The Kindness of Strangers

When Southern Mom died, my linesisters in the DMV rallied together, brought me dinner, bought my plane ticket home, and loved on me when I wanted to be left alone.

As the plane descended upon the city where I grew up, I cried silently to myself.  The flight attendant saw me, gave me some Kleenex, and asked if she could hug me when the plane landed.  I said a soft, “Yes.”

I’m not sure how they knew, but what each of those women gave me at those moments are what I needed, even if I didn’t want it or think I needed it at the time.

Upon my return to DC, I cooked dinner for linesisters.  I wish I had gotten the airline attendant’s name that was so kind to me so I could have properly thanked her.

It’s amazing to me how strangers or your friends or people you hardly know are so kind to you, not because they have to be but because they want to.

Since the passing of Southern Mom, the relationship between my maternal family and me has not been great.  I know I haven’t behaved perfectly, but I definitely feel like some people have done things and treated me unfairly when they shouldn’t have.  I don’t want or need to go into details, but I’m always amazed at how sometimes your friends will treat you better than family.

So, I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing for the past three years-pray for everyone and live my life the way I know my mother would want me to.  I see a little bit more of her everyday in the things that I do.  And I hope that I am making her proud.

Hopefully one day things will work out and get back to normal with my family.  But until then, I can’t let what’s bad hold me back from doing what’s good.  I pray that those of you that read this will remember that as long as you are doing what you are supposed to do, that’s all that matters.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Elle’s World

So far, 2017 has been great!  I am officially in my mid-30s (and I’m totally ok with that!), I went on my second trip to California (even though it was for work), I attended the wedding of one of my best friends, I took my first international trip, AND I start graduate school in 3 weeks.

Travel is always fun!  And I told myself on my birthday that I wanted to travel internationally at least once a year from now until I can’t anymore.  So, for my first trip, I went to Cuba two weeks ago and had a ball!  Although I got sick (like really sick!), I still had a blast and am willing to go back!  The people, the culture, the city of Havana, and most of all, my girls, were just what I needed!  We were there for 5 days/4 nights, and it was long enough!  While I had a great time, I was more than ready to come home.  The process was easy (we got our stuff before the man on Pennsylvania Avenue made his announcement), and getting there and coming back were easy, despite the fact one of my friends almost got me detained because she wanted the customs agent to stamp her passport when were leaving. 😦 (Long story!) I learned about the country, got a nice tan, and brought back some great souvenirs.

My birthday this year was EPIC (though it didn’t start out that way).  I broke my phone, but I had a great 3 day celebration.  And Southern Cousin even came up to celebrate!

Most important, I start graduate school in less than 3 weeks.  I’m excited, nervous, apprehensive, all that good stuff that comes with taking on a new endeavor that is meant to add to my life in the future.

Lastly, my job is going swell. Though I’ve been given more responsibility (darn me for being so efficient!), I am also adding more to make me better.  I am sure this will make me more marketable and valuable at not only my current job but when I look for new positions after I finish graduate school.

So now that we are almost 3/4 of the way done with 2017, I am excited to see what else is in store for Elle.  Oh, and my love life?  The guy from this post is still around (WOW! Has he been around THAT long???), but it’s not what I want.  And I’m seriously considering ending that, for a number of reasons.  Maybe I’ll post about that later.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy these last days of summer.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Why Women Delve Into Their Careers

Being weeks away from 35, I have been able to do some self-reflections and assessments and figure out what I want to get out of life and where I want to be within the next 10-15 years.  I begin graduate school in the fall, which I am very excited about, and my going back to school has allowed me to think about the possibilities and the next steps I want to take in my professional life.  I have also been thinking about my financial health.  After doing some assessments and actually writing down my expenses and income, I realized that I should be much further along with saving than I am.  The good thing is that I have been doing a better job of being a good steward over my finances; the fact that I am now writing them down makes me feel better and that by my managing my finances a little more closely I can do the things that I want to do, especially international travel.  Additionally, Facebook reminded me that it was two years ago today that I officially moved into my house.  This reminder was a welcome memory to see how far I’ve come in being a homeowner (and how much further I have to go to get my house just right.) As I plan for my career, my home, and my personal life, my love life has taken a backseat.

To be honest, I have become jaded and dissatisfied with my love life.  From meeting men who aren’t geographically desirable to men who are too immature to men that were crazy (like almost certifiable) to men that just weren’t for me, I have almost come to the conclusion that I will be single, if not for the rest of my life, then for a really long time.  And if I’m being totally transparent, at this juncture in my life, I’m kinda ok with that.

Sure, I miss going on dates and getting phone calls from suitors and all the other mushy stuff that comes with dating and relationships; however, I’m so focused and excited and nervous for what’s to come in other aspects of my life that I’m really not too concerned with my love life.  And because everything else is going great, it has taken my mind off of the fact that I am single.  With NO prospects.

When something is going right in our lives, it is very easy to focus on that positive and to give two sh*ts to the wind about the stuff that’s not so positive.  That’s why I personally believe that’s why it’s SO easy for women to become absorbed by their jobs.  They have the requisite education credentials, they gain the necessary experience at work, they are leaders-movers and shakers, and they continue to get promotion after promotion and advancement and notoriety and everything else they need to be successful career-wise.  When a man comes along, it would behoove him to let that woman know how he plans to enhance her life and how they can be great together in order for her to give him the time of day.

Earlier this week, I was hanging out with some friends of mine that are married.  I let them know that, “I don’t necessarily want to put this out in the atmosphere but I think I’m going to be single forever.  At this point in my life, I really just want to meet a man who has the same values as me, wants one or two children, and we can put our resources together to buy a bigger house (than mine).”  The husband let me know that I am not the problem (I really needed to hear that because sometimes I think I am).  He assured me that DC is a tough place to find a quality mate.  Which, I already knew.

At the end of the day, I will be focusing my upcoming birthday celebration, work, travel, and graduate school.  If a man comes along he’s really going to have to have his stuff together in order to get my attention.  And keep it.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

You’re Bad For My Spirit

The older I have gotten, I have realized that, in dealing with the opposite sex, that it is of the utmost importance to take care of yourself first.  Not your man.  Not your woman. No one else but you. YOU.  If you allow them, people will suck the life out of you and take all of  you.  Why?  Because people are selfish as f*ck.

About two years ago, I met a guy (I’m sure I’ve referenced him here before; I just don’t feel like going back and linking previous posts) at an alumni event.  The first year passed without much incident. That second year…. We went on dates, we hung out, we laughed, things were good. Until they weren’t.  The last time he and I spoke in August, I told him that we should make a clean break, and if we see each other in the street, we say “What’s up?” and keep it moving.

Earlier this week, my phone rings.  I think it’s my eye doctor, so I answer. It’s this dude. (Huh????) He says he’s calling to find out if I’m going to a football game our alma mater is having later this month and that I crossed his mind and he thought about me.  I asked him if he remembered our last conversation, to which he replied yes.  This is then how the conversation went:

Me: If you remembered then I don’t think you would be calling me. 

Him: Why do you say that? 

Me: Because I told you that we should make a clean break.  But here you are calling me after three months.  A few weeks after our conversation, I told a friend of mine about you, and she was playing devil’s advocate.  She thought that maybe I should give you the benefit of the doubt and that I didn’t make myself clear with what I wanted while we were dealing with each other.  

Him: OK.

Me: So that there is no confusion, I don’t like talking to you.  You’re bad for my spirit.

Him: Oh, that’s cryptic. 

Me: How so?  

Him: Uhhhhh…

Me: If you don’t understand, say so so that I can explain it to you. 

Him: I don’t understand. 

Me: Then I’ll explain it to you.  I’m in my 30s. I’m passed the point in my life where I’m dating just to date.   And I’m done going back and forth with you.  Over the past two years, it’s been up and down and sometimes we’re dating and sometimes we’re not. So we just need to cut our losses and keep it moving. 

Him: Ok.

Me: So, again, so that I can make it clear, I don’t want to be your friend.  You keep popping back up in my life and I’ve got way too much going on to try to figure out what you want from me every few months.  So you have fun with whatever you’re doing tonight, tomorrow, whenever. Bye.

Today, this post is for ladies in general.  Single ladies in particular. Those single ladies that have had to deal with men that take us for granted.  Those men that feel they can play with our emotions.  Those men that are sometime-y.  Those men that are non-committal. Those men that feel like they can treat us any ol’ type of way.  And think that we are going to stay around to put up with it. Take back yourself, ladies. Take back your strength. Take back your independence. Take back your courage. And let these men know that we’re not putting up with their sh*t anymore.  We deserve better.  And these boys that think they’re men are going to continue to treat us this way if we allow it.  So demand better.  Treat yourself better.  You deserve it.  Don’t let these boys mess with your spirit; they’re not worth it.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Only “Yes” is Consent

Last night, I went to dinner and a concert with a few women for a Girls Night Out. One of the women I knew (we’ll call her Chanel); the other two I met yesterday evening (let’s call them Sarah and Alexis).  During dinner, we talked about politics, pop culture, and the ladies shared stories of their children. Oh, based on the age of the children, these women are old enough to be my mother; that’s important for later. 

Of course, the topic of Nate Parker and “The Birth of a Nation” came up. I must admit that I have mixed feelings about going to see this film, for a number of reasons.  When discussing the rape of his classmate, a young woman he previously dated, Nate Parker had a very cavalier, “devil-may-care” attitude regarding the situation, even after he found out that she had committed suicide.  During our conversation, I of course shared that I read the court documents and that while Nate was found not guilty, it didn’t mean he was innocent (George Zimmerman, anyone?) In any event, Sarah started victim blaming, stating that if she didn’t want anything to happen (sex), then she should not have gone in the bedroom with him.  She also stated that since they had had sex before, why is it ok for her to say “no” later. I must have made a face because she tried to (halfway) clean it up by saying, well we don’t know what happened since we weren’t there.  I said true, but for Nate and Jean (his friend and teammate who WAS found guilty of rape) to have students that were part of the Black Student Union to harass this girl after filing a complaint against them is very telling. 

I then mentioned that we need to do a better job of teaching our boys about consent; we do a good job with our girls, but we don’t do the same with our young men.  Of course the women nodded their head, but at the same time talked about how girls shouldn’t put themselves in compromising positions. For example, if you go to hang out with a boy, why go to his room and not hang out in the lobby? Another thing I mentioned was that the young lady was drunk.  Again, I got “why was she in the bedroom with him?” So, to not get into an argument with this woman, because I was starting to get mad, I closed my mouth, which I don’t know if that was a wise move.  Actually, it was because I was going to lose it on Sarah in that restaurant. The other ladies started talking about how their mothers would have questioned THEM if they had been in a similar experience. I’m thinking “great, here we go with victim blaming.”  And that also made me think maybe this is a generational thing and I’m the odd woman out. 

But if you agree with Sarah, then you believe that I should have been assaulted.  Not to get too personal or too graphic, but in my early 20s, I had made a decision to have sex. I went to the guy’s house. Just as we were about to get started, I said “I can’t do it.” The guy was SUPER understanding and didn’t pressure me or make me feel bad and we were able to remain friends.

If you agree with Sarah, then you think it’s ok for a husband to rape his wife because they’ve had sex before. Just so we’re clear, the only way to consent is to say “Yes”.  If someone is intoxicated, can’t stand on their own, can’t focus, you may want to give them some water and have them sleep it off. 

The conversation last night really bothered me; that’s why I’m up at 7:30 am writing about it. 

If you want to know more about consent and sexual assault, I encourage you to visit your local domestic violence center. Until next time, I’m just a Southern Girl…in the city.