Did you try doing before begging?

Begging-AbuseNote: I found out this quote isn’t actually in the Bible; it’s derived from one of Aesop’s fables. I learned this because I used Google all by myself. 

This digital notepad has seen more than its fair share of ebbs and flows. There are just certain things I can’t write. I think the problem for me, well, most of the time, is my so-called disposition as a “professional woman,” whatever that means. There are just some things “I” can’t say on the Internet. Meanwhile, on any given day, I can log on to my Facebook account and see beaucoup men riffing on everything from what women should and shouldn’t wear to how women should and shouldn’t carry themselves. These ephemeral notes of judgmental commentary are usually co-signed with likes or passively disagreed with the inconspicuous “LOL.”

I’m not sure yet, but I think I’m ready to ditch the P.C.-laden talk and get down to the nitty-gritty. I want to discuss things that annoy me. Now, obviously, I know that I can expect some feedback; I’m no stranger to being skewered on the Internet. I know how this works. If I were to start somewhere, it would be on the topic of “begging.” I’m not talking about standing on the corner, cup-in-hand begging. I tested the safety of this topic via Facebook, hoping the message would reach the offending parties. #yesthatwasshade:

“Stop begging… for attention, opportunity, likes, love, to get put on, money, deals, information, tips, advice, networks, views, clicks, comments, compliments, critiques, and/or motivation. The answer to everything you’ll ever need is in a book, a Google search or within yourself. More on that later,” was what I wrote.

So far, I’m up to 20 likes and one love; I’ll take that as a sign it’s safe to proceed.

Before I’m called a snob or something far worse, I want to make something clear: There is a difference between begging and asking for help.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help, in fact, I encourage it. But we have to get back to the basics when it comes to defining the action of asking for help. Help usually indicates the inquiring party has done the majority of the work required to reach the end goal of a project.

You do not ask for help writing a paper if you haven’t penned the first sentence. You do not ask for help painting a room if you intend to sit on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. You do not ask for help throwing a big brunch when you haven’t purchased the ingredients or Googled a few recipes.

Help is seeking out an assistant to whatever it is you want to do. Nothing more than that, really.

(Now here’s the part where I get a little judgmental if I may.) Help abuse has spun out of control! There are GoFundMe fundraisers running without shame for Beyonce tickets, new cars, and vacations. If this is something you’ve done, then call it what it is: a hustle.

The most annoying part about people who constantly beg is that they don’t realize they’re cheating themselves out of an opportunity to learn or experience something new. Some people need the cliff notes for every challenge. To the beggars of the world, I implore you to get to know yourself a little better.

Deep down underneath the layers of self-doubt and laziness is a curious experimenter just begging to get out.

You can do it. No, really, you can.

Regina King says I have 15 more years of shameless short-skirt-wearing and I believe her

http://naturalhair-fashionobsession.tumblr.com/post/140248099156/badbilliejean-goddess

According to my calculations (my calculations being this flaw-free photo of Regina King that I found on Tumblr), there’s really no rush. I’d like to personally thank you, Regina King, for smacking me out of my depressive panic that’s telling me I won’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do. It is false. Regina King is 45 and I am 30. Take that, anxiety.

There’s no rush.

Regina-King-Short-Dress

I still have time to experience all the joys and pains of pregnancy and the privilege of becoming a mom. I still have time to achieve that set of abs that has haunted my dreams for months. I still have time to take that weeklong vacation to France. But, most importantly, I still have time to rock really teeny-tiny clothes. The heydays of many fashion trends have come and gone without my participation due to fear. My thighs are “too jiggly” and being over the age of 25 automatically forces me into the conservative club. I have love handles and I can forget about putting my size D’s into a backless anything.

At least, that’s what I thought until I saw this Regina King picture. This photo definitely tells me otherwise.

http://mrslovelytown.tumblr.com/post/140198589762

There’s also that deep v and nearly booty-baring dress Kerry Washington wore to the Oscars. She’s a mom, a 39-year-old one at that, and she killlllllllled it.

Age be damned.

In a world that’s constantly judging and reinforcing the fallacy that I’m not good enough, this show of confidence is so necessary.

Stay tuned for me in my romper et al.

Peace Out to Empty Friendships: Why Some Relationships Aren’t Worth the Worry

EMPTY-FRIENDSHIPS-ADVICE
This year was admittedly a breakout year for me. Beyond the scope of career accomplishments and scratching idyllic travel destinations off my bucket list (toot! toot!); my greatest achievement thus far was mustering the courage to walk away from relationships that no longer served me.

More specifically, I saw less of a need for friendships that were one-sided, that lacked the mutual curiosity to push each of us forward, those buried in jealousy or bitterness and so-called friends who’d refused to accept my flaws and love me just as I am.

By no means do I believe I am a perfect person, but there is a thin line between stripping away a person’s essence to cater to another’s agenda while never once offering a genuine hand of support.

I clung to people who I had mistakenly categorized as friends. I collected them like chips at the casino and relied heavily on our infrequent interactions to feed my confidence.

Just knowing that I had a solid mix of friends to roundup for selfies at Happy Hour felt right. But when I found myself lost and feeling anxious or depressed, I realized I had nowhere to turn. Not because these so-called friends were incapable of consoling me in my times of need, but because we had never reached the depth of friendship that is necessary to feel safe enough to open up.

They never saw me ugly cry; they never saw me fall apart.

My primary job was playing Miss Perfect, and in that character, I willingly peddled to everyone else’s needs, wants, and invitations. In turn, I compromised my own happiness with this way of thinking. Each and every time, regardless the situation, I started putting other people’s feelings above my own because I felt “stronger” or guiltily, more “privileged.” I felt I could handle overt or inadvertent rejection from those so-called friends because I had forced myself to sympathize with whatever they were going through.

I belittled myself and subsidized my own happiness for the sake of others. This became apparent to me one day when I decided I actually didn’t want to go to a Happy Hour for fun. I fantasized about daytime brunches at my house, taking weekend-long road trips up to the mountains or going to check out a movie — just about anything that didn’t require a short dress and 5-inch stilettos.

It also doesn’t help that I work in an industry that thrives on likes and shares, so having a solid source of sisterhood became essential. I introduced ideas that my uninterested circle of friends said would “take a lot of work.” Even worse, I’ve had people cancel on the day of a meet-up and beg and plead for a makeup date. Eventually, I closed up shop.

I decided I wasn’t going to be strong anymore for friends who had refused to hold up their end of the bar. This was taking too much work and a great toll on my emotional state.

So, I built a wall of invincibility (or so I thought), but behind that wall was a broken and defensive woman who couldn’t allow herself to embrace vulnerability or honesty.

Being vulnerable means circumstantially sacrificing that wall of strength, a wall that is forever in danger of toppling over at the slightest rift.

In all of this, I did have my mom. She is truly a best friend and if she wasn’t 60 years old and opposed to alcoholic beverages, she would no doubt be my ride or die.

Her advice, plainly put, was to stop answering the call. “You don’t owe anyone anything and the same goes for them,” she told me. It was at the very point I started doing things that I wanted to do without co-signs from outsiders.

I still long for those genuine, bugged-out friendships where we can let our guards down and just have fun. I still want to have those intellectual heart-to-hearts where we sit down and mull over politics or all the disparities that have plagued the culture. I still desire that ambitious wanderlust who will encourage me to spit in fear’s face and go after my heart’s desires.

But in the meantime, I’m not going to force it. I know that friendships are not supposed to drain me of my confidence and peace. I’m learning to value the people within my reach and have made a commitment to give all I have to enrich those friendships.

Career Over Baby: Why Gabrielle Union’s Position on Motherhood Should Be Respected

GABRIELLE-UNION-REDBOOK-MOTHERHOOD

Gabrielle Union covers the October 2015 issue of Redbook magazine — and though her radiant beauty runneth over, the quotes she offered are receiving the most attention. The “Being Mary Jane” star, 42, opened up for the first time about her struggle with having a child with husband Dwyane Wade, who’s nine years her junior.

“So far it has not happened for us,” Union said. “A lot of my friends deal with this. There’s a certain amount of shame that is placed on women who have perhaps chosen a career over starting a family younger.”

With Union being in the spotlight after starring in films such as “Think Like a Man,” coupled with her marriage to the Miami Heat star player, the pressure for her to win at motherhood comes from all angles — friends and random Internet commenters alike.

Union tried to explain exactly why she is 42 and without children: “The penance for being a career woman is barrenness,” she said. “You feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter.”

But of course, her honesty was not received without backlash. Commenters offered up a lot of “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” talk, calling Union’s predicament an act of selfishness — but is it all even warranted?

Union may be a Hollywood actress, but that doesn’t exempt her from the brunt work of kicking the pavement to go out and find her next role; and with scarce opportunities for black women on-screen (see: Matt Damon’s laughable breakdown on diversity), the free time may not be readily available for her to pause to raise a child.

The dimness of her situation is familiar for a quantity of women — especially those who’ve entered the workforce with thousands of student loan debt on their backs. A 2013 Pew Research study seems to explain the competitive nature of some career women. “Young women today are more likely than young men to say women are paid less for doing the same job and men have easier access to top executive jobs.”

And, that’s not all: Full-time working women earn 78 cents to every dollar a man does, according to the White House.

A photo posted by Gabrielle Union (@gabunion) on

Women are sold the dream of having it all from a young age, but having it all isn’t easy and it doesn’t come without a price. These days women are nurturers and breadwinners, and every decision is a gamble — even choosing to put children off until you can guarantee the lights will stay on.

Personally, as a single woman on the cusp of 30, the thought of never having children is both real and terrifying. I don’t feel ready or financially stable enough to bring a child into the world at this time (I’m factoring in four years of college tuition because I don’t want my child to go through what I did) — and there is no rule book on how to speed up the process. Let’s stop the widespread judging and accept the fact that there is no blueprint for having a family.

How many times have you made an illegal turn? #SandraBland

Sandra-Bland-SuicideAround this time last year I made an illegal turn. It was about 2 a.m. in the morning; bleary-eyed and not paying attention, I just wanted to get home and take my shoes off. I accidentally turned out from the left lane and went over two lanes to the right. Since I was driving slow, I tried to swerve my car back into my lane before the officer hiding in the gas station noticed me, but it was too late.

I was pulled over 5 seconds later, not even a block away from my house. I apologized to the officer and told them that I was coming home from work. I told the officer my occupation and how I had a long night. None of it mattered. The incident left me with a fine and a few points on my license, but I was able to sleep in my own bed that night.

Lucky me, I landed the cop desperate to meet a quota, instead of one who rather a proud sister laying cuffed and bloodied on the street.

Sandra Bland was supposed start a new position at her Alma mater soon, but she was pulled over, arrested, and died in jail.

The dash-cam video displayed a strong, knowledgeable, and alert woman, unafraid to stand up for herself. The officer yanked and yelled, but like a modern day freedom fighter, Bland refused to be moved or discouraged. The medical examiner has already ruled her death a suicide by hanging, but all those who have marched on the front lines, and even those who’ve cheered from the side lines, know that Bland died a hero.

As the investigation process on what really happened in that small cell gets underway, it is crucial that the work of the Black Lives Matter movement be elevated. While not reducing the progress made behind previous incidents including Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and others; all hands must be on deck if we truly want equality and justice to be universal.

A photo posted by Brad Walrond (@bradwalrond) on

She went to an HBCU; I went to an HBCU. She was a member of a black greek lettered organization (Sigma Gamma Rho), and so am I (Delta Sigma Theta). Bland and all the other victims of police brutality deserve more. Over the last year I have changed jobs twice, flown out of the country three times, and moved into a new place — but had I suffered the same fate as Bland, none of what I accomplished would be possible. As the older sister of two black men, I’ve always been partial to their struggles, often overlooking my own. They’ve both successfully made it out that “danger zone” of adolescence and young adulthood, and I’ll admit; I got comfortable. With the unfortunate reminder that these events can happen to educated women, who are literally on their way to accept an offer for a new job, it’s an eye-opening event that hits close to home.

The last Facebook profile picture that Bland will ever upload was a meme that plainly reads, “Now legalize being black in America.”

So, when will we?