Flaws

#Lemonade: The Many Layers of WOMAN


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Lemonade.

Layers.

Love.

Liberation.

Last night, April 23, 2016, a movement occurred.  While some call it feminism, I simply call it truth.  Beyonce’s visual album “Lemonade” was what we can assume to be her truth, but it displayed the truth of many women.  Beyonce is not the first woman to address women’s truth, however she is the first to do it in this way; an artistic form; a visualization of the many layers of women and some of the issues women go through.  So let us give credit where credit is due; thank you Beyonce for this piece of art!  Truth is the movement; it is a movement of truth.  A women’s truth.  Furthermore, a Black woman’s truth.  It is not about a woman scorned or the angry Black woman!!  (I had to put exclamation points behind that one)  Again, it is not about a woman scorned or the angry Black woman!!  It is about the emotions of a Black woman and the many layers of why such emotions exist.  The emotions of pain, doubt, love and liberation, to name a few.  It’s Black Girl Magic!!

“Lemonade” simply put is Beyonce telling the world Jay-Z cheated and the perfect love story of Jay and Bey is not so perfect after all.  LOL on that!!  Quite the contrary, Beyonce is sharing with the world, especially the young black girls and Black women, we all go through some of the same experiences when it comes to love.  Love in the form of relationships and love in the form of self.  One could argue that is one in the same.  It’s a struggle, it is a fight, and you are not alone.  THAT is simply put what “Lemonade” is about.  Everyone will not understand the transparency and the message.  Those who do not understand may not have reached such layers because it is all about layers.  And let’s be clear this has nothing to do with whether or not you like Beyonce as an artist.  It is about understanding the message, in a nutshell LOVE IS DEEP!  But didn’t we already know this?  Well as a woman you evolve over time and began to see things differently.  As you grow you see and feel the woman’s plight, and then eventually realize rather than a plight it is a power like no other.  Maaaaan!!!  Let me just say it was so refreshing to see and hear someone say the things I’ve felt as of late.

I loved the transparency of “Lemonade,” so let me be transparent.  As a newly married woman in my early 30’s the pressures have been overwhelming.  I’ve been struggling some months now with understanding my place as a woman, a married woman, and prayerfully a mother in the future.  I’ve questioned, am I doing enough for myself personally and professionally; am I doing enough to be a good wife; am I doing enough to prepare for motherhood; will I be a good mother; am I making him happy; most importantly am I making Him happy?  As a Virgo I am already overly analytical, but these lingering feeling and thoughts feel different.  I am in a moment of fear and doubt.  It wasn’t something I could put into words, so I think this is why I was so touched by “Lemonade” because it was put into words for me.  Damn.  For those who do not understand, it is far from playing victim (people like to throw that around a lot), rather it is a process of understanding the pressures, or as I like to call, the root of evil.  Male-bashing??  If the truth is infidelity, then how is it male-bashing?  Rather there is a level of respect for a man who was unfaithful, eventually accountable, and in the end supports his woman who chooses to share her story.   That shows a man whose love for his woman (WIFE) is greater than his pride.  Ya’ll don’t hear me though (lol).  Back to my initial point, the pressures can kill you if you let them.  Women have to look to their faith of course, but it is also necessary for women to look to other women to get through.  We are a powerful being.  So if you get it, you know this movement of truth, “Lemonade,” was deeper than Beyonce the entertainer.  It was an artist, a woman, expressing and sharing her truth and the truth of so many women; Intuition; Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, and Redemption.  “My torturer [LOVE] became my remedy” – love of self and love of companionship.  #Lemonade  

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Powerball: Why I Didn’t Want My Spouse To Win


So now that the Powerball pandemonium is over, I can finally say what I’ve been thinking for so long.  No your eyes have not mislead you; you read the title correctly, I would not want my spouse to win Powerball.  Okay maybe it’s not that I don’t want him to win, but honestly I’d be a little fearful if he won.  Why fearful you ask?  Fearful because 1.5 billion dollars is a lot of money for an instant come-up.  I am fearful he would not know how to act and similarly I don’t know how I would act.  It is unfortunate, but reality is that money changes people; it changes people’s concept of what they need vs. what they want.  This change in people’s concept, in my opinion, is plain and simple GREED!  It is this change I refer to, that would make me fearful if my spouse won Powerball.

I know, I know, some of you may think I am absolutely crazy!!  So often I hear people say what they would or would not do if they won or inherited such a substantial amount of money.  Let’s be honest though, people have absolutely NO IDEA what they would do with 1.5 billion dollars!  If you say you would pay off your family’s debt or buy a mansion for your 2-3 person household, then that is why I say people have NO IDEA what they would do with 1.5 billion dollars.  According to ABC News, it is suggested for winners to first get a money management team and avoid making large purchases for at least six months to a year.  So if you plan to pay off your family’s debt or put a gold toilet in that new mansion, for example, then you’ll be broke before you know it. My belief is that until you are in it, you can’t speak on it.  Similarly, until you are in it, you don’t know how you will react to it.  Will you become a pompous jerk or someone who spends frivolously?  Will you lose the value of hard work and the simple life?  Or maybe it’s the flip side, maybe you’ll be smart with your earnings, yet charitable.  Maybe you understand that money is a benefit and not a guarantee of happiness.  So positives can occur from the inheritance of Powerball winnings, but you can’t fault me for being fearful.

As I mentioned previously, I am not only fearful of how my spouse will react to such large earnings, I too would be fearful of my actions.  As it is now I am no expert in money management, so I know if I won 1.5 billion dollars I wouldn’t have a clue of how to manage it.  My husband chuckled when I told him I didn’t want him to win Powerball.  I too chuckled when he said he would give me some of the Powerball winnings if he won.  Ha! That’s marital property now!!! Lol!  But seriously we love each other and I truly cannot imagine either one of us allowing money to distract our beliefs and family values.  However, I am always thinking ahead and considering the worst case scenario so c’est la vie.  I’m sure my thoughts may be rare, but I guess it doesn’t matter anyway since we didn’t win!  This is not the first Powerball and it will not be the last; I’ll root for my hubby on the next one lol.

 

Ladies Take Back Your Power: Dating Do!


Honesty.  Honesty is what everyone says they want when dating.  More specifically, women gripe about men not being dishonest in what they want; short-term and long-term relationship goals.  But ladies let’s be honest with ourselves, we don’t always tell men what we want.  We’ve all been through situationships that linger longer than necessary because we are afraid to be honest with ourselves and our mate, in hopes that one day everything will work itself out.  This is plain and simple bullshit!!  Ladies let’s stop fooling ourselves and stop being fearful to tell these men what we want!!  What is a ‘situationship’ you ask?  A situationship is when you are in a dating pattern, which means there is consistency in spending time with someone whom you are dating.  It is almost like being in a relationship, but it has not yet been established and thus you just have a situation.  Here is a brief example:

The Situationship:

Greg and Trisha have been dating for six months.  Both Greg and Trisha have been consistent in their dating routine, spending up to 4-5 nights together and most weekends.  They generally get along and have in-depth conversations about their lives.  Greg and Trisha eventually discuss their past relationships.  Greg explains his past relationship ended because the arguments increased and they grew apart.  Trisha says her ex-boyfriend cheated and she felt like she was in a relationship alone.  In the situationship, both Greg and Trisha are content.  Greg is happy because he and Trisha get along, they do not argue.  Trisha is happy because Greg makes her happy with his consistency and he has not given her a reason to distrust him.  Things are fine until time catches up to them, well more so Trisha, because now they are almost seven months in and she wants to know where this is going for them.  When asked, Greg says “he’s good” and  enjoys the time they spend together.  For Trisha this means, Greg needs more time before getting into a relationship, so she needs to be patient.  Trisha, on the other hand, does not tell Greg she is into him, enjoys the time they spend together, and wants a relationship with him; instead she goes with the flow.  By month eight there have been a few changes to their situationship because Trisha believes Greg is dating someone else.  Although he is still consistent with Trisha, she knows he sometimes spends time with another woman.  But she can’t be upset or confront Greg about this other woman because technically they are not in a relationship right??  They are simply in a situationship.  Here is where Trisha being upfront about what she wants is vital.  Just as Trisha needed to hear Greg’s thoughts about the future of their situationship, Greg too needed to hear what Trisha desired for their future.  It would have then become clear to Greg that Trisha did not want to continue with the situationship and rather wants a relationship.  This does not mean Trisha would get the feedback she wants, but at least both parties are clear on what each other desires.

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Trisha is guilty of doing what so many women do in dating; go with the flow.  I have a few theories of why women make this mistake.  One of my theories is actually fact because when I did it (back in my dating days), it was because I told the man what I thought he wanted to hear; NOTHING (lol).  I thought keeping my mouth shut was a good thing and I did not want to be that woman who nagged about being in a relationship.  A huge Dating Don’t!  My other theory is that some women are fearful of the response they will get back from the men.  It is the fear of the unknown; what if he shuts the whole situationship down and then there is NO chance of a relationship.  Another huge Dating Don’t!  Fear is the common denominator for these two theories mentioned and it is most likely the reason for the many other theories that exist.  Ladies it is time to take back our power!!  Why are we leaving the development of relationships up to men??  Listen to what your “man” is saying; if he’s saying give him time, then give him time; if you want to!  If he says he is not interested in a relationship and you are, then leave his butt alone!  If he says he’s not sure of what he wants for the future right now, then give yourself a timeframe of when you need to move on and if necessary, MOVE ON!  Whatever the situation, there is a solution; a solution that you can control based on what you want.  Believe me, these men are going to tell you exactly what they want and they’re not going to change simply because you keep quiet and decided to go with the flow.  Ladies be honest with men and most importantly, be honest with yourself!!  A huge Dating Do!

I’s Married Now!!!


August 2015 my life changed and the journey of married-life began.  I transitioned from Ms. to Mrs. in what seemed like 30 minutes (at least the ceremony part), but it definitely is a long-term change.  It has been three months since I married the love of my life and the question I am often asked now is, “How’s married life?”  What a question!!  I never really know how to answer that question.  I don’t mind the question at all, but sometimes the response I get after my answer is sometimes annoying.  If I say married-life is great, I may get the response “well you’re still in the honeymoon phase.”  I sometimes try to beat them to the punch and say married life is work but worth it, and I’ll get the response of “It is only the beginning; it is A LOT of work, sacrifice…,” blah blah blah.  So because of the feedback which has mostly been negative or alarming, unfortunately, I just say it’s great and move on.  Sometimes the responses are meant to be funny or typical 96d789f342e3bca5c138679ad5ec5772.600xmarriage banter which I too am guilty of, but then there are those who should not inflict their marital experience on me and mine (damnit! LoL). I am not one to shy away from relationship or marital advice, so that is not the issue at all.  However, I do not particularly like it when people are negative rather than constructive; if they have to give any feedback at all.  But I digress and I take it with a grain of salt.  I understand where the question stems from because I too have been guilty of asking questions or saying cliché statements in response to life events.  For example, I’ve asked couples when baby #1 or #2 are coming, which I since learned is a no-no and that is another conversation in itself, but for me it was just something to say.  However, let’s discuss it; is married-life really different from the committed relationship life?

Absolutely there is a difference, which prior to marriage I didn’t think there would be.  I always valued marriage and knew I wanted that to be the next step for me with the right person.  However, after being with someone for years, I thought marriage would be the same in regards to the transition.  However, marriage is like being a part of an organization, a prestigious organization.  It is an organization where different rules apply, it’s a title of the highest order, and more importantly an oath that was taken before God is to be upheld.  My husband and I were together 3 years before taking our vows and I thought it would be the same as we transitioned into married life, but it does feel different.  For me personally I had to make a few changes after getting married.  The first being changing my name.  I took my husband’s name and I will admit it was quite emotional.  For 31 years I was a ‘Middleton’ and now I took on a new name; a new identity of sorts.  I had to change my license, bank accounts, and get used to saying my new name.  Don’t get me wrong, I say my new name with pride and excitement, but the process of the name change was just that, a process.  In addition to a new name, my priorities changed because the rules of sorts have changed.

I take the vows I took before God very seriously, so yes my priorities have changed.  My relationship was a priority  previous to marriage, but marriage changes the dynamics.  I am now a WIFE!  That is a big deal and I am proud to have this title.  Maybe that should be my answer the next time someone asks me “How’s married life?”  I will respond, I AM A WIFE!! Lol!  I love being a part of the married “organization” and of course there is work involved, but what in life does not require work?  If you want success, you have to work for it.  Therefore, if you want a successful marriage, you have to work for it.  So how’s married life?  In a nutshell married-life is an honor, a lot of work, and a great “organization” to be a part of…with the right person of course!

Whether you are newly married or have been married for quite a while, please share your experiences and advice.  I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below or email me at thedating3ds@gmail.com.  Guest writers are also welcome!

A Letter To My Son’s Mother…


A Letter to My Son’s Mother…
 
If I said I wish I never met you, that wouldn’t be totally accurate.  If we had never crossed paths that day in September 7 years ago, then I wouldn’t have come to know the most precious gift I have ever been given, my son.  I do wish however, that I never knew and could easily forget this evil, malicious, vindictive, stop at nothing to hurt me, woman you have become.  Never would I have imagined that it would come to this; us “fighting” over something that you know is so dear to me and I that I though was dear to you.  Yet you lead this charge and have me doing something unimaginable; having to prove in court the type of father I have always been and that you and so many others know that I have been.  
I was the father who stayed at home for almost 2 years to take care of our son.  The father who changed diapers, fed him around the clock so you could get some sleep, never missed a doctor’s appointment, fixed breakfast and lunch for his daycare so we could save money.  I taught him things, helped with homework and projects, and took him to and from school.  I even regularly brought him to your job so you could spend time with him on your lunch break or so you could take him around to your coworkers.  You NEVER had to worry about the care our son was getting.  Up until you put me out, that was the way it had been.  All of a sudden it is like none of this ever happened and I have gone from being an “excellent father” to a “freeloading, irresponsible, “deadbeat” in a matter of months.  How???  Why???  I haven’t even been able to understand it yet.  
Yes our marriage didn’t work and I have long accepted and made peace with the part I played in that.  I have to live with the fact that I failed as a husband, at keeping the family together and for the broken promises, hopes, plans, etc.  But I have not failed as a father to my son.  I understand your hurt, anger, disappointment, and I can’t apologize enough.  But it has absolutely nothing to do with our son or the things I have done for him and with him up to this point.  I have always played a MAJOR role in his life and you know that.  But this is your way to make me hurt as much as you do.  Forget husband and wife, this is mother and father, and I’ll never understand how a mother could slander and defame a father who has done nothing but be there and provide for his son as best I could.  My son and I have a bond which it is well-known you have always been jealous of, and that is mind-boggling.  
All the fathers who aren’t there for their kids for whatever reason, and I have always been there and this is what I get???  You can’t hurt me anymore than you already have just by your words in your petition alone.  Forget the ACS allegation, sending the police to my house under false pretenses, making it difficult for me to see my son. The things you wrote BURN because you and everybody else know that it is the furthest thing from the truth.  Those words attempt to obliterate what I have done as a father and I know the place from which those words came.  I never expected this from the woman I was once married to, and everyone is blindsided by your actions.  People who had a relationship with you be it my parents, sister, brother, grandmother, friends, and neighbors are dumbfounded by the things you continuously do to attempt to alienate me from my son.  
I don’t expect an apology from you, as that time has come and probably gone for me to even accept one, but I should never say never.  You have put me through so much with regards to my son and I guess your reasoning would be that I put you through so much during our marriage.  But was it really that bad to warrant what you have become???  Yes I was “consistently inconsistent” but I was always consistent with the love, care, time, and attention that I gave our son and that’s what it should continue to be about, regardless of how we ended up…
 
Troy

Struggling With 30…


Almost two years ago I posted the article “The 28 Year Old Itch.”  At the time I was 28 and single, so the article addressed my concerns about approaching 30 and being single at 30.  “I [embrace] my age, but I [am] subconsciously concerned about being 30 and single and I [am] scared at how fast time is moving.  Let’s be real, no matter how strong and independent a woman is, she wants to love and be loved” (The 28 Year Old Itch).  About six months later I met the love of my life.  I love him and I am being loved.  Although my love life was blessed before 30 like I hoped, I still felt unsettled approaching my 30th birthday.

I turned 30 on August 28, 2013, and I can’t express to you how confused I was.  I was unhappy and dissatisfied with life.  Yes God gave me a great man to share life with, but I am 30 and not married.  Yes God helped me overcome tragedy, but I could be so much farther in life if tragedy didn’t occur.  Yes God blessed me with a roof over my head and money to pay the bills, but I’m supposed to have house by 30.  Yes God did and He is still doing for me, yet I am STILL not satisfied.  Why?  Society, which trickles down to family and friends, put so many expectations on women.  Women are supposed to get married, have 2.5 children, and have a career by the time they turn 30.  These expectations seeped into the subconscious level of my mind, and became my ‘To-do’ list.

I had so many emotions, and I beat myself up every day because I felt nothing I accomplished thus far was good enough.  I was depressed.  I wanted to be happy, but my thoughts would not allow me to be happy.  I read motivational quotes and stories in an attempt to rejuvenate my spirits, but my thoughts did not allow me to be motivated.  I was thinking too much!  Eventually I got to a point where I was tired of being tired, and I just let go.  I allowed myself to go through the motions and live day-to-day.  I stopped thinking about age, marriage, kids, my past, my present, my future, etc. I literally let go and let God.

It was refreshing to let my expectations go, let my fears go, let my disappointments go.  I felt so free when it happened.  I feel free!!  Words cannot describe how truly bad I felt at that time, and what a burden was lifted off me when I released everything!!  I feel like a different person.  My 30 journey is only a few months old, but I embrace my age and my new freedom.  If this is what 30 is, then I am all for it!  My sis recently told me so far her 30’s has been the best years of her life.  I am excited to see what God has in store for me.

I chose to share my struggle with 30 because I know there is a woman out there struggling with 30.  She may be approaching 30, she just turned 30, or she may just be in a slump.  She/You are not alone!  Whether you are single or married, stop setting expectations for what your life is supposed to be.  Enjoy life as it is!  Do not worry about things God has control of.  Love with common sense and live life simply; simplicity is everything!

Do Women Hold Onto The Past More Than Men???


Do women hold onto the past more than men? According to the men I’ve asked, the answer is “Yes!” I initially disagreed, but my thoughts changed after an interesting discussion with my guy. A couple of weeks ago my guy asked what I thought about friends of the opposite sex. I responded “I have male friends, some who I can stand to get rid of, and others who I value.” My guy followed with “What is the benefit of a male friend?” He asked, is it the conversation, the laughter, or something else? I had to think for a moment. I can’t say I have deep conversations with my few male friends, but when we hang out we have a good time. Then there was the question “Have you been involved with any of your male ‘friends?'” Whoa! So I may have kissed one, dated another for a few months, and the other absolutely not. The final question was “When you met your ‘friends’ were they trying to get with you?” One I’ve known since kindergarten, he tried to date me, but I was not interested. One I met through a friend who she wanted us to date, but it didn’t work out. The other I met with the intention to date, but again it didn’t work out after dating a few months and we became cool. As I explained the circumstances about my male friends to my guy, I finally heard myself and realized I sounded ridiculous. Are these men really friends of mine and why do I consider them friends?

 “Exes turned ‘friends’ or people you used to date turned ‘friends.’ Are you holding onto your past???” -@RaRa_28

According to my guy and most guys I’ve talked to about this topic, men and women have very different perspectives about friends of the opposite sex. Of course this is nothing new, but it’s quite valid. Women are emotional and men are sexual. A woman is inclined to think emotionally about a male friend, while a man will think sexually about a female friend. Think about it; good conversation and fun is great for a man, but eventually he wants to have sex with his female friend. My guy posed this question, “If I have a female friend who I have good conversation and good times with, why wouldn’t I try to be with her sexually or date her?” Hmmmm… This has been the situation with all my male friends at one time. The point is there is always the possibility of attraction with a friend of the opposite sex. My female friends have never been attracted to me, tried to date me or have sex with me. A friend of the opposite sex is not on the same level as a friend of the same-sex, and attraction is the kicker. It is not fact, but it is often true.

Ask the women you know how they met their male friends. Was there ever an attraction? Was he trying to holla, or maybe she was trying to holla lol. Some women put past relationships or acquaintances in the friend category. Either he’s an old boyfriend that became a friend, or an old fling that became a friend. He may be an old cut-buddy who she is not cutting anymore, but they’re still friends. There is a history with these male “friends,” so why do we (as women) keep them in our lives? Women call him a male friend, but the male friend’s intent may be entirely different from friendship. If you met and his intention was to date you, he is not looking for friendship. You may not be interested and put him in the friend category,” but he may not think of you as a “friend.” He may be a friend to you, but you remain a goal to him. The goal is to get with you the way he initially intended. Should you give up your friends of the opposite sex for the sake of your relationship? No I am not saying that, but you should evaluate your friendship with the opposite sex. Is it a true friendship or are there other factors involved? For me I had to clean house of my ex-boyfriends turned “friends,” men I used to “talk” to turned “friends,” and men who just wouldn’t take a hint. It feels so good to let go of my past and start fresh. Are you holding onto your past?