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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You, Me and Me – The Psychosis of My Mind

I am a woman. I make mistakes. I guard my heart. I fail.

I need you to know this. I need you to understand this about me. Sometimes I get caught up in my head trying to figure out my life or situations without just existing in the moment.

I am a woman.

We do this.

When I think of all the lessons learned and time spent on situations that didn’t yield tangible results I start obsessing about the bottom line. The bottom line of my heart. I don’t want a relationship built on purely analytics, but there is something comforting in knowing that there is a risk analysis that’s been done and you and I are good.

I like that you know me. That you see me. That you create a space whereby I can be me and you still find that me…that oddly weird girl…beautiful.

I promise that I will.

I will walk this road.

Slowly.

I will trust in the process.

I will take it one day at a time.

I will breathe.

I will not try to control that which is out of my control.

That I will live in the moment.

Raising My Hand

Ladies, have you ever said or thought this before?

I’m a great woman. Smart, resourceful, respectful, humble, prayerful, God fearing, grateful, employed, loving and caring. I’m always trying to be of service to those around me. So, if I have all those characteristics then why can’t I seem to find those same qualities in men that I meet?

Raises hand…

I have.

I’ve even said that I’m not asking for someone to be the exact replica of me, but I want someone who wants to give me more? What gives with men thinking that women today should accept less than we deserve? I am a curvy girl with a brain and a feminist. I have a brain and I like to engage in intellectual conversations with men. Men may not know everything I’m talking about, but they should act interested. I want someone to show me that because it matters to me it simply matters to them. Do you ever want that?

I read this Facebook post the other day that had me screaming, “Yes, Lord” and began forwarding it to all my friends.

The author says, “Many people like the idea of you, but lack the maturity to handle the reality of you.” Brilliant right? Remember everything has a season. Focus on being the  best you that you can be and understand that what God has for you is just for you. Keep praying and praising and God will send you who he wants you to have.

But, should you or I get weary on this journey, worried or heartbroken by life or situations; let’s remember that Proverbs 31:30 says:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (NRSV)

Be blessed loves!

In Search of More

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Mother Teresa

Okay so I’m working on my first book which will be fiction (very loosely) based off my life and experiences. It’s weird because I’ve never intended to write fiction, just tell my story. My truth. My way. With no filter. The response to my two short stories have created a surge to write the story of a woman named Faith and her experiences with a man named Teddy.

I’m so excited because the respect and appreciation for my short stories have increased my Twitter followers, Facebook friends and followers to this blog. This means that people get me. You don’t know how wonderful that makes me feel. It is an amazing feeling and I thank you for your continued support.

That being said, I have no plans to quit my job and write full-time (primarily because I love and need my health benefits) but I just want to share this woman’s story. What makes it interesting is that I can see parts of me, my friends, family and women I’ve met on this journey into everything I write now. We all want more. Whether it be a poem or short story I feel like I’m weaving a tapestry that tells one story for everyone…the search for more. More. We don’t want to settle. We know we deserve it but oftentimes we find ourselves trapped in situations where we accept what we can get instead of pulling ourselves away from things that don’t give us more.

My search for more has opened my eyes to things that I never thought I would experience and anthems about taking back your power that I am in awe of how I’m subconsciously moving and gravitating towards my destiny without even knowing it. In other words, I’m not settling. I’m asking, no rather DEMANDING more. More for me.

I hope you do the same love.

By Faith on Soar

My latest short story was published on one of my favorite websites. I originally wrote it to end the way I wrote it, but the response to write a second part has been overwhelming. I am extremely happy that people like it and they want to know what happens next. Please read it and give me your feedback.

It’s called By Faith and you can check it out here

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The Economics of Dating

Dating now is a lot like going shopping when you don’t have any money. Even if you find the right thing, you can’t do anything about it. –Joshua Harris

Recently, I’ve been listening to the frustrations of dating and in particular…Who should pay? Should women ever offer to pay? Should men accept the offer? How long should a man and woman date before a woman ever offers to pay? So, I headed to cyberspace to do my research and came across this article on the Huffington Post, written by Catherine Pearson, “Men Still Paying for Dates…And Women are Partly Responsible”. Interesting title right? In short, a study was done and found the following information helpful:

  • 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women say men pay for most entertainment expenses — even after they have been dating for some time
  • 57 percent of women say they offer to help pay
  • 39 percent admitted that they hoped men would reject their offers to pay
  • 44 percent were bothered when men expected them to chip in
  • Nearly two-thirds of men believe women should contribute to dating expenses

The author didn’t offer an opinion on whether or not she thought this was an accurate statement as to how dating should be done. She just interpreted data. That being said, I wanted to know if anyone offered an opinion on this data and found an article for Women’s Health written by Clint Carter “Should Men Still Pay for Dates” and he offered an opinion. Now, before we start to believe that it will be bad, I will say that I agreed with some of his thoughts, but not all of the article. Why? Because of this statement:

“What these women are saying is that, despite egalitarianism, feminism, and all the high-minded isms we now stand for, there’s still something sacred about courtship. And although it’s true that you’re perfectly entitled to ask for equality in the workplace without practicing equality in your dating life, it does create some tension.”

Now, you see why I was like “Woosah”. I was sitting there thinking how odd that you think a man shouldn’t pay for dinner because I want equality in the workplace? Wow! I guess I should stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen or be a part of the secretary pool because that will allow men to pay for me right? I had to breathe and realize this is in part the fundamental argument that feminists face…you want equality in the workforce, but not in the courtship.

Sidebar:  Let’s try to breakdown some realities. I am a feminist. Feminism is defined as “the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men”. That’s it folks! Plain and simple. I don’t want to be told that I can’t work somewhere because I’m a woman. I don’t want to be told that if all things are equal and I do the same job as a man that I will be paid less. I don’t want to be told that if I have a baby that I can’t take leave to care for my own self and newborn.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate men. I love men. I have a son who I adore and motherhood is the singular most important thing I’ve ever done. I just want him to understand that although you may fight for racial equality remember that gender equality is also something you should advocate for because women deserve it. Simple. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to the economics of dating.

BUT, when I re-read Mr. Carter’s statement (truthfully like 6 times) what he’s really saying is that you deserve equality but understand that it is going to create tension in your dating relationships. Ain’t that the truth? You don’t believe it? Get up and ask three women between the ages of 28-48 how they feel about dating and whether or not they’ve paid for a date or been asked too? Ask them how it made them feel.

I realized that he’s actually right on point with this. In talking to a number of friends, associates and women and men in general they actually feel that women should be chipping in or paying for some dates. But, what if a woman doesn’t want too? Is it her prerogative? Yes, absolutely. Will she find a lot of men willing to commit for her “to figure out” whether or not they are compatible? Probably not. In reality, dating should be a slow process whereby two people get to know each other and determine whether there are sparks. How much should this cost?  How long can two people who are getting to know each other decide if they like each other enough to be exclusive? Why do women include their costs of make-up, getting an outfit, nails and hair done equate into what “we’re paying” for the date? Is that fair?

Since, I’m slow and tend to think of things in terms of economics, let’s break down some numbers so that we can see how much dating can in fact cost a potential suitor. Here goes:

Now, let’s say he’s a 40 year old male (divorced) with a 6 year old child who is in school full-time.

Expense Monthly Cost                      Notes
Rent  $      1,200.00 Two bedroom apartment in a not so good area in the Washington, DC Area
Car Note  $         300.00
Car Insurance  $         120.00
After Care  $         300.00
Food  $         250.00
Utilities  $         300.00 Includes Gas, Electric, Cable and Cell Phone
Gas for the Car  $         300.00
Credit Card Bills  $         400.00 Expenses with car maintenance and dating
Student Loan Payments  $         200.00
Child Support  $         600.00
FSA  $         100.00 Required as part of his divorce decree to assist in the payment of his child’s medical expenses
Health Insurance  $         220.00 Based it off a monthly two person rate of $1100 with him paying 20%
Total a Month  $      4,290.00
70,000/12 (months)  $      5,833.33 Monthly (Gross)
5833.33*25% (taxes)  $      4,375.00 Net
4375 (Take Home Pay) – 4290 (Monthly Expenses)  $           85.00

Sobering reality huh?  Looking at the chart above, this man is already broke before taking you out to dinner. I’m not judging, just acknowledging that his financial picture is a little sketch. Living off credit cards and a monthly take home of $85 after expenses. How can he afford to court and woo you on this amount? Is it fair for him to take you out weekly at an average spend of $80.00? Does his financial status make him ineligible to be considered a life partner? Truth: It costs to be the boss. Many men and women want to be the boss and have a fairy tale dating life when the economics of dating don’t support it. Life happens and some (not all) men can’t afford to take care of their responsibilities and wine and dine you without some reciprocation. The man above by all accounts seems like a decent man, but let’s face it…some women won’t even give him the time of day if they knew his monthly financial situation.

Finally, I know many people (women) will find fault in my argument, but I want to go back and say that I guess I did agree with Mr. Carter’s response to the data and I want to implore more women to be open about the economics of dating. Realize that sometimes, you have to pay if you want to get past the initial stages of dating. Be open to picking up the tab for breakfast, lunch or quick dinner at a diner. How can a man know you’re a contender if you spend your money getting ready for the date and deduct it as dating expenses? How can you show a man that you genuinely care about him if you find it deplorable to reach into your purse and at least offer to leave a tip? It doesn’t set the gender back. It doesn’t mean that he won’t court you or invest in you. It means that you understand simply…the economics of dating.

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The Lost Art of Courting

A couple of days ago I posted a piece about Dating vs. Hooking Up and what that was like. Now, I want to focus on the art of courtship. I’m from the south. Yeah, Tennessee! A small town in fact. I was raised with all kind of rules and regulations about the things that southern ladies don’t do. But, somewhere along the line, we have seemingly lost our ways in continuing this tradition. Why and how did this happen?

Some may blame it on reality TV, social media or the news, but is that really accurate? Can’t we still teach our young lady and men etiquette by utilizing the technology we have today? Can’t we educate them on the importance of courting before doing the “hook-up”? How about creating hashtags called #courting, #wooyou, #nohookups or is that a pipe dream? Everytime someone did one of these things, you would hashtag it on social media. It could create a firestorm of getting back to the basics of dating. What’s the rush? Why not want to take your time and get to know people before rushing into something to only find out that the person is not the one for you? Wouldn’t it be simplier to just take a stroll hand in hand down by the harbor instead of going to Morton’s? How about ice cream after a friendly game of basketball? Have men and women lost their ability to be simple and take time courting each other before going out to expensive restaurants with dessert (aka sex) at home?

A couple of days ago, I got into a very friendly and informative back and forth discussion with a gentleman about the problems with black men and black women when it comes to dating. Some things are universal regardless of race. Both men and women want decent people that they enjoy spending time with that are loyal, honest, respectful, etc. You can add more to your list. But, what we discovered in our own conversations that there are a lot of things that men and women both do in the dating process that has created a culture of hook-ups and not courting. Men have lost the art of courting and women don’t know how to be courted.

Courting as a verb is defined as “to seek the affections of; woo”. So, what does it mean to woo someone? Woo is defined as “to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.” Now, that we are all clear on the definitions, can someone please tell me how we lost the art of courting someone and began hooking up? How is a hook up ever going to lead to marriage? If marriage is not your final destination, what is so good about a hook-up? Isn’t that one tracked mentality destroying us as women and men?

When Steve Harvey’s book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” hit shelves in January 2009, women were suddenly awakened to all the things they were doing wrong and how men react. Now, I’m not judging the opinions of Steve’s assertions or suggestions, but some of the fundamental lessons were taught to me by my mother and grandmother before I even knew who Steve was. All of this information wasn’t new. But, now that a man was reaffirming these lessons, it must be true. What happened to using common sense ladies? All men or women weren’t created equally, but did we somehow lose the ability to think for ourselves?

I will keep saying it: courting takes time. Slow things down. Be simple and stop hooking up. Let’s go back to respecting each other and having morals when it comes to dating. Let’s be respectful, honest and of good character. Courting is a symbiotic relationship between two people and it doesn’t mean that the man has to spend all of his money dating you to figure out whether or not you’re good enough. Cheap dates, walks and exercise are great ways to tell if the person is someone you would like to even see on a regular basis. Find ways to court without the drama of hooking up. We’re too old to be “hooking up” anyway.

Oh and for all you men out here who think you know what the majority of women want, here’s the truth:

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