Monday, December 21, 2009

The Magic Lamp

A great friend shared this song with me today...I needed it.
But she's always on point like that. 

Some things don't make sense...but this beautiful mess is life. is love.
Remembering that makes me smile.

Riding the subway to visit this same girlfriend I found a seat next to a teenage couple.  They were standing but both huddled affectionately together holding the bar attached to my immediate right.  Their puppy love was radiating.  It made me smile, and remember that feeling of being young, fearless and in love.  I remembered those moments, feeling as if time had paused, and nothing else mattered or moved but the two of you. So brave, so sweet, and so innocent.  You would think that by now, I'd be a love scrooge, but amazingly I remain a hopeless romantic. Seeing happy couples inspires me to believe that the fairytale does still exist.

So real talk, like finding a magic lamp in the least expected place, I rubbed.  Seriously.  I deliberately (but inconspicuously) rubbed my knee on the back of the teenager's leg in hopes that their fearless love would rub off on me.  I don't even need three wishes.  One wish is all I need...and I promised to keep that part private :)  But, if believing in true love carried me this far, I'll still hold on for a little longer.  My magic carpet still has some miles left, lol.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stop This Train

It seems that so frequently ended relationships are likened to transportation. The funniest is "Girls are like buses, miss one next 15 one coming."  Ok, I admit that was Gucci Mane, and really isn't a coherent statement, but you get the gist.  Lately, my friend's declaration that "this train moves forward, not backward" has been resonating through my mind.  I wish it was that simple for me.  To move onward to new faces and new places without glancing back at the past.  Even though the train moves forward, every other boxcar has seats facing backward.  Everyone knows facing the opposite direction can give you motion sickness...I'm just not sure why I always end up with the wack seat.

Perhaps it's so difficult because in my world, stalkers keep honing devices charged up on their hip. Is it just me?  Why do these characters (of all people) always come back STRONG when I'm single. Every time I'm having a Beyonce me, myself and I moment, the phone starts ringing with those familiar old catastrophes?  Whiskey tango, big brother are the cameras on?  Why are THEY all of a sudden calling, NOW?  We all can use a beautiful distraction periodically...and it's nice to have familiar folks remind you that through it all they'd still ride out with you (ha, another one)...but I'm sick of the same tired cycle.  So (insert stalker names here), I know how things used to be, but I'm heading in a new direction (I'm on a roll, lol). Forget switching seats, just stop this train. I'm hopping off.  I think I'm going to walk for a while until I figure out a better way to reach my destination.

Hijab Hotseat

We'll call him "Mr. Officer". And although he was below my height preference, he looked awfully good in uniform. *sigh* Yes. Yum. Well, shortly after our first meeting he texts "so I guess you don't cover?" Wow...for the record I do "cover" thank you very much. Despite my affinity for tight jeans, I do try to keep my goodies tastefully covered. I'm sure my mother would argue I could be more modest. Don't tell her, but she's right. I'm working on it. But I knew Mr. Officer meant my hair. I did cover my hair, once. It was my last year in college, and although my attempted style was more J-Lo tie-back or Lauren Hill remixed with a hat and scarf...I did it. For me. For God. For a year. I'm sure to many the decision was strange, but for me, it was a protection from vanity and unwanted attention. It saved me, and helped me graduate...and for the first time in my LIFE I made straight A's.

I uncovered my hair for graduation, and made the decision to assimilate to the norm of Corporate America. Religiously, I studied the schools of thought on hijab (click to Wikipedia it), the Qur'an and sunnah (reports on the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, may God be pleased with him) and perhaps for my own convenience accepted that the decision remains with the woman.

I responded to Mr. Officer, deliberately clarifying "My Hair? No. Does your mother cover her hair? Is that your preference?" Initially, I was caught off guard, but just as I WOULD PREFER that he were 3 inches taller, he has a right to prefer a hijabi, especially because his mom covers as I suspected. Now one thing is for sure, although I tend not to tout my knowledge of my religion...I'm no slacker. I know what I believe, why I believe it...and if you give me a minute I can also authenticate it with doctrine. Don't play me. However, this was only our second I'm giving Mr. Officer a pass for attempting to school me on what "God obligates" for women. Out of respect for him and my sisters who do cover their hair I concluded the convo stating this isn't about right or wrong, but two different understandings. I even said I would keep him in mind for any hijabi friends. It ended well...but truthfully the discussion got under my skin.

I immediately started researching the issue, poised to "school him" on the really real. But realized my issue was with me, not him. I deleted the email. I spent the next few days in the mirror putting a scarf on, then pulling it off... figuring out if I could wear one for the rest of my life. I have always loved what it represents, and the strength of the women who cover their hair for their beliefs, especially in the face of present day hostility. I think the conversation with Mr. Officer got to me because the real reason I don't cover is because I haven't found the inner strength to be so different. I love what I believe, and do long to be identified for who I am and how I've been raised. I wish I was brave enough to be the friendly, familiar face to work against the picture of insanity and extremism that has infected the image of a beautiful faith. But the truth is, I'm not. However, something within me has changed, thanks to Mr. Officer. One day I do hope to have that strength....not for him (absolutely not) or because I think I have to. But for God and for me. Because I'd much rather escape my vanity and be admired for my actions, words and my faith than anything else. Wow...message, lol. Throw a "ping." on that b...

Friday, December 18, 2009

To eat, or not to eat?

This seems to be a lot of folks' question this holiday season.  But for darn sure I know the answer...EAT.  New Years' resolutions were created to help you plan to get rid of the lil bulge that accummulated since Thanksgiving.  I've watched people pass up on baked macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pie because they're counting calories.  Are you serious?  Being healthy IS a lifestyle that involves proper diet and exercise, BUT that doesn't mean you gotta suck the pleasure out of eating your favorite meals!  Let me just go ahead and say it: If you are worried about the holidays adding on a little extra, you've probably been living with "a little extra" all year.  Get over it already.  Stop stressin' and obsessin' over only draw excess attention to the fact you've already needed to be in the gym (real talk).  Loosen up your Michelle Obama belt, and go grab that extra piece of cornbread, with glee.  I can't eat it all myself.  Tis' the season for good eatin'.

Obviously, I do indulge, but I don't overeat...nor do I recommend that you become gluttonous.  But I do implore you to eat what you enjoy, and eat well this season, unapologetically.  Most athletes in peak physical shape, eat (much of) what they please, but exercise to maintain their physique. If consuming your favorite holiday food leaves you feeling guilty, go for a jog or walk before and after your meal.  I'm no nutritionist, or gym rat, but I do know when my butt needs to holla at a treadmill or a spin class...and I will.  But until January 1, 2010, imma holla at some of that apple pie, pecan pie, sweet potato bean pie, my mama's moist and delicious butter cake, and corner piece of her pineapple upside down cake. *dead serious*  They say you are what you eat, so I strive to stay sweet, good people...that's all.  Hope you do too.  Merry eating to all, and to all a good meal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I knew there was a possibility he'd be reading...but not seriously.  He just came out and said it.  "I've been reading your blog...and it's (actually) really good."  After I realized I wasn't actually speaking the thoughts swarming in my head, I managed to shove out an awkward chuckle, followed by a sincere "Really?" I can't remember what was said after that...but slowly my shock (whaaa?) evolved to embarrassment (omg, what have I said?) to confusion (why are YOU reading?) to absolute unwavering irritation (you really have some nerve).  Slowly my awkward half smile became a hard middle-school lip curl.

Besides the fact that I (emphasize the singular responsibility) decided to write a PUBLIC blog, can a girl get some privacy?  But who can blame him, if the shoe were on the other foot, I'd read too...and so would you, good people.  Wouldn't you read a private card or letter of a past/present beau if left wide-out in the open?  Hell, give you a password and you may even read a few emails and check a few voice mail messages.  Moms read their daughters' diaries, girlfriends turn Snoopy, and boyfriends (cyber) stalk. It is what it is.  But who is to blame?

Blame STUPIDITY.  I can think of at least 13 STUPID mistakes explaining Tiger "Cheetah" Woods' revoked privacy privileges.  Mashonda and Swizz Beaks? Stop being STUPID arguing on Twitter and save that dialogue for the courtroom.  Finalize the divorce already, so we too can move on with our lives.  But celebs aren't the only ones prone to an occasional dummy-move.  We all have had a moment when a lapse in judgement has resulted in something personal ending up on Front St.  

So chalk it up as a lesson learned, and accept that we choose how many windows we open into our world, and to whom.  It is impossible to pry something open that isn't already partially ajar.  All we can do is guard our words and actions, so when life thrusts us into the spotlight, we can hold our heads high with dignity.  So admittedly, my lip curl has lessened to a smile.   I haven't written for two weeks agonizing if my words would be clever enough.  Fagedaboutit.  I'm back like Ma$on Betha and thankful you're still here to listen (read), good people...even if you-know-who is eavesdropping, lol.  Guess he still can use just a little ping. in his life too. Priceless.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love & Basketball

First Mike Vick. Then the World Series...and now *long sigh of relief* Allen Iverson is back home! Way to end the year with a bang Philadelphia! On my drive home today I was listening to the press conference on the radio and 3 minutes in, tough guy A.I. was in tears saying how this return was such a blessing. I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear. Well, actually not just A tear...a girl was straight boo-hooing. In the car, on Lincoln Drive, I was SOBBING because I was overjoyed. I felt like my family, my baby boy was home to stay.

As I flashback to the days when Nike was my Louboutin, and there was nothing greater then when my name and stats were in the paper, Allen Iverson was my basketball love. I remember watching him play at Georgetown, and cutting out pictures of him in magazines to paste on my wall. In 1996, he came to Philly and gave this city exuberance. Yeah, he was cocky, but he was Philadelphia's bravado personified. He was the MAN...and eventually as I grew older, nothing was greater that to see him in Olde City. I remember one night at the M Lounge passing him seated at the bar. There was no obnoxious entourage, or braggadocios was just Allen. He was one of us. And for that reason we loved him.

But the relationship wasn't always easy. We watched A.I. grow. We cheered with his mamma nem (yes, hood style) in the stands, remember when he got married and the marital drama that ensued. We were there when children were born and practices were missed, and charges were filed. We were there when he led us to the finals in 2001, and watched in the agony as he butt heads with Coach Larry Brown. It was bittersweet to see him leave in 2006, but like an unruly, ungrateful, and disrespectful teenager...sometimes love isn't enough. Sometimes despite their amazing potential, and your fear they may never return, you just have to let them go in hopes that being unsheltered will help them get it together.

I don't think Allen or Philadelphia ever thought he'd return. We let him go and watched painfully as it appeared he'd never find the balance between his star and his team. But despite all his accolades and undeniable talent, Allen Iverson has never won a ring. After flirting with retirement, the opportunity for Allen to come home and play again has become a defining moment for his career. Hell, we know it ain't the money. Not for a one year non-guaranteed contract for $1 million! Shoot, there are people with the franchise pushing paper making $1 million a year. Allen Iverson is back and playing for love. Love for the Game. Love for his fans. Love for Philly.

I feel like this is a Love & Basketball moment when Sanaa Lathan is playing one on one with Omar Epps for his heart. I am sure when A.I. steps on the court Monday to play his former team, the Denver Nuggets, he will be playing to win back the hearts of Philadelphia. I applaud his humility, his courage, and believe he will be greater than ever before. Not defined just by steals or number of 3's hit, but by character, and leadership. I truly hope (at least once) that we all gain the chance to be so humbled by an opportunity, or by the possibility of love, that we are so inspired to shed a tear, thank God, and play our hearts out. That by experiencing loss, we learn to appreciate the things or people we once neglected. We may not be able to guarantee a win, but at least when the day is done, we too, like Allen Iverson, will retire proudly in the company of those who have loved us along the way...or like the movie, ante up for double or nothing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stop eDating Hating

I should be paid for this plug, but some things are worth doing for the f-r-double e. After having the identical conversations with several girlfriends, I realize the jury is still out on internet dating. If my ex read this he'd DIE...but the truth is, we met through (drum line) *kanye shrug* I only share this because the stigma around internet match sites is that you have to be desperate, or have nothing to offer. Not the case anymore. I mean, COME ON. You already know what I think of myself (ha. I kid...a little), and I know my ex and I broke up and all, but he's still FINE, and a hell of a catch for someone (else)...and HE was on there. So it's not too far fetched that there are others out there also.

If you're turning your nose up already and you are SINGLE, check yourself! Because whatever you have been doing isn't/hasn't been working. I'm sorry...brace yourself for this: ALL your past relationships have failed (harsh, but true). So, really, what do you have to lose? I'm only suggesting you re-evaluate your strategy.

During the time I ran across my ex's profile, I too was anti-internet sites, but was using my (super fly, successful, beautiful, fitness junkie) girlfriend's profile to periodically search. Granted my demographic (ethnicity+religion+interests) is uncommon, however, it was so worth it. Even if it only lasted for a quick second. Ha. But I digress. I can't tell you how many people shared stories of their MARRIED friends who met the same way. Now, no system is 100% and yes, I am still single, however...I am still a fan of the sites! And anyway, this is about YOU right now, not me.

I don't want to belabor the issue, but I do want to challenge those of you on the fence, to take a leap of faith already. So what if someone that knows you, sees your means they're in on the game too. Unless you want to limit your options for meeting the love of your life at the gym, club, gas station or work, fix your face, re-frame it and put your pride aside. JUST TRY IT! Keep an open mind and heart and give it a shot. Trust me, you have nothing to lose, and it only takes one (the right one) to make it all worth it. Plus...those weekend marathons to see how many Bravo re-runs you can watch in a sitting isn't a good look. I'm just sayin. Have some fun.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Platonic Plague

I think if the word "friend" had a price tag attached to it, maybe folks wouldn't be so quick to toss the title around so casually. With that in mind, I'd love to say MY friend circle is small and intimate...but once I realized my bridesmaid list would either be one or 10 (not including the couple guys I also wanted to add to the groom's side)...I accepted that my insider circle may be intimate...but one thing it ain't is small. So I'm not pointing fingers, I get that we all have our personal cool kids club...but I'm just saying...some people definitely DO NOT need to have a membership card.

1) Exes. This includes any relationship that progressed beyond high-five homies. I mean really, what good are they to you now?? Unless I missed the memo that NEW relationships require references and background checks, being friends with an ex is a disaster waiting to happen. In case you don't believe me, 94% of women who "befriend" their ex take twice as long to move onto a new relationship. Ok, I made that up, but if you can be such great friends, why can't you make the relationship work? (I bet money you'll ask yourself that at least once in the "we're just friends now" stage.)

2) People who don't check on/call YOU. Now I don't mean occasionally, I mean NEVER. If you're sick, lost your job, lost a family member and they aren't there to make sure you're needing a ride to the ER, naked on a rooftop, or crying in the closet...they are no longer in the club. Deactivate their membership immediately. I know, you give great advice and they rely on you...NEED you. However, look at it this way, we all need to hear our own good advice periodically. If you always share the good stuff with folks that aren't ever around when YOU need to hear it, you're wasting your breath.

3) Someone you'd otherwise date that is currently in a relationship. Um hello? Can you say t-o-r-t-u-r-e? AND, not only is karma a mutha, but God forbid a hot, intelligent, down to earth, charming woman like yourself be-all-"friendin" up (yes, made that up) on your man (when you finally find him)! No indeed. Now usually these friendships start out honest, but after a while either you will end up frustrated, foolish or just f-ed up for interfering with someone else's relationship. If you are SO sure that the big picture is the story of your destined love together, then surely you can let her have ONE chapter without meddling. It makes for a better story anyway. *kanye shrug*

4) Someone that wants to date you, that you don't want to date. Now that's just mean. We all deserve a loyal fan...but it's just not right. In the process you will probably end up ruining someone that would otherwise be a great match for someone else. Play with it if you like, and one day that loyal fan may be you. Did I mention the long work hours and no benefits?

All too often we allow ourselves to be entangled in the facade of platonic relationships with hopes of "one day." Occasionally we may even protect our own vulnerability by hiding behind unavailable options. Pause for the cause, and figure out what you really need in your relationships, and communicate accordingly. No fronting. Hopefully then, when you do call out for a friend, (s)he is exactly what you need.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Cool Pop Chronicles Vol. 1

My father is arguably the coolest man I know. Swag on 100,000 trillion? Yep that's him. You can recognize him from a mile away because his walk is a dash of Iceberg Slim and a sprinkle of Denzel's smooth. As a child I was the Woodstock to his Joe Cool, the Rudy to his Cliff Huxtable...I wanted to be just like him.

Over the years he has taught me much...about self value, religion, discipline, conviction, professional success and most recently relationships. Although you can never tell if he's about to clown you or drop inspiration, undoubtedly I often leave our conversations wishing I had a tape recorder. After recently sharing some of his words of wisdom among friends, I realized how much his words have helped me. I was reminded of the days when Dads were gods, I was just a little Woodstock and everything he said was golden. Today, I hope to share a few of these golden nuggets with you. It's ok, I think I have a few cool points to spare...

1) On competition/intimidation: Don't let anyone interfere with your A-game. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing. Stay focused, and play your top game.

2) On pushing the envelope: Remember ABC: Always be closing (sales terminology for finalizing a concrete action/sale to move business or advance your agenda)

3) On awkward silence: Don't be so serious. When tension is high, always have a clean joke. It may be corny, but it will break the tension.

4) On breakups: You have to take the 'e' out of 'emotion' and get in 'motion'. We don't feel sorry for ourselves. We keep moving.

5) On misfortune: Whenever something good happens to us we say "Alhamdullilah" (all praise is due to God), but when things don't go well we say "woe is me." We have to remember to praise God always, even during misfortune. Sometimes a seemingly good thing is bad for us, and a seemingly bad this is good for us.

6) On unexpected surprises: When the universe gives you a gift, it's our obligation to acknowledge and cherish it.

7) On effective communication: Think three times before you speak.

8) On seeking truth: With knowledge and life choices, too often we respond as if we are starving. Consequently we "consume" whatever is placed in front of us...even if it is not good for us. We must be selective with the information we accept for truth and in our decision making... just as we are selective with what we eat. Just because a plate is put in front of us does not mean we must eat from it. You have the right to push it away, and to choose what you ingest mentally and physically.

As we all continue on our individual journey to find our truth, may we also find our voice, our swag and most definitely our cool.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Time Out

Just want to take a moment to say thanks for the crazy support, encouragement and enthusiasm I've gained for my writing. If you enjoy reading my banter as much as I enjoy writing, please share my link with the girls in your circle. I also invite you to weigh in on anything I say whether it be a "who are you to say..." or simply "me too." What I'm noticing about writing is I don't have anyone to interject or shut me up when I go deep. So don't be alarmed if you see shorter posts. I'm challenging myself to say more with less. After all, your time is valuable. I just want to make sure I spend it wisely.

With love and gratitude,


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Know your role

Am I the only one perplexed by the current expectations of today's woman? Nowadays women are expected to work the same hours as their husbands, AND have the dinner on the table by 6. We must stay fit and exercise so our husband's eyes don't wander while making time for the cleaning, laundry and ironing. We must remember birthdays, anniversaries, doctor appointments, ballet lessons, soccer games and carpool schedules. Thankfully husbands do take out the garbage, bring in (not shop for) groceries and will lift their feet as you vacuum, but aren't the scales a tad imbalanced? Now before you start with the hate mail, I know there are exceptions...God bless such men...but these men are anomalies, statistical outliers. So for the sake of my brief time on this soapbox, they don't exist.

Whether you quote Qur'an or the Bible, gender roles have been religiously defined. Essentially men are tasked as providers, and women as responsible for the children and home. However, over time it seems that the role of the woman has expanded, while the load of the man has lessened. Let me be clear, I am an advocate for marriage, and a strong advocate for gender roles, but if understanding gender roles were so simple, the divorce rate would not be nearly 50%.

Women are tasked to be confident, assertive and competitive in the workplace, yet demure, nurturing and obedient in the home. Yes, I know...the dreaded "O" word. I'm sure that I don't speak for just myself that at first glance, this word is...unsettling. The confident, assertive, fully capable and independent woman in me screams "What do you mean by OBEY? Dogs OBEY." And I, for sure, am nobody's b#*@%. But I realize, after *mumbling inaudible number* years, I'm tired. Wait, lemme re-frame that statement. I'm ready. Ready to love. Ready to be relieved of the weight of the world. Ready to not have to make all the decisions all the time. Ready to lean vs. being leaned on. Ready learn vs. having to teach. Ready to ride in the passenger seat. Ready to listen. Ready to be lead.

So I guess that also means I'm ready to obey. But hell, if I'm going to draft a quarterback, I at least want a top draft pick! Just because he can throw and call a couple plays doesn't mean he is the best one to lead this team. I have to trust him. I have to believe in him and his leadership. I have to believe he can make me better. This is only possible when a woman feels her voice is heard. He must be kind, and so in tune with his star player that he sees you need help...even if you are too stubborn/pissed/crazy to admit it. Women all WANT to be Superwoman, but it sure is nice to see a man rip open his button up to show the S on his chest once in a while too.

Ultimately, we have be honest with ourselves and each other. We can't start to resent the opposite sex because of our varying interpretations of gender roles. Truthfully, we often times drive ourselves crazy being the "perfect girl/woman/wife" based on expectations WE have for ourselves...not because of anything men actually request. Men are simple. So when you find yourself reaching your breaking point, I suggest the following: 1) Pause for the cause. Pull out your wedding album or something to remind you why you love him and to give you a minute to fix your face. 2) Get him and yourself something to eat or drink. 3) Check for commercial break-hey, I'm trying to set you up for success. 4) Say verbatim "Hey honey, (insert time reference like "after the game" or "tomorrow") will you (insert task/chore) for me? I'm getting a little overwhelmed and it would really help me out a lot." 5) Do something obnoxiously sweet (but genuine) to say thanks. Whatever you do, don't start out with "I was thinking"...because of the male levels of testosterone these words actually cause their ears to fold inward and you will not be heard. Scientifically proven. But seriously, if you need help, just ask him. Most men will step up...because ask any divorced man, it's still cheaper to keep her. *kanye shrug*

Friday, November 20, 2009

Confessions of an empty pocketbook NOT...a good look...for your girl. It's hard to believe that a year ago I divorced Corporate America and financial prosperity in search for a life of greater meaning. Before then, life was GOOD. Budget? For what? I traveled when I wanted and bought what I wanted. But my heart yearned for more. At the time I was living in California, isolated from my family and friends, and my greatest accomplishment was my beautiful home and my career. No husband. No prospect. No children. 9-5? H-no. More like 7-7 with a few extra hours on Sunday to prep for the next week. In search of the pot o'gold at the end of the rainbow, I looked at the lives of the female execs at my company and realized that work-life balance meant either 1) No children 2) Full time househusband 3) Divorced with live-in nanny. In my BEST Frankie voice: Absolutely not.

So, I prayed, and decided to move on faith. Soon after, I lost my job, rented my house, and moved back east in pursuit of a new plan. I moved to put my focus back on family (present and future) and to pursue a career that is fulfilling because of what I do and not what I make. I believed that life isn't about the money...but good people, let me be completely honest: MONTEY MATTERS. Helleeeer! (You gotta say it like Madea).

Although I am thankful for my journey and still confident with the choices I made, the optimist has evolved into a realist. We should all pursue our dreams, and especially if you are miserable it's long overdue to make some major life changes. However, unless you have permanent funding for your dreams, you better balance your dreams with your means. Otherwise, you'll end up like me...lingering in a purgatory of sorts between Need and Want.

In the few days I was engaged, having to make permanent decisions about joint bank accounts, investments and managing debt was like a cold splash of water in my face. I don't disagree that once you marry, "me" becomes "we". However, it is essential that as individuals we stack money and manage our finances responsibly BEFORE marriage. This way, each person can demonstrate not just a relationship commitment, but a financial contribution, and investment in the marriage and shared future. Just think about it, if you have more debt than money saved in the bank YOU become yet another liability to your spouse, regardless if you have great "assets."

In a recent career discussion with a dear friend she asked "Should we search to find the dream career, or is your career intended to fuel (and finance) your dreams?" Hmm. Great question. Either way, we owe it to ourselves to follow our hearts. Just be sure that part of the plan is keeping yourself and your pocketbook fed. Because being broke ain't no joke. So please excuse me...I think I'm going to reconcile my relationship with Corporate America. Immediately.

Oh, and a quick pause for the cause: Happy Birthday Daddy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My eyes (were) green

...'cause I eat a lot of vegetables...or so I'd like to think. Envy, is truly a beast. The amazing thing is those of us who share the hater gene (it's not our fault, it's genetic honey), will never admit that our "hate" really stems from envy...otherwise we wouldn't care. All the while we hate aloud, our subconscious is secretly wishing for something someone else has, that we don't. Unfortunately, I'm learning the hard way that you have to be careful what you wish for.

Now despite this genetic predisposition to hate on others, I have been making a diligent effort to genuinely share in the success and joy of others. I'm proud to say that 98.9% of the time it works...but 1.1% of the time I do think "why not me?" My mind starts to drift and I start wishing, praying for, and obsessing over specific things I've seen others obtain. Hindsight is really 20-20, because I did not realize how fixated I was on this idea, until now.

I know, spit it out already. (I'm getting to it, I promise) I think pretty highly of myself. Not in a pretentious way, but more a "I know I have flaws, and I'm trying to grow, but I am happy with me" type way. I also believe that we should be good to each other, and charitable because what you put out into the universe is what you receive in return. So essentially, I sometimes become disillusioned that ALL super fantastic wonderful things should happen to me TOO. This is a farse, I know...but I told you I'm flawed. Anyway, I once heard the story of a friend who's ex stomped his heart. Like Rick James on Eddie Murphy's couch stomped. Ouch. Right. A year or so later the ex begins dating someone new, and five months later she's engaged.

Aside from my sincere concern for his acceptance, recovery and happiness, the hater in me wondered how the hell she did it...and what the hell I needed to be doing. Keep your minds out of the gutter good people. I started reading books, and seeking advice from married friends and completely changed up my game plan. My intentions were to get happily married...but my subconscious was strapped with a stop watch. Like a miracle, Mr. Fantastic (and fine) appeared. And since the moment we met it was like riding a solid gold rocket ship to heaven. Five months later he proposed. 25 days later he broke it off with a forecast of 0% reconciliation. The next day I shrugged my shoulders and resolved "if not him, someone better" and I believed it.

So as I get back in the market for Mr. SUPER Fantastic, I recognize that a speedy engagement isn't a guarantee for a lasting marriage. I realized that only time can produce unconditional love and genuine friendship...the foundation for a successful union. THAT, is worth the wait. I'm thankful for the chance to begin anew, and hopefully get that part right next time. Now, instead of wishing for what others have, I will pray to accept what God has designed for me. But I think my mother said it best: "Well, you're making progress. At least this time you got a ring. Next time will be the real thing!" You said it Mom. My sentiments exactly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

It seems like the more people I talk to, the more I realize life ain't easy. Marriage is hard. Being single and dating is hard. Parenting is hard. And most surely each paycheck received from working on that 9-5 slave ship is hard earned. So when is the reprieve? Is the fun and carelessness of our youth (and irreplaceable college years) just accrued debt we repay as adults with compounded misery? Or, have we grown used to a culture that complains all the damn time? A culture that has us trained to first seek to blame others for our hardships and misfortune BEFORE looking within.

Now this isn't a verbal lashing, but more a "what if?" I never thought I'd be the one quoting my mother, but I remember once (among many occasions) in a bit of despair I sought her advice. She told me to "re-frame it" and to look at the situation with a new lens. We choose the lens with which we view the world, so why not re-frame it and climb out of the ditch of misery? Stuck in traffic? What if you've been spared from being the cause of the traffic? Winding up in the same situation over and over? What if you're ignoring the lesson to help avoid this situation in the future? Single and depressed? What if your disposition is the reason you are single?

I hope I don't seem like the rosy type...all I keep thinking about is that annoying doctor on Grey's Anatomy that skips and smiles non-stop. I'm NOT that person...ok, I do skip...but merely to burn calories. I digress. My point is that we can choose to be miserable, or choose to be happy. If you land in a ditch, spending time figuring out who pushed you in won't help you get out. Take a moment, visualize how you could have avoided the ditch, dust yourself off and climb out. Trust, we'd ALL rather hear stories about how you climbed out rather than to see you sitting indian style at the bottom, playing in the dirt with a sad face repeating "woe is me."

Now, don't let me be callous...just like we earn sick days and vacation at work...trudging through the obstacles of life do earn us a few sympathy days, water breaks, and even a couple "woe is me" cards. However, use them sparingly. Ultimately you will be healthier, happier and a more enjoyable person to be around simply by how you choose to view your life. Oh, and try skipping periodically. Trust me, at least you'll have a reason to chuckle to yourself.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's in a name, anyway?

PING!!! has to be ranked top 3 on my list of pet peeves.

I am among the ranks of loyal crackberry addicts (disclaimer: I may exercise the right to rescind the aforementioned association when Sprint has the iPhone), and bbm (Blackberry messenger) snobs. SMS is soo 2007...but I digress. So my brother, the tech guru, told me the purpose of ping is to send a test signal to ensure proper function. Like a defibrilator, it seemingly shocks the system get things working again...or something. I don't know, but the point is to share that ping has a technical function.

However, in the crackberry world, the ping feature is used to grab your if you've left a question unanswered for too long, or just to see if you are there. The problem with ping is the message appears on your screen as PING!!! *gasp* How rude! Everyone knows that typing anything in all caps is equivalent to yelling, and-if that wasn't enough-bold red font and (not one, but) 3 exclamation points?!? Whiskey tango foxtrot. Wouldn't "hello?" or "still there?" or "hey" suffice and be a bit nicer? At least with the latter I would be more inclined to respond vs. my knee jerk response "oh no (s)he didn't" (insert lip curl and neck roll here).

But I get it, sometimes we all need a subtle reminder. Not a slap in the face...but a little sleeve tug to keep us focused. Not necessarily a PING!!! but just "ping." Still attention grabbing, yet non invasive and simply stated. We can all use a little ping(period) in our lives, and hopefully share a few laughs along the way. So... Nice to meet you! And oh yeah...if the blog fits, (please) follow.