Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: When Friendships Don’t Grow 

Your friends in grade school are the ones you swear you will have for life. After all, they were there for many of the “firsts”.  They fought the fights, cried the tears and kept your secrets. Then you graduated and the simplicity of life soon gave way to college, work, distance and other interests. Some effort is made to glue it all back together but only a few from those years in school manage to stay on as friends. 

Then workplace friends, colleagues and network building begins. Common interests cause a natural gravitational tug towards others. After all, you see these people more than you see your family sometimes. Out of those relationships come real gems of friendships that manage to carry on well past the time you told that job to kick rocks and die. I like those kind of relationships because if workplace gossip is no longer the common denominator, you really know then that this connection is built on more than that. 

Then there is that friendship that’s been there for a minute but now it’s taken on the semblance of some crusty old bread.  You know the bread that managed to fall to the bottom of the toaster and you leave it there out of guilt. You’ve known this person for quite a while. You have similar interests. Your circle of friends are pretty much the same. People always expect to see the two of you in a crowd not too far apart. But the truth of the matter is, the distance you feel has less to do with actual miles and more to do with loss of connection. 

Nothing like closing out a year to cause one to do a friendship inventory. I know I do it every year. And every year I earn new friendships while I let some go. Some I take full responsibility for. Some I don’t. Some I meant to prune and others . . . well . . . life happened and it just wasn’t working out. 

I’m reminded that friendships don’t just grow on their own and they certainly aren’t sustained by pieces of tape and cheap glue. There’s a lot that goes into maintaining healthy female friendships. Accountability, transparency, humor, common values, similar drive in attaining goals—the recipe involves more than a girls night out and matching bracelets. It’s going through the muck of our respective lives. The joys of seeing each other succeed. The grief when our lives take a turn for the worse. The brutal honesty that’s needed to unscramble the chaos we find ourselves in. The in ya  face, cuss you out cause you my friend and friends don’t let friends fail at life. The  tenderness to sit in silence when all else fails. 

These all serve as nutrients to our friendship tree over the years. Frankly, not everyone is cut out to do it. Not everyone is cut out to be that friend to you.  Heck! Are you cut out to be that friend? Maybe your expectations were set too high for the wrong people in your life. Maybe God didn’t send them to fill those shoes for you. Maybe you need to think about the type of friend you’ve been and see if this is a reflection of how others see and treat you. 

There is no hard and fast rule to how you make and keep friends. I truly believe divine intervention created all of mine. There’s no logical reason why a shy and quiet girl turned introvert adult should have cultivated as many friendships over the years all on her own. I never had the wherewithal to make that happen on my own. My social awkwardness has ultimately made way for Him lead the way on how I treat others. Once God placed these people in my lives, I knew it was my responsibility to breathe life into these relationships. The texts. The random cards. The funny memes. The group chats. The “at the house” dinners. The early morning calls (and yes I do call people and speak on the phone). The conversations that should never make the cover of the newspaper. All make for beautiful memories. All make for great reasons to fight for your friendships. All make for great reasons why friendships grow. 

Distance, kids, marriage, jobs—-don’t use those as an excuse for letting your friendship tree grow brittle. Make the time. Make the effort. Make it why your friendships stay growing. 

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Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Don’t Settle 

On a long overdue phone check in with one of my mentors, she dropped a boulder sized piece of wisdom in my spirit. We were fleshing out the whole making poor choices in life thing. “We just choose to settle instead of being selective,” she said. So after I told her I was stealing that for my next blog, I spent another week chewing on this notion that yeah, women do spend quite a bit of time making allowances in their lives. The casualties of those decisions are usually at the expense of self. I thought about the many ways we tend to settle as women not just in the obvious ways but in the subtle, soul-stealing instances where inch by inch we find ourselves trading in our very essence for emptiness. 

Settling in the workplace. If you know your worth and you know your skill sets, there’s no reason why you should dim your light to make the next person look or feel good. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for collaboration and teamwork in an organization. After all, it’s the driving force for the better of the collective. But if I could go back and undue each time I bit my tongue rather than spea up for myself, I just know my success in some work spaces would have been more meaningful. Taking one from the team is settling. Covering up for someone else’s mistake is settling. Pretending you don’t know just so you won’t offend anyone in the room is settling. Opting not to show your true talents is settling. If they don’t appreciate what your bring to the table, bide your time, build your network base and bounce! 

Settling in your quality of life. I won’t waste the characters needed to prove our roles as women is INDISPENSABLE. Our aging parents know it. Our children know it. Our significant others (better) know it. So when we habitually fade out when it’s time to care for self, just know that it’s detrimental to the survival of self and ultimately our loved ones. I can’t tell you how many women I encounter who think of self as dead last. The therapist in me goes on red alert when I hear and see moms who don’t remember the last time they went somewhere alone. Daughters, caring for parents who have not breathed in some air in total silence. Wives who have not allowed themselves the space to step away if for just one moment. You settle when quiet time/mediation/time alone isn’t part of your routine. You settle when an exercise routine isn’t part of your regimen. You settle when you can’t remember the last trip you took to someplace without the word Disney in it. You settle when you feel guilty for wanting to be self-involved; even if it’s for a finite and brief moment in time. Call your village. Plan ahead. Carve out some time for yourself. 

Settling in your relationships. So I know you may have preferred a whole blog on “settling for the wrong man” but that horse is deader than dead. Again. Not enough characters. Relationships, be they amorous, platonic, your clique, your crew, your whatever, can either serve to bring added value or drain you. Remember those middle school spats? The “he say, she say” drama-filled issues that lasted all year long? The ones where no one even remembers how it started? Well…we’re all “growed” up and the spats have evolved into epic shade and truly petty behavior. When people tell me their “friend” have been causing them all types of stress for some years now, I tend to wonder how far we have come from the real definition of friendship. Friends don’t ignore your boundaries and violate your trust. Friends don’t leave you defenseless when others attack. Friends don’t let you go out looking any kinda way. Okay. That last one I had to throw in there. But you get my point. You settle when you accept disappointment without change. You settle when you ignore the red flags and refuse to speak up. You settle when you accept poor behavior and don’t expect change. You settle when you don’t allow time and space for crucial conversations. Speak your piece. Identify your non-negotiables. Exit stage left when you’ve done all you could. 

Unbury yourself from compromising and losing who you are, all for the sake of keeping the peace or maintaining the status quo. You’re better than that. You deserve better than that. 

How have you settled in life? What are some steps you’re taking right now to turn the tide on that?



Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Piece of A Man

She’s rushing to and fro. She’s searching high and low. She’s looking here and there. No, it’s not for that favorite pair of shoes. Or that purse she hardly used. Sistah girl is trying to piece together half of a man cause waiting on a whole one is like watching paint dry. On one of them tall buildings in Dubai. During humid season. 

She creeps out back windows. She pretends ignorance of his presence in public places. She scrolls through Facebooks posts. Patching up flash in the pan experiences to make something, anything of low key time spent with him. Piece of a man. 

She accepts the randomized efforts at affection. Random pecks on the cheek, even when they’re alone. He’d rather kiss the other creases on her body to even care to stare into her eyes. He’d rather pierce her body and ignore her soul. Piece of a man. 

Meals shared on a couch. Of a two star hotel. In silence. Gifts come in umarked boxes with no lyrical cards to tickle her fancy. The UPS man’s earnest smile is really the only reward that awaits at the door. As he passes along yet another gift she can’t brag on. Piece of a man. 

Her friends say “Girl, keep that man! At least you got half a man!” Yet they snicker behind  chat room texts on the foolery that had become her existence. Texting shade at her pitiful circumstances. Piece of a man. 

Her life a reality show without the check. A Shakespeare comedy without the laughter. Of one human being resigned to being resigned. Of a soul whose heart is spent piecing together a piece of a man. 

Like sitting at a table with a 5000 jig saw puzzle set. With one piece missing. Be it 500 pieces missing or just that damn-ed one. He’s still just that. A PIECE of a man. 

Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage

Sistah Take A Seat: Don’t Dull Your Shine 

I’ve been sitting on this Ayesha Curry Twitter rant for a minute, waiting to see how it would play out. I wanted to see who would come to her defense and who would drop her like a bad habit. Seems like the bipolar social media hounds are at it again with the teeth gnashing and the petty behavior.  One minute they were loving her quirky videos, her choice in clothing, her propensity for all things “domestic” and next they were hating her for having an opinion and actually sharing it. 

Some can argue that she should have tempered her words and avoided implications of coming against the NBA-her husband’s boss. After all, she did say that the NBA finals were “rigged.” Raise hands if you didn’t agree with Ayesha. Birds chirping. I thought so. I’m not here to belabor that. But I am here to explore the whole, women keep silent whilst their men go out and slay the dragons “gar-baj” I see is alive and well in 2016. A rather verbose sports commentator decided he wanted to go further and compare Ayesha with Savannah (Lebron James’wife). He essentially asked, why couldn’t Ayesha just sit at home and bake her cookies and stay out of man folks business? Well, that’s all it took! 

Disclaimer. I don’t ascribe to everything that feminism expounds. But I want my equal pay for my equal efforts. And I want you to “put some respect” on me as a woman who deserves to sit at the table where the plans are being drawn and the decisions are being made. My faith in Christ has already gained me equality in His eyes. I was fearfully and wonderfully made from day one and no amount of social media perceptions of women as objects can change that. I don’t operate in fear (most days) because my mind is sound and I am able to do all things because he gives me a soul deep type of strength. Regardless of what man has done to try and make me cower by the use of “religion” to magnify himself and minimize myself has failed.  I know very well that Jesus’ appearance on this earth cancelled out inequality among the sexes. Don’t get me started on where women stood in his ministry. That’s for a face to face. Just not tah-day. 

Back to Ayesha. Back to women at large. There’s a secret relationship book out there that says women should look pretty, act polite and keep their mouths shut. They are allowed a college education but not necessarily apply it. They are allowed to earn an income but not hold an opinion or share it. I mourn for the countless of women who have drank the “inferiority juice” and found their light slowly dim to a dull glow. I mourn for the women who died with dreams unrealized. I mourn for the women whose brilliance was never known while they were yet living. 

This was and should never be about the battle of the sexes. Our womanhood is not a handicap. It is a gift we give our men. They are the ones who “found a good thing” when our lives connect. Our wombs bear children. Our minds bear dreams and visions. When I’m blessed to find two individuals who decide to call their union a commitment in marriage, my silent prayer is always “Lord please let my sister remain true to herself, please let her never lose sight of her own purpose on this earth.”

For my sisters who seek that lifetime companion, seek one who will value your worth. One who will sit at the table late nights and go over the finances together. One who will call you first before he calls anyone else for decisions. One who will not become anxious when it’s your name that’s on everybody’s tongue. One who will recognize you as his “ezer kenegdo” his “strength and power.” One who will not shrink at the brilliance of your shine. 

There is plenty of room for the Ayeshas and Savannahs of this world. One likes to talk and be quirky and doesn’t mind being at the forefront. One is low key likely making waves that she rather not have promoted or shared on the public front. One should never make the other feel less of a person for the choices she’s made and the journey she’s chosen to take. 

Yet neither should ever, ever, ever let any man dull their shine. 

Current Events, Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage, Uncategorized

Sistah Take Seat: Upgrade Your Man

When Michelle LaVaughn Robinson saw Barak Obama pull up for their first date, I’m sure she didn’t envision secret service agents would be one day tailing him. What she did see was that huge hole in his car and may have had all sorts of thoughts running through her mind. Is this dude for real?!  I would like to think she had second thoughts. After all, she was his MENTOR! Their recent recounting of this first date ended with Michelle saying “I upgraded him!” FLOTUS didn’t walk away from her feelings of curiosity about this lanky young man with the cigarette dangling out the side of his mouth.  She went out on a second date and ultimately the longest date of their life.  

A lesson for all women be you single, dating, engaged, or married. Upgrade Your Man. 

Accept the flaws you’re willing to work with. You’re not perfect so don’t expect anyone else to be. You think men enjoy seeing hair in the sink or make up and other what-nots strewn about the counter? You think they don’t wonder about that odd personal habit you have? Let’s face it, some women can have some rather odd bordering on downright nasty habits. And their men love them nonetheless. Get over your need to point out his flaws which in the long run are truly minor. I can’t say what those are. We all have our own tolerances. Point is, stop sweating the small stuff. Is he responsible with his personal finances? Does he love his mama? Can he keep a job? Is his credit good? Can he drink in moderation? Can you take him to a dinner party and not be embarrassed? Girl, work out the rest. 

Focus on the bigger picture. We get so caught up in the doldrums of life that when we look over to our partner, we tend to forget how to remain optimistic. Wives are more susceptible to this. You’re years in, a few kids in tow, the dog bringing up the rear with the mortgage, college savings lagging close behind. Big picture thinking says, you are raising future leaders who are going to impact God’s Kingdom with all you deposited in their lives.  In the dating phase it may show itself in getting easily frustrated with personality differences, different levels of education, or minor differing philosophical viewpoints.  You got two degrees and he has half of one. His swag needs some improving. You knew that going in. Big picture thinking says you stand as an encourager for not who he is right now but who he will become tomorrow. 

Upgrade, upgrade. We live in a world where it’s expected that you set aside something once you are bored with it. Those shoes don’t fit. Set it aside. That hairdo isn’t au courant, then switch it up. That man isn’t living up to your expectations. Next! Single ladies, I am not saying to remain with a batterer, alcoholic, drug user, or ill tempered man. You are not Jesus Christ cause He is the only one who saves. Drop that “Mother Theresa” act and save your life! What I am saying is to take stock of what is working and what is not. In your journal write the Grows (areas that need improvement) and Glows (areas that are going well) in your relationship. Then sit back. Reflect. Pray. God will send that still small voice to whisper truth into your ears. And when He does, please heed His words. Unhappily married women everywhere plead that you do! They ignored the whispers, and ultimate screeching and have a heavy bag of tears to prove it. 

I look back fondly at those times when my husband and I would take the local bus to the movies. Or the time he bought a car that didn’t need a key to start it. Or the Scooby Doo van we rode around town in. Or the times he had to borrow a car to come get me late at night from work. I miss those “one car days” cause we started out our days together. Never belittle humble beginnings. Upgrade your relationship. Don’t be in such a hurry to trade it in. 

Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage, Uncategorized

Sistah, Take A Seat: Say I’m Sorry

Sequels to movies can either do one of two things. They can be successful or they can be a bust. So it goes in the world of blogging. I got a lot of positive traction for my “Sistah, Take Seat” blog last week. I’ve frankly been kinda scared to think about writing another one. Yikes! But one can never say (or write) enough about single women living their lives, doing big things and navigating their way through the issues of the heart. 

The hubster and I literally had to drop all commitments on our busy calendars to attend a one night marriage conference this week. It was by a well known expert on all things relationships and I’m happy we did. All I could think about while there was man! How many single men and women would definitely be their better self if they could get this stuff BEFORE they said I do?! Everyone is so hot to get in a relationship, take Facebook pictures with the googly eyes and then what? The hard work that goes into relationship building is more than a cell phone photo. Lawd knows it is! 

The speaker was a white southerner who spoke the king’s country English. Well I’m bringing it to you like your big sister, who you half can’t stand sometimes cause EVERYTIME you come to her with your problems she had the nerves to be honest and give you the business, the Fortune 500 type of business. 

Men can do some dumb things. No denying that. But let’s be honest we are no saints either. We just do better with making ourselves look good. Before you know it, dude is apologizing for something he never did! He does enough of that and you will wonder why the phone calls stop and he’s moved on to the 2.0 version of you. Bigger and better cause you wouldn’t, couldn’t learn how to apologize. 

Express regret and accept responsibility. Tell your man what you’re sorry for. Just saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t work anymore. Babe I’m sorry for not coming to you first to discuss this. Boo, I’m sorry for being out of hand and disrespecting you in public. Honey, I’m sorry for putting our business on that GroupMe chat. Learn to admit your wrong in a matter. Psalm 51:17. Luke 15:21

Offer to make restitution. It’s one thing to apologize and accept responsibility. It’s another to make restitution. That would mean you would have to make it right. Batting your eye lash extensions and rubbing his arm is NOT restitution. You embarrassed him in public, you better apologize in public. You didn’t allow him to take the lead on a decision. You better make sure you give him space to do that next time. You ignored his requests to spend time together to cause you wanted to hang out with your girls. You better make the next date night a hella good time. Make right what you made wrong

Genuinely repenting. So you have apologized. You have even made it right. Don’t do it again. Yeah. I know we’re all human. But you only got a few times to make the same dumb mistake before you get deleted off his phone and from his life. How many times you think dude is going to want to have to hear your banshee voice on the other end of the phone? Or all them capital letters on his text messages? Or the same old, “Babe I won’t do it again!” followed by some fake crocodile tears. Girl Bye! I said it before and Imma keep saying it. Cute don’t keep a man! Acts 2:38

Requesting forgiveness. The speaker said 10% of the population doesn’t ask forgiveness. This is a direct influence from how they may have been raised by their fathers. In my head I was like that’s gotta be wrong because I’m like the 1% right up in there. But he got the dad part right. Parental and life conditioning has taught us that asking for forgiveness is a sign of weakness on our part. We’re punks if we ask for forgiveness. We’re carpets to walk on if we ask for forgiveness. No, dear sistah. What we are is a relationship on its way to a glorious death if we don’t. Forgiveness is a healthy response to a sincere apology. When we have gone through the process of apologizing it is that final act that releases you and the offended party from the bitterness that tends to seep into the soul, oozing into the heart and manifesting in the form of mental and physical illness. No human being on earth is worth that kinda obligation. None. 

We think  that a beat face, three college degrees, 20 inch Brazilian hair, an extensive vocabulary, talents in the kitchen and butterfly wing lashes is what a man wants. Surprise surprise (in my Gomer Pyle voice), buddy has moved on to a woman who has got way more substance than you ever will. When you’re on your couch with a pint of Starbucks Caramel Machiato ice cream pining for that same man whose now googley eyeing with some other chick I hope you have a heart to heart with yourself and the Holy Spirit about what in the hell went wrong and what needs to happen to make it right. 

Start out small. Open your lips. And start with these three words. I am sorry. 

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/when-sorry-isnt-enough/

Faith, Life Coach, Uncategorized

Squad Goals: Real Friendships That Matter

There are studies out there that highlight the importance of healthy relationships among women.  From lowered stress, reduced therapy bills and lowered health risks–there is something to be noted about the benefits of having strong relationships among women. Not the sprawling kind that men experience where they are 20 deep at a strip club or football game; but the intimate group, handful of trusted gal pals who form your inner sanctum. There is something to be said about who you choose and how you choose girlfriends to be part of your inner circle. 
Choose Authenticity. If you can’t trust a woman to be her true self in your company, to show vulnerability and fear when she’s at her lowest then it’s all in vain. Friendships shouldn’t be about guessing games. The act of taking off and putting on a “pretender’s” mask becomes exhausting after a while. Your friends should know your true self. And you should be able to accept them for who they are. Warts and all. Life is too short trying to be something you’re not. If there aren’t people who have not seen you without your proverbial make-up on, then it truly sucks to be you. 

Choose A Challenge. If your friends aren’t encouraging or downright pushing you to be your personal best, then that’s cause for concern. I’m not talking about friendships where the latest purse and shoes is the topic of every conversation type friendship. Let’s face it, you may have a friend making twenty stacks more than you (that’s $20,000 in layman’s terms). If she goes out and buys a coat from some famous maker and you go down the street to Thrift-R-Us, that’s cool. Do you boo! I’m talking about the friends who hears you complain about a job and finally gets tired of the complaining and says “what are you going to do about it?” Or the friends you call when you’re thinking of quitting your well-paying job. One just wants to make sure you have insurance at the end of the day. And one is like girl, for it! Gotta have those type of friends in your circle. Challenging you to make moves even when you “scurred.”

Choose similar values. If we can’t see eye to eye on this one then the other two choices won’t come natural. My girlfriends are all believers in Christ. With that comes a set of values that may be part of societal norms, like not committing homicidal crimes and such. But there are other things attached to our faith that doesn’t make sense to society but it’s just how we roll. We trust God to handle our light weight therefore the possibilities of living a drama free life is a bit higher in my crew. We’re not perfect. Not by a long shot! But we all know that there is a guiding force that sets the tone  for how we live our lives on earth. 

It took me quite a bit of living to realize that there are indeed circles of influence. I learned I couldn’t confuse my sorority, community partners, workplace colleagues, church folks, book club, professional connections with my true squad goals. Yes people. Not all church folks are supposed to be in your inner sanctum. Every sphere has a purpose in my life. But when push comes to knock me down, I know who I can call. That’s just how it is. 

Choose well. Choose wisely. 

Proverbs 13:20: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

“Thank you for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidante. And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew. You would see, the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND.”–Golden Girls Theme Song