You Need to Know Her Name

Hey folks!

It’s the last day of March and Women’s History month. LOL! I will still celebrate because I’m bringing some interesting interviews from women I admire over the next few months. I have been slow to do the interviews and get the questions because of all that I have going on. Please know that you will find them as intriguing and interesting as I do.

With that being said, you need to know this woman’s name. Her name is Lisa and she is phenomenal. She blogs at ZenandPi. I stumbled on her blog from another blogger’s website. Her writing is beautiful. She brings you into her world with her writing and once you are in there, trust me that you will never want to leave. Check out her interview below:

I want to know what you find to be the hardest challenges facing women today? Our gender, our color, our sexual orientation, the economy, our own internal struggles? Any, none or all of the above. 

I think the hardest challenge we have yet to overcome is one of inclusion. We are struggling with differences between cultures, varying levels of economic class, and privilege. It is a problem of acceptance and a too narrow view of femininity. Transgendered and non-binary women are being excluded, women of color (WOC) are being pushed aside, poor women are being blamed, and women who suffer in other countries are being forgotten altogether.

Women in the west need to look past themselves and work on bringing all women up before we take further steps. Failure to do this is fracturing the feminist movement and causing a loss of credibility and trust.

I myself have heard many women who are not white, straight, or cisgender wonder aloud if feminism has done anything to help them at all. And if feminists don’t care about them, why should they join the movement?

How do you see this struggle being played out in our daily lives? 

It plays out in all of our lives in both big and small ways, mainly through microaggression and misinformation. I think the most affected group would be transgendered, women. I mean, they are still fighting for bathroom privileges for God sakes, and all because other women refuse to fight alongside them in greater numbers. I saw a woman on Twitter just this morning arguing that Trans women should be forced to use a Men’s room. The kicker? She was arguing with a man! He got it and she didn’t. There are other examples and other groups being forced out, but the problem is the same, fear and privilege.

I know you said in your about page that you came from a broken home (me too) do you think this has impacted you in a positive way? I mean, you can’t change the circumstances of your past, but were you able to take that negative and turn it into a positive? 

Oh, I definitely think so! My parents were not mature enough for marriage and I think they did us kids a favor by at least being able to admit that to themselves. My parents got along better in their divorce than they ever did in marriage and that taught us that family doesn’t have to look or be a certain way in order for everyone to be happy. A lot of people think traditional family values and roles are what is best for everyone. I know that if my parents had stayed together things would have turned out a lot worse. I think adults who come from broken homes have a special set of problems but they also have a special set of strengths. We are often better at seeing the world in a variety of viewpoints and we are better at acceptance and understanding. Not to mention we know the true value of family and forgiveness.

Do you believe in God or a higher God? Do you have any thoughts on religion and sexuality in the black church? 

I was raised a Christian and went to church most Sundays during my childhood with my grandmother. I can’t say that I ever really believed in God, although there were times in my teenage years that I hoped he was real and prayed regularly, but I don’t think I was ever really religious. When I was 17 years old I started going to bible study again at the request of an Aunt. There were a lot of lesbian and gay teenagers in there and one day one of them asked if all gay people went to hell. The teacher said yes, with no hesitation or sympathy, and that was the last day I attended.

I didn’t believe in God much before that, but that answer is what drove me from the church. I have a feeling a lot of people might have gone through something similar and turned away the same as I did.

What are some of the things that you are doing or want to do to give back to the community? 

I honestly don’t do as much as I want to for the community at all. I fear what little talent and passion I have lies in writing and art so for the foreseeable future those are the mediums I will use to help my community.

For now, besides sharing my own stories, I try to dedicate at least one post a week on my blog to raising awareness of women’s issues and LGBT rights. I’ll try to share and signal boost posts that give people a glimpse into the lives of people who do not fit into what has been considered “normal” or ideal once a week as well. I look for other queer voices, people suffering from mental health issues and addiction, and stories of poverty, or chronic illness and disability.

In the future I would like to have my own publication, maybe a zine, to showcase those voices. One day…

Has your life’s struggles influenced your writing? How so? 

Of all the bad things I have been through the most common feelings were ones of loneliness and helplessness. I was on my own very early in life and I had no idea how to do things like find a job, pay my bills, build my credit, or save money. I didn’t know how to deal with the stress of it all either. I had no idea where to go when I felt depressed or who to call when I had made a mistake. I was forced to be a human island when no man or woman was ever meant to be. On top of all that I got the feeling that if you were struggling in this world it was because something was wrong with you. Your failure is entirely your own fault. No wonder so many of us buckle under the pressure.

My life struggles have shown me that this world has the potential to be a safer, more nurturing, and caring place, if only people would snap out of this mentality that life is every man for himself. We could all be helping one another and that is what my writing is about, ultimately. I want people to work toward being more empathetic and really see the people around them. When you think about it, we all deserve a better life than the one we have been giving one another.

If you could speak with a young woman who feels that all hope is lost and the only way out is death, what would you tell her (as your testimony) to encourage her to not make that decision? 

I would tell her that I have been there. I have been hurting and alone and hopeless. I would tell her that life can be so unexpected and beautiful and that in moments like this that can be impossible to believe. I would tell her the light is there it is only that she cannot see it yet and that if she would only hold on a little longer something will change, it always does, and there can be love and happiness and security. We just have to keep walking toward it and it will find us. I am proof of it and I promise it can happen for everyone it just takes time, and hard work when you can, and rest when you can’t. Hold on girly.

 

Lisa Blair is a blogger and a bleeding heart who cares very much about this little planet and all the humans living on it. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her amazing wife, an old cat, a young dog, and two very shy snakes. She dreams of one day being able to quit her day job and live the fascinating and mysterious life of a full-time writer. She blogs at ZenandPi, but you can also find her posting notes and bits of inspiration on Twitter at ZenandPi and on Tumblr at ZenandPi

To Pay or Not to Pay – Part 2

This is a continuation from my post yesterday entitled To Pay or Not to Pay

 

Relationships are a partnership ladies. We can’t be partners if we’re not willing to show up and act like it in the dating stages. It’s true. Men want women they can depend on.

What’s wrong with cooking him a dinner? Some of you may be asking that question right now. Nothing is wrong with cooking him a dinner. However, I have a major rule when dating…unless we are serious, you will not be invited to my home. There, I said it. I don’t want men that are not serious in my home. The home that I share with my son whether he is there or not.

Heck, I’ve dated men upwards of a year and they’ve never been invited over. So, why would you invite him to your home unless you’re serious? Times have changed and we shouldn’t be eager to letting a man spend time in our domiciles that we haven’t committed to.

I asked one of my two best friends (he’s a male) what do men think of women who don’t ever offer to pay for anything while dating? He responded, “We think of her as selfish and don’t continue to date her seriously.” He further said, “Unless, I’m trying to get the cookies from her she is not going to get too many free meals and then after I get them I will be gone.”

He then said, “T, believe it or not hood chicks (women from lower class neighborhoods with a less than stellar vocabulary, quick tempered, has a child(ren) and may be employed) will pay for a meal and cater to her man quicker than ya’ll professional women. Professional women tend to be stingy and don’t want to pay for anything. They think we should wine and dine them for at least 90 days without getting any cookie.

Now, the obvious thought is why on earth is my best friend just dating women to have sex with him, but I started thinking maybe there is some truth in what he was saying about the differences of the type of women.  Are more professional women single because we appear selfish? Are we allowing our true intentions to go unnoticed because we refuse to look at dating as a partnership?

I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I know that dating is expensive. In this day and age can a man can’t be expected to date you continuously and seriously for a long time without you ever offering to pay for anything? I don’t think we should consistently pay, but we should ask ourselves is paying for an occasional meal the end of the world? Will it be the death of us?

In this economy, is it realistic to assume that a man can pay to date you on a weekly basis? Ya’ll know that I like numbers right? So, let’s do some quick math. In the Washington, DC area (where I live) most places that I expect to eat will average $100 for dinner and drinks. If I go out with a man once a week is it fair for him to pay $400 a month and still be expected to pay his bills? What if he has children? What would you do with an extra $400 a month?

How will you show that man that you’re interested in more than what he can do for you financially? Mr. C pays for the majority of our dates (95%), but I don’t mind paying for things. My willingness to share in this journey we’re taking has proven to him that I like the partnership. He’s a gentleman. It’s been six months of meals, drinks and adventures and nope I’m not giving up my cookies.  We look at it as an investment in getting to know each other.

 

To Pay or Not to Pay

This post was inspired by Violet’s post Who pays?

I’m a progressive woman and some of my friends think that I’m wrong, but I will offer to pay for my own meals when going out with men. Gasp!

Why would you ever do that? A man should always pay? Are you serious, you’re setting us back by offering to split the check? 

Really? I’m setting us back? Some women believe so.

However, I was raised to always have enough money to pay your own bill. On the first date, I will offer to split the check and most (99.5%) of the time a man will decline and pay. I’m always thankful to those that do and even for those that don’t. Why? Because I’m sure there’s a reason that we will never have a second date.

Understand this about me…I don’t depend or require a man to pay for dates. Maybe because I was raised to always be able to afford to pay for my own meal (so I wouldn’t have to put out) or maybe it’s because I think you should at least offer. I like chivalry. I like when a man pays. But, the circumstances were different during times in my life.

When I was younger, a man always paid (post college). When we were both struggling college students, we split the check. In reality, most of the men that I dated while I was in college worked full-time so they paid consistently. But, if I went out with a cute guy from my class we ate cheaply. I didn’t think he wasn’t a gentleman because we split the check. We were both poor and struggling college students. No judgement ever crossed my mind.

Now, as an adult in her 40’s, I would expect a man to pay the majority of the time. Not all the time. The majority of the time.

Why not all the time? Because a man my age has expenses just like I do. I don’t expect him to pay every time we go out if we are consistently dating. Consistently would mean over four consecutive dates in a month. I will usually offer to pay for the date after the 4th date and every so often. I told you that I’m progressive.

Take Mr. C and I for instance. We’ve been dating since October. He pays for the majority of our dates (95%). I offer to pay for dates or if we go out after dinner for drinks, I pay for drinks. Not hard to do. Yes, he makes more than I do, but he has expenses too and I want him to know that I value his time and money spent and show him that I’m not selfish.

What? Selfish? Humph!

Yes, selfish ladies. You see, I want to show Mr. C, that I am his partner and that I want to be someone who doesn’t mind pulling out her wallet. Not to emasculate him, but to show him that I enjoy spending time with him and that I don’t mind spending my own money when we go out.

He said to me that he had never had a woman EVER pay for anything. Really? Not even birthday dinners? Barely, if that. Wow! I couldn’t believe it.

Now, some of you are probably thinking, well T I can make him dinner but I shouldn’t have to pay. You know what I would say? The money you spent on buying the food could have been used to take him bowling or paying for dinner.

How can we convince a man that we are able to be his partner if we aren’t willing to invest during the get to know you stage? Oh wait, we’re going to show him that we are marriage material after we’re married? How will that work?

 

To be continued tomorrow….

Who pays?

Great post from Violet that you should check out. Who should pay for dinner?

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Here you are, I say, reaching into my bag for my wallet. I’ll pay half.

No no Violet, it’s fine really, dinner is on me.

Are you sure, I don’t mind paying my share, I feel…

Nope, I’ve got this.

Thank you then, that was really lovely, delicious.

That is me, on a good first date. I always offer to pay my share.

I’m usually told no. And I’m usually relieved.

Not just because I don’t have a lot of money, which I don’t, but because – I donno – I grew up in that generation where men are supposed to pay.

They are meant to be strong, dominant, high earning, powerful and in charge.

I know that is all ridiculous.  That we are all strong, equal, etc.

But I still like the idea of it.

I’m old fashioned that way.

So when my son went on a…

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Daisy sings- the circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife

This was an absolutely hilarious post and I would love it if you all could stop by Daisy’s blog and read her stuff. She’s phenomenal. Inspirational, motivating and she’s getting married too. Check her out!

Daisy in the Willows

So as you may or may not know – you should know 😉 I go on about it enough. I’m getting married on 22/06.

Yesterday me and my better half went to have a look at wedding bands. Nothing fussy. There were sales on. We found the most simple ,nondescript looking band and thought that will do. Then seemingly at the same time our eyes veered to the price tag underneath £299.  *SALE* WOW! DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY.

il_214x170.848014962_r3l2 The U.K.  have started charging a tax on carrier bags now

We both looked at one another.

Our eye connected. This sounds so romantic .

This is it.

We both looked at the entrance to the jewellers.

Smiles mirroring each others.

We both had the same thoughts.

True soul mates.

We backed away and I may have mumbled something about looking for a ring another day. Today was paying bills day.

I…

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We’re Self-Destructing

This is a continuation from my post on Friday Raising Our Girls

What happens when you grow up witnessing a woman conquering and doing everything she can by providing for her family? What happens when there is no man in the picture to help you see that there are roles and rules to a relationship? What happens when you are a girl and you have a strong woman as your role model, but not a strong male to look up to?

Now, before you go all in on me about T, there are different types of relationships, let me stop you. You’re absolutely right. I’m just talking about my experience and the experience of many women like me who saw the strong woman taking care of her family but an absentee father.

This is for us…

We are self-destructing in relationships.

I said it. Don’t be ashamed. Just breathe.

We need to understand that in the dating world we are self-destructing ourselves with this independent woman attitude. There’s nothing wrong with being able to financially support ourselves and our families. There’s nothing wrong with independence, feminism or anything designed to keep us equal.

The issue is that we’re sending the wrong message when we start referring to men as scrubs and counting off our money and accomplishments to men as though we’re better than them. We didn’t fight for equality to brag. We deserve everything we’ve earned. But, where are we letting our men know that we want and need them?

You want a man to chase you? Chase what? Your money? Your titles? Your accomplishments? No. Of course not. You want a man who wants to be with you. Just you and all of your multiple personalities.

Because ladies, we have them and we want to find someone who will love each and everyone of them. But, we have to treat him right. We have to make him feel as though we are partners. That we are truly his rib and we will work along side him to provide a wonderful opportunity for our family and community.

Don’t hide your successes, but don’t make him feel like he would be another accessory to your already busy and successful life. Let him chase the woman behind the make-up, business meetings and countless awards. That’s the woman that he will fall in love with. The woman that lets him look inside her soul and love that piece that no one knows is there.

We need to be clear of what we want from our men. Our expectations. Our hard lines. All these things need to be discussed. We also need to respect the role of our men. Don’t have an attitude that says “I can break or buy another you in a heartbeat. Heck, I can buy a better version of you”. It may be true, but trust me that attitude will get us left and heartbroken quickly.

Men need to feel wanted. Appreciated and respected. Does he have to be the breadwinner of your relationship? Nope. But, both of you need to have a clear understanding of your needs and wants. If you’re like me and you need more of an emotional supporter, you need to tell him that. You need to court him and find out can he provide you with that need. If not, keep it moving.

Stop saying you don’t need a man. Nope, no one needs a man. But, if you want a man, you’re destroying your chances by proclaiming to everyone that you don’t want a man. A man doesn’t want a woman with a wicked tongue. I know. I’ve had some of the slickest things come out of my mouth and they can destroy a man’s self-esteem.

I had to learn to step out of my own way. I wanted a good man. I wanted a man who would court my spirit. I wanted a man who could provide both financially and emotionally. I wanted a partner who understood my needs and could articulate his own needs to me. Roles have changed today. We all need to adapt.

No longer is the man the sole provider for his family. He could b a stay at home dad to his children. He could be going to grad school while you are a practicing attorney. He could be a man who works hard but doesn’t make a lot of money. Whatever package he comes in sis, I need you to stop the self-destruction of your relationships and start appreciating the man you choose.

Please note that I’m not telling you to give the 35 year old man that is unemployed and peddling his rap Cd’s at the corner store a chance. Unless you want to. No judgement. But, be open to the man that God has destined for you. He may not come ready to use out the box. You may have to assemble him some.

Love is fluid and kind. We have to practice being more appreciative and demanding respect. In our speaking, in our dressing, in our beings. Let us speak life into our men and in our relationships. Be vulnerable. Share the painful stories. Open up. Trust.

Go deep and let him know your insecurities. When it is all said and done, I promise you that he will love you even more. That he will truly look at you. See you and know that he has found a good thing.

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