Do as I say, not as I do

Do As I say not As I Do
Do As I say not As I Do

Have you ever heard the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do?” I’m sure many of us heard someone say this at some point in our lives and most times it is coming from a person who is giving advice that he or she does not follow.

Recently I have been watching a lot of tv shows on Netflix and I’m currently viewing The secret life of the American teenager. It is about a 15 year old high school girl who gets pregnant and all of the trials that come along with it.

On a recent episode her father was lecturing her about being honest and doing the right thing. She politely pointed out to him the lies and errors that he has made in his own life.

It is difficult enough trying to get people to take your advice when you are actually practicing what you preach yet alone, trying to advise someone who clearly knows you are not doing what you are advising them to do.

One day I was going back and forth with my mother about a situation and when I left from her presence I realized immediately that I had just done the same thing to her that I hate when she does it to me.

Many times the very thing we cannot stand in others is the same traits within us.

I just read an article about Bishop Eddie Long. He is the international minister who spoke out intensely against homosexuality but was accused some months ago of coercing young boys into having sex with him. The writer was very upset with the fact that Long had paid a settlement but never came forth with the truth about the matter.

Basically saying that if Long was innocent he should have defended himself and made the hearing public.

Although he understood the paying of the settlement to keep from having any further damage done to his reputation he feels that with his followers not knowing the truth of the matter it does not allow many the option of forgiving him or not.

After reading this well written article I began to think about the people in his congregation. I thought about all of the people who still support Long and what kind of lives they must lead. I imagined them committing sins against the church, keeping it a secret and living double lives.

I can also see that after Long not shedding light on the subject further confirmed to them that they don’t have to be honest either.

I know that a lot of people are living by his example and not by what they really feel in their spirit.

I say this with conviction not only from what I see on a daily basis from people in general but because I saw a news clip of Long and his followers marching against homosexuality. In the segment they interviewed a lady from his church and asked her “why do you think homosexuality was wrong?” and she basically said “because Long said so.”

I cannot say I was in shock but it did amaze me that she could not speak from her on convictions.   I always say when the head is not right neither shall be the tail or the rest of the body of that fact.

I myself find it difficult to do what I’m told if the person who is telling me what to do is not following the rules. For example, I was working at a salon and we were told not to use our cell phones inside but the owners where always using theirs inside. Although I knew that they were the boss and could do whatever they wanted I would sometimes find myself using my cell phone inside especially if it wasn’t convenient to step outside.

Even when I owned my salon and things would go wrong with my employees I would always check myself first to see if I caused the problem since I was the head.

Many people who are parents, a boss, manager or supervisor never think that they contribute to the chaos that is caused amongst the people who they are in charge of.

In some cases it may not be your fault but in most cases I would bet it is.

None of us are perfect and every day we should be trying to strive for excellence.

I do not hold any unforgiveness against Long for what he has done because he is a flawed man like all of us. I no longer look to anyone but God as being above me no matter what their position is but there are many people who are looking at those in higher positions as examples.

So if you are one of those people who quote “Do as I say but not as I do,” I want to know, how is that working for you?

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Going Back in Time

If You Knew then What you know now what would you do different?

Recently I got to be a part of what we call project graduation. For those of you who never heard of it, it is a party that the community throws for high school graduates to have something fun to do that night. It is a lock in with plenty of games, prizes, activities and food.

For the last four years Sue (the owner of the Jazzercise center I work at) has been going to this event to perform jazzercise routines for the graduates to follow. It’s another activity along withkaraoke that seems to be a hit and she asked me if I wanted to participate this year and I said yes.

I was really excited to be a part of this because the year that project graduation began was the year I graduated from high school. I was not only excited about seeing the students from the school I graduated from but I felt it would be historic for me like going back in time.

When I looked at those kids I instantly went back to my high school years and I could hardly believe that I was ever that age.  As a matter of fact project graduation was a blur to me.  I could not remember anything about it but winning a prize and thinking to myself that I don’t usually win anything.

Being in school was so hard for me because of the struggle with my sexuality. I didn’t have the opportunity to have relationships and break ups like my friends and was often made fun of because of my femininity. There were parts of school that I enjoyed like deciding what cute outfit I was going to wear, socializing with my friends, and looking at the boys that I thought were so cute.

College was never an option for me because I knew I was going to beauty school so I guess when high school was over I felt a bit lost.

For years I dreamed of being an adult and making my own decisions not realizing how difficult that would be. In school there was a schedule but not in the real world. I could not help wondering about the future of those new graduates and how they would be able to manage going to the next level in life.

What was most profound to me is that I realized that I would never want to go back in time unless I could know what I know now.

The decisions we make or have made were based on what tools or knowledge we had to work with at that time.

If we were actually able to go back in time without our current knowledge we would likely repeat the same path.

I am learning how to leave the past in the past and take what I know now to make a better present.

The future will take care of itself so stop thinking about the mistakes of your past and wishing that you could change them because you can’t.

What you can do is squeeze all of the lessons out of those mistakes and do your best not to repeat them.

Life is very consistent in the lessons it presents although sometimes it comes dressed differently it always gives a chance for you to make a different choice and to learn something new.

If you knew then what you know now..what would you do differently? Would you change anything in your life? Do you have old decisions that you’ve made that have haunted you.  Have there been things in your past you’ve had to learn to make peace with? If So how did you do it?  If you could change one thing about you what would it be?

Dark Girls Rule

Are we in the Black Community Still Color Struck?

Light skinned girls do too…

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I come from a family where color WAS a factor. I never thought about it, never had to, the ideals were thrust upon me.  I come from a family of predominantly light skinned people.

My mother had fair skin.  I remember being really young and asking her if she were white.

The ignorance of youth.  Although I was darker than my mother, or shall I say got darker over time. My sister was darker still. And in my family she was more desired.  How’s that for a switch.

Because no matter about skin color, she had long beautiful hair and I guess in my family hair beat color.  I was teased and called names about my hair, coarser than hers, much shorter.  And in returned I let her know just how I felt about it.

We would tease each other with names such as piss color, she’d call me regarding my “yellow” complexion and I’d respond “Darkie” to her.  They’d call her pony tails and made reference to my pigtails.

I HATED THAT NAME. No wonder I grew up so hair obsessed.

In retrospect, I’m sure she took it to heart. Since there was a growing animosity between us through out the years.  But We were just doing what we were taught.  I would whip my child’ s behind today for some of the things we were allowed to get away with but I guess it was a different time.

So as child bearing years approached and we had children, I remember when my mother came to see my son, and she said “I thought I’d at least get one chocolate one” remarking on his light complexion.  It didn’t dawn on me that there was an obvious bias in the other direction.

Now I’m not saying that you should cry for me but in this world where the images of beautiful black women, are starting to once again dwindle.

And the recent article in the Psychology today, ( I won’t link to to give them more traffic) which went on to say that almost all races of women are physically attractive except for the Black woman, it leaves me to wonder if we will ever be able to be comfortable in the skin we are in if the world around us is still telling us that we aren’t good enough.

Then today I come across the link for the documentary “Dark Girls” and it made me weep inside to think that Black women still in this day and age still think like this.

The level of self hatred we have for our features and colors it’s  shameful.

We have to get to the point of learning to love ourselves in whatever color shape or form we were created.

We were made in the image of love, and have to own our own  beauty.  Because to me that’s what shines through.

And secretly as I envied my sister’s dark skin, I love the beauty that is the package I come in.

and I love it more when I see it in the beauty that I created in my child. I hope we all learn to get to this place, and stop allowing outside influencers to dictate the way we are to feel about who we are and the beauty we show to the world.

Is it still a dark skinned versus light skin thing when it comes to the sisters? Are African American’s still color struck when it comes to women or is it just Americans? Which Do you prefer? Do you still feel discriminated against? Are you a lighter skinned woman and feel a bias in the other direction? Are you a darker skinned woman and you think it is harder to date because your dark skinned?  Have You ever had a man tell you they prefer a lighter skinned woman? Are you only partial to dating people only on the basis of the color of their skin.  Have you ever had anyone do a paper bag test on you?

Finding Love From Heart Break

Finding Love from heartbreak
Finding Love from heartbreak
Tonight I went to dinner with an ex.  See the thing about this guy was that although he wasn’t my typical wildly successful man, he was among one of the best guys I ever dated.  And although he had some financial short comings (he was far from poor), although he is wildly ambitious;  It was almost as if he had predicted the end of the relationship from the very beginning.  He is one of the sweetest nicest guys I have ever met, he was sweet and attentive, but in the end he couldn’t believe what I saw in him, because he didn’t see it in himself.
What I took away from that situation is that sometimes God gives you reminders, of who you are and how you need to be treated.  I had met him at a time, when my confidence was shaken, and I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to try love, but even if I had the character to deserve it, and for the short time we dated he reminded me that not only did I deserve it I should demand it.
I sometimes forget that men are human, and as I sat next to him at dinner being able to finally ask him why he had treated me the way that he did, It dawned on me that he wasn’t the man for me to begin with he was just a place holder for who ever the real man is to be in my life.
Nothing comes without trial and error and although it took me a while to get over the rejection I felt when that relationship ended, I am grateful that for that time he came into my life and reminded me that I was capable of getting the kind of love that I gave out, and I think out of all that came of our situation that was the best gift.
There was a point at dinner when the question was raised about us maybe getting back together, and I was good. I didn’t need another go round to know that he would be better off with someone else. But I wouldn’t change the time we spent.
Have you spent time with an ex to only see that you were better off going through that heartbreak?  What is the best lesson you learned from a heartbreak? Have you had an ex that you regretted breaking up with? What is the best way you found to get over an ex? What do you regret about some of your past relationship?

I Shall Rise Again

When I was in my teens and twenties I was so full of life and promise. I had many hopes and dreams with the determination to see them through. I’ve always had a very privileged life for which I am grateful for.

My parents were not rich but were hard workers. They made sure I had everything I needed and even what I wanted.

The world I lived in consisted of very little pain-that is until my first relationship. It was then that I learned what real pain and suffering was all about. I was just about to hit my thirties when we broke up.

As the years went by I began to see why people become jaded, cynical, sad and depressed. You slowly begin to loose faith in people and trust is no longer taken lightly.

Even though for a period of time I lived in a bubble devoid of all these horrid realizations I can now see why loved its safety. Let’s face it as wonderful as life can be it can also be just as unbearable.

There are so many questions that are left unanswered. We have ministers who preach their “Truth” and we have scientists who explain their “Theories” yet there are still question marks. One question leads to another and so on and so forth.

One of the biggest issues that I have in my life right now (I know Im not alone) is financial. Money was tight before the economy collapsed but after the fall my pockets to an even bigger turn for the worse.

The beauty business has been really good to me until these past few years. It is amazing how life can take such a rapid turn for the better or worse. Life is like a marriage that we are forced into without our consent.

What I love about myself is that not matter how many blows life sends me to try and knock me down I keep plowing forward. There is this feeling in my soul that keeps telling me I shall rise again. Although I’m at my lowest financially I am at my highest physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I am a motivator, I am a teacher, I have an eye for fashion, I’m a listener, I am a jazzercise instructor, I’m a professional hairstylist, I am a friend, Im a lover, I nuture like a mother, I discipline like a father, I am your sister and your brother. I have my doubts and fears but these are ingrediants including in the mixture of life. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

Living in a world that seems to continually take a turn for the worst I feel that the many gifts and talents I have to offer are going to be very valuable one day. I find it comforting to know  that all of my trials continue to make me stronger and I know for sure that I shall rise again like the Phoenix from its ashes.

She Popped the Question

The talk of the urban town is all abuzz with the topic of women proposing marriage, after a recent episode of VH1’s “Love & Hip-Hop” where Chrissy Lampkin, long-term girlfriend of rapper Jim Jones proposed to him.

I don’t watch much television that isn’t about fashion or cooking.. or drag queens, but this broadcasting of the rapper’s girlfriend’s asking to put a ring on him obviously led to interesting conversations with mixed-gender friends during our facebook Humpday Happy Hour  — here are the findings…

Both genders seem to be distinctly divided into three different groups of opinion.  But, naturally women and men are intrinsically different, so their rationales and
perspectives varied greatly.  Of note-worthy views where both men and women were in agreement, is the noted respect for the idea of “tradition” in marriage proposals.

The ladies points of discussion ranged from complete disapproval of the trend, to circumstantial situations of acceptability, to full support.  Some of the women argued that a woman’s proposal is a sign of desperation, while others pointed out that equality amongst genders is important in all aspects of life; including intimate relationships.  Some simply warned: “only do it if you know he’ll say yes” … and … “don’t do it in front of an audience.”

To generalize, my girlfriends still seem to prefer a traditional proposal, but acknowledge certain rights & reasons of women to initiate engagements, although none of them would actually propose to a man themselves.

The men were quite vocal on this topic, stating that they would either: 1.  feel completely emasculated by a woman’s audacity and say no,  2.  say yes (if he truly loved her), but might possibly feel undercut by a woman stealing their glory, or  3.  welcome a woman’s proposal simply to enjoy the thrill of such an extreme declaration of love and commitment.

The men advise that much consideration should be given to whether or not a potential fiance is even aware of your intentions/ desire to marry, and they stressed the importance of gauging their maturity & readiness to be asked.

The male ego is a delicate entity.  Proceed with caution.

I believe that the question popping should be left to whomever will assume the dominant, responsible, decision-making provider role for the continuing duration of the relationship.
Ladies, face it: if we take the proud moment of gathering the gumption to initiate a lifelong commitment from our men – what other traditionally “male” roles will they be willing to abandon, under the assumption that we’ll just take care of it?

I’ll tell you this: I am not mowing any grass.

Finding your center

Finding your Emotional Center to Find Peace

When you find yourself all the way to the right or all the way to your left you will always end up being stressed out. It is not until you find your center that you will be in your power and have peace.

A therapist told me once that we go from one extreme to the other before we come back to the middle. That rang so true for me and it continues to happen at random moments in my life.

I’m finding that the more I understand how these cycles work my stress levels are lower because I know that some valuable lessons are being learned and in the end I will come back to my center and be even stronger.

Recently I discovered that for years I have been putting on a false sense of confidence. The reason for this is because I have always felt like a target for being made fun of because I’m a feminine man.

I deliberately remember telling myself to hold my head up high and to never let anyone think that what they said about me hurt me. Fortunately I had a very critical family and I already had somewhat of a tough skin.

I remember a friend telling me in high school that she loved the fact that I was always smiling and I told her that most times I was smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. It was so difficult struggling inwardly with my sexuality.

I know it’s cliché but you really can’t judge a book by its cover.  That false sense of confidence was shattered years ago by a traumatic event in my life and it is when I discovered all of my frailties.

For years I have been working to put back all the pieces of my life and continuing to discover who I am and who I’m not. Although I still have insecurities my confidence today is real.

Learning to love yourself with all of your imperfections is a very difficult thing to do.

I did an exercise recently and wrote down everything I like about myself and everything I don’t like about myself. My don’t like list was a bit bigger than I hoped it would be however seeing it written will help me accept or make more adjustments to myself.

All of our insecurities and frustrations lie within ourselves and if we don’t figure out what they are we will continue to project our issues upon others.

It’s not easy to take responsibility for our own actions and I’m not going to lie it hurts. It’s much simpler to blame everyone else for the chaos in our lives.

If you’re asking yourself today why do you keep having the same issues happen over and over again the right question you must ask is what am I doing to keep getting myself in this same place?

Reprograming ourselves is not an easy task and you can choose not to but your life will be like a hamster running in the wheel moving but never going anywhere. Which option will you choose?