Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

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

Tag: friendship

Dear Stacey …

A #Blogalicious9-Inspired Note From My Heart to Yours 

I’ve had the privilege to share space and time with many exceptional women. From corporate execs to dignitaries and celebs, I’ve encountered them all. And as such, I’ve quite possibly seen the best and worst of personalities and character. You don’t know “diva” until you’ve really and truly encountered a diva. It’s a cute term to toss around until you’ve actually got to deal with one. Throughout my career, I’ve experienced the powerful energy and earth movement when women come together around a shared cause, and conversely, the devastation from the effects of women who live to tear each other down. Unfortunately, the latter has been more prevalent so when the former occurs, it’s noticed. It leaves an indelible mark. It awakens you from slumber. It’s a fresh breeze to the spirit and a balm to the soul.

You, Stacey … are the fruition of every girl power dream. I watched you while at #Blogalicious9 this year. Didn’t know you. Didn’t know what I’d encounter. Didn’t know your true intent in hosting this conference. So … I watched. Really and truly watched you. I saw you work the room, meet new people, hug attendees, thank sponsors, encourage speakers and lead business like an incredible BAWSE. I saw you give. I saw you invest. I saw you encourage. I saw you laugh. I saw you cry. I saw you love. I saw you vulnerable. I saw … your heart.

We only connected twice briefly for a matter of seconds at the conference. Once when you approached with exuberance to thank me for coming, sing my praises and encourage me to have a great time. The second was when I hugged you goodbye as I rushed to catch my flight on Sunday. Alhough it was in the middle of Danica Kombol’s EPIC closing keynote, and I caught you at an awkward hug angle from behind, you grabbed on tight and hugged me with your whole heart. You whispered your appreciation that I attended and well wishes for safe travel.

Be Blogalicious brings together a diverse fraternity of women who are shaping our world’s conversation about a diverse array of topics. From fashion and lifestyle to politics and social good to business BAWSE moves, each woman who attended is living a life of leaving a mark to change the world. Each woman a beautiful representation of living life out loud and by their own rules. Each woman a wonder. Each woman an enviable, pride-filled being of love, light and hope. And equally important, each woman encouraged, carried, loved, believed-in and championed by YOU.

I didn’t know you before the conference and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with you. But your presence … your love and light filled every square inch of that hotel. You gathered close to 300 women and men, filled them with as much good stuff as you could and returned them to their space in the world to do the same in their own way. You (and your incredible team) empowered an army of game-changing, hair-flipping, BAWSE-ass women. In four days, you did nothing short of changing the world (if you really think about it). I mean, really! Think about it! And this is the NINTH year!

I believe that a ministry can take shape in many different forms as long as the result is nurturing and growth of the soul. I’m honored to have experienced you and the power of your ministry. You are some kind of wonderful, my friend. And I thank you. Thank you for being … you. And I’ll say it again, I’m here if you call. Consider me a member of your tribe if only to pray your continued strength and growth.

BTW – I didn’t get a chance to share it, but the devil TRIED IT with your health this summer because he wanted to STOP God’s flow from you into the lives you touched at the conference. He knew the exponential goodness you’d generate and wanted to dead it before it even had chance to see the light of day. His plan didn’t work. God said not so. You were meant to touch and encourage our lives and you did. I praise God that He carried you through and saw fit for you to push almost 300 points of light into the world. I pray for continued health and wealth for you, your covenant and your children. #Selah

Love you. Mean it.

#TribeUp #WOCaffirmation

@AskThePRGirl

#WeareTEN

In the Bible, the number 10 signifies completeness and wholeness depending on the source you reference. The perfection of divine order. Today, my beloved and I are ten.  Ten years of marriage. #weDIDthat

It’s funny. I’ve never doubted that Bryan and I would be together for the long haul. From the moment he looked at me in that way that he does, the way that only he can, I knew that I knew that I’d found my home. In the past ten years we’ve weathered a long distance relationship (for a combined two years) and two cross country moves that taught us lessons in trust and leaning into each other. We’ve weathered job loss and restoration, home sale and purchase, two children, a partridge and a pear tree. We’ve learned the difference between disagreements and deal breakers. We’ve learned each other’s love language. We’ve learned how to transition from roommates to soul mates. We’ve learned to fight fair which undoubtedly means listening more than you speak (real talk – something I’m still working on). We’ve learned to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” And my goodness has God blessed us.

In Bryan, I’ve found a man who treats me as if I’m his purpose in life. In every ordered step he takes, I’m assured that the driving force, the means to it all, is me. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he cherishes me. He respects me. He challenges me to be better, to never settle for less than I’m worth and to dream fearlessly. AND, to pursue those dreams with reckless abandon because he’ll always be here to catch me should I fall. He always says, “What’s the worst that could happen? No matter what it is, we’ll still have each other. So really … how bad could it be?”

In these 10 years, I’ve tried to be a good wife. I pay attention to him to communicate that there’s not one thing that interests him that’s not important to me. I encourage him daily, consistently affirm our love, champion his decisions and respect the path he’s leading. I like to think that I’m “21st century submissive” (I made that up). I follow his lead and believe his counsel to be wise, but I’m a partner with opinions that I voice respectfully with understanding that they’ll always be heard and weighed before he makes the final decision. It’s because of that reciprocity and open heart from my husband that I feel safe on our journey. It’s not easy being the head of household, thus I try hard to never do things that make it harder for him.

I began our journey in traditional role play (i.e. woman cook clean, man make money take out trash *said in caveman voice*). After a few years, I was exhausted. I couldn’t be all that I saw my Mom and my Grandmothers be AND be this dynamic communications executive at the same time. I remember one night that I sobbed to Bryan confessing that I couldn’t be the perfect wife. I was trying to do it all and I was killing myself. I was overweight, stressed to the max and supremely unhappy. I had it in my head that in order to be the “perfect wife” I had to subscribe to certain rules and duties.  Bryan looked at me and said, “So let’s change the rules. What do you need? Tell me and I’ll do it. I can help out around here. I can’t cook like you, but we’ll eat. Just tell me what you need, Baby. I’ll always do it. I love you more than anything in this world.” I give this man my life because he’s given nothing less than that to me.

I don’t think Bryan and I would say that our marriage is perfect, but who are we to argue with the Word of God? 😉 What I can say is that we are perfectly paired. Equally yoked. And, this journey has been the sweetest ride of our lives.

Bryan, my beloved, my friend, my lover, my Priest, Prophet and King

You have made my life so beautiful. Even my hopes, wishes and dreams of what marriage would be didn’t hold a candle to the fruition of you. Your love has been reverential and restorative. In it, I have been born. In it, I’ve found safety to stumble without regret and blossom without worry. In you, I’ve found my true North. Thank you for every laugh, every wiped tear, every night of pillow talk, every small and large decision suffered with little acknowledgement and every beautiful moment together. Being one with you is the sweetest gift God has ever given me. A reflection of His love for me. I am forever changed. I am forever yours.

Ten years … time really does fly.

#WeAreTEN #HangingwiththeHaleys

Love you, Baby. Mean It.

@AskThePRGirl

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)

What Do I Do?

me

Hey Loves!!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything for a few reasons:

  • I only want to blog when I have something to say and for a while there … nothing relevant / thought-provoking came to mind. I mean … there’s only so many times a girl can talk about the “ratchetness” of reality television
  • Career + Mommyhood + Being the perfect Wife (#shedidthat) + Pregnancy = all-consuming. There’s almost not enough time in the day to bathe let alone come up with something pithy to say to you guys
  • I’ve been working on self which requires silence.  You can’t hear God if you’re constantly talking.

So, while I probably lost some faithful readers, I needed this time to adjust.  And you should always know that I’ll only speak when I truly have a topic that will benefit you, or at the very least, make you laugh. And moving forward, the posts may not be very long.  Just enough to get you thinking.

Here lately I find myself back in the midst of a relationship issue that’s giving me … pause.

Ever felt like something wasn’t quite right in your relationship (friendship, marriage, GF / BF, brother / sister, etc.), but you can’t quite put your finger on it?  Actually you can put your finger on it, but the “issues” are small and appear unworthy of attention … until you add up the issues and the time you’ve been dealing with them up and you realize … “SHIT! We’ve been dealing with this for a while!”

Yeah … welcome to my world. My favorite thing to say to people right now is that I’m “dealing with real world sh*t” in my life (like raising kids, juggling my career) and thus I’m a bit slower to catch on to things. *Ye shrug*

How do you address an issue with a loved one that you know is there, but have no idea whether your loved one is feeling the disconnect?  How do you even broach the subject? To have a formal sit down is too formal. To bring it up randomly during a get together is too … random.  When a relationship means the world to you, how do you address an issue that could potentially cause irrevocable harm if not addressed?  Especially when you’re dealing with someone who would rather chew off their own left arm rather than confront it? (I mean hypothetically … which must be said after that last Scandal episode with Olivia’s Mom. Good Lawd!)

That’s it. I don’t have the answer.  If I did, I’d tell you. I want you to tell me.  Hit me back in comments or tweet me (@AskThePRGirl).  This is important to me.  This time … I need your perspective. I mean, this is no one-sided relationship. You’ve got to pull your weight! 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you. And once I’ve sifted through all of the comments, I’ll be sure to come back to you all with the solution I chose and it’s outcome.

All the best, AskThePRGirl

P.S. I’ve missed you.  We should chat more 🙂

P.P.S. Don’t I look cute pregnant?? #SHEDIDTHAT (photo courtesy of @JennBinsPR)

Introducing “AskThePRGirl”

dear-abby-sample

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t left you …

Soooooooo … it’s been a few weeks!  Life got really busy for me.  Work has been so busy I’ve barely had time to breathe!  Trying to manage my personal and professional life has been a seriously difficult task.  Thank the good Lord for my husband who has stepped in to be Mr. Mom.  He’s been taking the baby to school and picking him up.  He’s been “cooking” :-).  He’s been my right hand.  My  rock.  I couldn’t do this … be this brilliant … shine this bright without his support.  I love you, Bryan … more than anything in this world.

When I was a little girl, I used to LOVE the “Dear Abby” column in the newspaper.  I would wonder, “Who is this woman who knows everything from the best cleaning tips to etiquette to relationship and family advice?! She’s amazing!”  She was my idea of the “perfect” woman.  Well … my Mom, Claire Huxtable and Abby.  They were my top three.  Abby was sensible and never chastised too harshly.  She seemed loving, and from what I remember, showed an endearing level of honesty that I truly respected.  I always dreamed that one day I would be her.  I just knew that I would be able to eventually provide my own quirky, tell-it-like-it-is advice to all people.  So today feels pretty cool to realize that dream in my own little way.

Allow me to introduce “AskThePRGirl”, a place where you can talk to me about anything.  I’m a wife, mother, sister, friend, executive and woman of God (when I’m not being incredibly ratchet).  I have experienced SO many things in my life and one of my “gifts” (and we all have many) is prescribing a good dose of loving and common sense advice for just about anything.  I’m not always right, but that’s not my goal.  My goal is to listen, or rather, let you know there’s someone here to listen.

This is a judgment free zone so feel free to ask me anything.  Your identity will be protected so never worry about that. If I know, I’ll share. If I don’t, I’ll tell you, and even better, I’ll pray with you.  I’m not here to solve your problems.  I’m here to be an objective, loving sounding board or simply provide best practices that I’ve learned through ALL of the roles I carry.  Once a month (or as my schedule allows), I’ll answer a few of the questions submitted through DM on Twitter (follow me @AskThePRGirl) or email (dhaley@haleygroupllc.com). And don’t fret! This is in addition to my other schedule weekly posts :-).

Let’s get started!  Below are a few questions that I received the past few weeks:

Dear AskThePRGirl – My man and I have been together for many years.  It seems that since the birth of our children, we don’t talk or hang out as much as we used to.  And our love life has slowed as well. I really miss that.  I miss him and us. What should I do to turn things around before too much time goes by and we just don’t know each other anymore?

Thanks, WorriedAboutUs*

Dear WorriedAboutUs – First, you should know that you’re experiencing something that every relationship encounters, especially once you introduce children: a lack of intimacy.  I would first caution against a few things that women tend to do when our men ain’t (yes I said “ain’t”) acting right or when the relationship is not giving us what we need.

  1. Don’t nag him. Much like you, he’s tired and doing his best to take care of the family and make it to the weekend. Nagging him makes him likely to avoid communication with you at ALL costs which defeats the point. By nagging, I mean complaining about the state of the relationship at really inappropriate times. For example, when he FIRST steps in the door after work.  He doesn’t want to hear your mouth as soon as he gets home any more than you want him climbing on top of you after a day of house cleaning, wrangling the children and the 365 million other things you take care of in a day. #RealTalk
  2. Don’t communicate the issue using EVERY OTHER communication tool BUT communication.  What do I mean? He asks you to pass the salt at the dinner table and you angrily slide it down the table.  You snap at him for the smallest things.  You start fights about things you wouldn’t normally fight about. Don’t cower to your feelings and insert randomness and chaos into your relationship by refusing to clearly communicate your concerns.
  3. Don’t withhold sex as punishment. Sex is where you two can commune, look into each other’s eyes and speak without speaking.  It’s such a critical part of your relationship and certainly the part that speaks the loudest to your man.  Please believe … what I can’t audibly tell my husband is communicated when we are intimate. I make sure he “feels” me. Understand? 😉

My quick and dirty advice: be the example and tell him how you feel. Don’t start the conversation when he’s tired and he’s had a LONG day.  Schedule a date night.  Get someone to watch the kids and make reservations at a nice restaurant.  Use that time to talk about things.  Not just about what’s “wrong” with the relationship, but about everything!  Ask him how he’s been.  Ask about how work is going and if he’s still happy at work.  Plug into him and show him (rather than tell him) the type of communication and intimacy you’re seeking.  Do for him exactly what you’d like done for you.  And do it often!  The best way to teach behavior is to demonstrate it again and again.

Know that it will take time and it will not happen overnight, but the more you invest the effort, the more it will become clear that you need this shift in your relationship.  And while men are simple and sometimes must be hit by a rock to get things, I’m sure your man will eventually tune back in to the need to restore intimacy in your relationship.

dividerDear AskThePRGirl,

I feel an insane amount of guilt every time I stop at a drive-thru window on the way home from work to feed my family.  There is simply not enough time in the day to do everything and I find myself having to cut corners on the things I deem important like cooking for my kids and taking care of my home.  My house has been a mess for weeks now. I clean as much as I can, but my focus tends to be on what’s necessary to make it through the week.  You’re a Mom. Do you feel guilty when you can’t be the “perfect” Mom?

Thanks, Imperfect Mom*

Dear Imperfect Mom,

Join the club, lady! I hear you and I feel you.  My house looks like a modern day war zone on most days. My kid has eaten more fast food than ANY parent should deem safe.  My family used to get home cooked meals at least 4 – 5 days a week. These days, we eat out WAY too often.  I can’t seem to get the laundry done before it piles up and needs to be done ALL over again. My friends tease that I need a nanny and a housekeeper, but I’m not comfortable having another woman in my house doing the work that I’m supposed to handle.  I know it’s crazy, but as I discussed in my past blog entry “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, I wanted to be just like my Mom. She worked, raised us and took care of everything in the home.  And she was a single parent! I have help and I’m still beyond exhausted most days. But, my desire is to be my family’s hero. I want my husband to beam with pride that I bring home a little bacon and I STILL cook in the bedroom. I want my son to think Mom can leap tall buildings and still make his lunch every day.  The reality is that life just doesn’t work that way.  The good thing is that my husband sees my flaws daily and he still thinks I’m perfect.  And, my son still hangs the moon on all of my words whether he eats McDonald’s or Mama’s meatballs.  I’m learning (and I’m still a work in progress) to let myself off the hook.  As long as there is love in my home, it doesn’t have to look perfect.  As long as my family is healthy and smiling, then my most important job has been done.

So … damn the laundry.  When I can’t get to it, I buy my son new stuff. Is it smart? No. Does it make my life easier? Yes!  Research healthier fast food options or on-the-go meals like they those at Trader Joes and Whole Foods so that you don’t feel so bad that you didn’t hand make the meatballs.  Hire a housekeeper. Even if she only comes once a month, that’s better than nothing at all and certainly, if you’re anything like me, more times than you’ve actually cleaned that month.

Let yourself off the hook.  You don’t have to be THE perfect Mom to be a perfect Mom. Cross my heart. 🙂

dividerHey AskThePRGirl! What are you reading these days? Thanks, NeedAGoodBook*

Dear NeedAGoodBook,

When I have a moment to read, I am ALL ABOUT author Beth Kery’s new series When I’m With You. It’s an eight part romance series and it is hot as all hell. I like my romance and I like it dirty … and NO ONE is more deliciously dirty that my girl @BethKery.  If you like a little kink with your love story, I definitely suggest you try her work.  She is absolutely brilliant and will keep the sizzle in any relationship. I think my husband would kiss her if he could just to say THANKS! 🙂

If you’re looking for something a bit more self-help-ish / “I am woman hear me roar”, I would suggest Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg. My friend @MsRobertsIsThe1 suggested it to me and I can’t wait to dig in.  It’s next up on my Kindle. I have heard of Sandberg’s infamous TEDTalk and I look forward to learning how this “Wonder Woman” addresses women in business and our potential to be true leaders. I’ll be sure to review it on my blog real soon.

That’s all for now folks!  Be sure to submit your questions through DM to @AskThePRGirl or email them to dhaley@haleygroupllc.com.

Love you. Mean it.

P.S. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this moment is. I just got a chance to be “Dear Abby”. I hope I made her proud 🙂

*Names created by AskThePRGirl to protect the identity of submission

Unconditional Love

Pic of us

One of the longest, most intimate, time-consuming, ridiculous, heart-wrenching and powerful relationships in my life is with a woman … and I’m not talking about my Mother.  Actually two women.  For nearly 20 years, I have been in love with two women.  They have been my road dogs, my confidents, my diary, my sounding board, my fashion advisors, my edifiers, my good times, my shoulder to cry on and my “do you remember that time when …” partners.  We have experienced just about everything you can possibly imagine and we’ve done it all together.  Men have come and go.  Jobs have come and go.  Other chicks that thought they understood friendship have come and go.  Through it all, we have been hopelessly committed to each other.  We made a pact years ago that no matter what comes and no matter how much it hurts, we will love each other and ALWAYS be honest with each other until the last of us takes her last breath.  We’re a tripod.  Together we’re powerful and can do anything.

No sooner than you make that level of commitment to another person, you will be tested.  It’s as if the universe, Murphy’s Law and the devil all sit down for drinks and say, “Okay. These bitches think they want to be friends for LIFE. *insert doubled over, finger pointing laughter* Well, let’s see just how bad they want it and what they’re willing to endure to have it.  Five bucks say they’ll have destroyed each other by the time we’re done with ‘em.”

In the beginning, things were good.  We argued sometimes, but we always got over it.  Hell, two of us even got into a physical fight over a broken VCR.  Chile … THAT was a day.  But, we moved on.  We always did.  We stuck together and got through the tough times as one.  Then, one day, things changed.

I fell in love.  Hard.  And my love was moving to Los Angeles for a new job.  Not only did he decide to move, but he declared and decreed that he wanted me with him.  Steve Harvey says a man shows his love by “professing, protecting and providing.”  He did ALL of that and then some.  So, I moved to California to begin my new life.  I don’t know that I fully assessed how it would affect my tripod.  I thought they’d be happy for me, and though we wouldn’t see each other as often, things wouldn’t change.  There’d be more phone calls and budgeting to fly to see each other, but we’d be fine.  Boy was I wrong.

In every relationship, there is a “star”.  The person that everything revolves around.  The person that brings the fun.  The person whose participation is necessary in order for the group to have a great time.  The person whose opinion weighs the most.  The person everyone comes to for advice and leans on for stability.  In our tripod, that person is me and I had NO idea. Well … maybe a small idea, but I don’t think I realized the responsibility that role carries.  I was off living a “fabulous” life in Los Angeles.  The other two were home missing me and feeling shredded by my decision to leave.  While they were happy for me and in awe of my bravery to follow my heart, they were also a bit disgruntled that I not only contemplated leaving, but I actually did it.  Little did they know I was completely miserable.  I missed them so much that I cried every night the first six months I was gone.  I wanted so desperately to have my love, my career, my family and my girls.  I wanted it all, but life wasn’t working out that way.  I felt like I had to be happy with only two thirds of the life I wanted.  I finally brushed away the tears and decided to move forward.  I loved my girls.  I knew that would never change.  I no longer wanted to miss present blessings wishing for something different.  I had to grow up, put my “big girl panties on” and live.

When I moved, the distance created the opportunity for negativity, judgment and resentment to creep in.  If felt like every five seconds we were in a silent fight about something stupid.  You know what a silent fight is, right?  It’s the fight you have without actually fighting.  No one actually verbalizes a hurt or disappointment.  Instead you are “chilly” with each other over the phone and smoothly throw “shade” with a chuckle and a “Girl, you know I’m just playing with you!”  Meanwhile, you’re talking to the other friend about “this bitch this” and “this bitch that”.  Yeah … there was a LOT of that happening.  And it was beginning to take it’s toll.  You could feel the shift happening though none of us wanted to consider that we were … growing apart?  Nah!  That’s not possible!  We vowed unconditional love for life, right?

Years later we (Hubby and I) finally moved back to the South.  We were all so happy because we just KNEW things were going to be just as they were before I left.  We were closer so we could see each other anytime we wanted.  We could just pick up where we left off.  Yeah … that didn’t happen.  I had a career and they had new lives.  They had introduced new friends (something I was NOT at ALL happy about).  I was married and soon to have a baby.  We weren’t in college anymore.  We were adults.  If we were going to have that close bond we once shared, it was going to take a lot of effort … effort that neither of us was willing to give.

Then, it happened.  The fight.  You knew it was coming, right?  🙂

One day (and I remember this day so clearly) I was called by one member of the tripod and told that she didn’t like my attitude.  She said I was acting “high and mighty” all the time.  She said that I was judging her and “feeling some kind of way” about her life choices.  She was tired of the shade I was throwing and wanted to put the sh*t out there.  Now, you should know that the day she decided to hit me with these headlines about her feelings, I was at the mall shopping for an evening gown because I was to be honored by an amazing organization at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  This was a HUGE moment in my life.  And she knew that.  In my mind, she ruined something very important to me to call me and tell me some sh*t that didn’t amount to much.  She wasn’t calling to tell me she was dying.  To me, and I am giving you my side at the moment, she wasn’t telling me what she was REALLY mad about.  Instead, she was creating a fight about some completely unsolvable sh*t in her head because she wasn’t brave enough to tell me what she was REALLY freaking mad about.  And. That. Pissed. Me. Off.  World War III was officially on and popping.  I was now mad at her.  She was mad at me.  Our other friend was stuck in the middle trying desperately (and failing) not to take sides.  The legs of our tripod had been kicked out and we didn’t give a damn.

We became frenemies.  We still spoke on the phone, but not as much.  We were there to support the BIG moments in each other’s lives like birthdays and child birth, but our hearts weren’t in it.  Truth be told, we only did it so that “that bitch can’t say I wasn’t there for her BIG moment”.  And what’s worse, we were tearing each other apart.  Things got bad.  Real bad.  We went from rarely speaking to total radio silence.  I was a new Mom and desperately wanted her to be a part of all of the special moments she was missing, but pride wouldn’t let me call.  Pride wouldn’t let me admit that I still needed her.  It was like one of those T.V. moments when Good and Evil pop up on your shoulder.  Good told me to call my friend because I missed her.  Apologize for hurting her and move forward.  Evil told me that this man-less, jealous bitch could kick rocks with open-toed shoes down a dirt road in KKK country.  I sided with Evil.  Ridiculous.

Though I moved on, I was in agony.  It was like someone had chopped off one of my limbs and I was feeling phantom pain from where it used to live.  Even my smile was hollow.  I was totally and completely miserable.  It was that moment I decided to let God in.  I finally got on my knees and prayed about it.  I decided to get past my sh*t, and again, grow up.  I told Him that I didn’t know how to get past my own hurt to love her unconditionally as I pledged years ago.  I didn’t know how to just let it all go and move on. So much had happened.  So many awful things had been said.  How could I possibly right the wrong?  Could we really move forward?  Unconditional love sounds good, but the work that’s required to provide it feels impossible sometimes.

After much prayer, God finally revealed to me ALL of the things I’d done to hurt my friend.  It was like a “Who’s Who” list of all my sh*t.  I was horrified.  He showed me how I’d taken her for granted.  How I’d thrown my life choices in her face and judged when she didn’t parallel her life to mine.  He showed me how I’d left her alone when I knew all she needed was a call, but I didn’t feel I had time or just didn’t feel like being bothered.  He told me (and this makes me cry even as I type this) that I’d literally broken her heart.  She needed me and I abandoned her.  I went off to my “fabulous” life in California, rubbed it in her face and never checked in on her.  When we did talk, I was passive aggressive (a skill I learned from my mother) and made things seem like she was causing our fight.   I changed and I didn’t take her along on the journey.  I “grew up” and I punished her for not being clairvoyant.  I wronged her.  I hurt her deeply and had the nerve to be angry about the way she tried to communicate it.  I valued my “moment in the sun” Beverly Hills awards ceremony over her needing me.  I turned my back, walked head high into my destiny and never looked to my side to make sure she was still with me.

When she called that day I should have dropped everything and ran to her.  Why?  Because I promised her I would.  The moment she tested that, I dropped the ball like Braylon Edwards.  I was ashamed.  So, so ashamed.  I’d charged her with the responsibility of being the friend I was unwilling to be.  I expected her to live a truth I was unwilling to accept.  I expected perfection from her, but accepted huge, gaping flaws in myself.  I’d even wrote her a letter (standing very tall on a soap box) and made the future of our friendship her decision by way of her immature, unloving choices.  Yeah, y’all.  I went there.  ALL the way there.

Long story short, I made it right.  After understanding my role in the breakdown of our relationship, I realized what was required to make it right.  It took maturity and most importantly it took humility.  I had to humble myself and be wrong.  No ifs, ands or buts.  I had to make up for all the ways I destroyed the most precious thing in my life.

I am proud to say we fixed things and we are stronger than ever.  I’ve learned how to really and truly love my friends.  I understand that loving them doesn’t mean shoving my opinions down their throat, only accepting them when they agree that I’m right or when they play into my ego of being our “star”.  Loving them is being willing to be Robin instead of Batman.  Hell, sometimes it’s being neither.  There are times when your role is to play background to the background.  Sometimes, you’re only the grip on the set of the movie and you definitely get no love during the Oscar speech: still important, but there’s no prize or acknowledgment for your contribution to the journey.  Loving them is lovingly sharing the truth they need in the moment when their spirit is open to receive it and not shoving it down their throats because “it’s the truth and she needs to hear it now!”  Even if that means not sharing the truth at all for a time and allowing them to reach it on their own.  My 20-year history with these women has taught me so much about my ability to love, but more importantly, it has been my greatest joy.  I am who I am because these women carried me to this place.  They’ve always been my safe place to land.  It’s tough to fail with that type of safety net in life.

Real, true unconditional love is the hardest love because is it a perfect love.  It’s a Godly love.  I challenge you to audit your life and find those places where you’re failing to provide it.  Once you reach an understanding of the responsibility to give it and receive it, you’ll reach … heaven.

All the best, AskThePRGirl

“Reality” Television

TLC-the-sisterhood-reality-show

I don’t comment often on reality TV especially those shows that perpetuate negative female stereotypes.  If you surveyed 100 people and asked, “Based on reality television, are women crazy and can they get along?” I think it’s safe to guess that the majority of those folks, if not all, would confirm that all women are crazy and we do not get along.  I won’t say too much about this topic specifically because I’m currently in the process of writing a book about it, but I will say that it’s extremely disappointing that there are zero positive representations of women on television today.

Back in the day, I had the Golden Girls, The Cosby Show, Empty Nest, 227, A Different World, The Facts of Life, Fresh Prince and dozens more that provided satire and positivity at the same time.  I could look on any given night and see many different facets of women, how we relate, how we love, how we care for our children and how we take care of ourselves.  Today, that’s not the case.   Today I Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 because that b*tch is probably a card carrying member of The Bad Girls Club who wears slutty clothes in hopes of one day becoming one of the Basketball Wives.  Seriously?!?  When did it become popular to exaggerate and perpetuate negative imagery of women??

My decision not to write about these shows doesn’t mean I don’t watch them every now and then. I don’t talk about them publically because I think they get enough attention; however, there is a new show out that really floored me.  It doesn’t take much to be drawn into any of the “Wives” shows because they are much of the same. Throw five or six broads together who have never hung out before in life, have very little purpose outside of their proximity to a little fame and small fortune purchased by their snatch and see how many different ways they can tear each other apart.  Pretty simple formula, right?  This week, I happened upon “The Sisterhood”.  First let me say it comes on after the new T-Boz reality show, which is … just … so utterly ridiculous that it makes me question how TLC ever became a symbol of female empowerment to begin with.  There’s ghetto and there’s the T-Boz show.  I’m a little thrown by that whole debacle.  But, I digress.

“The Sisterhood” is an Atlanta-based reality show about Preacher’s Wives, or as we call them in the south, First Ladies.  It features five women as they share the experience of being a First Lady as well as the joys and hardships that come with the journey.  I tuned in to get an idea of just how ratchet this entire thing would be.  After it was over, I dialed my best friend @NikkiMo75 to discuss.  She accurately categorized it as “shade in the name of Jesus”.  I howled laughing at her description because it was dead balls accurate.

What troubled me about the show was the character (and I’m calling her a “character” because I’m hoping she doesn’t behave this way in real life) Tara Lewis.  She and her husband Brian relocated to Atlanta because Brian was to become Senior Pastor at a 300+ family church.  Apparently he was fired 6-weeks after taking the job. According to Tara, the church leaders were not in agreement with Brian’s vision, her wardrobe choices and even the way she worships.  While that’s surprising I think what was more shocking to me was the huge social and religious stereotypes being perpetuated by this couple.  For example:

  • Brian’s “urban” dialect (Sorry … that’s the best way that I know how to say that. I’m sure I’m going to be called out on the next Black in America series within the whole “talking black” section. Jesus help me).
  • They are an “upwardly mobile couple” going … where?? And how?!?  They have a nice house and car, but no family, friends, job or mention of a past job.  Meanwhile she’s enjoying mid-day gym workouts, has $1K worth of weave in her head, nice clothes, and $10K+ set of boobs.  Were they slangin’ crack rocks in L.A.?
  • They can’t have a conversation without throwing Jesus into it. I’m sure even the Lord wishes they would keep His name out they mouth at this point.  I can feel my sweet Jesus roll His eyes every time Tara says, “I’m Kingdom”.  GTFOH.  I’m. Just. Sayin.

One of the biggest things that irritated me was Tara’s conversation with Domonique and Ivy.  The ladies came together to get to know Tara better, but truthfully were trying to see if she actually stacked up to all of the crazy they’d heard.  I mean, let’s call a spade a spade.  We can say all day that they were simply trying to have a “ladies lunch”, but really they were setting her up and she fell tragically.

During their conversation, Ivy and Domonique were trying to make the point that even though they are preacher’s wives, they need a space where they can show their vulnerability and share the hardships of life without being beat over the head by the responsibility of their title.  Tara was so busy showing that she was “Kingdom” that she missed the entire point.  Well … I don’t want to say she missed it.  I believe she is intelligent and clearly understood what they were asking for; however, she’s so busy playing this Kingdom role that she missed a clear opportunity to build this Atlanta friendship network she’s so desperately seeking.  She insisted that she speaks the Word at all times and she won’t have her life choice suppressed by women who would carelessly discard God from the conversation.  In her mind, He’s first and so she shall present Him first in all things.  The Problem: her delivery was foul and completely disrespectful.  If your sister comes to you and says, “Hey Girl, I need a safe place to bare my soul” and you respond by literally shoving the Bible down her throat and screaming that she better get on her knees and trust God, I’m going to go out on a limb and say your argument has lost ALL effectiveness.  Not to mention that your antics have completely dismissed God from the entire situation.

The conversation bothered me for one main reason.  It totally irritates me when people use God and/or spiritual principles to back up their fooleywang.  Tara is ridiculous and so was her entire participation in the conversation, but her persistence in saying her behavior was  “Godly” is insane.  She couldn’t have been further from God if she’d bungee jumped naked off the side of the devil’s balls while fellating some random dude (in my humble opinion … no shade intended).  God calls us to meet people where they are and certainly is disappointed when we use His principles as weapons.  She’s not “Kingdom”, she’s ridiculous; and, she shamed the very God she claims to serve by trying to align Him with such disrespectful behavior.  Imagine if Jesus would have treated people with contempt and pride while trying to conform non-believers! There’s no way He would’ve been as effective.  If she really wants to be “Kingdom” then perhaps she needs a refresher course in what that really means.

I don’t know if I’ll continue to watch the show.  Honestly, I may tune in when I need a moment to disconnect from reality and kill a few brain cells.  I will challenge you to remember that the “reality” you’re consuming isn’t actually real.  If you are conducting yourself anything like the characters we seen each week; if you’re taking sides; if you’re claiming you love one character over the other when they ALL are morally reprehensible, please do me a favor and KYS.  Just kidding.  Just remember that it’s entertainment.  It’s something to do.  Make sure it doesn’t begin to shape the way you treat people or the way you relate to people.  Especially women.  Please sisters, let’s be better to one another.

In the words of Forrest Gump … that’s all I have to say about that.

Later Alligators, AskThePRGirl