Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

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

Tag: self help

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

#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

Relationship Russian Roulette: An NYE Reflection

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

But, I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

Probably not.

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

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

@AskThePRGirl

#theLEMONADEeffect

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

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

Levels man …

Bey showed us levels.

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

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

Levels …

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

#selah

Love you. Mean it.

AskThePRGirl

just a kid

I’ve worked really hard in my career to reach a certain title. I’ve literally been blinded by nothing but TITLE for the last three to four years. And now that I have it, I have no idea what to do next. I’m not even sure I’m happy or fulfilled with it. Standing in these shoes […]

What Do I Do?

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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)

Real Women Stand Up!

Bravo

Truth moment …

I’m no saint. I have an extremely saucy personality and can be a bit … mouthy when I want to be. At times I could use a better filter.  My shade game is razor sharp and scarily precise (even when I don’t mean to be). When threatened (or shall I say when there is an attempt to threaten), I assess the “target”, figure out your weakness and I begin the very deliberate, quiet and confident pursuit of disassembling you. They don’t call it the “Art of War” for nothing, right?

That said, I am also a consummate professional and I’m hyper aware of my personal and professional reputation. You will never see me do ANYTHING to bring shame to my good name, my family or any company, client or service I represent. It’s too important to me that my name and reputation is synonymous with integrity, maturity, respect and accountability.

I share this about myself because I want you to know I, too, have had moments during conflict with others that I’m not especially proud of; however, there is a line.  I believe it’s self-control, fear of embarrassment, respect for other humans and just a good village that keeps me from ever crossing that line.

Conflict is inevitable between people and certainly women.  We are beautiful, brilliant beams of light.  We are life. We have incredible power.  We can be such beautiful examples of this human experience.  We are responsible for so much during this walk of life so it’s only human that we lash out when offended.  We literally carry the weight of the world EVERY day and when someone disrupts, threatens or brings negativity into our world we retaliate like a lioness. I also believe that when that disrespect or disruption comes from another woman, the offense is even more painful because there is an unspoken code that SHE knows better than anyone the road traveled and the weight carried.  So it is my belief that we tend to be especially vicious with each other.

Last week I watched Married to Medicine, yet ANOTHER Atlanta based reality television show, for the very first time. What I witnessed was two “prominent” black women completely and utterly destroy their reputations with zero remorse for their actions.  I was MORTIFIED as I watched these two women physically fight each other at a black tie birthday party.  I literally couldn’t believe what I was watching.  I was shocked to silence.  Even more than the feeling of shock was that of embarrassment.  I was so completely embarrassed for them that I found myself wincing in discomfort and writhing in pain.

I took to Twitter and read comments ranging from who was right, which side America should take, whether the homeowner should have called the police to break up the fight and much more.  What’s sad is that I didn’t read many comments at all about the tragedy of two beautiful women tearing each other to shreds over something that could have easily been discussed another time.

What’s happening to us, people? When did this behavior become exciting?  Funny?  Entertaining?  Acceptable?  When did it stop being a tragedy to see two people have very little respect for themselves and others?

Hear me and hear me good. If you are publicly mirroring any behavior from reality TV whatsoever, please do everyone in your life a favor, find the tallest landing building you have access to and … jump. Ok, ok … not literally, but that’s how vehemently opposed you should be to this type of behavior, ESPECIALLY if you’re a woman.  The fight I saw last week on Married To Medicine disgusted me. And what’s even more tragic – instead of rebuking their own behavior, they have the audacity be self-righteous. I swear on everything that I love, if anyone and I do mean ANYBODY from my camp EVER models this behavior it will be a cold day in hell before you have access to my life again.

The desire closest to my heart is that women learn how to truly empower and support each other even when that means applying a deep level of humility.  Contrary to popular belief humility is NOT synonymous with humiliation.  It takes such strength of character to embrace humility and reap its benefits.  I believe that when we do, we will find a power that could truly change this world.

Think about it this way.  God has given women the gift of being the giver of life.  That’s extremely deep.  Shouldn’t we be focused on how to honor that gift and draw from it to be powerful agents of change in this world instead of looking for the next opportunity to destroy it??

I’ve decided to no longer watch Married to Medicine and I’m slowly but surely eliminating all television that mischaracterizes the woman I am. I don’t want that spirit in my home and certainly not in my life.  I refuse to accept that the behavior portrayed is okay.  I refuse to accept that all women model this behavior.  I refuse to make it easy for Bravo, WE TV and any other network to keep telling ME that this … this backbiting, vicious, undisciplined, unrefined, unloving, ridiculous, shameless being is the true representation of women today.

I am a woman.  I am NONE of those things and I will no longer delight in the tragedy of that depiction.

I challenge you to do the same.

All the best,
AskThePRGirl

Introducing “AskThePRGirl”

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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

My Husband and The Twisty Tie

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I brag about my husband all the time.  I brag about him because he is so good to me.  I want him to know how much I love him, how much I’m still attracted to him and how much his strength, generous spirit and humility is such an amazing foundation for our family.  Prior to being found by him (because “he who finds a wife finds a good thing”), I was in an incredibly toxic relationship.  I’m talking the kind of toxic that it’s a marvel that I made it out AIDS-free and in my right mind.  I was with a man whom I constantly gave permission to rape me of my self-esteem and my ability to trust.  He lied.  All the time.  Just because.  The only thing real about that relationship was my presence.  Everything else was smoke and mirrors.  Folks tried to tell me, but I didn’t listen.  I was a fool in love and as my Sissy always says, “God saves fools and babies.”  Thank God for His saving grace.  When Hubby Honey found me, I was brave enough to let go of the past and embrace the beautiful possibility of a bright future.

I often brag on my husband and our marriage to my friends via social media because I hate how people disparage marriage.  It’s hard work and not everyday is pretty, but there’s so much joy.  I’ve discovered things about myself while in his care that I believe I would’ve never known.  Being his wife has given me a freedom to fearlessly express myself and become exactly who I’m meant to be in this life.  That’s a heavenly gift.  That’s how I know that I know that I know this man is meant for me.  I shout it to the world so that people aren’t afraid to give marriage a shot.  When you find a “good egg” like my Hubby Honey, it’s worth all of the effort.  And it is indeed a LOT of effort.

As much as I love this man, it absolutely unnerves me how someone who has roughly 5 items on his to-do list each week, can forget some of the things I ask him to do.  He goes to work, takes out the trash and handles any of the exterior housework (Note: We have landscapers because Hubby has allergies so in my mind, you’re not actually handling the yard work when you outsource).  That’s it.  So can someone please tell me how this man “forgets” to put the twisty tie back on the bread like I’ve asked time and again?!  How hard is it to make sure the freaking loaf of bread stays fresh?? I didn’t ask him to split the atom and bring me the solution! I asked him not to leave the damn bread bag open when he makes a sandwich.  His refusal to comply is almost enough to cause me to smack him upon sight and leave him asking, “What the hell?!?! What did I do???”

Before we got married, we lived together and I’m so thankful we did.  While it’s not traditionally an accepted course of action, it was exactly what I needed.  I would have killed my husband had I have married him and then learned of all of his … his … idiosyncrasies.  The fact that he would throw his dirty clothes beside, around and on top of the dirty clothes hamper instead of lifting the lid and putting them inside literally almost sent me to self committal into Promises.  It would’ve been my only choice outside of killing him.  It would make me so mad that I’d stare at him while he slept.  I think I even slapped him out of his sleep one night.  I was mad as hell and couldn’t believe he could sleep so well considering the hell I was living in.  I just thought he should join the party.

The twisty tie and the hamper only scratch the surface.  He cleans the kitchen because he can’t stand for dirty dishes to be left out over night, but he doesn’t wipe down the counters.  How the hell does washing the dishes ONLY count as cleaning the kitchen?!  How can you do the dishes and fail to wipe the food off the counter?!?!  Who does that??? My husband.  My sweet, loving, ridiculous husband.  He “helps” me out by doing the laundry, BUT he fails to wash 60 percent of my clothes because “they seem fancy” and he “doesn’t want to ruin them”, and the clothes he does wash either get left in hamper or “folded” and stacked on my side of the bed.  When I do laundry, everyone’s clothes are neatly folded and put away.  Hubby Honey doesn’t put my clothes away because he “doesn’t know where they go”.  We’ve lived together for almost 10 years.  What kind of sense does that make??

If I sat here and listed all of his infractions, I’m sure women all around the world would wonder how in the hell I’m able to provide such an accurate account of their man’s habits.  It’s crazy that men can’t do the simple household items, but never miss changing out their Fantasy Football players each week.  They never forget all of the codes and signals and stuff necessary to play football and combat captain (or whatever the hell it’s called) on XBox.  He never ever forgets to watch every freaking football game on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Saturday.  *sigh*

BUT, he also never forgets to tell me I’m pretty.  He never forgets to champion everything I do no matter how big or how small.  He never forgets to help me with our little one.  He never forgets to rub my feet when I’ve had a long day.  He never forgets to tell me he’s proud of me.  He never forgets to make me feel so sexy, no matter how unsexy I feel at the time.  He never ever forgets to tell me he loves me.  I not only hear it, but feel it too.  And he makes me laugh. I’m talking soul stirring, doubled over, center of my joy laughter.  The kind of laughter that washes away your fear, fills you with light and makes the tough days melt away.

Marriage is a roller coaster, but last I checked, people enjoy rollercoasters, right?  I don’t love everything about my husband and there are certainly moments when I “question his thought process” as my girlfriend says of her husband, but he is quite possibly the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  With him I’m at peace.  I never worry about tomorrow when Hubby Honey is near.  I never worry period.  He’s my rock.  I can depend on him 24/7, 365.  I never have to doubt him.  Ever.  And that kind of solidarity is priceless to me.

Now if I could only get him to put the twisty tie back on the damn bread …

Until next time, AskThePRGirl