Category Archives: Men

Permission to Put You First Black Girl

Ever hear yourself talking and realize you need to take your own advice?

I was being interviewed by hosts Denise Cole Hill and Wilson Murkinson for Nuu Beats Radio on Saturday. I start saying something like, “you have to give yourself permission to go for what you really want, not for what you think you can get.” I heard the sentences as if they were coming from another person’s mouth. My vocals reverberated off the walls and landed back into my soul.

Was I truly going for what I want in life and not what was easily attainable?

Being raised with lack can cause you to believe any crumb is a blessing. Gratitude for what you have is necessary before you can truly appreciate more. A crumb is insufficient if you are truly hungry. It is a blessing in a sense but is it God’s best? The Bible says it like:

” . . . but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Proverbs 27:7b.

When i was unemployed back in 2010, I took the first job offer available. I was immensely grateful to be working; however, I recognized early on that this was not a holding place for me. I started inquiring about and applying for jobs that aligned with what I actually wanted to be doing. I got a new gig 11 months in.

Have you heard the term ‘Struggle Love’? It’s the idea that in a relationship a person has to remain loyal through someone else’s emotional, financial, and relational struggles. Your loyalty is rewarded with marriage after you have sufficiently suffered.

confused look

I saw an Instagram post about a reality star Kimbella  who has been in a relationship with rapper Juelz Santana for nearly ten years. According to the post, Kimbella has endured birthing two children, infidelity, his drug addiction, and finally as he may be doing jail time, he proposes.

Granted, I do not know all of the details of their relationship, it is ‘reality’ TV of course, but on the surface this appears to be textbook ‘struggle love’.

A guy told me that if I don’t want to accept the breakups and makeups of a relationship then I am not really ready for one. I explained that we understand love different. I believe love is the action of sacrificially seeking the best for someone. I demonstrate love by caring for and taking care of the needs of my partner. I want him to be healthier, wealthier, wiser. I will assist in any way required. That’s how my soul is setup. Hurting someone to see how much they can withstand to test their loyalty/love is cruelty.

Putting me first is a challenge. Rejecting what I can get and going for what I truly want takes a level of faith that I am still developing. There is always someone or something demanding the attention/time that I have allotted to self-care or pursuing my calling. There is always a small doubt saying maybe this is as good as it gets. In my prayer time, I can hear the spirit saying ‘don’t settle’. My inner voice is calling out to me to take care of me, to put me first.

I am listening.

 

Black Men As Sympathetic Characters

I have seen two movies in less than a week, Sorry To Bother You and Equalizer 2. There will be no recaps as this is not a movie review. Suffice it to say, see both. They are really good.

What struck me most about both films, is the presence of a black male character for whom the audience roots for. In the era of #BlackLivesMatter and the death of young black men scattered throughout social media, it is not characteristic of mainstream media to showcase these men in a sympathetic light. Trayvon Martin at 15 was described as a man and portrayed as a thug. Michael Brown was portrayed in the same manner. It is notable to see young black men on screen, imperfect and yet deserving of empathy and protection. Lakeith

The character Chris Washington in Jordan Peele’s Get Out had audiences cheering for a dark-skinned black male as he fought white oppressors to free himself from a prison they had lured him into. Talk about revolutionary. In, Sorry to Bother You, the main character Cassius Green, fights selling out to “the man” and capitalistic oppression of others. In Equalizer 2, Denzel Washington’s character Robert McCall risks his life to save a young black man entangled with gangs and drugs.

The characterization of these black male characters as human, relatable, and sympathetic is an act of resistance. It is also why representation matters. We need African American creatives of all types making movies, TV shows, books, sculptures, architecture – projecting a vision of ourselves into the future. I am hoping that the works of Ryan Coogler,  Antoine Fuqua, Jordan Peele, Boots Riley, are trailblazing and not just trend.

I am finishing up Parable of the Sower  by Octavia Butler. I read recently that Ava Duvernay is bringing Butler’s Dawn, to screen. I am looking forward to a similar wave of heroic black female characters for audiences to cheer for being brought to life.

Never Agree to be Anyone’s Secret

When I was a young girl, I wondered how my life would turn out when I became an adult. I grew up on Chicago's gritty west-side. I had seen many real life Unsung stars. Youth, beauty, talent derailed by drugs, violence and love gone wrong. I did not know how I would make it out but I knew that I would do my best not to end up a statistic. Drugs stole potential, violence ended lives, and love had the power to lift higher or drop you lower that the dirt.

The Secret

I remember asking God to let me learn the lessons from the lives around me. I had no desire to live every experience. I owe my life not to my own strength but to God answering my prayer.

A cool thing started happening. People all around me started opening up to me. I was that friend who listened to everyone else's problems. I could offer advice from a biblical and sometime naive perspective. I listened and learned.

I have concluded that a lot of the heartache women experience come from a crucial misstep at the onset of a relationship. They agree to be the secret. They agree to ambiguity. I have heard it recounted to me a thousand times. He says something like, 'Let's be friends and see where this leads.'  The relationship progresses as follow: The guy calls all of the time. You two go out on dates, watch movies, eat dinner. You are spending so much time together that you assume that it is on the path to somewhere.

If it does not come out of his mouth, NEVER assume.

Eventually, you become intimate. The relationship status has technically not changed but you and your emotions have. After you have given too much and can no longer take it, the conversation happens. What am I to you? He hedges – states that he is not ready for a relationship. He never meant to hurt you. Out of his back pocket he brings out the, 'We agreed to be friends.' line.

 Sherlock Holmes Follow the Clues.

There were clues all around. He never introduced you as his girlfriend. Your quasi-dating was a secret. You put on the face of friendship around others while secretly being physically much more. This is the trick 'nice' guys use to sleep around and still consider themselves to be good people. Dogs do doggish things – lie, sleep around – without apology. 'Nice' sleep around with their friends purposely leaving the relationship ambiguous so that you are to blame for your own hurt feelings.

Almost Doesn't Count

I am writing in second person but I have witnessed this in real-life many times. I was so close to becoming a statistic until I remembered the lesson. I told him I cannot do ambiguity in relationships. I chose to remain celibate. It is my armour against such ruses. No 'nice' guy and/or dog will keep up the charade if there is no physical payout.

Living a godly life requires tough, heart-breaking decisions. It means going against what you feel for what the word of God says is right. Living this life has kept me from many pitfalls. I can see the results of making a different choice in the lives of others.  I can see clearly where the 'let's be friends and see where this leads' thing goes. I saw it on the face of the women recounting their tales of heartbreak. The answer is nowhere. It leads to nowhere.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Things I Have Learned About Relationships Since Starting This Blog

I was re-reading some of my posts in 2008. Back then I wrote a lot more about relationships. I came across a post entitled, "What Do Good Black Men Want in a Relationship?" It was a topic on the Tyra Banks Show and I expounded upon it. I got some really good comments on the post. CLICK HERE to read it.

I love reading my old posts. I reflect upon that hopeful, dream-filled young woman who wrote back in 2008. I can appreciate the journey that has led me to be the woman I am today. I just am not wowed by what I used to be wowed by.

I have learned a few lessons in these six years of writing this blog. On relationships, specifically:

 

1. Behavior never lies. What someone shows you in his/her actions – believe.

2. Real men want to provide, protect, and cover. If you are always providing and covering – something is wrong.

3. A man taking charge is like the sexiest thing ever.

4. An honest no that is hard to hear is better than a fraudulent yes.

5. Real men tell the truth.

6. It is okay to wait on Mr. Right and not settle for Mr. Right Now. By Mr. Right, I mean God.

7. Don't let others pressure you into a relationship.

8. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, SOMETHING IS WRONG!

9. Be open to new experiences.

10. Be willing to learn. You (I), don't know everything.

 

Heart of a Woman

A woman’s heart is the most powerful force on the planet. For love, a mother will charge a lion, lift an SUV off of a child. That is the love of a mother. There is another kind of emotion – the love between a man and woman. This, too, is quite powerful. I know of a woman who moved across the country to be with the man of her dreams. A mother’s love is eternal. The love a woman holds for a man has a shelf life.

Shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use or consumption. (Source) What happens to things deemed unfit for consumption? To the left, to the left. lol

I am not simply writing about my experiences. I know so many women who, once they have moved on, get bombarded with tearful apologies and begging all to no avail. So, I am writing this to help a brother out.

Dear men:

You do not hold a woman’s heart captive forever. There is a window of time in which she will make herself available to be wooed. When she has closed that window, it remains closed. You can stand outside tapping on it, throwing pebbles or whatever. You have, in her eyes, become unfit for consumption. In other words – EXPIRED.

It is not about hate or dislike. It is indifference. I liken it to the moment I realized WWF wrestling was staged. It was still the same cast and show but the passion for it had dissipated. I would have to willfully suspend disbelief in order to enjoy the fantasy. As a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

This year’s forecast is looking quite nice. I am open for a ‘no limits, no boundaries’ kind of year. There is no room for nostalgia of something that never was. There is no room for expired goods on my shelf.

The moral of this post is to value the people in your life, now. Never take them for granted. You never know when your time will be up.

 

Felicia

Preachers of LA? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

I must preface the following by stating that I have NEVER watched a single episode of Preachers of LA and I never will, Lord willing. What I hear of it, it is an abomination. Yes, I just used abomination in a current context. Why do I feel so? I believe in keeping what is sacred, holy, or set apart. When you make the gospel 'entertainment', especially a reality show, you are on Real Housewives of Ain't None of Ya'll Really Married territory. In defense of the show, gospel star Fred Hammond stated that God may be using this venue to save the lost. Mmmkayy. You can read a compilation of his 22-tweet response HERE.

Color me jaded 'cause I ain't buying it.

Who would you choose – Superman or Clark Kent? I know some one of you
would say neither but picture superman as that fine Tom Welling and not
old school Christopher Reeve. lol Who would you choose? The choice really is perfection or
humanity. Or better yet – humanity versus divinity? I mean, are not these men claiming to be men of God? I know sometimes we as human beings focus so much on the God-part we forget that men are really just men. I get that. I just do not want to see your humanity on display in a tailored-suit and driving around in a Bentley.

On to the next one.

My book is a romantic drama set in the church world. In it, I tell the story of a girl whose life is unraveling. She is trying to hold onto her faith as an old flame walks back into her life. I delve very bluntly into the humanity of the 'saved'. Do not expect a whitewashed PG version of a romance novel. I keeps it real. lol

Which kind of brings me to my point. Are we overly judgemental of those claiming to be saved, saints, men/women of God? Can we see their humanity and their calling?

As I began thinking about publishing/marketing my book, I thought about what other believers would think about the subject matter. I was researching publishers of Christian romance and one well-known publisher outlined what was acceptable material. It was something like – so sex, no drugs, blah, blah, blah.  How can you tell a story about falling and getting back up without portraying the fall because it is too 'dirty' to discuss. Everyone knows that Christians never have sex. . .except they do. Even unmarried ones.

*gasp*

I am not saying that it is right. I am saying that it happens. So, it is in the book. If my book includes the forbidden, is it a 'Christian' romance? Yes. The overarching theme in the book is redemption, faith and second chances. Sin is not rewarded. I try to portray sin as a reality that people encounter when they look to their own means to bring about contentment instead of looking to God. I just do not hit people over the head with the Bible.

I understand there is a line of demarcation. Does the reality show cross it? I do not know. I have not seen it. There is something a little more removed about a novel. After all, I made this stuff up *wink* lol

By January, you may all read it for yourself and let me now exactly what you think.

Has Marriage Become A Dirty Word?

Sooooooo, I am over at Brown Sista and there is a post entitled, "Why Are Women So Pressed to be Married?"

Talk about loaded words, ma. You have got marriage and pressed and why all in one sentence?? lol

I will summarize it for you, if you do not have time to read it. The author is at a social function when women start discussing men and their desire for marriage. The author seems rather annoyed at these women and points out how she is so not one of them -how she is so independent, fulfilled and happy. These women were by default – not.

What the what?

One upon a time, marriage was the rule not the exception. Is it now the figurative pariah? Does wanting to be married and have a lifetime partner someone make you weak, lonely, or that dreaded word – desperate? *insert audible gasp* Are you one of those backward, mentally oppressed women who has not realized her freedom to be single?

I am having a conversation with a guy about the same topic. He is also expressing reservations about marriage. He asks, is that why you are always discussing relationships? Do you want to be married or something?

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!  DUHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

What is so wrong with that? I have set many hard to reach goals in life – education, moving to a new city, my book, and my weight loss. I have many restarts and setbacks. I have decided to make marriage an actual goal. I am not ashamed to admit that.I am very independent, happy, fulfilled and all that good stuff. I will admit this; each and every single time I take out the garbage, I am like – This sucks! I need a husband!

REAL TALK!

You can draw any conclusion you like. It is your brain not mine. My mind tells me that I must conceive a thing first before it is birthed into reality.

I am.

I do.

I wrote a really thoughtful response on the post. I do behave myself on other people's blogs, BUT, what I really wanted to say was girl, boo. You ain't fooling nobody. You know you want to be married, too. Maybe not now but eventually. lol

Who wants to be 60 talking 'bout, me an my boyfriend about to go the movies? Chile, the devil is a liar!

I Have Been Thinking of You, Too

Why is there pretense? This ever shielding wall that protects and keeps out the very thing you really want to let in.

Too deep? It's Sunday night. There is a cool breeze blowing through my open balcony as I type. Dang it, I'm just deep! lol

I am so guilty of this so I cannot point the finger but men are so much guiltier of it. Ego can be a stubborn roadblock. A man's ego, sheesh! Without it, I really do believe we would have world peace.

HeartNo one wants to be vulnerable, no one wants to get hurt. I get it, really I do. I earnestly believe that if two people first love God and are fundamentally good at heart, then no one should be out to willfully hurt the other. Right?

This hurt that no wants to receive is always present when pretense is allowed to mask true feelings. Withholding the truth from someone who you know cares about you is the hurt.

If you are not that into me, believe me, I would much rather know. If you really want my attention, pursue me like a man is supposed to. But if your intentions are not pure, the kindest thing that you can do is to keep it moving. 

I have written it before, behavior never lies. Your actions show that you have been thinking of me. Although a little strong, my words here show that I have been thinking of you, too.

Truth Moment

Prior to me revealing my identity on Talulazoeapple, I used to write about everything my heart desired. I have been muted ever since. I have come to the conclusion that I will write what my heart desires and to the wind with the rest.

Finishline

I was supposed to meet this guy in Chicago over my vacation. Long story less long, it did not happen. I think once I made it clear that my meeting him would not end up in sex, he lost interest. Intellectually, I know that if that is the case, it is better that he move on. Emotionally, I am really kinda of sad about it.

It is difficult to know that I have wasted months talking for hours on end with someone about everything and that it came to nothing. I guess the good part about it is that I almost gave up my heart but none of my parts. lol

Men!

More frustrating is that this is supposed to be a Christian, God-fearing. . .let me stop. A man is a man.

It is funny because all of the gut-feelings I had about him turned out to be true. My gut is never wrong. But I, listening to friends, gave it a chance.

I do not know if we can even be friends. Maya Angelou stated that only equals can be friends. So, if I am painfully and embarrassingly truthful with you and you are dishonest or withholding, we cannot be friends.This is the truly sad part.

I struck out this time, in a big way, but I am not out of the game. I have a goal in mind. Winnings do not come to women who watch from the bleachers.

 On to the next one.

With God, Are You All In?

This is the question in a new series we are tackling with the young adult ministry at church. It is really coming at a pivotal time in my life when I am considering the next stage – relationship, marriage and kids. No, I am not exclusively dating anyone but the thought has crossed my mind on a few occasions.

The major problem with single Christians dating is the issue of celibacy. Please believe me it is an issue. It is not a requirement for a lot of people who say they are Christian, in fact, it is not even expected.

In this series, we are using Chip Ingram's, "Living in the Edge: Dare to Experience True Spirituality." The book is accompanied by video lessons and includes questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and thoughts to ponder throughout the week. This week's thought – in Christ, are you all in? If not, what is holding you back?

I am sitting in service feeling extra transparent. lol Truth be told, I thought I was all in. When you are a single Christian woman and a man enters the picture, you are faced with this whole celibacy issue.It does not help, if the guy of interest, is not that dedicated to his celibacy. I know that I am an attractive girl but I also want to be clear about expectations.We – both he and I – are human.

This series is a bitter pill to swallow but correct and necessary. I already know this. The only issue that arises for me is the fear of being rejected and single for an extended period of time. Am I always afraid? No. Most times I am straight chillin'. The fear tends to creep up around the same time as my birthday. It does not help when family and friends start to question your singleness – meaning your choices and standards.

I get it all of the time. Your standards are too high. "At your age" *insert lowered expectations*. This
is equates to pressure. I am not looking for perfection because I am not perfect but can you try, really try, to be what you are claiming to be?

Another prayer this week in the series is, "Lord help me to see you as you really are."

Who is God? He is someone who loves you unconditionally and wants the very best for your life. If I truly believe that God loves me and wants what is best for me, then I have no need to fear. Fear makes you accept the 'good enough' instead of 'the best'. Celibacy while single is God's best. The hard truth is a man who does not respect that is not God's best.

 Another lesson learned.