Dating Secrets Every Woman Should Know

Nobody enjoys dating. The process of meeting new people. Do you wait for someone to approach you in public? Do you jump on a dating app? Do you take things into your own hands and shoot your shot by flirting with that guy at the gym or by sliding in the DMs of that cute guy who always likes your pictures? Even after you meet someone, then you have to actually “date” which means going out and getting to know them. Are they a texter or a talker? Do they want to go out on a proper date or are they trying to Netflix and chill you? How many dates before it’s official? How many dates before sex? Should you or shouldn’t you date more than one person at a time? The life of a single person is full of anxiety because they overthink everything listed above. I wrote BlackGirlsAreEasy.com as well as numerous books on how to date step by step, yet so many women have yet to Spartan Up and apply these rules to their lives. They either sit on the bench and wait for some guy to fall in their lap or they keep recycling the same penis they’ve known for years because the devil they know can’t truly break their heart. Let’s cut to the root of the problem—TRUST. Men are sneaky, flaky, and filled with contradictory behavior, so you never know who wants you or wants to use you. I tell men to be more honest, I’ve even written a book for them, but let’s keep it real, preaching to men won’t save you. The solution isn’t to fix the broken males, it’s to hop over the trash men so you can attract and secure a quality one. The first step in that is knowing the game as played by my fellow men…

Common Sense Secrets:

All Men Prioritize Sex First, Money Second, Love Third.

When A Man Says, “I’m Not Looking For Anything Serious” He’s Leaving Off “With You”.

Men Are Competitive So They Run Back When You Find Someone, But They Don’t Actually Want You Back.

There’s No Such Thing As Too Busy.

Older Guys Settle For Women They Dogged When Younger Because They Know They’re Push Overs.

Men Will Use You As A Placeholder Until They Come Across the Trophy They Really Want.

A Woman Can’t Change A Man. He Either Changes On His Own Or Not At All.

The Majority of Men Think Women Aren’t Very Smart…

You all know this I would hope, but you still fall for game because by nature you’re nice and give people the benefit of the doubt. Nice doesn’t win in this world. I hate seeing smart women get played by guys who come with the most transparent tactics. I’ve done a lot of these things personally, and as I matured I felt it a duty to put women up on game, not as Karmatic repayment, but because this world is dependent on strong women. Relationships and how to maneuver this world remains the biggest challenge for even the most book smart or successful women. So today I’m going to show you how any woman can rise up and get the type of love she deserves, not the kind of love she’s offered.

PROLOUGE: No More Excuses

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Where you live. How You Look. Men Are Trash. These three things are the crutches that many women prop up as to why they’re just going to focus on self and be content with their vibrator. I hear it all the time: GL, only ugly guys approach me, and the cute ones are either broke, taken, or have a reputation. GL, guys go for my friends over me because I’m not as pretty. GL, I live in a wack city where everyone knows each other, all the men are hoes, there’s no hope for me. The first step in righting the wrongs of your love life is to stop making excuses as to why you haven’t been successful. I’ve literally talked with women from every state in the union and those from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Not once has the city, their looks, or the lack of quality men stood in the way of those women finding love, it was their methods. I could fly to your city tomorrow, be your wingman, and find a hot spot where you would be introduced to someone new and interesting who you would have never ran into on your own. How? Because you don’t go anywhere but the same old tired spots with the same old tired friends because you’re not creative in your approach to being social. It’s not about the clubs, the parties, or the concerts nor is it about swiping on Tinder until you come across a cute guy. Connections can only be made when you step out of your comfort zone long enough to be friendly.

PART 1: Baiting A Man

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The Odds Are Set To 80%: Every woman breathing has an 80% chance of pulling any man she encounters. Are you going to dwell on the 20% chance that you’ll run into someone that isn’t impressed or has something else on his plate? Most of you will. That slim chance that someone will take your number but won’t call you or someone who your inbox won’t take it further than a casual “hey” scares the piss out of you. Fear keeps you in a box where the only men you will come across are the extra-friendly ones that come at you first, and trust the same way they’re being extra-friendly with you is being repeated with multiple women because quantity > quality. So here you are, stuck in the same old basic chick cycle of dealing with a man you didn’t even like but who was there. Months pass and it ends, and you realize that you wasted all that energy on someone that wasn’t even up to the standards you have in your head. Why? Because you don’t risk rejection—ever!

Dating, meeting men, it all becomes a lot more fun when you realize that your vagina is literally an Infinity Gauntlet. 80% is high, and it ticks up depending on how pretty you are. Let’s say that the average man would rate you a 7, maybe an 8 with makeup on. You’re already above that 80% and close to 95% odds that you won’t miss any shot you shoot. How do I know this? I’ve seen it all my life. I’ve coached girls to swing for the fences. And the statistics all line up with what I’m telling you. For example, I became friends with this girl from Atlanta who’s far from skinny, and really worked on her self-esteem. She went on to date one of the biggest rappers in the world, someone most women openly lust for, and she had him blowing up her phone. She wasn’t built like Draya, but she understood her strengths and played up to them. The secret that will lay the foundation going forward is to know that it’s a very slim chance that you will get rejected. It could happen, but guess what? There are more men out there, and the more you repeat it, the less scary it feels. It’s always worth going for what you want. Ask the girl’s that’s smashing your favorite rapper who was in your same place a year ago.

GO OUT BY YOURSELF: Where do you go to meet men? Most likely the internet, work, or you meet them through a friend. You’re boring, all you do is nap, work, and online shop so of course your options for guys are thinner than Anne Hathaway in Yoga Pants. Here’s a secret for those of you that embraced the confidence of the 80% rule—you’re a magnet. Let’s talk about attraction on a real level. You are a pretty woman that has a vagina that half of the population would dive into if given an opportunity. The problem for men is how do they get to you? Girls are like wolves, they usually move in packs with their friends, their sisters, their cousins, even other men. These people are walls. An aggressive man will run up on you because, again men take advantage of opportunity, but there are legions of other males that will keep walking by because they don’t want to interrupt in a group.

Your excuse will sound like this, “I need a man with the heart to approach me no matter where I’m at, that’s telling me he really wants me.” Okay, Basica, go back over there and have quiet time. Logic and your track record with men has proven that just because a man tries to holla at you, doesn’t mean he’s “the one”. It just means he’s bold. Here’s something to test out. The next time you’re hungry or bored, go out by yourself. It could be Starbucks to order coffee and sit at a table and read a book. It could be the mall food court to sit and just eat a damn pretzel. The longer you’re out, the more eyes are on you. We as men don’t think, “look at this werido by herself.” That’s what your negative mind thinks because you’ve been programmed to be under people or a part of a group. Men will look, some will speak, some will even walk over to you. As a single person, you should want this. Of course, there will be some lames that you brush off, but there will also be guys that are your type that catch your eye. The most successful tip I’ve seen played out is women who sit at the bar counter when eating or having a drink. Two years ago, I had a girl meet her now husband at the Buffalo Wild Wings bar when she sat next to him and asked to see a menu. Just last week, my lesbian friend met some girl at a brunch by sitting next to her and complimenting her purse. Finding someone is no longer about waiting, it’s about putting yourself out there.

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MEN LOVE AGGRESSIVE WOMEN: Let’s recap. You have the confidence of Thanos because you know you can have virtually any man you set your sights on. You aren’t afraid to go out in public to create an opportunity for an off-line connection. How do you turn that into actual GAME? A lot of women don’t know how to flirt. They know how to be sassy, how to tease, and how to give attitude when they secretly like a guy, but they don’t know how to say without words, “hey I like you.” Here’s the secret—you must become Sasha Fierce. Every woman, even Beyoncé, has an alter ego character she stores in her head. That bad ass chick who speaks her mind with no filter. You must let the other side of you loose around men. It was cool to giggle around men and say corny stuff like, “stop playing,” when you were 19. A grown woman doesn’t giggle, she smiles with her eyes. A grown woman doesn’t turn her glance away, she stares through a man like she would eat him alive. A grown woman doesn’t have awkward silences, she questions—how are you? That’s a nice shirt, where did you get it? Your girlfriend let you out of the house? Does that sound scary? Is talking to a strange man you think is cute too nerve wrecking for you to be that free with your words? Then you failed the first part! Your confidence has to be on Floyd Mayweather anytime you’re in the room with the opposite sex. I’m not saying that shy girls don’t get men, I’m saying that an aggressive woman steals a man’s soul.

What makes men talk to you and walk away without getting your number? It’s probably not your breath. It’s the lack of impression. Guys mastered this for the most part. They make jokes, they compliment, they use sexual undertones, all to make you smile or react. Why? Because he knows when you go home you’re going to still be thinking about how cool and fun he was. That’s an impression. The size of your butt in those jeans shouldn’t be the only impression you leave on a man. Personality is the most important weapon in any woman’s armory. When you’re on Snap or IG it’s easy to get your personality through because you’re performing for the camera or captioning a pretty picture with something witty. That stuff goes out of the window when you must speak face to face. The light switch in your head should be like a Power Ranger morphing. He’s sitting next to you or asking you your name, you can’t just grin and look like a deer in the headlights. In your head, you morph. “Watch me eat this mother***ker alive!” From there it’s not about what you say or reading a script, it’s being yourself but turned up to 10.

PART 2: Hooking A Man

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VERBAL CONVERSATIONS: Women who email me usually run into a problem most of you can relate to—my text got taken the wrong way. We live in a world where texting has replaced the phone call. The problem with that is the first week that you’re talking to someone, there is a huge margin for error tone wise. You can’t read sarcasm that well through text. It’s hard to get to know a person just typing in that format. What ends up happening is a bunch of chit-chat, some sexual flirtation, and him asking to see you soon. By the time you do meet up, he’s being overly sexual because he mistook you for a thotty from your text conversation. You’re into him, but you’re not an object, you want to go out and talk and actually get to see how this guy thinks and share your own life story. This is no exaggeration, I’m talked to over a thousand women who have slept with men who they didn’t even know basic things about like his last name or what he did at work. When I question these ladies, it all comes back to, “we didn’t really talk, we texted all day.” Stop being so dense! Texting is to supplement verbal conversations not a replacement for them.

Once you get past the meet and greet stage and are about to go on that first date, you must talk to him with your actual mouth. I don’t care if it’s telling him to call you after work or you doing a FaceTime session. Listening to how someone talks and what they talk about even before you sit down for a dinner date or go out to do some activity is crucial in establishing a bond and weeding out obvious red flags. I have friends who are the biggest dogs in the world, and they get away with a lot of it because all they do is text various girls BS that soothes their egos, set up night time chill sessions, and keep it moving. Who is this man? Where does he live? What was his last relationship? What does he do for a living? If you text this, you get cut and dry answers. If you ask it with your damn mouth, you hear the lies in his tone. You can sniff out hesitation. Talking allows you to poke holes in a man’s story in ways texting never could. Stop being afraid to talk, and if he doesn’t want to call you or pick up, that red flags dictates that he gets thrown back in the sea with the rest of these clown fish because he’s up to something.

TALK PRESENT NOT PAST: Just as important as hearing a man’s story out is sharing your own life. The secret to initial conversation is keep your cards close to the vest. Why are you on a first date talking about your ex-boyfriend and all the ways he did you dirty? Because he asked? Who is he to know that? We as men know that women over-talk about things they’re affected by. Work beefs, friend drama, exes… they will run off at the mouth venting. Through that venting you learn her weaknesses. Think about a first phone call or a first date. You tell him your ex cheated on you. He’s going to want to know how you found out, how long it was going on, if you knew the girl. He’s doing research to see how dumb you are. This is lost on you because you’re tied up in telling a story that’s been pissing you off for a long time. In the end he’ll tell you that your ex was trash and he would never do you like that. He won’t because he’ll do it better now knowing how that other dude messed up.

This isn’t just with exes, it’s with any past failure. You didn’t finish school, or you couldn’t get a job in your major, your family issues, it all creates a character profile to be exploited. So, what should you talk about besides him in order to give insight into your bomb personality? You share your strengths like it’s a job interview. It’s not about where you work now, it’s how you’re rising the ranks or how good you are at your job. It’s not about your ex, he had issues, but he taught you valuable lessons. That’s all you need to say about that man. It’s not about how your Dad did your Mom or how he treated you. Give an anecdote about growing up but this isn’t the time for a therapy session. The point is, you’re a strong woman who was forged by that hard knock past, show her passion not her pain.

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FUNNY X NASTY: Every man thinks he’s Kevin Hart when he’s on a date because women love two things: Laughing and eating. Being a good time is mandatory for a man to win you over, he knows that. As a woman you’re most likely clueless who how to win a guy over from lust to genuine affection. Let’s drop the ego for a second. When I say “win a man over” it’s not saying you need to bend over backwards and give him head on the first date or buy the dude an Apple Watch. The same way a guy is trying to either entertain you or spoil you to get brownie points, you have to think about how you can show him you’re truly different from the other girls he dated in the prior months. The secret that most women don’t know is that as men we see the same exact personality patterns. I went on a date with a girl who lived in Santa Monica who acted the same way as a girl from South Philly. Talked about the same things, laughed the same way, played shy at the same moments, and even gave up the panties in the same manner. It’s all parody because women are taught to dumb down their personalities around guys they like instead of being that fun person they are when with friends or family.

ARE YOU FUNNY? I’m not talking Tiffany Haddish, perform a damn stand up funny. Can you verbally spar with a man? Do you have wit? Can you recall a funny story? Are you able to point to something in the vicinity and make a funny observation? If the answer is “yes” then congratulations because not many women do that. Are you nasty? Yeah, you can recite rap lyrics about getting your ass ate and if this date goes well you might send him a nude, but 9 out of 10 women do that. In my book Ho Tactics, I broke down the psychology of what turns a man on because so many females are way too conservative to tread into that realm. You don’t want to come off like a hoe or a freak. Common sense dictates that a man will assume he’s going to hit by the end of the night regardless of what you say. You could read Bible verses and he’ll still try to get your bra off the moment you’re alone. Don’t let opinions curve your seduction techniques. When I say get nasty, I’m talking about promoting the idea of you as a sexual being. The way you dress. The way you yawn. The way you touch his hand or shoulder when he makes you laugh. It should all spell out S-E-X. When you’re talking, there is always an opportunity to say something slightly filthy. “Work has been killing me this week.” Smile, and grin, “See, I was hoping you had stamina.” That kind of daring retort will have a man in the palm of your hand. The more you bait him with lines like that or accidental touching, the more he wants you. By the time you give him a goodnight hug, there won’t be a doubt that he’s going to do whatever he can to see you again because you inspired lust and you left an impression with your personality. You’re the kind of Unicorn other girls only pretend to be.

PART 3: Securing the Right Man

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FOOL’S GOLD: “GL, I did everything in your book and I ended up with a guy, but he turned out to be trash just like the rest of them.” Is a real email I received. This woman and I corresponded for about a month and she laid out the entire relationships and without me saying anything she realized why she ended up with a trash ass man—she ignored the red flags because she really wanted him to work. We’re all in a rush. It’s an A.D.D generation where we want to stop dating and get into a relationship. Ladies, everything I write has been proven to work. Not because of me, but because you all are capable of Bossing up and taking what you want—men, job opportunities, anything. The warning label on life reads that not everything you want or attain will be right for you. You can make a list, do a vision board, manifest what you put your mind to, and then realize it wasn’t at all what you imagined. Know that you will have to let go of people, that you will misjudge character, and that some masks don’t come off at first pull. Fool’s Gold shines like the real thing, but it doesn’t hold up to constant inspection.

When dating you can’t afford to put all of your eggs in one basket. No matter how sincere someone seems, you take your time, you pick up those red flags, and you never build them up as irreplaceable. He’s just a friend. You like him, but you don’t love him. He’s building with you, not a permanent fixture. Most of you are only single because the last man broke your heart

DATE MULTIPLE MEN: Date multiple men. This doesn’t men sleep with, spend the night with, or even kiss multiple men. Dating means dating. You allow each man you come across with your new aggressive personality and confidence, and deem worthy, to take you out. You meet Robert this week and yet met Jake last week. You don’t choose one or the other, you let them both take you out and see who is the most impressive. When men compete—YOU WIN. No excuse about how you can’t juggle that many guys. If you can have ten tabs open on your phone and switch through four social media apps like it’s nothing, you can set up a date for Saturday and a date for Sunday. It’s not that hard. What you’re doing is trying to play nice. You want to seem like a loyal woman. LMAO! You’re loyal to an actual boyfriend not a guy who’s taking you out to AMC for popcorn and a movie. By dating multiple men, you level the playing field and keep yourself from being desperate. A woman with no options is more likely to settle than a woman with a roster.

A not so secret is that the more jealous you can make a man, the better. I’m not talking about flirting with guys in front of him or telling him he’s the third date of the week. Be smart and strategic. If he asks if you’re dating other people, tell him you’ve been testing the waters like any single woman should then flip it back on him. If he wants to know more details about other men, be aggressive and stern by telling him to focus on the two of you because he currently has your attention. Basicas never do this because they are scared to death about turning a man off. Spartans do it all the time because they understand that a man who knows he’s not your only option will work harder. Inside every grown man is a little boy that still has to be first. Use this knowledge!  

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SAY WHAT YOU WANT: Today’s men no longer have to play along as if they want to be your man. “I’m not looking for anything serious,” or “I’m cool with being friends,” works in terms of getting sex. There are women that will actually go along as if they don’t have feelings for a guy. Get sucked into his world. Start to really like him and allow him to get girlfriend benefits as—just friends. Are you crazy or stupid? Pussy runs this world! You don’t have to compromise with a man to keep him around. If you want to build to a relationship not a situationship, tell him. If you know that “Friend” is a code word, object and tell him you’re not looking for a friend, you’re looking for someone that can potentially grow into a man. It doesn’t matter if a man is claiming he’s too busy, that his heart is still healing from the last girl, or that he’s just not sure, you are the master and commander of who you give your time to. Stop holding your tongue and going with the flow. “I’m not dating anyone else, no harm in just having a friend.” Yes there is, because you’re leading yourself on with a man who is going to end up choosing someone else in the end. She’ll get an easy lane to his heart and you’ll feel like a sucker for believing the excuses that he gave to you that suddenly don’t apply to her. You’re a grown ass woman, the moment you feel that a man has potential open your mouth. Don’t text it. Don’t beat around the bush. Say what you want. And if he doesn’t feel the same way—GOOD! You just saved yourself months of playing house to some one that was looking to lease not buy.

Epilogue: Prioritize Yourself

 She comes before he. Your plans shouldn’t be compromised for his. Being a partner is a two-way street, just like he can reschedule, move you around, and cancel, you should never feel guilty if things pop up that will benefit your life. He will complain, suck his teeth, and get in his feelings. But the woman that does her, despite a man’s objections will always train her mate to respect her time, not waste it.

I’ve gone deeper on a lot of these topics in my books and on my site, but for those of you lost in the sauce, let this be a smack in the face to take the next step on the road to Spartanhood.

-G.L. Lambert

 

 

 

Maybe It’s You

I am sure we are all acquainted with the Golden Rule: “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” Our good friend Jesus spoke often on doing unto others as you want them to do unto you. Whether you are spiritual, religious, or neither, no one wants to be treated badly. You could be the guy who cuts people off on the highway, fails to use turn signals and drives recklessly, but as soon as someone rides your bumper, you’re furious. Humans have a tendency to be hypocritical when it comes to how we expect to be treated vs. how we treat others. For years now, I have been watching Kirk do Rasheeda wrong on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (one of my guilty pleasures, don’t judge me), yet now he wants to fix his lips to be butthurt at the thought of her even considering entertaining another man. Why is it that we can never stomach the taste of our own medicine? So many of us subject others to pain that we would go to great lengths to avoid experiencing. To put it lightly, people suck. We use, abuse and manipulate those we claim to love and care for. This world would be all rainbows and butterflies if we could just abide by the simple logic of not being an a**hole. I remember in elementary we did a lengthy lesson on the Golden Rule, but if I could go back in time, I would have my teacher revise the lesson: “People are not going to treat you the way you would treat them.” It is unrealistic to expect everyone to have the same heart and moral compass as you. After all, we can’t control others; we are only in control of ourselves. When you allow yourself to be continually stepped on by trash people, you become at fault. Eventually, you have to stop complaining about people being mean to you and doing you wrong if you are going to keep giving them a free pass to do so. You’re not killing them with kindness, you’re just killing yourself.

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How About Some Accountability?

One of the easiest things to do is point the finger at other people when we need to be holding a mirror up to ourselves. We have already established that people are trash, but once you figure out that a new person in your life did not enter with good intentions, why do you keep them around? Are you waiting to see what lengths they will go to to make you miserable? Most people aren’t sadistic. They don’t purposely seek out weaklings to enact their evil plan upon. After all, most of the hurtful things people do to you do not have anything to do with you. People are selfish, and they do things that will bring them pleasure; you being hurt in the mix of it all is just emotional collateral damage. That doesn’t make the wound they’ve inflicted upon you hurt any less, that’s just the way it is. When people show you who they are, you have to believe tumblr_mqi3bjhmeb1qezwmho1_500them the first time. Sayings like that become cliche because they prove themselves to be true time and time again. If you choose to be Helen Keller to the b.s., you can’t get mad when your “best friend” keeps throwing shade at you behind your back or the new guy you’ve been dating pokes fun at your insecurities under the guise of a joke. Character flaws like that aren’t isolated incidents. They will only get worse, but your “good heart” always wants to see the best in people. When I was in college, I dated a guy who had two children. Much to my dislike, he brought them over to my apartment with him one evening and left them there while he went on a “food run.” I was 19; spending my night with two young kids was not my idea of a good time. He stayed gone a good 3-4 hours. What did I say upon his return? Nothing! I’m sure you can guess what followed: this happened again and again until I put my foot down. We eventually broke up due to other reasons, but this is just an example of how if you let somebody slide once, they’ll start figure skating. I was getting mad at him when I should have been mentally slapping myself. Nothing will continue unless YOU allow it to. He took advantage of me because I would often just ignore things that would bother me or make empty threats. He knew I was all bark and no bite. Was it right for him to use me as a babysitter while he was running through the 206 with his woes? Absolutely not, but it was my responsibility to advocate for myself. You can’t hope for the best with people, then just shrug your shoulders when they don’t act how you had envisaged. If you remove yourself from the situations that cause you strife, guess what will happen? Life will improve! It isn’t magic, it’s common sense.

Check Your Energy

There is no harder pill to swallow than admitting you are the problem when it comes to the negative experiences that plague your life. It does not mean there is something wrong with you or that you need to change who you are. Everyone has flaws and we are all damaged in some way. Childhood traumas, adult traumas and unhealthy coping skills have an insidious way of clouding our positive energy. If you are not aware of your thinking, these traumatic experiences manifest into negative self-talk and negative views of ourselves. It is incredibly easy to put yourself down without even realizing you are doing it. A couple of years ago, I downloaded a book called “The Untethered Soul” (I highly recommend this piece of work). Until I picked up this godsend of a book, I did not realize how often I put myself down. I would call myself names, judge myself and dwell on negative thoughts. If I would go against my instincts and suffer the consequences because of it, I would think to myself “duh dummy” or “well that’s what you get for being stupid.” We truly are our own toughest critics. I finally realized I kept attracting and entertaining toxic people because I was marinating in my own toxic thoughts. giphy3
Science teaches us that like attracts like. If you are vibrating at a low frequency, you are going to attract others who are on a similar level. Everything is energy. It is not a coincidence that when you are happy, everyone else seems happier as well. It’s simple, really. Why would a man who is happy, secure and confident be attracted to someone who emits bad vibes? I didn’t understand why I couldn’t find anyone of quality. I was independent, college educated, attractive and doing quite well for my age. I looked good on paper, but inside I was a mess. Too much time was spent going into my outward appearance but I was neglecting my insides. Awareness is the only way out of a miserable mindset. The interesting thing was at the time, I did not feel totally miserable, but looking back, I was full of self-doubt. It is now in hindsight that I realize I was not all that happy. Like most people, I have had an array of bad experiences steal my joy. I am naturally a private person, so I just kept all my feelings to myself and went on with life. Avoidance is definitely not a healthy coping technique Pretending a problem does not exist will not make it go away, and not dealing with your issues jut causes them to fester, not diminish. Happiness is out there for you, but you can’t claim to want a joyous life yet spend all day ruminating in your self-inflicted sunken place. You’re confusing the universe. If you want to grow as a person, it is so important to take the time to become aware of how you view yourself.

Level Up

When people think of self-care, they think of massages, solo vacations and treating themselves to new clothes or other things to decorate the outer self. The harder part of self-care that people don’t often mention is having the discipline to do what’s best for yourself, even when it’s hard. You are specially made, and only those who appreciate your value deserve a place in your life. Once you tap into your reserve of inner power, it will become second nature to toss people to the curb who don’t live up to your expectations. What is most important is believing you are worthy. Whenever you catch yourself putting yourself down, pretend you have a little Viola Davis from The Help on your shoulder reminding you that you are kind, smart and important. Tell yourself this everyday. Look in the mirror and repeat that you love yourself 15x a day if that’s what you need to do. You will eventually start to believe it and you will begin to wonder why you allowed people to A-Town Stomp all over you for so long. Don’t be afraid to say no. giphy4Don’t be afraid to tell people to Beat It. Why are you scared to be without people you have only known for a small fraction of your life? In the wise words of Drake, you gotta be nice for what? I promise you the sun will rise tomorrow and you will continue to breathe. There have been men I really liked and I hated to show them the door, but I knew it was for the best. Those yellow flags would have quickly turned red, and it is much harder to cut ties from people once you’ve allowed dick and time to have you more invested than you should have ever been. People are going to be mean. They are going to be inconsiderate and a multitude of other undesirable things, but it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe from their nastiness. You can’t protect yourself if you are not solid in who you are. If you keep getting mixed up in bad friendships and relationships, take some time alone to figure out who is the common denominator in all of the chaos. You can’t grow if you are never taking time to be with you and only you. Growth comes from self-reflection and taking accountability for your decisions, good and bad. Treating other people well is great, but don’t let it come at such a price that you fail to treat yourself how you deserve to be treated, and a large part of self-care is being selective with who you grant a seat at your table.

What’s In a Title?

Nowadays, everyone hates labels. I guess it’s some Millennial thing. Labels have a tendency to box people into categories, and sometimes it can be impossible to rid yourself of a label that has basically become a part of your reputation. A label can minimize a person to a one-dimensional being, robbing him/her of all complexity. My peers from school and I are fully grown adults, yet some of us still bare the labels that were bestowed upon us in high school, particularly the more unsavory ones (hoe, slut, player, weirdo, etc). The negative perceptions of a person always tend to overshadow the positive ones. Science has shown that our brains have a way of planting the bad things in our brains more firmly than the pleasant ones because processing negative experiences requires more mental effort. We use stronger language to describe our negative 6e23daa7794130a4e612bd2bac7525bc-mean-girls-bulliesencounters and tend to stew over them for longer periods of time. Like with everything, though, there is always another side to consider. Humans need labels. Pointing to things and naming them are one of the first stages of language development. It is how we categorize and reference things, how we can separate what’s good for us from what isn’t. Language is our most powerful tool, and by labeling people, we give them a role in our lives. Mother, sister, husband, friend, co-worker and so on and so forth are just a few titles most of us are familiar with, and if you have any of these people in your life, you have certain expectations of them. Where it tends to get murky is when it comes to romantic relationships. A situation in which two people have a romantic interest in one another and are not entertaining others is typically labeled a relationship. For the price of that title you are usually compensated with commitment, monogamy and companionship, and for someone who is not 100% invested in you, giving up the thrill of the single life to sleep with the same person every night is too high of a price to pay. So what do some people *cough cough* (men), tend to do? They hit you with a bunch of semantics to tip toe around committing to you in an effort to have their cake and eat it too. Before you know it, you’re knee deep in a Situationship.

“You Ain’t Even My Girl”

Being an adult is tiring. I feel like adulthood is a scam. As a child, all I longed for was the freedom that came with being “grown.” The ability to make my own decisions seemed like heaven. The beauty of childhood is the naivete. My inexperienced mind did not realize the amount of responsibility that came along with the freedom to do trivial things like stay out as late as I wanted or eat ice cream for dinner. As I became an older teenager, I was able to get a taste of the adult life without having to purchase the whole entree. Back when I was a young and dumb 19/20 year old, I was allowing my love interest at the time to get all the benefits of a relationship from me without requiring him to complete the package. I was brainwashed with all the “we don’t need a title” rhetoric and just went along with it because in my mind we were practically in a relationship, anyway. He was in my apartment majority of the time, didn’t want me dating others, and led me to believe he wasn’t seeing anyone else either. To put it simply, I was an idiot. During that time in my life, I didn’t know how to put my foot down and require more. I knew that I ultimately was not going to get the commitment I wanted, so tumblr_ntxt9tjvuq1uab7s4o1_1280I just decided to leave things alone. After all, he was around consistently, so that must be a sign that he was really into me, right? WRONG. I was dead wrong, because every time I would complain I would get the reminder that we are not even a relationship so I have no right to air any grievances towards him. No matter how close you may think you two are, if there is no verbal agreement that you two are exclusive, you are single. I allowed this man to have all of the benefits of a boyfriend, without him taking on any of the responsibilities that come along with that title. I was nothing more than a temp-agency girlfriend. At a temp agency, they send you to a company to work there for a varied length of time and while you give that company the benefits of your employment, when all is said and done, you gotta get up outta there. They may like you, but you’re not what they’re looking for long term. You work there, but they offer you no benefits and you ultimately leave with nothing until you’re sent somewhere else. The old me would ask him why aren’t we together, or when are we going to make it official, and I would get those cliche responses typical of someone who isn’t interested in you long term. “I’m just not ready for a relationship right now.” “You know I have feelings for you, why complicate things with a title?” “I’m not good enough financially right now to have a girlfriend.” Deep down I knew this was a crock of b.s., yet I continued on anyway like the poor fool I was. If a man is truly enamored with you, you will know because he will tell you and take you off the market. If at any time during the early stages of dating you have to ask yourself “what are we doing?” just know he’s doing him, beloved. You should go do you, too.

Bonds > Title

I think my favorite excuse people use to sidestep a relationship is the notion that a “bond is better than a title.” This is just silly, to put it mildly. It saddens me that women are buying into this propaganda. A bond is cute, but how many others does he have a “bond” with? A title is not a bulletproof vest for your relationship against cheating and other detrimental actions, but there needs to be some type of foundation there. When you neglect to specify what type of bond you have, the doors to a world of ambiguity burst wide open. Are we bonded as friends? Temporary companions? F*ck buddies? Which is it? An old friend of mine was navigating the foggy waters of Bond-land when she texted me crushed one day. The man she thought she was so connected to introduced her to his best friend as “this is my friend…”. This was after months of dates, humpin’, Netflix & chillin, learning all about each others’ pasts and him telling her how close he felt to her. giphy1They spent so much time together, she was sure he saw her as much more than a friend. Sis didn’t know that a bond without a title to go along with it is just a Situationship. So much time and energy was invested into this bond, yet it was worthless when it was time to cash it in. It is so important to be honest with yourself and your potential bae when you begin to communicate what it is you are looking for. If you are 100% sure that you just want companionship without the strings and stress that can accompany commitment, open your mouth and say that. If you realize down the road that you were misguided about your wants and now you want something more serious, be clear about your needs. If you’re dealing with a man, you have to be upfront. It’s key. They don’t pick up on hints and passive aggressive moves to try and signal what you want will end with your texts saying Read 9:57PM. At the end of the day, you have to be prepared for rejection. He may not want what you want, and that’s fine. He’s not the only man left with a sausage dangling between his legs. Nurse your ego back to health and keep it pushing, but don’t become a thirstbucket who is content with being a half-ass girlfriend. Life is too short.

He Just Doesn’t Like You Sis

There are levels to liking someone. I’ve liked a lot of guys who I didn’t want a relationship with. Frank Ocean said it best “No, I don’t like you I just thought you were cool enough to kick it.” Lust easily blinds us to the real ins and outs of someone’s personality because we are led on a string by physical attraction. Liking someone physically and/or sexually does not equate to liking who they are as a person. When you’re just riding around having a jolly good time and neglect to learn anything about his habits, goals, dark past or 325 credit score, you can’t say you like him because you don’t know him. Knowing that he taught his little brother how to throw a football does not mean he would be good with kids. His conspiracy theory about Earth being flat does not mean he’s deep and doesn’t conform. Now think a little harder about this; if you barely know him, you can guarantee he knows beans about you. If the sex is good and the stress is low, a man who isn’t already captivated by your dazzling personality isn’t going out of his way to learn more about you than what you’re offering up as free information. During the dark days of me selling myself short, I thirstily asked Situationship Boo what he thought of me. He said, “you’re cool.” I was flabbergasted. tenorCompletely bewildered. My ego took about 27 hits at once. I’m COOL?!? Just cool? Where was all that sweet talk in the beginning where I was told I wasn’t like other girls and I was so great to be around? I thought because I was going to a major university, didn’t live at home with my parents, received my Associate’s Degree and high school diploma at the same time, read a bunch of books and didn’t have a baby daddy that I was wifey material through and through. All that education I had and I couldn’t see past my own ego. He just didn’t like me like that. It doesn’t matter how good you look on paper or in person, if you two aren’t vibing on more that a physical level, you will remain just someone who is convenient for the moment. Instead of being basic AF and asking him what he thought of me months down the road, I should have spent those early days seeing if our connection was something worth building on instead of going with the flow that ended up flowing absolutely nowhere. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you have the personality of Tiffany Haddish, talent of Beyonce and sex appeal of Rihanna, if he doesn’t like you, he just doesn’t like you, beloved. Someone being present in the moment and giving you a few hours of their time here and there does not mean he wants a relationship with you. He can shower you with compliments, take you out for your birthday and snatch your soul every night, but if he hasn’t told you he wants you just for him, move on. Him beating around the bush when you mention a relationship isn’t because Mercury in Retrograde is putting a damper on his communication skills. You are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’ll be someone’s. Remember that when you see him on Snapchat a few months later with a girlfriend.

 

 

Temporary Forevers

If being an adult has taught me anything, it is that people are temporary. Now that I am approaching the ripe old age of 27, this lesson has proven itself to be true time and time again. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Life has a great way of forcing toxic people out of our lives even when we are trying to hold on to them with a vice grip. Life also has an uncanny way of getting rid of people who aren’t toxic, too. Things just happen. There are many reasons why we wish to hold on to certain people: genuine love, hope for better in the future, the unsettling feeling that you’ve failed to produce a thriving relationship, or you’re just too comfortable to enact change. It is normal to do anything to attenuate the threat of pain, and consciously cutting people off can hurt, even if you’re the one doing the cutting. Everyone can probably think of at least one circumstance where they held on to someone too long, and we all have surely experienced a time or two when matters out of our control snatched people away through death, illness, etc. One thing that has often helped me cope with the loss of people I’ve cared about is the realization that it is usually not personal. Your 20’s are a time of self-discovery. During this time you are trying to find your place in the world, your purpose, and what you want out of life. Our journeys are quite self-centered in nature, and not everyone is going to have a recurring role in our life stories. When I giphy2think back on those who have come and gone over the years, it typically wasn’t due to some big fall out or dramatic event. The rift was slow and progressive, and before I knew it, we hadn’t talked in a week. One week turned into two, two weeks into a couple of months and so on and so forth. Adulthood and its many demands can make maintaining non-familial relationships remarkably difficult, and it is not uncommon for friendships and romantic relationships to fizzle out right before your very eyes. I have found it much easier to accept the demise of a relationship when it was nothing more than life doing its thing, but it can be a harder pill to swallow when you are fully aware that your friendship or relationship is breaking down and you know you must rip off the band-aid and shut things down.

Signs: They’re Everywhere

I remember in 2nd or 3rd grade I desperately wanted to be friends with this pair of girls in my class. I never really had many friends all throughout school, usually just one or two good friends that I was always grateful for. My best friend from the previous year had moved away, so I was stuck without a partner in crime for most of the year. I wasn’t as outgoing as most of my classmates, but these girls’ desks were near mine, so I did put in some extra effort to be friendly with them. Most of my efforts were futile. They would talk to me here and there, but they often left me out when it was time to form groups and play at recess. When it was time to go home, they would sit together on the bus and would often come back to school Monday morning reminiscing about the fun they had during their weekend sleepover. Talk about feeling left out. I kept trying to fit in with them until a new girl came into our class, and we hit it off right away. Of course as children we don’t realize when it’s time to stop trying to force something, but many of us grow into adults and still try to force relationships with people when the universe is clearly trying to tell us to let it go. I am convinced it is the ego that causes us to fight losing battles with people who make it blatantly clear that our presence in their life is not crucial to their happiness. Instead of just realizing it is time to let them be and move on, we become me in 2nd grade, wearing out our welcome and hurting ourselves in the process. Why do we fight so hard to convince other people we are worthy? Why is acceptance of others such a vital part to our self-esteem? It all goes back to the ego. If you take a step back and look at the situation, you will see that it is not the person you are fighting to hold on to per-se, just what he/she represents. Their rejection of you is a blow to your ego, and you will do everything you can to prove to them that you are indeed worthy of their affections. If someone wants you to be a part of their life, there will be no ambiguity. You won’t feel as if you are forcing the relationship.

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The universe often blesses us with obvious signs that certain people are not meant to be in our lives, but we long to be that one case that is the exception to the rule. If we were able to reform that toxic friend or salvage our dysfunctional relationship, all the doubters have been silenced. Instead of releasing ourselves of the mental anguish of trying to make someone play the role we’ve developed for them in our head, a lot of people torture themselves just to prove a point. If they’re not fighting to stay in your life, why are you hurting yourself trying to keep them there? It is vitally important to realize that many people we encounter are just here to teach us something, and when the lesson is learned, they move on and so should you. I have never been one to believe that those who walk into our lives do so aimlessly, but you must have the focus to see things for what they really are and not the way you want them to be. Sure, that is easier said than done. It is quite difficult to break away from someone before you are emotionally ready, but your future self will thank you for it, trust me.

Growing Pains

Sometimes, you just outgrow people. Wives outgrow husbands, friends outgrow friends, etc. This happens frequently when you connect with people when you are both young. The things you had in common in the early stages often don’t stand the test of time, causing people to drift apart. I witnessed this happen with my parents. Over their 20+ years together, my mom became wiser, smarter and full of depth, while my dad pretty much remained the same guy he always was. My dad is a great man, but eventually they stopped connecting on more than a surface level. One of my favorite song lyrics is from Jhene Aiko’s “Spotless Mind” that goes “shame on me for changing, no, shame on you for staying the same.” Don’t allow your progress and growth to halt because those close to you are content with stagnation. The point of life is to evolve and grow into the best you possible, and many people show disdain for change because they want to keep you down on their level. When they can’t relate to you any longer, they may start to resent you. Fear often keeps peoples feet planted into the same spot, causing them to become giphy3nothing short of a wastrel. It is easy to have a plethora of things in common with people as children and very young adults. Public school and college often forces you to be together, and you are united by a common institution. Life is still being figured out, and it is fun navigating new territory with your peers. As you age, however, you realize that many people still maintain that childish mentality. When I get bored at work and peruse my Facebook newsfeed, I see the same things. Fully grown adults blaming everything but themselves for their failures, status updates of people continuously creating their own storms them complaining when it rains, sharing the same tired jokes from 2011 and Snapchat videos of them riding around to trap music and blowing weed smoke into the camera. Several of these people I used to call good friends. Today, I would bet my year’s salary that we have absolutely nothing in common. I try not to be too hard on them; we all have our own personal path to walk, however, I was not foolish enough to continue forcing friendships with people I no longer have anything in common with. I prefer to surround myself with like-minded people, people I can learn from.

Don’t Be a Revolving Door

One thing that has always been difficult for me is allowing people to re-enter my life when they do not deserve to. I have always admired that I am quite good at not taking things people do personally, but this is a gift and a curse. I’m sure you can figure out why. When people we care about hurt us, we tend to make excuses for them to diminish the severity of their behavior. I’m much less tolerant nowadays, though. Once I am done with a person, chances are that ship has sailed permanently and I have burned the bridge to smithereens. Most of us do have a soft spot for one person, but that’s a post for a different day. Anyway, my point is that your presence in someone’s life should not be something they take for granted. A lot of people are mistreated because the perpetrator  knows that no matter what they do, you will let them back in. Being a person of convenience does not garner much respect, yet you would rather take the crumbs someone throws at you than require a full loaf of bread. The bare minimum should not be tolerated, especially if you are putting forth full effort. Why allow someone to come light up your life with a radiant luminosity, take it away at a moments notice, giphy1expect you to accept their excuses, then come back once their current quests have fallen short? It’s not fair, and people like that deserve to stay gone for good. No matter how starved you are for love and affection, it hurts much more to let someone walk all over you just for a short-lived bout of happiness. I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but the lesson was the best thing I got out of the situation. When I look back at all the people who have walked in and out of my life, there was always one common denominator: ME. I allowed them to return without any accountability of their actions. I failed to communicate my issues with them. I allowed myself to be treated in a way I did not deserve. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own happiness. Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a perfect world where everyone was kind and treated one another the way we wanted to be treated? It would be divine, but it’s not reality and never will be. The sooner you accept that people come and go, the easier your life will be. Let those who no longer fit into your narrative go on their way. 

You’re a Loyal Fool

Women are nurturers. Many of us love to fix broken things and heal what has been hurt and/or damaged. Whether it be by nature or nurture, we have the propensity to see past any trespasses made against us and see the good in people and to also help it manifest. Perhaps it’s due to the maternal qualities that reside in a lot of us and is further strengthened by how young girls are socialized to be caretakers. These are redeeming qualities, however, this mindset becomes toxic when some women interpret it as an obligation to tolerate disrespect, inconsistency, infidelity and a myriad of other problematic actions. Have women really become so thirsty for a man that any man will do? In some instances, I believe that is the case. For a lot of us, however, I believe it has been ingrained in our psyches that as long as he is providing some semblance of care, shut up and “let a man be a man.” Throughout countless generations and still in some cultures today, women have been forced to depend on men for survival. Women in Saudi Arabia were just given the right to drive, for goodness’ sake. American women did not begin working consistently until the 1940’s, so it was essential to secure a husband swiftly, otherwise end up destitute. Being an unmarried woman was not a good look, and many women were forced to marry ain’t sh*t men just to have a roof over their heads and some food on the table. Divorce was frowned upon just until relatively recently, so a lot of women just had to endure a bad situation. This created some “stand by your man” mentality that has trapped women in bad relationships for eons. giphy A lot of us watched our mothers and other women in our family tolerate treatment they did not deserve, masked under “he’s a good man, he just blah blah blah.” We love to make excuses in an attempt to justify the bad behavior from people we love, absolving them of any responsibility for their actions and sweeping all the issues under the rug. No matter your reason for staying with a man who doesn’t value you, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It will never be worth it. You’re holding yourself hostage for what? Hope that he will change? Have you given up hope that there are any decent men out there, so you’re just going to settle for the best of the worst? Is there some sort of trophy for being loyal to someone who couldn’t care less if you cry yourself to sleep every night? I don’t think so. The return on your investment for supposedly helping a man become a better person will be zero. 10x out of 9 people don’t change, and if they do, it will because they want to, not because of anything you’ve done. I don’t have the energy to take on projects, and if I wanted to raise someone, I would get pregnant. Do not make yourself responsible for the growth of other people.

Your Man is Not Gucci Mane

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From the outside looking in, it appears that Gucci Mane has made a miraculous transformation since being released from prison. The man is literally glowing. He and his new wife Keyshia look like they’re on cloud nine, and they had a breathtaking wedding. We do not know the details of their relationship, but they appear to be madly in love. Keyshia was Gucci’s ride or die, supporting him through prison, years of alleged drug use and a career that comes with copious amounts of glamour and temptation. They have become relationship goals for many, proving that if you stay loyal, you will be rewarded with a ring and a lavish lifestyle. Apparently women these days do not know how to hold a man down properly and leave as soon as a problem arises. We should all be more like Keyshia, right? That’s what I have been seeing so much of. Your man deserves for you to be a loyal doormat while he runs wild through the streets, and you are a bad partner if you require more of him. How dare a woman expect loyalty from her significant other?! How preposterous! That logic irks me beyond belief. Sure, there are men who put up with women who do not treat them right, but the difference lies in that this is not an expectation of men.22490034_1532633586780060_8010361249584378024_n No man is raised to “stand by your woman” no matter what she does. Have you ever watched a movie or show where a man’s peers were telling him how good of a woman his significant other is despite her constant cheating and troublesome behavior, and that he should give her a chance to change her ways? We aren’t talking about one mistake or slip up during the relationship, but an overall toxic and emotionally draining environment. Everyone is going to make mistakes, it’s human nature, but your whole relationship should not be a merry-go-round of screw ups and empty apologies. If Gucci Mane truly made a turnaround, that’s great. Apparently Keyshia saw something in him that I would not have stayed around to uncover, and we have to stop preaching this twisted rhetoric that if you allow a man to drag you through the mud long enough, you will come out clean on the other side. A relationship is not supposed to be in a perpetual state of turmoil. Romantic love is not supposed to hurt, and while it requires work like any other relationship, it should not be a constant uphill battle. This all goes back to the sect of gender roles that require women to be submissive and subservient. Many say that women will put up with anything for money, and many say that taking care of someone financially entitles them to do whatever they’d like. This is not 1888, and you don’t have to put up with anyone’s foolery in order to prevent homelessness and despair. I didn’t know that the only thing a man was supposed to do was provide financial support. It may be better to cry in a mansion, but who wants to be hurt at all? If you allow a man to disturb your inner peace just for a designer bag and some jewelry, you don’t love him, you just love the fancy lifestyle, and you certainly don’t love yourself. 

30th Times’ a Charm

“Maybe he will finally get it this time!” This is the battle cry of someone fighting to hold on to a relationship with a person who doesn’t act right and who likely never will. You lie awake at night wondering what you can try next to show him how good of a catch you are and how foolish of him it would be to let you walk out the door. You’ve seen the potential in him, and you just know that you are the one to turn this pauper into a prince. He’s shown you who he is a multitude of times, but you know that’s not the real him. He’s just been hurt by these no-good women out here. If you are taking the time to truly get to know someone, you wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. People are unable to hide their true colors for long, and time reveals all, but of course, women love to fall in love with potential. I’m not sure why so many of us think we have the supreme power to manifest change in people, but no one is that powerful. We do not have this level of control over anyone, and trying to control things you have no power over will lead to disappointment every time. When some people realize that actively trying to change a person doesn’t work, they try the wait and pray approach. They walk all over you again and again, but you have the patience of Job; you tell yourself this time that God is working on their heart, and if you just be still, you will come out on the other side stronger than ever. Get a grip. Your efforts are futile and you are letting the best years of your life pass you by waiting on a loser to see the light. Being in a bad relationship just for the sake of being in one is selling yourself short.

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We all know those “at least I got a man” type of women, even though their man is unemployed, unfaithful, ugly and God only knows what else. But hey, any man is better than no man, right? Internalized misogyny is a real killer. Some women are so brainwashed they feel it is better to allow emotional and sometimes physical abuse from a boyfriend or spouse than be single and date until a suitable partner is found. To make matters worse, a lot of women are allowing men they aren’t even in relationships with dog them out. They hope if they prove their loyalty to him, he will bestow the honor of being his girlfriend upon them. Countless women give their unwavering loyalty to men who would be gone at the first dose of disrespect. It is time that we become equally intolerant. Instead of building up a hopeless charity case, find someone who matches or even exceeds where you are in life. If you find that all you attract are men who have nothing to offer besides penis and a headache, it’s time you go inside and examine yourself. You clearly don’t think you deserve anything better. The universe gives us back what we put out, and it is impossible to attract something that is not present within yourself. I do not find it impressive to be the woman who finally made the most wild man of them all act right.  All that means is you were the one foolish enough to stick around long enough for him to either get tired of his current lifestyle or all his other options showed him the door and you were the only one dumb enough to still be there. You are not Cesar Milan, but instead of teaching dogs how to behave, you have a knack for training problematic men. I have yet to read any type of content regarding a man helping build a woman into the person she is meant to be, stand by your queen while she’s down, or anything pertaining to men tolerating disrespect while a woman grows and matures. This does not have to be a double standard that withstands the rest of humanity, but it will be as long as women keep buying into the notion that you should be loyal to a fault while you do not receive the same treatment in return. Love is conditional, and not everyone should be entitled to your heart.

Closure: Necessary or Overrated?

I absolutely love writing about the characters on HBO’s “Insecure.” I love discussing them. I love analyzing them. To put it simply, this show fills a TV void that I didn’t know I was missing. Sure, most adults can relate to the perils of dating and friendship drama, but as a young black woman, Insecure just hits that niche spot. It feels good to be represented on mainstream television as a black millennial, and I’m sure the men of the #LawrenceHive can agree. Throughout all 16 episodes, there have been many times where I have been Issa. I have been Molly. I have been Kelli. I have been Tiffany, who endures the “light skin” jokes. In the finale of Season 2, titled “Hella Perspective”, I am sure many of us have been Issa or Lawrence, closing a chapter with someone in which we care for deeply. Despite their ever-present love for each other, they both got the closure they needed, which will hopefully put an end to them acting out their pain in an onslaught of meaningless encounters and projections onto others.

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The finale sparked some interesting conversation regarding closure, specifically whether or not it is needed to move on with your life and open your heart again. To some people, yes, it is a key part to healing and finally realizing that this is curtains closed; the ship has sailed, and you can now begin a healthy relationship with someone else. To others, however, closure is a futile attempt to gain clarity on what went wrong, and even an excuse to see the person again and drag out the ending process until there is absolutely nothing left. In a perfect world, closure sounds nice. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a final conversation with your old boo, where both of you address where you went wrong, take the appropriate amount of responsibility, then go your separate ways with a clear conscience and no hard feelings? Ha! Too bad that rarely ever happens. Thank you Issa for putting false hope in our hearts.

You Want Answers & You Want Them Now

One of the Google definitions of ‘closure’ is “a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved.” We often hear of friends saying they got no closure at the dissolution of a relationship. We hear it acted out on scripted television and reality shows. Something ending abruptly or painfully often leaves us with questions unanswered, anger, confusion, etc., and by receiving “closure,” we can tie up those loose ends. We are a logical species, and being unable to understand others’ behaviors leaves us quite unsettled. This leads us to seek answers. We tell ourselves we want the truth, no matter how ugly. I can’t speak for everyone, but there hasn’t been a time where I have gone this route and received the results I so desired. It was just more of the same: pointing the finger back at me, dodging the questions, and either failing to see their part in our demise or shutting down completely. I finally realized one day that if I was not getting the communication and other things I needed while we were involved with each other, what would change in a matter of weeks? Most people don’t reach some sort of epiphany where they can wake up and realize they were a piece of sh*t and have a burning desire to own up to it all. I would leave even more angry and hurt than I was before the encounter, causing me to questions my judgment and decision making ability.giphy3 This does not mean I believe Insecure dropped the ball by allowing us to witness a healthy conversation between Issa and Lawrence where they both accepted their failures in the relationship. If anything, it should serve as an example to the rest of us. The reality is that this is the sort of closure that most of us will most likely never experience at the end of a relationship, and that does not go to say that Issa and Lawrence floated to this moment after months of soul searching. They had their fair share of drama and pain. All of this inner turmoil can manifest in a plethora of ways, like “hoe phases” and picking up random girls for threesomes at the grocery store.

Closure Puts Those Demons To Rest

Hurt people, hurt people, including themselves. While I no longer seek traditional closure at the end of my relationships, I can understand why some people feel like they need it. During a couple of therapy sessions after the end of a tumultuous relationship of my own, my therapist told me it was normal to feel the grief I was experiencing. I learned that after a bad breakup, our brains have the same or very similar reaction as when a loved one dies. We experience the same phases of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, etc. Heartbreak takes a serious toll on our mental health. Pain can manifest itself in many ways, and in Issa’s case, it came out in a self-proclaimed “Hoe Phase.” That lifestyle does not suit Issa. She isn’t cut out for it. Her “hoe-tation” left her even more unfulfilled and frustrated, and a lot of it was awkward to witness, from random romps with her neighbor to unintended facials, Issa failed at being sexually liberated. Her attempts at embracing the single life were unsuccessful because she sought empowerment in ways that were not compatible with her personality. She asked Molly to teach her how to “hoe,” without even stopping to realize that the hoe life has brought giphy4Molly nothing but pain and disappointment. Lawrence, on the other hand, used Tasha as a rebound to distract himself from the pain of betrayal, and ended up hurting and embarrassing her as he lead her on and drowned his sorrows in her vagina and home cooked meals. He then went on to have random trysts with strangers just out to use black men for their so called sexual prowess, and projected his trust issues onto Aparna, who could prove to be a promising match for him. So what did we learn at the end of the finale? Both Issa and Lawrence have gained some much needed insight on what they each could have done differently. They’ve accepted reality and the beef has been cooked up and eaten. Now they both can go out into Singleville with a clear mind and date with dignity. Closure goals, no? Unfortunately, most of our closure looks more like Issa and Lawrence’s 30 second silent romp at the beginning of the season.

Closed Relationship, Open Legs

Raise your hand if during those “lets just meet up and talk this out then go our separate ways”  discussions you did more f’ing and less talking? Or even if you didn’t end up taking an unintended dick appointment, you just opened the can of worms again and invited the drama right back into your life? I can’t lie, my hand is raised too. I was lying to myself when I was either initiating a meet-up or agreeing to one that we were just there to talk. Deep down, I just wanted to see him again. I would get cute, rehearse my speech in my head, and hope that he would either see the light or that my good looks would make him realize what he was giving up. I ended up wasting my time and he was wasting his. Sure, we were done, but after those meetings texts were still coming through, pictures still being liked, and neither of us would throw in the towel until someone else entered the pictured or it had finally run its course. I stopped torturing myself like that long ago. When a breakup is fresh, don’t tempt yourself with a meeting in which you know will put you in a vulnerable position. I have become a part of Team No Closure because unless both people walk into these encounters with honest tumblr_ow3paalzpv1txl6nno8_r1_400intentions and a clear mind, you might as well abort the mission. This is where I applaud the closure scene between Issa and Lawrence, because they took advantage of an opportunity to clear the air. While I still think these are not typical results (still possible though), it did not occur under the guise of “ay, come through we should talk” or “you left your hat here, you wanna come grab it tonight when I get off work?” It was organic. The moral of the story is, if you are out to seek closure, do so with a clear mind. Give yourself time. Give the other person time, and don’t be offended if they tell you to kick hot rocks with no shoes on. Conversations such as these should only be had when your emotions are not running high and you aren’t stuck in the past, being a professor of revisionist history. My current version of closure is learning to accept an apology that I may never receive and moving on with my life. An understanding of why you hurt me does not make the pain any less devastating, and a half-assed sorry is not a percocet for my broken heart. Most people’s egos will not allow them to become vulnerable and hold a mirror up to their wrong-doings, so I would rather not even try and end up disappointed. To each their own though, and I hope we all can seek the closure we need within ourselves.

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Black People Hate Each Other

There is nothing on this planet quite like a Black man. My father served as my first example of their resiliency in the face of adversity, their remarkable ability to exude warmth despite experiencing so much coldness from the outside world and the drive to succeed while playing with a hand of cards that would have made most give up and surrender themselves to a world that seemed hellbent on keeping them down. My dad is just one example of Black men who shatter the stereotypes that Black men are lazy thugs who do not take care of their hoard of illegitimate children, and for that I am remarkably proud of him. In a world where Black men and women are undervalued and
underrepresented, it is important that we uplift each other, yet the division between Black men and women is quite astounding and deeply saddening. Of course men and women collectively have struggled with relating to each other and finding common ground on issues such as equality, but when you live in a patriarchal society that is nothing beyond the norm. The issues within the Black community go much deeper than your old everyday “men are dogs” rhetoric. What happened between us that caused such a divide? Scroll through social media and you will see a plethora of harsh comments from Black men regarding Black women, Black women stating how they don’t need a man and how n*ggas ain’t sh*t and both sides recalling instances of how not having a father in their lives has affected them.

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Slavery: The Side Effects

Whether or not people want to believe it, slavery still has long standing effects on its descendants. In the scope of human existence, 200 years post slavery is merely a drop in the bucket of time. In fact, it is so recent that you could likely track down the owner of your great great great grandparents. So what does this have to do with the division between Black men and women? Everything. During slavery, it was key for slave owners to dismantle any type of unity between slaves. Slave marriages were not legally recognized and married slaves were always reminded that at the end of the day, they were both property of their master. Rape was a common method used to exercise this power, and the Black man was powerless to come to the aid of his wife, no matter how angry or provoked he felt. This created a resentment in the Black woman, as she had to live knowing that the man she bore children for and loved was powerless to protect her. On the other hand, the Black man had to carry the shame that he could not save his wife from being a victim, while also struggling with the fact that she had been with another man, regardless of the lack of consent on her part. It did not matter that this was just a consequence of the time period; a human being is going to feel the emotions appropriate for the circumstances. 7eb0f0eb2cca50cc2f872a5f0fde2f37The lack of rights for a slave did not make either party feel better just because that was the way things were. A husband and father are protectors, and having to witness your warrior powerless against your attacker will create a lack of trust, be it consciously or subconsciously. He could not shield his wife from being a victim, he could not prevent his children from being sold.  Aside from the violent nature of rape,  during and after slavery, Black men and women were not typically attracted to each other. Black women were (and often even now) portrayed as the “mammy”, overweight and in a position of subservience, usually around to clean up after White people and nurse their children. The Black man, on the other hand, was emasculated on a daily basis; how was he to respect himself or command respect from others? Not only was his manhood diminished, but he was also put into the role of the jester, the ‘schuckin and jivin’ minstrel. Of course there was still love among slaves, but is it unreasonable to presume that the level of respect and attraction was low? Slavery has had a significant impact on black love, and the black family has suffered because of it.

Family Feud

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Fast forward to now, and it is easy to see the continued discord between the Black man and woman. It is almost like we are socialized to not be together. Have relations improved much 200 years post slavery? I would have to say no. I could open any of my social media timelines right now and see an overabundance of disrespectful comments from Black men pertaining to Black women. The negativity spans across hair texture, skin complexion, attitudes, child support spite, parenting, body type, the list is endless. Black women express disdain for the Black man as well, but not at the concerning rates that Black men do. Lack of ambition and the absence of having the Black woman’s back are the main complaints; quite honestly the rest of the dialogue can be applied to any man. Brothas are extremely misogynistic towards sistas, and rap music has been a long time contributor to this issue. When our Black men grow up listening to “Bitches ain’t sh*t but hoes and tricks / Lick on these nuts and suck the d*ck,” why are we surprised when they lack respect for Black women? The number of male role models in the Black community are slim, so the rappers became the role models. Young Black women who were exposed to this type of music at a young age became desensitized to it; disrespect towards women became normalized for some in the Black community. Just because you are a fan of rap, however, does not mean you go out and disrespect women or tolerate disrespect but it is who-needs-black-girls-anymore-i-aint-say-it-i-6624607important to realize that the entertainment industry does have an effect on how we view each other. Each day I witness Black men and women at war with each other, and I always find it so interesting that I do not see other races putting each other down at such alarming rates, or at all. Never have I seen any of my White, Hispanic or Asian social media followers say their own women are trash, their men are deadbeats or put them down while uplifting another race. Is there anything wrong with dating outside your ethnic group? Absolutely not. What is wrong is condemning your people in the process. I have always found it astonishing that many of the qualities Black men shame Black women for, they also possess: darker skin, coarse hair, animated personalities, etc. It is definitely worth assuming that there is some self-hate stirring around within them that needs to be sorted out. Disassociating yourself from your own blackness will not make you less Black. If you hate yourself, you will want to distance yourself from anything that reminds you of the thing you are running from. The divide and conquer tactics used during slavery are still working. Black families in America have the highest rate of single parent households due to factors such as mass incarcerations and poverty, creating further resentment between the Black man and woman. Just like during slavery, many fathers were not present. Whether it be by choice or force, the consequences remain the same. There is a lack of trust between Black people that other races do not experience, because they did not face the trauma of slavery and Jim Crow. Willie Lynch’s method to control slaves was to spread fear, envy and distrust between them, and it is blatantly obvious that these tactics have been tattooed on the psyche of Black people. Fortunately, I have been noticing a slow but steady spread of unity within the Black community.

Spread The Love

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Thanks to social media, I have been noticing a lot more positivity spreading between Black people. This is not to say that there has been a lack of Black unity altogether, but I attribute the increase to the alarming rate in which Black men and women are being targeted and killed by police, and to some extent, our collective disdain for Trump. Regardless of the reason, it is refreshing and beautiful to witness. It is very important that we hold ourselves accountable for perpetuating the hate we experience from the outside world upon each other. I frequently see Black women (and men, however, to a lesser extent) on social media call out other Black people who spread false narratives regarding our people and who also perpetuate stereotypes. It is vital that we educate each other about the tactics that were put in place to ensure we never unify or view each other in a positive light. After all, by continuing to remain spiteful towards each other, the vision racist America had for us since we were brought here on slave ships remains successful. Sure, we have accomplished great things as a people and have conquered monumental obstacles, but our interpersonal bonds must be strengthened. 9b01c1750a0102e6f63f3e2cfd6d40a6Black people have to separate ourselves from the image the media has constructed. Black men are more than rappers, athletes, and criminals. Black women do more than have babies out of wedlock, twerk, and have attitudes with anyone who crosses their path. Our accomplishments are always seen with an asterisk by them, and we participate in the practice of not supporting each other. This can change! Support the ventures of your friends, encourage our kids to pursue their dreams, even if they are not the most practical. Until we let go of the mental chains of slavery, we will remain limited, our full potential imprisoned. The lack of trust between Black men and women needs to be repaired, as it is on life support and has been for quite some time. We are in need of open and honest dialogue, free from any spite or negativity. Communication heals, and it is time we begin this process. Our future generations will thanks us!