Sunday, May 24, 2015

She MUST be Crazy!

"Is she married?" my mom asked.

I recently had a cookout over my house for Memorial Day weekend and many of my friends were in attendance, particularly my female friends. I'm proud of my friends and the accomplishments they have achieved. Many are teachers, lawyers, counselors, personal trainers, speech therapists, podiatrists, music therapist, occupational therapist, etc. Amazing, educated, intelligent, strong, and saved women with great careers who come in all shapes and sizes of beautiful! And we are all single!

As my mother and I sat on the couch, she began to ask about all of my friends, inquiring about their marital status.

"So what's wrong with them?" She said.

By now you guys know, my mother says ANYTHING!! However, in this case, she was only saying what every other person thinks, and what every man probably believes!

After everyone departed from the cookout, I noticed my brother had the Comedy Central channel on that night. Kevin Hart featuring the Plastic Cup Boys special was on and I decided to sit and watch. One of the comedians came on in which he began to tell a joke about single women. He did a roll call to find out who the single women were in the audience. He called for all single women who had "good" jobs, then no kids, then who could cook, and finally who lived alone. Each roll call, the claps and screams got quieter. The last few claps trickled in as he called for all of the above. Then he declared, "Now fellas, those must be the crazy ones!"

I laughed out loud, then caught myself. There is truth in EVERY joke! That moment when the truth joke hits home! It is said, if a woman is beautiful, educated, works, cooks, has no kids, and is still single, she has to be crazy!  When did this stereotype come to fruition? Why does it have to be? Now I'm sure that there are some women who fit the bill of crazy, but believe me, being single with a job and no kids is not the only criteria! And truth be told, everyone has a little crazy deep down inside them. But lets back up. We use the word crazy so loosely to describe what we don't understand or don't have the patience to deal with.  Crazy is defined by Webster as full of cracks or flaws, being out of the ordinary, passionately preoccupied, or absurdly fond. 

Would I call my friends crazy? Absolutely! They are women who are full of cracks and flaws. No one is perfect and they are striving each day to grow into a whole woman, not just to be someone's wife, but just to be their full and healthy selves.  They are out of the ordinary. Each one of them is different with various gifts and talents that God is using to make amazing impacts on the lives of others. They are passionately preoccupied and absurdly fond of life! They travel on a consistent basis and are pursuing their passions without apology. I have a friend who just published a book, another who is about to take over her own podiatry practice, and the sky is the limit for all of us!

There are so many factors that go into a women being single. Another message moment: Some women actually CHOOSE to be single for their own personal reasons. Not many that I know, but its true! And for those who believe in God, He has many of us on reserve as he molds us into the diamonds he desires us to be.

I know for me, I am single right now because I am a poor communicator.  Yes, I am college educated, have a great career, make "good" money, own my own home, would consider myself attractive, and have a descent personality, yet I AM SINGLE.  I have lacked the ability to communicate my feelings effectively and shut down when things don't go the way I desire in my previous relationships. I engage in protest behavior to seek attention because I lacked it during childhood. I place expectations that are almost impossible for the man to achieve, and therefore I've not found a man who is patient enough to deal with and walk with me so that we may grow together. I own what I know to be true for me when it comes to me being single.

At this point in my life, whenever I start to date again, I will absolutely be ready to answer the question, "So why are you still single?" I will absolutely answer without apology. I am not ashamed of my singleness and I embrace it like never before. Marrying the first random guy that comes along, and settling for less than the best that God has for you because you fear being alone, that is crazy in the negative sense! I'd rather be single than unhappily married.  I am sure my friends would agree, hence why they are all still single too! So I embrace being "crazy", or as Webster would put it, "full of cracks or flaws, being out of the ordinary, passionately preoccupied, and absurdly fond [of life]."

I'm just waiting to fall crazy in love with the one who accepts, prays for, embraces, endures, adores, and loves all of crazy ME! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Save the Drama for Your Momma and your Daddy!

"Kristin! You've had sex?" my mother asked me.

I called her a few days ago to see if she read my latest article that was recently published on a popular blog site (see link below). I was excited and wanted to share my article with her.  I sent her the article the night before in hopes that she would read it and provide her feedback. Now, maybe I had a lapse in memory that my article revealed that I was not the young virgin daughter she assumed I was, or I figured at 30 years old my mother could handle my honesty and transparency concerning my life. Let's just say, I had THE most awkward conversation with my mother and eventually my father that I've ever had!  My mother seemed a bit confused as to what the article was really referring to, although the article, I thought, was pretty straight forward. I'm not sure if either one of us was ready for the conversation that was about to take place.

"Yes mom, I've had sex before," I said in a very solemn tone.

You would have thought someone had taken her tongue and LITERALLY tied it! She couldn't breathe or get her words together! Silently I was dying of laughter. Am I really about to go here with my mother at 30 years old!!!?? Is she really reacting like this? What could I say? At 30 years old I desire to be open and honest with my parents. I’m an adult who has made adult decisions and I respect my mother enough not to blatantly lie to her. However, I had to admit, this was hilarious! Only MY mother!

"Who did you have sex with Kristin?" she asked.

She completely caught me off guard with that question. Talk about a blind shot! I wasn't ready! I respectfully let her know that I was NOT going to divulge that information, but of course, she asked approximately 3 to 4 more times, in which I continued to let her know that that discussion we would not be having. She then decided to play the guessing game and throw random names of ex-boyfriends out to see if I would play along! No games here mom! My lips were sealed. Besides, the real cat was out of the bag. I was not a virgin.

As we were talking, in her distraught condition, she proceeds to pull my father into the conversation. I could hear my dad calling out to my mom in the background, "Marie, what's wrong? What do you mean she's not a virgin?"

As she gathered her thoughts and words together, she proceeded to tell my dad that I was not the virgin they thought I was and handed him the phone!! The judgment began! My father’s tone and voice began to raise. He proceeded to chastise me for having sex like I was a 12 year old little girl, telling me that I knew better and that it was absolutely not pleasing to the Lord. What’s happening??! Where did all of this come from?  I respectfully let my father know that I did not call to be judged or chastised and took him down memory lane. Both him and my mother had sex before marriage and even had children, including myself, out of wedlock. Apart of my father's testimony is his "whoring" ways with women. But of course, he was not trying to hear that!  

Remembering to respect my parents because Lord knows I want to live long, I began to apologize to my dad for being a disappointment. Before the word could fully leave my mouth, my dad cut me off. His tone changed and his voice lowered.  

“You are not a disappointment,” he told me.  “We love you,” he said.

He began to share with me the standard of purity he held me to. He took pride in believing I was a virgin and used it as a testimony to encourage other young ladies.

For the longest time I held myself to that standard as well. I lived to be perfect in the eyes of God and I didn't want to disappoint him or my family. Things were so black and white for me. Whatever the church said not to do, I didn't. I became self-righteous in a since and locked myself into a cocoon of religiosity and was oblivious to the realities of life.  I let people place me on a high pedestal, all the while fearing, like Humpty Dumpty, that I would eventually have a great fall. But who was going to put me back together again?

How do I live up to the standards of those who look up to me? How do I live my life and not the life others want me to live? How do I just be Kristin!?

The struggle of Christianity, let alone being a single Christian, is a struggle, but a struggle with great reward none the less.  I haven't always made the best decisions and have absolutely chosen to go my own way many times on this journey of life. Not just with sex, but other areas of my life as well. But I thank God that through forgiveness, He absolutely still sees me as his child, called to do his work. Everyday I strive to live better, do better, and love better. I truly believe God showed me on the phone, through my parents, particularly through my earthly father, that He loves me unconditionally. And for that, I am forever grateful!

Article Link:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Approach is EVERYTHING!!

"What's your name?" he said.

I had just come out of Target and was placing my items in the backseat of my car. As I was bent over, in the corner of my eye, I could see someone approaching my car rather closely. My first thought: I should've let my dad buy me that mace he's always talking about. My second thought: "I'm about to get robbed and I really like this new "Welcome mat" I just bought. I hope he doesn't try to take that!"

After I realized he was not going to rob me, but was trying to "holla" at me, the third thought crossed my mind and then came out of my mouth.

"Do you always approach women like this? It's a bit scary!" I said.

He smiled in a very nonchalant way. There was no smile on my face. I quickly put the rest of my items in the car and walked around toward my drivers side door. As I walked, he continued to try and engage me in conversation by asking if I lived in the area. I gave him very empty and short answers to proclaim my non-interest loud and clear. As I entered to sit in my drivers side seat, he proceeded to approach my car and slightly stepped in front of my door. Sir! I am fresh off of the Mayweather fight, and unlike Pacquiao, I WILL land a few upper cuts if need be! He was coming entirely too close and presenting very aggressive. Although his tone in which he spoke was very soft and subtle, his body language was scaring me more than intriguing me.  It was a complete turn off! I wasn't interested!

Now I've never been one of those females who finds pleasure in shooting men down when they approach me. From talking to several men and close friends, I understand the struggle and fear men have in approaching women. You are taking a chance for a let down, and depending on the woman, a demolishing to your ego, pride, and self-esteem.  I get it! So I try to look at as flattery. I aim to be as nice as possible without giving the false assumption that I may be interested if I truly am not.

But approach is EVERYTHING! When the first feeling I get when a man approaches me is to grip my purse or I have a slight fear for my life, that's not going to get you a date! Brother man was extremely too aggressive and made me feel more uncomfortable than comfortable. And here is the thing, he wasn't an unattractive man. He was actually comfortably and appropriately dressed, nice dred locks, smooth skin, and even had a nice smile. Yes, even in my fear, I peeped him all the way out! I had to know who I was going to report to the police just in case things did go another way! LOL

Let's replay the scenario. If he would of waited until I had placed my items in my car, and as I approached my driver's side door, from a comfortable distance, he could have approached and simply engaged me in conversation. I would have felt more comfortable, safe, and in control of my environment.

With this incident, it made me think. When was the last time a man legitimately approached me in a public place? It made me remember why I went to online dating. Has the concept of public approach been lost? Are we fully migrating to cyber space meeting? And believe me, if what I experienced is how men are approaching these days, then online it is!

But I remembered going out a few months ago to a 30s and over lounge with a friend. I was approached by several gentleman, all over the age of forty. Each was very gentle and simply asked if I wanted to dance, or engaged in conversation and offered to buy me a drink. No aggression, no pressure. It was lovely!

So is it an age thing? Is is a culture thing? Many men of various cultures come off way more aggressive than others. Whatever it may be, gentleman approach is EVERYTHING!

I always dream of meeting my husband in the grocery store, or in line at the bank! Random, but I am so serious! The everyday meet and greet is a desire. Ask me what kind of cheese do I like, or simply do you come to this bank often? The simple things with the right approach will get you a long way! No hiding behind a computer profile sifting through photos wondering what they really look like.   But back to the old fashion ways. Is that too much to ask?

Just a word to the wise. Fellas, woman actually do enjoy when you approach us in public. We just desire the proper respect and the approach that makes us feel comfortable enough to allow you in our space. And ladies, we must soften up on the men and be open to their approach when out in public. It takes a lot of nerve and guts to approach us with chances of being shut down and we really don't make it easy on them.

Remember: Approach is EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

But You Say He's Just a Friend!

"We have an intimate friendship," he told me.

We had been friends for over 10 years and met in college around my freshman or sophomore year. We were very close throughout the years and even after graduation. He was probably my first legitimate male platonic friend.  He was an affectionate kind of guy. He gave the best hugs and was actually quite attractive. There was definitely an attraction between the two of us, but the friendship was the most important relationship for us to maintain.

I've always struggled with friendships of the opposite sex actually. When I was younger I use to be a firm believer that men and women could not just be friends. There had to be some form of attraction at some point and time. Whether you addressed it or not, the feelings were there. But then there was hope....maybe!

Many times when we hung out, it would involve some form of cuddling or lying on the couch together. It was nice. It was innocent. It was what I needed at times, particularly through those seasons of singleness! Let's be real ladies, sometimes you just desire a little affection, and its ok, just know your limits and know yourself!

Did I mention know yourself!!?? As much as I tried to keep it at a friendship level and maintain the boundaries, which we actually did for many years, my emotions and feelings began to peak their little head as we got older. And might I add, they weren't coming from a fantasy place. What he considered to be an "intimate friendship", most women would take that to mean intimate feelings past a friendship!

I finally got the nerve to present my feelings to him because I needed to know where this could go. A solid relationship is always based off a solid friendship first, right? 

Well, this man hit me with the Mayweather jab, "but I don't want to ruin our friendship," he said. 

Really???!! Now I'm embarrassed and confused! We were actually good friends and I just had to express my feelings! I had the Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar scenes playing through my head. Such a woman thing to do! But not really. His definition of intimate friendship equated to wanting his cake and eating it too! I responded to a false image of what he was presenting, and he allowed me to think that until I called him out on it!

Needless to say, after a much needed, uncomfortable conversation, we are still friends today. But my theory on male and female friendships has gone back to the drawing board.  From personal experience, the majority of my male friends I have either dated before, I or the other person has expressed interest in possibly dating, or we have crossed the line physically for one reason or another.

Outside of dating, I've always desired legitimate male friendships. Sometimes you need a little testosterone in your life to balance out the overwhelming estrogen that can suffocate you from time to time. As I've gotten older, I've found the true essence and importance of legitimate and solid friendships. For some of the men in my life, once we crossed the line or discussed dating, we were able to move past the circumstance and actually develop a solid friendship that I am proud to have. And some, we just grew apart. Some men, like women, just can't take being in the friendship zone!

Men are actually great friends to have. Their perspectives on life and relationships are mind boggling at times! Their dating advice can actually be very helpful for you and damaging for your date! Their presence to assist with things around the house, yard work, moving, etc is an absolute wonder! And the mere fact that you can develop and maintain a healthy relationship with the opposite sex prepares you for that romantic relationship you desire.

Again, you must know yourself. Being in relationship with the opposite sex requires discipline and wisdom. The right light, a particular moment, and all of sudden your friend is looking like Denzel and sounding like Barry White! It happens! We must realize that every man that smiles our way and shows us attention is not our husband. He could potentially be a great friend to have.

Everyone says to be friends first before committing in a relationship! Its a great concept, but easier said than done. When an attraction is present, the friendship zone becomes a bit cloudy and its hard to draw the line. But it's definitely a constant reminder that you have to make to yourself: this person is not my husband, but my friend, and I must treat him as such.

I've managed to solidify my current male friendships with boundaries, but still working on the friendship zone during the dating process. But as I take this much needed break from dating, I am learning the benefits and value of just being friends first. It truly frees up expectations and lets you enjoy the moment! And at this point in life, I am all about the simple moments and the solid friendships.