Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

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

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