Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine

I am still reading this but have you ever had a moment of pause? I just had mine today. I am almost done with the book and I had to take a pause. There are a thousand and one things in this book that made me jump, cry, or just sit and pause but today’s pause I have to share.

In her chapter, “On mean women and good dogs, Gabrielle describes a boxing session she had with her trainer and life coach.  The coach asked her what 10 things made her happy.  She couldn’t think of 10 things.  The coach reminded her if she couldn’t find 10 things to make her happy what made her so sure she should have gotten married. Pause. This was my pause. I have been in this dark place.  I cried thinking of how I cried in marriage counseling with my husband snotting and having an entire fit over what he was doing, what he wasn’t doing, and why I was ready to leave him. Pause.  I was ready to leave my college sweetheart for a few reasons.  One we have an extremely long and interesting history.  It spans over 10 years almost 20 to be exact off  and on.  This alone was not a recipe to be married.  Two, I got married because I loved him but I also loved what I thought he was when we were together in college.  Pause.  This is not marital love.  This is not one of those things that you rush down the aisle for. I was miserable in my own skin.  I loved my husband, I knew we had been through HELL and back but I didn’t know who I was.  I was a 30/31-year-old women who had put all of my eggs in one basket and with this basket he was supposed to come in and do all the work.  He was supposed to make me smile with gifts. He was supposed to initiate sex while I went with the flow. He was supposed to be my happiness.  How did that work out? Not good if you can imagine. He did it for a while. He opened my life even when we met in college to the finest of things. If things was what I wanted, he got it. His love language is gifts.  He did it well. I can’t even remember what I could have wanted that he wouldn’t have worked his entire behind to get me.  However after the gifts, what did I have to give. Not a damn thing. He was supposed to do the work while I sat pretty.  I was more like pretty damn miserable and it was causing a wedge in our marriage and relationship.

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Ladies this is not how marriage starts off.  This is how marriage will end.  Had I not taken a chance to go to martial counseling the divorce would have been finalized.  Ladies, had I not gone to counseling on my own after that, I would be a miserable rut. NO man or woman is your source.  Let me repeat that for the folks way, way in the back-they are not your source.   You have to come with more than some thighs or checking account to make things work.  You have to be able to be whole before you can unite.  We had done it backwards or at least I did. I take full responsiblity for my part. I came in looking for a dream.  College sweethearts unite, marry and build a family. It sounded cliché and enough until it wasn’t.  Gabrielle is spilling the tea that every woman and man better get with as your progress through life. If Gabrielle or you or me can’t find things that make you happy, that gives you purpose how in God’s green Earth are you to survive?

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Take a point in this book and the tea I am spilling on what I did or didn’t do to get secure.  So many women and men want marriage but have done zero work on themselves.  You haven’t pulled one credit report to fix your own junk.  You realize that when you get married they marry that junk.  You can’t just let it pile up and hope it goes away because it won’t.  You work a job instead of finding a career.  You have never been out of the country or traveled with friends or even by yourself but you’re ready for marriage or just life.  Remember not everyone wants to be married. Marriage is not the end all.  So to my married friends stop selling these fast dreams.  You walk around with your piece of rock and feel and act as if you have made it.  You are the main ones like me (I was) out here stunting on your single friends like you got some badge of honor.  Your husband ain’t seen a genuine smile out of you in years.  You are miserable and you making his life just as miserable. Just stop.  Your husband or wife ain’t seen the real you since Jesus was a baby.  You hide with the lights off and you fake like everything is everything-just stop!

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Get clear.  Self love is important. You should be able to name more than 10 things that make you happy.  These are not to be thought of things that make you temporary smile.  I mean 10 genuine things that make you happy.  The things that makes you smile about yourself.  If you can’t say that, work on that before you connect with another person. Do that while you are with another person. I had to be real with myself during the months it took.  I was frustrated with the fact that I had to go to counseling but I was serious that even if he and I went our separate ways, at least I could walk out whole and happy even if that meant I had to revert to my maiden name.  Ladies and gentleman the time for this soul-searching is ever-present.  Get there and get clear.  To say it lightly, I need a glass of wine just bringing up these old emotions. Well played Gabrielle, well-played.


When Basics are Celebrated

Please do not get me wrong.  I think anyone doing anything positive is good news.  I love that people are attempting to move past the backward thinking that has seemed to take this world over.  However, can we just be real for about a few seconds?  When basic behavior is like the best thing since sliced bread than we have a problem.

You are in a dating situation the man of your dreams is wining and dining you and pulls your chair out, etc now you are like see my man loves me?  I don’t doubt he does.  In a world where men and no not all men are too busy getting caught up in the negative things, playing video games and no job, making babies with no responsibility this could seem like a breath of fresh air.  However the issue isn’t in the mere manners, it needs to be our own personal standards that have gone on a decline. Even when I dated the most thugs of boyfriends they pulled my chair out.  It was the way I carried myself that lead them to know from the gate that if they never pull a dime like myself they was going to step it ALL the up.  So opening up doors is normal for me during my dating processes. Opening doors was basic.  It wasn’t because I carried myself in a stuck up way, I didn’t I was laid back but my mere demeanor said hey buddy, this is going to be a classy outing. Now this didn’t always mean I was at 5 star restaurants all the time either.  I could go to a night of dancing in the hole in the wall but still be treated like I wasn’t living in the hole of the wall.  I set the standard!

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If you are married and your husband is super caring, we uplift them. We start labeling relationship goals right off the bat because a husband kissed their wife.  Okay I get there are sexless and boring marriages (all by choice) but a simple kiss even a romantic passionate one making relationship goals only means that there are a lot of married couples who do not enjoy the union they are in. Kisses are done simply at the altar or union as a seal of commitment.  So….yeah we have got to raise the standard.  I had a conversation with my own husband and we acknowledged the highs and lows of our relationship and how outside things and distractions are often celebrated when we lack the self-sufficiency to love on each other and ourselves in the way it should be.  A husband who simply comes home is celebrated as if he isn’t supposed to return home after his outside of the home obligations are done.  He is celebrated and the phrase, “well at least he’s not cheating” comes into play. Like is he supposed to be cheating?  I know cheating is big but let’s not give more respect to the cheater than the faithful?  We live in a messed up world.  The only way to make the world smaller is to learn to leave the outside world OUTSIDE. Spend more time making YOUR world what YOU want it to be.

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If you are married and have kids and your husband doesn’t lift the finger to assist you with the kids some of it on you because you won’t speak up and other reasons is because he doesn’t think he should, I hear well at least he’s in the home.  So many men are locked up or leave after they make the babies.  This is true.  However him being in the home still living like an absentee father is even more crazy.  You do know they exist.  They are simply bodies but they don’t do a thing but get the greatest father in the world book just because they stayed.  Um, if you have a baby and make a baby it is YOUR responsibility to be there, provide, and dare I say interact and assist in the raising of that child.  It is simply not okay to come in the home, say hi, watch tv and send the child to bed and think you have arrived in parenting.  NO you need to be a force in the home.  You need to be helping with whatever it takes to make sure you have healthy, loved and supported children.  Ladies, if you have a man who is simply there don’t expect it.  Also speak up and don’t berate him because he doesn’t do things like you do either.  It’s give and take once ALL parties pay their part.

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I believe in rewarding kids but kids are supposed to do good things if they are influenced in the right way.  For instance every time your child does something he/she will NOT always be rewarded.  Teaching integrity means that at some point they learn to do the right thing simply because it’s right and not because someone is watching them or will give them something.  This is why some kids feel a sense of entitlement because you love your little love muffin and use rewards for everything.  Reward systems are awesome.  It can be used to motivate but should not be in the place of all parenting techniques. These little angels grow up and think the world owes them something and you and I both know that really isn’t how it works.

Like I have always pushed, balance is key.  Never do more on one side over another. I know this whole not wanting to be “basic” is a thing but the reality is there are times when going back to the old landmark really does still work.  The standard you set in your life and how you work through it should still be set by a measurement.  If a person is worth your time they will know what your standard is.  That is why some people go ga ga over things like good sex.  Is sex supposed to be bad?  Yes there are some sexual partners that don’t always do it right off the bat and you have to set the standard even in that on what you will accept or not.  However some folks get one strong sexual partner and will throw caution to the wind over some wet sheets and weak knees.  It’s like having a stack of cards and as long as one suit is good, you don’t pay any attention to anything else.  Set the standard.  Know you are worth to be treated the way you want and make no excuse for it.  In time once your basic needs are met the other items will line up because you are looking through balanced eyes.

T.I.-Marriage is a distraction

I love T.I. but my love for him will never cloud my judgement on whether or not I think the words coming out of his mouth is right or not.  His marriage has been under fire for many years.  Recently it has come under fire when his estranged wife “Tiny” Tameka Harris filed for divorce.

I try not to believe everything in the tabloids.  For instance the reported infidelity on both sides no one really knows for sure but Tiny and TI.  However one thing that has been circulating is TI’s most recent interview where he states how he can be a better best friend to Tiny but not a good husband to her.  Now let’s explore this statement since I am a married woman if I heard that I was a distraction after giving my husband the best of me, having children and building a life regardless of what was going on I would be devastated.  I feel for Tiny in that aspect.

Should he stay just to save face?

However I wouldn’t have an issue with TI feeling and expressing the way he feels if he had this conversation with her privately and before the alleged affairs that took place. We tend to take the honestly out of marriage out. If your husband can’t come to you and be transparent even if it hurts that is an issue.  I know for my husband and I struggle in this area to be 100% vulnerable because we still feel the need to hold a person’s feelings when you discuss difficult situations.  It doesn’t mean someone is withholding information it just means that some things are difficult and may take time to bring to one another’s attention.

If TI feels that he can be a better friend over a husband as hard as those words are to hear, it’s better to have the words said than to prolong the inevitable.  However I do believe that tact should always be considered.  The timing on something like that is everything.  This means to Tiny that even if she thought they could reconcile things, he is not in the place to do so.  He no longer wants to do the things that husbands do.  She has to get pass that type of gut wrenching hurt. She could be doing that in her own way.  I think she is still struggling.  If my husband and I had that conversation and I saw him or thought he was entertaining someone I know for a full fact I would be okay to see that or have it thrown in my face all the time.  It would take some time to heal that the marriage was over.  Have my husband had some extremely hurtful things that hit and cut like that?  Absolutely if I am honest.

We tend to romanticize marriage.  We tend to think everything will just work out.  It doesn’t.  I do not like the ideal of divorce.  I didn’t marry to divorce but it happens.  You have to understand that going into it.  No you don’t look for it to happen but understand when it comes to the matters of the heart and will, things will never remain if the person you are working with stops working with you.  TI shouldn’t just stick it out for the sake of the kids, to make Tiny happy, or to prevent from divorcing altogether.  Somebody has to realize that a broken toy doesn’t always get fixed.  Women are lining their opinions on the matter and some not understanding what its like to be married.  Some are on team Tiny and reality is there is no need for Team anybody.  The team members that matter the most, one party doesn’t want to be married.  It sucks, it hurts, but I am sure like most strong women she is shattered but her pieces can be put back together.

I can’t imagine what it feels to be in Tiny’s shoes.  She can’t even grief the marriage because she is in the public eye.  I am sure that Tiny and TI have had good moments.  I am sure they keep things together for the children.  I am sure that they are trying to work on things to get them to the point where they can be cordial.  I am also sure that is not without pain and not without hurt.  Tiny has been there for TI even during the time of his incarceration.  He I am sure has been there during difficult times as well.  They lost a child together, they have been through Hell and back.  People think that in marriage you won’t change but marriage changes people.  Some for the better and some it can go left.  I know couples who take years to get to this point still holding on to what was. Loyalty is pricey.  This is why its hard for people to give it to just anyone.  They know that you put yourself out there and the return on investment can be everything or nothing at all. Marriage is work but it takes both partners willing to make it work for it to work.  I wish them both well.

Why I am not being nice to Side Chicks

Today is side chick appreciation day.  This is the day when the memes come out hard.  I heard someone say that we should be nice to a side chick and this is my response to that, hell naw I won’t.  I know that came a bit left but that is my real life rated G version of my response.  Why should anyone feel sorry for a side chick.  Often times side chicks can be side blinded.  The men who side line a side chick really are a piece of work. This means that not only do you not respect your wife or girl but you don’t respect the one you messing with to come correct and at best tell them they are a side chick.

Now the issue with the side chick first let me deal with the man first than I will bring this thing back to full circle.  You have NO game.  Its sad but the reality is that some side chicks will play their “part.”  Yes you can find a raggedy woman who is patiently waiting on the sidelines for any love before she turns up with no love.  This I will address when I swing almost literally to the side chick herself.  If you as a man really had it like that you could tell that side chick that she’s a side chick and she may go for the okie doke.  But often times that side chick is lied to just as much as the lie the man is keeping with his committed girlfriend and wife.  Um let me just say you don’t have enough dick or money to entertain one woman let alone more than one.  Straight like that, no chasers today.  I am not coming from a bitter been burnt by side chick games either but the truth is the truth. So while you may get away with the game of hurting the one you are with you will find out sometimes when it’s too late that it’s not worth it.

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The chances of your woman taking you back is slim or at least it should be.  Ladies I know some men go to counseling and attempt to do better but you better be 1000% sure you can handle that.  The amount of distrust that is done after someone cheats is unimaginable.  If you are the type that brings that back up a million times, you would be better off leaving that cheating man and sending him a clear message that this type of behavior is not acceptable with you than to stay and drag yourself and him through it.  If one of you should go through the ringer shouldn’t it be the one who committed the offense?

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Now to the actual side chick or side dude especially the ones who know.  Why?  Like legitimately why? There isn’t another man who isn’t already connected?  This one that appears like a good catch is the one?  What makes him or her a good catch?  Cheating is a turn on?  He or she won’t do that to you right?  Like for real, what is your motivation.  You are dipping yourself sometimes literally in the same pot.  That doesn’t seem sexy to me. So the nights like Valentine’s Day when a man or woman can’t make a viable excuse for not being home, what do you do?  Hold your pillow tight?  Look at your gifts he had to send to you because he’s not there loving you.  Let me guess, you think he’s not with his wife or her husband?  I know that’s what they told you.  How come he or she hasn’t left their wife or husband?  Your stuff not bomb enough to make him roll?  Oh yeah the kids, yeah that’s called an excuse.  No one should ever stay for the kids.

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Listen if being second to the main is good for you, than you will never have much.  No one cares about your place.  You have none.  Once that wife and husband finds out trust me they are going to make your side boo’s life hell.  Once that happens the spark you once saw won’t be as strong as you think.  They the wife and husband and your boo will blame you. This isn’t anything new that you haven’t heard its just time out for being the sloppy second to another woman or man’s main.  Let people figure their relationships out without being the one sliding in between them.

So not I don’t sorry for a side piece today.  You get what you deserve.

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Bling and Foundations

As you know the holidays are a magical time.  Everyone is buzzing around and being in the best moods for the most part.  Gifts are getting purchased and wrapped.  Egg nog is being enjoyed.  This is also the time that as we go into the New Year couples who are dating and not yet engaged get antsy.

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Now I have blogged several times about ultimatums.  I hear many women tell their friends how they are not going into the New Year being nobody’s girlfriend.  Either the man they are with needs to propose or else they are out.  What usually happens is he doesn’t and they don’t leave and it’s really about you the woman who wants to be engaged to set the tone.  Now how you set the tone is not to give the man an ultimatum but give yourself on. Set your own date within yourself and be prepared to stick with it.  If you can’t honor yourself and what you will or won’t tolerate how can you expect someone else to do the same?

Foundation Cracks

Now as much as you want him to “put a ring on it ” consider a few things.  Does this man have his own place?  Like not a spot in a basement somewhere but a place where if you two were to marry you and him can lodge together?  If not what is his plan?  When I say plan it can’t start off with one day, I would like but there hasn’t been any action like a savings plan, etc.  He has to be able to be a provider not just get a nice ring.  So the question you need to first ask yourself is why do you want to be entangled with a man with no active plan.  You can’t sex your way through a marriage when its time to pay bills or eat. Speaking of bills, how do you pay them? I know with money but are you on time?  What is on your credit report?  If its bad are you working with an organization to rebuild it.  What is the man you want doing about his bills?  Do either of you save?  Do you have a nest egg saved that if one of you lose a job you have a back up plan?  Let’s be real there many people who marry who don’t have this in place but that doesn’t mean its right.  Get clear the foundation you want to build. Is that foundation strong.  If there are cracks than one or both of you have work to do.  So an ultimatum is not necessary, you aren’t ready.  Contrary to popular belief my husband had a spread sheet plan which means he had numbers and what he needed in place and as our life took shifts he shifted the numbers around and he still does.  He has taught me a lot but that’s one of his strengths that I was aware of before we married.  He also knew of anything financial that I had whether good or bad and we devised a plan together to make it stronger.  He nor I ran away from these important conversations.  Please make sure you do the same.

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Ring Wars

Yes women actually compare themselves to one another.  Oh the shock.  So when the time is right for you and your man to talk about rings be clear.  Every big rock doesn’t mean stable marriage.  Every little rock stays strong for 20 years or more either.  Ring size and choice have so many dimensions.  There are women walking around with rings looking like mountains but if you know your diamonds you can see that the actual diamond is cloudy. Get to know rings.  Don’t just leave the knowledge up to that man.  If you are the type that would have an issue with a certain size than speak up but beware that your man may not take too kindly to it.  Rings are supposed to be tokens of his love and what he can afford, what he saved, etc.  Do NOT try to get what your best friend has.  My best friend and I are both married but my ring has a story of its own and was made by my husband to the likes he knew I would like.  Her ring has her own story.  The stories do not need to match.  Your friend and your marriage will  not be the same so stop the comparison game now.

New Year, No more the Girlfriend

If your due date for that ring is Christmas, than what happens?  Are you prepared to leave this man the day of or the day after?  I would really take to heart what I said about the foundation of your relationship and more importantly yourself.  Where have you traveled to?  Do you have a passport?  Do you have a business action in plan for a business venture you have been trying to get off the ground?  What does your personal empire look like? Have you completed school?  These dreams need to be either in motion or completed. Marriage is not the end all be all.  Your title or new last name is not the only thing you need in life.  You need a life goal and to be able to have a life that can be joined to someone else as well as a life that you can have even after you married.  How many wives stop working out who were super active before?  How many were in school than stopped?  We all get in ruts but you must have the mindset to continue to grow as a person while you grow as a couple.  Life is about balance.  You can’t tip the marital scale and then fail in your work or personal life.

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Listen relationships are gray.  There is no cookie cutter pattern that you can model and then have a “perfect” relationship.  What I think is too long may not fit your time line. However make decisions on ultimatums be about what you want, what you will settle for or put up with.  No one has to live with your decisions but you.  As much as you love who you are with be sure that the love and effort matches on all sides.  There is no need to have wasted years with someone in your gut and actions says they aren’t on the same page as you.  With a few days left in the holiday season take some time out with YOU and figure out what you want than you can see if the boo you have been loving on all year-long and beyond is capable of giving you the love you deserve.

Our Daughters are Watching…

So it’s no surprise that our children are watching our every move.  Anything we say and we do means a lot to them even when we think it’s no big deal. I was watching the episode last night of the RHOA, (Real Housewives of Atlanta) and the conversation between Cynthia and her daughter Noelle struck a nerve.  Noelle stated that her bedroom was close to her mother and stepfather’s so often times when they were arguing she could hear what was being said and wondered if her mother had low self-esteem to put up with the banter back and forth.  Now back when I was a kid there was no way a blunt conversation like that could have been had.  My mom probably would have back-handed me.  It’s just as simple as that.

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I think about my 2 daughters all the time.  When they see me doing anything they are like little mini sponges so I am careful with the things I say and do.  Since I am not perfect I do try to be transparent and let them know that mommy made a mistake and apologize. There was a time when my husband and I would fight well argue I want to make it clear what level of fighting I am talking about.  I often think about if that will cause damage with at least my oldest.  We barely fight now but in the beginning, that first 2 years was anyone’s guess. My oldest, the 7-year-old is sweet but she is definitely doesn’t miss a beat and she will speak up. If she thought my husband and I was fighting and I was being less than the woman I want her and her sister to be I know she would find a way to say it. I can make them of course stay in a child’s place.  I still believe in that which is why I am careful to have too many adult conversations in front of any of my children.  I know its old school but no child will be mouth and ear opened while I’m too busy trying to get the latest tea. We don’t even watch certain shows like RHOA in front on them because they don’t mirror what my kids needs to be seeing in the first place.  However since I was raised in a keep it real household I can’t be mad if my child overhears me and her father being disrespect, teach her respect but get mad she recognized it was wrong.  There has to be some type of balance with all of this.

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Back to the conversation, a young teenage daughter asking her mother if she had low self-esteem to put up with the things she heard is a lot.  Marriage isn’t easy.  Marriage looks differently for everyone.  So what one describes as disrespect in their marriage may not look that way between another couple.  I thought what I would be thinking if I heard my daughter say that to me one on one let alone on national television.  The only thing I could think of was total devastation.  I would be crushed.  I am sure Cynthia felt the same thing.

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How can we mirror good relationships and still be real.  One is being sure that the relationship or marriage brings the best out of you.  No man or woman should make you cry more than they make you smile or laugh.  Yes marriages go through seasons but if those seasons are only high when your mate is taking you some where or buying you something, than you already in a bad way.  We can’t expect our daughters to find love if we aren’t mirror first self-love.  Self love is super important and its a journey.  In these times that are super filled with hate we need to be a demonstration of love to our children.  We draw in good love when we love ourselves.  Relationships get rocky but we owe ourselves and our children not to continue down a path of self-destruction when it comes to who we entertain and take into our spirits.

I don’t know all of the ends and outs of Cynthia and Peter’s marriage.  It’s really not meant for me to know what all went down.  What I can say is that Noelle is reaping all that the marriage had to offer by her intake on what her mother took in.  We are our sisters keepers and we definitely have a charge to watch we do and say in front of our biggest mini-mes.  Our daughter have to see us as the first example of what it is like to do right, take charge mothers, aunts, grandmas, cousins, etc of what you allow the mirror to reflect.