Thursday, August 31, 2006

Goodbye Summer

Even though summer doesn't technically end until the 3rd week in September, Labor Day is the unofficial end of my favorite season. This summer I worked way too much and didn't see the ocean. I'm soo bummed out. There were only a handful of occasions where I could wear my bikini. In my version of the ideal summer, I would LIVE in a bathing suit. If it wasn't for those scary hurricanes, I would seriously consider moving to a place where it's summer all year long.
There were some really fun highlights of this summer. My baby sister graduated from college. My puppy is finally housebroken. I received accolades at work. These were all awesome events but, I'm really not ready to say goodbye to summer.

I guess I'll spend the rest of the day dreaming about my favorite summers past. Now, I'll just ride out to the summer classic of my youth...Summertime by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince...

summer summer time

holla

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Should Men Cry?

On the radio this morning, the question of the day is 'Should Men Cry?' One of the DJ's said that he doesn't cry and he's taught his son's not to cry also. He said that crying is weak and no woman wants to be around a man that cries. Male and female callers are phoning in to voice their opinions on the subject.

I think men should be able to express their emotion and if crying is a result of that then that's fine. I think it can be unnerving to see anyone cry, man or woman. Sometimes you're caught between thinking you should reach out to comfort them to wondering if they want you to reach out to them. One of the men, that I saw cry, is the epitome of masculinity. My friends and I called him 'MAN'. When he cried, it was because he was really frustrated with some things that were going on in his life and he felt like he had little control over the outcome. Seeing him cry was difficult. I figured that if this man that can seemingly do everything, felt helpless then the situation must be worse than I ever knew. I let him cry on my shoulder for a minute or two. He composed himself and I never brought it back up to him or anyone else. I didn't think any less of him. The fact that he allowed me to see him in such a vulnerable state made him more endearing. Eventually, he was able to work through that rough situation and he came out on top. Even now, years later, after everything is all good I would never disrespect him by teasing him about how he broke down that day on my couch.

I think that's the big difference between men and women when it comes to crying. I've seen men be relentless toward a friend that has cried in front of them. I can understand why a man wouldn't want to cry. I've seen guys get teased years later about a moment of 'weakness'. Maybe if men felt more comfortable crying, they'd be more comfortable expressing other emotions.

On the flip side, sometimes I think women make it hard for a man to feel safe enough to express such extreme emotions. We want the man to be 'the man' and we can be very rigid about what that means. Maybe we need to develop a more holistic view about what man-ness is.

So, what do you think? Is it ok for a man to cry?


Holla

How Do You Wear Your Faith?

Yesterday as I was working through the series of incidents that prompted my rant, I asked God to make me tougher so that these kinds of things wouldn't affect me so much. I also tried to figure out exactly what it is about the woman that insulted me, that really gets under my skin. Then, it hit me. When she tries to compete with me and when she talks to me condescendingly, she does it all 'In Jesus' Name…Amen'. The incongruity of behaving negatively toward someone you consider a friend while rationalizing that you are 'just doing God's work.' Just doesn't sit well with me.

Then, I got to thinking about how I wear my faith. For me, it's like one of my Lacoste polo shirts. Modest, traditional and good quality. The logo is small enough that you have to get pretty close to see if it's real. Unless your close to me, you wouldn't know that I go to church nearly every Sunday, that I take tithing seriously or that I give money to causes I support and I give my time when I'm not being a workaholic. I still struggle with lots of things, like most believers do. I'm far from perfect.

There are some that think I should wear my faith like a Fubu sweatshirt. Extra large logo, bright color, you can see it from a mile away. I don't fault anyone that wears their faith in this way, it's just not for me. I'm not comfortable drawing that much attention. These people think this is a good way to witness to a large number of people. I'd rather witness to 100 people one at a time versus all at once. That's just me though. I think there's room for both types.

Then, there are those that wear their faith like a Gucci logo'd ball gown. Those in the know, know that Gucci doesn't make logo'd ball gowns. However, these believers are loud and get a lot of attention all 'in Jesus' name…Amen'. Those not in the know don't realize that they are transparent. Everyone has a different path toward salvation so, I can't knock someone for donning this ostentatious representation. This may just be part of their transformation.

I'm sure there are many more ways to wear your faith. These are only a few examples. After processing my feelings, I realized that even though the Gucci girl insults and offends me, I will continue to hold my tongue. Maybe in some weird way it's flattering that she has chosen me as a target. I am going to distance myself from her before she spills something on my nice polo shirt. :-)


Holla

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Don't Want to Compete

Warning: This is a rant.

I'm soo sick and tired of women competing with each other. I don't want to see another girl mean mug me when I'm out. I don't want to see another woman bite my style and claim it as hers. Do you hun! I don't want anyone to be jealous of me. I'm confident but, I do have flaws just like everyone else. And if you just chill and be my friend I'll probably tell you what they are. I'm not ashamed. You don't have to be conniving and manipulative to figure them out.

Save your haterade.

I don't want to compete with you. If I'm hot that doesn't cool your heat. Get a grip.

Woo Sah

Holla

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Faux Flirt

Recently, I've come into contact with a strange phenomenon called the Faux Flirt. I'd heard stories about this species but, had yet to lay my own eyes on one. This person will inquire about your dating status, compliment you on your looks and generally give off very attentive energy. Typically, with flirts, you get the impression that they are feeling you, this one may even lay it on a little thick. You can of course tell the difference between the casual flirt and the kind that actually may be interested in you. Like sincere flirts, the Faux Flirt is single and seemingly available to date. The only difference between the Faux Flirt and a real flirt is that the fake version will invest a great amount of time with no intention of actually 'closing the deal' or asking you out.

One could ask, well, why don't you seal the deal yourself? The reason you can't do that is because the fake flirt has pre-empted that move by either, pushing his friend off on you or giving you his email address.

The first option is obviously a dead end. You can't in good faith entertain the friend after you've spent a few hours vibing with his boy. The second option is a red-herring. You and he email each other a few times and the chemistry that you thought you had just dissipates. He never tries to elevate the communication to a higher level such as a phone call. This move lets you know that he is NOT interested and you should probably move on.

Scientists can not agree when this species first came into existence or what circumstances occured to create it. They just seemed to appear out of nowhere. It could be a product of global warming but the data is inconclusive. One thing that is indisputable is that meeting one can be confusing. You'll leave the encounter wondering how you could've read the signals incorrectly. The best way to deal with them is to just not take them too seriously, and consider it good practice for when a sincere flirt comes along.

Happy Flirting

Holla

Friday, August 25, 2006

Flavor of Love

We'll end this week long love fest with an affirmation that anyone can find love. I'm making reference to our present day minstrel show. Flavor of Love. Isn't reality TV great?

This is one of those shows that I watch and talk about in whispers with a select few co-workers on Monday mornings. After a new episode of Lost, I'll engage in a lively discussion with anyone that cares to. But, I'm actually embarrassed by this show. I watch it because I'm afraid not to. I need to know first hand how many years Flav is setting us back each week. What if I miss the week he takes us back to Jim Crow? That's not something you want to find out from your white colleague at the water cooler.

Oh, I forgot this post is about Love. So, I'll end with this… If a Flavor Flav, a man near 50 with 6 children by two women, whose claim to fame is cooning on stage while wearing a clock bigger than his head, can hope to find love, then surely we all can. You know what time it is!?

Holla

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Being 'In Love' is a Choice

Contrary to popular belief love is not an accident that you just 'fall into'. There are deliberate choices that one makes on the way towards love. The thing is, sometimes choices can be so routine that we don't even realize we are choosing. For instance, this morning from the time I woke up until right now, I've probably made a hundred choices. Should I press the snooze bar again? What should I wear? What shoes go with that outfit? Which bus should I catch? Where should I sit on the bus? Where should I stand on the subway platform? Where should I sit once I'm on the subway? Should I read or listen to my iPod on the way? You get the picture. A ton of tiny choices are made that alone or combined change the result of my day. The same is true for love.

A lot of people confuse chemistry for being in love. Chemistry is something over which you have no control. You really can't help who you are attracted to. In our lifetimes we probably 'click' with many people. But, that's not enough to be in love with them. The conscious choice to be in love occurs when a person's defenses are down and they feel safe enough to take a risk. There are certain actions that a person looking for love will perform. He or she will try to get to know you. They'll share personal stories in hopes of building an intimate bond with you. All of this doesn't just happen by accident. It's quite deliberate. The phone calls, the dates, the trips all of it happens on purpose.

The fact that being in love is a choice is precisely why you can't make someone fall in love with you. However, I think you can provide a favorable atmosphere. But, ultimately it's up to the other person. The most important thing to remember is that it's not personal. If you have great chemistry with someone, you get along well, you spend a lot of time together and after about 20 dates they still tell you that they aren't 'falling in love' with you and they don’t think they will, they probably have issues that are preventing them from falling in love with anyone. So, don't feel bad. Keep your head up and keep it moving.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Anonymous Shout Out

This goes out to all of my anonymous people commenting on my blog. Thanks for your support. Tell a friend.

I do have on request though...could y'all come up with more creative names. Anonymous in NYC, or DC Anon. LOL

I know, I know, maybe that defeats the whole purpose of being anonymous, but are you trying to be anonymous to me or all the other readers?


Holla

I'm Right, You're Wrong, We Lose

To continue on with this week's spirit of love and healthy relationships, today's topic is about how to disagree without causing irreparable damage to your twosome.


We've all been there. The day is going swell, then all of a sudden you find yourself in the middle of an argument with your person. Not only are you in an argument, but he/she is telling you that you are 'WRONG' for feeling the way you do. Now, your incensed, how can your feelings be wrong?? You feel attacked and defensive. Even if you make up later, there is now a small chink in the armor of your relationship. Instead of a twosome guarding itself against the world, now, you feel like you've got to guard yourself a little bit from this person that claims to care about you. This is soo not a good place to be.


The rule I follow is this: Facts can be challenged, feelings can not.


If we play scrabble, and you come up with a word that I've never seen before, I can challenge that word. As part of the challenge, we can look up the word in an agreed upon standard source, the dictionary. The dictionary will prove that the word exists. The challenge is over. I know there may be times when the word is in the unabridged version or whatever, but, that's tangential to the topic. There is a standard source that can prove or disprove facts.


Feelings are another thing altogether. There is no standard feeling source. Each of us is made differently and molded uniquely by our circumstances and experiences. So, you and I may witness the same event and still feel differently afterwards. Neither of us is 'RIGHT' in our feelings. They are both right, maybe just different. Sometimes people try to pull in their friends and family as that standard source. The logic in doing that is flawed. The liklihood of your friends and family agreeing with your perception is very great because they probably have similar circumstances and experiences as you. Comparing your perception with that of your main squeeze is like comparing apples and oranges, they are different, but they both have nutritional value. One is not better than the other, in fact, you should probably include both in your diet.


The odds are, you got with your person because they complemented you. They have a perspective that is slightly different than yours. Instead of trying to beat them into submitting to life as you know it, embrace the differences. If you don't you'll both miss out on a significant opportunity to learn and grow.


The next time you have a disagreement with your main squeeze, think about this post. If you insist on being right, you leave no choice but for your person to be wrong.


Do you really want that?


Holla

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What's Your Love Language?

We are all born with a specific way of interpreting and showing love. This is our love language. I learned of this term from my pastor. He'd been doing a series entitled 'Sex in the Summer' and in one of the 'episodes' he implored the couples (married couples especially) to figure out their partners love language in order to better communicate with them. The pastor got this concept from a book entitled The Five Love Languages - How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. On the author's website, he walks the reader through the 5 languages, which are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Reading through these got me to thinking about what my love language is and helped me to better understand some of the conflict I had in previous relationships.

For instance, I once dated someone who was constantly frustrated with me, saying things like, 'I don't FEEL loved'. I was baffled and pissed. Even though I communicated verbally and in writing my feelings for him, it wasn't what he needed. I took it as a rebuttal of all the things I did to show him how I felt. A slap in the face. But, I think his love language was Physical Touch which isn't mine. I felt disingenuous expressing myself that way and I felt like he was trying to change me. On the flip side, my primary love language is Words of Affirmation and I didn’t feel like I was getting that from him. It was like two ships passing in the night, in the day, just too often. So, you can imagine how unhappy and unfulfilled we were.

What I learned from my pastor and Gary Chapman's website is that there's nothing wrong with me for needing to hear Words of Affirmation to feel loved and there was nothing wrong with the young man I was involved with for needing Physical Touch. God made us that way. Oftentimes, in relationships we are made to feel like we have to defend the way we express ourselves and we shouldn't. The key is finding someone that is comfortable expressing him or herself in the way you need and value.

On the flipside you can meet someone that SEEMS to be communicating in your Love Language, but he/she is doing so unintentionally. For example, my secondary Love Language is Acts of Service. So, if a man does little things to make my life easier like washing my car; cleaning the snow off of it in the winter; or buying me trays because he knows I eat in front of the TV; I know now that I need to ask him what those actions mean to him.

Going back to my post on communication; I need to make sure that I receive the message that he intends to convey. I can’t just interpret it within my own context. If I do that, I might learn that he’s just a nice guy with a lot of time on his hands OR I might learn that he’s feeling me. So, take a few moments to figure out your Love Language. Then, don’t be shy about letting your mate know what it is.

Holla

Monday, August 21, 2006

An Ode To Love

This post is dedicate to the love found between my dear friend NU and her man OO. They've been literally joined at the hip since they met in the spring of 2005. He saw her salsa dancing and basically stalked her until we left that night. LOL Over the last year and a half, they've talked, traveled, disagreed, made up and loved. To commemorate their decision to spend the rest of their lives together, OO finally fell to his knees and proposed on a semi-secluded beach in Mexico. Of course she said yes and now the planning can officially begin.

I'm super happy for my girl. Stay tuned for posts about my life as a bridesmaid. Yes, NU I WILL blow you up on here if you turn into Bridezilla.

Peace and Love

Holla

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Keyshia Cole - The Way It Is

Last night, the finale for the Keyshia Cole reality series aired on BET. I was NOT a fan of hers AT ALL when her first single came out. The song, 'I Should Have Cheated' didn't appeal to me and in my mind didn't really seperate her from the pack. I had seen the video for 'I Changed My Mind' months before and again, something about her presentation and imaging just didn't speak to me. I had the chance to hear her CD though, and I reconsidered my position. (Although, I still think she could use a good stylist). So, by the time her show came on BET I was a fan.

I think the show did a good job of breaking through the hard exterior and getting to what she's really about. I love the way she tries to be there for her family and I think she's really smart to understand that she can't change them. Some people spend years going down that road only to be frustrated and depleted. She's also bright enough to know that she can't allow them to sabotage her achievements. Her mother is a recovering crack addict and her sister is in the beginning stages of alcoholism. She could've easily been one of those people that grows up and 'forgets' where she came from. She's the cutest one in her family but never seems to act like it. I love that about her. I don't know what her real age is, but, she comes across as very mature and grounded.

Alot of people hate that song 'LOVE'. She does that funny thing with her voice on the chorus. It's unconventional but it's hard to deny the emotion in her voice. Everyone can't love everything I guess. But, she's got me as a fan. I also respect her struggle. When I hear middle class people complaining about their middle class issues, I think about the obstacles that face some people and how they're able to overcome them. They're attitude seems to be, 'It is what it is.' Why complain? I like that.

Holla

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

PSA - Don't Plagiarize

Plagiarism is rampant on the internet. Most people know that if you take an excerpt from a book that it must be properly referenced. Did you know that if you cut and paste excerpts from a website or blog and send it to all of your friends and neglect to reference the source, you are plagiarizing?

According to webster's the definition of plagiarizing is as follows:


Main Entry: pla·gia·rize

Pronunciation: 'plA-j&-"rIz also -jE-&-
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -rized; -riz·ing
Etymology: plagiary
transitive verb : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source
intransitive verb : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
- pla·gia·riz·er noun

Pasted from www.merriam-webster.com


Don't be a thief. Credit your sources.

Thanks

Holla

Tuesday - 8/15/06

Coming up with blog ideas is easier than I thought it would be. Right now I have about 5 blog posts in draft form. It's almost too easy. I can't decide which one to go with. So, since I'm pretty busy at work today, I'll just get my work done and figure out what to post later.

Oh, maybe that's a good idea for a blog, Too Many Options. See what I mean? This could go on forever!

Holla

Monday, August 14, 2006

FW:

I hate forwards. I hate that someone thinks they can 'clean up' their inbox by dumping all of their junk emails into MY INBOX. It's rude. I get a zillion forwards a day from many different people. Last week I got a really informative one from a friend. It was about inflammatory breast cancer. A little known type of cancer that affects women. But, most of the forwards I get are just junk or hoaxes. In the time it takes you to complete your distro list, you can google the topic of the forward to see if it's a hoax. I think it's irresponsible to send out an email without checking the facts.

I think that because it's so easy to just press a button and send, people have forgotten the rules of email etiquette. So, to help you out, I've attached them for you below:

The following pasted from http://www.emailreplies.com/

What are the etiquette rules?
There are many etiquette
guides and many different etiquette rules. Some rules will differ according to
the nature of your business and the corporate culture. Below we list what we
consider as the 31 most important email etiquette rules that apply to nearly all
companies.
32 most important email etiquette tips:


  1. Be concise and to the point

  2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions

  3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation

  4. Make it personal

  5. Use templates for frequently used responses

  6. Answer swiftly

  7. Do not attach unnecessary files

  8. Use proper structure & layout

  9. Do not overuse the high priority option

  10. Do not write in CAPITALS

  11. Don't leave out the message thread

  12. Add disclaimers to your emails

  13. Read the email before you send it

  14. Do not overuse Reply to All

  15. Mailings > use the bcc: field or do a mail merge

  16. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons

  17. Be careful with formatting

  18. Take care with rich text and HTML messages

  19. Do not forward chain letters

  20. Do not request delivery and read receipts

  21. Do not ask to recall a message.

  22. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission

  23. Do not use email to discuss confidential information

  24. Use a meaningful subject

  25. Use active instead of passive

  26. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT

  27. Avoid long sentences

  28. Don't send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks

  29. Don't forward virus hoaxes and chain letters

  30. Keep your language gender neutral

  31. Don't reply to spam

  32. Use cc: field sparingly




Of course, when we are sending e-mails to our friends and family, we aren't always going to follow all of the rules. But, you should know that your friends and family are very annoyed by the forwards and they usually delete them without reading them. Now, I'm sure if they're anything like me, they'd love to receive real e-mail messages from you. Tell me how that date was the other night. Tell me what your plans are for the weekend. Just don't send me another forward.

Thanks!

Holla

Girl Hate

Alicia Keys says she waited a year before having sex with her boyfriend. Read about it.

Alicia Keys made boyfriend Kerry 'Krucial' Brothers wait a year for sex because she is "too beautiful" to give herself to someone she is unsure of.
The longtime songwriting duo have kept their romance closely under-wraps but Keys reveals the grueling test she forced the producer to undergo.
She says, "I made him wait a year because my body is too beautiful to be violated by someone who doesn't deserve it."

Pasted from <http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2006/08/14/boyfriend_had_to_wait_one_year_for_sex_w?referer=MGToolBar>

When I first read about it, I thought, 'Good for her, she has a healthy sense of self respect.'

However, when browsing a messageboard that was discussing the topic, I saw so many people that hated on her for this decision.

The comments ranged from, who does she think she is, putting herself on a pedestal to 'gee that's cool, I wish I could've waited that long.' I started to think about why people had such varied reactions. If Alicia does in fact 'put herself on a pedestal', is that a bad thing? Why are people threatened by that? You can put yourself on a pedestal too, right?

Will people think that she has the right to put herself on a pedestal because she's pretty? Can only cute light skinned girls make men wait? If she holds herself in high esteem, does that mean she thinks she's better than anyone else? I don't think so. But, people take it that way. On the one hand the world tells young women to believe in yourself, respect yourself and demand respect from others. On the other hand, the message is, if you mention the value you have for yourself, you're bragging.

You can be confident and have a high sense of self esteem but just realize that people that aren't as lucky are going to hate on you. But, if you are considered less attractive or have some obvious 'flaw', the masses root you on. We all like the underdog. It's unfortunate that us women compete with each other so much when it comes to things like this. How many times have you gotten bad advice from someone that you later realize was jealous of you. Howmany times have you been mean mugged by some woman while you were out.

mini-vent ahead...
In fact, this just happened to me on Friday. I went out to eat at this Thai restaurant, while there, I noticed a couple sitting near our table. They had this really interesting dish on their table. A huge pineapple filled with what looked like rice or noodles and meat. We remarked about the dish to ourselves. I made eye contact with the female, but kept it moving. Afterwards, we went to the ice cream shop. Of course that couple was in line ahead of us. I would look up and catch the woman staring at me. Her date up until this point was not paying me any attention, so it wasn't one of those situations. This chick checked me out from head to toe and then back to head again. I started to go over to her and introduce myself since her eyes were boring a hole into my outfit. In the beginning I smiled at her. By the end of the night I had a look on my face that said, 'WTF?' I'm purposely not going to comment on her hair and outfit or describe what I was wearing. I don't think that matters. It was just that typical female stare-down that girls do to other girls. It really pissed me off because I thought it was soo unnecessary.

...end of mini-vent

Maybe this is why there are so many women that say, 'I hate women. I prefer to hang out with guys.' I guess that could be one way of avoiding the situation. But, I believe that in relationships, romantic and otherwise, you tend to get what you put out there. If you're a good girlfriend, you'll probably find yourself surrounded by good girlfriends. If you're judgemental, critical, competitive and insecure, you'll probably notice that trait in the females you hang out with. Like attracts like. And as much as I value my guy friends, they can't take the place of my female counterparts. There has to be a balance.

So, ladies, it's alright to smile at other ladies when you are out, especially if you're going to stare. And if you like her outfit, say so, don't just stare, it's uncomfortable.

Holla

Another Monday

Another Monday has come around far too quickly. Even though I slept in the morning, I'm still not fully 'here'. Why can't I program myself to rev up quicker? I guess it is what it is. I'll be back later.

Holla

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Truth is Optional

When you register for certain websites or online subscriptions, just before you click the 'Submit' button, there are usually a few optional features you can choose to add to your registration. You can choose to receive a newsletter or you can choose to receive offers from similar vendors, or a host of other things.

I recently realized that life comes with those same buttons. You can choose to get the truth or not. Up until a few months ago, it never occurred to me that a person would not WANT to know the truth.

Yeah yeah, your mind just jumped to that movie where the guy says, 'You can't handle the truth.' Truer words have never been said.

Determining what the truth is really depends on your belief system. If you are a Christian, the truth for you is probably based on the teachings in the bible. That's your standard. If you are a Muslim, the truth lies in the Koran. Trying to figure out whose truth is true will take you on a long existential roller coaster ride. A ride that we're not going to take today.

The trickiest truth is the personal truth. These are things we tell ourselves every day. I am smart. I am ugly. I am a victim. Men are stupid. Women are gold-diggers. The more you tell yourself these things, the more you will believe them. No matter how un-true they really are. It's important that we understand the implications of our thoughts. They shape us, our actions and our choices.

So, what do you do when a friend has a litany of personal truths that you think are negatively affecting their well-being. If you care about the person, you'll probably want to tell them. It's that same protective reflex that happens when you see a baby about to eat something it shouldn't.

"Stop, you are not a victim." "You are a very capable person." "You can recover from a bad choice."

What comes next could be very frustrating and upsetting. The believer of this truth will feel threatened by your words. You are negating a belief that they've probably held for years and that they have faith in. From the outside looking in, you can't understand how someone could just not SEE it. This cycle can repeat itself for years.

My mom told me that sometimes people don't want to know the truth. They hear what you are saying, but, they've got a very comfortable system and how dare you challenge it! They also think that you just don't know THEM. "If you knew the whole story you would understand."

I thought about that for a while and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. That's it! The truth is in fact optional. People can function and have seemingly productive lives all within the confines of the 'Truth' they've set up for themselves. They can sometimes even be happy in their untrue-ness.

So, that got me thinking about my own Truths. What are my personal truths? How do they measure against the truths of my faith? What un-truths am I perpetuating in my own life?

On my life registration, I'm checking the box for truth!

Are you?

Holla

TGIF- 8/11/06

What a long week this has been. I have my company picnic this weekend. It's catered, I sure hope the food is good. Other than that, I hope to get some sleep and maybe hit a lounge or something. What're you up to?

I watched the season finale for MTB 3 - Danity Kane's live performance. I wasn't really feeling it. I liked their practice sessions more. It could've been b/c of the sound. I also watched Run's House. I really love that show. I think Justine is soo hilarious. She doesn't try to be funny, she just is!

Holla

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What are we?

In this age of the 'hook-up', I've found that people are really confused about the status of their relationships. And to make matters worse, they feel embarrassed about even feeling confused. To take it one step further, some people are hesitant to even call the situation they are in a relationship as that implies some level of commitment. So, to help my sisters and brothers out, I've defined the words used in our dating vocabulary.

Communicate

Everyone says that the key to a good relationship is communication. Of course this is true. But, I think it's important that we start with a basic definition of what it means to communicate.
Here's how the word is defined in Webster's Dictionary.

Main Entry: com·mu·ni·cate
Pronunciation: k&-'myĆ¼-n&-"kAt
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -cat·ed; -cat·ing
Etymology: Latin communicatus, past participle of communicare to impart, participate, from communis common -- more at MEAN
transitive verb
1 archaic : SHARE
2 a : to convey knowledge of or information about : make known b : to reveal by clear signs
3 : to cause to pass from one to another
intransitive verb
1 : to receive Communion
2 : to transmit information, thought, or feeling so that it is satisfactorily received or understood
3 : to open into each other : CONNECT

Pasted from <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communicate>

I think most of us get stuck at 2a, under SHARE. We think that because we've shared the information with you, we have effectively communicated with you. However, I'd like to bring your attention to the second #2, "to transmit information, thought, or feeling so that it is satisfactorily received and understood." Thus, it's not just about sharing with you. I have a responsibility to make sure that what I've shared has been interpreted in the way in which I intended.

It's that extra step that we often neglect, the follow-through. However, we can be quick to say that someone misunderstood us or they are 'just not getting it'. If they aren't getting it, maybe you aren't sending it in the best way. Just a thought.

Communication Hierarchy

Once you've understood what it means to communicate, you can then rank the modes of communication. I call this the Communication Hierarchy and it is outlined below.
1. In person - This is the highest mode of communication. This says, I think you're important enough to put you in my schedule.

2. On the phone - Even though we think a person is important and we value them, sometimes, geography, work or something else may prevent us from interacting with them in person. Occasionally, the phone is the next best thing.
3. A letter/Card - This method of communication is becoming increasingly rare with the advent of technology that lets you say it quicker. However, actually taking the time to compose a letter to express yourself speaks volumes about the esteem in which you hold the other person. It's also pretty significant to actually go to CVS and pick out a card to express yourself. We can't all be good with words, so a card is a good runner up.

4. Email - Email works when you can't use the phone and showing up in person is not an option. For example, if you're at work all day. You can still reach out to your person via a thoughtful email. A simple "Hey, what's up?" email might not cut it all of the time. Take this cyber opportunity to say something heartfelt. But be careful, as with all written forms of communication, they can be easily misconstrued.

5. IM/Chat - Let's just be real. You can NOT hold a real conversation on IM. The purpose of IM is to send a quick message. "I'll be there at 8." "I got home ok." This is NOT the place to ask, "So where is this relationship going?"

6. Voice Mail - Some people think they are slick. They ONLY call when they KNOW that you aren't going to be able to pick up the phone. These people are sending you a subliminal message. "I don't want to talk to you." "You are not high enough on my priority list to try to actually reach."

Now, some people are going to get offended because the communication in their relationship mainly takes place on IM. Or they have an excuse about why they live in the same town as their person and they've only talked on the phone for the 6 month duration of their relationship. I'm going to nip that in the bud by saying this,

PEOPLE MAKE TIME FOR THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THEM.

Case closed.

End of story.

Courting
Courting is dating with the intention of determining if you two are well suited for marriage to each other. Basically it's dating with purpose.

Dating
This one has been debated a lot and I can see both sides of the equation. One school of thought is that dating is what happens between two people that have decided to see each other exclusively on a regular basis. The other side says that dating occurs when you go on a series of dates (quality outings) with a person. Typically whether or not you are having sex will affect your perception of the seriousness of the relationship.

However, even though I can see why people might jump to the conclusion that 3 dates = we're dating. It is basically the same word, right? Ultimately, I think there is tremendous value in actually having a discussion with the person about your relationship status. It's better to have one uncomfortable conversation one month in than have one even MORE uncomfortable conversation after 4 months of you thinking y'all are an item.

Hanging Out

I hang out with my girlfriends. I may even hang out with my boyfriend. But I do NOT hang out with the new guy. The new guy and I go out on dates. Hanging out is too casual. If you start off ordering pizza and watching movies on cable, you can't expect him to know that you like to get dressed up and eat out on dates. Everyone wants to protect their feelings in the beginning and no one wants to jump into anything. But why is it so threatening to call the preliminary outings dates?

Hooking Up

I define a hook up as a physical interaction that occurs between two consenting people with no expectation for future responsibility or commitment. Ladies especially, make sure that 'date' you think you are on is not a 'hook up' to him. It all goes back to communication doesn't it? Ask the hard questions before you get naked. It's too easy to rationalize behavior once you're feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. :-)

Boyfriend

A boyfriend is a guy that has agreed to see you exclusively. The operative word here is agreed. You can't go around calling someone you're boyfriend if he hasn't identified himself as that. I have a friend that said to me once, 'Well he may as well be my boyfriend. We act like boyfriend and girlfriend." They also communicate primarily via IM. You figure that one out.

Girlfriend

See boyfriend. Ladies, it is important to not act like a girlfriend if you are just hooking up or hanging out. You are playing yourself.

Marriage

When two people stand before God and witnesses and proclaim to love and be true to each other for the rest of their lives, that’s called marriage. If y'all are living together and have been for 10 years, even though the law in your state says that y'all have a 'Common Law Marriage', you are NOT married. Having the piece of paper DOES make a difference.

Wife

It's very popular now for guys to call the woman they are seeing, 'Wifey'. For the record, a wife is the female half of a married couple. Just because you act like a wife, doesn’t mean you are one. Why isn't there a similar slang term for men, 'Hubby'? Ladies, think about this.

Break-Up

Ok, so the relationship did not work out and the two of you have a conversation about your options and decide that it would be best to part ways. That's a break up.

Break-Off

A break off occurs when you and the person you are involved with just kinda slip out of each other's lives. There's no conversation, no confrontation, no argument. The visits cease, the calls become less and less and the emails switch to only forwards. You can try to turn this into a break-up but, is it really worth it?

It's obvious that the person does not hold you in high enough regard to communicate their intentions to you. And let's be real, break-offs don't have to be a bad thing.

Sometimes when this happens, the relationship was new. Y'all met on the internet. You went out a few times. Then, the two of you realized that you didn't have much in common. One or both of you decided to move on. Do you really need a sit-down in this situation? Probably not. Just keep it moving.

Dumped

When you are dumped you know it because 3 things can happen.

1. You are surprised. You didn't see this coming AT ALL. The person just flipped the script on you seemingly overnight.

2. They argue with you and you have no idea what they are talking about. It's like they took a Mandarin immersion class and you missed out.

3. They don't give you a chance to state your position. They don’t give you this opportunity because they've already made up their mind to leave. Nothing you say is going to change that.

I hope the definitions to these common dating terms help you to be more successful in your future relationships. It's all about helping one another. If you can think of any other dating terms to add to our dictionary. Let me know.


Holla Back

A Good Day Turned Bad

So, on my way home from work last night 5-0 pulled me over when I was a few blocks from my destination. I was pissed because 1. I didn't think I'd done anything wrong and 2. I was a few blocks from home. Give me a break.

So, I roll down the window and say to the cop.
"What are you pulling me over for?"
He said, "Give me your license and registration and I'll discuss that with you."
So, I pull my license out and I can't find my registration in my glove compartment.
"Here's my license. I don't have my registration on me."
"You don't have your registration?"
"No. I don't have my registration on me."
He proceeds to tell me that he pulled me over because I almost hit him. He and I both saw this other car jump into my lane and I swerved to avoid hitting that car. I guess I jumped in his lane as a result. I explained that to him.

He agreed that was how it went down.

So, I'm thinking, why the heck are you sitting here talking to me then. Shouldn't you be bothering the real bad driver?
Long story short, he runs my license. Finds nothing and comes back to give me a 'warning' and no tickets. I was glad that I didn't get a ticket but, I was pissed that he had tried to ruin what was an otherwise good day.

Oh, and the other bad thing that happened was that I saw Ashton. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't think he was the biggest jerk since 2003. Everytime I think about his jerkdom I want to spit. Of course, there are two sides to every story. Unfortunately, he never tried to communicate his side. Oh well, life goes on but you can't escape Karma.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

Back in the day, there were several actions that would garner you a 'You should be ashamed of yourself!' from your elders.

Back in the day...
"Mom, here's my report card. I got all D's and only one F."
"ONLY ONE F. There's no such thing as ONLY ONE F. Why did you get an F? You should've studied more. You should be ashamed of yourself for thinking only one F is not a disgrace to this family. Go up to your room and think about what you've done and what you intend to do to make it right."

Current day...
"Mom, here's my report card. I got all D's and only one F."
" Which teacher GAVE you an F? Is that the one that's always sending home a ton of homework for you to do each night. I don't know how she expects you to finish all that mess. She gets on my nerves with that. She's lucky I don't go to those PTA meetings, cuz I'd beat her @ss, stressin my child out like that."
...kid only half listening, because he's about to get to the next level in his PSP game.
"She got my pressure all up. Go on up to your room til dinner gets here. What do you want pizza or chinese?"

Back in the Day...
...crying...
"Mom, I have something to tell you. I'm in trouble."
Mother faints. Father while shedding a tear, says to his daughter...
"You have two options. Marry that good-for-nothing boy that did this to you OR go down to Charlotte and stay with your Aunt Lila until you're due and then give the baby to a good family to raise like their own. It breaks my heart that you've brought this kind of shame to our family. We work so hard to give you kids a good life."

Current Day...
...kinda scared...
"Mom, I'm pregnant."
"Who's the father?"
"Kevin, he's the only one it could be. I haven't been with Charles like that since the beginning of the year."
"So, what are you gonna do?"
"I want to keep it."
"What did he say about that?"
"I haven't told him yet. But, it's my body. I don't need him for this."

What happened to that good old fashioned healthy dose of shame. The more our culture mandates that everything is acceptable, the less shame we've felt about our behavior. On the one hand, the lack of shame has been helpful. Victims of violent crimes like rape and molestation shouldn't feel ashamed of what they've been through. But, I'm all for bringing back the shame for being a teen mom, being arrested, doing drugs, and being ignorant. Usually things are brought out of the darkness to enlighten others and provide a teaching point. All we've learned from taking the shame away from these acts is what kind of baby shower a 15 year old likes, how to do your time 'with honor', which drugs are considered 'cool' and that school isn't cool. We've become so used to such things that we're desensitized and we end up rationalizing the behavior, instead of trying to correct it.

Come on now, we know that's not right. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Holla

Little Girls With Perms

Back in the day, getting your hair permed was akin to being able to date, wearing makeup and other female rights of passage. This doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I live in a multicultural neighborhood and I see many little black girls (African-Americans and early generation West African-American) with permed hair. Some of these little girls can't be more than 10 and their hair looks like it has been chewed up by some kind of hair monster.

This has GOT to affect their self esteem as they become teenagers and young women. How we look plays a big part in how we see ourselves and helping us to determine our self worth. If you're the parent of a kinky or nappy headed little girl, when you slap a perm in it to make it more 'manageable' what message are you sending to her? Are you communicating to her that her natural hair is not good enough? Are you sure?

This is not a rant against perms. I think you should do you. I'm not a natural-nazi or a perm hater. But, I think the Perm Methodology should be similar to the way long division is taught. Remember when you were in 4th grade and were first introduced to long division. Your teacher wouldn't let you use a calculator to complete your assignments. Her rationale was that you need to understand how the process works before you can start using shortcuts.

Similarly, women should learn the ins and outs of their natural hair before changing it chemically. If you can maintain a head of healthy hair on your head before a perm, arguably, you can do the same once you perm it. Plus, if more kinky/nappy haired women would wear their hair natural, it would give little girls a few more role models. It's nice to have someone that looks like you to look up to.

There are 5 year olds out there right now whose parents are planning to get their back to school weaves. There's nothing wrong with weaves. But, come on, how do you take gym without worrying about the tracks falling out? That's alot of pressure for an elementary schooler.

Just think about it.

Let's go back to the natural ponytail puffs.

Slick it down with a little water and grease.

That wasn't so bad, was it?

Holla

The Cold Hard Truth

Have we become so politically correct that we are not being true to ourselves?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about how we use all these euphamisms to turn our negatives into positives.

She's not fat, she's 'curvy'.

He's not fat, he's 'stocky' or a 'big guy'. Now after watching Celebrity Fit Club, let's just keep it real, Bone Crusher is fat. really really fat. not big boned as he likes to say.

Now, if she thinks she's curvy and not fat, is she going to work out? Is she going to eat properly? Take care of her health? Doesn't she still look in the mirror and see a fat girl? Won't her inner voice be in competition with what she's presenting?

And it's not just about size. We have all these different names for 'dark' skin. If being dark isn't bad, why do we need a zillion euphamisms for it. Mocha, Chocolate, Toasty Caramel with Honey Chips, etc. All that's doing is making me hungry. But you know what? Maybe that's getting into a much deeper darker chocolatey issue that should have it's own blog entry. LOL

I was fired from a job once. I wasn't let go or layed off. I was unceremoniously fired. Escorted out with my stuff in a trash bag. No euphamism is going to make that day seem less humiliating.

I was dumped once too. We didn't break up. He just pretended that I didn't exist. For 2 years. hahaha (he eventually came back - the water under the bridge was frozen by then though - but that's a story for another post) Calling it anything other than what it was would diminish the growth that I experienced trying to get through that situation.

What are some other negatives that we try to dress up with pretty words?

Holla

Out & About - 8/5/06

I have a friend that is considering dating a white guy. She's black. It's 2006, it shouldn't be a big deal, but, for her, it is. Will people stare at them when they go out? You know, that whole bit. So, while me and another girlfriend of mine were at Lauriole Plaza on Saturday night, we decided to count the number of interracial couples we saw.

Ok, between the chips & salsa and margarita swirls, it was hard to focus on much. But, we did notice a few couples. Later on we headed to Sequoia's and on the way there, walking through Georgetown, we saw quite a few more. Maybe this thing isn't as taboo anymore. Did all these women see Sanaa Lathan's movie Something New and decide to open up their options? Whatever makes you happy is what I say. You can spend a lifetime worrying about what other people think. Just don't date someone of another race thinking they are going to be totally different than the folks in your race. No, all white girls are not easy and docile. No all black girls are not uptight with attitudes. All black guys are not players and all white guys are not sensitive. Get over the stereotype and get on with life.

My New Home

Well, I decided to start doing a blog since I wasn't keeping up with the yahoo website. This way, I can quickly jot down my random thoughts.

Maybe I should start this thing by introducing myself. I'm Penni. I like long walks on the beach, candlelight...sike, just kidding. I'm not on some match.com ish with this blog. I just like to talk about the things I see when I'm hanging out with my peeps, issues that affect my community, and random deep thoughts that overcome me.

So, check me out.