Do you see me??…..

CHEERS!!:

Update in 2015…..I wrote this article 4 years ago. Who knew that it would be even more relevant today. With the rise of protests specifically around the injustices surrounding black lives, its more apparent to me that those who say they don’t see color or are ‘color blind’, should really think about that statement.

Many are angry with the constant media coverage and the infamous black lives matter hashtag. Anger is like liquid encouragement. It reveals peoples true feelings. Strong emotion often reveals feelings and attitudes that are only reserved for ‘closed door’ conversations. The blatant racism in response to the news coverage, Tweets, Facebook posts and the myriad of social media outlets reveals the true feelings of many who claim, when not angry, that they are “colorblind” and treat everyone the same.

A friend shared this comment with me in response to a post I shared regarding why shutting down a highway meant something as an act of protest. I think that this speaks volumes to the behavior that manifests itself in people. Think about it….think about yourself.

Saying your are…..”Color blind” really isn’t true love… Sometimes people say “I’m colorblind” meaning, I’m cool with you as long as your color/race perspective on life is the same as mine or doesn’t make me uncomfortable. True love says “I love my brown friend & I will be in alliance with her. I will recognize the struggle, acknowledge history, understand the present circumstances. True love is willing to confront racism, true love means recognizing differences and loving them, true love is being an ally. It says, WHEN SOME PEOPLE DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRAGEDY OF INJUSTICE TOWARD PEOPLE OF COLOR, I WILL SAY THAT BLACK LIVES do MATTER. True Love sees color & loves it!”

Here’s to those who were not afraid to stand in alliance with their friends and strangers during the civil rights movement…..and here’s to those same friends and strangers who realize that to see color is to love your fellow man and woman so much that you will stand with them, protect them & make a difference. CHEERS!!

Originally posted on CHEERS!!:

Nothing drives me crazier than people who say “I don’t see color” when referring to a black friend.  Obviously you see them…. If they wore a red shoe and a blue shoe everyday…..you certainly would see it….but as a friend…..you wouldn’t tease them or make a big deal out of it everyday.  Same with “color”.  You clearly see they don’t look like you…….but what you don’t do is point it out…..what you don’t do is make them feel different or out of place.  They are your friend. 

It’s also very interesting that when there is a minority in the group……its okay to venture into areas that look more like the majority…….but when its time to venture into an area that doesn’t look like them… you get the question “How bad would we stand out?”…..um….just about as bad as the minority in your group stands out.  Uh oh…..I think you just saw…

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Chivalry 104…..The Recap

For those who know me, have dated me and to the man I married, the quickest way to win me over is a good old fashioned case of Chivalry.  As of late, I’ve read a few Facebook posts that have centered around the amount of money a man spends on a first date & women who feel that they can no longer date a man after they offer to pay half, and the man lets them.  The latter is easy….don’t ask for what you don’t want just to see if they will turn you down.  If you ask, be prepared to pay….enough said.

If you haven’t read my first 3 blogs about chivalry……pause now, and type chivalry in the search bar to the upper right.  Read them and then come back and finish reading this one. The first 3 will give you the reason(s) and the lesson(s) for the need to keep chivalry alive.  Now back to the Facebook posts. Let’s examine the amount of money a man spends on a first date debacle.

First date – A recent article posted by a friend indicated that a man living in Washington D.C. spends an average of $177 on their first date.  This post created a firestorm of men who appeared to be disgruntled with said dollar amount.  Some men who live on the east coast were able to justify the cost based on several factors that didn’t include dinner and drinks.  Other men proceeded to whine about having to spend more than they felt necessary just in case the woman was not worth (in their opinion) their time, effort & money.  A few women commented that it wasn’t about the money spent but the conversation & enjoyment on their first date.  One gentleman even went so far as to equate “Any female counting the receipts and assigning that to chivalry” to a harlot who would take a gratuity from a man of any value.  Excuse me???

No one said anything about counting receipts and equating that to chivalry. Chivalry isn’t about getting things in return, it’s about being recognized for your actions & knowing that the person you are with will also treat you with the same respect. I believe that chivalry is a two-way street…men shouldn’t be taken for a train ride….paying for dinner & drinks when dating IS a chivalrous gesture, no one is asking you to fund shopping sprees or anything else that’s outside standard dating.

I’m talking basic chivalrous behavior….just a few suggestions in case anyone wasn’t trained in the art of chivalry: open the car door, pull out her chair, stand up when she stands to leave the table, walking on the outside of the sidewalk, help her put her coat on….I have a host of other examples that my father taught me through leading by example with my mother. This new generation has no clue that subtle things like those examples….score major points. And for the ladies, an example: if he opens the car door and you get in…lean over and open his door….easy peasy two way streety.

The problem with dating now is that people are more self-absorbed and self-centered than ever. Its all about what am I getting out of this for doing that. If you don’t know me by now…you should know that I am a passionate chic when it comes to chivalry, respect & getting off the pot & committing. Its not that difficult.

I will leave you with this thought……dating now is not the same as dating before social media, online dating sites and over exposure to technology.  Stay tuned for Chivalry 105….

I can’t say this enough……Here’s to well trained…well crafted….chivalry mastered men…and here’s to the adults who instilled its art form….may the gift of chivalry never die…..and the acceptance of its grace never be shunned…….CHEERS!!!

….Got guilt? What I said vs what I did….2 different things….

Race Race Race….no not the kind you run but the one that folks all seem to be talking about.  And we all know when everybody is talking about it somebody is gonna slip up and say something that sounds racist.  ….after reading at least 3 personal inboxes this week asking me why I’m friends with racist people & why I allow racist people to make the comments that they do…..I’ve decided just responding to them won’t help the rest of y’all who are probably thinking the same, are one of the people that they are asking about, or has been and will be someone I have to eventually tell that they said something that sounded racist.
The sucky part is that unfortunately I have learned (thanks to J Smooth) to always have a plan in place for how to approach the inevitable that sounded racist conversation…….. The what they did conversation vs what they are conversation…. 2 totally different conversations……………words and actions vs trying to explain that what they did and what they said makes them racist. At that point I’m merely drawing conclusions and speculating about their motives and intentions, which are only things that I can guess at & can’t ever really prove which in turn takes the conversation away from what they actually did & makes it way too easy for them to derail the whole argument……..its not a bad thing to say someone is racist because you might be wrong…..its a bad thing because you might be right!

There are so many scenarios that tie to race lately in the news that its quite frankly hard to keep up with……..from the current issues going on in Ferguson to the drama filled political posts about the President who because he’s black…naturally we gotta talk about it….to just plain every day experiences that reflect the society that we are breathing in.

I’m blessed to have a seriously and deeply diverse friend base, grown up in an area that did not look like me, experienced living in more than one state to show me horses of different colors, and have had the opportunity to experience traveling to lands where you aren’t labeled by the color of your skin but the land you come from.  I’m also blessed to be married to a man who comes from a similar background who is able to be the devils advocate to my rants, raves and reviews.

I certainly am not naïve enough to think that growing up in an area filled with elite privilege that I was somehow immune or had a cloth of diversity wrapped around me.  I am not blind to being followed in stores and stopped by police simply because my race makes me an optimal target depending on the area that I am in.  As an adult the husband and I decided to raise our children in the same area and environment that we grew up in.  We knew the day would come that every black parent fears…..the day their child is called the N word.  I’m sure that fear lies in my friends who are any race or ethnicity that has coined a seething stereotypical historical slur that has continued to breathe life and has crossed over years decades and centuries to continue rearing its ugly head.

Since the husband and I work so close in proximity to each other we decided to start car pooling a year ago.  We listen to sports radio and have real life conversations during our commute EVERY DAY.  During a recent conversation….backstory…I was fussing about something that someone said that sounded racist……our conversation:

Me: I cannot believe that people really think our society is race free and have the audacity to say such craziness that frankly sounds racist even though they say they aren’t

Husband: They are just saying how they feel. For some it comes from a place of ignorance to facts, some it comes from hate, some it comes from pure aggravation to what is going on.  That’s like you getting mad cuz you missed out on a sale or reacting to how you are treated when you go certain places.  You just say the experience you are having and that’s your reality

Me: (looks over at the husband) So you don’t think that folks say racist stuff?

Husband: I didn’t say that, some people do, but if you think your friends are saying racist stuff, call them out on what you think they said that was racist.  If your friends were true racists, they definitely wouldn’t be your friend, no matter how long you have known them

Me: So you are saying that what they said vs what they are is the perspective I should focus on

Husband: Yep, their reality is not the same as yours. and if you feel that it sounded racist, that’s a small battle you will have to decide if you want to fight

End of conversation………..Thankful for a balanced marriage!

So when people ask me why I have racist friends or allow them to post “stupid shit”….my response is………they are not your friends, you don’t know our history and if you feel that what they have said is racist or believe that they are racist, you may fight that battle together. I will deal with them in a private way without calling them out on live social media because we have a relationship.  Sometimes people just need a little love to show them that while what you said sounded racist…..I don’t believe that you are…..unless you prove me otherwise.

I definitely have had to tell folks that they are blind to the facts of the world and live in a bubble but going down the path of resistance with friends like that has ultimately lead to distance and the proverbial social media defriending and unfriending in real life.  It happens and perhaps there really was some deep seeded racist underlining that forced the relationship to end. Because they are gone….all I have left is my opinion.  Such is life. If they really are racist….they won’t care what I think! I have way too many Real friends to worry about drama and have learned that I deserve better and give the best to my friends.

I want my friends to be real, to be open and to be honest.  Some cross the line of pure harsh hate, others cat dance around the subject, others jump on band wagons to have back up.  I don’t really care……what I care about is my safety when I’m in their presence and the safety of my family when I am not.

The husband and I also talk about the rules of the road and survival together.  Rules that we have to tell both of our children……especially our son to abide by.  Most of the rules come from what our parents taught us and others from our own experiences.

Here’s our list.  Its kind of a shame that we have to have a list.  But its pretty simple.  First and foremost………follow the golden rule and don’t put yourself in a position that would cause you to have to have a gun drawn on you by ANYBODY.  Drop to your knees and beg not to be shot if in the presence of an officer so that you don’t appear to be a threat.  Here are our others:

1.  When in a store of any kind: Leave your backpack in the car. If you must take it in with you….make sure it is not open at anytime except to pay.  And when you leave the store, never leave without a receipt so that you can’t be accused of stealing….no matter how small the purchase is.

2. If pulled over, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times.  If the officer asks you for your license and registration, tell him explicitly step by step what you are about to do and use one hand to do it.  Except the ticket and we will take care of it.  No arguing.  We got lawyers on retainer…..we don’t play in the Lowery house.

3. Watch your back at all times.  While YOUR friends may have your best interest at heart……..those who do not know you at the same function may have other plans.  Press record on your cell phone should a racist altercation present itself and let it play out.

Here’s to understanding the difference between the what they did conversation vs what they are conversation. Everyone is accountable for their own actions and words.  I cannot control what type of crazy folks will bring….but I can control how I react.   CHEERS!!

Always a reception…..Never a bachelorette party

….there are certain things in your life, that you have to make really tough decisions about……one of those decisions…..which is the absolute best day of many people’s lives….is planning your wedding day. We all know, especially us that are married….that the milestone of marriage is a really big deal to the bride…..its her day & her way. Generally, the wedding ceremony is by far the cheapest if not freest part of the actual wedding planning…..the reception on the other hand can be a financial sticker shock. And the hardest part………..the Guest List.

Over a course of 6 months, I had 4 friends who got married….and as the song says….they did it their way. Some of those decisions left many surprised, confused and even conflicted on what exactly to do with the cards that were dealt.  While we all know that it’s not about us, but about the bride….that doesn’t negate that there are 2 sides…one side who is making tough decisions on what to do with the plans and budget they’ve set…..and the other side who has shared highs, lows, boyfriends, then ex boyfriends, husbands, then ex husbands, tears, laughter, milestones…the list goes on.  You are close…not just some see ya when I see ya kind of friend.

Wedding invitations for some can be likened to standing outside a club in Miami or New York waiting to see if you will be picked….but for true friends…we liken it to witnessing a day that you have been waiting and couldn’t be happier for, for just as long as you have been friends.  We’ve watched you grow…..and to watch you open a new chapter in your life….is the ultimate charm.

To sum it up…..2 friends eloped….and no one knew until they posted on Facebook they were married in another country and state……1 didn’t invite any of us but decided to have a small intimate extremely close friends & family wedding which was simply beautiful by the pictures……..and the other invited us all….and had an absolutely beautiful wedding and reception….the downside….some of us are still trying to embrace a relationship with a new husband that has on a few occasions…given us the impression that we may not even be worthy of her friendship.

With all that said…………each of those scenarios equated to some hurt feelings, conversations of conflict regarding what to do, should we do and what does the etiquette book say to do.  When you’ve never been put in a particular situation before…..its hard to really figure out what to do between suffocating your feelings and doing what’s right.

When we make decisions in life they have ripple effects and impacts on those that are closest to us.  We all have that friend who does exactly what they want to do regardless of the impact it has on others, the friend who is very blunt and no holds barred, who doesn’t have any issue bringing issues to the table to get them talked about, who says what they think needs to be said regardless of whose feelings it hurts, who you know loves you and all of your crew but won’t dare coddle us, or our feelings for that matter, and who we all wish would realize that sometimes…you just need a hug.  That while we respect their opinion….our feelings should not be diminished or made to seem insignificant.  In fact….their issue may not be the only issue we are experiencing which catapults us into vent overdrive.

It’s not our decision of what folks decide to do on the day that starts a new chapter in their life….all good friends support all types of decisions made by their friends, even if we disagree or the outcome of the decision requires us to suffocate our feelings, vent to another friend, or simply silently cry about it.  Whatever the outcome is, when shared, our personal feelings should not be dismissed…we have been left with a purse to hold of missing out on the things that friends plan…..bridal showers & bachelorette parties…..the 2 best things friends can do for their friends.  Why is it okay to give a baby shower…..but the traditional bride to be festivities are negated??

In the end….there is almost always a wedding reception and never a traditional bachelorette party in these cases because…well….the wedding already happened.  Kind of defeats the purpose of being a traditional bachelorette when you are married…there goes the suck for a buck and the body shots!!

What we do know is that our friends are joining(or have joined) the ranks of the happily ever after. And as friends we are responsible for ensuring that our friendship stands the test of all things through communication, respect, empathy, appropriately placed sympathy……and leaning on the shoulders of those in your crew to bring you back from the edge no matter the circumstance.

Here’s to embracing the choices our friends make with sensitive life milestones….and to the other side who makes the best of it & continues to love their friends no matter what……through the good times, the not so good times, and the even better times……CHEERS!!!

 

 

…..Got SAD?

What is SAD??…..The dictionary defines SAD as:

  • unhappy: feeling or showing unhappiness, grief, or sorrow
  • causing unhappiness: causing or containing unhappiness
  • regrettable: unfortunate or to be deplored

The Mayo Clinic defines SAD as (aka SADD – Seasonal Affective Disorder Disease Seasonal affective disorder): ….a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.

For as long as I can remember…..fall would come….& so would my mood. It wasn’t until after the birth of my second child, after the second bout with post partum depression…..after I thought I was cured….that I realized something just wasn’t right.  So back to my therapist I went…..& the diagnosis was recorded…….you have what is called….Seasonal affective disorder.  I stared blankly thinking for the love of God….can’t I just be normal??!! Post partum depression goes away……SAD……well….not so much.

Every year I wait…..counting down the days until the cloak of gloom wraps its loving arms around me. I fight him like a prize-fighter in a ring every year….it feels like the exorcist…I’m in there…but that ugly head turning cra cray is on the outside puking…..suffocating me….strangling me…..consuming me….until spring.  I’m a text-book SAD case…..symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months….sapping my energy and making me feel moody, useless, tired, crabby, ungrateful, very sad, and angry.

I almost had it down to the day…..but as the seasons change within themselves without rhyme or reason & mother nature takes on her Sybil persona……the days become blurred…..the days get shorter…..the nights gets longer….the timing gets off….and I’m sent into a spiraling episode of self-doubt, confusion & irritation.  And then….as quickly as it came….its gone…….and then…..its back…gone…back….gone……OMGoodness!!! Can we say dizzy??  When you have winter, spring, summer and fall all in one week…..imagine how I feel!!  There is no amount of light therapy, drugs or meditation that can fix all those emotions.  It’s like a bad case of stomach flu….you hover between a trash can & the toilet waiting to see which is gonna come out first……your happy….or your SAD.

Depending on the day…..you could unknowingly transfer your emotion to an unintended party who has no clue what you are going thru….& the sad part is….(pun intended)…that person could be going thru something to & now you’re all in a tangle of I didn’t mean its & I hope you can understands……..but they can’t. It’s only for the fall and winter…and then you’re back to normal…..but….for some…..its too late.

In a previous blog I wrote about the Rules of Dating Engagement…….the 90 day rule – Some people act different during certain seasons.  Until you have experienced a season of SAD…..you have no idea what the rest of your life will bring being married to it.  Its like the twilight zone…….you go back in time at the same time every year.  It’s like a bad habit that rears its ugly head to suck out all your forward motion.  It takes a compassionate soul to understand.  It’s really no different some days than PMS….but its dictated by the seasons…its like a psychotic mood swing that doesn’t know if it’s up or coming down.

For those who suffer from a mental health diversion…….it will define who your real friends are…..who your around the way friends are…..and who you can depend on when the seasons go cold.  A hug, a word of encouragement, inclusion…..all ways to keep any one suffering from depression in the here and now.  SAD is a different kind of depression…..one that is not easily diagnosed without a historical pattern…..one that sneaks up on you in the dark & attaches itself to your soul.  A disease that goes dormant in the spring and summer…..hibernating in the off season waiting for a consistent rainy day, dim sun, and cold air to breathe life back into its soul less corpse.

I’ve yet to meet a perfect person…..some are just better at hiding their demons than others.  Everyone has a crabby day……some more than others.  Mental health is a serious number that lacks the attention it deserves.

Here’s to compassion, awareness, strength, empathy, therapy, good days, bad days, good friends, loyal friends……..and the wisdom to know the difference.  CHEERS!!!

Got Control…ling??…….

How many of us know the difference between a controlling and “needy” partner? ….I will give you a minute to think about it…….5,4,3,2,1…..There is NO such thing as needy in a relationship between a man and a woman.  Children and pets are needy….spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends are not.  Long term boyfriends and girlfriends in my mind are actually the watering hole where seeds are planted to grow what your future may look like.  We have all heard about the perfect partner who gets married and turns in to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde….but for the most part….people exhibit warning behaviors prior to marriage.

Let’s start with a few examples………..feel free to pause & reflect during these….if you have experienced one or more….then you either are at peace with the way you live, a happy co-dependent or on the edge of divorce.

Example Number One:  Girls Night OUT or IN                                                          The girls have made plans.  Doesn’t matter what the plans are….it could be a milestone birthday, just a birthday, dinner, a movie, shopping….even something as simple as scrapbooking.

Inevitably, somebody in the group…usually the same suspect(s)….will end up not being able to go and if they do go…not staying for longer than a couple of hours.  Why do you ask?  Because the husband or boyfriend has gotten into their head……who knows what they say…but its the trigger that paralyzes them into not going to keep the peace…or staying just long enough to get back home at what the husband or boyfriend believes is a reasonable time. Um…the only person(s) that controlled my goings and comings like that…..were MY PARENTS!!!

Example Number Two:  Girls Vacation Trip                                                             One thing I love to do….is TRAVEL!!! Especially with my girls.  From the adventurous plane rides, to the people watching together, to the family style sleeping, to the belly aching laughter, faces hurting from smiling after my “we are in Hawaii” picture-taking and tears from our heart-felt confessions.

Once again……there’s the friend you invite….who hems and haws….because she is trying to figure out the best way to ask her husband or boyfriend to go.  Um…..screeching car hault!!!…are you kidding me?? The only person I have EVER asked permission to do something from is…..MY PARENTS!!! (are you getting the common theme here?) When you are married or in a long-term relationship your “permission” questions are framed differently.  Its not…can I go? Its…..the girls and I are planning a vacation in yatta yatta….what does your calendar look like so I can plan daycare or after school activities accordingly?  See the difference???

Now the only person not agreeing with the above right now…..is the CONTROLLING husband or boyfriend.

Example Number Three:  Power in Words                                                                This example is more for those who have experienced the feeling of being guilted, pushed around, made to feel less than, made to feel like they should change, made to feel like they should distance themselves from the friends they hold dear, made to feel like the only time spent should be the two of you….the jealous man who starts fights in bars, accuses you of cheating, accuses you of flirting, accuses you of caring more about your friends than him……that man is an insecure man, a man with his own demons or secrets he’s fighting…..a controlling man, a man who goes from passive-aggressive to aggressive with no in between …..there are key words and phrases that should make you pause, reflect and turn those words into an action plan.  As always with men and women…there is a bit of a double standard….why you ask?…because men are considered the head of the household who should hold their wives in the highest regard and treat them better than they would treat themselves.

To control another human being who you did not give birth to, who is not your blood relative, who is an adult just like you….whether you are a man or a woman says that you are insecure and feel a loss of power when you don’t get your way.  Many of us deal with the rules of engagement in relationships (see 3, 90, 1 year Rules of Engagement blog)….there are deal breakers and I can live withs………many of us live with the not so bads for our children, for financial stability and for appearance.

For those who have made the choice to deal with the deal breakers thru divorce, I commend you for the strength and courage that it took to take that step.  For those who continue to live with insanity……your day will come.  If you’re not married….don’t DO IT…getting married will not change the behavior.  For those living with the not so bads….maybe someday…it will get so good that you will thank yourself for staying.  To the husbands who are controlling…..own it…..and fix it….or you will lose half of everything you have built.  Whether that’s thru divorce or thru dissociative behavior from your wife.  Boyfriends….will become inconsequential.

Here’s to realizing the difference between controlling and needy……to understanding the neuro linguistic programming associated with why we act the way we do….to understanding the goal, the feelings and the behavior associated with how we communicate.  Let go….let live….let love…..let’s CHEERS!!!

….Whose your Zodiac?….

Many of us have taken a peek at our zodiac sign out of curiosity as to what astrology claims is our personality along with fun facts such as, who we are compatible with and what our best occupation would be. And many of us….read our sign and think….whoa….that is totally me!!

Well….I’m a Capricorn….the 10th sign of zodiac represented by a goat with a fish’s tail and extending from December 22 to January 19. My high level interpretation of myself is…
1. Outgoing aka social butterfly
2. Hard worker aka work hard play harder
3. Perfectionist aka get it right the first time
4. Task master aka do your job or your assigned chores & I won’t have to micro manage you
5. Loyal aka I got your back….but if you stab me to death(meaning you have had a lot of chances)….you will be sliced from my pack
6. Hates surprises aka I want to look good if I’m gonna be at a party aka hates to be embarrassed & I don’t like to be caught off guard because of something my children did & I have no explanation to back them or nail them to the wall
7. LOVES TO SHOP aka a teeny bit materialist at best
8. Community rebel rouser aka loves to do community service and pay it forward
9. Rule follower aka only if it’s posted …the 10 commandments, airport, street signs, directions etc…with the exception of speed limits
10. Planner aka extremely organized…wants to know the plan and logistics in advance
11. LOVE my family and friends aka will cut a crazy person for ya
12. Likes to be invited even if you know I can’t come….aka hates to be alone and left out

So what does my Zodiac sign say?? I looked it up after writing my high level interpretation of myself….and it says:
Personality Traits of a Capricorn….
•Good organizational skills
•Neat & tidy
•Practical
•Realistic
•Strong work ethic
•Materialistic tendencies
•Conventional
•Respects authority
•Egotism
•Cruel taskmaster
•Servility
•Excessive perfectionism

Likes…
•Simple food
•Antiques
•History
•Responsibility
•Not being pressured
•Unconditional love
•Privacy
•Elitism
•Family

Dislikes…
•Untidiness
•Disorder
•Being teased
•Familiarity
•Surprises
•New ideas & paths
•Loneliness
•Being useless
•Public embarrassment

Hmmm….pretty close wouldn’t you say? So for those of us who need a little self-reflection for pure entertainment purposes….write down who you think you are….and then Bing your sign.

Here’s to self reflection….sometimes looking in the mirror does not return the real you….CHEERS!!!