading books and articles and sharing them with you.  For the past few weeks based on the recommendation of a friend I have been reading the book It's Complicated (But It Doesn't Have to Be)  A Modern Guide to Finding and Keeping Love by Paul Carrick Brunson.  Mr.  Brunson is an African-American matchmaker who was recently had a show on the OWN network called Lovetown, USA.

I enjoyed this book.  Although there was some of the same practical advice that you would find in other books written by matchmakers I thought that this book was much more down to earth and...real.  A good deal of the book focused on self love.  Which I think maybe the most important point that people miss out on when trying to find love.  A lot of time people look for their mate to complete them.  The truth is, you have to be complete on your own.  All a mate does is compliment what is already there.  Brunson also spent some time to suggest that some people may need to seek counseling before they begin dating.  Looking back at some of the men that I have dated, I know that have some issues that stem from way before we met, but refuse to acknowledge them.

The other thing I enjoyed about this book is that he told the reading to "know your relationship vitals."  These are basically your hard line rules for things that you want out of the relationship.  He even said that marriage and monogamy may not be for you but you have to know this about yourself upfront.  I think I have realized more as I am getting older the things that I do and do not want.  Now I just need to be stronger when I see those red flags coming up.

Without giving too much of the book away I would say that it is worth reading.  So if you have some time over the holidays pick it up.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Erasing the Stigma of Mental Health

I have been thinking about writing about the topic of mental health for the past few weeks.  Well actually maybe it has been on my mind for the past few years, but the issue was something that I have been wanting to address on here for awhile.

This country has seen several gun-related incidents recently.  First the the Colorado movie theater shooting, the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide, the shooting in Oregon, and today's shooting in Connecticut.  People are so quick to talk about gun control.  Some one to use that same played out phrase "Guns don't kill people, People kill people."  But with all of the gun rhetoric we are missing a bigger more dangerous point.  There is still a massive stigma around mental health, and this stigma is now proving to be more deadly than ever.

People with mental health issues have always been looked down upon in this country.  Someone is treated as less than a person if they see a therapist and if they have to take medicine it is as if they have the plague.  But why is there stigma in place?  According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) one in four adults experience a mental health disorder in a given year (www.nami.org).  I am sure that you have a friend, a family member, or even a co-worker who you know seems like they could use some professional help.  Yet we continually pass these people by and say nothing.  If someone has a heart condition we tell them to go to the doctor right? Why should a mental health issue be any less then going to the doctor for your physical health?

The truth is, many times physical problems can be manifestations of mental health issues.  Have you ever been super stressed and then end up with a cold?  Or maybe when you are feeling sad you suddenly feel more fatigue?  The body and the mind work in tandem.  You must keep most in check in order to be the best you.

The time must stop where we are scared to go to the psychologist or the psychiatrist. The more that we have  open and honest discussions about mental health, and the more it is acceptable to seek mental health treatment we will see less of the massacres and suicides that are plaguing are nation.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guy Friends Please

For years I have been told this idea  that it is hard to make friends after a certain age.  You know after college and after you settle down into a job meeting new people is nearly impossible, right?  Until recently, I never believed it.  Why?  Because I am a people person.  I meet and make new friends all of the time, so I didn't see the big deal, until recently.  While making new female friends is no big deal, it is making guy friends which has become my problem.  I love my girlfriends and everything, but sometimes I just need to talk to a guy.  Maybe because I like to hear his perspective on life or just because I want to talk about sports or something different than clothes and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  I realized that my plethora of guy friends has dwindled.  Now many of my male friends are either in a relationship or in a different state.

Now I am on a quest to make more guy friends but how do I start?  Last week I literally interviewed a bouncer at the bar to see if he was a qualified friend.  Ok, so that is a little corny, but I was having a bad day and it passed the time pretty well.  But this can't be the real way to do it, right?

Then there is this fine line between being just friends or being someone that I potentially want to date.  It reminds of When Harry Met Sally.  The whole premise of the movie was that men and women can't just be friends with someone because someone wants to sleep with the other person.  Now I do not believe that this is a steadfast rule, but I do think that it is accurate most of the time.  

The thing is when I meet a guy I am not first thinking that he would make a good friend.  No, I first assess if he is someone who I would date.  Then if he is not a person that I find that I find dateable, then I move into assessing whether he is friendship material.  The truth is, this should happen the other way around.  Because as the saying go, don't friends make the best lovers?  

So what are my perquisites for a guy friend?  Well he has to be funny.  He has to like sports that is a definite.  He has to be willing to listen to me and give me advice about guys, and I can give him advice about girls.  He just has to be a nice guy who I can trust.  Maybe someone I can hang out with once in awhile.  You know like a road dog that is ready to get up and go somewhere without asking a million questions like what should I wear and does it matter if I look cute or not.  I guess he is like one of my girls without being girly.  And probably it would help that I am not attracted to him.  I just feel like that makes things too complicated otherwise. So I don't think I am asking for too much am I?

But let's back up.  What happens when we date a guy and then decided that he isn't someone we can see a future with?  Do we say hey let's be friends?  Maybe sometimes, but most of the time I would say at least for me, he becomes someone who I never talk to again.  I have been on many dates in the past (despite my drought right now).  I actually went through my phone to see how many people that I have dated (dating meaning have gone out with at least once) in the past who have remained friends, 6.  That is it.  Think about how many other guys who I have dismissed but who could have been great friends, and might have had other great guy friends who could be my friends now?

I guess the lesson of this post is that I should be just as open to making new guy friends as I am to dating guys.  And perhaps, male friendships should take the priority of male relationships, well maybe lol


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Stronger

So on Tuesday I received an email from my ex.  I honestly thought that he wouldn't have had the balls to contact me.  But he decided to email me, a very un-ballsy way to apologize if you ask me.

I will paraphrase his apology because I don't want to put all of his business out there.  Basically he said that he was sorry and that I probably still hate him and he gets it.  He said he was having some family issues that had stressed him out.  And that he didn't handle the stress the correct way and that he was sorry that he hurt my feelings.

When I read this I hesitated.  I at first contacted some of my trusted guy friends.  They both agreed it seemed legitimate.  That he had a decent excuse but blowing me off for it was not the way to handle it.  I debated whether I should even respond, as I declared a few days ago that I was done with him.  However much I want to be done, and I mean really done, I don't believe in kicking people when they are down either.  So I decided to respond.

My response:

I am sorry to hear that.  Perhaps if I had been armed with this information from the beginning I would have reacted differently.  A friend is supposed to be there for you when things like this happen.  I thought we were friends.  But since you didn't feel like sharing this with me sooner puts that into question.  Normally in situations when I am blown off I get mad but I eventually let it go.  Throughout the years I have tried to be there for you, I have tried to help you, I have listened to you, I have been patient, and understanding even when i don't think you have really deserved it.  I have been a good friend and a good girlfriend. But you continually shit on me time and time again.  I think you have made it evident that you don't want anything with me much less a friendship. I can't keep being hurt by you over and over again it just isn't healthy.  There has to be some sort of change.  Since you aren't changing, I am.  I hope everything works out with your kids and you.  Have a good evening.


So far he hasn't responded.  I doubt that he will, at least not right away.  I am partially bothered because if I do something wrong and I know I am wrong, I go out of my way to try to smooth things over.  I want him to do that, some grand gesture to show that this two years was not a waste.  It doesn't have to be a trip, or jewelry  but those would be nice, a card would even suffice.  But I get nothing, and I probably won't.  And I think this is what stopped me from ending things sooner, because I knew that he would not care enough to fight for me.

My friends think that while my words were strong they were not enough and didn't really provide closure.  I disagree.  I feel more empowered then I have ever felt.  Part of me wishes that he would have never contacted me.  Part of me feels sad because I do care about the issues that he is going through.  But it is almost a new year and I need to start off fresh.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Am I Like Rihanna?

So I have been thinking about the post topic for the past few days.  A few days ago Rihanna posted a picture of her on Instagram kissing the head of someone who looks like Chris Brown.   Now if you follow pop culture like I do, you know that the troubled twosome have been re-kindling their friendship for the past few months.  It appears that the the picture was just a culmination of what we all knew what was going to happen:  Chris Brown and Rihanna getting back together.  So when I thought about this and what happened to me this weekend it made me wonder, am I like Rihanna?

No I am not talking about our party habits, nor our sense of style, or even our personalities (even though I know I am fab).  No I am talking about this pattern of returning to those who have hurt us in the past.

So here is my story.  I know a few weeks ago I pledged to no longer talk to my most recent ex.  It lasted a few weeks or days, I don't really remember, before we were talking again.  He never questioned why I stopped talking to him, things just went back to normal I guess.  On and off we both had suggested seeing each other, since we haven't seen each other since March.  I decided that what better reason to reunite but while watching football with our rival teams playing this past Thursday.  He took off that day as he normally works at night.  I was working in DC so it was not out of my way.  We agreed to meet somewhere in DC, which is a neutral location for both of us, thus guaranteeing that it would be a friendly meet up and nothing more.

So why did I want to see him?  Well it had just been so long I missed him.  I mean this had been someone that had been in my life for a few years and we still talked, although not as frequently.  I also wanted to talk to him in person about things.  I feel like text messages cannot give me the truth and potential closure that I may have needed.  And it is nearly impossible to reach him via phone.  I felt like if we were going to attempt to be real friends and not diving in the the gray area of more than friends but less than a committed relationship that at least for me there needed to be some clear boundaries.  Because clearly for someone that declared that they only wanted to be friends the banter was overly friendly.  If you want to be my friend, just be that, without sending confusing mixed messages and later backtracking and acting as if I am crazy for playing along.

Thursday came.  I was excited but fairly nervous.  Yet the whole time I was plagued with this feeling that he was going to cancel.  Why?  Because was always notorious for that, both while we were dating and when we were in a relationship.  So what happened?  He backed out.  I wish I hadn't deleted the message (because I am deleter not much stays in my phone these days).  He texted me, not called ( the coward way out).  The text said something about sorry I have to cancel.  I am having mixed feelings and I am hungover.  Now you have another reason to hate me.  I texted him back to ask him if he was serious.  No response.  So I called him.  He confirmed the information that he sent in the message.  I promptly told him something to the effect that he was no different than before.  That I am tired of his bullshit and to have a nice day and nice life and that I was done.  When I got back to my seat (because I am at work, and he has the uncanny ability to piss me off while I am at work), I texted him a message saying unless you can be a real friends don't contact me again.

That was Thursday.  I haven't contacted him since, nor have I heard from him.  I am not surprised though.  Why? Because He is a coward.  He always has been maybe always will be.  He was too afraid of what I was going to say to him, of what was going to happen.  Meeting at a bar in DC to watch football, sounds like something stressful right?  Umm no.  And the thing is, he has shown this repeated pattern over time.  So why would I think things were different?  What incentive has he had to change?  None.

I feel disgusted.  I am disgusted in him, obviously.  I don't know what kind of grown ass man behaves this way, especially someone who wants to be my friend.  I am disgusted that he didn't really apologize and he never has and probably never will.  Part of me waits for a sorry card to come in the mail, or a gift, but I can keep waiting forever because for someone who cares about nobody but himself, it is never going to come. I feel stupid for all the times that I apologized to him over and over gain for trivial things that made him upset but how he has never batted an eyelash at the egregious offenses he has done to me.

But maybe I am more disgusted in myself.  I am disgusted that I dated this man for two years, despite the red flags that I saw throughout our relationship.  I am disgusted that I could continue to care for and maybe even pine after a guy who obviously has no respect for me as a girlfriend or even a friend.  I am disgusted that I am willing to give a man chance after chance who does not deserve it.  And it is obvious when we made the plans how wrong I felt because I didn't even tell most of the people I knew what I was doing, nor did I tell them what happened after he cancelled for the billionth time.  Why?  Because I knew that I was going down a bad path.  Then when I was burned I didn't feel like hearing I told you so, and what were everyone was thinking, because from reading this post I think that you can tell that I have beaten myself up more than anyone else can.

And while I was angry on Thursday and ready to be done, and while I am still angry today and still ready to pretend that I never met him, part of me wonders if in a few days, a few weeks, a few months if I will let him back in my life.  I have endured more heartache from one thoughtless man than I can stand. How can I be so strong in so many other facets of my life, and so weak for this one person?  And although I know my situation with this ex does not compare to domestic violence I wonder if Rihanna and I have share the common trait of letting people back in our lives who have proven time and time again that they do not deserve us?  Is this beginning of a pattern for me?  Will the next person I date just be my ex 2.0?  I hope not.

Unlike Rihanna there is one thing that I a benefit from.  Age.  I am just too damn old to put up with someone else's bullshit.  I think my loneliness has a lot to do with why I even still communicate with my ex in the first place.  My friend's grandmother used to tell her that you have to get under someone to get over someone.  Now, I don't agree with that principle at all, but I do get it.  A new person will take your mind off of the old. The truth is I do want to date.  I do want to find a new person to love.  BUT, I do not want to take up with just anyone.  I just want to be with someone who truly cares about me, and someone who loves me as I love them.  But until then, alone I am.

As for the ex thing.  I am ready to let it go.  I hope he heads my warnings and doesn't contact me.  It is time for me to truly move on and to break this cycle.  I don't want to be the non-famous version of Chris Brown and Rihanna, because that is not cute nor is it healthy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Am I Invisible?

This weekend one of my girls and I went out.  I was excited because I hadn't been out out in awhile.  I was single and ready to mingle!  However, at some point in the evening  my excitement dwindled.

You see I have noticed this occurrence happen more and more.  Why do men who are interested in my friends try to use me as a conduit?  I mean seriously!  It happened to me at least three times in one night.  The first guy even tried to befriend me and buy me drinks only to ask me if he thought that he had a chance with my friend.  Sir, please don't talk to me all night to try to get my friend!  But then after this one guy, more guys decided to tell me that my friend was hot.  What a slap in the face!  It made me wonder if I am invisible?

Is this the new normal?  I mean is that what's hot on in the streets, for me to do your work for you?  NO THANKS!  To me it seems kind of cowardly to come up to me to talk about my friend. If you are interested in someone shouldn't you just go up to them directly? Also it's just kind of rude.  I felt like the ugly stepchild all night and I know that I am far from ugly.  I am fabulous!

My cousin asked me if I was jealous of the attention.  Maybe a little.  But overall I was just irritated.  I went out to enjoy myself and meet people, not to serve as my friend's wing man for the entire night, but that point I will save for another post.

So the moral of the story is:  Men if you are interested in my friend please just go ahead and tell my friend not me.  Thanks!

Getting Myself Together

Since my most recent contract job ended last week, I realized that I need to get my life together.  I need to clean up my room, apply to jobs, and workout.  For this post I am going to focus on the later.

I have really let myself go.  I have been eating anything and everything.  Normally this is not as bad if I am working out, but that has fallen off too.  I step on the scale every morning.  I have noticed the steady increase.  It is now at the point where I said that I would never be.  Don't worry, I am not back at my original heaviest weight, but if I proceed in the same manner as I am now I will be soon enough.

Not to mention I feel terrible.  My clothes feel almost uncomfortably tight.  I am starting to feel bloated and gross.  And quite frankly not being where I should be, just makes me feel unattractive.  As much as I like going out and meeting people at the same time I feel a little unnerved because I am not at my best.  I know from experience that whatever mood that you are in, you will be projecting that mood out into the universe.

BUT have no fear I went to the gym this morning.  It was very very painful.  Do you know what it feels like to the gym that first day after not having gone for awhile?  IT SUCKS!  Plus, I always get so self-conscience in the gym.  I feel like everyone is looking at me funny.  I have some breathing issues, especially when I am working out.  And you know when you put on headphones you have no idea about how hard you are breathing, I am convinced that the people on the machines next to me think that I am going to die.  My friends always tell me to get over it, but it is always in the back of my mind.

I have decided that today is the time to get it back together.  No waiting until the holidays, heck, no waiting until December 1st.  Now I just need to figure out when my next vacation is so I have something to show off my svelte figure in a few months :)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I Am Thankful For

Today is Pre-Thanksgiving.  With all the hustle and the bustle of tomorrow, I thought I would take a few minutes to share what I am thankful for.

Next month will mark the two year anniversary of not having full time employment.  I never imagined that I would ever be in this type of situation.  Two years ago when I saw the stories of the unemployed I never thought I would be one of them.  At the very least, I felt that my unemployment stretch would be a short one,  however, it has been far from that.  Despite all of this, I am thankful for this period of my life.  I have grown stronger than I knew that I was possible.  I have become more humble and I have learned what it feels like to really be limited.  I have also learned that while money is important there is no comparison for happiness.  Each day marks a new step toward finding my own happiness and becoming a better person.  Between temporary jobs and my part time job, I have been able to explore this.

I am writing this post because I am waiting for my mom to get home from the senior center.  And as I was waiting I realized, although this is not the first realization, that despite all of the stress and heartache that comes with having a mother with MS, I love her with all my heart.  I cannot imagine her not being in my life.  Even though sometimes I could do without her waking me up before my alarm goes off, or her begging me to buy her Mega Millions and Powerball tickets, or even having her dig her nails into my skin as she holds on to my arm as she is walking, she is truly a blessing in my life.  I think that I persevere because I know that I am the person who she relies on and looks up to.  I know that with my Dad gone, that he would expect no less from me.

I am also thankful for the rest of my family.  We are not like Martin, and we do not all just get along all the time, but that's ok.  We all have different personalities and different backgrounds.  However, the one real thing about my family is that in the end we all come together and put aside our differences when it is needed.  I probably do not always show my love and thankfulness as much as I should sometimes, but that is a work in progress.

My friends are the world to me.  I really am blessed to have some of the greatest friends ever.  We have been through thick and thin.  My friends are like my own sisters and brothers.   I love them so much.  I appreciate you listening to me and dealing with my ever changing moods.  Thank you for correcting me when I am wrong and allowing me to voice my opinion whether you want to hear it or not.  You guys are awesome and I don't tell you that enough.

Finally I want to thank you...all two of you that read this lol j/k.  I know it is more like 20.  Thank you for letting me get some stuff off of my chest.  I enjoy sharing my thoughts with others and learning that other people agree with some of the things that I am thinking too.  I hope that will continue to grow in learn in your presence.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are my expectations too high?

Are my expectations too high?  After my last relationship ended I decided that I needed to make some changes in my expectations of my potential suitors.  I think I have written about this before, but I believe that women have allowed men to get lazy.  I think that men do not have to "court" women anymore because woman don't demand to be courted.  It is understandable though.  Part of it is that maybe we have never truly been courted in the first place.   The other part is, that maybe we are just so desperate to find love and companionship that we are willing to cut corners and relax our standards in order to not feel lonely.  We have become to comfortable with just "hanging out" or having a first date chilling on the couch watching tv.  Those are not dates, those are examples of lazy dating.  Or even worse, examples of not really valuing you enough or wanting to commit to even going on a real date.

I will admit, this was me.  It took me a long time to come into my own and realize my own self-worth.  Shoot, I still have issues with it now too.  I want to find a man who appreciates me.  I want to enjoy his company as he enjoys my own.  But, I need to be treated like a queen.  I mean even treating me like more than the help would be a step up at this point.  I want to know that a man is really interested in me.  I want to see that he is making an effort to woo me.  Is that too much to ask?

I have tried various methods of dating.  I meet people both in person and online.  But the results appear to be the same, terrible!  I was talking to one of my male friends about this the other day.  I told him that one of the new guys I am talking to acts like he is really interested and looking forward to going out and getting to know each other.  However, he barely returns my texts and phone calls, and made a half-ass effort to ask me out and then never followed through.  I can only think that this type of behavior is something that would continue if we were dating.  At 36, I believe that you should know how to court a woman, correct?  That makes me think that he is either not truly interested or he is just lazy.  I over thinking?  My friend told me that "women are impossible."  But I don't think that wanting a man to show the effort to get to know me is asking too much.

Or another example is man I met a few weeks ago while I was out.  He asked me for my number.  He told me to call him.  I already thought this was a red flag.  If a guy is truly interested shouldn't he feel free to call me?  I mean HE asked ME for my number, not the other way around.  Anyway, after a few texts and phone calls that went nowhere I didn't hear from him.  I deleted his number last week, and I am not looking back.  Why even bother asking me for my number if you plan no follow through?  I don't need anymore phone or text buddies.  I felt like I should have followed my gut in the first place and never called him.

My girlfriends tell me that I am sometimes too judgmental and that I do not give guys a chance.  But I think that actions speak louder than words.  How many chances should I give to a potential suitor who is really not trying to be suited to my expectations or needs?

I am lonely.  And it is the holidays.  The thoughts of ringing in the New Year with my mom sound very unappealing lol.  However, I realize that right now maybe I am supposed to be alone for a reason.  I still would love someone to sweep me off my feet though and I don't mind waiting for it.  If that makes my expectations too high then so be it.  Hmpf!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Single and ok with it

While I was driving home from the gym earlier today, yes I went to the gym (but I will save that for a different post), I was reflecting on the holidays.  Basically from November until about February I have always been kind of down.  A few years ago I self-diagnosed myself as having seasonal affective disorder (now I understand why teachers wrote that I always complained of being sick and why I knew the definition of a hypochondriac at such a young age). I don't care if I grew up in Illinois, after living in Louisiana for three years, I no longer have a tolerance for the cold.

Another contributing factor to my sadness is thinking about the major changes that happened at this time.  When I was in 8th grade around Thanksgiving my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  In that same 8th grade year in January, my dad was then diagnosed with cancer.  My dad ended up passing away from cancer three years later in February.

But now there is the added wrench of being single.  For the past two years the holidays were partially spent with my boyfriend at the time.  He would always work on Thanksgiving so I would pack a plate to go for the both of us an travel down to his place at night so he could have dinner.  And always to top it off we would cook the turkey at one of us bought from Popeyes.  I must tell you I would start talking about this turkey in summer.  It was serious business.  But this year, we are not together.  There will be no Popeye's turkey for me, and no trip to Virginia to spend part of the holidays with him. In fact, I even have to work on Friday, so that pretty much eliminates so of the free time I would have had anyway.  Then I started thinking about New Year's, and how I have no one to kiss this year...

But despite all of this, for the first time maybe ever in life, I am single and ok with it.  I told my co-worker today that I am single single.  Meaning, I am single with no prospects.  I mean single and not going on ANY dates.  Don't get me wrong, I would like to be taken out to dinner, the movies, shoot even McDonald's is a step up from nothing lol.  However, this is the first time I have felt comfortable with being alone, because I truly know what I want and don't want.  I remember when I was younger and less confident, I blindly longed for companionship.  Now with a few relationships under my belt and becoming a little older and a lot wiser I am ok with being single.  I have decided that I would much rather be single than be unhappy and with someone.  I am ok with waiting and being patient until the right person comes along.  I value myself and my desires so much more than I ever have before.

I have been able to do so much while not having to worry about men.  I have been able to take vacations.  I can go out and flirt with the security guard at a bar that has neck tattoos and not feel ashamed.  I can spend as much time with my girls as I want.  I do not have to worry about allotting time in my schedule for someone who wouldn't have the courtesy to do the same.   I have been able to spend more time with my mom.  I have learned more about her.  I have been more comfortable with her.  And I am learning how to appreciate her despite of her flaws.  And most importantly, I am learning to love myself despite my own flaws.

I am in a new place in my life.  It is feels kind of scary, but kind of good at the same time.  But overall I am single and I am ok with it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Four More Years...

Tuesday was a monumental day.  President Barack Obama was re-elected as President of the United States.  A black president makes it for another term...whhhaaaat!?!?  Four years ago, when he was first elected, I was celebrating on U St. with friends and strangers into the wee hours of the morning.  This year, I am a little older, and a little more sophisticated.  I was with most of the same friend but instead of shutting down an intersection we were informed of President Obama's victory while listening to NPR on the way home.  I couldn't even stay up for the concession speech much less the victory speech.  I was worn out from a long day of work, too strong of drinks. and well, me just being older.

As a result of the election this year I have been able to observe a few things.  First, I LOVE POLITICS.  I have always loved politics for as long as I can remember.  In fact, I remember year after year trying to run for class president or the SGA only to come up short.  For many years I even wanted to become the first black female President.  However, while I no longer have the same passion to run for office, I still love politics.  I realized that I need to be involved in some way even if if it means volunteering for a local campaign.  So in two years I am in, this is my promise to myself.

My other observation is how much we are divided as a country.  I mean this on two levels.  In Maryland, Question 6 which allowed for the legalization of gay marriage was passed.  I have had so many gay and lesbian friends growing up.  My support for gay marriage was never an issue.  But as a result of this referendum I have really gotten to know the opinions of others, including those who I call friends.  I am still amazed that the lengths that people will go to prevent other people's happiness.  Regardless of how you feel about homosexuality do you believe that is it is your right dictate who can marry who?

Post election I have seen racist, sexist and homophobic rants on Facebook.  I have read articles online and have heard reports on tv.  I don't know whether to be scared or happy.  Scared because of all this bubbling deep seated hatred, or happy because people's hate is out in the open instead of behind closed doors.  I have seen people assume because one is a democrat that they are on welfare, have multiple kids, and are unemployed.  Or on the other side that Republicans are racist, sexist, red neck idiots.   States have threatened to secede.  People have threatened to move.  Are people unhappy about the person who is president or the color of his skin?  In a society were Caucasians are becoming the minority I feel like it is time that we start having some serious conversations about race in America.  Our country no longer looks the way it did when it was founded.  we are truly become a melting pot of colors and ideas.  No one is really moving to Canada so we need to start getting to know each other and learning to work with each other and no against each other regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, class or whatever.

As for four more years....  I hope that President Obama pushes up his sleeves, stops being the nice guy, and get to work!  We have a lot of issues going on this country and we have no time for rest.  And we, the people who elected him (or didn't), need to make sure to hold him accountable and to back him up if he needs it.  Let's make this a fantastic four more years!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

You never know when your life will be turned upside down.  I am sure no one ever thought that Hurricane Sandy would have created the devastation that it did to the East Coast.   It is even crazier for me to imagine because I was in New York and Atlantic City this weekend.  To see such a drastic change in a few days I cannot even believe.

How do you prepare for an event that will change you life?  Can you prepare for it?  And what do you do once your life is is changed?   Seeing pictures of the "City that Never Sleeps" at a standstill is a jarring image.  But for every disturbing image it makes me smile and shed a tear for the sense of community that a tragedy can bring together.  People are opening their homes, their wallets, and their hearts to assist others.

Right now all of the little things that I was complaining about are trivial.  Right now I am blessed for the things that I do have, for the people that I have taken for granted.  And I thank God for reminding me that no day is promised to us.  I thank God for reminding us all that what we think that we "own" is not ours, but his.  Blessings and prayers to all the families that were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Clean Slate

Last night I think I experienced my clean slate.  Yes, I feel that I am official free of man complications this morning.

It all started with my ex ex.  I guess I cannot claim credit for this one.  For the past the month or so I felt like the ex ex has been distant.  We were trying to do the friends thing, but all of a sudden he kind of dropped off the face of the earth.  I even deleted his number a few weeks ago, because I was tired of putting in the effort.  I felt like he had really stopped being a friend and I didn't know why.  Maybe he was dating someone and it was getting serious.  That is a strong possibility   But since he would not talk about the topic of this friend I have no idea.  Or maybe something is going on with him more personal.  I don't know either way, but I did try and there is only so much I can do.  Regardless, I don't need a part time friend.  So maybe I confronted him at a inopportune time.  But I haven't heard from him, so I feel like this is the clean slate I was looking for.  The friendship had become a little uncomfortable anyway, and maybe was not in our best interests.

Next is the non communication from a new guy that I met a few weeks ago.  We have been texting regularly for the past few weeks.  We had plans a couple of times but it didn't work out due to scheduling conflicts.  So tonight was supposed to be our date make up night where he made up for cancelling on me (and I looked extra fly too).  I tried texting and I called.  I have heard nothing back in response.  The sad thing is I am not that mad.  I am disappointed  more than anything because I thought it would be a new start.  The sad thing is that things like this have happened to me in the past.  I decided my online dating life is taking a hiatus and I  shut down my account, at least for now.  Why do people go ghost out of nowhere?

Finally the recent ex.  I did what I should have done months ago.  I told him that we can no longer be friends.  I said some other stuff too, which I immediately deleted.  I think it said something like he doesn't want to be with me yet sends mixed signals, I didn't want to be hurt again, and that he didn't appreciate me before and he doesn't now.  Now this might seem out of the blue, but there are a few situations that are precipitated this.  I have wanted to tell him so many times that I didn't want to be friends.  I never had the courage.  Well it is not courage that was the problem, the issue was not being able to deal with the possibility that he didn't value my friendship enough to fight for it.  Well seeing that he never responded, I assume that it is a done deal.

So this morning, I feel like I am starting off anew.  It is time to move on and maybe I need more time to be alone.  Tomorrow is November 1st right? To new beginnings.... :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Are We Hyper Paranoid?






I am sitting here waiting for this "Frankenstorm" Hurricane Sandy to really show her teeth.  All the forecasters predict that this storm is going to be a doozy.  As a result schools, courts, transportation and even the government is shutting down.  I have seen the images on tv of what is already happening and the storm has not directly hit yet.  I believe that over preparation is better than under preparation.  Part of me wondered if there was an over reaction.  Now I don't think it is.  However, part of me wonders if in general if we have become a hyper paranoid society?

I don't believe that this societal paranoia is an overnight development.  It all began in the 80s shoot maybe before that.  Let me first preface to say that I am a child of the 1980s.  I definitely was not babied as a child.  Unless I have forgotten my childhood (which is possible), I do not remember my parents being overprotective.  Anyway, at some point someone, probably some doctor with a book, decided that parents of the 80s babies had to show more nurturing and love to their kids.  Kids didn't need tough love anymore, now they needed hugs and kisses and lesson on self esteem.  All of a sudden we had medal for last place. Failing grades were changed from F's to E's as to not hurt a child's psyche. The use of antibacterial lotions and the overuse of drugs has made it hard for kids to fight off the common cold.  Parents started fighting their children's battles.  If a child didn't like a grade a parent made a call and threatened the teacher's job.  So now we have generations of kids that never had the ability to tough things out and learn how to make mistakes on their own, courtesy of overprotective parents.

Now I do have to admit.  We live in a different society now.  People aren't as friendly.  The moniker of it "takes a village" is no longer in place.  We have become an individualistic society.  There is an increase in the amount of violence and sex shown by the media and we are becoming more sensitized as a result.  This is definitely not a world where you can feel safe by not locking your doors at night.

You have to admit the media and the government are contributors to this society of worry.  For many years the government has trounced on our fears in order to win support.  Remember the war propaganda from World War II.  The same still held true for the "War on Terror" and the weapons of mass destruction.  We were so ready to get in a battle that costs millions and thousands of lives with very little evidence.  And the media market is owned by only a handful of people.  Do you think that maybe they are profiting with each new disaster or potential super disease?

So maybe some paranoia is to be expected.  But how can we balance our fears and not let our paranoia become part of our stress?  Sometimes I feel like my friends and family can be too paranoid.  My family told me no longer to call late at night to tell them I was going to crash at a friends house.  They were too paranoid about receiving bad news at night...  A few weeks ago I had a friend who was scared to jump on a trampoline because she was sure she was going to break something.  Once, she loosened up and let go, she had a blast...and broke no bones :)    Another friend told me that because of her profession she worries about potential brain damage of her nephew when he skateboards.  Is there a difference between natural paranoia and hyper paranoia?  Or maybe part of this worrying increases with age and knowledge?

What can we do?  I don't know.  To me things are going to happen.  There is no way we can plan for everything.  So why stress out over things we can't control.  The only thing we can really do is take life day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute and be as prepared as you can, the rest is in God's hands.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Interracial Dating

Interracial dating has long been a topic exciting strong opinions.  I began to think about this topic more over the summer when our church had a series on interracial dating.  It was a very progressive topic for a very progressive church.  Our church is encompassed by multiple races and ages and is a safe haven for those of us that live in or near the racial utopia that is Columbia, MD.  And I am sure the fact that our pastor is black, while his wife is Korean can't hurt either.  

But I am embarrassed to say that even after sitting through the series and even having friends that I love and respect who have been in interracial relationships, as a black woman I still have trouble accepting a black man with a non black woman.  And let me be more specific.  My issue is not with interracial dating in general.  As a black woman I have often talked about "getting my swirl on" or "trying something new," a.k.a, dating outside my race.  I even find myself looking at couples with a black woman and non black man in awe.  Part of me gives a proud head nod to those women.  However, despite my admiration for the black woman/white man combination I still have the problem with a black men dating a white women.

Why am I embarrassed?  I am embarrassed because it is 2012.  I have been blessed to grow up in various locations around the country.  I have friends that span all races and ethnicities.    Above all that, I believe in love.  I think people should have the right to love anyone they want.  So why can't I get over this?

Maybe part of it is the disparity between educated black men and black woman.  More black woman are in college then black males and the disparity just increases the higher up the educational ladder you go.  Finding a black man who shares my educational status is already difficult, black men know this.  Therefore, they have their pick of who they date.  Many, not all, then play the odds and date numerous women at once.  The plight of the black woman dating and finding marriage is a subject that pops up every few years by the media, but it is not what I want to focus on here.

Many times when you find a successful black man, you will find a white woman on his arm, not all times, but many.  I will be even more specific.  I think the issue is not a black man that finds one white woman that he loves.  I think the issue that myself, and many other black women have is that black man that dates exclusively white women or exclusively non black women.  It is like a slap in the face!  

Why do they have the non black female preference?  Here are some theories.  Some just straight up don't like black women.  They say that we are too loud, too bossy,  and ask too many questions, so you know, they use the usual stereotypes heightened in the media and other entertainment outlets.  Maybe it has to do with slavery.  A time where black men were constantly emasculated by white slave masters who violated their black wives and continuously ripped apart families leaving the black woman to become the matriarchs of the family.   Maybe their dating preference is a way to stick it to "the man" by dating his once forbidden white female stock?   Perhaps black men have fallen victim to the white aesthetic of beauty?  Society is constantly defining the ideal beauty as being a blond haired blue eyed fair skinned woman.  Possibly, black men lack confidence in themselves.  They could have been that guy that liked to listen to Nine Inch Nails or enjoyed reading rather than playing sports.  The non black girls may have been the only girls to accept this boy for who he is.

What do I think?  All of the above?  None of the above?  A combination?  Who knows!?  I am no psychologist!  But everyone has their own experiences and their own perceptions.  It is unfair to judge black men as a monolithic group.  A black man's dating preference is an individual preference, much like my own.

And even though it makes me uncomfortable sometimes to see the pictures of a black man with his umpteenth white wife or girlfriend is it about him and his preferences or is it about me?  In other words, is it that man that is bothering me or the fact that I feel rejected by a group  that historically was supposed to be my strength and support.  A black man is the only other person that can truly understand my plight.  And maybe I feel hurt, because I don't look like the woman that you will see on a billboard.  I thought that my black man would love my curly hair, my curves, and my caramel skin because we are one in the same, but maybe he is looking at me with disgust.  Maybe it is when society tells me that I am not smart enough, successful enough, or beautiful enough that I thought that you, black man would have my back but then I find out you don't?  It hurts to think that you don't see me as your black queen.

The truth is though, regardless if I feel hurt by my black brother choosing a white woman over me, it's none of my business.  We are far removed from the days of Loving v. Virginia.  People of all races can marry and date who they want, at least in the United States.  Hell, more and more states are even allowing for gay marriage.  So who am I to judge?  


Monday, October 22, 2012

You're a Jerk




Wah, wah wah wah wah "You're a jerk!"
Why you trippin? I ain't even do nuttin "You're a jerk!"
"You're a jerk!" I'm a jerk? You ain't never lie
But ay, do me a favor, call me jerk one more time
"You're a jerk!" (I know) "You're a jerk!" (I know)
"You're a jerk!" (I know) "You're a jerk!" (Ay, ay)
"You're a jerk!" (I know) "You're a jerk!" (I know)
"You're a jerk!" (I know) "You're a jerk!" (Ay, ay)
"You're a jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk" (Jerky)
"Jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk" (Jerky)
"Jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk" (Jerky)
"Jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk" (Jerky)

--- New Boyz "You're a Jerk"


I'm tired of dealing with jerks!  This weekend I was out with my mom.  I was kind of tired, and tired of being out with her all day.  I decided to kill some time by hanging out at  one of my favorite places, the bookstore.  I figured it would be a good time to do some research for this blog so I picked up a few dating books.  My favorite was Are All Guys Assholes?  by Amber Madison.  The premise of the book was to say that not all guys are not assholes, but instead guys are more softer creatures than we think and are just trying to keep up appearances because of the roles that society has created for them.

Now while I was reading this book I thought that the premise of guys not being assholes, or who I would like to start calling jerks, was malarkey (thanks VP Biden for forever adding this word to my vocabulary).  Let me back up.  I certainly do not think that all guys are jerks.  But I think that a majority are.  

While I was reading this I began thinking about the jerks that are in my life.  I can't certainly blame it all on them.  No, it is my fault for repeatedly letting them back in my life.  But honestly, why am I getting irritated and annoyed with someone that I am not married to, or even dating?  To quote Sweet Brown,"Ain't nobody got time for that!"

What makes them jerks?  To me jerks are the ones who seem to really only care about themselves.  They might act like you mean something to them, but in the end they only care about you enough for what they can use you as and then when they is over they are over, over you.

So I think about these jerks.  I think about the good times that we had and I forget about all the other times when they were jerks.  I contact them, or let them contact me thinking that we can be friends and that maybe it will be nice to have a friend around.  NO they are not friends of mine.  It is time for me to get wise and let go.  The only jerk I want to have is jerk chicken, not jerky friends.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Giving back

When I went to law school I wanted to be Angela Davis, except not get arrested.  I had visions of helping the community, the black community.  While I was in school a lot of people thought that I was crazy.  Or more often times than not many felt as if they wanted to work for a few years and then they could focus more on giving back.  The truth is there are so many ways to give.   You can give money or you can give you time.  You give a little or you can give a lot, but the truth is you need to do something, and waiting is not the answer.  Why give?  Because before us someone did something to help us out, so we would have a better life.

However, what is your disposition when you give?  Do you give because you like doing it or because you think it is the right thing to do but you are not really into it?  God cares about your disposition and where your heart is.  You should be giving because you love God, not because you believe it is a chore.

I have been thinking a lot about disposition lately.  I have some friends who sometimes seem to have the biggest hearts but at the same time can be the most judgmental people that I know.  It seems like they are living a parallel life.  How can you care so much about giving back to the community and serving others yet your attitude is one of judgment and believing yourself to be better than others?  Can you help others while your nose is turned up at the people around you?  I am sure that they don't even realize this dichotomy in themselves.  Is it  even worth pointing out?  Probably not.

During my unemployment stretch I have learned a serious lesson in humility.  And many times when I volunteer or see people on the street I think I could literally be where they are.  We all think we know everyone's story, but we don't.  You never know what situations that you might come across.  One day you  might be that person that needs help....

I still want to be Angela Davis, but in a different capacity.  I have grown and I know that giving manifests in many different ways.  I also feel that I am better equipped to help others having had my own struggles.  I thank God for allowing me for my own experiences to allow me to be able to give back to others with a renewed perspective in tact.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We Are Young



We are young, heartache to heartache we stand 
No promises, no demands 
Love Is A Battlefield 
We are strong, no one can tell us we're wrong 
Searchin' our hearts for so long, both of us knowing 
Love Is A Battlefield 

-----"Love is a Battlefield" sung by Pat Benatar



I am thirty one.  Most of my friends are in their late 20's and early 30's.  Many of my friends are single.  Older people tell me that we are young and that there is plenty of time to find love.  But is that true?

As a black female various media outlets have analyzed the plight of the educated black female and her odds at finding "true love".  The summary is the same, the more educated we are the harder it is to find a man.

Then there is that baby clock thing that concerns everyone.  Since I am not too keen on having kids at this point, my own clock is of no concern.  But to my friends, their clock is beating both loudly and persistently.  I think most people would rather have a baby before marriage.  It has become more apparent through fertility education that once a woman hits 30 her odds of conception is far smaller than when she was in her 20's.  So as a woman gets more into her 30's the numbers are just not in her favor.

Yeah, we are young and not supposed to worry about these things, but how can we not?

You know what makes it the hardest?  The past.  I know I have written about my exes a lot, but they are my frame of reference.  I think that hardest part about moving on, letting go, forgiving, and starting over is remembering the good times.  Because it is those times when you both clicked so well that made you overlook a little red flag here and there.  Being in love is this incredible feeling that you don't want to let go of, no it is quite the opposite.  When you are in love, especially in the beginning you just want to hold on to that feeling as long as possible.  It is that feeling when you think about that person when you wake up and when you go to sleep.  It is the little laughs that you shared and the little things that you found resistible about that the other person that makes it all worth while.

So what do us young folk do?  We struggle and become saddened at the thought that we may not be able to get that feeling again.  That we may never be able to build a foundation with someone who will make us happy.  We began to ponder the thoughts of never having our own Romeo, or Cliff Huxtable, or Barack Obama.

But there is something worse than the waiting itself... it is that feeling that you really maybe single involuntarily for the rest of your life, a point that few of us really discuss.

So yes, we are young.  But I think that we have the right to be worried.  I think we have the right to be loved.  I think we are entitled to a love like our parents had and the right to start our own family should we choose.  But don't lose faith.  And remain hopeful that the waiting, is to your benefit and not your detriment.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Perspective

Today my uncle was in a car crash.  It happened in the morning as he and my aunt were going on their daily morning walk.  He was doing the right thing, trying to get in his exercise, trying to prolong his life.  But while he was trying to prolong his life he could have also lost it.  Thankfully, he seems to be fine.  He might have a dislocated thumb and he does have a concussion; however, things could have definitely gone a different way.

With the hustle and bustle of the events of the day and going to work I pushed a lot of my own feelings aside.    Years of having family members die/and/or in and out of the hospital, emergencies now seem to leave me numb.  When I finally got the chance to reflect on the day so many thoughts and feelings were put into perspective.  It made me remember something that I learned long ago, that life is so precious, family and friends are so precious, and you never quite when they will leave you or when you will need them.

I also witnessed the sadness and the strength of my aunt.  As much as I sometimes have a roller coaster relationship with my family, hearing my aunt cry over the phone as she was trying to tell me what happened broke my heart.  Trying to picture how she felt witnessing the man she loves in an accident, well, I can't even imagine what that would be like.  It made me long for those who have passed.  It made me think about will I ever be in a position where someone will feel the same about me if I am hurt or sick?  It made me think that maybe my anti-dating, man-bashing days should come to an end.  That maybe I am ready to love again.

My lingering thoughts about my uncle's health all day made me realize how all the stupid battles that I have fought are indeed just stupid.  Because in the end, all you really have is your friends and your family.  Arguments about putting away the dishes or texts messages about laundry are really just trivial.  When someone in your circle is faced with a tremendous hardship you put those silly things aside and you rally.

Today my uncle was in a car crash.  And today I received the jolt I needed to dismiss my funky attitude, to say goodbye for my despair, and to embrace a goody but oldie perspective on life, love, and all the things in between.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Different Way of Thinking

So I am not sure why but I keep delaying reading the last chapter of my Purpose Driven Life.  I have enjoyed this journey so much that I don't want it to end.  The good thing is, that just reading a book for 40 days will not complete my journey because the quest for eternal life is, well, eternal.

Over the past 40 plus days the way I think has changed.  I guess in actuality it has been gradually changing for the past few years since I have been working on building my relationship with God.  But I have definitely noticed more of a change recently.  I believe it to be a good change, although I don't think there is really a value associated with it, it is just different.

Different how?  Well for one I find myself talking to others about God and religion more than ever.  I think maybe I didn't before because I did not have enough knowledge to speak on the subject.  But as I have learned I feel more comfortable sharing.  In addition, I realized that it is ok to talk about it.  Just because I consider myself to be spiritual and I talk about God to people who do not feel the same way or who may not be Christian it doesn't mean that I can't have the conversation.  I used to be so worried about being a bible thumper, aka one of those people who rams religion down your throat, that I tried to discuss it.   But what I have noticed that my spirituality is such an important aspect in my life.  It shapes who I am and the reason why I behave the way I do.

Now, I invite friends to attend church services with me on a regular basis.  I don't do this because I get recruitment points or because I want people to notice that I have brought a friend.  No, I do it because I love my church so much.  I feel so full and nourished each Sunday after I go to church.  I feel very unbalanced if I skip a week.  I look forward to getting up and going.  A few years ago I felt like it was a chore.  I invite people to church and I talk about my spiritual journey because I want everyone else to feel just as excited as I do.  It is like being in love, you want everyone else to be in love too so they can share your happiness.

I also have this unmistakable feeling that while I only life once, my purpose is beyond the day to day grind.  I feel like I have this higher understanding, but only a glimpse into how it all fits together.  Just think about it.  Have you been stressing and worrying about how/if things will work out and how it all seems to work itself out? Have you ever thought about the people in your life?  How sometimes it seems like certain people have come into your life for a certain reason?  I have had conversations with friends about our unlikely friendships that turn into strong bonds beyond imagination.  Or to have a connection with friends that is deeper than just a friendship level but more of a friendship status.  All of us and our purposes are walking around and although we may seem like individuals we are all interconnected in ways that we will probably never realize.  This makes me want to work even harder to serve God.  It also makes me confirm that my purpose of helping others may not be directly connected to my career.  It is because helping doesn't have to always have to be some big grandiose notion.  We have no idea how much we can influence others and make a difference.

So if you haven't taken the step toward your own spiritual journey regardless of your religion, your beliefs, or whatever, I encourage you to do the same.  I am sure that the process will be a change of discovery that is worth your while :)


The Facebook Effect

Have you ever caught yourself glued to Facebook for hours and then feeling bad about yourself?  You know how everyone's lives either seem super fun all the time.  Suddenly, maybe you feel like your life isn't as awesome as you thought it was?  I would like to call that the Facebook Effect.

You see the Facebook Effect tricks you into thinking that you life pales in comparison to your friends, when in reality it probably doesn't.  Think about it, how often are you going to post the most mundane, boring, and even crappy aspect of your life.  Never.  Well I take that back, there are some people who seem to do this frequently and I have no learned how to hide their newsfeeds, eureka!  But really, if you are posting something for all the world to see, wouldn't you want to put your best foot forward?

I find myself tonight mesmerized looking at photos and status messages of my own friends.  Many of my friends who are my age are married and/or have kids.  Sometimes I have wondered if I had made different decisions or taken a different path if maybe I would be married with kids now.  But as I ponder that, I also realize that I am glad with the decisions that I made and the way my life is now.  Granted, I am not saying that my life is perfect, because no one is, but I am happy with the way things are and would have made no major changes.

Besides as Christians we are not supposed to compare ourselves to others.  My friend reminded me a few minutes ago that everyone comes with "different background, experiences, and opportunities."  She is indeed correct.

So the next time you get lost in Facebook stalking remember that your life is just as awesome as everyone else.  And maybe, just maybe, someone may be stalking you and envious of the life that you are living...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Helper's Dilemma

In church a few weeks ago the pastor said that each person has their own theme.  It was a small part of the sermon that day, but it is still something that has run through my mind here and there.  What is my theme?  I think today that I figured it out.  I am a helper.  If you know me, or even if you are a strict follower of my blog this seems so obvious.

You see, ever since I can remember I have been drawn to helping people.  I always loved volunteering as a child.  I loved going to nursing homes and singing, even though I was no Jennifer Hudson lol.  I even was the president of Key Club in high school, until I moved to Maryland.  And the same applied throughout college, law school, and today.  There is no wonder that my career choice has always been encompassed by the need to help/fix others.

Well the same is true with my friends.  I am a zealous advocate of my friends I have realized, maybe to a fault.  I want so bad for my friends to be happy that many time avenge their hurts more than they would themselves.  It is kind of like I am sponge for other people's pain.  And while I am glad that I can deeply empathize with others, I end up internalizing some of the emotions as well.

It all kind of hit me when I was talking with one of my very close  friends.  I was telling her, yet again, how I wanted to have a discussion with one of the guys she dated because I felt like he was behaving inappropriately.  She told me I needed to let it go because she wasn't expecting anything from him and didn't care.  For a split second a though flashed in my head that I actually care more about her situation than she did.  And this is not the first time.

While I am excelling at being a good friend, a good daughter, a good community helper, I am hurting in the process too.  The bad things about sponges is there is only only so much that a sponge can absorb before it is rendered useless.  I fear that I come dangerous close to my breaking point.

Sometimes I even feel resentful to the world.  I feel alone.  I feel tired.  I wonder to myself at times who is there for me when I need help?  Will someone be there to beat up my ex and kick him in the baby maker even when I didn't ask for it?  I help not for the recognition, but because I truly enjoy doing it.  However, I need replenishment for my soul too.

And I don't want to say for that my friends aren't down.  That's not what I mean at all.  I just feel like for those people that care more for others than they do themselves that it is a lonely place filled with self-doubt and even fear.  I guess I need to figure out how to balance it all.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ex Withdrawal

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was torn with trying to be friends with my ex.  I am slowly trying to, I suppose, ween myself away from him.  I don't call him, I stopped texting, and I don't email him.  And even though it was hard, it is been a week since and I still haven't responded to his last email.  But it still makes me feel sad.

As angry as I was, and maybe still am, I am starting to feel better.  No longer to I have a bombardment of thoughts as to kicking him in the baby maker.  But I still wonder sometimes what he is doing, and even who is doing whatever with.  It all kind of hit me a little bit for the start of the football season too.  Normally it would have been us cooking and watching football together or going to the bar together, but this year I am watching alone, or working so I don't even see a game at all.

As good as I have been I still miss him, especially the this week.  Last week I started a new temp gig.  We used to have the joke that when one of us gets paid we both get paid, but I didn't share the joke with him this time because I didn't talk to him.  Then this week I had an interview.  Normally he would have been the first person I told when I got the interview and the first person I called after it finished.  Instead I didn't contact him at all.  And after the interview I just listened to NPR all the way home :/

So I must admit I am going through ex withdrawal.  But I think that it is exacerbated by the fact that I feel kind of lonely and have kind of given up on the whole dating idea, at least for now.  I just feel so ambivalent about the my romantic situation and I am starting to feel more and more that there is no man out there for me.         I know I am young and I still have time, but when I look around at what is available I feel like just hibernating until I am 60 lol.  I hope someone proves me wrong!

But I guess I am growing, healing, and learning.  This whole process is making me think different about life and the kind of person who I want to be and the kind of person that I want in my life.  And in time I will be better for it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Eating Disorder Awareness

On every TV that you turn on or each in each magazine you read is filled with images of the prototype of the perfect male or female.  These airbrushed and computer enhanced images are supposed to show us the definition of beauty and perfection.  Not to mention these same magazines that have the newest fad diet plan of the month right next to the pictures.  It is no surprise that eating disorders are becoming more prevalent and especially in younger aged children.

I am a board member of the Eating Disorder Network of Maryland.  Before I became a board member I was very much in the dark about eating disorders.  What I did know was from after school specials on TV and the occasional information in a health class, but eating disorders are so much more than that.

Society fails to treat eating disorders as the mental health disease that they are.  Instead, people with eating disorders are thought of as stubborn or as having a lack of self control.  But this is not true at all.  In addition, many people think that they have never encountered a person with an eating disorder, however, many with the diseases are masters of covering up their illness.    And please remember that eating disorders are not a white girl thing, despite popular belief.  They effect white, black, women, and men,  the poor and the rich, they do not discriminate!  This post is my little part to teach you raise awareness about eating disorders.

Let's start at the beginning.  What is an eating disorder?  According to the National Eating Disorder Network (NEDA) eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorders, " include
extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues.  Eating disorders are
serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and
males."

There are several types of definable eating disorders.  Anorexia is categorized as self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Bulimia is, "a secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging.
Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food--more than most people would eat in one meal--in short
periods of time, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse, or overexercising."  Binge eating includes eating in a large uncontrolled manner to the level of compulsion without purging.  While bulimia and anorexia are the most popular there are more that do not fall into this category.  I recently found out that both over exercising, excessive use of laxatives, and even extreme forms of organic or vegetarian eating can also fall under the eating disorder umbrella

Each individual may manifest symptoms in different ways, however there are many similar underlying issues.  These issues include depression, anxiety, loneliness,and a poor body image.  Other possible factors are troubles with relationships, a history of physical or sexual abuse, and emotional issues.

The repercussions of an eating disorder are far reaching.  Eating disorders may cause other physical issues such as an imbalance of chemicals in the body such as lower potassium levels.  Also common is dental problems such as the erosion of enamel of the teeth.  And worst of all, many insurance companies either do not cover the costs for treatment or do not provide for the full course of treatment that the patient may need!

This year I am the walk coordinator for the EDN/NEDA Walk in Baltimore to raise funds for awareness and education of eating disorders.  If you can please participate and/or please donate to the cause click here.

Also to find out more information about the Eating Disorder Network of Maryland please click here.

To learn more about the National Eating Disorder Association click here.