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Conversations with Coworkers

15 Dec

Convo #1

Last week I asked a coworker if she was taking time off for the holidays. We’re civil servants and the federal government is typically a ghost town during the month of December with so many people having use-or-lose leave to burn.  She said she wasn’t taking time off for Christmas because she’s not married nor does she have children.

prince-side-eye.gif

I said neither am I, but I’ll be taking time off. Everyone needs a break. Americans work way too much as it is. Forty percent of Americans do not use all of the vacation days we’re entitled. If you’re fortunate enough to have paid leave — use it. And women tend to do the heavy lifting (lest we forget) so we truly need a break to recover, rest, and recharge.

Time off isn’t the sole domain of couples and/or breeders. In fact, I’d argue that singles actually need it more because we’re a unit of one with no one to share life’s load. We’re more likely to be the caretakers of family members/friends and the contributors to our community as a whole.

Yes, our capitalistic society likes to center holiday fun around kids and obligatory-gift-exchanges. But festive adventure shouldn’t end with adulthood; nor should one’s parental and relationship status influence one’s propensity to enjoy life. The child-free and/or spouse-free needn’t opt out of holiday cheer and well-deserved time off. Party.  Sleep.  Vacate. Drown yourself in tacky holiday decorations. Do absolutely nothing.

We all deserve it.

Convo #2

A married coworker (Kim) told us that she “pulled” her husband with her tasty home-cooked meals. Apparently Kim’s now-husband was heavy into that gym life and was eating low-calorie bland meals before her arrival. Got ’em, Kim said. I assume with her macaroni and cheese.

A male coworker (Mark) cosigned with the adage, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. We’ve heard it all before. Somebody cue up the Sunshine Anderson.

But what’s path to a woman’s heart? What’s the corresponding adage for that?

In We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie writes

We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.

My point exactly. Where’s the instructional for men? They’re left to their own devices and women are expected to silently and graciously endure.

viola-davis

 

 

Shonda Shares All

23 Nov

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Oprah’s interview with television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes on Supersoul Sunday. It was so encouraging to see two intelligent, confident, and successful black women unafraid to speak and live their truth.  They are an example to us all.

Shonda shared her views on marriage, parenting, and the power of saying no when necessary. Many women suffer from the need to please everyone all  the time. On learning to say no Shonda said, “It’s really hard to say that [no] to people. It’s very interesting how wired we are to tell somebody 1,000 reasons why we can’t do something for them.”

Ain’t that the truth.

Shonda also shared that,  “I do not want my daughters to grow up and think that I should shrink and be in the background; that I should be selfless, sacrificing, I should be silent.”

So many powerful takeaways from the interview.

Here’s a clip of Shonda on marriage and societal pressure to do so. I’m sure most single women beyond the age of 30 can relate.

If you want to see the interview in its entirety, check it out here.

Shonda shares all in her new memoir, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person.

Wedding of One

26 Jan

solo weddingYasmin Eleby decided to “marry” herself at the beginning of this year in a ceremony at the Museum of African American Culture in Houston, Texas. Eleby vowed that if she wasn’t married by age 40, she’d “marry” herself. Technically one cannot legally marry oneself but she went through the motions; it was a spiritual ceremony nothing legally binding. Reactions were mixed from the online community. Of course, there was a lot of hate unleashed. Commenters referred to Eleby as “desperate” and “thirsty.”  But then there were some words of support and encouragement. One commenter wrote, “I think it’s a beautiful thing to marry yourself.  I have always said if you want something done, do it yourself.”

Here are a few comments from NoWayGirl.com.

Comments from NoWayGirl.com

Comments from NoWayGirl.com

 

Um, but why she gotta be gay though? And so what if she is? Smh. Foolishness infuriates me.

I say — “Do you boo!” If Eleby can afford it, why the hell not? And I salute her for not marrying a lame, less than candidate like so many other men and women who succumb to pressure to pick a partner or spouse.

In her book It’s not You: 27 (Wrong Reasons You’re Single), Sara Eckel breaks down the idea of an actual desperate woman. Here’s an excerpt.

…but for now let’s take another look at that awful word “desperate.” As Stephanie Coontz points out, the fact that we throw this label on women who have refrained from marrying is absurd. “It’s understandable that many women are anxious about the prospect of finding a good husband,” Coontz wrote in Marriage, a History. “But few modern women are actually desperate to marry. Historically, desperate is agreeing to marry a much older man whom you find physically repulsive. Desperate is closing your eyes to prostitutes and mistresses and praying you don’t get a venereal disease. Desperate is having child after child because your husband won’t let you use birth control or covering the bruises you got last night when you hurry to the market to shop for the evening meal. Women today may be anxious about finding a mate, but most could not even imagine being that desperate.”

You didn’t rush back to that mediocre relationship. You didn’t grit your teeth and enter some passionless union with a perfectly nice guy who doesn’t get you. There are people who are afraid to be alone, who head for the nearest warm body after each breakup, or who stay in miserable relationships because the alternative is so terrifying. But that’s not you, is it?

Nor is it Yasmin Eleby. I salute you my spouse-free sister!

 

Yasmin Eleby

Yasmin Eleby

 

 

ps 

Eleby isn’t the only woman to marry herself. A woman in Taiwan married herself in 2010. And 31-year-old Grace Gelder married solo last year.

 

So Much Trouble in the World #Bob Marley

29 May
Courtesy of ToddSchnick.com

Courtesy of ToddSchnick.com

 

It’s been awhile.

So much has transpired in the past month or so.

A racist rancher in Nevada takes center stage, followed by a racist NBA team owner who gets the boot thanks to a discriminatory rant secretly recorded by his mixed archivist/girlfriend.

Thirty-ish something brown girls everywhere were disappointed in the casting of Aurora Perrineau for the role of Shana Elmsford in the upcoming movie Jem and the Holograms based on the hit cartoon series of the 1980s. Producers were accused of whitewashing the only black character on the show by casting Aurora Perrienau (a fair-skinned black woman with long straight hair) in the role of a clearly discernible brown girl with a huge purple afro.  I agree.

Columbus Short threatened to kill himself and his estranged wife, subsequently losing his role as Harrison Wright on the hit TV show Scandal. Comedian D.L. Hughley decided to chime in on the Short’s domestic by calling the estranged wife a “thirsty hoe” who needed to “shut the fuck up.”

He’s so supportive, isn’t he?

Hughley folded and issued an apology for his illegitimate, insensitive, sexist comments shortly thereafter. Actor Michael Jace from the television show Shield is accused of murdering his wife while their two children were at home. Solange Knowles violently attacked brother-in-law H to the izz-O…V to the izz-A in an elevator while at the Met Gala. Tickets for Jigga and Bey’s On the Run Tour have dropped since ElevatorGate. The couple released a trailer in promotion of their tour following the elevator kerfuffle. I have yet to view it but Leslie Robison of the culture vlog Let Leslie Tell It suggests that the film promotion is merely a creative way for the Carters to acquire more of our money. I’m sure. But what else is new? In more black celebrity news, rapper T.I. and boxer Floyd Mayweather beef at a Fatburger restaurant in Vegas.

Where is the love people?

Unfortunately we lost an advocate of love,  compassion, justice, and equality yesterday. Poet, educator, activist Dr. Maya Angelou left us at the age of 86. Her words and actions inspired all to do better, be better. One of my favorite quotes is “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” True dat.

We are so thankful for all that you have inspired within us.

May you rest in peace. And may we do better.

 

 

A New Experience: The Strip Club

10 Feb
Courtesy of The Smoking Section

Courtesy of The Smoking Section

I decided to go to a strip club with some former coworkers after happy hour last week. I had never been to a strip club before so why not scratch something off of the ole’ bucket list — right?  Unfortunately this particular spot only had female strippers so of course the boys in the group were enthused. I knew there wouldn’t be any male entertainment for myself beforehand, but I decided to take one for the team and try something new. Despite this adventurous spirit I was labeled a prude by a former coworker before we even set foot in the club. However, this particular guy is generally a perpetual ass so I take his comments with a grain of salt naturally.

Let’s just say the club was the sad environment I’ve always expected strip clubs to be. Many of the strippers didn’t look happy. Some were ignored as patrons chose to focus on a fellow performer for some reason or another. Lonely horny men paying for female attention and affection. Women objectifying themselves for male entertainment and dollar bills. And to top it off, the place was low-budget — the performances weren’t tastefully done in the least bit. This was no Magic City or Stadium (not that I’ve been to either but apparently both are deemed stripper heaven). Most of the moves consisted of basic booty gyration. Hell, I could do that. There were a couple of female performers who actually had some skills and I was genuinely impressed by their routines. But for the most part I was not. The women just appeared to be animals in invisible cages displayed solely to satiate male lust. And for me that’s problematic. I completely understand that all involved are willing adult participants but the concept just doesn’t sit right with me. I’m a feminist — the ceaseless objectification of the female body in particular the black female body disturbs me. I love how bell hooks describes a feminist:  “To be ‘feminist’ in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.”

As the night ended I thanked the perpetual ass for driving and paying my entrance fee into the club. I told him I doubt I’d ever return.

I’d like to see him drop it like it’s hot for a dollar.

Caitlin Moran

10 Sep

Last month British writer Caitlin Moran was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air. The interview was absolutely hilarious. Not only was Moran charmingly funny but she was intellectually engaging as the author discussed the American release of her bestselling book How to Be a Woman, a  feminist memoir. I was so impressed that I couldn’t endure the waitlist of my local library and I actually broke down and bought the book; a huge step for someone who’s relied solely on her library card as of late. Books are pricey (like everything else). I’ve opted to read the books via library first and if I really want to add them to my collection my plan is to buy them later. We’ll see how that goes.

But enough of my cost-cutting strategies, here’s a video clip of Moran discussing the book.

And here’s a funny quote from her book:

Moran’s next book Moranthology is due out this week.

Golden

5 Oct

Here’s a list of things I would like to do if I had the time and/or money to do them all. Some will actually come to fruition (God-willing), others (sadly) will not. One day I’ll be able to dash off to NYC to see a Broadway play.

Listed in random order (of course).

Perhaps some will strike your fancy.

1. See Fela (Side note: A friend actually saw the play last night unbeknownst to yours truly and she said it was awesome), The Mountaintop, The BlackPower Mix Tape 1967-1975

2. Occupy DC on 10/6  — I’ll be there, during my lunch hour 🙂 And hopefully back again.

3. Get fit! Under the umbrella of good health, I would actually like to wake up early enough to actually attend the fitness boot-camp at my job’s gym.  Yoooo, 7:15AM is mad early! Nonetheless, I have been successful at working out in the mornings – boot-camp or no boot-camp. (Pin a rose on my nose.) Remember, “health is the first wealth.” Side note: the class is tomorrow and its pass my bedtime. Doesn’t Didn’t look good. I didn’t make it. There’s always next week.

4. Read, Watch, and Learn (Remember the library.)

Forks Over Knives

Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It

No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Eat: The Effortless Weight Loss Solution

Desirable Men: How to Find Them

The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (recommended by bell hooks)

I just realized. I need some good fiction on this list. Any suggestions?

5. Attend the first Interracial Dating Convention in San Francisco this weekend. Deborrah Cooper, creator of the relationship blog Surviving Dating,will address how and why black churches keep African American women single among other topics. Bet that one should be more than interesting! Sorry I’ll be missing it.

I would also like to attend the Architecture and Design Film Festival. Film and design all in one!

6. Feed your spirit!  I wanted to include some video of a sermon by Pastor Keith Battle (Zion Church) entitled Turns (aka adversity), but technology is not cooperating.

Here are the sermon’s highlights based on Exodus 15: 1 -25.

  • Turns are a part of life.
  • Sometimes things will get worse before they get better.
  • Things will get better.
  • God speaks to us in the downturns.
  • God is faithful at every turn.

If you’d like to see the video go here and scroll down the sermon archive (on the right-hand side) to locate the sermon. Pastor Battle is half of that dynamic duo The Pastor Posse. You ain’t heard?

7. Celebrate National Single and Unmarried Americans Week So what if it’s post-holiday? The principle remains the same.

8. Enjoy this gorgeous weather. It’s supposed to be in the 70s the next few days. Yoo hoo.

If there’s anything that you’d liked to add to this list, just let me know.

And make sure you do what’s necessary to feed mind, body, and spirit.

Do as Jilly from Philly says!

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