All Articles Tagged "support"
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?
Some friends test the limits and boundaries of friendship just because they think that you’ll always be there for them to walk on. We all have that friend, the individual who’s never there for us, but insists on demanding a great deal of our time when she’s in need. She’s the friend who will happily bail on birthday plans, but will need bail money; she’s the friend who’ll get a ticket on YOUR car, and will ask to be fronted cash for tickets to a Bey concert. Sometimes friendships like these are salvageable, and sometimes these relationships are draining you of all of your energy and should be dissolved. The hard part is deciding which avenue is best to take for a decaying friendship.
For most people, friendships come down to a few very important components: support, understanding, camaraderie, trust and accessibility. Without these factors, friendships are usually dense and superficial, much like convenient situational relationships that we sometimes develop at work or in school. With those factors, strong friendships will flourish, and all parties involved benefit from the trust and support that occurs when forming strong bonds. So, when a friend suddenly challenges the healthy dynamic of a seemingly outstanding relationship, or you discover that support/understanding was never there, it’s disheartening, to say the least. When you begin to doubt the integrity of a friend, it makes you doubt yourself. After all, you chose that friend, and to some degree you find fault in yourself if others aren’t as devoted to you as you are to them. It’s expected that your friends will celebrate with you, cry with you and do about any and everything with you, when the occasion calls for it. So, your friend’s decision to flake out on plans or ignore your calls becomes so much more than a missed event, it becomes dismissal.
Some people have an eternal meter, letting them know when enough is enough, but most people don’t. Most people don’t know when their friends have crossed the line too many times and/or exhausted the friendship. One way to figure this out is to simply ask yourself the following questions, and respond to them honestly: What is the most important thing about our friendship? What does this person mean to me? What are three words I would use to describe this friendship? Does this friend make time for me and my issues? How often has this friend disappointed me and left me hanging? In what way would my life change if I didn’t stay friends with the person? These questions should help you assess how valuable your friendship is, and help you to foresee the future of your friendship. It’s important to cite how individuals benefit from a friendship, because it helps you understand if that that friendship is helping you to grow, or if it is hindering you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that your friend does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, or that you have to sever the relationship after a few mishaps. But, when those few isolated incidents turn into a trend of infractions, then it’s time for you to understand that you may no longer be a priority in your friend’s life. Consider how long you’ve been friends and the type of friendship style that you have. If you have the type of friendship where you don’t keep in touch very often–then the hands-off friendship style is expected; but if you’re as thick as thieves, you might want to sit down with your friend to discuss any possible concerns or questions.
Know that it is normal to miss a “bad” friend, but that doesn’t mean that person needs to be in your life, that simply means that you’ve had great experiences with that individual, and now it’s time for you to move on and have great experiences with someone else. Also, if you’re afraid that person has too much access to you or your virtual information, take the steps to block that person on every media platform, and save their number in your phone as “Do Not Answer.” So is your friendship worth fixing? Or is it holding you back?
Singer and former American Idol contestant, Kimberley Locke is passionate about supporting today’s youth. For the past few years, she’s been a part of the Disney Dreamers Academy, a four day long event that encourages and prepares high school students to perfect their crafts and achieve their goals. Locke inspired the high school students with a vocal performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Afterward, MadameNoire got a chance to talk to Locke about her commitment to the program, the woman who supported her dream and the importance of making things happen for yourself.
Why do you continue to be a part of this program, year after year?
I think it’s so important. I think that there need to be more programs like this across the country. I think it’s sad to see our kids growing up the way that it’s happening. There aren’t enough mentors out there. As an entertainer, there’s so many people who have the opportunity to mentor and they chose not to or they don’t know how. But this is such a great program, these kids are here because they want to do something different. They don’t want to do what they see in their neighborhoods every week. They want to get out. They want an outlet. And what this program does, is show them that it is possible. Then they see people like me and people like Chef Jeff and Jonathan Sprinkles telling their story. And when they see that they come from where we come from. Then they become motivated, they become inspired. It’s so important.
Who was the first person you remember supporting or encouraging your dream?
I had a substitute teacher in junior high school and her name was…we called her Rolo…Miss Douglas. But she was like don’t call me Miss Douglas, call me Rolo. So we called her Rolo. For whatever reason she took an interest in me and she called my mom. She came to my house and met my mom and she was like, ‘you know sometimes if I go to the mall or something, Kim can go with me.’ And I learned so much from having her around me. But because she took an interest in me, it made me feel important and it made me feel special. My mom was always working, not that my mom didn’t make me feel special, but my mom was worried about how she was going to provide for me and how she was going to feed me. She really wasn’t trying to make me feel special. She was like ‘Here’s your meal, feel special.” You know what I’m saying? So, Rolo was like that big sister that I didn’t have. She would take me to her house and give me clothes out of her closet. And that went a long way. It meant so much. I’m sure she wasn’t the first, but when I was their age, like junior high school, getting ready to go to high school, she was it for me.”
You might have noticed by now that we here at Madame Noire are fans of the HBO series “Girls.” We frequently discuss plot, character development, relatability and predictions with fervor. We agree that even though the show lacks– or lacked– any characters of color, that it is a great show. (Our own friendship circles lack diversity as well.) Our assistant editor even asked for the first season for Christmas. We friggin love it. What makes it so genius is that after college, in our early to mid twenties (essentially the life I’m living now), there is so much uncertainty. So many mistakes made, friendships tested and minor or major freak outs along the way. We can see all of that in Hannah’s story. We see ourselves, even though she’s not black like we.
In last week’s episode, Hannah had an interaction with her new boo thang Sandy, played by the much beloved Donald Glover. In that particular one, Lena Dunham held up a mirror and I saw my reflection oh so clearly. If you’re a fan of the show and you haven’t seen this episode, you’ll want to stop reading now. Because it’s about to be spoiler city.
In the episode, Hannah decides to ask Sandy to read one of her pieces. A few days go by and he hasn’t said anything about it. When Hannah tells her friend this, she says quite frankly, If he hasn’t read it, he doesn’t care enough about you to read it.
But it’s the realness only a really good friend can deliver, so Hannah goes to Sandy and asks him why he hasn’t read her piece. He sighs before telling her that he did read it…he just didn’t like it. He kept reiterating that he thought it was very well written but it just wasn’t his thing. Even though Hannah and Sandy seemed to have little else in common. (Sandy’s a Republican. Who actually prefers to acknowledge his blackness instead of “play colorblind” like Hannah.) The fact that he didn’t like her writing was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She walked out on him and the D she was expecting to get that night.
I watched the episode, almost cringing. The situation was just too [painfully] familiar. So when my sister’s boyfriend, who was watching the episode with us, wondered why Hannah was so upset, I might have overreacted and been crunker than necessary in explaining
my Hannah’s feelings.
Me: Naw, if he doesn’t like her work then they’re not going to work out.
Him: So, if a man doesn’t like something you’ve written then you can’t continue to date him?
Me: It’s not that he didn’t like it. If a man has constructive criticism for my work, I might not like it, but I’ll appreciate it. He didn’t have any suggestions to make it better. He said it was well written. It was that he didn’t like what she was writing about. If she’s going to write about something then that means she’s passionate about it. And if he doesn’t like what she’s passionate about, then it’s not going to work.
Whew Jesus. I had to remember this wasn’t my life or my work that I was defending. It just felt like it. It wasn’t that long ago when I was sitting in a similar situation. It wasn’t that my “Sandy” didn’t like what I wrote or even the way I wrote it. It was that it would take him forever to read it. I’d send it, a day or two would go by, and I’d ask if he’d read it. “No…not yet.” A week… the same response. Every time I sent something, and I’d get that response, my faith in the relationship would decline. In his defense, he would eventually read it, it just took too long, sometimes a month. I’d often wonder if I was overreacting, if I was being impatient. I’m still not entirely sure; but today, I’m leaning more towards no. I mean dang. Writing is what I’ve decided to do with my life. It’s a skill I’ve honed since childhood. It’s the form in which I express myself the most clearly and authentically. It’s my mind, my ideas… me on paper…or a computer screen. If you cared about me, why wouldn’t you read it as soon as you got a little free time? It particularly bothered me because I know, though I wasn’t perfect, that I at least supported and encouraged his dreams and aspirations, anytime he wanted to talk about them. I was always there to lend an ear when he needed it. I didn’t say, “Can we talk about this later?” or zone out while he was speaking about his goals. Why couldn’t I get an eye for an ear? A little reciprocity?
Hell if I’ll ever know. But I do understand why Hannah had to be out.
Have you ever had a man who you felt didn’t support your dreams or talent? Were you able to work through it or did it eventually cause you to leave?
“So, What’s Going On With Your Hair!?”: Why It’s Necessary To Be Supportive During Someone’s Locs, Chops And Big Hair Changes
I think we’ve all been there. After a period of trying to make a certain hairstyle work, we’re completely over it. For instance, after watching a permed haircut fail to grow past your shoulders year after year, you want to do the big chop. In the attempt to add some life to your straight, you go from your God-given brown hair to a bright red. And how about, after some deep thought and nothing to lose, you decide to try your hand at locs. Of course, when we make these huge hair changes, the immediate results after the fact aren’t always what we expect. I once went to get my hair colored light brown, but because of old rinses that hadn’t completely washed out of my head, the end result was something of a bright carrot orange after I asked the beautician to keep the color in longer. When I arrived home, an abode that belonged to my parents since I was fresh out of college at the time, I was already feeling very self-conscious about my new look. So much so that after I got about a block away from the salon, I threw a beanie on my head as fast as I could. So when I got home and had to show my mother the results, things went from bad to worse when I pulled the hat off:
“WHOA! What’s going on with that hair carrot top!?”
Everybody’s a comedian. And if that wasn’t enough, my father, who I thought was too occupied watching sports on TV, did a double take at my head and said in a sad tone, “It doesn’t look like you…” As if I wasn’t already feeling like I was going through a nightmare, my parents were there to make it worse. And it wasn’t the first time they made me want to hide in my room and never leave the house after one of my many hair transformations. After an attempt at a texturizer went straight to hell and left me with so little hair that you could actually see some of my scalp, my mother actually seemed disgusted by my haircut and shook her head at me every time I would go near her to say something for at least two days: “I just can’t believe they cut THAT much of your hair off.” It wasn’t until co-workers and strangers at the job I was working at told me they loved my hair cut and thought I was brave for it that I decided to finally suck it it up and own it. The support of people who cared and even from those who honestly didn’t know me from Adam helped to boost my confidence at a time when I thought I looked more like Victor than Victoria. And everybody needs that when they decide to take that big step out into the road and try something different and it doesn’t necessarily come out looking like something on the cover of Sophisticate’s Black Hair.
And that support is just what a friend of mine trying to find her way and living with her parents down South could use. In college, she was one of the few young women I had seen wear locs, and by the time we hit senior year, they were way down her back. But near the end of our college careers, she got bored and decided to single-handedly comb out her locs are on her own, a feat that took weeks and weeks and weeks. By graduation, she had a large fro and moved back to Texas to live post-grad life. In all the ups and downs of adulthood, she battled with her fro, even started wearing wigs, but recently she realized she missed her locs, so much so she decided to have them put in again. But this time around, not living amongst supportive college girlfriends but just her parents, things haven’t been easy. “My dad came up to me and started touching my hair and was like, ‘When are you going to do something with this head??’” she told me during a conversation a few weeks back. It was one of many comments her pops had made at her expense that he thought were funny, but she, like me when dealing with my own parents, actually found to be hurtful. She didn’t say anything to him about it either and is miserable at home because of it. The same support could have been used by another friend who was wearing a fro and had her boyfriend tell her, “Are you going to do something to your hair before you go outside?” when she went to run errands. Not too long after that incident and an ongoing lack of support, she put a perm back in her head.
I say all this to say, once again, that with any big change a person makes in their life, and yes, that includes hair, support is a must have. I think there have been times when we’ve looked at someone’s haircut and wondered what the hell they were thinking, but of course, not everything you think needs to be said out loud, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, some things need to be said in order to help people build up their confidence and feel comfortable in their skin. Or, better yet, feel comfortable in their hair. What people think and say is what keeps a lot of women from ever really feeling comfortable enough to try something new (“I’ve always wanted to cut my hair, I just never did…”), so even if you don’t like what you see, pretend that you do, because I’m pretty sure you would want someone to say the same little white lie for you.
From Marriage To Mommy, But Your BFF Isn’t Happy: 9 Signs Your Friend Might Be Jealous That You’re Growing Up
So it’s the most important time of your life. Maybe you just got engaged and you’re going through hell and high water to plan an amazing wedding. Or maybe you’re past that and you’re becoming a mother for the first time. Maybe you finally got the job of your dreams! And while these are all usually times to jump for joy, when one of your best friends is acting like somebody stole something from her, it can be an extremely stressful time instead. That’s not to say that your BFF isn’t excited for you deep down inside, but for one reason or another, she’s not feeling that things are finally falling into place for you. If you’ve been wondering whether or not this is your girlfriend, here are a few signs that she’s igging this new milestone in your life, rather than digging it and being supportive.
PS, this can also describe a few family members…
Either I’m getting old or a majority of hip-hop nowadays is misogynistic garbage. Now you know I am not the one to go blaming hip-hop for the reason some females have low self-esteem and relationship issues. In fact, you might even catch me in the club twerkin’ it myself on any given Saturday. But there’s a time and place for gyrating in your freakum dress to songs like French Montana’s “Pop That” and Juicy J’s “Bands Will Make Her Dance.” I just wish there were more variety for our young women to choose from besides songs that glorify having a big booty and bouncing it for some change.
Degradation and disrespect of women is nothing new, so it would be unfair of me to blame today’s hip-hop community for the massacre of the black female image. Let’s be real, Mitt Romney of all people believes womens’ bodies should still be at the mercy of federal laws. But even in a world where women are commonly referred to as b***hes and h*es, I was always assured that it wasn’t going down in my childhood home. I’d like to think a big reason why I have so much respect for myself and refuse to allow my self image to be at the mercy of male judgment was because I had the good fortune of having an involved father. By involved, I don’t just mean being there and paying bills. I mean having a father that treated my mother with respect and schooled his daughters on life, love and everything in between.
When a young girl has no positive examples of black men in her life, she may internalize the messages she sees in the streets and on TV and use them to define her womanhood. I mean, let’s be honest, to most young girls nowadays being called a ”bad b***h” or “5-star chick” is the highest form of flattery. I don’t want young women to feel like they have to compromise their integrity to become successful or loved. But so often, young women receive mixed messages from men that tell them just that. Many fathers don’t realize the powerful influence they have over how their daughters feel about themselves and relate to men as they grow older. Here are 10 ways that dads truly do make a difference:
In every circle of girlfriends, there’s the one who has it together, the one everyone looks up to. She reminds of you Shanté Smith, Vivica A. Fox’s character in Two Can Play That Game. Perhaps that is you. She keeps it together for everyone, doling out valuable advice, providing moral support.
Then you have that one friend, the one who is full of lofty ideas and crazy notions. She’s like Lynn Searcy on “Girlfriends,” always chasing the next big dream. One day she wants to be a teacher. The next day, she wants to become a PR maven and start her own public relations firm. Just as you think she’s found something she can settle into, she tells you she wants to be a chef. Soon, she’s off to something else. Being the loyal friend that you are, you listen to her talk about her grandiose visions. You see the sparkle in her eyes and you share in her excitement initially. You watch as she puts her all into the latest idea, only to watch her interest fizzle. But after she’s gone through a dozen great ideas, you begin to wonder, will she ever get it together? In the middle of one of your conversations, you just want to shake her and say “Get it together, girl!” You don’t know how much more of this you can take. What are you supposed to do?
It would be easy to ignore your friend and all her fickle ideas, but that’s the wrong thing to do. A supportive girlfriend is there for all the ups and downs, ebbs and flows in her friend’s life. She’s there to cheer her on, and to offer encouragement and guidance when needed. So despite all the changes, all of the frustration, as a real friend you have no choice: be there for her.
You don’t have to co-sign every idea, or listen to every idea that spins off on its own tangent. But you know your friend; you know what she’s capable of. You know what she’s good at. Certainly, during some conversation over coffee or at happy hour, she’s bounced a realistic idea off of you. Maybe it was something she mentioned briefly. As a supportive friend, you should steer her in that direction. Help her connect with people and resources that will give her the support she needs to follow through on this one true idea.
The next time your friend starts telling you about her latest outlandish venture, don’t just roll your eyes and nod your head. Stop her and give her a reality check. Don’t crush her. Just help her keep her dreams in perspective. Maybe that idea she has to start a cupcake business would make for a great side hustle eventually. But for now, help her focus on career opportunities that are stable and profitable.
If all else fails, then it’s time to set limits. Tell your friend that you will continue to be there for her, but that you can’t continue on her career roller coaster ride. As harsh as it might sound, setting limits on your friendship will help preserve it. Real friends are there for each other in crisis, so if your girlfriend finds herself in such a situation, you know you will be there for her.
It isn’t impossible to keep your friendship in tact and keep your sanity at the same time. It’s just a matter of setting limits and expectations. But at a time when your friend seems the most vulnerable and confused about her future (or his), I wouldn’t recommend bailing on them now. Remind them of their passions, the things they are truly good at to help them get off on the right foot, but when all else fails, an attentive ear and some understanding always helps.
It’s somewhat unfortunate to see that the jet ski accident that left 11-year-old Kile (Kyle) Glover brain dead Friday hasn’t done much to ease relations between his mother, Tameka Raymond, and her ex-husband, Usher. In an interview with Radar Online, the same site that got the only response from Tameka on her son’s condition, a friend of hers basically said Usher is not in the equation and hasn’t been for a while so he isn’t the one who deserves sympathy right now.
“I’ve seen celebs and media outlets alike continue to send their condolences to Usher. Kile was Tameka and Ryan Glover’s child and the sympathy should be given to them first and foremost,” she said.
“Although Usher has been so kind in chartering a plane so she could be by Kile’s side, he didn’t necessarily play a huge role in Tameka’s other children’s lives after the divorce therefore it seems a little disrespectful that Ryan is being ignored as a father, in place of another just because he’s topping the Billboard charts.
“Ryan was equally devoted and involved in Kile’s life — they shared joint custody and Kile was with his other family at the lake, so for those who are claiming Tameka’s at fault for not being there is just absurd — because of the joint custody, her two boys aren’t always directly in her eyesight, but she is a phenomenal mother.”
I didn’t realize some outlets were trying to blame Tameka for this incident, which I have to agree with the friend is absurd. The point about Ryan Glover deserving support as well is also valid but I don’t think any celebrities or writers meant any disrespect by not mentioning Kile’s biological father (in headlines), it’s just no one really knows who he is. And regardless, this just seems like somewhat of an inappropriate thing to say at a time when the focus should be on other things like a child who’s assumed to be on life support and not who is receiving the most support from celebrities and websites.
As the friend notes in further comments, if anyone needs abundant love and comfort right now, it’s Tameka, and I think most everyone has acknowledged that.
“This is a woman who lost the man of her dreams, her reputation and now her son within the course of four years. My heart goes out to her. Nobody deserves this pain,” she said.
“Perhaps the comment boards that continued to spew venom at a woman they had never met will put the breaks on their misdirected anger and hate and finally give her some peace. She definitely needs it.”
Trying to throw shade on Usher in the process isn’t necessarily going to garner it though. Meanwhile, the family did put out a statement to CNN on Kile’s accident yesterday:
“We know God’s in control, and are leaning on our faith in Him and His word at this most difficult time. “We firmly believe in the power of prayer and ask that you all continue to pray and lift Kile up, as it’s the best way we can all support him now.”
What do you think about these comments from Tameka’s friend? Is she right?
More on Madame Noire!
- Where Are They Now? Flavor of Love, Reader’s Request Edition
- The Blackest Eye: Tales of the Light Skinned Girl Who Wanted to Be Darker
- Cute Kid Alert: Fantasia Debuts Her Son, Dallas, Lil Wayne’s Son With Nivea, And A Lot More
- Choose Your Battles: Why Do Some Black Folks Snap On Customer Service Workers Over Petty Things?
- My Life: Taught To Have Brains In The “Absence” of Beauty
- When Keeping It Real Goes Right & Wrong: Celebs Who We Like More And Less After Doing Reality TV
- Single Black Male: 7 Reasons Black Men Take Longer to Put a Ring On It
Have you ever wanted something to work out so badly that you became somewhat delusional, avoiding the signs that what you wanted wasn’t really what you needed? If you have, chances are, you aren’t the only one. Many women can agree that when it comes to relationships, we’re all guilty at one point of falling in love with the idea of a man instead of the actual person.
Maya Angelou said it best, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” and this is certainly true in relationships. If he says one thing but his actions prove another, believe his actions instead.
Still, for a closet hopeless romantic it’s easy to ignore the signs that show you and this individual won’t click well in the future. These signs don’t necessarily mean he’s not a good guy, just not the guy for you. In an attempt to find love, here are some of the most obvious, yet ignored signs, that say he’s not the man for you.