In (less than) 10 days I will be celebrating my birthday. I will be able to say that I’m in my late twenties and I’m excited and pensive. Because this birthday will be spent differently from the one last year and from any other before. I’m looking forward to it and I’m also aware that it means I’m taking a step further into grown woman-dom. Which got me thinking…
I got this impression that as you get older, as a woman, you eventually stop giving a damn about (more…)
“How many lightbulbs does it take to change people?”
Just one. The trick is. They have to turn it on for themselves.
Please do not tie yourself to the agony of trying to change someone. You cannot. Regardless of what you’ve heard or seen in fiction (even the kind claimed to be based on reality), no one changes for another person. Not in the way you think. They change for the way that person makes them feel. They change for the things they think they’ll get from becoming better or worse or just different to get/keep that person.
And you cannot control how someone will see you. You cannot predict what you will inspire them to do. You can only control how you be yourself.
To slowly let go of fear and pessimism. This is the goal.
The message in the picture seems hopeful, cautious… naive to me. But two of these things aren’t bad to be and there comes a point in life when the last one isn’t an option anymore.
The past will have you feeling like being on the sidelines of your own life, trying to shield yourself from potential harm after being bruised too many times. But that’s the past’s way of sticking with you. Sometimes that protective gear stops some good stuff from getting in. This is my suggestion- let the good stuff in.
Because you can come back from being broken. And you should.
A couple of weeks or so ago I watched the pilot episode of the series Being Mary Jane on BET and I noticed a strong reaction from my timeline on Twitter when the lead character decides to have casual sex with a former flame. Some were all for it but most were judging. Maybe they were still recovering from the scene where she got her a heaping dose of predate self-love to ensure that she wouldn’t be ruled by her hormones on said date.
But back to the matter at hand. *snickers* I promise that wasn’t planned. (more…)
It saddens me that I feel compelled to share this message in 2013. But I must admit that even in jest, in private, with friends, I help to perpetuate the myth that the state of your vagina somehow speaks volumes about your womanhood and overall worth.
Let me be clear, I do not think that any woman is worth any less the further she is away from virginity and I never have. I have, however, made jokes and laughed at jokes with my friends that had to do with the compactness of one’s “walls”. I promise to make a conscious effort to stop this for good. (more…)
Huffington Post wrote an article that featured a video of world-renowned author and relationship expert (please get some biscuits to soak up that sarcasm) Tyrese Gibson in which he said that women should be flattered when men ejaculate prematurely. Now if this ain’t a car salesman trying to tell me a written off Lada is more efficient than an Audi R8, I don’t know what is. To say Mr. Gibson can keep that crock of crap would be the understatement of this half of 2013.
Rather than tell men to try and do exercises that increase their stamina, this fool sees it fit to tell women to accept the sub par performances and, even better, take it as a testament of how “great ” their honey pot is. (more…)
Disclaimer: “loud” is not limited to volume. I use it in reference to being opinionated as well in this piece. Enjoy.
It’s a long-standing belief that children should be seen and not heard. As children get older, the dynamics of this notion change. The boys grow up being taught that they should show out. They are encouraged to get out there and experience the world, take risks and to be as bold as they want to be. Girls, on the other hand, are told that they should be demure, bashful…refined. Oh, how I love the way they spin these things as if they are positive attributes all around. No offence to those of us, male or female, who are bashful or demure- some of the best people are. But to force someone into a box and stifle their expression of self based solely on their genitalia is bull.
I grew up very quiet, worryingly so in fact, if my father’s stories are to be believed. No one forced me to be. I simply was. I would observe the world around me but not get pulled into it because I was to absorbed in my own or too busy escaping into the worlds painted with words on the pages of books by authors I felt were my friends. Authors like Enid Blyton. She was my penpal who I never wrote back and she never made a fuss. She just kept writing stories and sending me secret messages. For instance, she was the one who revealed to me that my stuffed animals and toys all came to life whenever I slept. Before this tidbit was shared with me, I never thought twice about the fact that they were almost never in the same position that I left them before I went to bed, when I woke up.
And then I started changing. Not prompted by any event in particular but I started owning my voice and sharing it with others. And they liked whatever I had to say. So much so that my mother was told by my teacher in the fifth grade to ensure that she nurtured the leader in me. Mom shared this story with me when I was much older. We skip along to high school and this is where my light burned brighter. I was no longer keeping one foot on the side of cautious while dipping the other over the line into the sands of tenacity. I met others who were similar and we enabled each other in a way only teenage girls bonding through puberty could. We bounced ideas, thoughts, feelings and expressions off each other and we journeyed into the land of young womanhood with our vocal cords strained from the volume of our expressed glee and enthusiasm.
And then we hit a wall. Societal expectations. Like hands clasped around our throats, we soon learned that being free with your words is a privilege not afforded to “ladies” and the ultimate goal of any female is, of course, to be seen as a lady, right?
I felt confused and out of place but no more so than I did navigating the other aspects of my life so I did not think much of it. Until I began to feel the sting from the rejection and ridicule that others doled out when in my presence. It hurt most when it came from an object of my affections. Somehow I ended up picking someone who felt it pertinent to explain to me that being “loud and opinionated” would get me nowhere, not just with him (let’s not focus on the fact that he was already my boyfriend of many months) but in general. “People don’t like loud women”. Oh, ok. Thanks for letting me know. No, really.
So I began the course down the rockiest and most discouraging road I had taken in my life up to that point- the road to being ladylike (read: quiet). This much I can tell you- I tried.
But my being would not have it. I wondered why I would feel so small in the presence of some folks and I assumed it was because I was just not quite getting a handle on how to be acceptable. Wow, was I wrong. I felt small because my persona was so busy fighting this façade that only a minute portion of me was left to present to the world.
And it hurt. It sucked. It broke me. Nothing is worse than not being true to you. That acceptance you crave will not fill the void. Trust me. How can others accept you when you haven’t accepted yourself? How can they love you when you don’t show yourself the love you deserve?
It took years. It took trials. It took tears and screams and fights. But finally, the loud girl has been heard. I don’t know how she must have felt, not being heard by her own self. Actually, I do. I mean, I am talking about me albeit in the third person. But we have made amends. I have apologized and she has forgiven me. I put myself back together.
There are still moments when I battle with being a more subdued version of myself. Not nearly as much as before though. There are still people who do not take kindly to my loud personality. I get also that in today’s world, it’s still difficult to find a partner who can tolerate, encourage and love how me and women like me with all our “muchness”. But the amazing thing is I have found so many who love it- almost as much as I do (Narcissistics Anonymous just paged me. Oops!). The most important lesson was that I should change to suit me first. There is a place of belonging for everyone and sometimes you have to be forced out of the place you want to be so that you can stumble into the place you need to be. I assume I will change as I grow older. I will learn maturity and self-control and I will become secure with myself in a way that only age can bring- that is me saying old people have zero cares in the world and it’s admirable…..most times (don’t nobody like a rude ass old person. Ugh). I am not sure if I may become quieter in my day-to-day interactions but I know I will not become less opinionated. Take it or leave it.
I get it- loud people make others uncomfortable especially if they are disagreeing with them. But most of life is uncomfortable. Many equate loud with obnoxious. That’s okay. I’m smart enough to know they are not one and the same (check any reputable dictionary and thesaurus) and, even more, there are plenty of quiet, obnoxious people and acts in the world. Work on fixing your approach rather than seek to change another. So long as no one is being hurt, no one need be reprimanded. I don’t tell you to stop being quiet. Don’t tell me to stop being loud.
This is dedicated to my friend, Karen Lloyd and my fellow loud girls and women. Don’t be silenced.
P.S. I know about time and place when it really matters. Check me in interviews, adequately reserved and professional. In classes? Quieter than a mouse. Haha!