Sunday, February 20, 2011

Music Snob: Mary Mary...Why You Buggin?

Dear Mary Mary,

*sigh* We've come to this point in our relationship that I always hoped we would have avoided. You ladies - my GIRLS - are going way left with your gospel music. Granted, I'm very particular and extremely conservative when it comes to the music I like but when I first heard "Shackles" I said, "Hmmm, they're a little too pop and 'hip' for my taste but I can still hear the message." And you didn't disappoint. I absolutely loved "In The Morning," "Heaven," "Yesterday" and songs that weren't released as singles. You were the one group that were really hip but didn't seem to dilute the message and that, I genuinely loved. Although I haven't been a consistent churchgoer in my adult years, I always saw "the spirit" in you all and it made me accept this "young people" gospel music even more.

And then..."The God In Me." I liked the song to an extent but when I realized that it beared a close resemblance (if not the same) beat of "Blame It On the Alcohol" by Jamie Foxx, I knew we might be heading to a problem. I snapped my fingers to it. Did a slightly out of control two step to it. Both actions that I deem unacceptable to spiritual music. Nevertheless, I accepted that you were just trying a new sound for that particular album and was ready for the next one whenever you all were ready to release it.

And here we are. Now, we might be on the brink of the one thing I feared: a musical break-up. "Walking" at best. It is more of an inspirational song than a gospel song which is perfectly fine. The beat is even more hip-hop than "The God in Me" and it has me worried. At the BET Celebration of Gospel, you all performed "Something Big" and I knew that our official status was "It's Complicated." Last week, I saw the video for "Walking" and its pretty safe to say that we're taking a break. That video serves no purpose. There's no vision. Shoot, you two are barely walking. Its like a block party but not really.

You all seem to be looking for crossover success but at what cost? Is this the way? I'm lost and I don't like it one bit. me. You don't have to rewind 9 years but can you please let me know if what you're going for now is the message...or the money?


I'm in a Relationship But Its Complicated

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Men and their Self-Esteem

When it comes to men and the type that I go for, there are some things that are important to me that have nothing to do with looks: smart, funny, hard-working, ambitious, kind, trustworthy, and confident.

Confident. A confident - not cocky or arrogant - man is very important. A confident man that believes in himself and his talents/attributes, has his beliefs and stands strong in them (even though he'll listen to your POV) and just all around exudes strength is important. For me, thinking "Damn, I like that about him" and sometimes "Lawd, will he shut UP," is kinda dope. I think that a confident person can help inspire the people they're around because even if they haven't reached their ultimate goals, you see the tenacity that's going to get them there.

What I can't a man with low self-esteem. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why we are gathered here today. Over the past few months, I think I've encountered more than I care to mention (no, not for me to date - just people I've met) and I just don't know how this has happened. Of course, we all have our days when we don't believe we can reach our full potential or our outfits look ridiculous or we just feel ugly. But I've met men who are completely disengaged with what it means to have self-esteem. And I don't like this "trend." Not one bit.

Let me say this: I have a hard time enjoying the company of anyone, male AND female, who has low self-esteem. I do think that because of the pressures of societies, some women will let it get completely in their heads and feel less than worthy of...whatever. But it gets old at some point and try as I may to give you a pick-me-up, I can't make my homegirl feel better about herself all the time. So if I can't do it with a female, I damn am not doing it with a male. Is it a double standard that I'll probably deal with it longer from a female friend than I will from a male friend or man I'm dating? Yes, that's probably a fair assessment and I'm okay with that.

But I need help understanding: Where does low self-esteem in men come from? From the same place women get it? Are they looking through the pages of V magazine and wish they were those so-called sexy European men? Did a girl they date or have a crush on break them down to their lowest points of being and now they needed consistent reminders that they're good guys and are attractive? Were they teased as children? Did their parents not show them lots of love and affection as children? The last question you might read as a "tone" but it certainly isn't; I'm genuinely trying to understand.

Further, does this affect they type of women they date? For example, if they think they're a little on the bigger side (which to many women they probably look like men with football player builds), do they only date slim women? If black men, in particular, were teased about being brown/dark skinned or light skinned, do they only date light-skinned/non-black women or dark skinned women, respectively? I mean, of course, they could have just grown into their own preferences and their lack of self-esteem hasn't affected that at all. These are just the questions I ask and the thoughts I have about it.

So have any of you dated a man with low self-esteem? If so, how do/did you deal with it? Men, if you're brave enough: are you dealing or have you dealt low self-esteem? Where did it come from and has it affected your dating lifestyle? I'm not attempting to fix because I'm not a man so I'm looking to you.

This is serious for me. Let's discuss.

Monday, February 14, 2011

XOXO...You Know You Love Me!

I've never been big on Valentine's Day. Sure its commercial and all that stuff people who HATE it say it is but that's not the reason. I'm actually not big on any holidays so this is no different. However, on this Valentine's Day 2011, I thought I'd get in on the fun.

Valentine's Day is not just a day for people in relationships to celebrate; rather, its a day for people to dote a little bit more on ANYONE they love. I actually haven't been privy to being a significant other's Valentine however, my mama loooooove me so she's done some nice things. Today, I'll share my cute story (which isn't THAT cute but I like it all the same):

Every year when my brother and I were younger, my mother would bring us the small heart box of four pieces of chocolate. (Hellooooo, don't we all remember those?) I mean, we'd get it every year through my high school years. When I got to college, I think two of the years she sent me special Valentine's Day packages full of candy and snacks/food to keep in my dorm room. But after college, that was it. No more cards, no more candy...nothing. But I never really gave it two thoughts because like I said, holidays aren't really a big deal to me.

Until two weeks ago. Yes, two weeks ago. My mother likes to send things early to ensure that they will reach their by their intended date (mind you, she lives right up the block for me - it takes like a day for mail from either of us to get to the other). She sent me the SWEETEST card! Seriously, I've always known that I get my impeccable sense of card picking from her - the woman knows what she's doing. Check it out (just a lil bit): "...You have such a positive outlook on life and a warm sense of humor that makes it fun just to be around you..." Awwww, Ma!!! The card pounds on the compliments and I love every bit of it.

So my sweet memory comes from my mom. Now, share yours! It can be from a current or former significant other, a good friend, family member, child...whoever! It can be something someone did or said for you OR something you did or said for someone else!

Share the love!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Loving Bad To Love Good

"Brothers, a woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life to be thankful for a good one. Be the good one." -Bishop Dale C. Bronner

A college friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status and as I finished reading it, I leaned back to think about it. Some people agreed and after about 20 minutes or so, I responded that I don't know that I agreed with that. I do believe that there is often times truth in the saying that sometimes "You have to kiss many frogs before you kiss your prince." But even in saying that, it doesn't mean that those "frogs" were bad guys. In fact, many women come across good men who just weren't good men for THEM (yes, that exists: not every good man/woman you meet is the person for you...and please throw them back in the water for the person they're meant for to catch them). I've seen this happen many times with friends of mine and they openly admit that maybe they just weren't ready for the person or vice versa.

Yes, there are bad men. Yes, we as women date them sometimes. Every now and then we don't realize they're "bad men" and other times, we ignore the clear signs that they are not good men. Not for us or even our worst [female] enemy/ Well maybe for her but I'm keeping it positive so yeah, not for her either. And yes, bad guys that we choose to date or sleep with or whatever we do with them serve a purpose at times. Maybe its because after all is said and done we need to be able to say, "What in the world was I thinking?" Perhaps its because we feel we need a little excitement. Sidenote: Spare me that "excitement" bit - at some point you can find excitement in even the nicest and lowkey guy. Or, we need to be broken off a lil something and even if you don't like "bad guys," he is the one who came along who you let put it down one good time and you feel the need to be hooked for a minute. So yeah, there's a purpose. Sometimes.

But here's where I disagree with the Bishop: I don't at all believe that women HAVE to love a bad man once or twice in order to be able to be thankful for a good man. As I've already acknowledged, sometimes men come around for different reasons. But let's focus on the woman - let's give credit where its due and not group everyone: There are level headed women in the world who have always been able to recognize good men and know that that's what they want in their lives. I've met them in the past and I know them current. There are women who, even if they're single now, have loved really good men in the past and even though they aren't with them anymore, there's not much bad to say about them. Some women had fathers or father figures in their lives that treated them so well and showed them what it was like to be treated like a lady that, as long as they can help it, they wouldn't date a man who showed them any less than the respect the have for themselves. Other women didn't have positive fathers or father figures in their lives but turned that negative into a positive for their future relationships. These examples of women go to show that you don't have to love a bad man to be thankful for a good one.

So yes, some of us will make a choice to continue to deal with the bull from some men (and I'm talking about the "Girl,'re REALLY dealing with that?" bull) and until we look INWARDLY, that's all we'll attract and be attracted to. No good man will really change that because to appreciate anyone or anything, you have to change your own mindset.

Sorry, Rev...I disagree.

Let's discuss.