Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

Welcome to the random (and sometimes ratchet) ramblings in my head about life, love and pop culture.

Are We Being TOO Hard on Lawrence and other Insecure thoughts

Photo credit: HBO

After my last blog post, I’ve braved more than a few conversations with the #Lawrencehive on my perceived flaws of Lawrence (Insecure series character on HBO). None more critical and thought-provoking than those that I had with my little brothers, my husband and my bestie’s Hubby. While I’d probably dismiss any notion that champions this character given his highly questionable decision-making and my ultimate issue with him being the implied genesis of his and Issa’s relationship catastrophe, I’ve been moved to pause and reflect. My men hold an incredibly powerful place in my life and I don’t (and won’t) easily dismiss their thoughts. I love them. I honor them. I believe them to be of sound mind and heart. So … if my men tell me that I need to “check myself” and have banded together in confusion about my lack of sympathy for Lawrence, I pause, I ponder and I reconsider.

Here’s where my argument started (and still strongly feel it has merit):

I believe Lawrence to be the genesis of his downward relationship spiral.  What do I mean? In the journey of love there is a driver and passenger (or co-pilot). On a road trip (i.e. a relationship) both parties have equal responsibility in ensuring a safe journey with a bomb playlist (#IJS); however, the driver has a slightly enhance role as his/her actions affects the safety of everyone in the vehicle.  If the driver falls asleep at the wheel, rarely do you awake to a perfectly intact car and safe passengers. More often you awake, if at all, to catastrophe, destruction and fatalities. It is my opinion that while in the driver seat, Lawrence fell asleep at the wheel of his relationship (an unintentional offense, but an offense nonetheless) with Issa as his passenger. When he woke up, it was on life support.  While his efforts to right-set the offense were valiant and Herculean, and deserve kudos for humbling himself to even try, it was too late. The genesis of an issue is important because if there is no analysis of the start, the trigger, the prompt, you can’t really get to the foundation to fix it. Think about it! Anytime you’re fixing anything in your car, your home, etc., the person servicing your issue explains the problem by first explaining how it started. I don’t think it was overnight, nor do I think Lawrence is the REASON for ALL of his and Issa’s problems. I believe there were issues present that were triggered by him disconnecting into a spiral of sadness from failing to achieve post-graduate success. It’s my theory, but I’m thinking it’s relatively sound science. His failure to succeed drove him to completely disconnect for TWO. YEARS. I don’t know about you, but in this microwave, convenience-based society, I don’t know anyone who’s going to wait for their partner to awake from a TWO YEAR sleep. AND, I don’t anyone that has taken a road trip, fallen asleep at the wheel for TWO YEARS and woke up to a “slightly dented used car” (something that one of my men said).  Do you? I’ll wait …

Now – I argued this point sporadically for a week and intensively over 48 hours. My Husband and I actually went to sleep on opposite sides of the bed over the weekend (which don’t be happening in the Haley household cause we ‘bout. that. Life), my middle brother said he was “extremely disappointed” while our youngest brother looked on in disbelief, and my bestie’s Hubby said “there’s just some things women will never understand about being a man”. All of these things bothered me! What am I missing?!? I was SO sure that my argument would be well received by the men in my life. It wasn’t. And now they are looking at me like I’ve somehow become one of “those women” who are grossly disconnected, incredibly unfair, bitter and illogically favor convenience in my arguments (i.e. logic that works as an argument for women, but would never be used to explain the actions of men).

So … I listened. I argued all of the way, but I DID listen. Here are the points that managed to pass my bullsh*t test and take residence in my brain for contemplation:

  1. Issa cheated. When she did, women immediately began to explain it away thereby giving license to her fault by looking at Lawrence’s actions as the cause. In what world do we do the same for men? When a man cheats, do women begin to have the philosophical argument about the women’s culpability in his actions? What lead him to it? Or is he just a cheating-a**, lying a** dog? The end. #thingsthatmakeyougohmm 
  2. Lawrence’s offense was unintentional. Issa’s was intentional. Generally I’d argue that if a gun goes off by mistake or via aim and shoot, what’s the difference if the result is death? BUT, my men argued that the difference is what remains. Unintentional offense can be healed much easier than one with intent.
  3. Lawrence was asleep at the wheel, BUT he did wake up. He tried to fix it. He gave it his all. He even took a job that he was ashamed to take to prove his commitment. He professed his love and apologized for disconnecting. He even took her to THE ring store. He made the effort and Issa ignored them all. Most women would go NUCLEAR if their man went on to cheat AFTER she began making the effort to course correct unintentional offense. Think about it. She cheated AFTER recommitting to the relationship and AFTER he’d began to contribute. I know, I know! I hear those of you gasping with “but”, but really think about what you’d do if hurt in this way. #putyourbiggirlpantieson
  4. Are we too hard on black men? Are we too hard on men, period? My Husband often argues that I don’t give him the space to be human or show fear, hurt, annoyance, and any other of the vast amounts of human emotion without quickly reminding of his spiritual responsibility to lead. Somewhere, I got the notion that leading meant modeling the expected behavior even when you don’t feel it. When you show fear as the leader, your followers can’t help but feel it too. But, Hubby Honey continues to share that he will have human moments of imperfection in his emotional response to life’s curve and that he should be allowed to experience those emotions WITH my support rather than my immature desire to seek attention or leadership elsewhere.
  5. Maybe … Lawrence isn’t the issue at all. Maybe … it’s Issa. Much of season one is written from her point of view and we’re shown an unfiltered view of just how self-absorbed she’s become in the process of this relationship. Even her best friend becomes sick of her antics. We assume her rebellion is due to Lawrence’s personal demise, but … is it? We are introduced to them in the midst of their issues and even though we’re given a full view of all of Issa’s foul and a limited view of Lawrence, we’ve focused on Lawrence. How did she escape being the focus of this conversation? Especially given the tangibility of her intentional harm (i.e. the cheating)? #howSway

Listen, I’ve been clear from the start that I’m NOT #TeamIssa. The women on her team are ridiculous. Point. Blank. Period. I don’t applaud mediocrity. I’m not friends with it. I don’t invite it over for dinner. And, I certainly don’t rally behind it in some antiquated “tits before d*cks” belief system. I believe in accountability. I look to the genesis of an issue because it’s the best way for both parties involved in the relationship to understand what happened so that they don’t repeat the mistake again (whether with each other or with someone else). I AM the chick that is quick to tell the girlfriend with the cheating boyfriend that she needs to check the spirit that allowed the behavior and contemplate the genesis of where it was seeded within her that harmful behavior is acceptable. I also counsel that she should take a look at how she’s culpable. She may not be, but it’s irresponsible not to take a comprehensive look at the issue. You’re not looking for blame, you’re looking for revelation that will lead to an awakening.

I think Lawrence is fundamentally a good guy. I respect his efforts to be honest and do the right thing (albeit slow on the execution).  Any maybe … just maybe … I rushed to explain bad behavior instead of first admonishing it. It wasn’t my intent to give license to Issa’s behavior, but perhaps in failing to make it the focus of the debate, I did.

SO! I don’t think I’m sold on Lawrence’s relationship skills and I will say that Tasha’s EPIC read of him being a “f*ck boy who thinks he’s a good dude” felt like a TRUTH moment that even he felt, BUT I think I’ve been too hard on him. And honestly, I haven’t placed enough focus on Issa’s accountability. None of us have.

Lawrence has a hive because men feel this is a clear open and shut case of right and wrong. And for once, they aren’t on the foul side. They’ve banded together to defend that.

Who can blame them?

Love you. Mean it.

@AskThePRGirl

*all GIFS from Giphy

No Cape for Lawrence and Other Unsolicited Thoughts

Who isn’t a fan of HBO’s HIT series Insecure created by the uber funny, hella magical black girl Issa Rae?? If you haven’t watched it or know not of what I speak, a couple things:

  1. STOP reading and/or unsubscribe from my blog. Your life and the choices that lie therein are highly, highly questionable. I rebuke you in the mighty name of Jesus.
  2. That’s it. So let it be written. So let it be done.

For the rest of us who have been biting our nails in anticipation of Season Two after Issa cheated, Lawrence left (and bagged the bank teller), and Molly exemplified the REALEST actualization in girlfriendship drama (i.e. I’m not happy with myself, but I’m gone project my bullsh*t onto you so that you get mad at me, thus giving license for me to get mad at you so that I get the balls to tell you how I REALLY been feeling about you and/or your life choices and I don’t care if you mad but … wait … something happened?! Girl, I’ll be right there!), last night was a welcomed family reunion to see what we’ll learn next about our fave people.

While watching the episode, my Hubby Honey made it VERY clear that he is #TeamLawrence out in these skreets and has decided to join the brotherhood of support around this sad, sad character. And while I understand and appreciate how men are rallying to ideally support “caping” for Lawrence, there a few simple insights into why it doesn’t make sense to women (namely me and my girls) AND how it makes you look slick undesirable. But before I start, let me say:

*picks up megaphone* Issa was wrong to cheat on Lawrence! I REPEAT FOR THE CHEAP SEATS – ISSA. WAS. WRONG. When they discussed their relationship and agreed to be “all in”, it was her responsibility to honor that mutual, consensual decision and be honest about how she was feeling about the relationship. I’m saying that now before I end up having to respond to a whole bunch of foolishness. Please understand that my subsequent opinions are rooted in the fact that I believe her to be wrong. Okay??

 

HOWEVER …

  1. Lawrence left that relationship LONG before she was distracted by the unrealities of cheating. He checked out. You’re living on the couch, sulking and treating her like your maid and your Mama instead of remembering that she’s your WOMAN – a being perfectly capable of wearing those hats as needed, but irresponsible to require her to prioritize them long term. He changed the pace and vibe of the relationship and opened the door to her “distraction”. #issavibe #issayofault
  2. Good sex (aka blowing a woman’s back OUT) will make her forgive, forget and sit blindly within the most epic of tomfoolery f*ckery in a relationship. I’ve known women *ahem* to keep running behind a jobless, inconsistent, penny-less, etc., etc., man because he was literally, tangibly introducing her to Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Meshach and Abednego between them sheets at night. Why is this relevant? Because if Lawrence had been stroking and proving in the bedroom with Issa the way he did with the bank teller, PUH-LEASE believe Issa wouldn’t have cheated. Who tryna give up some good D for stability in your 20s (or early 30s)?? I don’t know that chick. The convo would go something like this:
    • Molly: Why you still fooling with Lawrence’s “can’t get off the couch”, “I need my mama” lookin ass?! Girl, if you don’t get your life and do better!
    • Issa: *stands bow-legged and wobbles* GIRL, BYE! My man is a dreamer with a LOT of untapped potential. In fact, let me go home and encourage him!
    • The. End.
  3. Lawrence didn’t fight for Issa. At all. And, he didn’t prove himself to be the type of man that can lead when the going gets tough. He’s fighting like hell right now to restore his shattered sense of manhood and make Issa hurt the way she hurt him, but he didn’t fight for himself, her, or their relationship when it mattered. I remember once that I asked my friend why she was distancing herself from a guy. She said (and I remember this like it was yesterday), “He’s all over the place. At the end of the day, I can’t trust him to lead me. I can’t trust that our future would be safe in his hands.” Women expect a man to fight for them and lead when the going gets tough. You’re human, Fellas. We get that you’re going to have down moments filled with doubt, worry, fear, disappointment, etc., and that’s okay, BUT equally important is your ability to dust off, fight and lead. When you show inability to do that, we quietly take our chips off the table. And, since you’re already running the whole “wounded bird routine”, we wouldn’t want to risk you actually slitting your wrists over a failed relationship too! So, we stay longer than we should and we lie. Why? To protect the possibility of our rebound (yes! things could get better though they rarely do once a woman has gathered her chips) and to protect what’s left of your manhood. It’s not right, but it’s real.

SO … for all of you out there SO ready to toss a cape on Lawrence and parade his ass through the city streets on your shoulders like the second coming of male pride, please take a look at the level of mediocrity you’re championing and how doing so says a LOT about the fragility of manhood.

Lawrence gets no cape. I REPEAT – Lawrence gets NO CAPE. If anything, take his ass out for a drink and talk some sense into him. Let him know that he woke up to a relationship already on life support and the demise was by his own hand. #issatruth

Love you, mean it.

(and don’t you LOVE Insecure?!?! *squeal*)

@AskthePRGirl

*all photos/gif from HBO and Giphy

And the Award Goes to …

Tales in being #WifeoftheYear and the day I made my Husband squeal (for a reason other than the one that just popped in your head)

Hands down, my husband is the greatest man walking the earth (to me). He’s wise, just and fair. He’s level-headed and calm (which is great because I’m generally a nut case 80 percent of the time). He’s a great father and an excellent example of just about everything for the children (which is great because Lillian started cursing at two because of me). He’s funny, sensitive to our needs, a hard worker and a great provider. I know, right?! We hit the jackpot, people!! You know this by my social media posts. Those posts aren’t to brag, that’s our real life! Honest!

My Hubby-Honey deserves all of the good stuff we can find to give him, but life gets in the way at times. Between buying a new house last fall, my brother and sissy-in-loves wedding, keeping up with the children and work schedules that continue to intensify, finding time to “check-in” with each other becomes harder and harder. Even more so, finding time to celebrate / appreciate each other is even harder. BUT, we’ve made the commitment to keep each other first so it’s an imperative that we refuse to let slip.

For Mother’s Day, my husband bought me a new MacBook and accessories.

What the hell am I supposed to do to top that??? It’s not a competition, but IT IS AN EFFING COMPETITION, you know what I mean?! He got the children looking at me like, “Whatcha gonna do for Daddy??” Son of a b*tch! I thought we weren’t spending money like that this year. I was unprepared! I was planning a nice dinner and some kid-free time. You can’t do that after someone surprises you with a new freaking MacBook! And so, I re-calibrated. Time to figure out how I can top his ridiculously awesome gift. This. Is. War!!!!!

I remembered that Dave Chappelle was coming to Atlanta for a week. BINGO! Dave Chappelle is on Hub’s top five list of comedians to see live. YES!

BUT, tickets have been sold out FOR-EVER. DAMMIT!

OH! STUBHUB!!! (note: NOT an endorsement or promotion. A b*tch just remembering her options.)

I race to the site and begin looking at ticket options. HOLY HELL! WHY are people trying to petition a lower left section of my lung and a ventricle for these tickets?! I’m not paying you $700 per seat!! Have you lost your …

WAIT! LOOK! Seats in the third row for less than $300!!

COME THROUGH JESUS! Grabbed the seats and began my plan to make my very reserved, humble, salt of the earth Husband, squeal like a girl.

On Father’s Day, he woke to a full-cooked breakfast and gifts of love from the children. After we ate, he plops onto the couch prepared for his “Daddy Do Nothing Day” (an unspoken rule on celebratory days in the Haley household). Just as he pulled up the blanket, got cozy on the couch and grabbed the remote, I hit him with the old Kansas City shuffle (note: I have no freakin idea if that’s what I did because I’m not actually familiar with what the eff a Kansas City Shuffle is, but it sounds good so let’s just go with it, kay?).

Me: Babe. I need you to go upstairs and pack an overnight bag.

Hubs: Overnight bag? For what?? What’s happening? What’d you do?? *insert excitement*

Me:

Me: Just do it! And pack something for going out tonight. Need you to look nice. We’re leaving in one hour.

Mom comes over as planned and we say goodbye to the children. We head out to the mall to take him shopping, check-in our hotel and grab lunch.

Side note: If you EVER visit Atlanta or need a staycation locally, I highly recommend the Intercontinental Hotel! Service is always great and they have a ham bar. Yes! A. Ham. Bar. Thinly sliced, cured ham served with house-made crackers, whole grain mustard and this dreamy apricot and peach jam. Lawd ta mercy!!! It’s heaven!!!

Back to my story … sorry about that intermission from my inner fat girl.

Hubs: Soooooo … what’s up for tonight?

Me: Welllllllll ….. I wanted to surprise you with a romantic ride on the Atlanta Skyview!!!!!

Now … my Husband does NOT do heights at. all. And the Skyview is a GIGANTIC Ferris Wheel. If a black man could turn white, this would have been the moment when it happened. But, true to form, my Husband would NEVER poo poo something that I’m excited to give him. He loves me too much to make me feel like a gift from my heart isn’t everything to him.

Hubs: OH! *looks nervous* That … sounds great, Babe! I’m sure it’ll be … *gulp* GREAT!

Me: JUST KIDDING!!! YOU HAVE THIRD ROW SEATS TO SEE DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE CHAPPELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!!!! TONIGHT!!!!!

Hubs:

We head to the show and have a wonderful time. The opening act was a girl who could only be described as a dirtier, darker Amy Schumer. I loved her. The second act was a guy named Mo Amer who has appeared on the Late Night with Colbert. He KILLED it. We laughed SO hard. My face was hurting when he left the stage.

And then it happened.

DJ Trauma (Chappelle’s tour DJ) said something about “From Broad City” and I felt my Husband’s body tense. All of a sudden, Hannibal Buress walks out and my dear, sweet husband let out an audible man squeal.

BEST. MOMENT. OF. MY. LIFE.

And then … there was Chappelle.

He was incredible!! He’s clearly having a glorious moment in his career. He tackled issues of relationships, politics and more. It was such a great thing to experience together. And like a kid enjoying his favorite activity in the world, my Honey soaked in every minute. My shy, introverted, reserved Husband gabbed ALL THE WAY BACK to the hotel about how much he enjoyed it. His exuberance was infectious. And cute.

We ended the night with a ridiculous room service spread that should have fed five people, but we were high off laughter and didn’t want the fun to end. We talked and talked, laughed about nothing and then … he made me squeal … (and yes, I mean THAT … this time … *side eye glance and wink at your dirty mind*). #marriedandunashamed

While I thought it would certainly merit a fair share of “thanks Babes” for a night with Chappelle, I didn’t realize how much it would mean to him. This night was more than a cool experience. It told my Husband that I’ve paid attention to what delights him and THAT was what made the gesture, the element of surprise and the actuality of the experience so much more special. I paid attention during a time in our lives when doing so has become harder and harder as we get busier and busier. I paid attention.

And so, I humbly accept the award for #WIFEoftheYear. I’d like to thank my Mama for always rolling through in a clutch to keep these kids. I’d like to thank my covenant partners and friends who have been in marriage MUCH longer than me because they constantly remind me not to sleepwalk through my relationship, and never take it for granted. I’d like to thank my children for being well behaved enough that people will still babysit them. Shout out to Dave Chappelle and Hannibal Buress for sealing the deal on this much deserved honor. And, I’d like to thank my Husband, for making it so damn easy to want to  lean into him. To pay attention to him. He’s worth every moment of effort.

Love you. Mean it.

@AskthePRGirl

All gifs sourced from Giphy

 

AskThePRGirl and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Trip

Lessons in clubbing while “old”, girl tripping and understanding that the road to hell is paved with good intentions

Traveling is generally a fabulous thing. At this moment in my life, anytime I get free/me-time absent of wife and mommy responsibilities, I’m so excited. It’s hard to find moments that allow you to steal away time to simply think about self, have fun and do crazy lady things. So you have to know that while leading the planning for my Sissy-in-love’s bachelorette weekend in Miami wasn’t my first choice, especially considering my daily schedule and demanding career, I realized that attending (and having a KICK ASS time) would make up for it. That’s as close to a win, win that you get in my book.

Six ladies traveled together to hot, sexy Miami to celebrate Sissy’s upcoming nuptials to my little brother. We came from far and wide to kick it with her and help shepherd one more moment of debauchery before she turns in her card. A VIP experience + six HOT women + Miami = The. Greatest. Weekend. Ever!! Right?

Wrong.

The East Coast was hit with a massive storm the night before our departure. All canceled flights were pushed over to our travel start date. We were hit with major delays and cancellation after cancellation. I’d booked a first class ticket for the bride to meet me in ATL and fly together to Miami. Unfortunately, Delta canceled ALL flights to Miami from Nashville which left her stranded. After spending almost 10 hours in the airport, hours and hours on the phone with Delta, hours and hours of standing in line with gate agents and an inside Delta rep doing her best to help, we rebooked the Bride on a flight the next day. She was forced to miss the first night of her big trip.

Shit.

Well, I can’t control the weather, but I felt I could ease the disappointment by ensuring from the moment her feet touched the ground in Miami, it was FABULOUSITY. I sent a car service to pick her up from the airport. I put out welcome bags stuffed with small liquor and drugstore treasures for the crew, and prepared myself to be her bitch for 48 hours. All I needed was a five hour energy, a couple shots and prayer.

*gulp*

The day went well! We lunched off Collins and sunbathed poolside at the Shelborne. We were queens for the day. Dinner was DE-LISH. We got VIP entry to LIV, and after a day of drinking, we were ready to dance it off. Now … I’m starting to feel the lull and severe exhaustion. Let’s be fair – I’m generally in bed by 10pm on most nights. At this point, it’s 12:30am and DJ Mustard (the featured DJ) had yet to spin. BUT, I’m a soldier. I can do this!! I used to shut the club down! It’s just like riding a bike, right?? Wrong. By 2am when DJ Mustard finally hit the stage, I was delirious with exhaustion. Add that to all of the drinks I’d consumed over the past 10 hours and my body was on the brink of legit collapse. I was so tired (and drunk) that my vision was blurry. I was seeing, but not seeing. I had to pee, but couldn’t find the bathroom. And the girls – they were dispersed all over having the time of their lives.

At 4am, I realized we needed to get the hell out of there. The club closes at 5AM and no self-respecting woman should be there when the “clean-up crew” comes through. You know what the “clean-up crew” is, right? NO?? Well, let me explain. It’s the dudes who wait for the club lights to come on to find the sad, desperate bitch still standing there so that he can take her home. Now … I’ve shut down a club in my day, but I’ve NEVER been around for the “clean-up crew”. What I look like?? #howboutdat

Like herding cats, I gathered every giggly, crunk/drunk one of us to exit the club and order an Uber. Poor, poor Uber driver. He was marginally cute and didn’t speak much English. The girls were SAUCED and began to touch his arms and neck and head telling him how cute he was.

“Do you work out??”

“You look like you work out.”

He didn’t. It was the alcohol talking.

We made it back to the hotel safely with only the mild complication of a missing phone in the Uber. He returned it. All is well.

The next day, we go to breakfast and I feel … like death.

My skin hurts. My eyes hurt (I forgot to take out my contacts). My knees hurt from standing, walking, dancing in stilettos all night. My elbow hurt and I didn’t even know why. I wiped off only half of my makeup so I woke up looking like I’d been mugged and sexually assaulted in a dark alley, fought off my attacker and went to iHop. #truth

The bride wakes up looking fresh, beautiful and energetic. And so did her friends.

Ugh. I really hate young bitches.

We go to lunch and food makes me feel better, but the threat of something dark and ominous is still looming inside. After lunch, the girls decided we should walk down Ocean, see the sites and people watch. After five or six blocks, I broke a light sheen of sweat. And I’m not talking sweat from the hot Miami sun. I’m talking the type of sweat that communicates your body is trying to purge something nasty. In that moment, I didn’t know if it was coming out the bottom or the top. All I knew is that it was coming OUT. We stopped for water on the beach and while the girls decided whether to beach it or keep walking, I made my quick exit.

“Welp! I’m gone leave y’all too it,” I said abruptly while walking away.

“You’re leaving?!?” said The Bride

“Yep. I’ll meet y’all back at the hotel,” I said as I scurried off as fast as I could.

I’m sure they were thinking, “WTF??” But, to preserve my dignity, I got out of there. My 37 year old body made it clear that if I didn’t get the hell out of dodge, it was going to embarrass the complete shit out of me and all of them. The problem is that we were down on 5th and Ocean (give or take) and our hotel was at 18th and Collins (#FML). I started walking and just when I thought I’d pass out, an interesting, very butch Lesbian scooted up to hit on me. Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you it was Gay Pride as well.

“Hey, Baby! You look real sweet. You wanna ride?”

“Ummm. No thank you. I … wait … you know what?? Yes. You mind taking me to 18th and Collins??”

“I’ll take you anywhere you wanna go, baby. Get on.”

And thus is how I popped my cherry and rode a lesbian 13 blocks. *sigh*

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. At least she was nice … and she only reached back to grab my ass once … or twice.

I chilled at the hotel poolside and napped in the shade. I purged a few times in the bathroom, and when I woke up, I felt better. Felt like I could make it for our last night on the town. Unfortunately, drama unfolded which sorta derailed the evening, but what’s a trip with young bitches if some reality TV, I’m all in my feelings, I never learned how to use my words, passive aggressive, let’s talk about her but not to her, frenemy shit don’t pop off at SOME point?? *Ye shrug* It’s just par for the course to make the weekend memorable. The best “remember when” involves good drama. Ask my girl Nikki. We got young bitch stories upon stories from back in the day. #truth

I managed to make it back to ATL in one piece albeit after a three hour delay (freaking Delta). And I learned / remembered a few things along the way:

  1. You must hydrate when you’re going to consume an intense amount of alcohol. It’s the ONLY way to survive it without nearing the seventh circle of hell.
  2. The art of the shoulder shimmy and carefully synced head nod will save your feet and knees in an environment when everyone is dancing, and you’re too old to keep up.
  3. People don’t dance no mo. All they do is twerk. They bend over and wiggle. I remember a time when bitches had routines to go to a party or club. For real! Watch House Party (1 and 2). Those were the days …
  4. Men don’t approach anymore with style or swag or the type of confidence that makes you giggle. They literally just grab you by the arm like a f***ing police officer while you walk by, or in my case, grab your ass while sliding their fingers between your cheeks. I. Shit. You. Not. *blank stare* #wheretheydothatat
  5. Aging is mandatory. Maturing isn’t. Young bitches are still young bitches. Nothing shows you that like being among them for a weekend. That’s how I learned that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You can’t please a person hell bent on negativity, being petty and miserable no matter how hard you try. BUT, you learn and you grow. Hopefully. And at 37, you look back on all of your own young bitch moments and smile with perspective.

All in all, I survived it. And like Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I realized things could have been worse. I DID have fun! And the Bride enjoyed it, too (well … most of it sans the weather delays and the slick messiness). So … maybe it wasn’t so terrible after all?

Love you. Mean it.

@AskThePRGirl

(Post and artwork inspired by one of my kid’s favorite books: “Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz)

Aints and Saints

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Photo Credit: Alana Dae Photography

I’m going to say something that will be wildly unpopular with “Aints” (otherwise known as Saints that are Christian in title only) and likely give pause to Saints (or true Christians). It’s my opinion. Like it or not, it’s how I feel.

It bothers me when “Christians” use biblical principle to depress and condemn. It further bothers me when The Word of God is used as a weapon. Unfortunately, this behavior runs rampant in the black church (although clearly present across the board). It’s crazy that Black people are so critical and harsh given the freedoms and respect we continue to lobby for. Not too long ago, it was unlawful to marry us if you were of a different race and it was also considered vile to use the same water fountain or eat from the same table. Yet after all of these years, we’ll use God to hurl the nastiest condemnation and draw the harshest lines between “us” (saints) and “them” (sinners). That, my friends, is irony.

The God I know and serve is love. His guiding principles are love, grace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and redemption. You can live a life of reckless abandon and debauchery. If with your last breath you repent and invite Him into your heart, He will take you in and wash it clean. No questions asked. Just like that. It’s all He requires. Just one moment, of all the moments, He gives you in a lifetime. That’s how much He loves us. That’s how much He’s rooting for us to win.

I was recently ordained as a minister for the sole purpose of presiding over the wedding ceremony of my best friend. As I researched scripture in preparation for the ceremony, the Holy Spirit lead me to search how many times the word “love” appears in His Word. It is actually one of the most cited words in the Bible appearing on average 478 times (depending on the version). The only words that appear more are His name (God, The Father, Jesus) and “heart”. Why is this important? What does that tell me? That even though He gives the responsibility of following and adhering to the rule of his Word, He moves, decides, responds and even rebukes in … love. Our greatest responsibility is to exalt / honor Him and to LOVE.

Now, why has all of this bubbled up for me? Where am I going with all of this? Recently I watched the words shared by Kim Burrell condemning homosexuality and I have witnessed some of the fall out. And while I believe her to be an extremely gifted musical artist, and no doubt a woman of God and believer, she was dead wrong to go “there”. Why hypocritically condemn behavior or a lifestyle that you clearly turn a blind eye to when it plays a “mean keyboard” or directs your choir or stands proudly in your pulpit setting the tone for worship? Why judge behavior rooted in a struggle that you will NEVER understand? Why be so incredibly insensitive and disrespectful? I’m disappointed in her … as a fan and Christian woman. In fact, I’d be happy if the church took it’s hands off homosexuality altogether. I can’t imagine the shame a gay person must feel when they come to church looking to receive God’s peace and be embraced by His love and saving grace, only to be greeted by harsh conviction, biased condemnation and hate. That’s not God. That’s man’s interpretation of God. And it’s wrong.

Let me be clear: Hate speech is still hate speech even when it’s masked by biblical principle. Just because you use the Word to justify your hatred doesn’t mean you aren’t perpetuating a very real, disgusting and dangerous bias. And furthermore, you should check the spirit that’s guiding you to do so. I can assure you it’s not of God.

Rule of thumb: If an action is challenging to perform consistently (i.e. unconditional love, inclusion, acceptance), and you feel resistant to it, there’s a pretty good chance God is in there somewhere. Imagine all of the things He witnesses in every moment of every day and He still choses to love us. Can you imagine? Every rape, every murder, every lie and every heartbreak. He sees it all. And still, He only requires one moment to acknowledge Him … just … one. And in that split second He’ll scoop you up and never look back at one foul thing you’ve ever done. No greater love …

Are you capable of doing the same? Are you capable of loving like that? Well, I’d like to challenge you. Start there. Use your energy to love with wild abandon and do so unconditionally. You’ll win more hearts for Christ that way and you’ll certainly have a much healthier spirit and soul.

Love you. Mean it. No matter who you are and how you chose to live your life. When I make it to the gates and He audits my choices, I’ll stand proud that I practiced love above all.

@AskThePRGirl

Relationship Russian Roulette: An NYE Reflection

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I had a funny conversation with my girl the other day in which she shared that she recently came up disappointed playing the holiday version of Relationship Russian Roulette with her husband. What is that, you ask? Don’t mind if I do! It’s that conversation you have with your significant other where you both agree not to exchange gifts during a particular holiday or special occasion (e.g. Valentine’s, Anniversary, Christmas). As the holiday approaches, us females (and lets be clear, its always the female) begin to secretly hope that you got us something. Why? It’s romantic to be surprised and feel that awareness that you want to go over and above to please us. It’s Russian Roulette because if you get us something, we are on cloud 9 and you get sex. No harm done. If you don’t, we are utterly disappointed and slightly irritated, you’re confused because “isn’t this what we agreed”, and a fight ensues thereby killing the vibe, and likely, a bit of your relationship. It’s a horrible set up. I don’t know why we do it. I’ve learned not to do it over the years. My Hubby Honey knows I want a gift on every special occasion. Every special occasion?? Yes. E-V-E-R-Y special occasion. I’ve pushed out two of your big head kids and managed to preserve my sexy. Yes. I want a gift on every special occasion and every third Tuesday if you can manage it. #realtalk

But, I digress.

Her story tickled me because she’s newly married and it’s really sweet to see them find their way together. It also occurred to me how easily it is to unknowingly set your relationship up for failure based on unfair expectations and failure to communicate. I can think of many occasions where I’ve expected Hubs to just KNOW something that I never shared. And then I get mad because I expect him to react or behave in a way that I’ve created in my mind. It’s lunacy at best, and for some reason, I continued to do it. How much easier would it be if I just told him how I felt? If I told him what I wanted? What is this incessant need to keep our men living in an unending Hunger Games-style emotional guessing game??

Am I afraid he’ll think I’m too demanding? Am I afraid he’ll judge my desires as petty or petulant? Do I just not care to do the work? Maybe … a little of all the above? You wanna know the biggest piece of irony? My profession is communications. It’s what I do All. Day. Long. So, why not with him? Why must he guess?

If I’m honest, part of me wants to feel the imagined intimacy and excitement. I want to feel what it feels like to know that he knows me so well that I don’t have to communicate what I consider base-level, rudimentary things. Another part of me wants the thrill and romance of having that storybook guy who planned the romantic weekend or surprise party or got the gift anyway. Part of me wants to test if he’s paying attention. And another part wants to annoy him as retaliation for some random thing he’s done to annoy me. I know, I know. It’s petty, but it’s real! Stop judging! I’m sharing here.

In the end, I realize that more important than feeling the romance, excitement and exhilaration from Russian Roulette is my desire to protect the integrity of my relationship. I love and respect my husband. And, rather than find ways to weaken that integrity, I’d much prefer to find ways to honor our love. Because it’s good love. Really, really good love. It matters to me that we’ve still got “that loving feeling” after all these years. I don’t want to sabotage that because I randomly felt the need to be surprised with a gift.

I share that because while women are on point 98.7 percent of the time :-), we need a gut check every now and again. If you’re playing Russian Roulette with your relationship, even one that has stood the test of time, eventually that bullet will hit the chamber. And you’ve got to ask yourself, “Is that shot worth it.”

Probably not.

Just food for thought. I figured #NYE is as good a time as any for a little self reflection.

Love you. Mean it. And Happy New Year! May your greatest joy in 2016 be the least of your joys in 2017. 

@AskThePRGirl

When Will #BlackLivesMatter

Protesters take to the streets to bring attention to the push for justice in the Trayvon Martin case as they take over Rodeo Drive on July  17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jose Lopez)

Protesters take to the streets to bring attention to the push for justice in the Trayvon Martin case as they take over Rodeo Drive on July 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jose Lopez)

#truthtime

I live in an affluent, suburban neighborhood. I’m a model citizen. I drive a luxury vehicle and my clothing reflects my executive level professional position. I am a Christian woman. I am Black. Remember that.

Last year, I ran out of gas. I saw the reminder, but was busy trying to be my own version of Super Woman. I thought I had time. I thought I could make it home. My car shut down while I was on a conference call, at a red light, at a busy intersection. I was just across the street (albeit a four lane busy intersection) from the gas station.

I called Mercedes roadside assistance because they give you just enough gas to make it to the gas station. I started to get out of the car and go across the street to try to get gas. A man screamed to “get my f*cking car out of the way”. It spooked me so I got back in and decided to wait it out with my flashers on. Police arrived. I was THRILLED. Help is here!

The police officer (a woman) came to the driver’s side of my car.

She asked, “Ma’am. Why are you stopped in the middle of traffic?” (note: I was in the lane next to the right hand turn lane with ample space for folks to pass me on either side. It was inconvenient to traffic, but not in the middle of traffic.)

I responded, “Thank God you’re here. I ran out of gas! I’m so embarrassed. Can you help me?? The gas station is right there, but I’m a little afraid to leave my car. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to. I don’t know what to do.”

She said (clearly exasperated and annoyed), “Did you call police? You can’t just block traffic like this.”

I said, “No. I called my dealer car service. They are on the way with gas, but with traffic, I figured I could beat them to it. I just need help. Can you help me get over there and get gas?”

She said, “Ma’am. It’s against the law for you to leave your car and you’re breaking the law by blocking traffic. I’m calling a tow truck. If your fancy car service arrives before my tow, I’ll cite you a warning and you can be on your way. If not, I’ll have you towed. You can figure out the rest.”

I stopped talking and looked at her. Here I am. A woman. Clearly shaken. Looking for a solution. Asking for help. It hit me in that moment that she didn’t see any of that. She saw a Black woman. Someone who had the nerve to disrupt her day with something stupid like running out of gas. Someone she could care less about “protecting and serving”.  She saw a nuisance. Something that fed her prejudice. My husband even called to help (because he’s law enforcement and they usually have a code of helping each other in these scenarios). Nothing worked. She wanted to hurt me. Wanted to show me she was in power and I was … nothing.

The tow truck arrived. Just as they were about to link to my car, the Mercedes rep pulls up.

I said, “Thank God! You’re here!”

I look over to the policewoman and the tow truck guys to say, “Ok. There’s no need to tow me. He’s here. He can give me enough gas to make it across the street.”

The policewoman said, “I don’t care that he’s here. I told you if he arrived before my tow, I’d let you off the hook. But he didn’t. STEP! BACK! NOW!”

Yes, she screamed at me. Like … I’d offended her. Like … we’ve known each other in the past and I did something to her that required retaliation.

I became ENRAGED. And I thought to myself … today might be the day that I die.

It’s the first time something like that has ever occurred to me.

I turned to her and said, “I don’t have time for this foolishness. I have to pick up my children. The gas station is RIGHT. ACROSS. THE. STREET. You want to give me a citation. Fine. I’ll see you in court. But these people are NOT towing my car. Sir, please put gas in it.

She places her hand on her gun and starts to shout.

She said, “You’re going to do what I said do! I don’t give a f*ck about your kids! I don’t give a f*ck about you, ignorant b*tch. You think you can talk to me like this?!”

The Mercedes rep stepped in and began to explain to her why she should calm down. The tow guy walked over to me and said, “She wants me to tow you. How about you pay me a dollar and I’ll tow you across the street to the gas station. Sound fair?” His associate handed me his dirty handkerchief. It hadn’t even registered to me that I was crying.

I began to sob. I’d never felt so stripped of my dignity. Ever. In life. I’d never felt so worthless. So helpless.

She hears the tow guys and shouts, “FINE. Here’s your f*cking license. Do whatever you want.”

She throws my license into oncoming traffic, hops into her car and speeds away.

Thankfully, the men there (both the tow guys and the Mercedes rep) helped to retrieve my license. They got me across the street and even offered to be a witness if I wanted to file a complaint. I declined. I just wanted to get home.

Each time a black person is wrongfully shot and killed in this country, I think of this moment. I wasn’t breaking the law. I simply needed help … while black. And it almost got me killed.

I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t even know how to help this madness stop. All I know is …

I foolishly thought that picking the affluent neighborhood, getting the executive level job and wearing the prescribed “I’m not a criminal” uniform would somehow reduce the likelihood of this happening to me. To my children. But it didn’t. Because I’m black. Because we’re black.

We must find a way to stop this. I don’t have the answer, but it first begins with planting the seed. So, I’m planting it. Petitioning that you and I figure out how we can begin to create a culture of accountability. We must vote. We must speak out. We must serve and protect. We must be the change we want to see. Together.

And in the still of the night when hope wanes, we pray. Pray and believe. Know that He is there.

#RIPAltonSterling #ISpeakYourName

Love you. Mean it.

AskThePRGirl

#PrayforOrlando

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As I read the thoughts and comments surrounding the tragedy in Orlando, I’ve come across more than a few folks asking if vigils and prayer are enough. And while I know anger and frustration about this type of senseless violence can move some to feel that anything less than physical action (voting, boycotting / demanding legislation change) is inaction, allow me to give you something to consider.

For those of us who pray actively, have a deep relationship with the Lord and have seen tangible evidence of His hand on our lives, I can tell you that prayer is quite possibly the most powerful weapon we have. Perhaps you don’t know our Savior like I know Him. You don’t believe He split the Red Sea, healed the blind or saved your soul by giving His life. But, I do. There were times when my despair was so deep that I thought … maybe life isn’t worth it and He sat with me. I felt Him touch me. He has healed my body, guarded my mind and protected me every day that I’ve walked this earth. I know that all things are possible just by believing in Him.

So … yes, we should vote to change gun legislation. And yes, we should lean on our politicians until we see change. And yes, we should rally to stop senseless violence from happening. And we should teach our children love and be beacons of love ourselves. But we should also pray. He hears and He sees all. And while I don’t always understand why He allows things to happen, I’ve learned to never question Him. AND, to live my life sharing as much love and light as I possibly can. Be careful that you don’t reduce the most powerful weapon that we’ve all been given.

“Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matt 18:19

To the families and victims of Orlando …

There are no words to describe just how heavy my heart is …

Know that I am praying … for God to heal your hearts. To lift the burden of your sorrow. To guard your minds as the enemy tries to steal your peace. To restore all that one man tried to steal. And to exceedingly bless you …

I love you. I stand with you.

AskThePRGirl

#theLEMONADEeffect

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So … it’s been roughly five days since Queen Bey dropped #LEMONADE and completely flipped my world upside down. Am I the only one out here completely caught off guard by the levels to this sh*t?! Like … it’s day five and I’m still catching new messages, hearing new undertones and experiencing new feelings.

And let’s be clear – it’s been on REPEAT since the moment she released it. I’ve not listened to terrestrial radio, not a nan CD or iPod (yes “nan” … it’s in the urban dictionary) or satellite radio. I’ve been ALL BEYONCE, ALL DAY since Saturday, 4/23 at 10pm. And … I’m amazed. Like for real. Eff if you think Jay cheated or if she’s talking about her Mom and Dad’s story or if you think it’s marketing bullsh*t to sell records. It’s brilliant. It’s deep on the struggle. The struggle of being a woman. A woman in love. A black woman. A proud woman. Even if you think it’s bullsh*t, isn’t it crazy how it has reached deep into the belly of damn near every woman out there (including those who aren’t black) and stirred up this sense of HELL YEAH, I’M HERE?!  And YES, I might be a little crazy. And YES, I might be a little wild. And YES, I love hard. And YES, I deserve you to recognize me. See me. Hear me. Love me. Own me. Claim me. And IF you refuse to do those things, to recognize those things and be cool with them, know that I am strong enough to survive you. Strong enough to thrive beyond you. And let’s be clear, that’s not just in the context of relationships. She’s talking about life. How women are perceived at work, at home and in society. How blacks are perceived in society. And how the solution to all of this struggle, all of this strife is to see one another. Acknowledge one another. Love one another. Embrace one another and be open to the complication it brings. There is redemption to be found there. There is healing there. There is a fresh anointing there.

Levels man …

Bey showed us levels.

If you can’t see that, I’m sad for you. If you can’t hear her, I’m sad for you. Whether you’re a fan or not, you’ve got to give nod to the deep saturation of profound thought behind the lyrics. The social themes. It’s crazy!!

I’ve actually cried several times through the album. Thankful for the place and space I operate within my life, but also grieving a place and space I didn’t even realize needed to be grieved. Grieving the dry lands and constant mirages I face as a black woman in Corporate America. Grieving the loss of past love.  And then simultaneously crying joyous tears for the love and overwhelming happiness I feel daily. The redemption God has blessed me to experience. The “exceeding abundance” He’s given me in life. My family. My children. My beautiful husband. My thriving career. My girls. My guys. Not to be cliché but, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” And I honestly feel like #LEMONADE bubbled it all to the surface and gave me … release. A deep sigh. A blessed recognition. I feel … seen. Heard. Not in the way I feel it with God (not trying to say that), but like someone collected every woman’s inner thoughts and emotions, and gloriously exposed our heart. Maybe that’s it. It’s a crazy take on a new age love note. One to us. One to this country. One to our loves (past, current and future). I dunno … I’m still processing.

Levels …

Welcome to the world of a woman. A black woman. And while the struggle is real, the journey is beautiful. Complicated. Necessary. And this my friends, is the #theLEMONADEeffect.

#selah

Love you. Mean it.

AskThePRGirl

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Today, a good friend asked via Facebook, “Why is marriage hard?” She wasn’t asking to be funny. She really wants to know. She’s single, beautiful, worldly and beginning to consider the idea of a covenant. Honestly, more single people should consider marriage this way and seek to understand its nuances. Well, I don’t think there […]