All Articles Tagged "love"
When you get to a certain age and a certain stature, you begin to look forward AND backward at the same time. And clearly, you stay entrenched in the present. Forward vision is a result of the possibilities that have yet to manifest themselves. The past, for me, involves dealing with what could have been or what has already manifested itself.
Mostly, I have current-day appreciation to those that unwittingly support me as I transverse through life.
I have long wanted to write something dedicated to the women who got me through life.
Vernese Edgehill, The Center For Black Culture
So, it took me sometime to realize this, but Vernese Edgehill may have saved me from the the gaping, jagged jaws of mediocrity. I’m sure you don’t know who Vernese is, so let me explain. When I was a student in my my early 20s, Vernese acted as the head of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware. Now, the CBC (also proudly my initials) was the place where all the Black students got together in solitary. Verse and Sheila (RIP), the secretary, looked out for us, taught us how to conduct ourselves in business, and acted as guidance counselors (who we actually loved and respected) as students at a majority white school.
Vernese was also a surrogate mother to a lot of us, as I was away from home and didn’t go back very much. She never chastised me for my wonderfully messy college dorm room. Now, I am certain Vernese knows that the line between genius and megalomaniac is a fine one.
Hanifa Shabazz, Owner Of The Drumbeat
A Muslim sister took me under her wing as I was being cultivated into a collegiate revolutionary. Honestly, I never loved college as an institution. I just loved the vast resources at my disposal like the Mac Room, where all the Apple computers were. I also loved the radio station, where I posted up every Friday afternoon.
I managed to link up with Hanifa, who ran a bookstore with her then-spouse Hanif. She also ran a paper called The Drumbeat. Honestly, I cannot recall how, but we connected. I loved the fact that Hanifa meant I was able to plug into a “higher power.” I was a student activist that ran the Black Student paper called The Pamoja. The Pamoja became an insert in The Drumbeat, increasing our circulation to one of the biggest in the state. More importantly, Hanifa offered many, many lessons. We were fighting on-campus racism and needed guidance on all fronts. Hanif got us ready for the bigger war…a lifetime war against injustice.
My Strong Women Friends
I want to name them all of the women who helped me through one of the toughest times in my life, my divorce, but I can’t. So here are a few: Seandra, Gina, Elon, and Holly. All of the relationships are completely platonic. However, during that period, I needed to talk my way through life. A journal wasn’t getting it and, a therapist would have broke the banks with all the time I needed to talk my way through my circumstances. So, to those ladies – I salute you. I haven’t dated too crazily, but a couple of times, I was linked to very doting women that understood my frail condition and treated me accordingly, even when it was tough love. My homeboy told me these were my “angels of mercy.” They were there for a specific time, knowing it was limited. However, they may have saved my life had they not been there.
My Daughter, The Little Teacher
People probably know this, but even before my divorce, I had issues. My daughter gave me the strength and resolve to push through everything. She’s a real life inspiration that has taught me – the father and man – how to be more loving, caring, empathetic and patient. She teaches me the value of unconditional love in adulthood.
Mom, The Master Teacher
My mother is the adult version of my daughter – a master teacher through action. For example, my mom survived my father’s death and managed to flourish like no widow I’d ever seen. She’s managed to do better for herself than even when my dad was alive, fiscally speaking. Every so often, I want to have deeper conversations, but I really play observer. Every now and then, she will speak something that I will use, but more often, I watch her moves. She was a teacher (now retired) and he continues to do so in her everyday life. There are times when I encourage my mother to write a book to share with the world, but she is happy right now just to give to her sons and grand kid, I think. Maybe one day, the whole world will learn what I have from the woman who gave me life.
These women and young ladies are the gifts that keep giving. They continue to give me life and strengthen me with their spirit on a daily basis.
Many people falsely believe that once you get married, you’re automatically happy and everything is just perfect. But in reality, that’s not how it is. Marriage is like a plant – you have to keep watering it or it will die. Many people also have outrageous expectations of what a marriage should be like; including me. I had to struggle with that for the first few months of my marriage because all those fairy tales we used to watch, well, they’re just that. Fairy tales. Marriage is hard work, as beautiful as it can be. But if you’re willing to put in effort and work together as a team, everything will work out. Here a few core points of what I believe every relationship needs in order to be a blossoming, successful marriage.
We all have heard the saying that “Communication is key.” And yes, it truly is. If you want a person to understand your fears, know your wants and needs, be able to cater to you in a way you wish for – you need to communicate that to them. Most of the time expectations just set you up for failure. I like to keep it as direct as possible, without being disrespectful. If something really disturbs me or if I think there’s some improvement in our relationship we need to work on, I make sure to let him know. Even though we’re on one page, one might perceive the situation in an entirely different light than the other. Don’t be afraid to hurt your partner’s feelings, to come across as nagging or to ruin the vibe. Leaving issues unaddressed and letting negative feelings build up is what will definitely hurt the relationship. Just be open to each other and very importantly, be open to constructive criticism.
Trust is the foundation of a relationship. Just as with any other relationship, including friendships – you need to trust one another.
How else could you possibly rely on a person to have your back throughout the good and the bad times?
Without trust, no relationship can truly function. The best way to build such confidence is to not expect any negative actions from your partner. Regardless of what that person may have done in past relationships, circumstances have changed, and this is a new beginning for both. Of course, it doesn’t always go smooth, and trust may be broken or taken advantage of. In that case, your partner needs to prove himself through actions. Prove that whatever it was that broke your trust won’t happen again and that you’re the one they sincerely want to invest their time and effort in. That doesn’t mean that it’s okay for anyone to take advantage of your trust and forgiveness. There’s only so much a person can and should take. Don’t be a fool for love but know when forgiveness can be earned.
Spending Time With Each Other
It’s crucial for you and your partner to find time to enjoy each other’s company whenever possible. A busy schedule and your kids might make it hard but it’s important to have at least one date night a week where it’s just the two of you. Have a nice dinner, go dancing, check out a local happy hour – whatever it was that you guys used to enjoy doing before your schedules got hectic. That is what’s going to make you appreciate the time that you do have together even more. It’s not a bad thing to miss your partner, but you don’t want to get in a habit of living separate lives.
You and your partner need to communicate your fantasies and needs to each other. Trust is also needed to entirely let go of all worries and to fully enjoy the act of intimacy. And then it’s important to put forth the time required with each other to do all that. It is totally up to each relationship, but most won’t want to keep it to just once a week. Men: women are different from you all. We need the whole romance thing to get it started. Random gifts, dinners, massages, cleaning up something for us, even putting the babies to sleep – anything that gives us the opportunity to relax for a minute will also benefit you. And women: men like it spontaneous. Not everything has to be planned; he doesn’t always need to be expecting it. Keeping it fun and interesting between the sheets can do so much for your relationship. Another benefit for both is that sex reduces stress and releases dopamine, so you’ll both feel much better afterwards.
The illustration above shows what I believe are the three main components of a healthy relationship. My father taught me that. He said:
The foundation of a good relationship always has to be a solid friendship. If that’s nonexistent, you won’t be able to share your most vivid thoughts and fears with that one person. You also won’t love a person if they don’t become your friend first. Wanting to be around that one person–laughing and crying, fighting with each other and then getting over that–that’s love coming from friendship. But my favorite is the sex. Good sex is crucial. Attraction, intimacy and sex are what keeps a relationship alive.
Now, that I am married myself, I understand what he was talking about.
You’re in the bedroom; he’s unzipped and the moment of truth is at hand. But whether it’s your first time or you’re anything but a newbie when it comes to sex, these are the thoughts that run through every woman’s head when she first gets a glimpse of what a guy is packing.
The dating game has definitely changed. Ideas for dates have become less and less thoughtful while dating, in general, has grown more complicated. You can thank all the various apps and websites for that.
Men are still buzzing about whether or not spending $200 for a date is too much, and women are wondering if someone who spends less, much less at that, is worth their time. In the place of such pricey outings, “Netflix and chill” has become the latest trending topic. It is code for “let’s hook up” while Netflix plays in the background. Picking you up in the evening, opening the door for you, and going somewhere nice dates have become somewhat antiquated. People are settling for late-night rendezvouses, Netflix, or “Can I come over and chill?” We settle for these things because of our basic need to be wanted, but more so because it’s convenient and requires less effort. We give all types of reasons as to why we can’t seem to make love work for us or take the time to build a relationship, including the classic excuse that “we’re too busy.” And by “busy” we most likely mean that we’re trying to build our careers, finish school, handle day-to-day responsibilities, or find different opportunities to make money. But are these legit reasons to settle for lazy dating relationships? What happened to the old-fashioned type of dating where you actually got to know someone, spent hours talking, planning dates, and letting time take you to the next level?
Some have chosen to live by the guidelines of cuffing season all year long. Find the right contenders, date them just long enough to keep yourself warm and entertained, but short enough to not have to spend loads of money, meet family and friends, and establish real feelings for one another. It’s easier to crash at someone’s place, order Chinese takeout and watch a movie on Netflix until you two fall asleep. It’s effortless. It’s easy to meet up for a nightcap and late night tryst between the sheets than to make dinner reservations, find a nice outfit and have a night out on the town.
The bar has been set extremely low. People are refusing to think outside the box and would rather get instant gratification as opposed to putting in the time and effort with someone. We’ve become a free generation that has taken the bull by the horns, and we’re creating the life we want. This includes the freedom to date multiple people and explore the social scene as we please. Some might even look at building real relationships as a distraction to their lifestyle. I mean, aside from laziness, wanting to get off real quick, and narrow-mindedness, there are some legitimate reasons as to why some would rather not place effort into dating. It’s usually because they are still trying to figure themselves out.
It is important to know what you want for yourself before you can articulate those expectations to someone else, and it makes no sense wasting someone else’s time and emotions if you can’t. Or your own. As a woman whose had the pleasure of growing up around long-lasting and stable relationships, I long to meet a man who believes I’m worth the time and effort. I pray for the day I meet someone who wants to wine and dine me and saves the “Netflix and chill” for a rainy day. Or at least until they’ve taken me out, learned the basics of me, and made a real effort.
I’ve been misled about how this whole “love” thing works. It all started when I was a kid. One of my favorite love scenes growing up and to this day, hands down, is from Dirty Dancing. I know, it’s not the first love story you think of when it comes to the epic ones shared on the big screen, but it has always made me swoon.
Baby sneaks off to Johnny’s (Patrick Swayze) cabin and they dance their way into a sexual escapade. The best part about their exchange is the way he dips her in a swooping motion. You watch her surrender herself to him when she releases her upper body and closes her eyes. The song in the background says, “Don’t you feel like crying?”
Hell yeah, I feel like crying! Hollywood had me mentally screwed as a child thinking love was one family vacation and a dance lesson away. I begged my mother to take me to Catskills Resort! And guess what? Catskills Resort doesn’t even exist! Message to Hollywood: kill yourself!
Ok, I know that’s harsh. I’m just saying, why paint the picture that love is so easy when clearly it’s one of the hardest things to find and to undertake during your lifetime? When I didn’t have the love that I saw as the standard in my favorite films, the love I saw others around me engulfed in, I felt some kind of way. I felt like I needed answers. Would I ever find it? Why does it sometimes hurt so much? I set out to get those answers.
Stay with me here.
I decided to put my journalism skills to use and try to snag an interview with Love. I managed to reach her publicist and set up a meeting with Love at Starbucks Coffee. Our meeting was at 6 p.m. I arrived about 15 minutes early to make sure I could find us a table. I found the perfect table facing a painting of a little girl and boy holding hands by a lake (quite symbolic don’t you think?). Around 5:55 p.m., I ordered our drinks. Her publicist informed me that she was very particular about her drink and had given me exact instructions on what to order. Love wanted a Venti Dark Cherry Mocha with two shots of espresso, extra hot, with extra whipped cream. I took our drinks to the table and waited for her to arrive. At 6:15 p.m., no love. By 6:45 p.m., still no love. I waited and waited for her, and she never showed. At 9:00 p.m. the cashier gently tapped me on my shoulder and said, “I’m sorry ma’am, but we are closing for the evening.”
Disappointed, I got up, brushed the banana walnut bread off my dress, gathered my things and left. I didn’t hear anything from Love or her publicist.
About a month later, Love called. She apologized for missing the interview and wanted to schedule a time and date to meet–for real this time. We were to meet at her home on a Friday evening. It was clear that I was the one who had been kept waiting, but still, she was in control, and I was on her time. I accepted the invitation.
When I arrived at her house, her assistant answered the door and led me in. Her house had simplistic yet thoughtful decor. There were pictures of captured memories all in black and white, strategically placed around the house. I sat down in the parlor and waited for her to join me. She took her sweet time, yet again. But as I looked around the room, a framed picture caught my attention. It was the only picture in the house that was in color. I was intrigued, so I got up to get a closer look. When I picked up the frame, in it was a picture of my face, my eyes, my smile, my body…me.
I grabbed the picture, picked up my purse and left.
I realized while I was waiting for Love that real love was right here. Inside of me. Not in another individual. Not something that I couldn’t have on my own. All of the broken hearts, lost loved ones, tests, and trials are all faded and fading memories. I am light. I am love. And so are you.
This metaphorical story is for so many of us who seek out happiness through relationships with other people. Who feel that without one, we don’t have love. But that isn’t the case. A healthy relationship is definitely a beautiful thing. However, when you truly learn to love yourself, you already have found that peace. That satisfaction. That happiness. That love. Look no further, love is inside of you.
You may remember back in February, we were all excited to learn that Marie Holmes, the 26-year-old, single mother of four, had won the Powerball lottery.
Holmes, of North Carolina, decided that she was going to accept her $188 million winnings in one lump sum, meaning she was awarded $127 million. After taxes, she received $88 million. And while Holmes announced that she had plans to pay her tithes and set up college funds for her children, she’s ended up doing something entirely different with her riches.
Shortly after she won the money, Holmes posted $3 million bond for her boyfriend Lamarr McDow. McDow was in jail, facing heroin trafficking charges. McDow was implicated after an investigation unearthed more than 8,000 bags of heroin.
But Holmes found herself behind bars too recently. Last month, police came to her home to arrest McDow who had violated conditions of his parole by missing curfew. When officers searched the house, they found McDow had a .45 caliber pistol and there was less than a half an ounce of the drug and paraphernalia in Holmes’ Brunswick County home.
She then spent an additional $6 million to get McDow out of prison. He was released with a GPS monitoring device.
Two other people in the house were also charged with simple possession. Three children were present at the time of the arrest, McDow said they were his children.
According to WWAY, Holmes and McDow are engaged. And they also reported that Holmes took to the news station’s Facebook page to respond to criticism about the story which has been reported, for the most part, on local news outlets
“What Y’all need to be worried about is Y’all money and not how I spend mine this is benefitting Y’all how? And no he’s no drug dealer or user but who are Y’all to judge anybody? I will definitely pray for Y’all because it’s much need…they talked about Jesus so I’m not surprised Y’all are talking about me but be blessed though,”
This morning, when I first read the story, I was trying to give Holmes the benefit of the doubt. There are plenty of Black men who are arrested for little to nothing. But 8,000 bags of heroin is not nothing, even if less than an ounce of marijuana is.
While we can certainly question Holmes’ choices in both men and behavior, we really don’t have any right to tell her what to do with her money.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s for people to count other folks’ money. No matter who that person may be. We are generally too concerned with what other people are doing. She is right in that our perception of her squandering money really doesn’t benefit anyone, particularly since it was never ours to begin with. Sadly, that’s what happens with lottery winners. We seek to learn how these lucky people are spending money we wish we had. And a single, Black mother supporting her alleged drug-dealing boyfriend is local news gold. As it gives the average Joe a chance to turn his nose up at the rich.
If Holmes wants to spend up her newfound fortune on a man, in and out of jail, that’s her decision to make. If some of us are honest with ourselves, if we had $3 or $6 or $9 million dollars to give, we’d likely be bailing our loved ones out of jail too. Truth be told, it’s easy to shake our heads and wag our fingers in disgust and disapproval; but we’ve all done crazy, foolish and even expensive things for love.
Being a forward thinker comes in handy at several points in adult life. You’ll never or hardly ever run into a complex financial situation that you can’t strategize your way out of. You’ll be able to make decisions based off of sound judgment. But what happens when being a forward thinker begins to do more harm than good when it comes to your love life? It seems like you’re just at the beginning of the tunnel and trying to see what’s on the other side instead of enjoying the journey.
For most women, when we hit 25 we start to think obsessively about things such as career stability, financial security, and who we’re going to spend the rest of our lives with. If you’re single and have been for some time, one of your deepest desires can turn into an obsessive goal—to meet a guy. So you start to look for the qualities you deem a must-have in every man you come across and quickly move on to the next if they don’t add up. Dating takes on an entirely different meaning for you. Sure, you might entertain a few flings here and there, but what you really want is someone who’s going to stick around and put a ring on it. You’re not just dating for the hell of it, to kill some time, or so you won’t be lonely. If you’re giving of your time, it’s because you see something in a man that interests you. However, you can be a little high strung and too hung up on what the end result could and will be. I can relate because this is a major issue for me.
Long story short, I started dating a guy who was a year younger than me in age, and, it seemed, a lot younger in terms of his wants and needs. I was interested, but I couldn’t ignore that, so things didn’t work out. I shut it down quickly.
Now, I’ll admit, sometimes I do expect things to just happen overnight, but I know realistically that they won’t. However, whenever I meet a guy that I’m really interested in and like, my mind is already daydreaming about us having a beautiful brownstone in Harlem, or a fancy loft in the Lower East Side with great careers and children. I start to see possibilities that begin to obscure reality.
Some days I see what I’m looking for and some days it’s hard to tell. My friends have told me countless times to be in the moment and enjoy the guys I date. Others say that if I can’t see it, as in a future with a guy, I shouldn’t waste my time.
I know my biggest issue is patience. In retrospect, being a forward thinker seems to be the reason a lot of my relationships have ended before they’ve even taken off anywhere. I come into a dating situation knowing full well what I want and expecting it just to click right away. Being a forward thinker means that you’re always one step ahead of the game, but sometimes being so far ahead also means missing what’s right in front of you.
I think it’s okay to be a forward thinker and have expectations for yourself in building a relationship. But it can be unnecessarily stressful when you start creating expectations for someone else before you even get to know them well. I know I need to slow down my mind, but it’s difficult when my biological clock is on warp speed…
Any other women in a quarter-life or mid-life love crisis having this problem?
Sex can do a lot more than just make you feel good. Heal yourself with sex and you can double your pleasure and possibly live longer.
So much is said, written and believed about Soul Mates, that it’s hard to keep up with the true meaning. Are they really predestined connections meant to help us fulfill our soul’s purpose on earth or something we make up to give our relationships more meaning? Kinda like astrology. Is it real or isn’t it? One thing is certain; this idea that each of us has a soul mate has probably crossed your mind at least once. And depending on what you believe about it has a lot to do with how you approach your relationships.
So for the believers, this list is designed to help you put it in perspective. Perhaps you’ll be able to better identify your true soul companion. For the non-believers, well, this list should make absolute sense.
Here are 7 Common Sense Misconceptions About Soul Mates
- There’s Only One- Some people believe that a Soul Mate comes along only once in a lifetime, but the danger in that is when you find that person you’re never going to let him out of your sight. No one wants to be your EVERYTHING. You’re better off believing in at least three so if the first one doesn’t work out you’ve still got two more chances.
- They Are All Romantic- A friend recently stated, “A Soul Mate is someone who has seen into your soul. That person that you can be vulnerable with. It can be male or female.” A lot of us miss out on meaningful Soul Mate connections because we fail to realize that we already have them. That person that you haven’t seen in 5 years, but when you talk it’s like no time has passed, or that friend that always calls when you need them- that’s a Soul Mate. Romance comes and goes, but a Soul Mate can last forever.
- You Know It The Moment You Meet Someone- Some people believe that unicorns are going to fly and the sky is going to light up like the 2nd coming of Jesus the moment they lay eyes on their Soul Mate. And why is that? Most don’t want to believe that their true Soul companion is that short bald guy from work that’s always listening to your problems.
- You Won’t Be Happy Unless You Find That Person- Problem with that is, if you find that person and you’re still sad, you’re going to say it’s because he’s not your real Soul Mate when the real problem is you. If you can’t be happy until a person you’ve never met comes into your life it’s not a Soul Mate you need but therapy.
- It Has To Work Out- Not everything last forever, not even Soul Mates. A friend tells of a relationship her mom had with a man some 20 years ago that she believes was her mom’s Soul Mate. “Put them in a room together and you can feel the energy come alive.” It didn’t work out because your friend believes they didn’t communicate the way they should have, and today, both are in other relationships. Yet they still can’t deny what they have.
- Some Soul Mates Are In Denial- No, if two people can’t agree it’s not a Soul Mate situation. You’re probably a stalker.
- They Should Be Easy- Some Soul Mates disband the first time he finds a load of your dead foot skin hidden beneath the pillows of the couch. According to Edie Reynolds, who has been with her Soul Mate for 30 years, they started dating when she was a freshman in high school, even these relationships need communication and support. “One of us has to give in,” she says, “And you still have to put in the work.”
Image courtesy of Pixabay
There’s always a special spark when two artists make love and art together. While the unions may not always last, the music lives on forever. Popular music is at its best when couples collaborate. Check out 15 artists who put their boos on the track and made beautiful (or at least decent) music together.