Just Say No

Over the years, I have been in numerous weddings.  I have so enjoyed celebrating my friends as they decide to embark on their journey to become wives.  Most recently, I will be in a wedding this weekend.  And even though the bride and I haven’t known each other long, she and I made a real connection.  I often refer to her as the little sister I never had.  We have a lot in common, hang out on a pretty regular basis, and now we are neighbors.  I definitely learn from her and her groom, and I hope that they learn from me.

Not to sound too cliche’, but when you get a number of women together, things don’t always work out the way you want them to.  Now, I have prided myself on not getting caught up in the petty/insignificant/crazy things that groups of women sometimes get themselves into.  I’m pretty good about letting things roll off my back.  Not to mention that I don’t have those type of women in the circles.

But let me back up and offer some sage advice.  When someone asks you to be in their wedding, it’s MUCH more than just buying a dress (or renting a tux) and standing next to your ace while she/he exchanges vows.  It’s a time AND financial commitment.  At minimum, in addition to your dress and shoes, you’re also going to have to chip in for a bachelorette party and/or bridal shower.  And with the way society is now, the bride may want to do a trip.  And it is the one time (aside from you being married and/or having children) that you have to be unselfish and put someone else before you. Like you can’t complain, can’t whine, can’t say you don’t like your dress/hair/nails. Why?  Because it’s not about you!

In addition to you being unselfish, you have to put up.  Not put up or shut up-just put up.  Celebrating the bride isn’t cheap.  Not only do you have to budget for your dress/shoes/jewelry, you will most likely have to get a hotel room/airfare ticket and contribute to her bridal shower and bachelorette party.  Not only do you shower the bride with gifts, but you also have to support her last days as a “free” woman.  When you don’t contribute, you put undo pressure on the other members of the bridal party.  Let me tell you a story…(don’t worry, it’s short)

A few years back, I was my cousin’s Maid of Honor at her wedding. Her bachelorette party and bridal shower took place over one weekend in Atlanta.  Why?  She was the only person that lived there, and everyone was traveling to attend.  Out of 8 bridesmaids, only 1 contributed to her weekend, which consisted of dinner, clubbing, drinks, bridal shower, and dance class.  I never told my cousin.  And even though she and my aunt offered to contribute, I didn’t take their money.  Why?  Because it’s her day and she shouldn’t have to worry about that.  And that wasn’t her job.  Her job was to enjoy being celebrated with no worries.

With the wedding I’m going to be in this weekend, I won’t go into too many details.  I’ll just say one person still owes me money for events that have taken place and another told me that she can’t contribute anymore (we have one last event scheduled with the bride and groom) as she is in a wedding next weekend as well and is tapped out.

All of these instances have told me that I need to learn to say “No”.  From now on, if a family member/friend/loved one/soror asks me to be in her wedding, I’m going to decline.  And it’s not because I don’t love them; it’s because not everyone in the wedding party realizes the commitment that she is agreeing to.  And just because someone didn’t plan properly (or because they’re a slacker) does not mean that I should make undo sacrifices. I’m not here to take care of grown people.

Now, I’ll admit that this blog may not be the best way to communicate that, but….yeah, it is the best way to communicate this.  Because I’m here to share my story.  And I feel that people who are involved in my life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) unofficially sign up to become a part of that story.  It is never my intent to embarrass or call out folks; I don’t name names-that’s messy.

Oh, and my own wedding (when that day comes)?  I’ll be on a beach somewhere with my boo and our parents. The few people that I have shared this with in the last 12 hours think I’m crazy, and I’ll change my mind.  Not to mention it totally goes against the next to last line in this post.  The older you get, you realize what’s really important.  And me stressing over somebody else’s wedding because people can’t contribute is not at the top of my list of priorities.

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

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What You’re Supposed to Do

Happy Friday’s Eve!  Today’s post was inspired by two syndicated shows I listened to yesterday but don’t normally listen to on a regular basis.   The first was “The Russ Parr Morning Show”, where they were discussing how to monitor people who are abusing the welfare system, i.e. women who continue to have babies to get a check from the government but aren’t doing anything to better themselves, like going back to school or finding a job.  The next show was “The Michael Baisden Show“, of which I’m not a huge fan.   They were praising fathers who take of their children, some of whom are single parents.   Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? 

Going to the welfare thing first; I’ll just talk about this briefly.  I think the solution is pretty simple.  Put a limit on how long people can be on welfare.    During this limitation period, people need to be making a concerted effort to better themselves.  Educate yourself or get a job.  (And we’re not going to talk about how the welfare system separates families.  How?  By requiring that a male NOT be living in the house.  That’s another post for another day.)   Now, after this limitation period is over, send a social worker to the home to assess the situation. Is the head of the household working on making a better life for her and her children?  If so, continue to help, but lessen the benefits (if the parent is working).  If not, take the children away and cut off the money.  Yes, I know-this is probably wrong on so many levels.  One, we have WAY too many kids in the foster care system right now.   But I’m sure there is a family somewhere that would love to take care of and have children in their home.  You never want the children to suffer.  But being in an unhealthy environment just starts the cycle all over again.  That’s why you have families who have been in the same housing projects for generations, and there’s no move to stop the cycle.  Show the children better.  Encourage them to DO better.  (Yeah, so much for being short.) 

Now, about these men who have children and are taking care of them.  Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but if you have a child aren’t you supposed to take care of them???  Michael Baisden and his sidekick George were praising fathers who go at it alone or who pay child support or visit their children.  Whoop-ti-do!  Case in point- Southern Parents divorced when I was four.  Southern Dad paid child support and visited with me on a regular basis while I was growing up.  He doesn’t deserve a medal.  Why?  Because that’s what you do.  And just because the relationship didn’t work between my mother and him didn’t stop him from being a father.  You may leave the marriage or relationship, but you never leave the children.   Yes, it’s taboo that you hear of single dads or men who take care of their children, but that’s a problem.  It shouldn’t be taboo.  It should be as normal as getting up every morning and brushing your teeth or taking a shower. 

I could really be here all day talking about this, but I know you all have things you want to do today!   But I would like to know what you guys think.  Thoughts on single dads, welfare, or just anything in general relating to this topic; the floor is yours.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!