All Articles Tagged "Change"
In the very first #RelationshipGoals post, I stated my intent with this column:
I’ll be sharing my dating fiascos (like Kevin’s story and who knows, he might be back!) and hopefully I’ll learn from them. But here’s the truth, I am a stubborn woman who keeps letting herself get in her own way!
Ugh, I just quoted myself. But I wanted to show you that I’ve kept my word. I am a stubborn woman in her own way, revealing my dating debacles, not only for your entertainment, but for my growth. I’m learning, because with every dating story, there’s a lesson and I’m one step closer to my #RelationshipGoals.
Oh, and this column — Kevin’s back. Obviously, I leave the door open when I exit a relationship. I figure, there’s a reason you welcomed that person into your life in the first place, so letting them go may have been premature. There’s error in that way of thinking; I’m clear on that, but I can’t seem to let that door shut for good until after I try a few more times.
I was between another bad date with one guy and a texting marathon with another when Kevin’s smile flashed from my memory. I laid in the bed, staring at my ceiling, looked over at my phone. 8:37 am. It was Saturday. I planned on spending the day with my friend Karlie in Harlem, but I was up early enough to lounge.
Tapping through my phone, Kevin’s dimpled smile flashed in my mind again. I looked for his name in my address book. It wasn’t there. My heart sank. I was trying to shake the memory that I’d deleted Kevin’s number after we’d first broken up and he walked away from me at the subway station. Our first relationship fell apart mostly because I’d chosen my individual life over choosing to share my life with him and rid myself of the vices that I loved so much.
I was still all up and through those vices when Kevin’s smile kept plaguing my mind. I opened my texts so that I could ask Karlie if going back to Kevin was a stupid idea. I’d look up my old phone records and find his number if I had to — if she told me I should go for it. I typed a “K” and like magic, Kevin’s name appeared in the pull down menu of names starting with the letter “K.” I tapped it.
I started to text, “Hey” and I changed my mind and called. It rang and took me to voicemail. I hate leaving voicemails. I usually hang up. But I left Kevin a message letting him know I was thinking of him, hoping he was OK. and that I was interested in connecting. I hung up and started my day.
Once I made it to Harlem, I told Karlie all about Kevin.
“He hated that I drink and smoke. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that’s the reason we broke up,” I picked up my glass of wine. “I mean, there were other things. We argued all the time, but I think that’s because of my smoking. It always came up.”
“Danielle, you keep choosing marijuana over a human being and you’re going to end up alone,” Karlie said, already tired of having to tell me to grow up.
“Why can’t I just meet a dude like me who smokes, but is also still thriving in life?” I laughed.
“Girl…” Karlie rolled her eyes.
My phone rang. It was Kevin. He was surprised to see that I called. He’s wanted to call, but wasn’t sure if he should. We talked for about 15 minutes and he asked me to call him when I’m leaving Harlem.
“If you date him again, you can’t choose weed Danielle,” Karlie said before kissing me on the cheek and opening the door for me to leave.
Changing for your significant other. Hmmm. I’m old enough now that I’m too stubborn to change, but I’m also old enough to know that relationships require a level of compromise, but does that mean we compromise the things we are or the things we love?
“Yes momma. I want love more than weed.” I didn’t believe myself as the words slid off my tongue. I knew I wanted both. Why did I have to choose? But since I was choosing Kevin, I knew that my vices had to give. I could change for love. Or so I thought.
I called Kevin on my way to the subway. “I’m headed back to Brooklyn,” I cooed.
We chatted about old times and he told me since it was late, he wanted to keep me company on the phone until I made it to the train. The ride home took about an hour and when I got off the train at my stop, Kevin was across the street. He saw me. I walked to him smiling. When we dated the first time around, Kevin told me that one of the things he loved most about me being late is that he got to see me walk to him. There I was again, walking to Kevin.
He stood there, all 6’5″ of him, grey sweatpants (something he did purposely for me because he knows they make me weak). I stopped directly in front of him and his arms found the arc of my back and I wrapped my arms around his neck. He felt familiar, which is one of the things I love most about digging through the crates of my ex-boyfriends.
I unlocked our hug and tried to take a step back. Kevin pulled me in for a kiss. I fell back into our wonted liplock. Kevin held my chin up to his face, planting one last juicy smooth on my waiting lips. He pulled himself away from me, looking into my eyes, searching for the words he knew I was too afraid to say out loud. I’ve got a lot of feelings, but in relationships, I don’t know how to express them. It was one of the things he didn’t like about me when we dated the first time.
“I miss you too,” Kevin smiled himself into a hearty laugh. I missed the bass in his laugh. Kevin and I sat on the same park bench we sat on after we had our first date two years before. “Remember this?” He held my hand as I sat.
“How could I forget?” I smiled at the romantics. “I don’t want to lie to you Kevin, I am still smoking weed and I still drink. Neither one of these things are in excess, but I want to be honest with you.” Kevin watched my eyes. “I want this between us, but I don’t want those vices to rip us apart.”
“So don’t let them,” Kevin’s face was serious. He held my hand, our fingers intertwined. We sat on “our” bench for three hours, talking over what happened, how we spent our time apart and how we wanted to start over. So we did.
After an intense week of never leaving one another’s side, Kevin and I met up at Prospect Park in Brooklyn and decided to go down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, where were walked along the waterside, people watched, and he asked me to be his girlfriend again.
That entire week, I’d refrained from smoking. I was so proud of myself, but I also wanted to break open my stash. As Kevin and I walked to the train, his happiness was apparent. I knew he was trying to come to my house that night, but my vice turned addiction-like when I made up a bullsh-t story about not making our relationship merely physical, just so I could get Kevin to go home that night.
“We shouldn’t get into the habit of ending every date night with sex. I think it’s important in the strength of our relationship,” I said, almost ignoring Kevin’s reaction. I saw the disappointment in his face and guilt settled into my heart, “You can stay over tomorrow night. Let me just unwind tonight.”
But that didn’t sit right with Kevin and we argued over his departure. I didn’t care what was happening, I just wanted to go upstairs alone. I didn’t care that Kevin felt thrown away. I didn’t even care that it was the same night that we made our relationship official. It had been a week since I smoked and I wanted to smoke. While Kevin stated his case, in my head, I thought, “I don’t have any papers. When he goes, I’ll come back out and go to the store.”
Which is what I did. Kevin walked away from me, disappointed and hurt. I watched him from the threshold of my building and I waited until he turned the corner and I walked back out. Kevin went right, I decided to go left…just in case. My phone rang before I hit the corner. It was Kevin.
“Where are you going?” He asked, obviously more upset than curious.
“To the store. I’m thirsty,” I lied. I couldn’t think of anything else.
“Why are you going that way and not the corner store?” Kevin wasn’t buying it.
“I am hungry too. I might go to the Chinese spot,” I was really bad at lying.
“Whatever,” Kevin hung up.
I went to the store, got my papers and basically tip-toed back to my building, afraid I’d see Kevin. I didn’t see him. I called him four times, no answer. On the fifth call, he picked up.
“What?” Kevin said, more than asked.
“I am lower than low. I wanted to get rid of you tonight so I could smoke. I didn’t have any papers, so I went to get some. I didn’t want you to see me,” I cried like a baby. I was hurt that I lied to him, I lied to myself and I knew I was going to continue lying. “I didn’t get the papers. I came home,” I cried, holding the papers in my hand.
“Danielle, you’ve gotta do better if you want my trust. You see what this looks like? And it’s day one!” Kevin screamed. “I can’t believe I am signing up to go through this with you again and you’re already making some dumb moves.”
I let Kevin vent and he told me he’d talk to me when he’s ready. I pleaded and cried on the phone, begging Kevin to give me a chance.
“I did,” he said before he hung up.
Sorry to leave you hanging! Stay tuned for part two next week!
Celebrities are more than just red carpets adornments and glitz and glamour. While we will admit that there are many A-listers who seem more concerned with themselves than they do with serving their communities, we’d be remiss to discount the countless celebrities who donate their time, money, energy and likeness to a variety of causes. From domestic violence awareness and prevention to campaigning against racial and social inequality, some celebs are true inspirations. In their honor, MadameNoire takes a look at the celebrities who speak out and refuse to stay silent when it comes to the issues they are most passionate about.
It’s understandable. We all have issues with change otherwise the phrase, “Humans are creatures of habit” wouldn’t be so well known. But how is your natural resistance to change hurting your career?
Do you have brilliant ideas that never reach fruition or initiatives that go nowhere? These could be examples that your resistance is keeping you from taking steps in a new direction. Perhaps as soon as a great idea pops into your mind it is immediately followed by all the logical reasons it would never work. Is one of the big reasons because it would require a break from the ways things are always done?
You may be doing yourself a disservice by not challenging some of the “old ways.” Of course the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented every day, but something genius might just unfold from shaking things up and embracing the uncertainty of change. Take the time today to identify your areas of resistance, be honest about why they are there, and take the necessary steps to fix them.
With the average worker spending 4.6 years at one company before moving on, changing jobs is becoming more and more common. And people are also moving between careers as well. What if you are thinking of making a change? What can you do? Here are 10 tips if you want to make a change.
How often did you hear some variation of this when you were growing up? I heard it all the time. And what I learned to do was to desperately defend and explain in fruitless attempts to get my mom or dad to stop judging me and SEE me. Or I would apologize and become the “good girl,” so they would approve of me.
Of course, defending and explaining didn’t work. But that didn’t stop me from trying because I just didn’t know what else to do — other than completely give myself up, which is what I eventually learned to do.
When I got married, I continued in the same pattern — first trying to explain and defend and then giving myself up. The result was, of course, no better than it was with my parents. Again, I had no idea what else to do.
Of course, defending and explaining didn’t work. But that didn’t stop me from trying because I just didn’t know what else to do — other than completely give myself up, which is what I eventually learned to do.
What Else To Do
It took many years, but I finally accepted that defending and explaining only leads to more and more conflict, since the other person feels controlled and goes into resistance. For a long time I didn’t want to see that defending and explaining were forms of control. After all, I just wanted them to see my point of view. What’s controlling about that? I convinced myself that if only they understood me, then they would change.
Now I know that using defending and explaining as viable forms of control is a complete myth. Not only does it not work to convince anyone to see things my way, but it always exacerbates the conflict.
Read more YourTango.com
A few years ago, I was invited to attend a promotional event that focused on African-American authors and relationships. The atmosphere was filled with laughter, intriguing conversation, and a number of single, attractive men and women. At about 9:30 p.m., an extremely handsome gentleman walked through the doors of the venue with his business partner and took a seat just as I was getting ready to speak about my book. Shortly after my presentation, the event ended and instantly turned into a “mix and mingle” networking session. As all of the authors and attendees engaged in conversation, I started gathering my things to head home.
Before I could finish putting my things away, the handsome gentleman made his way over to me and began what was his form of flattery. He began the conversation very casually and smoothly by complimenting my presentation and the concept of my book. He then shifted the conversation toward discussing several marketing strategies with me. Before long, we exchanged information. Shortly after our initial conversation, I contacted him to gather more information about marketing; and then soon after that we were emailing, calling, and texting each other almost every day to discuss everything but marketing. We repeated this pattern for about two to three weeks, and before I knew it, we were in an intense relationship. During the beginning stages of our relationship I was on the path of starting my writing career, so there were a number of events I was invited to attend to speak, book signings and invitations to provide commentary or other articles for various magazines, etc. So of course, while all of these wonderful things were happening to me, I shared them with my new significant other. Initially, he celebrated with me, but as more doors opened for me in my professional career, he seemed to be happy, but he expressed it differently.
While my then-mate congratulated me on my small victories, he would say things like, ‘Let me see what writing I can do for this magazine,’ or ‘you know how I do things…I spend my evening with stars and meeting all sorts of people,’ so on and so on. It also seemed as though every time I shared something with him, he would say what he was going to do next, or what he was planning to do. Initially, this didn’t bother me because I simply thought he was sharing his small victories and plans with me, but as time went on and he consistently mentioned all of his victories to me, I noticed how his attitude towards my success changed. He suddenly became disinterested in hearing about my accomplishments (not that I shared all of them or threw them in his face), if he couldn’t make it to an event he wouldn’t ask me how things went, and if he did ask about the event he would say things that were demeaning and discouraging. As I started noticing these changes, I thought I was being overly sensitive to the fact that he wasn’t as interested and excited about my small victories as I was, so I gave it some more time and more observation of his character; and sure enough I was right…he was trying to compete with me.
Did he openly admit that we were in a competition…no; but the signs were all there. He wouldn’t celebrate with me as much, nor would he even try to motivate me as he once did, amongst other things. I initally thought to myself, maybe he’s intimidated by me, or maybe he just wants to focus in more on his career because as my career grew, I noticed that he worked hard at getting his career off the ground and stable. Who knows? But at that time in my life I felt as though I was involved in a miniature battle of the sexes, and I hope this never happens again because when I’m in a relationship, I want to motivate my mate to do better and support him wholeheartedly, but I want and deserve the same in return. I once heard someone say that some men are intimidated by strong or successful women, and I often thought that that was the case with my then mate; but then I realized that if a man is truly a man he will not be intimidated by any woman. Whether he is as successful as she is or not, if he is a real man he will be secure in who he is and who he’s not, what he has and what he doesn’t.
How may relationships have you been involved in that turned into a competition?
From The Club To The White House: What’s The Deal With How Everyone Uses Dr. King’s Image These Days?
While some of you will be celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day by performing service projects around your community or taking the day off as a silent protest for reparations for all the unpaid work and Jim Crow bulls**t our people have gone through, some of you will no doubt be at the American Legion Post for the MLK Weekend No Worries Bash in Florida.
That’s right, many folks across the country decided to pay tribute to one of the greatest figures in the history of the Civil Rights Movement by going to the club, including the MLK Weekend Blast-Off, which went down this past Saturday night in Auburn, Alabama. No word yet on what notable dignitaries might have descended on this fancy shindig, but according to the er…invitation, which featured the bust of the slain Civil Rights leader Photoshopped into a leather bomber and a neck full of enough bling that could make Nino Brown sit his five dollar a** down before King makes change (get it? Change? Martin Luther King Jr.? Ah, forget it…), Ciroc – or Coric (according to the backwards bottles on the flier) – probably was flowing and the ladies were admitted free all night.
While most would agree that putting Dr. King’s face on your club flier is not the best way of paying respect or homage (and odds are that the promoter is more concerned with cashing in on the very lucrative three-day weekend), truth of the matter is that people have been using, and in many instances misappropriating, King’s legacy for years to sell or market stuff. How could we forget the McDonalds’ “Candles” commercials from the ’80s? I’m sure obesity, high blood pressure and the McRib sandwich was not what he marched all them miles in Selma. And then there are his very own family members like Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. King, who has been using her uncle’s legacy to promote her anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda with her cohort Glenn Beck. She even went as far as to claim that the late Coretta Scott King, who said that Dr. King would have supported gay rights, didn’t have the authority to speak on Dr. King’s behalf because she was just related by marriage and not by DNA.
And then what about all those pictures I see of Dr. King Photoshopped sitting next to, hi-fiving and basically co-signing President Barack Obama on mugs, T-shirts and posters- My personal favorite is the very well-executed pencil drawing of a bust of Dr. King, with the caption “I have a dream,” positioned next to another pencil-drawn bust of President Obama, with the caption, “I am the dream.” That imagery is pretty bold and some would argue, pretty authentic, especially considering that today marks not only King’s national holiday, but the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, the country’s first black president. To add to the symbolism, it has been reported that President Obama used a Bible, which belonged o Dr. King, to take his oath.
Unfortunately, Dr. King is no longer with us, so will never know how Dr. King would have reacted to the many ways in which his image has been appropriated. Perhaps he would embrace President Obama’s historic first and then second successful presidential run as the fulfillment, or at least extension, of his legacy. But as a passionate advocate for peace, racial equality, as well as social justice and human rights, Dr. King might not have felt as supportive of some of the Obama Administration’s policies that deal with education, the environment, the use of drones, illegal immigration and the black and poor, particularly black and poor communities. Again, there is no way of knowing for sure. For all we know, Dr. King might have changed positions later in life. However, if he was the same man as his legacy suggests, he might have been a vocal critic of the President. And that type of dissent don’t land your face on mugs and T-shirts, or in pencil drawings next to the country’s first black president. And I doubt very highly that President Obama would be using his Bible at the inauguration.
And while it is true that King was a man of respectability, he was also a man, who once performed a difficult behind-the-back back shot in a pool match with civil rights leader Al Raby in the slums of Chicago in 1966. Therefore, while a picture of Dr. King Photoshopped into a leather bomber with Mr. T chains, looking like an ’80s rap thug is certainly jarring, it is not entirely impossible to believe that he wouldn’t have embraced Hip-Hop/street aesthetic in some form. Based upon the legacy he left us with, I could totally see a modern-day King co-signing a few rappers and appearing in a few hip-hop videos. What better way to recruit the next generation of leaders into the movement for social justice than meeting them where they are at – and in many cases, when where they are at might just be at the club? Heck, even Maya Angelou did a song with Common – and he been calling women b***hes and h*es on and off for years.
But I guess we all have our own version of Dr. King’s legacy, which we like to remember and honor. My own Dr. King is birthed not just out of his dream of racial equality but of social justice, which inspired him to give these words against war in a speech, delivered at Riverside Church in April of 1967:
“My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”
Funny, that’s the King we never see a stamp, a party flier, a television commercial or a political platform of. That is what we probably should be offended by.
Last week folks were protesting against Oxygen and Shawty Lo’s babies’ mamas, this week they’re protesting against the church ladies. I guess it’s good that the reality television petitioners don’t discriminate. A new petition has surfaced on Change.org, which is being spearheaded by a woman by the name of Ann Cooke against TLC’s latest reality project, The Sisterhood, which follows the lives of five pastor’s wives that live in the Atlanta area. According to the petition, the show provides a poor depiction of what it means to be a pastor’s wife and is offensive to the Body of Christ. The petition reads:
“The Sisterhood is being portrayed as a Christian reality show, featuring Preacher’s/Pastor’s wives from Atlanta, GA. The previews and highlights of the upcoming show is pure garbage and does not portray the reality of being a Christian or the reality of being a Preacher’s or Pastor’s wife. The airing of this show is not only offensive to the Body of Christ, but it is also degrading to Women of Color (specifically). This show mocks everything that we, as believers, stand for. It is disgusting, disgraceful, inappropriate and an inaccurate display of what we strive to accomplish as Christians. The airing of this show only adds more fuel to the ever-present distasteful stereotype that we, as Christians, fight daily to erase. We must stand together and put an end to TLC’s clear derogatory distortion of the Body of Christ and Women of God (specifically, Preacher’s and Pastor’s wives)! Please spread the word.”
One of the wives from the show, Christina Murray has recently come out against the high levels of criticism the show has received.
“We hated the religious, dogmatic type of church and people who were very judgemental because that’s how they felt they had to be. So when we began this journey we definitely wanted to be real and authentic not only with ourselves but also with our ministry and our congregation,” Murray told CP. “I believe in my faith wholeheartedly and I want to be able to live up to what God expects me to live up to. I want to be the person God is calling me to be,” she expressed to the Christian Post.
Tara, another wife featured on the show, recently expressed some quite varying sentiments and even confessed that she understood some of the backlash the show was receiving.
“I was heartbroken and saddened and had hoped that our show was different than the Real Housewives of Atlanta, and that there was a true sisterhood developing.”
“I absolutely believe the backlash is warranted after seeing the first episode. However you cannot make a final judgment about the show until you have seen the series in its entirety. There are other women in the black church that gossip, argue and bicker. But as first a lady you are held to a higher standard because you are taking on such a prestigious title,” she told The Grio.
What do you think? Should Christians be offended by this show or are people just overreacting?
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
Don’t you love that quiet lull the office falls into between Christmas and New Year’s Day? With clients and coworkers traveling for the holidays, the workplace can feel like an adult version of Home Alone. But, there are better things to do with your downtime than playing Facebook games or building towers out of office supplies with your cubicle mates. This is the perfect time of year to gain perspective on 2012, and get focused for the New Year. Follow these steps to make sure your mind is right for 2013.
As I read through the latest outrage at the moment, aka, the hoopla over new rapper Chief Keef, I keep hearing Georgia Anne Muldrow and Erykah Badu lyrically asking, “what if there were no n****rs, only master teachers?”
For those who don’t know, Chief Keef is the Chicago teenager (above photo, to the left), who started out of as just another YouTube rapper and has now become one of hip-hop’s most buzzed about artists. Not only has he just inked a deal with Interscope Records, but he also has caught the attention of such hip hop mavericks as Kanye West, who hopped on a remix of his song, “I Don’t Like.” He is also being investigated for a possible connection in the shooting death of fellow Chicago rapper, Joesph ‘Lil JoJo’ Coleman (above, to the right), who may I add, was only 16.
Keef, who was born Keith Cozart, drew the attention of law enforcement after laughing off the murder of Lil JoJo by saying via Twitter, “Its Sad Cuz Dat N—– Jojo Wanted to Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.” He is also known for promoting and supporting gang culture including dancing around in his music videos with what appears to be automatic weapons and tweeting the hashtag “#300” — a known reference to the Black Disciples. And at 17 years old, Keef has already faced numerous criminal charges, including a weapons charge, which has already landed him on house arrest.
The response to the rise of Keef has been rather swift, most notably from fellow Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco, who publicly criticized Keef for perpetrating the hoodlum lifestyle, which runs parallel to the culture of violence already running amok in the streets of Chicago. Many folks I have encountered have agreed with Lupe, claiming that Keef, and others of his elk, are a burden to the community. “These n****rs are the reason why our community is the way it is,” has become a commonplace mantra in the minds of some black folks. But truth be told, I see plenty of Chief Keefs in my community all the time. And when it comes to what’s wrong with the community, there is enough of that blame to be shared all around.
Young people, particularly young black people, have longed played witness to serious and lethal violence within their own communities. When I graduated from high school, the murder rate in Philadelphia was around 4oo deaths per year. My nephews and niece, who only a month ago, learned of the shooting death of a teenager only steps away from their front door have already grasped the finality of death, even before they can mature enough to witness adulthood. Recently, I saw a bunch of little kids, between the ages of 9 to 11, roaming the street around 12:30 in the morning like a bunch of aimless orphans. Unfortunately, seeing hordes of parentless children at odd hours of the night has become so much of the norm that I didn’t even bother to flinch. The reality is that long after Chief Keef’s moment in the limelight has faded – whether it be from gang violence, the prison industrial complex or crossing over to the mainstream – the community will still have a violence problems. If we don’t get a handle on it, there will be someone else, someone younger, to take his place. Exhibit 1: 13-year old Lil Mouse.
But even as the threat of losing an entire generation (i.e. the children) grows uncomfortably near, many of us have become stagnated in prayer, hope, apathy and the wait for change to come. I noticed this much last week when all eyes were fixated on the Democratic National Convention. Collectively, African-Americans are more involved in the political process than most other minority groups, supporting a one-party system by as much as 90 percent. However, we have yet to see the fruits from all of our labor or loyalty. Nevertheless, when Rahm Emanuel asked us whose leadership we wanted in event of “an unforeseen crisis, challenge or conflict,” we don’t bother to question whose leadership is in charge as a teachers strike looms and blood runs red in the streets of Chicago. We smirked and laughed alongside former President Bill Clinton, who worked his arithmetic mojo while reaffirming President Obama’s commitment to the work requirement in welfare reform, a policy called by most a dismal failure. And as the RNC’s mantra/question – “Are you better now than four years ago?” – blared from our television sets, many of us couldn’t wait to nod our heads in the affirmative, even when the reality – at least for us – suggests otherwise.