10 Things to Beware of on his Online Dating Profile

So, it’s been a while since you dated or maybe you’re an online dating warrior, weary of the tiresome array of swipes and clicks that often lead to even worse dates. Well, here are 10 warning signs to look for before your next dating adventure.

  1. Profile says: Athletic Body Type
    Athletic Body Type

    Athletic Body Type

    We are all subject to a little exaggeration about weight or height, but online dating profiles can sometimes take that too far. Translations: Athletic/curvy may mean fat! 5’11 is 5’9! Add 10-15 pounds to every weight and subtract 2 inches from the listed height just to be safe.
  2. Looking for Friends
    What happens while you wait for him to be ready.

    Looking for friends.

    RUN! Seriously, don’t turn around! Do not look back! You are looking for a date! Scroll past the guy looking for friends, unless you are ready for the long haul, meaning you catch feelings and he says he is not ready. How much time have you got while he “figures out how he really feels” or “doesn’t know if this is right” all while hooking up with other “friends”?
  3. Profile says: “I am struggling with my sexuality”
    Struggling with sexuality

    Struggling with sexuality

    Do you really have time to help him sort this out? Sexuality, whatever he decides should be something he figures out before getting in a relationship and some would argue before dating. While it may workout and you end up happily ever after, you could also end up feeling like a phase.
  4. Profile says: “No Drama, No Games, No Crazies”

    No games, no drama

    No games, no drama

    Again RUN! Like attracts like. People that claim to hate drama are speaking from experience. There are a trail of angry exes who have been left holding the big bag of drama THEY created and then refused to deal with. It’s easier just to edit their online dating profile than to talk to their “crazy” ex who didn’t want them dating other people.
  5. Profile says: Mis Spellings, bad grammar, i, …

    Bad Grammar

    Bad Grammar

    Do I really need to elaborate? Your online dating profile is your calling card to a potential partner. Either they don’t feel the need to put much effort into it or they are genuinely uneducated, both situations which are not the best precursors to a loving relationship.
  6. Profile says: The exotic animals, the full passport, adrenaline junkie
    Adrenaline Junkie

    Adrenaline Junkie

    This man is not satisfied in his life, everything MUST be an exciting adventure. However, that is not how relationships work. They are sometimes tedious and sometimes love means having to wash the dishes or take out the trash, neither of which are exciting. There’s also the point at which he becomes bored with you!!
  7. Profile says: Blank spaces, the unanswered questions, profile questions left blank.
    Not Trying

    Not Trying

    There are several ways to look at this, none of them good. We already covered your profile is your calling card to a potential significant other. If it’s not even filled out this person obviously isn’t making much effort, which is the best case scenario. Another way to look at is they have something to hide, and you really, really don’t want to know the answers to those questions.
  8. Profile says: Shirtless pics, Harley, sports car lean…
    Arrogant Guy

    Arrogant Guy

    This guy has a six pack of abs, a shiny new sports car, and maybe it’s parked in front of a really nice house. The most important thing to him, is how good HE looks, with the emphasis always on him. He will judge you by how well good you look perched on the hood of his car and, if he can brag about the “model” he bagged at his next boys’ night out. If you’re looking for something more than a “Aren’t you happy I took you for a ride in my maserati?” after the first date, keep looking!
  9. Profile says: The Negative Nate/Reformed Party Guy “I am over the party scene”…
    Reformed Party Guy

    Reformed Party Guy

    So, he’s been around the block more than a few times…no harm in that you think. We all had our wild 20’s, except this guy had his wild 20’s,30’s,40’s, and judging from the photos he’s posted it’s hard to spot the reform. For the first date, he takes you to an 18+ bar and get’s wasted, but he “Totally, only dates girls that are at least 21 now, unless she’s really, really hot. I, mean, c’mon, I’m 40 now.”….Do you really have time for this?
  10. Profile says: The Lister- I have a great job, I own my own house, I am a great guy…all that is missing is you….
    The Lister

    The Lister

    This guy doesn’t want a real relationship, he’s trying to complete the set. He wants an accessory. He has a lot of great things, now he wants a great girlfriend who will be pretty, quiet, and won’t contradict him when he spends 20 hours a day at work with no phone calls. He bought you the dress you wanted, aren’t you happy? Aren’t you?…Really great guys don’t need to advertise like this.

My Instinctive Paths & Travels: A Musical Medicine

As children we observe the adult in our lives. We understand something serious is happening in the business of adulthood. We see the pressure, the palms pressed against foreheads, and the stern looks that people with the freedom to stay up as late as they want have and we don’t really understand, not really. Adults could stay up late and watch television as long as they wanted, but where was the joy and laughter that should accompany all that freedom? As a child, I knew that whatever became of my life, I wanted to remember some of the joy, but how do we maintain the joy and happiness of childhood into adulthood? Do we can’t ask the stressed out adults in our lives when they seem to already be losing the battle?

Music gave me permission to be my authentic self. I could dance, sing, tap my feet and or snap my fingers, but mainly I could go inward where no other person could show up uninvited. This place was barred with electric fences and pit bulls.

Instead, I went on a search for productive ways to calm myself down, ways that brought out all the smiles and joy my traumatic childhood had stolen from me. What I found was music. A lot of people cope with stress in different ways, but music was my medicine. I always loved all types of music, from country, pop, to r&b/hip hop. Music was my ride to my special place; a secret escape route from the stress in my life. That was the one place/thing nobody could take from me. I would just pick a song from my vast library and tune everything/everyone out. I used my imagination to transport me to different places in time. In “89” I would imagine I was in the Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation video. I was Jane, dressed in all black, with my hair pulled back in a baseball cap, a hoop earring, with the infamous attached key, dancing for dear life in that factory. Music gave me permission to be my authentic self. I could dance, sing, tap my feet and or snap my fingers, but mainly I could go inward where no other person could show up uninvited. This place was barred with electric fences and pit bulls.

On a spring day in 1990, after a rough day at school, I fell in love in the backseat of a Buick. When I heard “Bonita Applebum” by Tribe Called Quest first come on the radio, I looked down at my little plastic Timex watch in panic. I was hoping that the station wouldn’t get changed to smooth jazz or talk radio. One minute into the song, I knew I would be able to hear the song in its entirety. There were sounds coming through the car radio my 11 year-old ears had never heard before, a melodic flow and a subtle sexual flavor. That was the day I fell in love with Hip Hop. From that day forward, we would be in an unbreakable long-term relationship. It was like my ears were eating my favorite cake.

I knew as soon as I got home I had to try to catch the video on “The Box” music video channel. A few days had passed and I finally was able to get a glimpse of the four men that made me fall in love with Hip Hop, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheeed Muhammad, and Jabori White. It was one thing to hear the song, but I was even more mesmerized when I saw them. I was in awe; the planets had aligned. They were the most beautiful and intriguing men I had ever laid my eyes on, but the video was simple, no razzle dazzle, just friends getting together and having fun. I said to myself “I can’t wait to be a teenager; I want to party just like that”. Where are they from, I wondered? The location and style was foreign to me. I had to do my research.

A Tribe Called Quest was from (St. Albans, Queens) Queens, New York, a place that appeared to have a variety of cultures and style. Seeing them in that video introduced me to a whole new world. That was the first time I had seen men and women with dreadlocks, twists, and Hip Hop clothing. I knew my strict parents wouldn’t let me wear dreadlocks, but getting a cross colored t-shirt like the one worn in the video was attainable. For the price of a tee shirt, I could enter that world if only for 3 min and 44 seconds of the video. I would be a little closer to a really safe place, a place where even if for a short time I could attain the joy and happiness in the video and no one could bother me. I’d found my therapy, my medicine, and my joy.

I’d found my therapy, my medicine, and my joy.

A timeline of what happens when he doesn’t call…

Day 1

You just hooked up and now everyone can go home and get some sleep, eat food, poop in the privacy of their own home. If he’s polite, you get a sweet text about how fun everything was last night. You both feel relaxed, last night was fun.

Day 2

You: The weekend night is over, everyone is returning to normal functioning human being with jobs and responsibilities. You are focusing! Yes, focusing…you must focus! Ignore those random flashbacks from the night before, don’t laugh at the sweet things he said, and definitely don’t think too long about anything physical.

Him: He’s enjoying the flashbacks, smiling to himself; it was a good hook up, you were really hot. “I am so awesome,” he thinks.

Day 3

You: He should have called by now, shouldn’t he? Phone, social media, nothing, was he really interested, were those kisses all tiny lies of doom?! We weren’t getting serious, but…

Him: He scrolls through his texts, there’s one from that really hot girl he met yesterday at the coffee shop. She was super hot…

Day 4

You: He’s not going to call…what was I thinking?! It was obviously just a hook up to him, no strings attached. What did he actually say? Did he say he would call? Did he use those exact words? No, no he said, “Let’s keep in touch!!!” It sounded sweet and enthusiastic then, but, now, he must have meant something more casual like, “Let’s keep in touch sometime.” Hook ups are just hookups. I jumped the cow on that one.

Him: The cute girl from the coffee shop wants to meet up! Score! I am really raking them in this week!

Day 5

You: Really? Really, he’s not going to call? What a jerk! It’s not like we were going to get married after one hookup. What is the big deal? I mean, it wasn’t serious, but I didn’t think I’d never speak too him again…

Him: Coffee shop girl is inviting me back to her place!!!!!!! Wait, what was her name???

Day 6 and Onward

You: I need to meet some quality guys, no more jerks. Why is dating so hard? (edits dating profile).

Him: Kind of bored, a little dry, next hookup?? Maybe, that girl I hooked up with last week is free….

Tokyo One Night Stand

She hadn’t had a real lover in seven years. The last time, had been in Tokyo, in a ryokan for foreign students, in a traditional style room on futon and tatami. She had been twenty. He was a twenty-seven year old, expat, DJ, friend of a friend from back in New York. They had met up at Ueno station. He wore a tank top in the humid, Japanese, summer to show off his muscular arms, baggy jeans, a baseball hat, and dark, studded shades. Large headphones attached to a chord that snaked from a heavy looking backpack dwarfed his ears. He had walked past her several times before stopping, with a satisfied smile, “Yo, you’re the girl from the states? Jenna’s friend?”

“Yeah.” It was odd hearing an American accent again, but she smiled.

They rode to Shinjuku on the metro together. He held the handrail, towering over her, and speaking loud, slanged Japanese on his phone. “We’re going to meet up with my friends near Ginza.” He said, finally.

His friends were a group of Japanese DJs, two girls and two guys. The guys dressed in baggy hip-hop styles, dyed their hair, peppered their speech with exaggerated American slang and walked with a swagger. They were, she thought, like any group of hip-hop flavored guys anywhere in the world. It looked similar to the real thing, but it was very different from the hip-hop she had grown up with that had filled hot, summer nights in Brooklyn streets. It had been her poetry; filled with freestyles about the beauty of the world, the despair of oppression, the violence and futility of poverty, and a longing for something more that only struggle could create. The guys seemed too pampered, too safe, to know the difference. The girls had all the same affectations short skirts and baseball caps turned to the side. Their makeup was heavy and she could see the pockmarks beneath the layers of rouge and glitter, but they were sensible, quiet, and thinking, sweet even, to the wide-eyed American gaijin. They knew they were playing a role.

In a whirlwind of fist bumps, and bright lights, they had walked down narrow streets and darkened alleys and entered a club through a back door. Tired staff with dyed hair, smoked cigarettes, and greeted the guys with more fist bumps. It was dark inside, but the music was loud and lights flashed on the dance floor. They settled into a booth, and were served sweet, watery drinks. “It’s all free,” the expat guy told her, “My friend works here.”

So, she drank and danced under disco lights to loud hip-hop, along with awkward tourists and natives until the sweat poured down her face. The expat smiled at her, he still had his shades on in the darkness. They took a drunken selfie in the corner of the bar before leaving. He squeezed in close to her for the picture.

Along the street, people lined up patiently for taxis home. Women in traditional kimono carried umbrellas for the waiting businessman. The cheaper clubs used the clear plastic umbrellas found all over the city, while more elegant hostesses carried colorful waxed umbrellas that matched their kimono. The group split with loud high-pitched goodbyes from the girls and more fist bumps from the guys. The expat grabbed her hand, and pulled her into a taxi. She smiled. She was not quite drunk. She knew he was looking at her behind the dark shades.

The alcohol made her head float, and the dim lights seemed to dazzle making the sensation of his tongue and hands seem surreal. She felt like she had become trapped in a painting of chaos and enjoyed the precariousness of it.

He took a shower before they had sex. “Very Japanese,” she thought. He was clumsy, and awkward at first, but it was pleasant enough. The alcohol made her head float, and the dim lights seemed to dazzle making the sensation of his tongue and hands seem surreal. She felt like she had become trapped in a painting of chaos and enjoyed the precariousness of it.

Afterwards, he kissed her, petted her hair, and murmured declarations of infatuation in her ear. “I’ve never done that with a girl I just met before, you’re so cute.” His dark eyes sparkled.

“Kawaii,” she translated, that was a high compliment in Japan. It was almost as good as when the sumo wrestlers had pointed at her and said, “Kire” or “beautiful” and she had gone back for another match just because.

“This was my first time like that…” He said again. His kisses were wet.
She forced a smile. “Me too.” He kissed her again, that had been what he wanted to hear.

She ran her fingers across his bare skin in a slow, bouncing pattern.He shivered, “What is that?”

“It’s a rabbit.”

“You’re my rabbit, Rabbit.” He stroked her hair again. When she was young, her two front teeth had come in first. Her family had called her Rabbit then, too. She didn’t tell him that, didn’t even smile, just kept moving her fingers across his skin. He was smooth and hot from exertion; she liked the way his muscles rippled from the sensation.

The next morning, he was still there….“Did you use me?” He said, and she felt guilty.

The next morning, he was still there. Excited, he dressed quickly and rushed to the store to buy more condoms. She waited until he left to shower and get dressed. He came back, saw the tatami cleaned, the futon rolled and put away, “Why didn’t you tell me before you didn’t want to do it again?”

She shrugged and tilted her head to the side as if listening, but instead wondered why he hadn’t left yet. Instead of being happy about the sex, he was angry and waving a package of shiny, gold condoms at her.

“Did you use me?” He said, and she felt guilty. She had used him. She had wanted a night of chaos and she thought he had understood that and that he would be happy. He knew she was leaving Japan soon. Still, she couldn’t have some guy yelling about being used for sex in her room; the ryokan managers had already given her the hopeless foreigner look for a previous transgression.

“No, no, I’m sorry. I’m just really tired and I drank a lot last night. I still have so much to do today. I like you.” She rested her hands on his shoulders.

“Really?” He looked at her, uncertain.

“Yes, just call me later. We’ll meet up! I just have a lot to do today.” She had plans to meet up with another guy, one she actually might want to date for real.

“You have my number?” He asked.

“Yes!” She showed him her phone. His number was listed under Shinjuku Expat.

He looked at her, “Do you know my name?”

“Yes! I just used that since I hadn’t met you.”

“What’s my name then? I told you last night.” He had mentioned a name to her; she didn’t remember it. He sighed, reached in his wallet and pulled out a business card with his name and number printed neatly on it. “Fancy, for a DJ,”, she thought, but a very Japanese business card.

“I live in Hachioji, thought. I have to go back for work tonight.” He said expectantly. It was more than an hour from her ryokan on the metro.

“I’ll meet you there after work. We’ll spend a couple of days together.” She said mustering enthusiasm.

He smiled and kissed her like a long time lover, “Bring a bag, Rabbit! I’ll call you.” He seemed so happy, perky even, as he grabbed his backpack. She watched him leave with relief.

Later, she had taken the train to Hachioji pretending to meet him. She pretended to get lost and just miss him. Instead, she had hid behind a pillar in the station, watching everyone else leave, making sure he never saw her. She told the expat all of this on the phone, after “missing” several calls in the subway station. She gave up in mock frustration, and regretfully pretended to take the last metro back in disappointment. Unfortunately, all the pretending had caused her to really miss the last metro back.

She had went outside the station and lined up in the orderly taxi line. The driver looked at her incredulously, “It’s more than 200 dollars back to Ueno from here. You can just wait for the next train, sleep in the station or there’s an internet café nearby.” He told her in slow, precise Japanese.

“ Onegaishimasu.” She replied and shoved her credit card at him. He shook his head in exasperation. She stared at the nightlights of the city as she rode back into central Tokyo. “So, that’s a one-night stand, “ she thought.

She spent the time she had left in Tokyo, wandering about eating strawberry short cakes for breakfast from the international café across the street, bentos from the local convenient store for dinner, and avoiding the salary men that followed her at night, with their hands cupped in a drinking motion half whispering, half hissing, “Sumimasen.” The other guy had not been interested, but the expat DJ had texted her for almost a year after that, even after she had already moved back to the states. She had kept responding with feigned interest. It was the least she could do, she thought.

Should we call it a friendship, or just call it a day?

What about your friends?

Being hurt by people is a part of life, but where do we draw the line between forgiveness, trust, and self-protection? Some people would argue that you can’t truly know a person’s heart or mind, and no one can truly know another persons motives and or intentions. So how do we know when we have truly encountered a friend?

“What about your friends…will they let you down again?” TLC

Unfortunately, we can’t find out in a glance or over Sunday brunch mimosas. To really develop a sense of the type of person and whether that person is a good part of our life it takes time. We’re all flawed on some levels as human beings, but we can tell if a person is fairly decent by how they treat themselves and others. How did they treat the waiter at brunch? How do they talk about their other friends? It’s important, because, believe it or not, that’s how they will end up treating you someday.

Now, with all the people in the word that smile at us, or are rude to us on the subway how do run offense against the truly hazardous? If it’s something small like stepping on a foot, we can easily let that go. We have all been the offended and the offender, at one time or another. Character is revealed in our responses. For example, recently I had to end a friendship with a friend; we’ll call her Jane. Jane had ongoing issues with showing up. She was late to events and parties, and I had been stood up on multiple occasions for lunch and dinner dates. Everyone is free to do what they want with their leisure time, but Jane was taking that liberty too far and wasting my time as well. I simply couldn’t keep giving her a pass. Throughout the course of the friendship, Jane and I had had multiple, friendly, non-confrontational conversations about it. We were both busy people, and I had arranged my schedule to make time for us, but this didn’t seem to matter to her. To make matters worse, I would get a short, evasive, text weeks after the fact, as if it was business as usual. Mutual friends advised me to get over it, with the explanation, “Oh, that’s just how she is”.

Instead, to me, the behavior spoke volumes. It was blatant disrespect. I wasn’t asking for anything unreasonable, just call or text if you can’t make it. In all relationships we make allowances for certain behaviors, but after so long the free passes get old, especially if this behavior is a hindrance on the other party and/or the friendship. If the friendship had meant more to Jane, she would have made more of an effort to change. Unfortunately it never did and I decided to end the friendship. I had to explain to mutual friends that she was given more than enough opportunities to rectify the issues, but she hadn’t. In my opinion, the foundation of any good relationship/friendship is trust, respect, and dependability just to name a few. This friendship lacked all the above and, sadly, our mutual friends are experiencing the same behaviors that forced me to exit the friendship.

When someone has a bad habit or flaw, one of the duties of friendship is to bring it to their attention and give them a chance to change or explain, several chances sometimes because forgiveness is a part of friendship too. It’s humbling to hear criticism or negative feedback from people we think should be supporting us unconditionally, but we don’t live in isolation. While it’s important to be happy and feel good, that should not come at the expense of those who care about you. We have to be able to assess the damage, look within, and work on it. Then, we can offer a sincere apology and make a genuine effort to change.

Friends truly love and care about you. They will have your best interest at heart; they will care about how their behavior affects you and they will make a sincere effort to keep you in their lives. If they don’t, it’s time for you to move on and find your happiness.

So where to go from here? Make a daily effort to be kind and in good standing with everyone, but realistically we can’t please everyone. Remember that in every relationship, there comes a time where you just have to accept people for who and where they are in life. For Jane and I, we weren’t at the same level of mutual respect. However, everyone has different standards in what they’re willing to tolerate in a relationship, know your boundaries! I know, at this point in my life, my time is very important to me and I have a very low tolerance for foolishness.

Jane and I see each other in passing, we exchange brief pleasantries, and that’s it. I still get flak from mutual friends, but knowing your boundaries means knowing what’s right for you and friendship with Jane isn’t something I need in my life. My absence in her life is a consequence of her own behavior. I had to inform them that the topic of Jane and me being friends was closed. If one day in the future, I see the behavior changing we can start to rebuild trust in time. Friends truly love and care about you. They will have your best interest at heart; they will care about how their behavior affects you and they will make a sincere effort to keep you in their lives. If they don’t, it’s time for you to move on and find your happiness. I hope Jane has found hers.

Valentine’s Day: Just Another Day?

The validity of Valentine’s Day is often debated. Is it a day that celebrates true love, or simply a commercial invention designed to sell greeting cards and chocolate? Did you know, Valentine’s Day, named after Valentinius or Saint Valentine, didn’t begin as the icon of romance we’ve all come to know? February 14th is the day that Saint Valentine was commemorated as a saint in Catholic liturgy. In the passage of centuries, various mythologies and embellishments became connected to the date, until it became the muse of various songs, books, and movies.
Perhaps Valentine’s Day wasn’t always a day for lovers, but does the history nullify its validity?

Does the history of Valentine’s Day nullify its validity?

The fact is, holidays have always played a major role in relationships. The Day of Atonement, more commonly known today as Yom Kippur, focuses on our relationship, not only with God, but also with our fellow man. This holiday requires its observers to make amends before atonement can be achieved. At Christmas and Thanksgiving, people go out of their way to spend time with loved ones and spend money that they normally wouldn’t and sometimes don’t even have. Then, of course, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day remember our parents and how we couldn’t be who we are without their example and commitment to us. Holidays are, often. little more than memorials: monuments of important events or significant people.

It is no small coincidence that people have adopted many of these holidays across the world; they are celebrating more than the holiday, but a universal human experience. People who are healthy and enjoying a purposeful existence make it a habit to look back, reflect, and celebrate milestones and relationships, whether good or bad, pleasant or painful.

Regardless of your opinion about Valentine’s Day, no matter if you intend to send flowers or bake heart-shaped cakes and cookies, I encourage you to consider the true meaning of love; romantic and otherwise. Reflect on the love you have given and the love you have received. Celebrate those moments that you never want to forget. Holidays are collective calls to acknowledge that we are not beings in isolation. Every accomplishment or achievement in our lives connects us to at least one other person. Maybe this Valentine’s Day you aren’t in the relationship you wish were or even the relationship you were in last time this year. Use this time to prepare yourself to be better than you were last year. Don’t forsake the opportunity to celebrate with other people and make Valentine’s Day something to remember.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Nostalgia

I loved celebrating Valentine’s Day as a kid in elementary school. Life was so much more carefree and uncomplicated then. We didn’t have any big expectations, just the innocence of it all. A time when there are only a few options when it came to gifting. In my class, there were two. The first, was to be the prettiest girl in the class and get bombarded with Valentine’s Day gifts from boys. In reality, few of us are that girl and according to the formal class survey of prettiest girls, that was not my option either. Instead, I knew I could count on my best friend Brandi to deliver a mini stuffed animal and box of candy. She was my buddy and had me covered. The second gift option involved Mrs. Green, the teacher, dividing the class by gender. We would randomly pull a name of the opposite sex and buy them Valentine’s Day gifts.

I, like so many other kids in elementary, had a very limited budget. My family would march me right into the nearest Family Dollar or Dollar General store with $5 and I had to make do. The beauty of having a $5 budget was I didn’t have the opportunity to get overwhelmed with too many options. My options were candy, cards, stuffed animals, and fake flowers. I always took the easier route and chose the multi-colored variety heart shaped candies with the Valentine’s Day quotes like “BE MINE”. At .99 cents each, it left enough room in my Valentine’s Day candy budget for my own personal stash.

When did the value of the material gift come to overshadow the emotion?

When it was time for the exchange, my crush at the time, Oscar, and I held out our boxes of .99 cents heart shaped candy in small, sticky, fingers, and were both happy and smiling from ear to ear. I, along with all the other kids, was filled with the glee of excess candy and the joy of being each others’ Valentines. We were satisfied with the break from class to eat our candy and the simple, uninhibited love expressed on those multi-colored hearts.

Now let’s fast forward to the present state of Valentine’s Day, as adults we grapple with the high expectations set by others when it comes to Valentine’s Day gift giving. Who even said I had to give anything at all? When did the value of the material gift come to overshadow the emotion? Instead, every year since elementary school, my husband and I exchange the same multi-colored, heart-shaped candies and mine still read, “BE MINE”, and every year my husband still chooses me for Valentine’s Day. For me, it is these simple things that bring true joy and happiness. I hope we can all recapture a little of that spirit again this Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lifetime Resolutions

lifetime resolutions

Most people at the beginning of each year propose to improve on their lives. Every year I ask close friends and associates what their New Year’s Resolutions were. I always get the generic answers that I, too, tend to give. For example, exercising more and eating less junk food. Don’t get me wrong we have to take care of our bodies, but as each year passes do we really improve? As human beings we vow to work on the exterior but what about the interior? This year I’m going to think inside the box.

I want to start a tradition of setting Lifetime Resolutions vs New Year’s Resolutions. I want to expand and improve upon who I truly am at the core of my being. For example, I consider myself to be a kind and loving person, but is that what I am really practicing in my daily life? We have to be brave enough to ask ourselves difficult questions and hear the answers. If we are not who we want to be in our daily lives, then we must question if that is who we truly wish to become because the work to realize any goal is daily. For me, I realized that helping people gave me a deeper sense of the love and kindness that people are capable of in an, often, turbulent world. Volunteering in my community connects me to a source of love and kindness that renews my hopes for humanity, and makes me more committed to practicing and residing in a spirit of love and kindness, but there are many ways to work towards our goals…

We don’t need a new year to empower ourselves. Whatever goals we set daily and or yearly they need to be goals that last a lifetime.

The good news is we don’t need a new year to achieve the individual acts of improvement or create our own lifetime resolutions. We have a fresh start to each day, just as we have begun the fresh start to a new year. The key is to set realistic, attainable goals. For instance, instead of saying, “I will eat right in the new year,” pick one thing. If soda is your vice, choose to limit soda to 1 cup per day and start each day with that goal in mind. Alternatively, you can start small with daily acts of kindness. For example, opening doors for the elderly or treating a coworker to a cup of coffee. You never know what type of day a person may be having. All of us just really want to know someone cares, and it can make the difference in a person’s day going from bad to worse.

We don’t need a new year to empower ourselves. Whatever goals we set daily and or yearly they need to be goals that last a lifetime. Ultimately, it’s not how you start but how you finish. What are your Lifetime Resolutions?

Love T.K.O? Let It Go

Let it go!

Let it go!

I was inspired to write this piece by the late and great R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. It was a late night and I had listened to Pandora and the song T.K.O came on. I’ve heard that song a million times, but this time I actually took the time to listen to the words. In the song, he compares love to a technical knockout in a boxing match. The technical knockout is called when the fighter can no longer safely continue the match. Isn’t that what we do in our relationships? We know it’s over, but we keep hanging on, just to keep getting knocked out emotionally, spiritually, verbally, and dare I say it physically. Let me take the times to address that if anyone is being physically abused PLEASE SEEK HELP AND SAFETY IMMEDIATELY. What I’m speaking of is nonviolent physical trauma.

In my experience, verbal and emotional trauma is more detrimental long-term because it’s internalized. If any individual does not have the basic natural respect for your humanity, leave the situation IMMEDIATELY. Don’t stand for any form of abuse or disrespect. Don’t stick around thinking things will change because you go out of your way or give extra love. It never works. By the slim chance change comes the trust is so broken it could never be regained. That is the unfortunate natural consequence for our actions.

We need to always operate in Reality and not in Fantasy….The late Maya Angelou said it best “When a person shows you who they are believe them”.

We need to always operate in Reality and not in Fantasy. We need to truly seeing people for who they are and not what we want them to be. When people love you selflessly their words always match their actions. We need to stop looking at external things. How cute a person is or how much money they have. We need to pay attention to the inner being. The late Maya Angelou said it best “When a person shows you who they are believe them”.

Life is too short to waste on people, places, or things that don’t serve a positive purpose in your life. Realistically no human being is perfect. However, if a person isn’t willing to change to keep you in their lives, it is not your personal responsibility. They don’t have to change. That’s their personal choice. However, YOU can change. Change your name, number, and or address. Do what you have to do for you. When we choose to hang on to people knowing their time is up we are serving our on T.KO.’s to ourselves. There are people in our lives for seasons, reasons, and or lifetimes. We have to have the discernment to know which applies in our relationships. You have to know when you have exhausted all possibilities. Our lives are precious and tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Live your life for you. Anything that hinders you LET IT GO.

Does love mean never having to say you’re sorry?

LoveStory1970

I recently saw the most well known scene from the movie, Love Story, the 1970 award winning film about two students from different socio-economic backgrounds who fall deeply in love. After an argument, Oliver says he’s sorry to Jenny, and she gives the now famous line: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Since then, the quote has been used both as a motto for true love and as a subject of mockery and ridicule.

But does being in love mean you can do like George Costanza said and stuff your sorries in a sack? Seinfeld

Or has the film’s author single handedly poisoned countless romances in a wake of unrepentant destruction?

I think the sentiment behind Jenny’s axiom is to say that when you truly love someone, you incontrovertibly overlook that person’s faults, shortcomings, and malfeasances, making all apologies superfluous. Basically, you forgive them. If my interpretation is accurate, I agree with the disposition but not the application. I’ll explain:

First Corinthians 13, often cited as “the love chapter,” gives a pretty extensive list of love’s attributes. The fifth verse says that love “keeps no record of wrongs,” or as the Amplified Bible translates, “takes no account of the evil done to it.” This is not just forgiving but also forgetting. Have you ever heard someone say, “I can forgive, but I’ll never forget.” When someone says they can forgive, but never forget, what they typically mean is that they are willing to move past the transgression but reserve the right to revisit the misdeed as is deemed appropriate. The verse in Corinthians says, love not only forgives – grants a pardon for the offense, but forgets – literally destroys the record; leaves no evidence of the event. This means I don’t ever bring up the past, even if you hurt me again in the same way. This, in my opinion, is what love really means.

“Love means having to say you’re sorry every fifteen minutes.” -John Lennon

Singer/Songwriter John Lennon mockingly wrote, “Love means having to say you’re sorry every fifteen minutes.” Being in love is more than the funny feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when the person walks into a room. Being in love is also being willing to give yourself away. Love means seeing yourself through the other person’s eyes, which means surrendering any illusions you have about yourself. Love is the total abandonment of seeing yourself as the center of the universe and putting the other person before you in every part of life. All of this may sound very noble, but it is actually quite painful. Putting someone else’s needs and wants above your own, not some of the time but all the time, is like dying a slow and agonizing death. But when you stop to consider the object of your affection, you do it with joy in your heart. And when you see how selfish you truly are, you will feel immense shame; shame that won’t let you continue to do things the way you did things before. You will feel like saying you’re sorry every fifteen minutes.

Having the attitude that says this person never has to say they’re sorry for anything can be healthy and fortifying for a love relationship. It can relieve you of the burden of withholding your forgiveness based on the actions of another, when forgiving actually is more for your benefit than the other person. However, creating an environment that discourages a person from confessing their faults and extending their hands to repair breaches is toxic and will hinder any relationship from being loving, nurturing, meaningful, or lasting.

So, to anyone who saw Love Story or heard the oft-quoted aphorism, and thought they found the loophole to conscientious relationships, I respectfully encourage you to rethink your position. Giving a heartfelt apology is as important for the well-being of the offender as forgiving is for the offended. Love should mean that the person is not waiting for you to say you’re sorry but it should also mean that you are not willing to let your sorry go unsaid.