Subscribe to Blog

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Sara Lee Goodbye: Auntie's in Heaven Now

"She's in Heaven now. Remember when Michael Jackson went to sleep? Well Aunt Doris went to sleep like that," my mother said, trying to help my sister understand. My sister loved Michael Jackson. Her mind is smart enough to know that dear old MJ was in a different place. But, what my sister couldn't figure out was why MJ went there, or the finality that death meant. Who could blame her for the confusion. My mom told her Michael Jackson was in heaven but she pull him up on her IPAD or DVD whenever she wanted. Down Syndrome just couldn't put all those pieces of the puzzle together.

     I have to admit the thought my Mississippi bred Aunt Doris sitting next to the King of Pop in heaven, and the Almighty was more than a little amusing. But, this was my mother's first attempt at explaining to my sister that Aunt Doris was gone, and there was no humor in that I sat in the back seat of our family SUV trying to conceal my sobbing. We were heading home to say our goodbyes to my Aunt Doris, and provide some comfort to the family she left behind..

    My mom, brother, sister, and I were cramped  in out family SUV headed to her funeral in Mississippi. Each mile, each state we passed through it became very real, and very clear that Auntie wasn't coming back from her latest battle with cancer.

          We wouldn't get to call her on speaker phone and fill her in on our lives. We couldn't count down til the next time we would hug her again. And, we'd never hear her voice, or see her face again. I'm not sure my sister will ever fully digest these thoughts well. God blessed her with a simple mind, one that on some level knows the order of things are off. Aunt Doris has not picked up her phone calls, and Mom has explained that Auntie Doris was sick, and sleeping in the hospital. But, God didn't give my sister the ability to understand what passing away really meant... I think there is some beauty in that.

        My darling Aunt Doris passed on July 31st. But she had long prepared us for what was to come. After seemingly beating breast cancer, Stage 4 Lung Cancer took what little fight she had in her left. I'm still haunted by the fact that she knew her battle was coming to an end. Three weeks before she passed, she told my mother she was dying, and had made peace with God's plan for her. She then asked to speak to me. I could hear she was on a breathing machine, and could hardly speak. But, she mustered up enough strength to say what would be our last words together.

"Mena, I love you so much baby. And, I'm so proud of you. I don't want you to stop living because of this. Promise me you live Mena, live your life to the fullest, and become all God wants you to be."

I nodded, not ready to accept that she was slowly saying her goodbye to me. I'm left wishing I had more time to tell her how much she meant to me. I always imagined she would see me get married, hold my first child, come to my first book signing. I dreamt she'd leave the simple country roads of Mississippi, and live with her sons, see her children's children grow up.

    I loved her for reasons I can't explain. I loved her for mothering my mother, and for befriending my sister Sara. My sister shared all of her special thoughts with my Auntie. Doris always answered the phone, even when the cancer started taking her voice, and I know it broke her heart that she can't be around for my sister anymore.

         The last time she talked to me, she asked a very grand yet simple thing of me. " You make me so proud," she said. " You doing this t.v thing, finding Christ, and beating back the haters who try to pull you down, I'm so proud of you. Promise me you'll live Lauren. You jump out on faith, pray, and God will take care of the rest." I knew what she said was true cause Aunt Doris always had a direct line to Jesus and his Papa. You have my promise Aunt Doris - I intend to soak in everything God has for me. While you're up there in Heaven- tell God thank you for giving me a woman like you. And, tell Michael Jackson Sara adores him : )

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Am a Woman

I am a woman.
I understand models because I too know how to embody self esteem.
Confidence, a stride in a woman’s hips, the glance of a sister in control is very, very sexy.
I feel it in fading slowly, morphing into this womanly figure, the child, the girl I used to be.
She’ll remain in the realms of my heart to remind me of the dreams I’m chasing…
This woman is taking hold of me.

I am a woman
With time I am going to leave the world a little sweeter than when I came.
My voice will speak to little girls all over to overcome their worst fears.
I’m learning to deal with the adversity life brings.
My family is my rock, but I’m carving a life of mine own.
This woman is taking hold of me.

I am a woman.
My man holds me as if I was the softest silk in the world, I respond with the same tenderness.
I compliment his success and pray for his strength. because a real woman knows to stand by her man.
In public I hold my man by the hand, gently pressing my body against his, sneaking sweet kisses in between steps.
There is no insecurity, other women can look, hell they can stare.
This woman smiles inside because I have no insecurity that is man is mine.
This woman is taking hold of me.

I am a woman.
Adversity pushes me to work harder.
Papers, stories, and ideas pile on my desk and slowly I breathe in and smell the sweet aroma of a hard day’s work. 
 Bit by bit, piece by piece I climb small mountains and when it’s all done I feel a sense of success that is unmeasured.
I congratulate my co-workers on their work without letting jealous take ahold of me.
Team efforts lighten the load and I’m more than happy to share the credit for a job well done.
Office gossip does not interest me and my work is my motivation.
This woman is taking hold of me.

I am woman.
Finally able to embrace this brown skin
Slipping into a sassy tube top and skirt that hugs all the right curves
Strutting down the street, meeting up with girls for a night on the town
Shaking my groove thing and when the music fades, the night is done
Slipping into the arms of my strong man, laughing about the night I had.
He’s happy I’m home safe and I’m safe in his home.

I am a woman.
Stronger than I knew possible
Ready to conquer the world
Open for love and affection
Smart, gifted, and talented
I am ready for the woman to take hold of me.

My Past Beef with Rap Music

  Hip Hop's birth is often characterized as an explosion. At it's emergence, it embodied youthfulness, rawness, and innovation. Hip Hop rappers such as LLCool J, RUN DMC, and Dougie Fresh combined a movable beat and message that appealed to a youthful audience begging for a venting outlet. It was healthy and cathartic. In the years to come the innocence of Hip Hop was lost. The same venue that allowed so many youthful minds to express themselves began exploiting them. With the advent of gangsta rap came the destruction and commercialization of the once innocent Hip Hop culture.

 When gangsta rap began it set out to enlighten the world to the pains of the inner city life.  It connected to so many black people in peril. The artists of this genre had a mission, that no matter how harsh and cruel the message was, they were going to spit about the realities of inner city life as black person. The same is not true today. Rap has gone Hollywood. It is this combination that makes Rap music and Hip Hop culture so harmful. Artists no longer care what the implications of their records bring, but how much money it amounts to. It is through the world of Hip hop we have taught our children the main goals in life are materialism and greed. It's through Hip Hop that stereotypes of black men and women are continuously manipulated.

A lot black people were insulted when celebrity Bill Cosby criticized parents for letting the media raise their children. It's not that Bill Cosby was being offensive or cruel; plain and simple, the truth hurts. The well known comedian made a point of citing Hip Hop artists influence on not only black communities but, also the white communities around them. He was basically saying rap music portrays the black community in a negative light; and African Americans feed into that self image. It's almost like a self fulfilling prophecy. And,  white communities embrace the images of black people through the eyes of Rap and Hip Hop artists. The result is a wider gap amongst the white and black community.

Rap music is laced with so many mixed messages it=s hard to decipher what the artists are trying to say. At one instance, a song will depict the troubles and hardships of living in the ghetto. On the next spectrum a song will down right slaughter the image of women, and black men. Women are often typecast as sex objects, gold diggers, and deceitful back stabbers, often using the baby mama card to manipulate the black male. Black men are depicted as relentless, thugs whose only choice is to break the law to get ahead.  Somehow this is justified in the Hip Hop/Rap world because the system of the so called normal society is not helping them. It's victim rationalization that rap music has been playing on this for quite some time. This rationalization describes Black men as mere victims of society and the blame is not on them but the world they live in.

The essence of infidelity in the Hip Hop world is all too common amongst black men. Almost all of them cheat but, that too is justified because women are simply trying to take advantage of them financially. How can these rap songs claim to being helping the black community? What do songs like 50 Cent's P.I.M.P have to do with cultural need for change? By depicting what the inner city black person is like? Is that what these songs think they accomplish? Not only does this destroy the image of the black communities but it adds to an already huge pile of stereotypes, black people are still trying to overcome. When does it stop? What is also interesting about this type of music is that it sells greatly among white consumers. No wonder they hold so many misconceptions about black people. If a foreigner were given one type of music to describe the African Americans race in America, I pray it would not be rap music.

The music is not the only factor of the Hip Hop culture that stifles the black community, the artist all too often play into the roles Hollywood has set for them. Rap music is a profitable business, the more realistic the artist, the more profitable their music. Artists who claim to be only story tellers of the inner city all too often live the life long after they are famous. The deaths of rappers Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur are a huge examples of how many artists get caught up in the hood from which they came. This is not to say they should forget where they came from entirely. But, what was the struggle for, if not to escape the hood ? Why are rap artists constantly emerging themselves in the cross fires of violence?  Are they in need of more material?  What a impact it would make if a rapper admitted, 'Yes I came from the hood, but I don't have to stay there.

It is no surprise that the spending potential of Black America is powerful. It'ss for this reason so many Hip Hop fashions and apparel companies target blacks communities. In a census done in 2001 it was shown that African Americans spent a whopping 24.7 billion dollars on apparel and services. While expenses like computer equipment were only 1.6 billion, books were 356 million. Blacks spend more money on apparel and image products than educational tools. Don't you think rap artists know this? Of course they do. They claim to be helping their hood, how are they helping the hood by focusing on materialism to motivate social status?

Rappers parade around with name brand clothes and drive expensive cars. Through music videos and television they send the message that these things are synonymous with power and respect. It's often this element of hip hop that separates the youth. In inner city schools, lower income black families have children pleading to have the latest Baby Phat or Sean Jean , and for what? By having these fashions the children feel they are like the rappers they admire. The hip hop industry has made a killing on encouraging blacks to succumb to these guilty pleasures. At a time when black ownership of houses and literacy rates among children are extremely low, fashion should be the last concern of the black community.

Rap music depicts a image of the black community; that is harmful to communities of all economic status. It has almost become a signature of what is and is not black. As a genre of music that is supposedly representing the black culture it is doing an awful job. What about all those black people who are succeeding in America?  Where is their credit? Why are things like violence, sex, and drugs glamorized and not more important things like college, abstinence, and awareness? What is the rap community doing about all of this? It is fair to say there are some artists doing something positive. Artist such as Russell Simmons and Sean P. Diddy Combs are making waves in encouraging the black community to vote this coming election. Sadly, their efforts are overshadowed by all the damage rap music has left.

There is no doubt that rap music has had a negative effect on the black community. This can be seen in the increasing rates of teen pregnancies among black youth, increase in violence, and  illiteracy rates. If statical factors aren't enough it is seen in the eyes of our children, in black schools, and inner cities where raps impact among black youth is undeniable. This is not to say all the blame is on Rap music and the hip hop culture. We as parents and as Black Americans need to wake up to the ever increasing crisis in our communities. We are losing our children to the wrath of the media a.k.a rap music. It is now time, more so than ever to strengthen the family unit, inform kids of the dangers and precautions of sex, drugs, and violence. It is time to come together as a community to raise our children, It takes a village.  It's time to pull our children away from materialistic vices, such as hip hop fashion. These things do not build character or personality. It is now time to talk to our children about what they hear in rap music.  Rap music has become a kind of video game, where we all are having a hard time deciphering what is fantasy and reality. Let's un-blur those lines. To fight back on rap's influence, it's going to take a village.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Eight Lessons from the Bench: How to Avoid the Friendzone

I learned a lot about relationships sitting on the bench of the love game. Occasionally, I'll dust myself off, get up from the bench, and try to go after a player myself.  Somehow I mess up the moves, and end up right back on the bench with a friend card. You know the card. The ones your crushes, love interest, or player gives you to let you know that you're strictly platonic. Damn, I hate those cards. I have a lot of them. I admit I've given out a fair amount myself. I have a good handful of guys friends that I love, and support me through the skinny, thick, quirky, and sassy. I know a few of my guy friends would love to trade in their friend card with me for something more. But, going from friends to lovers is no easy task. I've complied a few tips I've learned from my time on the bench, tips on how to avoid the friend zone. These tips or rules are certainly not the only ones out there, they are just the ones I've learned a long the way. They are in no particular order.

1.) Make your intentions known early, and directly.  People who are habitually put in the friendzone make this mistake a lot. I agree that friendship is a good foundation for love, but if you ever want your love interest to see you as more than just a friend they need to know how you feel. This means saying clearly, "I like you, and I see you more than a friend. I'd like to get to know you better." You don't have to use those exact words, but somehow you need to convey that your feeling are more than just platonic. If your friend doesn't take the bait, their loss, at least you know how they feel. And, at least you know you tried. I hate the wondering and waiting.

2.) Playing the Friend Card is a Gamble- I won't say playing the friend card doesn't work sometimes, because it does. One of my best boyfriends was my best friend first. We had the most intense, incredible love because we knew each other. We told each other everything, and I felt completely safe with him. But, when the love turned sour so did our friendship. We can't even speak to each other now. And, there are times I ache for my old best friend. Using the friend card to get a lover is risky for another reason. It could very well keep you in the friend zone. The more time you spend playing the friend card the more time your lover sees you as just a friend. If your friend is talking to you about other lovers then you know you've played the friend card too long. At some point you have to make your feelings known. This rule is not set in stone, but it is often very hard to get out of the friend zone once you've been put in there.

3.) Confidence is Golden. I am the queen of self-deprecating humor. I love to poke fun at myself, but I admit I may do it too much. If you keep telling your love interest you're "an old lady", fat, or undesirable then guess what that person will see you that way. Joking oneself can be cute but limit the jabs to your ego. It is one of the quickest ways to get put in the friend zone. There is nothing more sexy than a woman or man who carries themselves with confidence. If you don't believe in yourself why should your love interest? And, if we keep the sports analogy going - who wants to pull someone off the bench who is unsure they can score or play the game? I want a confident, strong player on my team. So play up your best qualities, and if you don't know what those are may you should not be in the game. Take time to learn about yourself, and learn to love yourself. You can't expect anyone to love you if you don't even see what is lovable.

4.) Careful not to Confide Too Much Too Soon -  I am terrible about this. I am an open book, and sometimes I give too much away too soon. This is important for two reasons. First, why give away all of yourself on the first date, meeting, or encounter. You want that person to keep coming back for more. Spread a little of those awesome qualities of yourself over time so the person has a reason to keep coming back. Secondly, I should not have to say this but stories about your exes, past lovers, and mates should maybe wait til at least the third or fourth encounter. The first date should be all about showcasing how freaking awesome you are.  The minute your date turns into a therapy session where your love interest is consoling you, comforting you about past breakups... you know you have gone too far.

5.) Fun is Contagious - If you are naturally funny or witty you are way ahead of the game. People underestimate how sexy and attractive humor is. If you look in most women's magazine surveys or articles, women say they want someone who can make them laugh. The same goes for men. Life gets hard, monotonous, and stressful. It's incredible when you can find someone who helps you laugh at yourself, and life. I've learned players who are funny, and unafraid to enjoy themselves spend less time on the bench. People are drawn to fun people so don't be afraid to let your hair down, and have a good time.

6.) Save Your Goodies - There is something to the whole saving yourself thing. Sex is one of the most beautiful things two people can share when they are in love. If you don't want to be someones "goody buddy"  shall we say, save the goodies for when you are committed, or in love. I've heard from far too many girlfriends who thought that giving up the goodies early would lead to love or a relationship. In my experiences it is very rare. And, as Steve Harvey says in is book, 'Act like a lady, Think like a Man,' when you give up the "cookie" to soon men usually feel they have nothing else to work for. Before long you will end up as the late night "goodie call." I've seen several girls who only get called off the bench for the "goody calls", and it can be very damaging to the heart. After a while they realize the love they are seeking is even further out of reach. There is power in saving the "goodies."

7.) Ask for the date soon. This kind of goes with rule number one. I believe the longer you wait to ask for a date, the more likely that person will place you in the friendzone. I've seen far too many people play the "do they or don't they like me" game. Rather than leaving your love interest waiting and wonder pursue the romantic venture early. By asking for a date early in the game you are showing that person you want them romantically, not a hug, pat on the back, or smile. You want to kiss, embrace, touch, and love.  It's all about making your intentions very clear.

8.) Pull Out All the Stops - If and when you get the date, don't be afraid to show them who you are. The date is your first impression. Show your love interest what they will be getting if they date you. Show them you are romantic. You want to listen to them, you care what they have to say. Look at the date as an opportunity to sell yourself, and you want your love interest to know you're the best out there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Bench Warmer

           For most of my adolescence I had a front row seat to the inner workings of the love game, on the bench. I did not receive a lot of looks, flirtatious exchanges, or steamy make out sessions. I sat watching, wondering, and hoping someone would pick me from the bench to play.

To help pass time on the bench, I learned to laugh at myself, and even poked fun at my silly quirks to make others on the bench smile. I have perfected self-deprecating humor. When other players would come by the bench during a breakup or needed help I was always there for a little pep talk.

 I have to say my time on the bench was well spent. I learned a lot about guys, and girls from the sidelines. I learned how to enjoy naughty jokes with the guys, and learned to appreciate video games. Because of that time on the bench I'm good at making guy friends. When my girlfriends were crying on the bench after being dumped, cheated on, or mistreated I was always there to show them the better options out in the game. I have even doubled as a team nurse sometimes. I helped more than a handful of girlfriends mend their broken hearts, and sent them back into the game. Now I'm in my late twenties, and I'm proud to say I don't spend as much time on the bench as my high school days. But, somehow I haven't quite shrugged off my bench warmer mentality. And, sometimes I wonder if that's why I'm finding more guy friends, and dates, and not the love I crave.

Recently I was at a bar, chilling with some of my guy friends when three cute, young guys approached my chair. Their boyish faces, and unpolished swagger showed me they weren't quite my age so I will call these guys 'Pretty Young Things" for the purpose of this story.  I could see from the corner of my they were trying to get the attention of the bartender with no success. I knew the names of the bartenders, and shouted for one of them to assist the 'pretty young things.'  They seemed to be impressed by this. I then introduced myself to all of the 'pretty young things' and striked up a conversation. Then I said, "Hey, you guys needs to get your game, cause the honeys are out tonight." I actually said this. I even pointed to the row of skinny girls sitting at the bar next to me.  
One of the pretty young things said, "Well I was actually trying to mack on you." I stood there dumbfounded for a second.
And, then the bench warmer in me said, "Why would this pretty young thing be trying to mack on you? You barely did your hair, this is not your cutest outfit, and you aren't nearly as cute at these other girls."  But, I decided to ignore the bench warmer in me for a second.
I blushed, and said, "Well then, I don't know if you can handle all this."
We ended up exchanging numbers. Long story short things didn't work out with the pretty young thing, but I almost missed the opportunity to get to know someone because I didn't have enough confidence. I believe my time on the bench is to blame.
While I learned a lot about guys and gals as a bench warmer, I think I also started selling myself really short. Each time I was passed up for another skinner, prettier girl, I began to think I didn't deserve to be chosen from the bench. When I was chosen, sometimes I settled for some pretty lame players just to be in the game.
For example in middle school I had my first big crush on this guy on the track team. He had glasses, dark skin, and a smile that made my heart skip a beat. My best friend had a crush on him too. He then asked her out to the middle school dance, but for some reason she declined. With no one else to go with, he asked me, and I said yes. I was totally sloppy seconds, and the insecurity in me wouldn't let me say no. What if I didn't get another chance like this? Needless to say, it was not a good middle school dance experience.
 The bench warmer mentality has followed me into my adult love life. I once I dated a guy who picked me up outside my parent’s house by honking on his car horn for me to come outside. I finally introduced him to mother after six months of dating. He he told her he and I were just kicking it, he wasn’t trying to catch feelings. True story! I have too many stories like this. 
I have learned to love myself since those adolescent days sitting on the bench. I know I am a beautiful, strong, smart woman who has so much to offer someone. But, I'm not sure I've quite left the bench warmer in me completely behind. And, I can't explain why I'm holding onto it so tightly. It's as if something in me is fighting my desire to let it go. There is a part of that believes, if I truly embrace the idea that I'm sexy, beautiful, maybe gorgeous even I will lose my modesty, my compassion to others on the bench, and my warm heart that always wants to give someone a chance. Being a bench warmer is part of me. I have found solace with other underdogs like me, and I don't ever want to forget that I was indeed the ugly duckling in high school. It has taught me to appreciate all ranges of beauty. But, maybe it is possible to remember my bench days, but also enjoy the play time I'm getting in the love game now. Can my past and present self exist together? I am not sure. But, this I do know if you are currently warming the bench, spend this time learning to love yourself.  When you are confident about yourself and what you have to offer, you will be called off the bench. Trust me guys love a confident partner. It won’t matter how long you sat on the bench or how poorly you did the last go round, they will only want to learn more about this newly confident, refreshed woman in front of them. So get out there and join the game, and don't be afraid to play with your heart.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Dreaded Friend Zone : The Sbarros Heisman

  I remember the first time I was put in the friend zone. It was at Sbarros, I had dough in my hair, an apron on, and a confused look on my face. And, thus began my adolescence living in the friend zone. For most of my high school days more guys would view me as a sister than sexy. I always heard things like, "Lauren you're like one of the guys." I got used to being the friend, and not the girlfriend. But, no matter how often it happens it still sucks. And, like the Heisman trophy being placed in the friend zone is like some football player straight taking off with the ball without you. But, before he jets off to score that touchdown he pushes you down, deep into the friend zone with his Heisman hands, and then poses. And, when you get pushed down to the friend zone sometimes it's hard to get up.

   The Sbarro's Heisman
  It was my first high school job. It was not glamorous, but I loved making my own money. I spent my evenings after school getting pizza from a huge hot oven, and serving it to many ungrateful mall customers. White spots of dough were stuck on apron, sweat beating down my face, and my feet ached from standing. The jobs had its perks though. We got free pizza, and pasta every night. And, some nights we'd trade pizza for sweets at the cookie stand. Then there was Paul.

Paul was the goofiest, silliest, guy that worked at Sbarro's. He had black charcoal skin, a giant afro, and glasses. In between pizza orders we talked about our dreams, and troubles. He picked on me, and I picked on him. He gave me the kind of laughs that made your belly ache. And, as a tomboy struggling to find her femininity he always made me feel beautiful with a simple smile or compliment. When girls came to the pizza counter they saw a goofy looking black guy with a fro, but they didn't see what I saw. I saw a cool, funny, ambitious boy, a guy any girl would be lucky to have. One night after shutting down the pizza shop, Paul finally asked me out. My face felt warm, and I could hear my heart beating. I said, yes.

   The date was simple perfection. We ate at the pizza shop for the discount. And, Paul loudly boasted to everyone that we were indeed on a date. I felt so special. We walked through the mall, darting in and out of stores. We had this quirky humor that only we understood. We played in the toy store, and tried on clothes just for fun. On one occasion he even held my hand. I looked up at him, and he smiled. It was so sweet, and I hoped this meant I was on the path to being his girlfriend.

The next few days were a blur. In what seemed like days, Paul had transformed into something else, someone foreign, someone not dorky. The next time I saw Paul his Afro was gone, his glasses were gone, and he didn't want to joke around anymore. I couldn't understand what was happening. It was like Steve Urkel turning into Stefan. I admit, it was like Paul got sexy over night. But, I didn't need all that.. I loved dorky, Afro, glasses Paul. This new look was icing on the cake. During our shift I tried to talk to him, but he was short. I turned around, and threw a piece of pizza dough at Paul to get him to lighten up. He didn't laugh at all. He even asked me to get serious. Where was my Paul?  Had some alien stole him overnight, and inhabited his body ? It sure seemed like it. For the next few days Paul was kind of distant, not mean, but definitely not the same sweet guy I went out with.

Had I done something wrong? Did he notice I farted in the toy store? Oh God maybe he thinks I'm ugly. Why won't he just tell me what's going on?

This is the part I hate. The wondering, waiting, and wishing. What I didn't realize at the time was that Paul was giving me the old Heisman. He just didn't have the balls to say it to my face.

I pulled back as well, and work became a lot less exciting. When the girls came to the counter, more of them watched, and lingered waiting for Paul to look their way. They would wave, and giggle. Then more of them started coming to the counter asking for Paul. I despised these girls. But, the worst day was on one of Paul's days off. He came to the counter with a girl around his arm. I stood there swallowing the hurt, as he asked me to get them pizza. Finally I had to say something.

"Paul what is going on? You have been acting really different lately? I thought that you and I....."

Before I could even finish Paul looked back at his new skinny, feminine girl toy, and said, "You know L, I realized I can't do this one girl thing. It was cool kicking it with you, but I'm going to play the field for a while. But, we're still cool right?"

My heart shattered in a dozen pieces. We were most certainly not cool. My first taste of the friend zone cut deep. I started looking for jobs the next week. I couldn't stand it. I felt like I had egg on my face, and everyone could see it.  I was played, by this new suave Paul. And, something in me felt like I wasn't good enough. I think that's part of why the friend zone hurts, it's almost like saying, "I like you, but you're not good enough to be my lover."

It's been more than 10 years since that first friend zone experience, and it still hurts the same.

My Recent Heisman
After an intense revelation that me and my new suitor indeed wanted to be together, I thought I had sailed out of the friend zone. And, somewhere between reconciling and forgiveness I was sure romance would follow. I was so wrong. In fact, apparently I'm also deaf. My suitor said he said nothing about reconciling, and I heard his words all wrong. He was tired, confused, and just trying to make me feel better. Buddy spare me that kind of friendliness next time. How is that for a Heisman shove? But, we could still be friends, right. I think I'll pass. Turns out I was a rebound love that gave him the strength he needed to propose to his ex-girlfriend. Figures.

Here I am, my heart in a dozen little pieces like the little girl I was before. And, I know there is no turning back from this friend zone. As I look up from the grass being kicked in my face from the force of this Heisman player, I am left wondering when will the game stop. And, when will the next player, pick me up, dust me off, and say, "Let's do this together. Be my girlfriend." Because, this friend zone can be a lonely place if you linger too long.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Are You a Facebook Fame Monster ?

Facebook is the perfect food for hungry, and thirsty fame wannabes. And, I think all of us could admit the little social networking site has tapped into our secret desires to be popular, desired and adored. This is why I think Facebook is so genius. It feeds something most of craved in high school, popularity.

Most of you know this feeling, the little tinge of excitement you get when people like your latest clever facebook status. Because that means somewhere out there in the world wide web 10 people took time to click and "like" your status. That required a little thought, and a click of the mouse, but it does wonders for our social egos. It's hard not to get intoxicated off that feeling.

I post, I tag, I like and comment. But what I am really doing is reaching, calling, asking-- doing you really like me? Do you really care about me?

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about joining Facebook during its infancy. In the good ole days it was just a website for college students, our own exclusive Internet society. Now the folks at Facebook opened the Pandora's box to every, Tom, Dick, and Harry to have a facebook page.

At first I thought going on Facebook was like being socially naked, letting any and everyone have a peak at my inner life. Sure I decide what goes up but each time you're giving a piece of yourself. Reluctantly I took the plunge, diving into a new world of networking where the rules were not exactly clear and the opportunity to be loved and liked was so much better than the real world.

Friend requests came pouring in. From the old high school flames to my arch nemesis everyone wanted to be in my social world. As I watched my friend count climb from one to 601 .. My ego bolstered with every request. But who are these 601 people ? Would they speak if I saw them on the street ? Would they every pick up the phone to call me? Probably not.

Although, they may not speak to me on the street or remember my face ..thanks to facebook they remember my birthday, send congrats on my weight loss, and send comforts on my breakups. This is the status of facebook friends... And with every add something in me feels more desired than the request before. Don't pretend you don't know this feeling. Why else would we add every person who takes a liking to our photo or quirky comments ?

Its like the fame and notoriety  I always wanted in high school but never attained. And like celebrities I think we can all appreciate how  Facebook gives us the chance to reinvent or reintroduce ourselves. No more am I the chubby, boyish black girl who hid behind her chunky braids. I have shed that young persona, and Facebook helps me flaunt. All my former chunky, last chosen at the dance girls can feel what I am saying on this. Who doesn't want to show the people of your past how far you have grown? Hell that is basically what High School Reunions are. Facebook has given the world a glimpse into the real me... The quirky, silly girl who loves her dog, and The Rock... I can show all of that off - ... I think we all can appreciate facebook for showing the world the real us or at least the us we want to share

To Facebook or Not to Facebook
I honestly thought about shutting my page all together after a recent rift....  Considering what Facebook does for my social life and swagger... I think I'll keep it around for a while.

 Considering that most of us will never reach Kardashian or Bieber fame I say relish in your facebook celebrity. Drink up the facebook love ..the support on the bad days, and the smiley faces on the great days. I think we all deserve to feel a little famous and fabulous even if its only on facebook.

To my facebook fam love you : )

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Loving with No Armor

   When I was growing up love was never short in abundance. My mom showered us with kisses, hugs, compliments, and approval. It's why sometimes I still ache for her bear hugs. In her arms I feel unconditional love, and acceptance. We don't earn love in my family. It is given freely. My mother and I have this love that is unparalleled in my life. She is the kind of woman who gives with every fiber in her being. I've watched her give up sleep, or comfort to help a friend. On countless occasions she has made huge sacrifices for someone who in need. From the bank teller, to the employee at work with a bad attitude my mother always tries to help people. When we go to the bank people know her, and they get these excited smiles to see her, and dish about their lives. Every week she drops lots of dollars buying treats for her employees who are not always grateful. She even has a way of making strangers feel special. With her larger than life smile, and big laugh, she has this way of making people feel at home. And, while my mother is tough she is also very genuine and tender. I've heard her share with people little pieces of her life in hopes maybe they will understand everyone goes through struggles.

This is how I learned to love.

As a woman of faith my mother taught us little Comptons that love is one of the best, most precious things you can give. And, our Father is not selective about who He loves. From the prostitute to the wealthiest of Kings, our mighty God loves everyone.

This is how I learned to love. I don't know any other way.

But, somewhere in watching my mom give love so freely, I tossed to the wind the lessons she tried to teach me about wearing my armor. My mom loves with an intensity that ignites fire in some people. It's the kind of love that motivates you to be better, do better, and try harder.
My mom would always tell me, "Baby, you got to save something for yourself. You can't give people everything."

It seems the only lessons I retained well, where the ones about loving intensely. Somehow I disregarded the lectures about protecting your heart. And, in the process of trying to love so hard I've been hurt, cut deep, and I wonder if I am the only person to blame.

I am a walking open book. There is little about myself I won't share, especially if I know it can make someone else feel better. My humor is self-deprecating. I'll offer up jokes, and punch lines about myself to make someone else smile. It doesn't hurt me one bit. I am not a defensive person. I will welcome you into my world, my heart, and my space with little provocation. Some people find this refreshing. There are no walls to jump over to know me, no game to spit, I love sharing with people. Sometimes when I'm falling in love, I'll give so much of myself I feel overexposed, naked even. And, somehow I hope stripping down to the bare essentials of myself will prompt others to do the same. I'm learning now not everyone handles hearts with care.

I've opened to so-called friends, only to have them use that information against me. I let my guard down with potential loves, only to have them push me away, and then trample on my tender feelings.  I have confided in friendly faces only to have them gossip, and slander my good name. And, in all of this I am not angry, I am not defensive... I am hurt, wounded, and confused. Why would anyone use something so innocent to be so cruel ?

My friends tell me, my heart is too big,  but I really think they are calling me soft. They say I need to be more careful, I really think they are telling me I'm a not smart with my feelings. I know they mean well, and many are tired of seeing me give so much and recieve so little in return. Trust me, I am too. I agree I do need to revisit those lessons mama gave about protecting my heart.

"Don't let people trample on you baby girl. You don't have to put up with that."

"You teach people how to treat you every day Mena."

"Stand up for yourself baby. Remember your peace of mind is more important than any friend, lover, or circumstance. Don't put up with just anything. And, remember we love you no matter what."

This is the kind of love that reminds you no matter how many people mismanage your heart, mama and the family will always be there.

I hear you mama. I will try to build the protective gates around my heart you told me about. And, my gatekeeper will pay extra close attention to who gets to come on the inside. As I am sitting here overexposed again, with little to show for it, I know that this kind of defense system is ok. It's doesn't mean I won't continue to love hard.. .. I just need to love smarter.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Possible: When A Good Girl is Smitten

Is it possible to fall in love after one kiss?
When your lips met mine a fire awakened inside of me.
Something lying dormant in me started burning.
When we paused for air, I exhaled, and felt peace.

Is it possible to want to give you my heart  after just one first date ?
Our discussion was so free flowing.
Your green, brown eyes gazing into my brown eyes.
You hung onto my words, and savored my thoughts.

Is it possible to need you after just a few late nights speaking with you ?
You opened your heart to me, even though it was hard.
You trusted me to protect those sacred secrets, those sensitive memories.
You broke down my walls with your tenderness, and I let you in.

10 days, 240 hours, a week and some change....
Time so short but feels so long.
Is it possible  to fall so hard, and still make the love last ?
Can I hold you, embrace you, and comfort you?
Is it possible you could let me love you ?
Let me care and protect you.
Let me show how a real woman loves.
Let me be your everything.
Is it possible to fall in love after one kiss ?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beauty & The Cute Girl Prt 2

Lately I've been hanging with some very beautiful women. The kind of women that walk into the room, and all the men straighten up and pay attention. When these women walk into a place for a few seconds it seems like everything is in slow motion. It's like when the James Bond girl came out of the ocean, water dripping down her perfectly sculpted body, hair swishing. Men nearby instantly feel their temperature rising, and their courage trying to pump itself up to approach her. While all of this is happening I am standing there wondering how the hell I got so close to this much hotness. And, I wonder if somehow I'll get lost in the undertow.

Jade and I started hanging out a few weeks ago. Her reputation had preceded her. One of my guy friends gushed about her like a little smitten school girl one night.

"Don't get me wrong LC you're cute, but Jade....Jade is freaking HOT."

As he said this I could actually see beads of sweat forming on his forehead. Indeed, hot was the word for Jade.  When people describe bed tossed sexy, they were thinking of Jade. I've been in her presence when she has no makeup on and her hair is a mess, Guys still lose their minds over her.This is what I mean by "Beautiful People."

Jade has long straight hair, this milky skin tone, and these adorable eyes. They are slightly green, almost blue, and piercing when she is commanding attention. It may seem I have a girl crush, but I want you understand, visualize this beauty so you get why men go so crazy. I've heard a lot of people say beauty doesn't mean anything. It's what's on the inside is that counts...  I live by that mantra, but after rolling with Jade it is clear it MATTERS.  Because, I've seem people drop everything, fall short of bowing to be in her presence as a I saw one evening.

Jade invited me to a little dinner party one night. I am pretty sure I was her parachute, a way to escape if things got boring or awkward. Considering that most of my evenings are spent barking commands at my nine pound dog to move while I'm watching Law & Order, I decided to take her up on the offer.

When we walked into the restaurant I was not feeling like the best parachute, since I was ready to escape myself. Turns out Jade and I have a different definition of the phrase little dinner party. In the very middle of the calm restaurant was a rowdy group of 20 local firefighters, cheering, and drinking.

We paused in the doorway of the restaurant, and I set my eyes on a table of, mostly men. Jade smiled, and approached the men.  Like an ocean breeze she rolled up to the friend who invited us and gave him a hug. I watched, and saw a dozen eyes giving Jade the look over. And, Jade's suitor seemed to be taking notice of the effect she had on the crowd. I could actually see his chest rise as if he was puffing it out to assert his masculinity. And, like a tribal warrior it was clear he was marking his territory, letting everyone know that Jade was with him.  Jade was wearing these hip hugging jeans, a simple red shirt that clung to her and a leather jacket.

My default mode in situations like this is silly, self-deprecating humor. I started picking on the other firefighters, finding small jokes that showed I could hang. This is classic cute girl behavior.

I think by nature cute girls often feel they have to over compensate for their lack of hotness with an amazing personality. ...this is me. I smile, I laugh big, and I make fun of myself. Even if you don't find me hot, I am grateful we'll share some good laughs That night was no different. I was in full "cute girl" mode. I spent the better part of 20 minutes laughing it up with the firefighters I knew. (as a reporter in a small town you get very close to some firefighters and police officers)

.  I paused for a moment in my comedy act to watch Jade.  I realized not only was she beautiful she was magnetic, and her power boosted others. I could tell her guy felt more powerful, handsome, and dominant with Jade on his arm. The whole label of a "trophy wife" was starting to make sense. Being with a beautiful person is like winning a prize for a lot of people. And, somehow they are more attractive because they nabbed a beautiful person.

After a few drinks, and rounds of observation Jade and I headed out. She hugged me goodbye, and we went our separate ways.  I slowly walked to my car, replaying some of the scenes from our evening. I wondered if a cute girl like me could ever get men to drool they way they did around Jade. I tried to imagine what that would feel like. Would feel vulnerable, naked, exposed? Would I feel powerful to know my looks made people crazy? Would I feel liberated to try on sexy for a night?  That night I decided I would find out.

To be continued........

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Love from a Good Man

   I often write about the pitfalls of love. I find some strength in looking back on past heartaches, and realizing I came out stronger, and wiser.

     In my short dating life I have kissed my fair share of frogs, but I've also had some amazing princes; the kind of men you see yourself walking down the aisle with, the kind of men that give you goosebumps when they enter a room. I have been loved by a good man.

   When I was 21, I met the kind of man you instantly want to take home to mom. When he walked into the room, it felt like the world stopped, and everything was in slow motion. He looked like he was ripped right out of a BET spread on 'Black Love.' I remember these light blue pants he wore that hugged his butt just right, and how his muscles bulged out of his shirt. His bald head was always smooth, and whenever I walked by him I got a little intoxicated from his Cologne. He was so sexy. I thought there was no way this GQ model would want to date me. But, he did.

     On our first date, he opened the door, and called me "lady" in is this smooth, loving way. He took me to this wine festival with his friends, and it seemed he was proud to have me on his arm. I fell hard and fast. Before long, we were spending every weekend together. He wanted to hear about my dreams, my ambition, and he wanted to help me get there. He fixed every flat tire, he comforted me all the nights I cried when my mom was sick, and in the early morning with no makeup on he told me I was beautiful. I met his mother, his father, his sisters, his brothers. I let him into my home, my heart, and my head. And, I felt totally safe.

   We had this thing called a "wedding kiss." One of us would say, "I want a wedding kiss." Then, we would embrace, and try with all our might to put all our passion in that kiss. I loved those kisses. I would close my eyes and imagine standing in a white dress walking towards him. But, even the everyday kisses were magical. When I graduated from college he took me to the Big Apple, and before long we were looking at rings. We were so close, but we were also so different. We lasted off and on for about four years.

     When I was about 25, I fell in love with my best friend. He was the kind of man who I knew loved me for my heart, and my mind. He was the kind of man you could talk to all night, the kind of man who laughed at quirky girl jokes, the kind of man who helped me love myself. He was the kind of man who massaged my feet when I got off work.We met at work. I'm noticing a pattern here. Maybe I should stop falling in love with men I meet at work. When he walked into the room I'll admit it wasn't love at first sight. He was slightly cocky, he wore glasses, and was a bit of a video game nerd. But, he was also very sensitive, sweet, and he always made me laugh. After a while, he became my confidant, and biggest supporter at work. He pushed me to make my reporter reel, motivated me to ask for a shot at managing the station website, and believed in every pipe dream I threw at him. He could have been anywhere, but he would stay up all night watching my outtakes, and help me apply for jobs. He would always tell  me, "I wish you could see what I see. You can do this." He listened to me cry when I lost my first love, aapplauded my successes, and when I felt insecure he did all he could to build me up. He was the kind of man who surprised me with flowers at work for no reason, and covered my apartment with heart-shaped post-it notes with loving compliments. He was always so passionate when he kissed me, and he looked into my eyes like he could stare into them forever. He became a part of my family, and I became a part of his. One night while we were talking on the phone, he told me that when the time was right he wanted me to be his wife. I cried in joy, and sighed in relief. I had finally met him, "The One." We were so close, but had very different takes on life. We lasted off and one for almost three years before we said goodbye.

    I have known good love. And, even those these princes were only in my life for a season I'm glad I had the chance to be loved by them. And, while they didn't end up being "The One" I know they have taught how to love "The One." Through loving and losing these princes, I have learned so much about being a good partner. When I do give my heart to someone again it's going to be so much deeper, because I was once loved by a good man.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When We Were Younger

When we were younger... I could never quite get my words right.
I was so worried about how I looked, the way you looked at me, and deep down I did not think I was pretty.
You had these beautiful gorgeous girls chasing after you, why on earth would you want me?
I made up these silly jokes, and funny ways to get next to you.
I tried to be one of the guys so you would talk to me.
My palms would sweat when I got close to you.
I would talk about guys things,  even talk about other girls.
When really all I wanted was a little recognition from you.
A pat on the back, a smile, maybe even a hug.
The times we were close were so rare..
When you did hug me, pull me in for an embrace .. I knew for you it was nothing.
A little hug to your tomboy friend.
But, I melted a little bit when our bodies got that close.
When we were young there were so many things I could not say.
The rejection I could not bare to endure.
Instead I kept thinking of you from far away.
I think you knew I had a thing for you...
When we were young there were so many things I could not say.
Time has passed, and even though I never knew what it was like to be liked by you..
I do like to remember... and ponder if you ever had these feelings too..
I can now smile about the girly way I acted afraid I was to step to you.
I still blush a bit when I imagine kissing you....
I know and me can't be.... but I love to remember...look back, and reflect on the time when we were younger.... and all I wanted was for you to be with me

Sunday, April 22, 2012

If I Were a Boy!

            I wish I weren’t a girl sometimes. I wish I could lie next to someone, hold her, caress her, kiss her as if our moments together were our last and then just disconnect. Enjoy the moment, relish in the sheets with her, fall sweetly into her arms, breathe in her scent, and as night turns to day just disconnect. Why weren’t we equipped with these skills? Surely they would have come in handy. We wouldn’t sit around in circles analyzing men, wasting perfectly good productive time wondering why he didn’t call, why he doesn’t care.

           I’d hang with my boys, then effortlessly leak the details of my escapades. I’d tell them how sweet she smelled, the softness of her skin, the expressions of her face, and how I handled her as a man. They’d relish in my explanation, giving me the male equivalent of a Oscar.

  I’d leave her at home while I hung out.  I would have her so into me that she won’t make me live up to the standards she so deserves. I mean hey it’s her fault not mine. She doesn’t make me come home. I come home when I want. Smelling of alcohol I slide back into her bed, wrap my arms around her and try to oblige her. If I’m lucky, she’ll roll over and show me a little something. Even if inside she’s hurting, disappointed that love didn’t bring me home last night.  I will continue living the bachelor life when I know she gave up everything for me.

            If I were a boy I’d know which roles to play to get which women. I’d play the good boy to get next to the good girl, I’d be bad if she so desired. I’ll spit game about being honest, about caring for her feelings, and then the second I get her I’ll proudly exclaim to the world how I played her. How stupid do women get? I will feel no remorse for the girls I’ve hurt in the process cause it’s gotten me what I’ve wanted. I don’t care how I’ve damaged their hearts, how my actions make them want to give up love, think we’re all useless, hey man that’s the next dude’s problem.

I’d whisper to her that I believed in making love, real love, and tell her I would never leave her. But then I’d do just that whenever I got the chance. It’s not my fault she gave it up.  If I were a boy I’d be content getting everything I wanted without giving her anything she needed to feel whole, appreciated, cared for or respected.

But even if I could I wouldn’t play this game. There is something endearing about feeling with my heart. And while I feel exposed and vulnerable I’m not going to stop feeling because some men can’t. I won’t stop sharing my heart with people even when they mishandle it. I’ll learn to move on faster and not waste as much time on men who don’t have time for me. And I’ll be more careful to let people close to me, but not at the expense of shutting good men away.

Being a girl sometimes means getting hurt. Putting yourself out there only to discover you're out there alone. It means being disappointed, hurt, and used. But this is true for anyone looking to find something, some affection, some desire for another. While I don’t get men, I know the inner workings of being a woman. And maybe I do need to keep my heart a little closer to myself, not leaving it so exposed. There is something to be learned from all these games men play. Maybe this whole thing is learning from the game.
I won’t sit by phones hoping my stare will make them ring. Feeling foolish when I make the call or text that is unanswered. This girl has learned men who want you want to text, call, be near you. No job, circumstance, or event is going to stop them from being close to you. And if they don’t then honey as the author Greg Bernhardt says HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU!

It’s so true ladies… … if he cares he makes the effort. This girl will start changing lanes when she sees the red flags. The distance, the neglect, the past issues with other women, all signs he’s not ready or able to be that into you!

As a Carrie Bradshaw once wrote, “Some people are settling, some people are settling down, and some people are settling for nothing short of butterlies”. Here’s to waiting for the butterflies……

Dedicated to every girl who fell victim to a man’s game. Be happy you are a girl. Keep loving, keeping hoping. Sometimes we kiss a lot of frogs before we meet our prince.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Force in Flats

A Force in Flats
I’m in Virginia Beach for Easter weekend and I’m noticing all the interesting fashion trends I’ve been missing out on in the burg. I mean in the past two days I’ve seen two people with their chests pierced. Their chests! Who does that? I’m told they are called ‘Dermal Anchors’, and yes they are very much a trend. But, that’s not what this blog is really about.  It’s about all the fierce new shoes I saw this weekend.
I can’t get my eyes off all the creative foot coverings people wear in VA Beach.  It seems the predominant walking apparatus of choice is high heel. Spiked heels, sparkly heels, peek-a-boo heels, you name it I saw it. I understand why woman gravitate to heels.  They exude confidence, power, and sex appeal. And, you have to give props to a woman who is balancing all of her weight, and will power on tiny, thin pieces of shoe material. I mean it requires some skill. High heel shoes make everything more fabulous, including the person wearing them.  Unfortunately I don’t know how that feels.
I cannot walk in heels. I truly believe there is a window of opportunity in a girl’s life where heel walking skills are developed.  You know how they say kids soak up language between certain ages I feel like there’s a time when little girls are more receptive to heel walking. It probably starts the minute you discover heels in your mom’s closet and stick your tiny feet in her oversized shoes. You clunk around her bedroom, and look in the mirror. Standing there looking at your reflection, you get that first surge of power, and sexiness. You feel more beautiful, more adult, like somehow you’re tapping into that elusive elegance you see your mom carry so well.  From there goes the practicing, and sneaking into heels when your mom is not home. Well I missed all of that.
During the time when most girly girls are in cultivating their heels skills,  I was scuffing up my new kicks on the basketball court with my cousins. Or I was kicking up dirt on our homemade baseball field in the backyard. I love sneakers and flats.  As a tomboy shoes were not fashion accessories they were game gear, work out gear, walking gear.  The only time I remember getting super psyched about shoes was when L.A. Knights came out with a light up shoes. When you walked, these lights would activate in the bottom of the soles, and sparkle. They were the must have shoe in my day. I remember begging my mom for a pair.  Then there were those kicks with the air pumps. They had this pump on the flap of the shoe that was supposed to give you more height in your jump, and game like Michael Jordan. I’m not sure this was actually true, but I wanted to find out. My parents forked over a lot of dough for to help me find out. Needless to say they did not improve my game, but I feel pretty cool sporting them around school.  As you can see I am a lover of functional not fashionable shoes.  But sometimes I wish I could master the whole heel thing. I just can’t get it right, and believe me I’ve tried.
Whenever I dare to put on heels for a few minutes I feel amazing, and sassy. Then, I feel agony, and stress. Is it this painful for every woman? My heels are rubbed raw for the back of the shoe; my toes are scrunched up and pinched. And, I can hardly focus on anything other than trying not to fall. Every step becomes a small victory. The whole time I’m thinking to myself, Yes, I made it. I didn’t fall. Now just 10 more steps until I can sit down. This is why I have embraced the fact I may never been sexy in heels, but I am a force in flats.
I love flats. They come in sparkly, bright, shimmery, colors too. They can add a splash of color to an outfit, and I can strut my stuff without worrying about falling on my face. Flats say this woman is cute and comfortable, this woman is practical. Sure they may not be head turners, and they don’t exude sexy.  Flats seem to epitomize the type of woman I am. I am not roll out the bed sexy, I am not what you would call gorgeous or head turning, but like flats when put together with a good outfit, I can be quite fierce.  I clean up real nice. Give me a splash of foundation, and high hugging dress, and a rocking hair-do and I’ll show you sassy. That is how I feel about my flats, they are the kind of shoes that may not look fabulous on their own, but sparkle when you see the whole package. Heels say I am fabulous, and sexy. Flats say look a little closer, I am cute, I am fun, I am spunky, and I a force in these flats.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hungry: The Confessions of a Food Fiend

The sunlight creeps through my grandmother's bedroom blinds. The sunlight gently kisses my face, and I rub my eyes to wake up. The aroma of fresh buttermilk biscuits, and coffee is swirling through the house. It's seeping through my great grandmother's bedroom. There is a sizzle, a crack, and pop. I know that's bacon cooking on my great grandmother's old black, burnt frying pan. This is a Mississippi morning, and where some of my most fondest food memories live.

After lingering in the bedroom, my senses overwhelmed with the breakfast that is cooking down the hall, I wake up and start following the aroma.  My cousins are at the table, and my great grandmother is at the stove smiling at me. I'm only eight, but she pours me a cup of coffee. I pour the generic creamer, and put in a dash of sugar. I've tasted a lot of different coffees since those Mississippi mornings, but this will forever be my favorite. When the biscuits finish baking, we all sit eagerly waiting for our turn to pick one out of the pan. No KFC, Church's Chicken, or any fast food joint can lay a finger on my great grandmother's biscuits. We pour rich, thick maple molasses on our plates, and with our hands dip the biscuits in the rich syrup. This was food that fed more than your stomach. It fed something deep inside. I could taste the love and attention she cooked into the meal. At the old circular table surrounded by my kinfolk I felt part of something, part of something lasting.

I've been thinking about these early Mississippi mornings a lot lately. I'm riding another weight rollercoaster, and after way too many highs on the scale, I'm starting to wonder how I ever got started on this food rollercoaster. I've been thinking a lot about what am I really hungry for ? On those nights when I lay on my couch letting another Friday night slip by in my living room, I feel this pang in my chest. I feel a twinge of hunger it's not overwhelming, but it compels me to venture to the kitchen standing in front of the refrigerator wondering if anything will make me feel full. What I am really hungry for ? I grab a coke and some cookies, and head back to the couch. After my late night snack is consumed, my stomach is happy, but something else is still empty.

Growing up, food was not just about nutrition or fuel for your body. Food brought my family together, it comforted us, it was an expression of love. I've carried these feelings about food from childhood. And, I wonder now if I've carried it into my adulthood. And, I realize now that sometimes when I overate I'm really trying to fill my soul with the same warm feelings I got on those Mississippi morning.

When I can't fix anything in my world at least I can fix a good meal for myself. It doesn't fix the problem, but for those few seconds I'm lost in a food haze, trying desperately to feed the little emptiness in my heart. When you've spent most of your adolescent feeding your feelings, and your emotions with foods, it's hard habit to break.  But, I'm trying. And, I've been asking God for so much strength to stop reaching for food when what I really need is His Grace and love.

Before I make my way to the kitchen, I'll start asking myself what are you really hungry for? Is it companionship, excitement, a cure for boredom, an escape, a cure for insomnia.  Because I know deep down what food I consume will never be enough to feed those things.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dinner for One

       Tonight I  broke from my usual Sunday night routine. I cleaned up the house, and sprayed some really sweet vanilla room spray. I took a nice long shower, then mused over these cute tanks I was saving for a special day. I decided on a silver, shiny tank top and some black tights. I pulled my hair back, and put on some really cute eyeshadow I just bought. I looked in the mirror and I smiled. It almost felt like I was getting dolled up for someone special. When I was coupled, I'd get dolled up whenever my boyfriend came into town. I would play some soft music, dance in the my bedroom, check myself out, as I waited for my boyfriend to arrive.

But, tonight I'm doing this for me. There will be no boyfriend visiting tonight, no love to notice my new eyeshadow or cute shiny top.  And, that is ok.  I do not know how long I will be in the Land of Singlehood. It could be a few months, or a few years. And, in the meantime, there will be a lot of lone Sunday nights. Instead of lounging in sweats, watching reality t.v. and falling in asleep on the couch. What if I took a little time to celebrate the fabulousness of me. I am the only me I'll have my whole life, and in the meantime I need to treat myself a little better. I don't wait to for a man to make me feel special, or wanted, or pretty. Because as mama always said, "You got to love yourself first, before you can love anyone else."

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Relapse

Just looking at it makes it hard to resist the temptation. I know I should push it away, but I just have to try it. I run all those little sayings I’ve learn to say in these moments of weakness, and they are not helping.
One taste won’t hurt. Just take one bite. It will make you feel better.
Before long my fork is slicing through the spongy, chocolate cake. I pause for a second, and think, ‘A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips.’ But I can’t stop now it’s too late. The soft chocolate cake is swirling around in my mouth, and for a few seconds I can only feel how good it tastes. It doesn’t take long for me to finish off the whole piece of cake.  The guilt wouldn’t be so bad if this were my first relapse, but I’ve fallen in deep this time.
 For the past two ok honestly three months I’ve slide back into my old eating habits. The habits I overcame doing Weight Watchers:  mindless eating, eating when bored, eating while driving. So here I am 10lbs heavier and really ashamed it got this far.  It’s time to come clean.  I've been eating for all the wrong reasons lately. I have eaten to mask being homesick, to relax after a long day, but mostly because I love eating. But, it's time stop all that.
In the next few weeks I plan to dig out of this food relapse I’ve fallen in and get back on track. I’m running the Monument 10k March 31st and I want to back in running form. No more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before bed, or frequent stops to the frozen yogurt joint. I’ve discovered it’s not all that healthy if you pile chocolate and candy on it. There should definitely be some kind of disclaimer at those places. No more snacking, and snacking, and snacking at work. It will be a hard road back I’m sure to slim and healthy, but I’m ready.
My challenge this week resisting temptation.