Transition

#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.

 

RealiTEA: #RHOA… More Like Desperate Housewife


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The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) is back!!  If you watched the show last season, you noticed there have been a few cast changes; Sheree is back, well at least temporarily; Claudia is now an extra at Kenya’s product launch party; Kim Fields, is a new addition and so far sweet and comical; Nene is gone, for now (I think the cat is out of the bag that she will return in a dramatic fashion); and last but not least Porsha has reclaimed her peach as a housewife.  So there have been a few changes, good changes, with the exception of an absent Nene because let’s be real, she is the Real Housewives of Atlanta!  This tea is not about the cast changes so much, but rather one cast member in particular.  Now that Porsha Williams is back as a main peach, we’re seeing a lot more of her business ventures and personal life.  It is her personal life that brings me to this discussion because there has been quite a bit of gossip about Porsha’s new boyfriend, Buffalo Bills player Duke Williams.  I don’t know if they are still dating since the show was taped months ago, but their budding romance as it is portrayed on the show, has a lot of spectators talking.

In a nutshell the tea is that Porsha is dating a man who is speculated to be either gay or bisexual.  I’ll be honest, when I first caught a glimpse of Mr. Duke Williams on the show with Porsha, I immediately thought he was gay.  I won’t go in detail as to why I thought so, but I will say there was just something about him that prompted me to think he was not a straight man.  Since the first episode where viewers were introduced to RHOA-Star-Porsha-Williams-Confirms-Split-from-NFL-Player-Duke-Williams-54974-212Mr. Duke Williams, recent episodes show gossip headlines of Mr. Duke (my new nickname for him) in a sexual encounter with transgender model.  Talk about tea!!  What could one make of this revelation??  Well apparently for Porsha, such gossip does not seem to bother her, at least for now.  Some headlines insinuate the rendezvous happened while Porsha and Mr. Duke were dating, but the truth is I don’t think anyone truly knows when it happened or for that matter if it is true.  That is neither here nor there.  What immediately crossed my mind with this tea is whether or not I could date a man who had been with a transgender woman.  Personally this would be a deal-breaker for me; I would not be comfortable to move forward with dating someone knowing this information upfront or discovering it through the course of our courtship.  What are your thoughts on this tea?  Could you date someone who had been in a sexual encounter or relationship with a transgender?

In addition to the transgender news, another awkward scene was the going away party for Mr. Duke.  Porsha seemed so desperate to fast forward her relationship with Mr. Duke.  The comments Porsha made to the ladies about her plans for Mr. Duke, rather than with Mr. Duke was Erica-dixon-new-man-duke-williams-1004-4interesting.  There did not seem to be a connection with Mr. Duke himself, but rather a connection with the idea that they were ready to move forward, buy a house, and have babies.  Whaaat????  It was one thing to throw a going away party for your bae, but to use it as an opportunity for him to meet your family, without him being prepared, is just a desperate act.  The look on Mr. Duke’s face was priceless as Porsha guided him from one family member and friend to another.  The party has less to do with him going away, and more to do with Porsha showing off her new boo.  I thought Mr. Duke handled himself the best way he could because it had to be a tough predicament to be in.  What would you do?  How would you handle being thrown into a situation of “meet the parents?”

Share your thoughts or experiences related to this week’s RealiTea.   would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below or email me at thedating3ds@gmail.com.  Guest writers are also welcome!

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

Letting Go of Miss Independent


The concept ‘independent woman’ is an expression of women’s voice, our opinions, our personal/career goals, and that women should be equal to men.  The independent woman is in control.  This is the overall meaning of the phrase, but of course the meaning may differ depending on the woman.  The independent woman concept has its positives and negatives.  The positives are that women empower themselves and advocate for gender equality in areas such as employment and relationships.   The negative is that the concept now has feb-08-ymib-independent-woman1a negative undertone, one that challenges men.  “I can take care of myself and I don’t need a man for anything!”  “I can do what a man does, even better!”  “I work and pay the bills; I take care of everything!”  These are a few phrases I’ve heard over the years, and ones I am guilty of saying too.  Such phrases have also been harmonized in songs like Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman.”  The negative undertone can cause conflict between the “independent woman” and her love-life.

Ladies there is nothing wrong with being or attaining to be self-sufficient.  Men desire a woman who is self-sufficient.  Keep in mind, however, everyone needs help at some point.  Everyone wants companionship at some point.  Yes your girlfriend can be there for you when you need her, but there is nothing like the love and support from a significant other.  It is unrealistic to think a man will make you happy, and unnecessary to get wrapped up in society’s standards of marriage and family.  However, if you want a man, a real man and a successful relationship, letting go of ‘Ms. Independent Woman’ (a little bit) is necessary.  Be stern in your beliefs, but sometimes ladies we have to take a step back and let a man, be a man!  I can speak on this matter imagesbecause I am living it.  I was an independent woman who was in control of everything!  I paid the bills and took care of household duties.  What’s wrong with that right?  Well when you are in a relationship with a man who is an active participant, he doesn’t expect nor want you to take care of everything.  For example, he shouldn’t want you to take the trash out; that’s his responsibility.  He shouldn’t want you to lift heavy objects when he is able to do so.  He doesn’t like when he cleans the house, and his controlling girlfriend goes behind him to clean again because she has to be in control of how the man even cleans!!  I am guilty of this too!  (Ladies we know some men only surface clean, but we have to appreciate that they’re cleaning in the first place.)  Sometimes we have to let go of that control.  Some may call it sexist or perpetuating gender roles, but it is reality.  A man who wants to be in a relationship and loves his woman wants to share responsibilities, especially the responsibilities that women would normally call the maintenance man or AAA for.

In my experience, I was so deep into my single woman habits and independent woman mentality, that I didn’t know when or how to let go.  My father taught me about chivalry and demonstrated it with my mother, but it was not a qualification for the men I dated.  Therefore, I opened my own doors, took out my trash, and continued to call maintenance and AAA.  Such men don’t mind an independent woman because either they are not invested in the relationship enough to care or they are fine with a woman taking care of them.  Ladies don’t abandon your independent woman completely, but revert back to the concept’s original meaning of women empowerment.  Don’t useimages (1) the concept negatively to challenge men.  Stop saying “I don’t need a man to make me happy.’  Duh!!  Being happy is an emotion that should not be determined by the presence of ANY human being.  So enough with that phrase!!  Now let’s be real, a woman does not need a man, but a woman may want a man.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but there is a difference between ‘need’ and ‘want.’  Men are everywhere so a woman who needs a man has plenty of options, but a woman who wants a man is going to take her time for the right one.  Stop saying “I can take care of myself.”  Duh!! I would hope so!  There is nothing wrong with letting a man take care of you too, whether it be financially or emotionally.  As women we want to make sure we are not being controlled, but have to be receptive to good support.  We all need and want support.  Finally ladies, stop boastfully saying “I am an independent woman.”  You will either be independent/single long-term, or you will be an independent woman taking care of a dependent man!  I understand letting go of Ms. Independent Woman (even a little) may be a hard habit to break, which is a process I am still going through, but it is worth it in dating and relationships.  #DatingDo!

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!