Why Not Be The Best Version Of Yourself!

S0 here it is: In a few weeks I will be turning 29! Yup 29. (I am silently wondering if I should be having a brief panic attack) Since I am entering my last year in my twenties, I have decided to do a little bit of self-reflection.

While in my twenties I would say that I almost met all of the societal expectations of girls in their twenties. I graduated from college, entered the professional world, learned how to balance a check book, and dated a variety of men. Where did I go wrong? Well I didn’t get married, and I have no children. In my thirties, if I stay on this track  I will be considered a social leper by the standards of some.  Apparently marriage and babies is the icing on the cake for women in their twenties. Therefore, when women reach their thirties they will be complete with a family, or divorced, take your pick. As a woman, if you are still or newly single in your thirties, you continue to go on what may seem like endless dates, continue to look for Mr. Right, or maybe just Mr. Right now, oh and  you even get the wonderful added pity of people who feel so sorry for you life of singledom that they go out of their way to offer to find you Mr. Right now. Do women ever get the chance to just be happy with themselves, by themselves, and love it?

I spent the majority of my early to mid twenties involved in serious relationships. When I was around the age of 24, I was dating a man who I just knew I wanted to marry. For some strange reason I wanted a husband right then. My boyfriend at the time was cute, and he had a job, he took care of me, so he was perfect to marry right? Well no it was not that simple. I wanted to get married yes, but not because I actually wanted to be a wife or understood what it actually meant to be a wife, at the time I just thought the idea of having a husband would be nice. I would have someone to take care of me, and we would just automatically become one. I must give the credit to God on that one, he knew exactly what he was doing with that didn’t work.

At 24 I would have made a horrible wife. I’ll admit it, just horrible. I was selfish, egocentric, bratty, spoiled, and had no idea of what it meant to be a wife, or how to treat a husband. Marriage was just a word in my vocabulary. I truly wanted the wedding and not the marriage. Looking back life worked out exactly the way life was supposed to work.  However, if I did get married the advantage was then I would not have to face life alone. I could go from living with my parents, to living with my husband. When I was younger I remember my mother telling me that I needed to find a husband so he can take me away. To my mom, she could just marry me off so she wouldn’t have to support me anymore. What a silly idea that was. When the marriage plan didn’t work out, I created a new plan, my own plan. My plan actually turned out to be the right plan. I would live life for me, and figure out how to be the best version of me first before I tried to share my life with someone else.

Around the age of 25, I once heard Oprah and Mya Angelou say that life gets better at 50. So being the me that I am, I figured that I only have to wait 25 more years, then life will start to get good. I will feel free, and living my best days…but at 50, which seems like an eternity away. Did I really want to wait that long? No. I have a huge problem with impatience. So my next thought was how do I make today my best day. I can make life start right now, today, and really live. The advantage had been that I could figure that out all by myself. I had no one to answer to. It was my life, and I could do whatever I wanted to with it. Suddenly I realized the bright side of not getting married, and being a horrible wife at the age of 24. I was given the opportunity to grow, to learn, to love me for who I am, to learn to love other people exactly for who they are, and to learn how to be a good wife. With growth, I learned compromise, I learned the joys of giving, and to be happy seeing other people happy.  I found my own personal happiness, and no one could take that away from me.

During my twenties I feel my biggest accomplishment has been becoming the a better version of myself. With time spent alone, I have learned to love myself first as an individual. Doing small things on my own, has helped me to learn to appreciate my own company.  I am content in knowing what I love and what I don’t love. What I want and what I don’t want.  I used to have fears of going to eat alone, going to the movies alone, or vacationing alone. In the past few years I have overcome all of those fears, and many more. So as I turn 29 do I feel like I have life figured out? Oh no, far from it. But I do know that I am now living life at my best, I appreciate everything that I have to offer to the world. Most importantly, I know that I do not have to wait another 20 years for life to start, because I am ready to start living  life at my best everyday.

Advertisements

Dating 101- Start By Breaking All The Rules!

An astronomical amount of money is being made off of exploiting single women. It is a market where people portray as wanting to help but really feed off of desperation.

Bookstores are over flooded with relationship books aimed particularly at women. The topics range from how to find a date, how to get that man to commit, how to get him to marry you, and the hundreds of different rules on dating. It is no wonder that so many women act a little bit crazy when it comes to dating. Some will never know what is right or wrong, what to really say, how to really act, and when to really leave because that man you are dating was never any good to begin with. But you followed all the rules, and you got him to commit. Even if that commitment makes you just a tad bit miserable on a daily basis.

There are seminars held for women on how to catch a man and keep him. While these seminars are not cheap, many women line up to attend. Do they work? I hope so because they take time and money. In fact you should be able to walk out of one with your very own personal husband. At least then I would know that I got my money’s worth. You pay enough money to learn how to find a man, so why not just give you one at the end of the class. Do they have similar seminars for men on how to find a woman? If so, do men actually attend?

Some women hold on to relationship books as if it is their very own personal bible, or textbook. Pages are highlighted, sticky notes hold important facts, and some women end up quoting these books to their friends and family. Next someone should create the college course on “How to find a man 101”, I am sure many female students and even professors will sign up to take that course. Heck, maybe they will let me teach it! Oh wait, I am still single so I guess I wouldn’t be the best candidate. But then again, I know how to find a man (actually we all do), but maybe I can teach a course in how to find one, since that is the main objective.

Steve Harvey has made a fortune exploiting women’s insecurities about being single. He has found a market that is a gold mine. The insecure single woman!  They have launched his book to the New York Times best sellers list, and someone thought that they even let him come with a second book. Everyday a new relationship book, or article is passed around from woman to woman. These books are the topics of book club discussions and, work lunch chatter. Even the Jersey Shore’s own Jwoww wrote a book on “The Rules” of dating. Don’t worry my book will be in stores soon, I hope it becomes a best seller.

Since dating advice is a big market for success, let me add in my own two cents. (Maybe I will be famous tomorrow)

With all the different so-called “rules” of dating, there really are No Rules! Rules are meant to be broken, so just break them. You may find that you get better success breaking the rules than following your highlighted sentences in your dating advice book.  Dating is not simple. It does not break down into a map, or a blueprint that will lead you to a husband at the end. If it did then we would all be paired up with someone. Dating is complex, because people are complex beings. Not all women are alike and certainly not all men are alike. Therefore, look at the person you are dealing with, and make your next move person specific.

Other Things- Not Rules

To call or not to call: As a woman should you ask a man for his number? Well you can sit and wait for him to ask. But what if he doesn’t ask?  The you will sit and drive yourself crazy wondering why he has not asked for your number of course. So if you want to talk to him, ask for his number. If that turns him off or sends him away, then tell him to kick rocks that was not the man for you. And you will have to admit to yourself that he was ambivalent about you in the first place because he never asked for your number.

To email or not to email: When dating online you may wonder if you should send a message to a person of interest. Well if you want to talk to him then you should. Why not? Oh that might turn him off right? Well again, tell him to kick rocks. You are saving yourself trouble for later. Send a message, if there is interest, then its not a problem.

To ask out on a date or not ask out: Well do you want to hang out with him or not? Yes, a man will ask you out if he wants to spend time with you. But, if you want to go out with him and see what the vibe is like then invite him out. Keep it simple please! For instance, if you were going to see a free concert, grab a cup of coffee, or go to the beach, ask him if he would like to come along. No harm in inviting him to spend time with you. You were going to go anyway, so if he turns you down you can still have fun without him. Again keep it simple! I say that because you don’t want the awkwardness of who is going to pay for this date since you asked him to come along.

To make the first contact after the first date: Sure why not! Just not too soon, you don’t want to smother. But if its the next day, and you want to say hello, call, text, or email. If you are afraid of him losing interest because of that small contact, well you already know…tell him to kick rocks! If that turns him off, then he really wasn’t that into you anyway.

Save yourself the trouble of ending up in a complicated situation later by weeding out the bad ones in the beginning. Please don’t be afraid to quote Jay-Z and say, “on to the next one”! And trust me there will be a next one.

Running With Aloha!

Just so you know I am not a runner. In fact I really hate running. When I was a child I despised running, in high school I wanted to play basketball so I was forced to run.  Finally, in my adult life I love to workout, but running has never been my workout of choice. With that said, I must tell you that I decided to get up take on the challenge and run. Not only run, but actually complete a full running event consisting of 8.15 miles.  A run that I thought I would never do, turned out to be a run that I can not wait to do again.  I did it, I completed the Great Aloha Run.

Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run

Every Year on President’s Day, what seems to be like all of Honolulu and then some, come out to run The Great Aloha Run. Thousands of people gather together to run from Aloha Tower, to Aloha Stadium (the site of the NFL Probowl). This year I was fortunate enough to be one of those people. I must say I decided to run with some hesitation. Up until today I never ran more than 3 full miles, so how did I think that I would be able to do 8? To make matters worse my friend who had signed up to run with me came down with the flu a few days before race day. Up until the last hour I did not think that she would be able to make it. However, this girl was a pure trooper, she came out to run still feeling under the weather. Although I could not find her until the end of the race due to the massive crowd, I was impressed that she actually ran and finished in an impressive time with flu like symptoms.

Today the whole state of  Hawaii came together just to run. From babies in strollers, to the elderly, military and civilians, all were out running. Overall the experience was great, and I am ready to keep on running. I will continue to practice my running so I can stay in shape, and hopefully acquire a love for running. Would I do a full marathon? Well probably not, I get bored easily. But I would go a longer distance. Next challenge, preparing for a half marathon. Yeah now lets see how that goes.

Love is in the air, But what does it smell like?

Its Valentines Day and love is in the air. Whether you view it as an original Hallmark holiday, or a day to express true love and gratification to your special someone, you cannot help but catch on to the feeling that love is really in the air.

With hearts, flowers, and chocolate, the Valentine’s Day bug is running rampant from city to city. For an entire 24 hours, people use today to tell someone special that they love them. But can’t they do that on any other day? Flowers, jewelry, and love, should be given any day. Don’t just wait for that one day out the year because it is marked on the calendar, to show someone how much you love them.

Now if you are single it becomes a whole different story. Do single people still smell the love that is in the air? I know they sure do see it. I remember one year while I was in NY, I was standing on a subway platform on Valentine’s day and I just knew it was Valentine’s day. I glanced around the platform on both sides, and noticed that the entire station was full of couples, not  one single individual in sight. Just people embraced in hugs, kisses, with balloons and flowers. So what happened to all the single people that day? Did they stay home and hide?  Were they avoiding looks of pity, and “don’t worry it will get better”? If you are single, some  people may even feel sorry for you on Valentine’s day. Tell them don’t be, at least you will not be disappointed if the person you love forgets the one special Hallmark day, or even buys you flowers that look like they will die in the next ten to fifteen minutes.

You ever wonder why some people to refer to Valentine’s day as Singles Awareness Day? What is with that? I was very aware that I was single yesterday, I am very aware that I am single today, and chances are that I will be very much aware when I am single tomorrow. Is Singles Awareness day the consolation prize to not having a significant other on Valentine’s Day? Does that mean that I am supposed to  buy myself flowers, a box of chocolate, and a stuffed teddy bear to show self love? Ummm, I’ll pass and save my money for something I really want.

Online Dating: The Good, The Bad, and The Unfortunate Ugly

THE GOOD

New age dating: Online Dating.  I love the concept. It is my lazy girl’s guide to meeting new men. I can meet a ton of potential male suitors at one time. All without putting on my cutest outfit, spending a countless amount of time on my hair and make up, and minus the worry about how long my feet will last before my gorgeous heels absolutely start to make my feet scream in agony. My single girl Saturday night guilty pleasure is sitting at my computer (probably looking like an absolute bum), and searching for men online who may have the attributes of a potential love interest.

Pick a site any site. Really there are a ton of online dating sites, and you don’t have to use just one. If you have the time and desire your profile can be on as many sites as you like at one time. From the free dating websites, to those that will cost you some money, there will always be someone who you can meet and, someone who wants to meet you. Between myself, and my friends, I think we have covered most of the main sites for meeting a special someone.  Most popular are Match, eHarmony, and Chemistry.com, but those will cost you. If you don’t mind paying a little to possibly find love, then go for it.

Now if you want to save your money because you figure “why do I have to pay to meet someone when I can meet them for free?”, then try Plenty of fish, or OK Cupid. Just remember those sites are free, and the people may not be as serious about finding someone special. They could have signed up just to browse or find a quick free hook up. So as always with any online dating experience, please be smart and use extreme caution.

The island of Oahu has an extremely small population when you compare it to a city like New York. So online dating may not be an absolute necessity on the island. Honestly if you are a social butterfly, and travel around to different parts of the island you just might meet everyone at least once. So the same person that you sent a wink to on match, just might be the same hottie that was standing next to you at the bar last Friday night.

I like meeting guys online because the sense of rejection is not so apparent. No one likes the feeling of rejection (and truthfully girls hate it more than guys do). In online dating terms if I send a wink, a heart, a smile, or whatever you can send, and if I actually write a message to someone and he doesn’t respond, then I don’t take it to heart or feel defeated because I probably sent 10 other messages that night and I received a response from one or more of them. I must admit I am somewhat of a passive online dater. I usually let men find me and make the first contact. I would do the same if I in any other social situation. However, if I am really impressed by his picture (that counts!), or his profile, then I will send the first message, maybe he just hasn’t had the chance to notice me yet! If he responds great, if not; oh well then its on to the next one.

I have been doing this online dating thing for a while now. I hope to meet “Mr. Right” so I can have my own personal eHarmony commercial expressing how happy in love we are with each other. I will admit I met my ex online. That was at the time when Black Voices was free on AOL and not paired with Match, (I was a broke college student at the time). And although we didn’t have a whirlwind romance, with the commercialized “happily ever after”, it was a real relationship that lasted nearly three years. I can’t blame meeting him on my computer as the detriment of our relationship. He would have had the same emotional immature, true to form jerk personality whether I met him at school, in a club, or while sitting in front of my computer screen.

So if you have fears about online dating, don’t. Be smart, trust your instincts, and use your best judgment. Remember to make your first meeting at a very public place. If you can, try to have at least one actual phone conversation before going out to meet in real life. Texting and emails are nice, but you can save yourself time and trouble if you notice immediately that you have nothing to talk about due to long, uncomfortable periods of dead silence while you are on the phone.

The Bad

On the internet anyone can be whoever and whatever they want. Be careful about trusting people because you are so amused by the countless emails, and mesmerized by the nightly phone conversations. I say have a face to face meeting as soon as possible so you can check out body language, affect, and get somewhat complete sense of who the actual person is. You may fall quickly in love with the idea of who you think a person is and not the actual person.

If you have a first and last name, don’t be afraid to do a google search. At least if anything comes up you have information that may ease your mind, or make you run for the hills fast.

Internet dating can also be a frustrating experience. You will get a large amount of messages and request from people who you have no possible interest in. You can check the profile, if you don’t like what you see, move on. If this person continues to send you unwanted messages, I recommended blocking them to avoid contact.

If you are paying for these a site and not meeting anyone who is relationship worthy, then you might start to feel like you are wasting your money. Make a decision about how much money you are willing to spend to meet a potential mate, and how long you are willing to try it out for. I say give it a few months, that way you can get a clear sense of if this site is for you or not.

You need to be an active participant, even when dating online. You have a better chance of meeting someone if you respond quickly to messages, and write an engaging profile statement. This is your chance to make a first impression, put your best foot forward.

The Unfortunate Ugly

Not everyone you meet online will be who you originally thought they were. People are going to be people. Some people lie and deceive others for fun. So if physical attraction is what sparked your interest, then be aware that person may or may not look like that in real life. The picture could be ten years old, or someone could have had major physical changes since the date of that profile picture. So just be ready for anything when meeting someone.

Make your first encounter at someplace safe. I like Starbucks, Chilli’s, or Dave and Busters, during mid day. That way it is not a romantic date like atmosphere, and if I need to bolt I can make up a good middle of the afternoon excuse.

Remember, the terms slim, athletic build, average, curvy, and a few extra pounds are all relative. You are what you want to be. Again, be prepared for any and everything!

You could be stood up at times. Maybe the person you were to meet got cold feet or was a complete flake. Don’t get yourself down about it. You really didn’t know that person anyway, and it is probably better that they are not in your life. Just move on. Call your friends, and let yourself enjoy the rest of the day.

Online dating is a good experience some days, and a crazy out of this world experience on other days. I defiantly have amazingly bad comedic stories that I will write about in future blogs, so stay tuned. However, it does give me an active social life, and great conversations when I am out with my friends. So if you haven’t tried it, give it a try. Surprisingly you just might meet “the one” at home on a Saturday night, while you are in your pajamas sitting in front of your computer screen.

Miss Independent: Gift or Curse?

This is a topic that is commonly addressed in public forums, on TV shows, posted on blogs, and random chit chat at the local coffee shop. Recently due to  life and a request I will also touch on this topic. Trust me it is a topic that will never have enough to be said about it.


Are some men intimidated by successful women? Does it make certain men feel inferior if a woman he is attracted to  matches his level of success, or has surpassed his current professional level of success?

Ne-Yo sang about “Miss Independent”, men appeared to be happy and overly delighted that they would be able to find a woman who does not need him in her life, but actually wants him in her life.  With an independent woman these men would no longer have to play the role of  “Captain Save Them”, she would be his counterpart and the perfect compliment to his life, as he would be to hers. However, this appears not to be the case. From what I personally see and hear about,  it seems that some men are more comfortable with a woman who they can save, and the woman who needs him in her life to take care of her. Thus,  leaving the successful, independent woman to continue to look for that man who not only comfortable with her intellect, but also confident enough not to feel like his manhood has been downsized because of her success.

I would like to think of myself as a successful woman, and very independent to say the least (just because I was raised that way).  I also know many other successful, independent women of all races, with amazing personality traits. Many of whom are single, yet they are great women to be around, and yes they are attractive. Recently I have noticed a trend in Hawaii (as well as other parts of the country), women who are educated, have an actual career, and can do for themselves, seem not to have a male counterpart to share their lives with. Yet, the women who appear as “needy” have a man who is willing to give them everything that they cannot achieve on their own.  So I began to wonder is success an unattractive quality?

Hawaii can be complicated to use as an example because it is a world of its own. It is a state that is overrun with military men. Many of the single military men often meet a woman of much lower stature, marry her, and take her away to a new life on the mainland. Many of these girls are looking for a man to save them from the “rock”. I don’t blame them. A military man comes with a stable income, great benefits, and an opportunity to live all over the world.  For the men, well they appear to  like that these women are willing to do any and everything for them, as long as they provide financial support. It appears to be more about an issue of control, and the notion that a man’s ego will never be compromised as long as he knows that his woman will always need him. He will always have  power over her, as long as she allows him to. And if she tries to gain power, or take care of herself, well then the benefits and stability will be cut off.

On the mainland the picture may be different, but the ultimate story remains the same. Studies show that women tend to date up, and men tend to date down.  Men have admitted to feeling inferior to a woman who makes more money. Let me play that to my own life. I have a master’s degree (apparently I am already overly educated), I hope to one day have a Ph.D.  So does that mean the only men who would be confident, and secure enough to have me as a companion would have to be on Obama status?

As a black woman, the task of finding a mate who is not intimidated by success is even more difficult. Michael Eric Dyson candidly points out this fact in the chapter Another Saturday Night, Or Have All The Brother’s Gone to White Women, which can be found in his book , Why I Love Black Women, or in chapter 13 of, The Michael Eric Dyson Reader.  With the statics showing that more black men are involved in the prison system than  graduating from college,  Dyson states, “Black women with higher levels of education, are disproportionately affected by the shortage of black men with similar levels of education”  and, ” Black male resentment of black female achievement, especially among black men who have not enjoyed the opportunity to succeed, may translate to unwarranted hostility toward black women…Further, for a black man to reach beneath his class station to embrace a black woman reinforces the status quo: as breadwinner, he can provide for his family, and thus remain head of house”. Thus, stating that a black male would not readily go for a black woman who has excelled in her education and professional development more than himself,  because it goes against the societal norms leaving him to feel as if he is the inferior half of the relationship. Again going back to the male ego, the force that can make or destroy a relationship.

Some days, I wonder what would happen if I left out the information of my professional life when meeting a new man. I wonder if it would make a difference in the way he views or treats me. When I do tell men about my own success, many respond with an impressive stance, yet, at times I feel that it may make some slightly uncomfortable. Some even change their whole way of speech, and start to overly verbalize about their own personal accomplishments.  This is especially true if the man has not attended college or is still working on his first college degree.

I once had a conversation with a male friend surrounding this topic. I explained to him that no man has ever paid to get my nails done, my hair done, or take me on a shopping spree (I can afford to do all that myself). His response was maybe I needed to be a little bit more submissive.  My response with calmness and a hint of confusion was:  “what in the world are you talking about”.  The word “submissive” made me feel as if I had to give up a part of myself just to have a man do for me what I can do for myself. If I have to “submit” for anything, then no I don’t want it.  I am all for a man being a man, and a woman acting like a woman, but to pretend to be something I am not will not work in my relationship. I am proud of my success.  I love my sense of ambition, and drive to do better. That makes me who I am. I have determination to continue to grow in my personal and professional life. Ultimately, I enjoy being a successful, independent woman. Eventually only time will tell if that trait is actually a gift or a curse.