Catching Grenades: Dudes Do What They Want to Do. Always.

Ladies, I am going to let you in on a little secret. ¬†Something that has been paradigm-shifting for me. ¬†Are you ready? ¬†Here it goes: ¬†“Dudes do what they want to do. ¬†Always.” ¬†This little maxim is the only real wisdom I have about men folk, but it has been truly¬†illuminating. ¬†It has given me the freedom to stop analyzing and simply start living, and in the best case love with anticipation and not debilitating expectation.

As women, we have a¬†tendency¬†to get caught in analysis ¬†paralysis when it comes to our romantic relationships. ¬†We spend countless man hours and tremendous bandwidth trying to figure out what he is thinking, feeling, and desiring. ¬†This kind of behavior almost always becomes an exercise in self-deprecation. We begin to blame ourselves for why he isn’t responding, acting, or otherwise behaving the way we want him to. ¬†Perhaps it is that we don’t listen, or we are not accomplished, thin, pretty, or smart enough. ¬†We begin to create these mythologies to provide a rationale for another person’s behavior and we operate within the myth, when there is only one real truth. Again I will say it: ¬†¬†“Dudes do what they want to do. Always”.¬†

Men are uniquely binary. They tend to operate more comfortably in a space of ¬†“yes” or “no”, whereas women tend to prefer more choices; we are creatures of nuance. ¬†The fact that men tend to thrive¬†in the black and white spaces of life, and not in the gray should make things easier on us. However, all to often our choice to over analyze negates this opportunity for peace and truth. ¬†We still sit around with our girlfriends trying to figure out why he doesn’t call, why he won’t leave her, why he won’t go down the aisle or even to the movies, when the answer is simple. He doesn’t do any or all of those things because he doesn’t want to. ¬†When he does, he will. Simple.

This whole theory is not to suggest that men are not complex. I hate the idea floating around that men our “simple”; to my mind they are just has ¬†cerebrally¬†splendid and¬†capable¬†of feeling, as their female counterparts. ¬†However, the extent to which they work comfortably in the emotional realm is perhaps more limited than women, but when they do‚ÄĒI would argue that men can be far more deliberate, loyal, and even invested. ¬†So what does this look like?

I have known men that once in love with a woman will put up with every kind of demoralizing form of rejection one can imagine. ¬†Bruno Mars sings about catching grenades for the woman to whom he was devoted. ¬†Yes‚ÄĒthis song is melodramatic, but there is a lot of truth in this metaphor. ¬†Because men do what they want to do, when they decide they want to love you or make you happy, the lengths they will go to to do so are remarkable. ¬†Have you ever had a guy in your life, who was crazy about you? ¬†I don’t me lunatic stalker crazy; I mean¬†genuinely¬†into you. ¬†I have and I will tell you that in every case I never had to question how he felt or what he was thinking because his actions demonstrated everything I needed to know. ¬†¬†“Dudes do what they want to do. Always”.¬†

I hope that this little tidbit ¬†of wisdom helps you move on or move to a relationship that is affirming,¬†fulfilling, and useful. ¬†I also hope that it will help you loose whatever binds you have on your romantic life. ¬†The next time you find your self¬†ruminating¬† about what Mr. Man wants, needs, or feels immediately remember: “Dudes do what they want to do” and then channel that energy into yourself or even into serving others. ¬†The time we spend devoting energy to¬†understanding¬†what he is thinking can be much more profitably spent defining our own hopes, desires, and dreams.


Dear Editor: Copy, Cut, Paste, Delete….Writing my Own Story

Funny thing about¬†introspection: it’s just so damn personal! ¬†You see, I had a post all ready written about the perils, trials, and tribulations of dating for highly educated Black women in the DMV. ¬† It was witty, charming, and beautifully constructed. ¬†Trust me. ¬† However, my inner voice suggested that the content was not entirely accurate or perhaps it was simply to simplistic. ¬†I was regurgitating a narrative that I have heard from women like me who are looking for love in seemingly all the wrong places. It was a story of rejection, heartbreak, loneliness, and even shame‚ÄĒalbeit¬†not without its light moments. ¬†Yet, it was a story framed from the point of view of a victim. ¬†I am not a victim, though it occurs to me I have operated as one for way too long.

In thinking of matters of love and life, I am resigned to be the editor of my life.  In this role, I have the power to decide who stays and who shall go.   I can write a better story, by way of smart choices based  first and foremost around loving myself and consequently not based on the fleeting opinion of others.  Within this paradigm, I determine my self worth from a higher truth: I am a person in progress, but I am worthy of  pure and genuine love.  As editor, I can redefine the storyline as I go along, being confident not to settle and faithful enough to take a risk in pursuit of my dreams.  However, this is much easier said than done.

I am the kind of girl that thrives on male attention. There I’ve said it. ¬†For as long as I can remember, it was very important to me that boys and men found me attractive and worthy of love. ¬†I ¬†had a boyfriend pretty consistently since the second grade and let me tell you the melodrama of that puppy love affair could rival that of any daytime soap opera. ¬†I kept boyfriends through middle and high school, and married in my early twenties to ¬†further solidify a pattern of serial monogamy sprinkled in with a few regrets. ¬† Divorced by twenty-eight, I was devastated, angry, bitter, and sad. ¬†The man who was supposed to support me, love me unconditionally, and protect me‚ÄĒlet me down. ¬†Yet in retrospect, I had let myself down. I am my own editor.

A little armchair psychology will easily connect my “boy issues”, as ¬†I call them to my relationship with my father who loved and spoiled me incessantly, but was limited in his ability to provide the real guidance, nurturing, time, and wisdom I craved. ¬†You see my parents were divorced when I was still a little baby and my father¬†remarried raising a family outside the one he created with my mom. ¬†I do not begrudge him any happiness his choices may have brought to his life; I am just realistic about how they colored my experiences in love and relationships.

I also watched my mom move through a series of boyfriends‚ÄĒnone of which¬†ever really¬†deserved her. I know she did this in a failed effort to bring a father figure into my life ¬†as well as to provide the love and security she wanted and deserved. ¬† Yet, as I see this pattern repeating in my life: ¬†toxic relationships, broken homes, anxiety, and depression; I am making an active choice to stop it right here. ¬†The call on my life is too big not to; ¬†I am my own editor.

God is my north star and I always felt very¬†attuned¬†to the universe and what it wanted for me. ¬†I know that I was given a voice, talent, and a passion for living that is worthy of the kind of love that will last a lifetime. ¬†Accordingly, it is not worth it for me to waste the energy and time investing into thin relationships based on my own insecurities, fears, or simply a desire to get the love that has alluded me, thus far. ¬†Yet to say that it alluded me would be somewhat of a misstatement. ¬†I have had great guys‚ÄĒthough flawed‚ÄĒlove me in healthy and nourishing ways. ¬†However, I am learning that I need to come into a place mentally, physically,¬†spiritually, and emotionally where I am able to first recognize and then form healthy romantic relationships.

Ladies: ¬†I ardently¬†urge you to do a mirror check. ¬†For all the complaining we do about the foibles, fumbles, and general fuck ups the men in our life enact upon us, it is important that we don’t lose sight of how we are contributing to our own destiny. Of course this not to say that the guys out there don’t require¬†their fair share of¬†introspection, healing, and calls for accountability. They surely do. ¬†The relationships between Black women and Black men are ¬†plagued by historical consequences and cultural baggage. ¬†Accordingly, it is that much more important that we become more¬†intentional about recognizing and valuing the love within ourselves and others.

I say all this to say, I am taking a break to be with myself. ¬† That is right folks‚ÄĒyou heard it here first. I am pulling myself out of the game. ¬†I am sure that with this bold proclamation that every guy I ever wanted will come knocking down my door‚ÄĒthe universe is not without a sense of humor. ¬†However, my dating¬†sabbatical¬†isn’t about self-denial, but more about self-actualization. ¬†I am taking sometime to embrace the skin I’m in and to learn to love myself fully‚ÄĒflaws and all. ¬†I am taking some time to know the God within me, to tap into my full¬†potential, heal a few wounds, jump over a few hurdles, knock down some road blocks, and most importantly write my own happy ending. I am the editor of my life. ¬†More to come…stay tuned.

Falling Like The Rain: We Ain’t Running Out!

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking around the idea of “scarcity”. ¬†In psychology and economics, the Scarcity Principle describes our urge to obtain something that we believes we¬†may not be able to get in the future.

In the economy of human relationships, the media treats single Black men as a “scare commodity”. ¬†Within this paradigm, Black women are conditioned to believe that the quality partners they are looking for are a rare and limited resource. ¬†However, I would ¬†like to offer a bit of critique of this now widely held and statistically backed perspective. ¬†I am concerned that this narrative only amplifies the problems for men and women in the dating pool.

News Flash: ¬†Men are falling like the rain. ¬†We are in no danger of running out, despite what any number of blogpost, news reports, and articles in women’s magazines will tell you. ¬†They will cite numerous measures around the number of Black men who are in prison, exclusively dating outside the race, or¬†homosexual. ¬†For instance, this¬†article on states there only 27 available Black men available for 100 Black women. The statistical soundness of this dataset is more than questionable, but for all the barriers to finding a partner; I am not readily convinced that it boils down to a sheer numbers game.

I believe what is required is a paradigm shift by Black women en masse. If we continue to treat the identification of a quality partner as a desperate endeavor‚ÄĒgrounded in jealousy and competition‚ÄĒwe are only fueling the spiral of scarcity. ¬†In this environment, Black men who do not even have the characteristic or desire to build genuine or profitable relationships with quality Black women are reaping the benefits of being a valued commodity–without actually being one.

Accordingly, our dating marketplace has become Canal Street. ¬†Canal Street is a notorious bastion of fake designer goods. ¬†The public flocks here to purchase cheap¬†facsimiles of exclusive items‚ÄĒlike the elusive Birkin Bag. ¬†The Birkin is a¬†handmade purse by¬†Herm√®s. ¬†It is the ultimate symbol of wealth and¬†privilege. ¬†Birkins are released on unpredictable schedules and in limited quality creating scarcity in the marketplace. ¬†Now Canal Street is full of knock-off Birkins. ¬†These bags are not unique, handmade, or otherwise special. ¬†My point: LADIES STOP TREATING THE KNOCK-OFF LIKE THE REAL THING.

In any situation where you have scarcity you have panic and acts of desperation.  Ladies we have to stop selling ourselves short, in order to obtain any kind of man.   Compromising your real desires for connection, authentic relationships, love, and good treatment only fuels the cycle of scarcity.  We have to be wise consumers to get what we really want: genuine relationships and authentic love.

Scarcity is tied to our survival instinct, but there are lots of good guys out here. ¬†They may not be the Alpha male, or fly, or otherwise jiggy‚ÄĒbut they do exist. ¬†However, the marketplace will react to the way we interact with ¬†it. ¬†If as a collective, Black women decided to ¬†diversify our markets, and more importantly set our own price to¬†align¬†to the real value we bring, we might get better outcomes. ¬†If we treat ourselves cheaply, we are no better than the knock-off Birkin we so detest. I am making a call for us to stop competing with each other for minimal¬†treatment, hurt feelings, and disappointment. ¬†Let’s raise up our standard to get what we TRULY deserve: the kind of love that will hold us for a lifetime.

Could It Be That It Was All So Simple Then: Is Grown Really Sexy?

I miss Double-Dutch and the ice cream trucks.¬† I yearn for the¬†restless¬†summer days¬†spent reading Right On! ¬†Magazines and waiting for¬†someone to call my favorite video into Jukebox.¬† I want to spend a whole day with Barbie, Skipper, Ken and their dream house.¬† I‚Äôd like to dress-up my Cabbage Patches and line them along the bottom of my bed for some good conversation.¬† I want to rock my Garanimals, OshKosh¬†B’gosh, and take my Pillow Person to work.¬† My daily workout will be the Get in Shape Girl Aerobics VHS tape.¬† I want to watch the Snorks in the morning, My Little Ponies in the afternoon, and the Wonderful World of Disney at night.¬† Yet these days are distant memory.¬† I can‚Äôt bring that old thing back.¬† I‚Äôm a grown-up and yet that inner little girl is still so alive¬†in me.¬†

I don’t want to over romanticize¬†my child hood.¬† Truth is¬†I could never really jump Double-Dutch well, and¬†after an unwise¬†ice cream truck¬†purchase¬†I¬†got a now¬†and Later stuck to my tooth. Suffice it to say,¬† I was plagued¬†by a prevailing feeling of¬†awkwardness¬†and general insecurity due to relentless teasing for much of childhood¬†years.¬† Yet in still, the challenges of my¬†adolescence¬†pale in comparison to this grown folks business.¬†

Being an adult is just soooooo¬†hard.¬† I know this may sound terribly naive, but I grew up in a very¬†¬†sheltered‚ÄĒif not charmed‚ÄĒhousehold and I had no idea how rough it is out here.¬† ¬†Just like the clich√©.¬†I had to be in the¬†house before the street lights came on.¬† I went to private schools from the 1st grade through the 12th.¬† I never snuck out the house or snuck boys into the house, and come to think about it; just saying no¬†wasn’t even an issue because¬†no one ever asked me to try drugs.¬†

Instead of narcotics, I took lessons: piano, flute, karate, swimming; jazz, tap, and ballet; gymnastics, ice skating, singing, and drama.  Jack of many trades and masters of none, I had a wide breadth and depth of experiences in my youth.  But summer camp at the Y, plays and musicals at the Kennedy Center, family reunions, barbecues, vacation bible schools, and Girl Scout Troop 695 are now just distant memories.

Today, I no longer face the hurdles of catty neighborhood girls and rude little boys at school.¬† Now I’ve got real grown lady hurdles¬†like a mortgage and a demanding career.¬† I’ve got huge dreams that are going require¬†a lot of sacrifice and really hard work to achieve.¬†¬† ¬† I have the responsibility to be¬†a steward to the community¬†and serve others, who¬†are frankly enduring¬†through situations¬†far worst than I can even imagine.¬† Therefore, I do not write this as a rant or a complaint about my life.¬†¬†I’ve got it pretty good.¬† I have a great job, wonderful¬†friends, a supportive family, and a burgeoning¬†and always¬†entertaining¬†romantic life.¬†¬†

Yet, I just find the emotional, financial, political, and social roller coasters of adulthood a bit scary sometime. ¬†¬†I’m not even a parent yet, and I’m not sure how people do it.¬†¬† I can‚Äôt imagine a mini-me depending on moi to take raise into adulthood.¬† Even my dog looks at me with his pensive big brown eyes, as if to say ‚Äúare you sure you got this mom, cause I dunno‚ÄĚ? ¬†

With the stressors of unexpected expenses, crying babies, sick and aging parents and grandparents, tragic losses and disappointments, crisis of faith, new aches and pains arriving daily, not to mention overwhelming exhaustion and challenges to one’s  core beliefs, it’s a wonder we don’t all throw in the towel. 

Yet I am convinced¬†that I was built¬†for this: to live a life of meaning and purpose.¬† I was always a mini-adult; my grandmother played a large part in raising me‚ÄĒwhich met I spent a lot of time at the Fort Lincoln Senior Village Recreation Center playing¬†Kings in the Corner and Pity Pat¬†with old ladies.¬† I have a great understanding of people and I truly believe we are stronger and more capable than we give ourselves credit for.¬† To be intentional about living a happy, fruitful, and productive adult life means to ensure¬†your choices are aligned¬†to your values, your path is ordered¬†by love, and your tests are met¬†with faith.¬† Incongruence¬†between any of these areas puts us in that uncomfortable sphere of fear, anxiety, and doubt.¬† So love boldly, live fearlessly, and laugh always!¬† Grown is indeed¬†sexy ūüėȬ† Keep that inner child in¬† you alive.¬† Use your imagination and soar.

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