Posted in Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Life, Love, Married Life, Motherhood, NFL, Ray Rice, Relationships

Love Doesn’t Hurt

***Part of my new mission with this blog involves encouraging, empowering, and enlightening. I hope to do all three within this post***

 

Ray Rice was cut by the Ravens today.

I know I know, players get cut all the time in the NFL. But today was different. His was due to a domestic violence incident involving his now-wife, Janay.

There were two videos that surfaced of the incident in Atlantic City…the first video showed Ray dragging his then-fiancee’ ‘s unconscious, limp body out of the elevator. What went on inside the elevator was just implied that he had knocked her out, many suggesting that Janay instigated the situation (and I will get to that in just a minute). The second video however, shows Ray & Janay in the elevator, with delivering a serious punch to Janay, knocking her unconscious.

I’m not here to argue about his punishment. I think I’ve done that enough today.

I am here to talk to the ladies and gentlemen who have been affected by domestic violence. Or will be affected by domestic violence.

I am here to tell you that love does not hurt.

You may disagree with a significant other or annoy them, make them mad. It happens. They may make you mad. It happens. You don’t, however, place your hands on someone for ANY reason. You don’t call them out of their name, for ANY reason.

Women, I know we have a mouth on us, We can sometimes take things further than they need to. HOWEVER, make no mistake, this is NEVER a reason for a man to hit you, call you out of your name, spit on you, or cause you harm.

Women, we have the power to bring LIFE into a situation. If a man brings you to a place where you feel the need to demean him, place your hands on him, call him out of his name, or exhibit any behavior that is deemed abusive?

WALK AWAY. Go cool off. Seek professional help  or a third party/mediator to solve a conflict if necessary. But there’s NOTHING in your actions that should cause you to provoke or exhibit violent behavior. You have purpose. You matter. You, woman, are POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE. Use that power for good. And remember, you cannot make a man change. You can pray for change. You can encourage change, but ultimately…your words can build up or tear down. And your words should NEVER justify violence towards you in ANY relationship.

Men. Fellas. Many of you have witnessed domestic violence, or were a victim of it yourself. You are a KING. WALK LIKE ONE. TALK LIKE ONE. ACT LIKE ONE.

This doesn’t mean cracking your whip to ‘get her in line.’ Leadership is servanthood. Serve her. Love her. KNOW her. Cherish her. Protect her. That doesn’t involve placing your hands on her in any way, spitting on her, calling her out of her name. Violence is NEVER okay, even if/when she is provoking you. And if she is?

WALK AWAY.

You have SO much to lose if you become violent towards her.

I’m raising a black boy. I will have to let him know that fair or not fair, the legal system is not on his side. Fair or not fair, he will be viewed and punished more harshly. So he will be held to a different standard. And he will know that. He will know to NEVER put his hand on a woman aside from restraining her.

Love encourages. It is patient. It celebrates. It protects. It is kind. It speaks life. It doesn’t boast or isn’t easily angered. It is not self seeking.

Not only does never fail, but it also doesn’t hurt.

***For more information on domestic violence, the signs, and where to go/who to call if you have experienced or are experienced domestic violence, visit thehotline.org, or call 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). You can also visit http://www.domesticviolence.org/ ***

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Posted in Life, Relationships

Hide and Seek

So, I was having a conversation this morning with an awesome woman I know, who said she was looking for a man. I asked her where she was going/frequented, she then admitted that she didn’t go anywhere.

Let me warn you before going ANY further, I’m progressive…except when it comes to chivalry. I personally believe a man should pursue a woman. I believe in gentlemen who open doors, who don’t honk their horns when picking up a woman for a date. I believe in men asking women to marry them.

Am I saying women shouldn’t ask men out? Nope not at all. I’m definitely a feminist. BUT, I like to see women pursued, swept off their feet. I’m a romantic.and i think men should prove themselves. Let the man chase you. Let them pull out all the stops.

Anyways.

Ladies, let me be real with you.

If you want to be married, or even dating/in a serious relationship? You need to be in and frequent places where you can be found.a man most likely won’t show up at your doorstep while you just watch movies all the time after work.

So without further ado here are some of the best places to meet men:

Church. I know, i know, some of you may think ‘there are no good men at my church/good looking men.’ But, there are other women there who may have sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews to set you up with. Go to church to strengthen your relationship with God. And seek out mentorship of an older, married woman who can help prepare you to be a wife!

Hang with married women/couples. Married women know good men who aren’t married. Whether it be a brother, hubby’s coworker, etc…they Can spot marriage material from a mile away especially if they are in a good healthy marriage themselves.

School. Check out the campus center/library/your classroom. I met my husband at college, at a salsa/merengue dance workshop. And the rest is history.

Gym. It’s good for you to stay fit and find someone else who values their health as well. Usually more men there than women!

Professional conferences/organizations. You’ll automatically have something in common if you meet a man at a conference. Dress to impress!

Alumni clubs from your college. You share a common background by attending the same college/university. And if education is important, you’ll find someone with at least a 4 year degree there and a good job.

Meetup groups. Find one for your interest. Make new friends. Even better if you meet a guy who shares the same interest!

Travel. Go see old high school/college friends. They may introduce you to single men they know. Or you might meet a local cutie in the social scene there.

Weddings. Don’t be afraid to go without a date or with a friend! You might catch the eye of one of the eligible bachelors there 🙂

Other places include: local bar. Especially during sporting events. Starbucks. Birthday parties. Library. A friend’s family reunion/gathering. Local grocery store.

Now…you CAN meet men online too. Many have met their future spouse online. But, i still suggest you get out and get FOUND if you really want to get married. Get out there and live life, be exciting. Do amazing things, Do what you LOVE. The right man will find you!

Posted in Life, Married Life, Relationships, Religion

The Trivialization of Marriage (and other things)

So, apparently it took a blog about marriage to get me back into the swing of things with writing. Yup. I needed to say something.

This woman, is in a relationship, and has had 2 kids with her boyfriend, as well as bought a house, and desires marriage. Her boyfriend does not. She’s taking that personal.

While I don’t have anything in particular to say about her situation, I do have something to say about the trivialization of marriage.

Over the last few decades, marriage has become ‘just a piece of paper’ to many. And I take that personal. I also know it’s much bigger than me.

There are SEVERAL states, legalizing gay marriage, gay couples all over the country, are fighting for that supposed ‘piece of paper’. Because they recognize, that piece of paper symbolizes something bigger than the both of them, and it comes along with several rights.

In several places, that ‘piece of paper’ is the difference between getting insured under your partner’s insurance or not. It’s the difference between being allowed to visit your loved one in the hospital or not. Among many other rights that I don’t have the time or space to list in this post.

That ‘piece of paper’ symbolizes a commitment, to your loved ones, to each other, that for better or worse, you’re in this for the long haul.

Now, do vows get broken? Of course. It’s human nature, it happens. But it’s not something to take lightly. Folks often do. But in my opinion, it doesn’t change that marriage IS a big deal.

This, is not a post to talk anyone into getting married. If you don’t want to get married, that is fine. I’m not writing to change your mind.

I AM saying, if marriage wasn’t a big deal? It wouldn’t have such a big impact economically and socially in most countries. I respect those who don’t want marriage. Or kids. Or a house. Or those other big life events. However? Don’t trivialize it for those who do want it.

Whatever someone desires? I say if it isn’t harming someone, if it makes them happy, what is wrong with it?

I’m vowing today, to not trivialize anything that does no harm, if someone desires it.

If I want kids? Dog, don’t tell me how having kids isn’t a big deal, and how kids ruin your life, and a bunch of other things, to trivialize and minimize what I think will make me happy.

If I want to go to Europe? Don’t tell me how going to Europe is overrated and that I won’t like it, and that it’s not a big thing.

I want what I want. And I’m not settling. Period.

This is a gospel song, but Marvin Winans sums up how I feel in ‘I Still Believe’.

Posted in Faith, Life, Married Life, Relationships

The Power of Submission

so a few months ago, earlier this year, I wrote a piece on ‘surrendering.’ And I wanted to not only revisit this topic, but expand on it, by talking about submission.

A few days ago on twitter, I mentioned how there was power in submission. Not everyone agreed with that sentiment, and I can understand that, because not long ago, I felt the same way.

Submission, in many ways, has been explained as giving up something, kind of a giving up of power.

I wish I could properly explain the beauty and the power of giving up that power.

As I near closer to 30, I feel like I understand submission better.

To me, submission involves trust, and knowing who and what you’re submitting yourself to. I cannot blindly submit, give up ‘control’ to something or someone I don’t know. And I put control in quotation marks, because it’s a false sense of reality, to even think that you’re in control in the first place. There are things you’re in control of, you do have the free will to make certain choices and decisions. But control? Hmmm. that’s debatable.

I’ve been a ‘control freak’ for much of my life, since I was a kid. I suspect part of it has to do with me being an oldest kid, I’m not quite sure. But at any rate, it led to me stressing over things I had no control over. It led to me not knowing where the true source of my power laid.

Two years into my marriage? I’m realizing it’s counter-productive to try and control things. To try and control my husband, the marriage and how things happen, my life, OUR life together. We spend more time fighting over the same vision, yet different ways of carrying out that vision.

Submitting to him, means that, I trust him, wholeheartedly, to not just lead us, but to know how the two of us should work together to make our common vision come to life. Instead of me trying to control things and him trying to control things, we balance it out, through mutual submission.

Also just applies to life in general. Only this year did I realize that I’m not in control of my life, at least not fully. There are day to day things, that I have control over. I also possess God-given wisdom that allows me to make decisions based on information available. Anything outside of that? Not under my control. Realizing that, has allowed me to realize the power in submission.

The power comes from being able to focus on the day to day things, and not worry about what may or may not happen. It allows God to do His thing and take care of me. It’s teaching me how to get out of God’s way, as my husband says.

The longer I held on to wanting to be in control, the more stressed I was. The more I learned to let go and release those things I could not control? The more I was able to enjoy life, and practice gratitude. The more I was able to let things unfold the way they’re supposed to.

I think this doesn’t even fully explain, the way I’d like it to, the power in submission. But there’s nothing more powerful, than surrendering your power, to something much bigger, much greater than you.

Posted in Cleveland, Education, Faith, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

Time to Fly

I’m such a chicken…I can go literally ANYWHERE in the country for grad school and I’m afraid to go TOO far from my family and in-laws but I’m too scared to fly from the nest…or at least to fly too far away. Every time I’ve gone somewhere unfamiliar, I’ve always ran back to safety, to my comfort zone. Never mind the fact that I wasn’t always happy there.

When I left for Hampton at 18, not only was I dealing with depression, but I was also dealing with homesickness. I was over nine hours away from home. I had plenty of resources available to me that I could have taken advantage of…counseling, TRIO, I had 2 ‘big brothers’-upperclassmen who adopted me as their little sister & had taken me under their wings.  I opted to go back home instead and deal with depression near my family.

Fast forward three years, I was over 18 hours away when my grandmother passed away-I was in Southwest Louisiana for Alternative Spring Break, and my beloved grandmother was on her deathbed, and I knew it. We all knew it. I remember wanting to stay home instead of doing ASB that year…my mother urged me to go, because I couldn’t prevent anything from happening. And she was right. And just like I feared, I ended up getting that call that my grandmother had passed away, while I was down south. It was incredibly hard, but thankfully, I wasn’t alone.

Why am I telling these stories? Because they have everything to do with me being afraid to leave the nest. I’ve been talking about leaving my hometown ever since I was a little girl. And I’m scared to leave home. Scared to leave my family and the only city I’ve ever known. Scared that I will have trouble making friends wherever I end up next. Scared that hubby & I will have trouble finding jobs. Scared that I will fail and end up back here.

I seem to forget that the times that I DID step out of my comfort zone? Yes it was scary…but it all worked out. And I always had the time of my life. Including this current job now.

I really do need to step out of my comfort zone with graduate school, and trust that everything will work out, because it will. I think also, I stay here in town, not expecting things to change, but they do, and they already are changing. Life goes on, whether you are ready or not, and I’m finally realizing that, as I watch all of my friends step out of their comfort zones and do amazing things. It’s time for me to do the same, to face my fears, and not only survive, but thrive.

It’s time to leave the nest, it’s time to fly. Wherever we land, everything will work out. Might not be smooth sailing at first, but things will work out. And best part is, I won’t be alone this time-I’ll have my husband by my side. In the words of my wise friend/sis ‘yes we definitely need to face our fears and get out of our comfort zone, because GOD knows where he wants to take and place us, we just have to put that trust in Him.’

Posted in Life, Married Life, Relationships

Writing the Mundane

I haven’t written in a while for a few reasons. One, because my work keeps me SUPER busy. That’s not an excuse.

I’ve stayed away because my life is a tad too mundane to write about.

You know…get up, go to work, get off work, go home, eat dinner, watch a little television w/the hubby and go to bed. Rinse and repeat.

And then there’s stuff that isn’t mundane but this isn’t the space to write about it. There are some things that happen offline that need to stay offline. This is a space for me to write, share with you all great things, things that will help you grow.

But I needed to talk about the mundane stuff tonight too. Because well, believe it or not, there’s beauty in the mundane. Greatness evolves from the mundane.

We all spend a lot of time, I’m sure, thinking of ways to make life more interesting. Or maybe that’s just me. But I fail to appreciate the here and now, see the beauty in the mundane.

Sometimes we should stop and smell the roses. Stare in awe at the sunset. Feel the cool breeze against our skin. Appreciate being bored. YES, appreciate being bored. (A little secret-I get some of my best ideas while I’m bored)

My best friends, my family, and my husband, are people I can have fun with even in the most mundane times. Everything in life isn’t going to be a party. No, it’s not fun paying bills. And I don’t like doing dishes. I don’t like cleaning but it has to be done. It’s just another reminder that I’m here, living, breathing. I do the mundane so I can get to the more interesting things later on. I do what I have to do now, so I can do what I want to do later.

The mundane allows me to appreciate the moments of greatness and interesting things that much more, because they don’t come as often. The mundane keeps me humble and hungry. It allows me to strive for more and never become too comfortable. It also allows me to slow down, pace myself, when things get too crazy. It reminds me that yes, while I may be all that at my job, I still have to come home and cook dinner for my husband (which can actually be fun sometimes)!

The mundane isn’t fun. But I’m thankful for the mundane, for the perspective, experience, and lessons that it offers me. And I needed to write about the mundane today. Why?

Because I needed to write.

Posted in Life, Married Life, Relationships

Loving You…

‘Loving you, is easy cause you’re beautiful’-Minnie Ripperton

Man…as beautiful as that song is, loving someone is NOT easy. But that being said, it’s totally worth it.

I had a conversation with a loved one yesterday and they were telling me a story about a situation that bothered them.

In the conversation, I was telling them how they could have done something slightly different but was otherwise on their side. In that moment I realized they didn’t really need that at that moment. They needed to know I was on their side, that I loved them beyond whatever.

Sometimes, people need you to love them beyond their faults, beyond their flaws. You have no idea the power of love and the effect it has on someone. You can tell when someone is loved, it shows up all over them. It transforms lives in ways that nothing else can.

Love is powerful beyond words.

I can say that in my marriage, I’m really just beginning to grasp this lesson.

Sometimes, I want to tell my husband how wrong he is. And sometimes I do. And immediately regret it. Because certain moments, he doesn’t need that. Timing is absolutely everything and showing love in the moment that your spouse needs it is crucial. You can speak about a lesson they need to learn another time. I’m learning to love my husband in spite of. Unconditionally. He needs to know that when he messes up and makes mistakes, I love him regardless. Because I want the same in return.

Marriage is indeed beautiful, because you share an intimacy with someone that you will not share with anyone else. You see them up close and personal 24-7, flaws and all. You learn what makes them tick. You learn what hurts them, what makes them happy. You learn what they need as well as what they desire. And then you get to give them what they need.

And what we all need, is love. And to be able to give that? Is indeed a privilege. Loving someone isn’t easy, but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s teaching me and showing me so much about myself. And through that, I am growing in ways I never could have imagined.

Loving You…is worth it.