Saying how we feel is something a lot of us fail at achieving. At an early age, we were taught the art of “people pleasing”- from saying yes when we really mean no to holding back from what we want to say for fear of rejection or offending someone.

The golden question is… how do we get over that fear and say exactly what’s on our minds?

The other day, my best friend and I had a conversation about not speaking from the heart and it led me to believe that I still suffer from the art of “people pleasing”. Because of my fear, I limit myself from being truthful, because my current situation is comfy, cozy, and feels really good. If I speak what’s on my mind and in my heart, my cozy place might start to feel familiarly uncomfortable, and I don’t want to end up in that place…again.

 

So…I play it safe.

 

If this seems familiar to you, then perhaps you should work on that inevitable fear I speak of. I feel it, so I know you do, too! Acknowledge your fear and work on getting rid of it.

How do we get rid of the fear?

*Being honest with ourselves

*Seeing the bigger picture

*Understanding how important it is for others to “get you”

*Realizing that we won’t have regrets later

*Realizing that if we don’t speak up, resentment could take place

 

For the fearless folks who doesn’t hesitate on speaking what’s on your mind, I admire you. It only means that you can embrace whatever the outcome will be. I guess for me, practice makes perfect. I won’t say I’m completely fearful. More like…cautious; waiting for the right time, thinking of what to say and how I should say it, and waiting for the moment when I can stop replaying the possible rejection in my head.

 

Rejection

It leaves you wondering what’s missing about you
It makes you believe it’s your fault
It’ll have you doubting your own capabilities and your fierceness
It makes you weak
Lose optimism
It makes you feel less beautiful & desirable
It makes you compare
It makes you give up and not ever want it again.
What is “it”, you ask?
Love and respect
…but not from others
from yourself.

We’ve done all of the aforementioned. Why? We feel the need to be loved, respected, desired, and beautiful.

But what happens when we get an epiphany that changes our whole way of thinking?
We begin to tell ourselves that we’re beautiful.
We begin to tell ourselves that we’re desirable
We begin to respect ourselves as the women we are.
…and because we’ve made the choice to tell ourselves all those things, it proved that we could love and/or respect ourselves way more than he could ever do.
You see….being rejected hurts like hell
But it doesn’t have to.
Once we realize that a man’s rejection is nothing but his best compliment of us, we will understand that maybe…just maybe he thinks YOU deserve better.
Maybe he doesn’t see the beauty in you…and that’s okay.
What he doesn’t see in you, someone else will.
So, when you become rejected by someone, don’t doubt yourself or lose your ability to stay confident.

A rejection could be a blessing in disguise.

 

 

Sometimes, we place ourselves in a position to care “too much” about others. We deal with the inevitable circumstance where we carry their burdens because we want to feel what they’re feeling. It’s a part of falling in love or developing deep feelings for someone who we’re uncertain feels the same way. It may seem strange, but it’s common, believe it or not. As a result, we lend our hearts, our kind words of encouragement, and hope that they see our hearts and words as the “pillow” to lay on when they’re emotionally tired.

 

 

Unfortunately, we as people pleasers will get tired of loaning our pillows to those who appear to not be appreciative. I’ve learned that if that becomes the outcome, I will choose not to feel helpless, hurt, or disappointed. Ppl don’t always respond the way we want for various reasons. It’s okay to pray for them. Ultimately, we’ll have to decide to not give up and continue to offer emotional support or let go. Not giving up is okay but sometimes, it takes letting go for them to see what you’ve wanted them to see all along.
In the end, always protect your heart.

I’ve always questioned the term ‘Ride or Die’.

What exactly is a ‘Ride or Die’ type of person?

Is this someone who accepts all the BS from their partner but let that shit slide, because it’s “out of love”?

Do a person consider his/her partner “Ride or Die” because he/she knows when fuckups happen, the partner will eventually forgive you enough to make the relationship work?

Does a “Ride or Die” person have wifey/hubby potential, as long as they put up with…anything?

Are ‘Ride or Die’ ppl only women?

Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to being loyal, I expect not only reciprocity but that optimistic feeling of trust and mutual respect. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, we know of people who are in relationships and are going through HELL behind closed doors while fakin’ the funk in public. I don’t know about you all, but I’d rather wear a genuine smile more than shed a thousand tears from too much BS from a significant other just to prove how ‘Ride or Die’ I am.  I understand that relationships will NEVER be perfect. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, but how much imperfection will you tolerate before you realize how much you’re gettin’ played? There’s a difference between being loyal and being taken advantage of.

I’ve asked my friends to give their definition of what ‘Ride or Die’ means to them. The answers included:

Support

Someone you can count on, regardless of the situation

Hell or high water

Going through the good, the bad and the ugly!

Someone who will have your back, even when they’re mad at you

I get all of that! I really do. In fact, I would encourage people who are in relationships to express their loyalty by sticking with their partner but to a degree. Let me give you more definitions, then I’ll explain.

 

Wiki definition: A Hip Hop spin on the popular mythology of Bonnie and Clyde, the ride-or-die chick refers to a woman who has undying loyalty for her partner and is willing to stand by them through anything, even in the face of death.

Urban Dictionary’s definition: To be down with your husband/wife no matter what, through it all the good and the bad. (KEYWORDS-Husband/Wife); ‘Ride or Die’ chick-A chick that ain’t afraid to be down with her man. She’ll do anything her man needs her to do. Basically down for both the bad and the good.

 

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I’m not married, but I expect the married folks to go by the whole ‘Ride or Die’ phenomena, because that’s how you keep a marriage strong. I guess I’m old-fashioned because I don’t think ‘Ride or Die’ should apply to folks in basic (sexual) relationships. Too many folks confuse loyalty with being taken advantage of and as a result, they ‘stick around’, because they feel obligated after putting so much energy into establishing the relationship. They also put up with shenanigans because of how they feel about the person. I guess loyalty depends on what a person is willing to tolerate. Personally, I want to “live” and enjoy the fruits of a respectful and loving relationship, and if I’m ‘riding’ for you, let me know where we’re going. Give me the chance to decide if the dynamic of our relationship agrees with my heart!

I salute anyone who is a ‘Ride or Die’, particularly the women. You all are obviously emotionally mature enough to work overtime trying to keep your partner “on his toes” and still love him. Does all of this “sticking around” occurs after you find out he/she’s cheated? (enquiring minds wants to know).

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When it all boils down to it, being ‘Ride or Die’ means that you’re sacrificing your heart and needs to keep your partner pleased. Even if it means accepting the shenanigans. The most you’ll do is tell  your partner that you don’t like what was done and HOPE it doesn’t happen again. The result? Your partner has moved on and you’re on pins and needles, wondering if your partner is being faithful. But why does that matter if you’re ‘Ride or Die’?

There’s being ‘Ride or Die’ and  then there’s being ‘foolish’.

Which one are you?

 

 

 

 

There was a time when I associated couples who appeared to be successful with “relationship goals”. Then one day, I came to the realization that what looks good on the outside may not look as good on the inside when it comes to others’ relationships.

Relationships require a lot of work to stay healthy and genuine, and I’m sure for some of us single people, it could be difficult to go from “all about me” to “sacrifice for us”. The rest of us who are in relationships are probably thinking they’d be happier single because things aren’t going as expected.

When we start a relationship with our partner, we go through “trial and error”. Believe it or not, we’re still getting to know our mates from the inside out, so best believe, single folks shouldn’t feel bad for being single. Singlehood is a part of life! Singlehood gives us the opportunity to discover who we are as individuals, so when we are finally ready to explore a relationship, we’ll mesh well with our partner.

That beautiful couple with the big smiles you see on your Facebook news feed probably used a lot of energy, tears, and pain to get where they are today. That successful Hollywood couple you adore in movies and television probably spent a few years in counseling for extramarital affairs. I’m pretty sure that elderly couple walking towards you in the aisle of the supermarket went through extreme measures to keep their marriage solid through the hectic times in the 50s and 60s when racism was unbearable and oppression was thick among black communities.

The POV is…..all couples have a story to tell…and their stories aren’t all “peaches n cream”.

 

Some of us who are single yearns to be in a loving relationship, and some of us who are in relationships yearns to be single again because their relationship isn’t prospering. It all comes down to what we’re willing to tolerate and fight for and what we feel we shouldn’t invest energy on.

In conclusion, I’d like to encourage the single folks that when the time is right, you will be in a relationship you deserve. The one thing you’d want to remember is not to dwell too much on wanting a relationship. When you do, the dwelling will grow into an obsession that will hinder you and make you seem desperate and needy to your partner, and we don’t want that. Every one of us experiences different things in each chapter in our lives. That nice couple you see and wish you could have a relationship like theirs could be at chapter 19 while you’re on chapter 27 (and vice versa).

 

Since 2004, changing our relationship status on Facebook has somehow become more meaningful to us. We can share the news of our newly committed relationship to our family and friends, but oddly enough, letting Facebook know is the highest level of confirmation for them…and for the person who changes it.

It’s a beautiful thing when you both mutually decide to inform Facebook because you both are in love.

But what if you are the only one who thought you were in a committed relationship?

It could be extremely humiliating to later discover that you’ve acted prematurely on the assumption that you’re in a committed relationship.

So, after months of dating, this guy has totally swept you off of your feet. He does and says all the right things and even show signs of wanting something more with you. The truth is…we are never sure what HE wants until he expresses wanting a commitment So, why are we changing our FB status, only to be humiliated for all to witness?

Like I’ve said in this blog piece, we don’t often see how huge a mistake it is until you realize you and him/her wasn’t meant to be.

That’s why it’s important to “test the waters” for a while before changing your relationship status. Here are 4 main reasons why you should.

You should take the time to build a foundation– Take time to evaluate the relationship without sex. Would the relationship survive without sexual intercourse? Can you both find other ways to be intimate? Can you reach each other on a deeper level? These are questions you should ask yourself before telling yourself he’s “the one”.

Make sure you both are on the same page-  Knowing you both share similar ideas about the relationship definitely helps. Don’t jump in too fast because of how he makes you feel. You have to make sure he feels the same way, obviously. Even if he does, you have to make sure he’s ready for a committed relationship, as well.

Take time to strengthen your relationship before making it public– Time is a gift and when we use it wisely getting to know your significant other, we receive the biggest of blessings. Building a solid relationship with genuine love and respect takes time. Use the time to invest in each other, mind, body, and soul. Get the full scope of their being and find ways to mesh theirs with your being.

Learn to not use Facebook as motivation– When you’re in love, you want the whole world to know! As a result, you anticipate the day you can change our FB status. Nothing is wrong with that because that’s the thing to do in the age of social media; upgrade your “single” status to “in a relationship”. If it’s something you both want, great! However, the one thing I’d encourage is to not let social media, particularly Facebook, be your main source of motivation to prove how much in love you are. You’re simply trying to impress folks who don’t matter if you do. Again…for those who act too prematurely, we’re not even sure if you and your significant other are on the same page yet.

If you’re struggling to find out why you keep attracting the wrong people, you can start by looking within yourself. We can point the finger and say it’s “them”, but deep down inside, we have to find fault in our own doings. There’s an inimical pattern when we’re picking the same type of folks to become romantically involved with. The question we have… what’s it gonna take to stop?

We can point the finger and say it’s “them”, but deep down inside, we have to find fault in what we’re doing to attract these people. We have a pattern of picking the same type of folks to become romantically involved with, but why is that?

I’m convinced that it’s all about how we view ourselves, what we display that attracts these people, and what we allow to happen.

We don’t mean to, but we display that of a weak person when we become romantically involved. When our partner picks up on that, he/she uses that to their full advantage in any way, shape or form.

Why?

Because they go into this situationship, intending to get one thing….their wants met. We do what we can to please them, despite our needs being ignored.

We do what we can to please them, despite our needs being ignored.

A weak person is a person who doesn’t see her/his worth, doesn’t value self, and doesn’t protect her/his own heart like they should. In order to stop attracting the wrong people; people who will take advantage of you and not care for you like you should care for yourself, you have to stop treating yourself the way you allow them to treat you…like shit.

We have to get rid of the weak parts if we want to stop attracting opportunists. We can start by protecting our hearts.

How do we do that?

…by realizing that our time, energy, and effort is too valuable to be spent on unacceptable behavior.

…by making it known to our partner that if we can’t meet each other half way emotionally, there’s no need to continue the “relationship”.

That’s all followed by a sudden change in how we see ourselves; more valued and worthy of a genuine connection. The decisions we make are reflected by how we see ourselves. Eventually, how we see ourselves is how others will see us, too.

If you treat yourself like shit, they will too.

If you treat yourself like you’re worthy, they will too.

 

It’s that simple.

 

I gotta be honest….

I didn’t know much about Actress/Author/Director, Lena Dunham, so I googled her before writing this piece. Reading about her work, and getting a glimpse of her social media, I’ve come to some understanding of why this advocate for positive self-image and feminism uses her insecurities as part of her of humor….particularly in THIS situation with New York Giants Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Unfortunately, her self-deprecating humor was missed because of her need to dump her insecurity issues on a man who doesn’t know who she is.

Her recent comments about Odell Beckham Jr. left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of people, who didn’t find them funny. In fact , critics BLASTED Dunham for her preconceived notions and expectations about a man she’s admitted to never have met.

Before I go any further, read below, the controversial comments Dunham made during her interview with Amy Schumer on Lenny Letter.

I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards. He was like, “That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.” It wasn’t mean — he just seemed confused.

The vibe was very much like, “Do I want to fuck it? Is it wearing a … yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.” It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, “This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.”

Now, let’s be honest. I think EVERY woman has gone through a period where insecurities plagued her mind. As a result, we tend to do THE MOST with men while we deal with it, instead of working to release it. We internalize self-hate because we don’t look like the next chick.

To dump our insecurities on a guy we’re dealing with is one thing. To dump them on a man who barely knows us is a whole other issue that we’d need to fix.

After realizing that she’s become a new “poster child” of what NOT to do when you don’t feel pretty in a room full of models, she posted a public apology to Odell VIA Instagram.

 

I owe Odell Beckham Jr an apology. Despite my moments of bravado, I struggle at industry events (and in life) with the sense that I don’t rep a certain standard of beauty and so when I show up to the Met Ball surrounded by models and swan-like actresses it’s hard not to feel like a sack of flaming garbage. This felt especially intense with a handsome athlete as my dinner companion and a bunch of women I was sure he’d rather be seated with. But I went ahead and projected these insecurities and made totally narcissistic assumptions about what he was thinking, then presented those assumptions as facts. I feel terrible about it. Because after listening to lots of valid criticism, I see how unfair it is to ascribe misogynistic thoughts to someone I don’t know AT ALL. Like, we have never met, I have no idea the kind of day he’s having or what his truth is. But most importantly, I would never intentionally contribute to a long and often violent history of the over-sexualization of black male bodies- as well as false accusations by white women towards black men. I’m so sorry, particularly to OBJ, who has every right to be on his cell phone. The fact is I don’t know about his state of mind (I don’t know a lot of things) and I shouldn’t have acted like I did. Much love and thanks, Lena

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

 

Whether the apology was needed or not, I’m glad she’s acknowledged the fact that Odell is not responsible for how she feels about herself. Her public display of borderline self-hate also serves as a reminder that we, as women, should never feel the need for validation from a man to feel “worthy”.

In my opinion, the attention Dunham wanted but didn’t receive from Beckham, solidified her need to blame him for the apparent awkwardness she felt.

I urge women to be mindful of  how uniquely beautiful we are. We must be mindful that if someone doesn’t see your beauty, then it isn’t meant for him to see. We should never make men, or ANYONE, responsible for our insecurities. We have to find the power within to love the skin we’re in.

No one can help you do that.

 

 

 

By now, you’ve probably seen Kanye West’s video for “Fade”, Ft. his G.O.O.D Music signee, Teyana Taylor. If you haven’t caught it, go to ‘Tidal’.  Kanye premiered his video during the 2016 MTV Music Video awards Sunday night.

Anyway…

I’m convinced every other viewer wanted to throw their refrigerator away and hit the gym, after watching Teyana, a new mother, execute dance moves so seductively, they would make the Late Great Prince blush.

Teyana gave us “Pleasure Principal” by Janet Jackson with a little ‘Flashdance’ sprinkled in, mixed with CRAZY sex appeal!

Since the video dropped, I’ve heard and read many comments on social media from admirers insinuating the need to get that body right together like Teyana’s. While I know there’s clearly nothing wrong with admiring Teyana’s amazing body, I’m beginning to wonder if there was any chance these admirers appreciated their own bodies the night before.

If so, what’s changed?

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We should be mindful of the options and preferences that we all have, and how each one of us possesses something someone finds attractive. Yet, we feel bad about our bodies when we obsess over someone else’s. Your self-esteem goes from 100 to 20 in a record-breaking 4 minutes!

Girl, stop!

There’s someone out there who doesn’t mind or even LOVE your jiggly booty, your pudgy belly, your thick thighs, and your out-of-control tittays. Let’s not forget your amazing smile, big bright eyes, and a mind embedded with impressive intellect.

Unless you feel it’s necessary to work out and “get like Teyana”, just appreciate the body you have, because it’s yours, and you are, in the words of Jazmine Sullivan, a “Mona Lisa”; a masterpiece.

If you want to work out, that’s fine! There’s never anything wrong with practicing a healthier lifestyle. Just don’t do it out of self-pity, or you’ll become discouraged before you attempt your second week of crunches and flat tummy tea!

Everyone was created uniquely in the eyes of God.

Everyone also has the freedom to appreciate what’s perfect in THEIR eyes. That perfection could be you…right now…exactly the way you are.

 

 

 

During a special taping of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ in 1994, Oprah invited Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and “spiritual auntie”, Patti LaBelle for advice on turning the BIG 4-0!

Te iconic singers gave Oprah and viewers some good pointers and the great things to look forward to. They also shared what they’ve learned when they turned 40. Press play below!

When we mourn the death of a celebrity, it hits us like a ton of bricks. The celebrity may be someone we grew up to, listening to their music, or watching their movies/shows. That formulates a personable connection to the celebrity, who when suddenly dies, leaves us in mourning as if that celebrity was a part of our extended family.

We may surprise ourselves at how much a celeb’s death has affected us. Sometimes, we don’t know how much our favorite star has impacted our lives until they’re gone. In a sense, we’ve grown up with them. For many years, we’ve listened to their music, watched their films, and read their books. We’ll become a faithful fan of a celebrity because in some way, shape, or form, their art resonates with us.

The unexpected news that leaves us having difficulty processing it, the longtime thought of immortality and the never-ending appreciation for what they do are all factors to why we mourn. It’s also a reminder of our mortality and forces us to use the legacy they’ve left behind as a template for how we should walk in our purpose.

According to Huffington Post, David Kaplan, chief professional officer of the American Counseling Association says, “The passing of someone so admired, whose life was in the public sphere, creates a universal human connection.”

In the age of digital media, I can see how bonds are formed from celebrity death. When you see that you’re not alone in the grieving process, the bond you share with other mourners validates your need to express how you feel without fear of criticism.

It’s totally okay to mourn a celebrity’s death. Everytime an admirable public figure goes home to glory, I hear and read comments like, “You act like (s)he knew you.” , “Why are you so upset?”, and other questions worthy of a faceslap!

1….The person doesn’t have to know us

2…We become upset because we can. There’s no wrong way to grieve. Mourning the death of a celebrity you’ve admired for a long time is no different than mourning an extended family member or the family pet.

 

 

 

 

Moving on after a painful breakup can be difficult, but we all know that with time, you’ll feel better enough to accept what’s happened and be at peace. That’s why it’s especially important to take care of your mind, body, and soul between relationships. You’d want to be completely healed and emotionally responsible enough to be in another serious relationship before you start the next one. Some of us make the biggest mistake of doing the opposite and as a result, we end of in many situationships. Here are 8 ways to get your mind right before you meet your next “Boo”!

Don’t be afraid to go through the pain of your breakup~ Cry, throw things, yell, scream, vent, do whatever you can to let all of your emotions go! Nothing makes you feel worse than pretending you’re not badly hurt, only for you to burst from the pressure of trying to hide it.
Work on a personal goal and achieve it~ Accomplishing something you’ve always wanted to do somehow makes you feel brand new. Completing a goal also makes you feel good about yourself. The task of completing a goal also keeps your mind off other things, as well. Stay busy and complete a few goals!
Writing is therapy~ As a writer, I can vouch for this one. Writing your thoughts in a journal (manual or online) helps releases the negativity in your mind and in your heart. As days. weeks, or even months go by and you’re still writing, you may notice a significant change in your writing style which symbolizes a woman who is experiencing peace within herself.
Learn from your mistakes~ Don’t beat yourself over the decisions you’ve made i your past. Instead, learn from the mistakes created from those decisions and focus on what you can do differently.
Find out what you really want~Do you want companionship, a friend with benefits, or a committed mate that you can build true love with? These questions to yourself are pertinent to refining your needs and/or desires. These questions can also guide you to the right mate for you.
Get in touch with the person you were before you met your partner~ When we get involved with someone, we somehow lose ourselves in the process. While loving him/her, we tend to forget to love ourselves. Get in touch with who you were before you both met while implementing the lessons you’ve learned as you move forward as a single person.
Have gratitude~ Every loss is a painful reminder of what you could have or should have done differently, but it’s also a beautiful reminder that you can always evolve as a person. Use the losses as a stepping stone to greater things in your life. For every loss, there are tons of blessings around the corner. Be patient.
Show off your inner radiance~You’ll attract the person who can see it; the person who’s meant for you.