The Thirst

Are you thirsty? Not for water, for an individual for whom you think you might have a romantic connection. I keep reading tweets from men who claim that showing a woman interest doesn’t equal thirst and that these women just aren’t used to a man treating them well…which is a hot, steaming pile of horseshit because A) I’ve fallen victim to The Thirst and B) I am well aware of how to be treated by a man…that I’m interested in. Unwanted romantic advances fall into three categories: Persistence, Thirst, and Stalking. (Keep in mind, it is only considered annoying if you’re not interested in the individual; otherwise, it’s normal courting.)

Persistence Back in August, I received a message in my inbox on Facebook from a guy I went to high school with. I didn’t know him then, still don’t know him now, but he had been liking and commenting on quite a few posts and pictures. This means absolutely nothing…or it means absolutely EVERYTHING!! Turns out, the gentleman wanted to date me. He never outright said “I’d like to take you out on a date.” Instead, he relied on the persistence method, also known as the Steve Urkel I’m Wearing You Down approach. This rarely works.

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No. For the love of God, NO!!! That shit is not endearing, it’s called pre-stalking. This man had the nerve to say stalking was subjective…and then I knew precisely why men make statements like, “You just don’t know it feels to have a real man treat you good.” If the response to your persistence are one word answers and you never seem to quite make any ground with the object of your affection, chances are this person is trying not to reject advances you’re too chicken shit to make. The man who thought persistence was the key to my heart sent this final message on New Year’s Day:

I really would have liked to have had a chance to get to know you. No disrespect, I know you’re attached now, but I hope you’ll keep my application on file should the future husband position be available again. Best wishes beautiful.

Persistence only works when feelings are reciprocated, only then it’s called dating.

The Thirst People confuse persistence with thirst all the time. The litmus test is quite simple: Would you be disgusted by the actions if you had any interest whatsoever in the individual? If so, it’s probably just some poor overanxious soul who really wants your attention. If you are disgusted and appalled by this person, you are officially a victim of The Thirst. Similar to persistence, The Thirst can be misconstrued. If you receive a message describing what the sender wants to do to every inch of your body from someone you want to do things to every inch of your body, it’s not The Thirst, it’s sexting. If you haven’t seen the married individual since 1993 when he was your summer boyfriend, it’s not only thirsty, it’s creepy.

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1) This man has never met my child. 2) My Facebook inbox is not here for this foolishness. 3) Ew.

The Thirst comes in all kinds of flavors: Excessive commenting and liking of posts, statuses, and pictures…and by excessive, I mean ALL, insisting that you can do better than someone else’s man/woman, being extra…The Thirst is easily identified: Have you gotten anywhere with your “flirting”? No…oh, it’s because you’re fucking thirsty!!!

Stalking I’ve been stalked before and it’s not to be taken lightly. Back in college, a man who at one point went to the university in a neighboring town decided to set his sights on me. During a weekend break, while we were on the phone, he asked me where I lived. I gave him a general vicinity and we continued to talk on the phone. He told me he had some errands to run and we ended our conversation. About an hour later, he called me back and asked what exit he needed to take to get to my house. I was utterly confused…and then he explained he wanted to surprise me so he didn’t tell me he was about to make a 60 mile drive to my house unannounced. I told him my mother and I were about to leave out and then realized I had a weirdo on my hands. A few weeks later, while visiting a friend at his “school,” he found out I was in town, attempted to explain away his skeevy behavior and offered to drive us around to some of his fraternity events. I obliged. Long story short, he tried to kill me. Like physically wrap his hands around my throat and strangle the life from my tiny little body. He was chased down by his frat brothers, the police were called, a restraining order was filed, and I went back to my school. After he showed up on my campus asking around for me, I had to contact the campus police and let my dorm director know I had a stalker. According to the messages I continued to get, he just wanted to tell me sorry and know if he could try again. 1) No. 2) I never slept with this dude nor gave him any indication I planned on handing over my virginity to him. 3) No. I heard from one of his frat brothers that he was creeping on another freshman…it took him until I left for summer break for him to stop calling, writing letters, and doing other stalky shit. (I just looked him up on Facebook…his occupation is listed as professional boxer…go fucking figure)

It’s quite simple to determine whether your method is working: Are you in a relationship with the person you’re creeping on? Are you being ignored? Have your requests ever been honored? Will your actions put you in prison? Is there a restraining order against you? Really? Well, you just might be a persistent, thirsty stalker. This means you Blue Line Tyrell.

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None of My Business

When did it become okay for Black women to become sperm dumps? What single event set the wheels in motion for all six members of a Black woman’s immediate family to have a different last name? Who made it cool to become a mother before being able to vote and a mother of two before being able to drink? When did our collective self-worth become so low that it’s acceptable to be a mother before a wife, or at least a long term partner, and proudly proclaim our resistance to marriage, cuz that’s for white folks. Please spare me your exception to the rule, because while I love some of my teen mother/unmarried successful coparents to death, you are not the norm and you know it! No part of your experience mimics the teenage mother who fails to get a GED because it’s too difficult to study with two babies crying. I understand your relationship with your child’s father is still going strong while my marriage was over shortly after the baby was born. I get it, I really do. But at the end of the day, the success of a teenage mother diminishes with each new baby she creates with a different man who could give a damn about her or the life they’ve created.

Yesterday, a young woman came into the office to apply for energy assistance for her grandmother. She handed me seven social security cards, one was hers, her brother’s and her grandmother’s and the remaining four were her children. I usually try to mind my own business, but after entering three unique last names and finding out that she was only 24 years old, I almost cried. What on earth could have happened in her life that would cause her to believe that she was only worth being three different men’s sperm dumpsters? I asked whether she’d finished high school. She hadn’t. I asked whether the father’s took care of the children. They don’t. I asked was she done having babies. She told me they wouldn’t tie her tubes. I almost cried. Birth control or abstinence weren’t even an option to her. I refused to mind my business. Not this time. I think I made her cry. I didn’t give a shit. Someone needed to tell her she owed herself more than the title of Baby Mama. Someone needed to tell her that she would be nothing in life unless she changed her direction. Someone needed to tell her that her children deserved better than the losers she chose to be their fathers. Someone needed to tell her this, because she didn’t know. She had no clue that she didn’t have to prove her love to a man by carrying a child he didn’t want. She had no clue that the example she was setting for her children was a very poor one and that they are destined to repeat her mistakes if she never recognizes her life choices to be a detriment to her future. She had no clue that the path that her life was on would never lead to anything more than more children and more poverty. She had no clue what hope really was.

I’ll never know what it feels like to be one of these girls who lost their youth before it ever began. I’ll never know how it feels to be a perpetual baby mama who have no clue what aspirations are. I’ll never get it because this life comes from a mentality that I’ve never had. I’m not claiming my body is a temple – I have a Chicago Bears tattoo in my future plans. I’m not claiming to have made the best life decisions. I’m not claiming to be exactly where I want to be in life. But the one thing that I can claim is that I believe I am deserving of anything that my heart desires, and far too many young women yearn for something they have no clue how to achieve. They want to be loved. They want to be cherished. They want to be adored. That’s all their heart desires and they have no clue that they deserve it.

A Letter to a Woman I Haven’t Met Yet

Dear Future Mother-in-law,

I wasn’t too fond of my last one, so let’s get some things out the way right here and right now. The last time I got married, I expected to have to deal with HER for the rest of my (or her) life. Unfortunately, I still do, because of my daughter, but it’s in a much more diminished capacity since the divorce was finalized (May 18, 2010 – thank you, Jesus). I’m not getting married a third time, so since you’re gonna be stuck with me, we may as well make this thing work.

I already have a mother. I was raised by her and although we don’t always get along, she is mine. I don’t need another and you’ll never replace or even compare to her. I’ll never be your daughter because I’m hers. Our relationship will never equal the one I have with my mother, but I don’t want it to and you shouldn’t either. Yes, we can go shopping together. Sure, I’ll meet you for lunch. Of course that spa appointment is still on. But I want my mother to be the one holding my hand if your son happens to knock me up and I go into labor in Target. I’m not saying we can’t share precious moments because I want to have a relationship with you, but when I think of the most important times in my life, the person who’s always been by my side is my mommy. She’s got 31 1/2 years of being my mother under her belt.

I love your son. At some point during the course of our marriage, I will despise every fiber of his being. Hopefully, those times will be minimal and fleeting, but what this means to you is mind your business!!! We’re not competing for his love, there are things I can do that you can’t because it would not only be disgusting and incestuous, but illegal in almost all 50 states. I can’t be the one who held him all night when he was four and had a fever that wouldn’t break; that was your job. I have the job of taking care of him now. The way I love my mom is the way he loves you, but please don’t make him choose sides. The first time he chooses yours is the day he’ll be packing his stuff and moving back into your house. He and I are a team, it’s ok for you to retire. Don’t worry though, I’m pretty sure you’ve already made it to the Hall of Fame and I’ll make sure that’s never forgotten.

You’ve never known me as a child. I was grown when we met, so although you’ve known your son since birth, you don’t have a right to talk to me like I’m a kid. I respect you for raising a man wonderful enough for me to vow to spend the rest of my life with. Respect me because he thinks I’m wonderful enough to spend the rest of his life with. I appreciate all the wisdom that comes with your experiences, but please don’t be offended if I don’t accept your unsolicited advice…my friends don’t, and neither should you.

I know we haven’t met yet…and since this letter is to an imaginary future mother-in-law, I haven’t met your son yet, either. But what I do know is that I already had mother-in-law beef, and I’m just not willing to do that nonsense again. You’ll get Mother’s Day gifts from me, we’ll spend alternating holidays with you, and nothing but the best nursing home will do when you start calling me his ex-girlfriend’s name…you know, the one you had to console on my wedding day when she couldn’t compose herself (oh, wait that happened already – can’t happen again, can it?) So, Future Mother-in-law, as long as you know where we stand, I think it might be time to go looking for your son.

Love Forever,

Your Future Daughter-in-law

Urban Legends

Once upon a time, every problem in a sitcom relationship was solved before the half hour episode was over. Cliff apologized to Claire. Martin got a kiss and his ears groped by Gina. Fancy giggled at Jamie’s antics and attributed his buffoonery to “Jamie being Jamie”. Fortunately, shows like Girlfriends and The Game showcase relationships slightly more realistically. Thirty minutes isn’t nearly enough time to fix Jill’s hurt feelings after Tim made fun of her snoring on “Tool Time”. (Although Jill probably should have gotten over it since she blew out Tim’s engine because she didn’t recognize the “check engine” light meant check the flippin’ engine). The same way life doesn’t work the way it does on television, some of the things we believe about relationships don’t work either. Here are some common myths that just don’t cut it:

Having a baby saves everything This is the single most foolish thing I’ve ever heard of, and in this day and age, people STILL believe it will work. If your relationship is on shaky ground, shitty diapers and projectile vomit won’t be fixing much, now will it? Bringing a life into this world to prove your commitment to each other is about as dumb as (I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to think of something as equally dumb as having a baby to keep a man and I have yet to come up with anything remotely close). Raising a child together requires more than just the 30 seconds it took to make one. If you want him to marry you, having his child isn’t going to get you an engagement ring. Teething ring, perhaps but no diamonds. From what I’ve gathered, many men don’t equate doing the right thing to marrying the mother of their child(ren). In some cases, the baby happens to come before the marriage, and the marriage works out but this is not the norm. There wouldn’t be so many single parents if life worked out that way. The only guarantee of having a kid with someone is that your child will have half of his DNA and half of yours. Children are not weapons in your little Love War, so unless the two of you are committed to each other 100%, invest in some birth control.

Love is all you need You’re joking, right? Marriage is a business contract between two people who love each other and have decided to devote the rest of their lives to one another. You need a license to get married and a judge to end it. Sounds like a legal transaction to me. Yeah there are other things involved, but you can have a commitment without a marriage license. Many people go into marriage without the clear understanding that love can’t fix everything. Being in love is a chemical imbalance…yeah I said it! All those butterflies and palpitations you felt when you were dating are from completely different reasons after marriage. Where will we live? How will we raise the kids? Can we afford to take this trip? The superficial “in love” is replaced by a much deeper love that stems from mutual respect, friendship and understanding so if all you have to go on is “he gives me goosebumps,” the cute way he chews his French toast is gonna piss you off a few years down the road. Getting married for love only isn’t enough, because it takes a lot more than love to make a marriage work. One would assume you’re together because you love each other and you haven’t married every man you’ve loved so there must be something more to it. As much as I loved my ex-husband, it wasn’t enough to hold together our marriage. I couldn’t trust him to do anything (and I mean things like trust him to not leave the backdoor wide open all night long). Love is only one piece of the 1000 piece marriage puzzle, so if that’s all you’ve got to go on, you might wanna wait until you’ve figured out where some of the other pieces fit.

Steve Harvey Are you really about to follow the advice of a man who wore a wig and twenty button suits? For real, son?!? Never mind the fact that he’s been married five times (ok, so maybe he likes the way women look in veils and white dresses), when did STEVE HARVEY become a relationship guru? Ok, here I am, the pot calling the kettle black since I spend a lot of time dishing out advice. What I do, though, is offer my humble opinion based on my experience and present it as such. Nothing I’ve ever said is a steadfast rule, only wisdom I’ve gained from my own failures and successes. I would NEVER say that what works for me will work for every single woman on the planet, so I find it very concerning when a man gives a woman rules on how to get a man. Women shouldn’t have to alter their thinking to get a man. A guy I know said something that made a lot of sense…he asked if I ever wondered why there isn’t a similar book like Steve Harvey’s geared toward men. There might be, but I can guarantee it didn’t make New York Times bestseller list. Why? Because men don’t need anyone telling them how to think and neither do you! Advice isn’t, and should never be, a steadfast rule. I say this all the time, if you want to know what’s going on with your mate: ASK THEM!!!! Remember that episode of The Boondocks when Grandpa was dating the chick who was getting ridiculous advice from her crazy friend and blew herself up in the end? Add it to your “must watch” list, throw away that Steve Harvey book and when you have a question about someone, ASK THEM!!!!

We have a bad habit of trying to apply TV logic to real life and it NEVER works. Ever! There’s a show on The Discovery Channel called Mythbusters that proves many urban legends to be fallacious, created by Hollywood to make us believe that we live in a cool place where solutions are no more than two hours away. We believe in Dr. Phil and Steve Harvey because they’re famous and famous people MUST know what they’re talking about. They don’t…but you do. Listen to yourself, your mind, your heart, your mate. The day you believe the Urban Legends is the day you’re doomed…Temple of Doom.

Single Mother Blues

This weekend I had big plans: DJ Jazzy Jeff spinning on Thursday, pedicure and Black Eyed Peas after-party at Enclave on Friday (STFU, I like the Black Eyed Peas), a party for a work friend on Saturday, and a road trip to a few wineries on Sunday with the girls. This weekend, I will be hanging with my four-year-old daughter because I don’t have a sitter. I’m not upset about it, because I genuinely cherish every single day I get to spend with her. We have fun when we hang out together and for the most part, she’s welcome almost everywhere I go. I get a little sad sometimes, because I realize I’m singing the Single Mother Blues, a song far too many of us know the words to – words we had to learn on center stage the night of the big show. Some of us never expected to be understudies when the star backed out at the last minute. We were supposed to be singing a different song, The Family Song. I’m not speaking for the perpetual “baby mama” who has multiple children by multiple men nor am I speaking about the single mother who was single before the baby and had no intentions of having a relationship with the child’s father. I don’t know the words to their songs, and I’m afraid I don’t even know the melody. I can only sing my blues, the Single Mother Blues.

I recently asked a friend what he does before he takes a trip out of town. His answer: Buy a ticket. Ask any single mother what we have to do before we go on vacation and of the million things we have to do, survey says “buy a ticket” would NOT be the number one answer. The one thing fathers without full custody of their children fail to understand is that by choosing to be a full-time mother, we’ve given up our freedom and they haven’t. Even with visitation on the weekend, things just aren’t the same. I will never complain about having to “watch” my own child, but I will always resent the fact that my freedom is compromised, while Cinda’s daddy can come and go as he pleases without a second thought about what to do with the baby.
He’s never been late to work because Jacinda won’t let him comb her hair. He’s never gotten two hours of sleep because he spent the night awake holding a hot baby praying that ibuprofen knocks the fever out. He’s never had to choose between school clothes for her and a new winter coat for himself. He’s never had to eat spaghetti three nights in a row because that’s all Cinda will eat. He’s never had to sacrifice his freedom on a day to day basis, the freedom to do simple things, like pee with the door closed and listen to music with bad words in it. I gave up those freedoms to be Cinda’s Mommy. I’m not mad about it, but sometimes I miss the days when I could just get up and go.

I’ve hinted at the envy I feel when I see families: man, woman, child. I had that. I purposely chose to wait until I was in a committed relationship, MARRIAGE, before I chose to become a mother. This is how I believe things should go, and while others may not mind conceiving and birthing a child out of wedlock, I do. I never wanted to be a single mother, and although I planned a pretty picnic, it rained cats and dogs. Marriage doesn’t guarantee permanence, however, I believed (and still do) that it was a lifetime commitment so when I woke up that cold day in February of 2006 and realized that I was on my own, I thought my life was over. I didn’t want to be a baby mama. I didn’t want a baby daddy. I was a wife, he was my husband and this was our family. I resent him for ruining my family, for forcing my daughter to grow up without a father – I had one and so should she. We’re so used to black families being headed by a single mother, people tend to look at me crazy as though my expectations about my family are unrealistic. Being a baby mama may be good enough for some people, but it was NEVER good enough for me and I resent the fact that not only do I have to be one, but the society expects me to be something I never wanted to be.

What I’m most resentful about though, is that Cinda’s daddy ruined my family and that sucker might go out and get himself a new one one day. I find it hilarious when people ask if we’ll ever get back together, or if I still love him. Hell I don’t know, but what I DO know is that, as crazy as it may seem to people who don’t understand, he ruined my dream of happily ever after. I’ve moved on, but a secret that most of us have is that deep down inside, we don’t want the father of our children to EVER have a family. (Yes! I’ve spilled the beans!). How dare they make it work with someone else when they couldn’t make it work with us?! Not only should they never have another family, but they should spend the rest of their lives regretting the fact that WE never worked out. Before men get all excited and say “I KNEW she wasn’t over me!!! WRONG!!!! We ARE over you. What we aren’t over is the failure of our family. No matter who’s fault the end of the relationship was, no matter how well we wish you, no matter how happy we may genuinely be when you’re happy, we’re like Miss America hoping Miss Canada trips and falls on her pageant gown and gets disqualified for posing naked for Hustler. Yeah, Canada is our neighbor to the north and although we both don’t want those damn Russians to win anything and we giggle together when she can’t remember the words to her song, I swear to GOD we’ll be damned if you take home the crown. Runner up will do. We’re allowed to win. You’re not.

My song isn’t the song of a bitter woman. As a matter of fact, contrary to what the world may think, most single mothers AREN’T bitter and filled with despair. We’ve accepted our starring roles, most of the time unexpectedly, and we get on stage and perform our asses off. Most of us are not retaliatory against the actions of our children’s father. We’re not angry. We’re not greedy. We’re not scorned. We’re not sitting at home waiting on you to fail. The media portrays us in such a negative light, it hurts me to see women complain about getting more child support, withholding visitation, and being a bitch in general. These women are acting very immaturely and out of hurt only a single mother can understand. Jacinda doesn’t get a dime from her dad, she’s seen him twice in two years, and I’m nice to her dad whenever he pops up, because that’s what’s healthy for the three of us, but I swear to teenage Jesus, if that bastard cleans his life up and has a baby with a white girl, I PROMISE you I’m gonna pinch the shit out of that kid and blame it on Jacinda.

Aside

From Sex Buddy to Husband: The Road to Holy Matrimony

Ok, the title is a bit misleading. I DO NOT have a road map leading one from bed buddy to wife with easy to follow directions. A friend asked me to explain, in my foolish manner, the difference between sex buddy, husband and all those titles in between and because I have nothing better to do this summer, I take requests. I’ve had a booty call, bed buddy, boo, boyfriend, fiancĂ©, AND a husband and I’ll attempt to explain the difference among them all.

Booty Call He/you calls, he/you gets booty, he leaves/you go home. There is nothing more. Y’all don’t hang out. Y’all don’t have deep conversations on the phone. He/you calls at obscene hours of the night. The text messages you exchange are explicit and are generally sent after a night of drinking. He is not your man and will probably never EVER be! He is a booty call. That is it!!! Don’t confuse him with a Never Wanna Do Nothing because he does wanna do something: YOU! You are NOT a hoe if you have a Booty Call. So many people want to define other people’s sexuality but if you’re comfortable with the nature of your sex-only relationship with the Booty Call, do yourself a favor and keep this one to yourself. People don’t mean to be judgmental (yes they do) and tend to impose their own idiosyncrasies about sex upon others. As long as you protect yourself against unwanted pregnancy, STDs, and errant emotions, have fun because it’s no one’s business but yours and his. My opinion: GET LAID!!! Just remember to keep it simple, stupid. It’s about sex. Only about sex. About nothing more than sex.

Bed Buddy The difference between a Booty Call and a Bed Buddy is the nature of your relationship outside of the bedroom. This one is probably the most difficult to maintain. It involves combining a sexual relationship AND some sort of public interaction. You may be friends, coworkers, classmates but one thing you are not is a couple. You don’t go on dates and your social interaction is limited to group events. Bed Buddies should also be kept a secret which means whatever your relationship looked like publicly before y’all started boning should be what it continues to look like. While Bed Buddies are more likely to turn into something more than Booty Calls are, don’t expect it and don’t pretend you can handle him going on actual dates with women he is actually interested in. If you want more, your best bet is to a) tell him as soon as you “catch feelings”, b) don’t be upset if he doesn’t feel the same way about you and c) STOP SLEEPING WITH HIM!!!! Remember that you’re the one who has changed the rules so you can’t beat yourself (or him) up over the fact that he may not want to play the same game that you want to play. If he does want to play, then your Bed Buddy may turn into your….

Boo Ah…the Boo. This is the step right before Boyfriend (and I am NOT saying that every Boo will eventually become your Boyfriend). He is your go-to guy for social events, you have met his friends and family, you’re allowed to touch both the remote AND the radio in his car. He’s ok with PDA and you are widely recognized as the woman he’s seeing. So you’re his girlfriend, right? WRONG!!! Exclusivity and monogamy are the two things standing in the way and until you’ve had the “I’m not seeing anyone else but you” talk: HE IS NOT YOUR MAN!!!! That needs to be repeated: HE IS NOT YOUR MAN!!!! Everything that quacks is not a duck, it could be a chicken who was raised by a duck. Don’t assume that he is your Boyfriend because he does boyfriend-stuff. You’ll find yourself spending two years with a man who ends up marrying that girl he met at the barber shop. It’s very difficult for some women to NOT be exclusive with a man, but if he hasn’t made any commitments to you, don’t feel obligated to make any to him. Boos are great to have, but don’t turn down a date with the cutie at the gym because you think your Boo might get mad. Who cares if he gets mad?!?! He ain’t yo man!! Keep him on his toes, because if he thinks you’re not going anywhere, he’s not going to do much to keep you around. My advice with a Boo is to make sure you’re at the same priority level that he places you. If he makes plans on Saturday nights, then keep yourself occupied as well. You don’t have to actually go out or even lie to him about going out, but don’t sit around waiting on him. Commitment should be a mutual decision and if you’re waiting on him to be ready, chances are he’s not only NOT ready, but you just may not be the one he wants to commit to. He shouldn’t settle for you and you sure as hell shouldn’t settle for being settled on. It is possible, however, to turn a Boo into a….

Boyfriend You’ve made it!! You’ve met a guy, you’ve fallen in love, he’s not trying to screw your friends, he’s NOT dating other people. He’s YOUR Boyfriend! Now how on earth do you keep him? Same way that you got him, perhaps. I’ve already explained how visual and sexual men are so don’t think you can wear stilettos and give him head while driving on Lake Shore Drive while you’re dating then switch to flip flops and hand jobs while watching Real Housewives of **insert major city** once he’s become your Boyfriend. It also doesn’t mean he can stop doing the fun exciting things that won YOUR heart either. Expecting things to be exactly the same as they were when you were dating is foolish, life doesn’t work that way. Your connection is deeper than the shallow nature of dating, so act accordingly. Discuss your needs and make sure you’re discussing needs and not wants based on other people’s relationships. Most importantly, don’t turn a Boyfriend into a Husband. Those men are two totally different people. His parents are not your in-laws (notice the use of the word “law” which applies to the legal nature of an actual marriage). Mingling money is tricky (have you seen Judge Mathis?) and so is cohabitation and parenting if you choose to have a child(ren) out of wedlock. For some, this is the final stage of a relationship and marriage is not necessary. My only advice is that if marriage is what you want, you probably shouldn’t act like his wife until you actually are, which leads to the…

Husband You’ve stood before God and your friends and family and vowed to spend the rest of your life with him. Marriage is hard. Very hard. You’ve made the decision to not only spend, but blend your life with someone else’s and that’s exactly what you’re doing: BLENDING! It’s not about you, singular; it’s about you, plural. A marriage can ONLY be successful when BOTH husband and wife understand that although they are still individuals, they have committed to become one. Anyone who knows me, or has read my blog, knows that the end of my marriage was beyond my control, but I was always fully committed to my husband until it was impossible to do so. The Husband is the only person on this earth (besides your children) who deserves 100% of you and he should be giving you the same. When that number decreases (or is perceived to decrease) many people want to get out. Some cheat, some become distant, others head straight to an attorney. What is so special about marriage is that the only people who can solve the problems in a marriage is a Husband and Wife. Seeking outside advice should be mutual, because remember, you’re now acting as ONE. Many women forget this and try to repair the relationship alone, which may be okay with a Boyfriend, Boo or Bed Buddy but NEVER with a Husband. Husbands are hard work, so before you ask for one, be prepared to have one.

Relationships are not one size fits all, so please don’t use what I say as Mapquest. I’ve had a Booty Call, a Husband and everything in between. I’ve learned valuable lessons from every experience I’ve had and I figure it would be selfish of me not to share what I’ve discovered. Hopefully, if you were confused about where you stood with HIM, you’re clear now. Good luck!

Let It Go

We all have baggage. Some of us carry ours in a cute little bag that we hide in our underwear drawer and only take out when we’re PMSing while others lug theirs around in a Louis Vuitton Speedy 40. There are some who keep theirs in a garbage bag on the front seat of their car and others who’ve locked a laundry bag up tight in the front hall closet only to have it come spilling out anytime a guest comes over and tries to hang up their coat. No matter how loudly a woman proclaims to not have any baggage, she does. Our lives are shaped from our experiences and how we handle them and not one of us has emerged from a life-altering tribulation without a package. Some situations take a lot longer to let go of, but life can’t go on until you’ve emptied some of those huge bags, put them in a storage unit, and buy some smaller, compact bags incapable of holding much more than what you need to learn from your past.

Superficial baggage is the most common and the easiest to shed. You were poor growing up, your mother gave you a Jheri curl, and your clothes came from Kmart. Yes, I’m talking about myself. I didn’t hit my fabulous peak until college and even then I was a little sketchy. So what your body is flat in all the wrong places or someone posted and tagged bad pictures of you on facebook. Get over yourself! No one gives a rat’s ass. I used to drive a 1994 Ford Tempo…in 2000…and I STILL valeted my car WHERE EVER I went! I care very little what others think of me and I refuse to let the purse that I carry contain foolishness like the fact that I could only afford the medium patent leather handbag and not the large one my best friend bought.

Friendship baggage is almost as bad as boyfriend baggage. Women tend to hold on to mediocre friendships for the sake of sisterhood when in fact, friendships are quite similar to relationships. You wouldn’t keep a lying, deceitful, untrustworthy man around so why on earth do women hold on to other women who possess the same characteristics? I try not to tell too many personal stories (to protect the not so innocent) but I had a friend who didn’t trust me…for good reason, but I digress. She wanted to “make it work” when all I wanted her to do was keep her crazy ass away from me. Everyone isn’t meant to be friends and shouldn’t try to be. Now she hates my guts…and NOT for good reason, when all she had to do was realize our friendship, like a relationship with a guy, just wasn’t going to work. If you have a crappy girlfriend, treat her like you would a crappy boyfriend and LET HER GO!

Family baggage requires more than just a wise-cracking, smart ass with a blog and a summer’s worth of posts about random foolishness. If you hate your mother: YOU NEED THERAPY! If you’ve been sexually abused by your uncle: YOU NEED THERAPY! If you just met your father for the first time and you’re 30: YOU NEED THERAPY!!!!! Before someone gets offended, hear me out. All of these things are traumatic and potentially damaging to one’s psyche and emotional well-being. Many black women look at therapy as a sign of weakness when in fact, seeking help for a situation you can’t handle is showing great courage and strength. We could all use someone to talk to during a difficult time, and if your entire childhood was difficult, you can’t just sweep it under the rug and rock an S on your chest for Strong Black Woman. So what you read TD Jakes, Iyanla Vanzant, and Steve Harvey; they don’t have the cure for what ails you. A licensed therapist does and as long as you continue to pretend that you can handle being beaten daily as a child with a broomstick, you will always drag a very large set of luggage. Do yourself a favor, call the bellhop and let someone help you with those bags.

I’ve tried to rid myself of baggage, it’s a daily struggle and a work in progress. I’m taking baby steps to empty one bag at a time. What’s crazy about an empty bag is that someone or something always wants to try to fill it up again. Make the choice to either get rid of the bag or zip it up and put a lock on it. Let. It. Go.

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