Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

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

Tag: love

For My Love …

Bryan-

For days now I’ve looked for the perfect Valentine’s card to tell you how I feel. After all of these years, it seems that every card “just works” because we’re still in love and we’re happy. But … “just works” has never been our style. Our love is extravagant. Our love defies the odds. Our love is what storybooks are made of. Our love is main stage, principle actor love. It’s the 80’s freeze frame shot at the end of the movie. It’s that intangible thing that people search for their whole lives. And, I’m so incredibly grateful for it.

I’m reminded of your final words and promise to me at the airport when you were moving away to California in 2004 and were unsure of what a long distance relationship would bring, you said, “I won’t let anything happen to us. I love you more than anything in this world.”  And you’ve done just that. Being loved by you is … a miracle. I know there are days I take it for granted and for that I’m so sorry. Life becomes a sea of moments to “get everything done” and there are times that I forget that you’re my priority. You’re my person. Everything that I do in this life is for you. Every step, every decision, every goal, every hope, dream and prayer is fortified by your love. You have given me life, Bryan. I don’t know what this life would have been without you, but I DO know that with you it is full of color. Brilliant, bright color. I’m so blessed. Together we have created something beautiful.

I want to make you happy. I want to make you feel the way you make me feel every day. I feel vibrant, vivacious, fearless and indestructible because of your love. I pray that by some measure, you feel the same. I pray that the love I reciprocate makes you feel every bit of the incredible, loving, powerful, sexy, wise, generous, patient, loyal and kind man that you are. I pray that every morning you are still happy to wake up with me. I pray that every night you look forward to doing the same. I pray that God grants me supernatural wisdom and knowledge to be a blessing to you … just as you’ve been to me.

We don’t really make a spectacle of Valentine’s Day because our love is 365. We don’t need a day to celebrate what we spend every breath honoring. BUT, since it IS Feb 14th and the world is focused on love, I wanted to take a moment to remind you just how much you mean me. How much you move me. How deeply I feel you. How I still want you and need you. And that there’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t thank God in heaven that Keesha looked at me 16 years ago and said, “He’s cute, huh? And SO nice!” Right there. That was all I needed. I took one look at you and I knew. I was young and wild and couldn’t quite diagnosis it, but I knew that you were different. And my God was I right. You are the dream. And you’re mine.

If ever there was a doubt as to how much God loves me, how highly He considers me, how deep His promise is to me, I need only look at you. You are a beautiful, tangible example of His love. Thank you for being an incredible Husband and Father. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for making this one shot at life the most incredible experience.

I love you … past my behind, beyond my heart.

Always,
D

P.S. Thanks for the gifts given via the kids this morning. You still know how to surprise me 😉

What I Know For Sure

Birthday Reflections & Ish Like That …

So … #ThisIs38

A few years ago I was included in the “What I Know For Sure” section of O Magazine and I shared perspective on not being defined by the roles we lead (i.e. mother, sister, daughter, etc.), but prioritizing and nourishing your individual spirit and soul in order to be the best you can for everyone else (and I’m paraphrasing in case some of yall are still holding on to your copies). As I learned recently at #Blogalicious9, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Hallelujah and moment of silence for that little piece of wisdom …

Today is my born day (one time for #ScorpioSeason) and I can’t help but consider what I know for sure at this point in life. Seems that I’ve recently been involved in lots of deep conversation with girlfriends, my Hubby Honey, my Mama, my Boss and others about the lessons I’ve learned and the level of “sureness” I feel cloaked in these days. More important, it wasn’t a magical occurrence that just happened to me. My “sureness” is the result of intent. I’m living my life like its golden and operating within a level of freedom that I don’t think I’d ever experienced before now. I made the choice to be happy, to believe in myself and to throw a (metaphorical, and at times, tangible) middle finger to distractions. I’m living a life that I’m proud of and truth defined by me and only me. I. Am. So. Free.

As I celebrate this 38th *ahem* year of my life, here’s what I know for sure:

  • I no longer require any form of external validation to inspire or empower my internal thoughts, beliefs or ideas. For years, naturally, I sought approval from my friends, needed my lover(s) to assure me that I’m pretty, needed my managers to validate my smart thinking and my family to champion my tireless role as protector and provider. The expectation and necessity of the validation was so subtle that it took me a long time to pinpoint it was there. It drove me to seemingly inconsequential insecurity that metastasized into anger and resentment when I didn’t receive it. I finally decided I don’t need it. It was a cross too heavy to bear. Removing the focus from receiving my validation externally and empowering that positive energy inside has been likely one of my greatest rites of passage as a woman. Doing so has created this powerful level of self-awareness, self-love and self-confidence. It’s been one of my wisest intentional moves.

  • I’ve created healthy boundaries (for the most part) in my personal and professional relationships. For example, my loved ones (which include my Hubby Honey, Parents, Siblings, Girlfriends and extended family) are my lifeblood. In this life, it has been a privilege, and at times, a burden to serve them. It’s cost me peace of mind more often than I can reasonably quantify and I realized that it is 100 percent MY FAULT. We show people how to treat us, and too often, we operate within our familiar roles at unsustainable levels. Your loved ones don’t intend to overstep or abuse your over-commitment, but it happens. And it was happening to me. A LOT. So, I took a step back about three years ago and began to redefine my role, my expectations, my preferred level of commitment and the healthy level of reciprocity I needed within my familiar relationships. Doing so has freed me to support my loved ones absent of guilt, resentment, fear or worry. And, if someone doesn’t agree with my level of interaction or commitment, I leave that as a cross for them to bear. Cause as my Nik Nak taught me long ago – “What you eat don’t make me sh*t”. Word.

  • My heart is big. My tongue is sharp. My patience is thin. I’m extremely passionate (a true Scorpio). And, I’m funny as hell. I used to be reticent to say that about myself because it felt obnoxious to speak it, but no more. *picks up megaphone* I’M FUNNY AS HELL! Maybe not stand-up comedian funny, but I’ve been known to draw a crowd and bring down the house. #realtalk … my inner spirit is doing THIS most of the time …

Moving on …

  • I have a new found spiritual connection to my sexuality and pride in my body image that has skyrocketed my confidence. It’s not JUST about my looks (though your girl is killing it these days with this snatched waistline and size back to what I was in high school *hair flip*), but rather my internal confidence, keen self-awareness, my energy and this connection to a sense of … “knowing” about myself. My Grandma Mable used to say to me, “One day you just gone know what you know.” I never really understood that until now. Today, I own my confidence without shame, fear, ego or vanity. It’s my truth. It’s just as real as breathing.

  • I love being a woman, and more specifically, a black woman. There’s the fun stuff about being a girl like dressing up, makeup, all things shiny and sparkly, etc. But being a black woman comes with this Herculean strength, unicorn-level magic, enviable sense of wit, epic ability to clap back and shade and multidimensional talent. I am every woman and I BAWSE up in every gawt damn aspect of my life. Boardroom, bedroom, kitchen. I cooks, Baby. While my awareness to this perspective has been slow, my pride and ownership of it is SO here and SO real for me right now. I believe its actual tangible energy that even others feel when they are with me. I’m beaming in the skin I’m in. And loving every minute.

  • My relationship with God is real and tangible. It used to feel mythical. Perhaps because it was the product of the articulation of other people’s experience with Him. Today, we have our own vibe. My Jesus is trill! He MUST be because He created me and I stay on level trill at ALL times. I can feel Him … tangibly feel Him, hear Him and sense Him in all that I do. It’s pretty incredible. There’s not a moment I’m not mindful of Him, chatting in my mind with Him and hearing His response. I’ve tapped in and He’s reciprocated in the most beautiful fashion. It’s provided a much-needed compass as I carry two of my most important roles: Wife and Mom. And it’s endeared me to Him in such a personal way. #IluhGod #youdontluhGod #whatswrongwithyou

So … here I am! Big, bad and bold AF (said in my Ike Turner “What’s Love Got to do With It” voice – LOL). Loving myself and every aspect of my journey. I regret nothing. I’m present in every moment because I don’t want to miss a thing. And with that comes a continual birth of my being … which I am SO here for.

#ThisIs38

And many mooooooooooooooooooooooooore 🙂

Love You. Mean It.

@AskThePRGirl

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

The Warning Shot Heard ‘Round the World & Other Insecure Ish

I’m not a traditional recapper of episodes giving a play-by-play of what happened so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d check for another blog. I DO appreciate a good post episode query to ensure I’m not in these skreets thinking these thoughts by myself. Mmmkay?  So umm … er … let’s dive on into my top five gut check moments in episode 14 of HBO series #Insecure: Hella Blows:

  1. #Hoetation – Issa ain’t about this life she’s tryna live. I mean, she really sucks at it. We all see it. It takes finesse to truly have a hoetation without your name and deeds being in the skreets. You gotta be on some “eff yo feelings, I’m gettin mine” WITHOUT alarming your “prey”. And you CAN’T be thirsty!!! She’s TOO up in her feelings, painfully uncoordinated, odd and slick destructive in her approach. Who shows up to a dude’s house that you’ve only banged once and gets mad when someone else is there? Better yet, who bangs the guy who lives in the same building?! I was taught to never sh*t where you sleep. Clearly, I’m a dying breed. Raise your hand if this is normal behavior? IF you DID raise your hand, I’m gonna need you to collect your belongings and skedaddle right the hell up off my page. We’ve talked once before about your questionable life decisions and I won’t suffer you in life or blog. I just … can’t.
  2. #BlackatWork – Lawrence encountered that good ole tokenism at work. Nothing like working with folks who absolve themselves of the privilege and supremacy collar simply because they hired a black person, but knowingly treat you with condescension-laced tolerance. Me thinks it’s learn your effing lesson day for Lawrence this season. Everywhere he turns he’s getting a nice little sermon (chapter and verse). And looks like old girl at work is here for his awakening. We shall see where they go with that.
  3. #Shade – For forever and a day, “Girl, shut yo light-skinned ass up” will remain the ultimate no clap back shade. And it’s shade that only WE can say and ONLY to a good friend who know she saying some tom f***ery to begin with. When Molly said it to Tiffany, my heart warmed. It’s one of those unspoken black girl rules that you take advantage of when you with your real girls. Yet another reason why I love this show. They always tap into the real and deliver it effortlessly.
  4. #ThatDROstroke – I hate this path Molly is traveling down. I hate the license she’s given herself to sleep with this married man simply because she woke up to real life about her parent’s very adult relationship. I hate that she’s sacrificing her relationship with a lifetime friend. I hate that she represents a woman having it all, but nothing at all. I hate that when she gets what she’s been looking for, she ignores it for the thrill of complication (I mean … nothing’s more exciting than sleeping with the guy you KNOW you ain’t supposed to be touching). I hate that she’s taking the LOOOOOOOOOONG road to happiness and threatening her ability to get there because she backtracks 10 steps for every one taken in the right direction. BUT (and I say this hating myself as I prepare to type these next lines) Dro’s stroke is nectar of the gods. My man ain’t puttin in light work, he’s literally throwing his back into it and coming with that mythical light-skinned love! You KNOW what I’m talking about! Sistas get with chocolate brothas like Daniel, Lawrence, etc., because we know that stroke is coming from deep in the hills of the motherland. Light-skinned dudes (aka pretty ninjas) don’t be in there right because they’ve been with too many girls who are happy to be with the pretty ninja and didn’t tell his a** that his stroke is terrible. Thus, he goes through life thinking he’s THE MAN and he sucks. Somehow, Dro got that “spirit of Jidenna” stroke (i.e. you start hearing “Bambi” as soon as that ninja drop his draws and your soul cries a native African scream). That be late for work stroke. That call your girls and tell ‘em you ain’t gone make it stroke. Lawd ta mercy … #IJS. She ain’t right, but the b*tch is only human.
  5. #TheShot – Now … maybe I’m wrong, but we DID hear Daniel say, “Oh sh*t! You ‘bout to make me come.” In my experience, that’s when you pull back and use your hand if you don’t want to be shot in the face or swallow. If you gone be down there working it out and puttin him on notice that you came to win, you must engage all your chakras, be listening with your ears and looking with your third eye. THAT WAY, you don’t end up … like Issa. Listen, we’re adults, right?? It’s not the most pleasant sitch. We’ve ALL been there. I’m not tryna judge Issa that it happened, but I’m slightly confused at her reaction. What did she think was gonna happen? And can somebody hip me to WHEN we start givin head to ninjas that ain’t your man or regular d***?? I missed that memo about the same way Issa missed Daniel’s warning, child. I aneono. Yet another reason why Issa need to get out these streets.

So basically, everybody is a mess and resisting any and all common sense. Right?? Mmmkay.

Well, next week looks to be a doozie with everyone meeting up and having their mess on Front Street. Jesus be a ram in the bush. These people got my pressure up in ALL the right ways and for all the wrong reasons. #issamess

Until next week …

Love you. Mean it.

@AskthePRGirl

 

*All gifs courtesy of Giphy.com and HBO

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

 

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

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