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Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Secret Life of Petty: 15 Things Only Petty People Will Understand

Being petty is fun when you know how to do it right. For the vets (like myself) the petty actions are hardly ever done with malicious intent, but sometimes you have to be petty to put people back in their place. 

Take it from someone with Petty in her DNA: Don't ever mess with a petty b*tch. We set aside time in our day just to be petty. We usually spend that time being petty with our friends, but if you choose to challenge us we rarely turn down an opportunity to shut you up. Here are some of our favorite ways to put the petty on front street: 

15. When You & Your Bestie Get Petty Together:

14. When Someone Throws Shade After You Decided to Stop Being Petty:


13. When You Realize You Have The Perfect Opportunity to Be Petty (& you're about to take advantage):

12. When you See A Subliminal Post About You & You Like it Anyway:


11. "Oh. We're being petty AGAIN today?"

10. When You Speak to Someone You KNOW Doesn't Like You:

9. When You're Petty and Pretty:  

8. When you didn't start it, but you're still prepared: 

7. That ONE Time When You REALLY WEREN'T BEING PETTY and No One Believed You:


6. It's "You're petty" not "YOUR petty" boo boo: 

5. When You Go To Follow (or stalk) Someone and Realize You're Blocked: 

4. Reminding Folks You Were Trying to Mind Your Own Business:

3. When Someone Who Never Shows Up Comments "Dang No Invite":

2. When You Were Trying Not To Be Petty, But Someone Mentions Your Name:

1. When You And Your Friends Are ALL Petty So It's A Term of Endearment:


Don't be petty tell me whatcha think then share this post. 

Peace. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

8 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day That Do NOT Involve Buying Gifts (Crazy concept, I know!)

You've gotten the flowers and the chocolate. You've reminisced on all the hell you caused her. You're older now and Mother's Day means more than a handmade card and some chocolate. Mother's Day is a day you get to reflect on the life your mom gave you. Regardless of what you life was like once she gave birth Mother's Day is a day to honor the fact that your mom chose life for you.

I know this week has been difficult for some struggling with the loss of their mom and also those coping with infant loss. There is no one who can take your mom's place or your unborn child's place. I hope you remember God and the universe are restorative. Although you may not have your mom or your child in the physical sense I can guarantee that you have someone in your life that you can love on and that can love you. Try not to focus on the loved ones you have lost. Try to focus on those people who are still alive and stand ready to pour love and light into you.

It is the night before Mother's Day and I know some of y'all are just now shopping for your Mother's Day gifts. Here are 8 ways all of us can celebrate Mother's Day.

8. Take Care of Yourself. The Best way to to take care of the people you love (including your mom) is to take care of yourself. Take care of your own finances first. Take care of your own mental health first. Take care of your own home first. Address any issues you may have and learn to love yourself just as you are.

7. Stop asking women without a child when they will have a child. It's none of your business.  CAN YOU NOT encourage people to have babies who aren't ready to have babies? THANKS. 

6. Stop asking women with a child when they will have another child. Are you gonna help pay for the extra kid? People take for granted the emotional and physical price a woman pays to give birth to a child. If she wants to procreate again it's her choice. You will know she's ready when you know. If she's anything like me you'll know a month after the baby is born.

5. Stop staring at kids who throw tantrums in public. You were once a kid. Chances are you threw at least one tanrum. Chances are your mom felt helpless and hopeless in the heat of the tantrum. The child you're staring at is your younger self. That means the mom you're staring at is your own mom.

4. Forgive Your Mom. I know there are some people who do not consider their moms their best friend. I am one of those people. It used to be so hard on me because my friends all consider their moms a best friend. My mom is not a bad mom we just are not close. I know she will be there for me if I need her, but our relationship is not quite a friendship per se. My point is moms are people too. We are not superheroes. We make mistakes. We forget things. We get tired. We all do the best we can with what we have. Forgive your biological mom if she has ever fallen short in your life. Forgive your motherly figures, too.

3. Celebrate your "bonus" moms. You didn't get where you are without the help, prayers and sacrifice of other people. That "auntie" at work who shares her lunch. That "grandma" at church who loves on you when you need it the most and always has mints. That "sista" who looks out for you when you are too ashamed to ask for help. Celebrate all of the people who have stood in the gap for you to propel you forward.

2. Stop Judging Other Moms. Whether she allows her kid to have Cheetos, Cheerios, or Goldfish crackers every mom doing her best deserves some slack. If you are a mom please support other moms. Acknowledge the challenges. Support her. Tell her she's a good mom. Tell her she's doing a good. Tell her good things.

1. Don't Isolate Your "mom friends." I get it. Moms are busy. We have a lot on our plate. Sometimes we have to cancel plans last minute because the kid gets sick. Don't isolate us. We are still around. We still like to go out. We still want to see you. We still want to talk to you. Yes we are adjusting, but we don't want to lose you as a friend. Work with her schedule to allow time to continue your bond. Trust me your mom friend needs to see adults!

'Tis all. How are you celebrating Mother's Day this year? Are you the perfect offspring and you celebrate mom's day everyday? 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Dear Miss "Too Much": An Open Letter to All Women Seeking REAL Love

Dear Miss "Too Much,"

Girl guess what?


You got "too much" attitude.

You got "too much" hair.
You got "too much" sass.
You got "too much" going on.

How many times have you heard those words? How many times did you internalize them and receive them as truth? Someone said the words and now you believe them. You think you've got too much hair, too much sass, too much class, too many rules, too much ass (ok there's no such thing as too much ass lol), and too much of all the things that make it hard for a lover to love you.


You've got too many rules.

You've got too many things you won't settle for.
You've got standards no one will ever meet.
You've got walls bigger than the ones #thatguy wants to build.
You've got skin darker than midnight.
You've got a painful past and baggage you need to unpack.

I'm not sure when it happened or who planted the seed, but someone told you were too much to handle and it has blossomed into an orchard of doubt. They tell you your "too much" is why it didn't work. If you had just been "less than" things would be different. If you had just had less attitude it would have worked. If you had been more submissive. If you had been less sassy. If you had been more agreeable. If you had lower standards. If you had a different set of standards. If you were just a little bit less of yourself you would be more deserving of their love.


They said you have too much to say. You should be quieter. They told you you have too much hair. You should press it out. They told you your smile needs to be fixed. You should not be proud of your crooked smile. They told you your thighs needed to be thicker. You should gain weight. They told you your thighs are too thick. You need to lose weight. They told you because of your ambitions you don't have enough free time.  You should be happy where you are. They challenged you to change yourself. They encouraged you to alter and shrink yourself. Make your laugh more of a giggle and less of a cackle. Don't curse so much. Don't demand so much. Don't succeed so much. Be more humble. 


Things would be different. Right?


It's time to unearth all the seeds planted by people who have made you feel like you couldn't allow your light to fill every crevice of yourself. Rise up. Stand up within yourself. Accept that you allowed someone to make you feel like you're no good and make a conscious effort not to allow it to happen again. Decide you will not allow anyone else to make you feel small. Decide you will not allow anyone else to make you feel "less than."

You are capable.
You are strong.
You are worthy.
You are enough.
You can do it.

I challenge you to enter into a loving relationship with yourself.

Take time out to fall in love with yourself.
Fall in love with all the parts of yourself people have told you make you hard to love.
Fall in love with all the things that are not perfect about you.
Fall in love with your thick ass afro and your thinning edges.
Fall in love with your wide hips and your itty bitty titties.
Fall in love with your freckles or your acne spots and your caterpillar ass eyebrows.
Fall in love with every mole, every blemish and every unruly strand of hair.
Fall in love with your skinny fingers and that slight 'stache you grow once a week.
Fall in love with the stretch marks.

Love yourself right where you are at this exact moment.


Love yourself at the exact weight you are.  Love yourself and the car you drive or don't drive. Love yourself for the house/apt/condo/basement/bedroom in your mom's house you live in. Love yourself at the exact mental state you're in. Love yourself for all the help you need. Love yourself for all the help you ask for. Love yourself at your current level of "can" and "can't."


Forgive yourself. Forgive those who have hurt you. Deal with the things you worry about and the negative things you feel about yourself. You can embrace who you are and what you are and what you have at this exact moment. Step into self love. You are worthy of unconditional love.


Let me tell you something about real love:


People who love you will love you for EXACTLY who you are. They will love you for your gap tooth. They will love your bow legs. They will love your for your double digit "body count." They will love your kinky hair. They will love your skinny arms. They will love your hairy back. They will love your FUPA. They will love your ugly feet. They will love your long arms and lanky figure. They will love the way your belly has rolls when you sit down (and stand up). People who are determined to love you will always find a way. Anyone who makes you feel like you have to change BEFORE they can love you is not someone who deserves your love. Those people don't know how to love. 


Let your light SHINE, darling. Develop the courage to stop seeking approval from others. Realize REAL love starts with self-love. You don't have to feel like a victim any longer. I hereby release you from every feeling of unworthiness and every desire to be anyone other than your whole self.



With love,


Miss "Too Much"

XoXo

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Somebody Has to Do It: In Defense of Tax Refund Stunters

Stunt (v.): To floss or show off one's possessions.

Tax Refund Stunter (n.): One who receives a HEFTY tax refund and spends it frivolously within a few months. See also, tax rich. 

I was once in line at a Walmart Customer Service Center behind a woman who was cashing a $9000 tax refund check. Initially I wondered why she didn't just get direct deposit, but I try to mind my business. She was loudly talking about how she was gonna spend it. None of the things sounded responsible to me. I used my app to check my checking account balance and I didn't have access to that much money. I was also jealous because I had to pay income taxes that year. Before that experience I had no idea people got so much money back as part of their tax refund. 

Every year around the time tax refunds are issued we see an influx of people shopping, taking trips, and getting their lives together. Some people use the money to catch up on bills or save for big purchases like a home, but others use the money to stunt. The "others" get new cars, put rims on the cars they already have and buy their kids ridiculously expensive gifts. The "others" are the Tax Refund Stunters. No need to play the "guess that race" game. We know the people who are the poster children of Income Tax Balling. These people are criticized, hated upon and looked down on because they get a lil "extra" money and seemingly lose their minds. 

Stunters gone stunt.

As a daughter of a single mother who raised 5 kids mostly on her own and still found the resources to take in and take care of extra kids I sympathize with them. I know how hard it can get. Being poor ain't no fun. Still, each year I see my circles divided into 2 groups: (1) Tax Refund Stunters and (2) Those who don't understand them. I realize the popular thing to do is to rank on a TRS, but I am still choosing to defend them. 

Why?

WHY THE F*CK DO YOU CARE? Everyone goes in on a Tax Return Stunter because they're an easy target. They're easy to spot. They're frontin. They're flashin for Instagram tryna impress people who wouldn't spit on 'em if they were on fire. We wonder why they don't put the money away for their child's college fund or some responsible sh*t the rest of us claim we'd do with the money. Why do you care how someone else spends their money? 

Admit You're Jealous. Oh I bet you'll stop reading now. Jealous of what? Jealous of who? You get money year round! You make too much money to get a refund! On some level the criticisms come from a place of envy. It's not deep. It's mostly Person A wishing he/she could blow through an "extra" $9k and blow it like Person B. Person A would be responsible and starting thinking about his/her student loans, or mortgage or the tread wearing on his/her tires. You WISH you could be irresponsible with your money just ONCE. On some level Person A is jealous that Person B is not concerned about building savings accounts, or mortgages or paying taxes. Adulting so hard. 

Mind Your Own Money. Worry about your own bills. Worry about your own pockets. Worry about your own money. If you were focused on your own money you wouldn't even have time to think about how other people are spending theirs. 

Tax Return Stunters Spread The Wealth. Ok maybe wealth isn't the right word, but have you ever been around a TRS when they first get their money? They're wiping their asses with $100 bills. Need to borrow some money? They can let you hold something til you get paid. They won't press you as long as you pay it back by Labor Day. Want some new shoes? They'll buy you 2 pair. Whether it's paying up their mom's rent or helping their sister cover unexpected car repairs TRS' typically take care of the people who took care of them throughout the year.

Stop Acting Like You Don't Know Poor People. If you're reading this chances are you probably know someone who has been evicted. You probably know someone with bad credit. You probably know someone who can only make ends meet with help from their parents. You probably know someone who can only buy groceries when they get their food stamps. You probably know someone who gets $20/month for child support. Don't act like you are just so disconnected from what it's like to be poor that you can't understand how poor people act. 

In reality I don't see it as stunting. Many of the Tax Refund Stunters have struggled all year. Have you seen the numbers one needs to meet in order to qualify for a tax refund? Who can really live comfortably off of those numbers? & with offspring? Have you ever been so broke someone offered you one hell of a deal and you still couldn't afford it? Well many of the people deemed Tax Refund Stunters were so broke throughout the year they had to focus on meeting their needs. In some way knowing they would get "extra" money in late January helped them keep holding on. Now they get the chance to go on trips, and they can buy the shoes and purses they couldn't afford even with the Black Friday and Christmas sales. It may seem like stunting to you, but they are buying the things others don't think twice about. What is a $300 bag when you make $85,000 a year and don't have any children? It's nothing. What is a $300 bag when you make $21,000 with 4 kids? That's a game changer. 

Managing money is hard. It is a skill they don't teach us in school. I had to pass Algebra II to get my high school diploma, but I haven't used not nary algebra equation. I've never been anywhere and had to use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve a a real life problem. You gotta let people live and learn. You gotta love people where they are. If you know an tax refund stunter try to see them in a different light. They're doing the best they can with where they are and what they have. It's easy to group "them" and talk about what "they" do as if we know so much better. Truth is we are all trying to figure it out and we need to be more kind to others who are doing the same. Teach the babies.

Do y'all have any Tax Refund Stunter stories? Are you one of them? Chime in if you wanna. 

Peace. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

How to Date a Single Mom: 7 Things Every Person Should Know

I realize there is now a movement to be more specific about the terms used to describe single motherhood. I am told the term "single mom" is reserved for women "doing it alone" and so I do not "qualify."  Somehow the fact that 7 days out of 7 I put my kid to bed and keep her alive but still receive "help" from her dad 1100 miles away (no shade) means I'm a single woman with a child, but not a single mom. Who has time to say all that? That's too much work. Bish let me call myself a single mom if that's what I wanna call myself. Nobody says anything when you call yourself Tae TooTattedSoBlessed Brown. Can I live?

Anyway. . .

It's been a while since I last blogged. Ya'll missed me? Ya'll see my new short hair? I glow'd up like a mug!
I missed y'all. So I'm gonna try to write more often, but I'm not exactly sure HOW often. I've got A LOT going on. Mostly, I'm launching an online emporium of sorts. A chick has taught herself to sew and I have gotten hella crafty. Yesssss!!! I have sewn dresses for Baby Love (who is almost 2 now! What is THAT?!) and skirts for myself. I'll be making many custom gifts from clothing to purses, to makeup bags, jewelry, blankets, baby bibs and so much more. The dates of the launch have changed so many times I'm just gonna announce the launch when it's already happened. In the mean time (shameless plug) I have an Etsy shop called By KeeKs With Love. The url is www.bykeekswithlove.comCheck it out! Buy something! I'm gonna keep that name, but when I'm ready I'm going to switch to a different platform and brand it in a different way. I'm going to incorporate this blog into it somehow some way. You'll see when it's finished.

**Obligatory Single Mom Post**


Full Disclosure: I'm on a dating fast. That means while I have a few male friends I am not allowing myself to get romantically involved with anyone. Not sure how long it will last, but it will probably be for the entire 2016. That means no dates, no chex, no nothing. It's not my first ride at the dating fast rodeo, but I'm entering this round with a different approach. It's been interesting so far. Some men understand and some think unsolicited dick pics will change my mind. When I roll over and see dick pics on my screen at 5am I feel like Kevin Hart "IT'S A DICK ON THE PHONE!"

Moving on. 

In light of the impending LOVE holiday I chose to write about my favorite subject: LOVE. I know dating for some is a travesty. Hell I get frustrated and send a "You're great, but we can't be friends anymore" text at least once a week. Still, I know some people shy away from dating single moms because of fears and misconceptions. Then again, some people just hate women so there's that. 

If you have a single mom on your radar here are some things to keep in mind: 

1. Figure out what you both want FIRST. 

Don't think every single mom wants to marry you. All of us aren't looking for daddies for our kid(s). All of us don't need a savior. You only want sex? Some of us just want sex too. Not ready for a relationship? Some of us don't have time for a relationship. Some of us don't want the trouble. Be honest and up front about where you are in your journey. Cut the "nice guy" bull and get to the meat of it. Pun! She doesn't have time to play games & you shouldn't be trying to play games anyway.


2. Understand you will not come first. 

You might not come second or third either. Let me say that again: YOU WILL NOT BE A PRIORITY (at first). If she's anything like me there's:
A. God
B. Her
C. Her kid
D. Her Family & Friends
That would mean you would come 5th. I haven't had this issue with other parents, but for non-parents here's the thing: You have to be a grown up and accept that it is up to you to show her you want to be there. If you want to be around for the long run you're going to have to be a mature adult and put in work to get on the all-star team. You don't get to become one of her priorities after 2 or 3 dates. Her time is limited and precious and she doesn't have a lot of it to go around.


3. Be Realistic. 

You cannot ask a single mom at 4:30pm to meet you for drinks at 6pm the same night. She has to make sure she has a sitter and that her kid(s) will be set for bed and ready for the next day. Last minute plans are not the move. Plan ahead or be prepared to be told "no" often.


4. Learn about her relationship with her "baby daddy." 

This can be a touchy subject for some, but it is still an important one. Whether she's been broken up with her co-parent for a few months or a few years it is necessary for you to understand where her and her "baby daddy" stand. You don't have to ask about the details of their breakup right away, but you should know the basics to start: 
Are they divorced/separated?
Is he an active dad? 
Does he live close by? 
Does he come to her home for visits? 
Do they ever sleep over with each other? 
Do they do things together with the child?  
What are her feelings about him? 
What is their custody arrangement? 
What is the state of their relationship? 
Are they one "I want my family back" text away from getting back together? 

As I said, this is a touchy subject so I encourage you to proceed with caution. Don't become obsessed with discussing him. Try to touch on the major things initially and delve deeper as things get more serious. If she is truly ready to date she should be open to discussing this subject with you and she will understand your concern. Be direct with her if you need clarity.

5. Be Involved. 

I don't like this term, but a single mom is a "package deal." When you're dating her you're dating her, but when things get more serious her child will become involved. You may not get to meet her child for a while, but the time will come. You should show genuine interest in the well-being of her child.  Ask questions about how her child is doing and show that you realize it's not just HER.

This leads me to. . . 

6. Don't be PUSHY About Meeting Her Child(ren).  


After a 1st date a guy asked whether I could bring my daughter on our 2nd date. When I declined he became very hostile and defensive asking whether I thought he was a "bad man." He was a "nice" guy. He thought he would sweeten the deal if he offered to buy her lots of toys and to fly us all 1st class to Florida to Disney World. He went so far as to offer to fly Baby Love's dad up here so we could all have dinner together. He just did not understand why IF I liked him I didn't also want him to meet and connect with my child. We were chatting for a month before we both had the chance to go out so he wasn't a complete stranger, but still he was stranger enough. We went on one more date, but his persistent pushy-ness was a huge turnoff. Don't be like that guy. My daughter is very young and I don't want her looking at every man with the "Are You My Daddyyyy?" eyes. Besides, when it comes to my kid I don't trust anyone 100% who ain't me. 

7. Spoil Her. 

Being a single mom is one of the most thankless jobs in the world. We cook, clean, organize and take care of ourselves and our kid(s) day in and day out. We usher them to school each day and go on about our professional lives to make sure we keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. All this while balancing egos and co-parenting to the best of our ability. We rarely hear thank you and often our kids are ungrateful unintentionally. Yes she would love fresh flowers, but does her grass need to be cut (pun, but not really lol)? Can you take the trash out? Can you hire a maid for her? Does something need to fixed around the house? Can you get her car detailed? Can you get her car serviced? Think outside of the box when you want to do something nice for her. Try to make sure your nice gestures are not actually things that will burden her. Nothing is sexier than a man who wants to take some of the weight off of a mom.

BONUS: Listen.  It is not easy doing it all (or mostly) on your own. Sometimes the kid is sick and she doesn't sleep for 3 days. Sometimes she spends 24 hours cleaning up toddler vomit. Sometimes it takes her 4 days to finish laundry. Sometimes she just wants to cry and be vulnerable. Allow her the space to do that. Allow her to talk about how hard it gets and to be honest about her worries and fears. We all fear we're going to make huge mistakes, but we are all doing the best we can do. If you're trying to be part of her life you will have to understand sometimes she just needs an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

If you have decided to date a single mom these are just some things to keep in mind. Do you have any you would add? Any experiences you care to share? 

I know these rules won't apply to every person or every parent. If it don't apply, let it fly.

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

30 Signs You're Going on 30

Welcome to another "Hey! You're getting older" post. As if you haven't read enough of these already. Yet here you are. . .reading another one. 

Last week my oldest niece and I were riding around running errands and she asked me whether she could ask me a question. I said sure and she said: 

Niece:"How old are you auntie?" 
Me: "How old do you think I am?"
Niece: "You must be old. Cuz you know a lot of stuff. You know all of my homework answers and you're smarter than my Principal." 
Me: "I'm almost 30." 
Niece: "So does that mean you're almost old? Cuz 30 is sooooo old!"
Me: "I hope you laugh at this convo when you're my age."

Gotta love the kids. 

People born in 1985 turn 30 this year. 
WHO COMMISSIONED THAT?!? 
Thirty? 
30?!!!!!!
What does this mean?
What's the learning curve?
Do I have to stop bullish*ttin or else I'm gonna feel like a failure on the daily? 
Do I have to finally be responsible? 
Is it the age I have to know better? 
Is it the age I FINALLY have to do better?
Is it the age I have to carry a sweater with me at all times?
Is it the age I start to keep tailgating chairs in my trunk in case I find myself at a parade or have to stand in a line?
Is it the age I have to stop living young and wild with 20-somethings?

Nooooooooooooooo!!! 
MAKE IT STOP!!! 
Make time stop!
How did this happen so fast?
Seems like I was just turning 25 last year!

*breathe*
10 year old me should have managed her dreams better. I'm supposed to be married to The Famous Jett Jackson (RIP) and rich with a house on the lake by now. 

You don't need to focus on that new wrinkle or that rogue gray hair(there will be more!), here are 30 signs you're going on 30: 

30. You Start to ACT Like Your Parents. 
29. You start to SOUND like your parents.
28. You've come a long way from that 18 year old who used to get overdraft fees on the regular. Or maybe not. 
27. You start to plan for retirement. 
26. You have noticeable gray hairs. 

25. Your Favorite Celebs (not named Nia Long) Have Aged. 
24. The actors who played kids on your favorite shows are all grownups with families. 
23. The actors who played the mother and father figures on your favorite shows are dying. *sigh*

22. You Wake up with Random Ailments. 
21. Not only that, but you come up with random ways to explain them because  you know if you check WebMD it's going to tell you you're dying. 
20. Your Priorities Have Changed. Face it: The things that used to be so important just aren't so important anymore. 

19. You've got a "bucket list." As in a "things to do before you die" list. 
18. You Value Spending Time With Family. 
17. You appreciate your parents more because you realize at some point they were just like you. 

16. You Don't Understand the Youth. 
15. You complain about current music and language. 
14. You stay away from "18 to party" clubs cuz those kids don't know how to act. 
13. Oh and what the hell is "Bustin out the bando?" 

12. Your Facebook Newsfeed is mostly think pieces and pictures of families.  
11. Your Approach to (life/dating/friendships)has Changed. 
10. You're playing by your own rules. You make em. You make exceptions to 'em. You break 'em. 
9. You stopped caring what other people think. You have realized it's your life and you
 live it unapologetically. Salute!

8. You're not interested in partying. 
7. You tried to party "hard" and your body failed you. 
6. You've set boundaries on fun: ONE after work happy hour/week and clubbing ONE weekend day/month. 

5. You favorite part of going to the club is when it's time to leave. 
4. Your second favorite part of going to the club is the "throwback" songs set. Those are the songs you actually know.
3. You remember "the good ol days." Like when you sang the lyrics to songs you didn't really understand and your biggest worry was what time your friends could come out to play. 

2. You spend "the weekend" doing adult things like laundry and running errands.  Next stop: Responsibility-ville with the Chief of the Fun Police.

1. You need help with Electronics. Go ahead. Ask the barely legal phone rep how to access certain features on your new phone. 

Awwww do ya feel old? Beloved, it is ok to age. Find a good moisturizer and age gracefully. As an aside, if you don't have it "all together" just be patient with yourself. We are often our own worst critics and that means we see things as worse than they really are. Things will fall into place. Resist the urge to compare yourself to your peers. You may not have your dream job, or a dream house, or be married or have a child yet, but if those things are meant for you they will happen for you. You may not be where you want to be, but with a plan in place you won't be in the same place for long. 

I'm blessed (I'm willing to bet you are too). I'm rich in ways that don't involve money (got a few coins too tho lol). And I DO have my house by the lake if you count my law school loans as a house. The deed is rolled up under my bed collecting dust. 

Live it up! 
Take Chances! 
Make Mistakes! 
Get Messy! 

Then go take a nap. 

Peace. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It Must Be The Shoes: 8 Reasons Jordan Fanatics Aren't Your Problem


Every year around Christmas the Jordan brand releases a limited release sneaker. Every year the pandemonium around copping (or buying) said sneaker gets more ridiculous.  If you find the shoe desirable your options for copping are as follows: 
1) Standing in Line
2) Using a Sneaker Broker
3) Having a Reliable Sneaker Connect
4) Camping Out
5) Buying Them Online (the servers of the top stores usually crash)

I'm fed up. 

When I was growing up I wore all kinds of sneakers from Skechers to LA Gears to KSwiss to Jordans and everything in between. I was fresh as hell too. The most popular shoes varied each year but I remember pressing my parents for Grant Hill's, Ken Griffeys, Deion's, Scottie Pippens and Jordan's. When I got a pair of Jordan's my dad and I would go to the mall on or after the release day. There were no lines. We didn't need a special relationship with the store owner or store manager.  I tried the shoes on, he paid for them and we carried on about our day. 

Something has changed. 

What's happened recently is the Jordan brand limited releases have become a spectacle. Demand often far exceeds supply and it creates a marketplace where people go to extremes to get their hands on a pair. There are people called "sneaker brokers" who make claims to guarantee customers a pair for a fee. (See pic below).

While some Jordan's are quietly released and there isn't much hype about them, many Jordan retro releases cause people act irrationally. As I type this on Wednesday  there are people camping out pending the release of the Air Jordan 11 Retro "Legends Blue" on Saturday. Never mind that people camp out for iPhones or video games the framing of the stories about people who camp out feels different. The Jordan campers are absurd. They must not vote. They're not mentors or pillars of the community. They must not have jobs. Their priorities are mixed up. 


Full Disclosure: My 7 month old daughter has 10+ pairs of Jordans and over 30 pairs of shoes. I'm not bragging I just want you to have an idea who this is coming from. We buy for her not because we want to impress other adults (I could NOT care less what other adults think of what she's wearing. I'm her primary stylist and I style her and create custom pieces for her because of what I like her to have.), but we buy them because we want her to have them. We don't buy every pair, but if we get a pair she gets a pair too. She also has an investment account, savings accounts, and a college savings plan so judge ya mama.

For those unfamiliar with the sneaker game, in terms of serious sneaker consumers the players are "sneakerheads," "hypebeasts" & "sneaker brokers." Sneakerheads are people who collect sneakers for no other reason than they consider certain sneakers collectible items. They take special care of their sneakers. They preserve their sneakers. Keep your judgment about depreciating value. While there are other sneakers or shoes one could buy, Jordan's have maintained dominance amongst classic sneaker lovers. Then there are the "hypebeasts." Ask a sneaker head about a hypebeast if you want to see them get riled up. Hypebeasts are people who only buy shoes for the sole purpose of impressing others. They want bragging rights. They don't care how ugly or stylish the shoes are. They want them because everyone else wants them. Since hypebeasts are usually the flashiest and loudest these are likely the people most think of when they imagine Jordan fanatics. Hypebeasts are hypebeasts and nothing more. 

Not sure if someone is a hypebeast or a legit sneaker head? 
Here's the test: Sneakerheads will do things within reason to get shoes, but understand the game enough not to allow copping the shoes to supersede other priorities. Sneakerheads know there will likely be restocks. Hypebeasts are the ones camping out and paying 4x the retail price just to say they have them. Hypebeasts are also the ones skipping out on bills & meals to get them. 
"They're retro shoes! They're just gonna get released again"

Here are 8 reasons critics of Jordan Fanatics need to play the quiet game:

8. It's not YOUR Money to Spend.  Whether it's on a Battery Operated Boyfriend, Mary Jane, Taylor Swift CDs or Retro Jordan's let people spend their money the way they want to spend their money. 

7. Their Reason For Buying Them Is NOT Your Business. 
"They're just buying them to Impress Other People." 
"The children don't know the difference between Jordan's and (insert cheaper shoe)." 
Whether their cousin has a contract with Nike or they're a hype beast that camped out it does not matter. How or why they got the shoes is none of your business. 


6. They're Not Hurting YOU. When you see a person wearing Jordan's does it hurt you? When you drive by the mall and see people standing in line for a chance to buy them does that impact your world? If the answer is no it's time for you to reflect on why you're so mad.

5. All Jordan Fanatics Are NOT the same. We are lawyers, doctors, engineers, writers, and dentists. We are athletes, entrepreneurs and blue collar workers with undeniable work ethics. Just like any other clusters there are a few ignorant people in the bunch making the rest of us look bad. They're the ones blaming the shoes for their choice to go out robbing, fighting, destroying property and harming others. For the most part we just wanna buy our shoes and go about our business. 

4. Worry About Yourself. Don't you have a 401(k) to brag about? A car that needs an oil change? A credit card bill that needs paying? A drink to drank? Stop worrying about how other people live their lives or how they're managing to do so much. Live & let live!

3. You're Focusing Too Much On Someone Else. 

"They can afford Jordans, but their kids don't have college funds?"
"She bought Jordan's for her whole family, but she doesn't work" 
"They're buying Jordan's, but they don't own their home"
I know social media makes it hard for us to mind our own business, but more people should try it. Shift your focus and figure out how to make your own life better.

2. Their Priorities are NOT Yours to Make. What's it to YOU if it looks like their priorities are messed up? Why does it bother you so much what someone else chooses to do with their money? So what because someone is buying Jordan's but doesn't have a car?? Yes. I said it. SO WHAT?! If they're ok with getting on the bus wearing $200 sneakers why can't you be ok with them doing it? You can't want more for someone than they want for themselves. It's not your job to do the math of how much it would cost them to own a car vs buying Jordan's once a month. Let them be fresh as hell on the city bus. Less traffic for the rest of us. 

1. You're no Better Because You Think You Know Better. Just as Jordan fanatics are not horrible people for buying the shoes, the people who choose not to buy them are no better. Be Clear: Jordan fanatics are not better people, parents, children, aunts or uncles because they buy Air Jordan's. They are no less of the same for choosing to do so. If you want to enlighten people about corporate practices that is one thing, but to make comments because you think you're better than them for never having purchased or owned a pair is another. 

Everything is not meant for everyone to understand. I don't understand why people book layovers on domestic flights. I also don't understand why I wasn't in Beyonce's 7/11 video, but I still manage. 

Before ya go criticizing me and telling me how Jordan doesn't care about the black community or how he hasn't done anything to uplift the black community. . .these notions are not new to me. I think the obsession with the shoes has gotten out of hand. I also think the obsession with many things has gotten out of hand. Look around. We're living in a time where people make decisions based on Instagram likes. There's so much more things we could pick battles about. They're JUST shoes y'all. 

Micheal Jordan is still the greatest basketball player of all time. 

Peace. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Greetings from. . .The Other Side of LOVE

It's been quite some time since I last blogged. I know y'all missed me. I've seen the page views and the e-mails. See what had happened was I found myself at the corner of "I spend 50 hours/week on a computer to earn a living" and fighting back feelings of "no one wants to read that" so blogging took a back seat.

Full Disclosure: I decided to write this post not as an insult to anyone or as a means to take shots or any negative thing any of you could get out of it. I decided to write this because on the eve of my 29th birthday I see the value of reflecting. I know there is power in sharing your story. I also know sharing your story can have healing properties for you and the ones you share it with. I am fully aware many of you reading this know me personally and clicked to read this post just to be nosey. I just want y'all to know I really don't care. You may choose to run and tell someone else what you've read and you may find yourself judging me. Again, I don't care. Do you, boo boo.
Every year as my birthday approaches I find myself feeling a little "blue." Some of you may know it as The Birthday Blues. I call it "Oh sh*t what am I gonna do for my birthday?!?" In 2011, I made a conscious decision to take a look back on the year and adopting a sense of gratefulness for it all. Consider this a glimpse into that journey.                                   
Here goes. . .

Reflecting
On my last birthday I was pregnant and just over the 3 month mark.  SHOCKING, right?! I was not quite "showing" and
aside from my intolerance of certain smells, all-day sickness, and sleeping 14-16 hours at a time I don't think anyone noticed. My boyfriend at the time (we'll get to that later) and I decided to use my birthday brunch to share the news with my friends.  We were in a long distance relationship and he was in town for my birthday. I was so excited to share the news with everyone and I knew they would be happy for us. After all, we were two intelligent and beautiful black people who were bound to create an even more beautiful child. We didn't have plans far beyond that yet we successfully dodged questions about our future together and managed to keep it lighthearted. We asked that everyone refrain from sharing details online via social media until after the baby was born.

That birthday was one of the best birthdays I've ever had. I was happy, my skin looked amazing, and God had chosen me to become a mom. I spent it with my closest friends who had taken time out to get me the most thoughtful gifts (my favorite movies, favorite candy, etc). Fast-forward through an amazing Christmas, a pretty "ok" maternity shoot on the beach during Valentine's Day weekend (see above pic) and three baby showers. . .I decided to give birth in Florida. For those who do not know me I'm a Florida native. The majority of my family still lives here and so does his. It seemed like a perfect plan. I'd get 12 weeks of maternity leave (with most of it paid) and I could use that time to allow our families to bond with our daughter before I took our baby and moved back to DC. I packed up 12 weeks worth of comfy clothes and we took the auto train to Florida. Thanks to the generosity of my former boss I was allowed to continue working from home after I got to Florida.

The Most Beautiful Girl in The World
Fast-forward one mo 'gin to May 1st. We had a meeting that morning at 8:30am so I woke up at 7, freshened up and began to mentally prepare for the conference call. Before I could get set up I started experiencing pretty severe pains in my lower back. I had had some discomfort from sitting so much while being 8.5 months pregnant so I warmed up my heating pad and tried to brush it off. Except I couldn't. The pain became almost unbearable, but I wasn't due for another 16 days and the previous afternoon my doctor told me I wasn't dilated and that I'd likely be pregnant until May 17th (my due date). I woke up my boyfriend and told him I was in pain. He rubbed my back a few times and when the pain didn't subside I decided to go to the hospital. Turns out the pain was contractions. They confirmed, "Lady you're 4cm dilated and having a baby today!" 12 hours later I gave birth to a 6 pound 7 ounce beautiful baby girl who was covered in this yucky stuff that I low-key didn't wanna get on me LOL!

Two days later we took her home and neither of us slept a wink that night. Then the immensity of it all started to settle in. Three days later he was back at work and I started to feel overwhelmed. I didn't have the help I thought I would. I woke up tired. I was always tired. I felt out of it. The best way I could describe it was I didn't "feel like myself." I've never used those words before yet they were the answer to so many questions. I stopped answering my phone. My e-mails piled up into the thousands. My voice mailbox was full of messages I didn't want to hear. I didn't want to talk. To anyone. About anything. I didn't want to admit I felt like a failure. It didn't help that I'm not very close with my mother so I didn't feel comfortable expressing such a deep level of vulnerability and weakness. I told myself I'd get through it all on my own time. I lost some friends along the way who took my lack of desire to talk personally and I don't blame them for walking away. How could they understand something they don't know about?

I lost my sense of peace and I didn't know how to get it back. My doctor recommended therapy and I laughed as I said "I don't have time for therapy doc." I wasn't running from therapy. I kinda knew I needed to talk to someone. But the words. . .like weak, vulnerable, struggling, self-conscious, ugly. . .I was afraid to use them to describe myself. I wasn't even doing a good job of faking it. I couldn't bring myself to ask for help because. . .that's not what strong black women do, right? AND I AM NOTHING IF NOT A STRONG BLACK WOMAN! 

I was so busy helping to make other people's lives easier and doing favors that I literally FORGOT to take care of myself. My working friends needed an emergency sitter. My sister needed someone to be at her home with her kids because her work schedule changed to crazy hours.
I couldn't say no.
I missed meals.
I ate candy for energy.
I lost 20 pounds.
I slept for 30 minutes to an hour at a time. Never more than 3-4 hours in a 24 hour period.
My mind was restless. My body was tired. I was a zombie.
I told myself I was handling it.

Lost in the Sauce
For the first time in my entire life I didn't feel like my normally confident self. I wasn't happy. I constantly wondered whether I was a good mother. Some days I felt like Super Mom and others I asked God to help me find a nanny so I could take a real nap. I didn't feel pretty. The vitamins made my skin break out like the teenagers in acne commercials. I couldn't stand the sound of my baby crying so I was always holding her. I didn't have time to do anything but put a bun in my hair. All the clothes I wore were ugly and frumpy because I didn't mind getting spit up on them. My stitches had healed, but I was still in pain. I didn't feel desirable. I didn't feel important. I wasn't catering to my man anymore. I didn't feel like the black superwoman I thought I was supposed to be. I felt weak and alone. I told myself no one would understand even if I could find the words to tell them how I felt. So I suffered through it alone.

I wasn't always sure how to get my baby to stop crying so I stopped going out. Who wants to be the person with the crying baby? Not me! So I became a recluse. My daughter hated car rides. I went days without leaving the house and when I did leave it was for a quick errand and I was back in the house. I spent my time in the same area on the couch all day alternating between pumping and changing diapers until my then-boyfriend came home from his 10 hour shift.


Our relationship suffered. We barely spoke throughout the day so we would try to squeeze all of our communications into the 1-
2 hours he was awake after work. We stopped having fun. We stopped acting like the friends we once were. He worked. I stayed home with the baby. I complained he didn't have patience and he pointed out that I hardly ever left the one spot on the couch. I demanded that he help out more and work less and he repeated his desire for me to help keep the condo clean. In his words, we were both miserable. We both complained of the one not listening to the other. I resented him for not helping more with the baby and he didn't understand why I was home all day and didn't wash the dishes. I can laugh at it now, but in the heat of it, ish got serious.

It took us a while, but we both finally reached our breaking point. I wanted us to work because I love him and I loved our relationship up until the lines of communication broke down. He's the father of my child and I will always love him, but I've come to understand being in love is not enough. Our breakup wasn't dramatic or controversial. Many of you are just now finding out. We simply had a talk and decided we had done all we could do to make it work, but it still was not working. I was relieved in a sense. It was one less thing on my plate. I could stop regularly shaving my legs and wearing cute underwear to bed LOL!  Even though I struggle not to fall in love every time I see him interact with our daughter, I'm ready to focus on co-parenting and finding a way to say "baby daddy" without cringing.

I was never the woman to dream about a wedding or having a family because I didn't see myself "having it all." I felt like I had to choose between having a great career and having a family so instead of fantasizing about the wedding or family that may never happen I focused on my career. If I got married and had a kid or 2 along the way GREAT! If not? ALSO GREAT!! The irony is I've never wanted my family together more than I do now. I've never watched as many marathons of "Say yes to the dress" as I do now. Marriage is not the most important thing in my life, but it is on my prayer list. I'm not afraid to say I want to get married. I'm not afraid to fantasize about the proposal. I'm not too proud to admit I'm tired of dating and starting over. I'm tired of being hurt, but I love being in love. It's the most beautiful feeling to love someone deeply and to feel that love reciprocated.

On some level I can sense people thinking I'm supposed to be smarter than to end up a single mother. As if being one is a badge of shame. They don't say it, but they think it. How did someone who passed a bar and landed a great job end up having a child out of wedlock? I should have known better, right? I did a lot of sh*t just to live this here lifestyle. It's not easy either so I tip my hat to any woman who is the primary caregiver of a child.

The Finale
So here I am. Almost 29 and I'm a single stay-at-home mother. I have good days, rough days, and bad days. Sometimes my days run together. I'm working on building my confidence again and making myself a priority without feeling guilty. My natural orientation is to be happy so I make conscious choices about my happiness. I realize I don't have to completely give up who I am in order to be a great mother. I know I'm a great mother and that my daughter would be proud of me if she knew what it meant.

Historically, I've been very private about my personal life so I understand why some of you may be wondering why I chose to share something so personal on such an open forum. Well it's because I don't think we share enough of the struggles. Everyone is so concerned with perpetuating a life people should be jealous of that we don't allow for the rough patches. So when people hit a rough patch they delete their social media accounts and go into hiding. It should not be that way. People should feel like it's ok not to always have their sh*t together. It's ok not to have the perfect life and to have your priorities perfectly aligned. It's ok not to be perfect. It's ok not to look perfect. I think we could all heal if we took some time to encourage someone by sharing where we've come from.

Before I end this post I want to say thank you to my girlfriends for being there. To the one's who told me to take care of myself first. I want to thank my friends who pushed through my dark time and stuck by me. Who realized I wasn't ready to talk so they sent e-mails and text messages until I was ready to talk. I appreciate my family for their support as well. I will forever be indebted to those who knew the struggle and decided to stay and love me anyway.

I'm not sure if the storm has passed or if I'm just experiencing the eye of the hurricane. Regardless of what the future holds I am thankful. I am grateful.

I'm sure someone needed to read this. & if not, it was therapy enough for me to write it. 

So. There you have it. On the eve of my 29th birthday. I feel free.

Remember to take care of yourself first. *insert 5 100 emojis*

Peace.

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