I’m An Optimist

Earlier this week, I had a discussion with a co-worker that focused on relationships, but it wasn’t a conventional relationship talk, if that makes sense.

He (late 20’s, in a relationship) was stating how he was having a conversation with his sister, and she said that “there are no good black men left.  Most are taken, in jail, or gay”.  Well, let me back up.  I can’t remember if his sister in fact made that statement or if his sister said she heard another woman make that statement.  (My memory’s bad.)  In any event, I told him that I don’t subscribe to that notion.  First, I don’t want to think negatively, because I truly feel that when I do begin to develop a relationship, the thoughts I had pre-relationship will follow me once I get into a relationship.  And I do not want to enter that with negative thoughts.  Second of all, I know a lot of great black men-I’m related to some, and my friends married others.  Of course, I said people only show you what they want you to see, but from my point of view, these were men who loved their wives and children and took care of their families. (Yes, you have dudes who are jerks out there, but that’s not limited just to black men.) And I truly believe that there is a man out there that God has made just for me.  Not sure where he is yet, or if we’ve even met, but God made Eve for Adam, so I don’t think that He meant for us to be alone.  And by us, I mean my future husband and me.

(So…as I look back over my statements, I can see how some can seem negative…maybe we should call Elle a realist; I take a realistic view at things.  No one has time to sugarcoat stuff-I’m getting too old for that.  Maybe you can compare me to your 70 year old Aunt Edna, the lady who never bites her tongue and says EXACTLY what’s on her mind.  But I’ll still practice a little tact.  😉 )

I’ve always looked at things with the glass being half-full.  And I believe that thinking has boded well for me.  Even in situations that were not so great and where things seemed dire.  For all of my single people, men and women, who are out there and think that there are no good women or men, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  We just have to make sure that we can be a benefit to our mate when he finds us or when you find her.  Meaning, we have to make sure we are bringing our best selves to the table.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

My Life is NOT Boring!

Yesterday at a meeting, I told my friend that my life was boring when she asked me what I’ve been up to.  For a long time, I used to associate my dating life with whether or not my life was interesting.  Yeah…I’m glad it took me 30 some odd years to come to my senses.  On the contrary, my life is far from boring.

First, let’s talk about my job.  Some folks don’t like their jobs.  But not me.  And I’m not just saying that.  I love what I do.  Some of my co-workers find it hard to believe when I say that I’m glad I’m there. Don’t get me wrong-there are definitely aspects that I wish I could change (nothing’s perfect).  But on the grand scheme of things, my job is pretty snazzy.

Second, I’m still super involved.  I serve on a few boards, I’m becoming more involved with my local sorority chapter, and I’m heavily involved with part of the planning for the DC Black Theatre Festival (which I always love!), that is scheduled for the end of June.

Third, I have a social life.  Just this weekend, I went to happy hour, the Wizards/Bulls game, AND an NFL playoff watch party.  I had fun!  I hung out with some old friends and met some new folks.  And I played Spades, which I haven’t done in awhile. And though my partner and I didn’t win, I know if we had kept playing the second round we would have redeemed ourselves!

Lastly, I actually DO have a hot date this Friday.  It’s someone I’ve known for awhile, and I’m glad this opportunity presented itself for us to hang out so we could get to know each other better.  We’re going to hear one of my FAVORITE artists.  Oh, who is it, you may ask??? Well, it’s me!  🙂  It’s been awhile since I’ve taken myself on a date, unless you count me sitting on my couch watching “Scandal” and “The Walking Dead”.  To be honest, I definitely thought about inviting my friends to go with me…but I decided not to.  It’s been way too long since I’ve gone out by myself and enjoyed my own company.   And in an effort to take care of me in 2015, I feel like I can be a little selfish.

So, as you can see (and you being me), my life is far from boring.  I have stuff going on.  And my social calendar for January is continuing to fill up as we speak…well, as I type this.  In any event, I charge all of you to take yourself out on date.  If there is something you enjoy doing, go do it.  Don’t invite your girls, your boys, or your boo.  Go by yourself.  And rediscover how great of a person you are.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

New Year, New Elle

2015 is here!  This weekend, I had a few friends over for a vision board party. (You chicks left all your fatty foods and wine for me to eat!  Don’t worry-I’ll find something to do with it!)  I didn’t finish my board as I was making sure my guests had a great time.  Instead of just going through magazines and cutting out pictures and quotes that I liked in previous years, I know EXACTLY what I want to include as I know the goals that I want to accomplish this year.

Over the past few weeks, different things have been shared with me to make me reflect on things and to help me establish what goals (I don’t do resolutions) I want to accomplish in the new year.  My main goal is to focus on me-spiritually, emotionally, financially, and physically.  On the spiritual aspect, I’ve joined a local church (FINALLY!) that I love!  I missed my church during the two Sundays I was in SC for the Christmas holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the NYE service.  I can’t wait until they start Wednesday Bible study again in a few weeks.  In the spirit of being transparent, I’ve thought about seeing a professional, specifically in dealing with the death of Southern Mom.  I know that it is something that I will have to endure for the rest of my life, but I want to make sure that I am taking care of me first.  I’ve started working with a financial planner, and even though I feel like he has put limitations on what I can do (although he really hasn’t-I just hate budgeting), I know that his assistance will benefit me in the long run.  Lastly, I need to take care of my body-point blank and the period.  I need to eat better.  I need to start working out.  Not to sound vain, but I think I’m a cute girl.  And I feel that I can be even cuter once I start taking care of myself.  In short, I don’t want to just survive-I want to live.

I hope that in the next 360 days, I become a person that I am proud to be and that is better than the person I am today.

So what are your goals for 2015?

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

Know When to Cut the Strings

I am a social person.  I love people.  I love being around people (once I get to know them :)).  I value my friendships.

Over the course of my 30+ years on this earth, I have met a lot of people-classmates, church friends, bandmates, sorors, co-workers, and people I volunteer with.  I totally understand there are folks who are in your life for a reason, a season, and a lifetime.  Social media has allowed us to re-connect with people from yesteryear and keep up with what they are doing now…or what they want to you to see/think they are doing now.  We text, call, video chat and the like to keep in touch with those we care about.  But what happens when you reach out-you text, you call, you initiate the video chat-but the person doesn’t reach back?

I recently had two different discussions with friends about when to end friendships with people.  Ending a friendship is an EXTREMELY hard thing to do, especially if it is someone you have known for years.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  People move, get married, have children, and have to deal with issues that come along with living for a few years.   But, what happens when you reach out, make plans, invite friends to hang out, they confirm their attendance, and then…they don’t show up?  What happens when you are the one to always pick up the phone to make the call but no one calls you?  There’s a difference between being busy and being ignored.

Since my birthday last month, I have decided to cut the strings with a number of people.  With most, though they have not been close to me recently, social media has allowed us to reconnect.  Dialogue was had, memories were shared, plans-some tentative, most confirmed-were made, and yet…they have been no shows in one way or another.   So as to only expend energy to those that expend energy to me, I’ve decided to not make any effort to attempt a relationship.

At the end of the day, we all must come to a point when we realize that some relationships have come to an end.  And that is perfectly ok.  Not all people are meant to be in our lives forever.  You’ve got to learn when to just let things go.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

 

I Am Not Mary Jane

Tonight is the season finale of “Being Mary Jane”. This show has sparked much conversation in regards to black women and how we are portrayed on television. Some people are impressed with the strong heroine, admire her for having a great job and being a career woman, for helping her family in their times of need-despite their bad decision making, for being financially independent, and for just being a go-getter. On the other hand, you have those who are disgusted, upset, and pissed off with this character. As I stated in my review of the movie that premiered last summer, I was happy to see a character like her…but at the end of the movie, I was totally disgusted when she saved David’s sperm. And that was just the beginning of how any similarities between MJ and myself began to deteriorate. She began making awful decisions. From going back to Andre, her married boyfriend, to having a pissing contest with Avery, Andre’s wife, I realized that I am not Mary Jane (despite BET’s attempt to encourage women from all walks of life to send in videos proclaiming “I am Mary Jane”).

But, let’s not forget this is a fictional show; though, suffice it to say, I’m sure there a few people out there that can relate to a few scenarios. Let’s be real for a second. We put SO much pressure on writers and directors and producers to show black people in general, black women in particular, in positive lights. There was even a post how the world has evolved from Claire Huxtable to Mary Jane Paul. We slam these women on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Basketball Wives” for fighting and cursing and basically just being an embarassment. We villify them for not setting positive examples and being roles models for young girls and young women. But…shouldn’t WE be doing that? The woman that goes to work everyday. The woman that volunteers with non-profit organizations in her city. The woman that teaches Sunday school. The woman that serves on the city council. The woman that teaches chemistry and math and English. The woman that is a great neighbor that speaks to everyone and helps keep the streets clean. My point is, if we, the women that these children see and interact with everyday, are doing what WE should be doing, these young women would not look to a tv character, whether she’s on a scripted show or a “reality” show, to figure out how to become a woman and a lady. She would view you-her mother, her mentor, her teacher, her neighbor-to decide what makes a woman. Yes, we are all flawed, and that’s fine. But should our aim in life be to become a caricature character we see on television?

I mean, I am not Mary Jane Paul; but I am not Claire Huxtable, either.

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

Now That It’s Over…

So, I participated in my first pageant this weekend.  While I did not win the crown, I did get 1st Runner-Up, which I think is awesome!  I received great feedback from the judges.  Audience members, including an Executive Director from another pageant, were very complimentary of my wadrobe.  (If I do say so myself, I thought I looked great! :))  I even got the head nod and additional admiration from two audience members because I was a “not so small” girl strutting my stuff on stage, which honestly was one of my reasons for participating.  I wanted to show women that you don’t have to be a size 10 or smaller to participate in something like this.

I want to thank my family and friends for ALL of your support, whether it was through prayers, donations, or coming to the actual pageant.  It felt amazing to look in the audience and see some familiar faces.  I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and that I may you proud.  Multiple people have asked if I will participate in another pageant.  The jury is still out, but I do have the wadrobe for it…

So what happens now?  I continue my reign as Ms. District of Columbia Exquisite until next Spring when another young lady takes my crown.  I still plan on making appearances and doing things to spread my platform.  I have met some amazing people thus far through this journey, and I know that there is more to do to help end the cycle of domestic violence.  Be sure to connect with me on Facebook (Ms. District of Columbia Exquisite 2013) and on Twitter (MsDCExq2013). Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Don’t Stop Living

So, I am at this place again where I’m not interested in dating.  This place is not new to me; heck it’s not new to you all.  If I can be frank, I had a HORRIBLE date last week.  (Don’t worry, you’ll hear all about it before the week is out because this guy needs to be outed.) As I sit here and ponder the current state of my life (instead of being productive), my mind goes back to my time living in Florida.  I was younger, more carefree (well, not really), and definitely a girl about town.  I was social, active, and rarely spent time at home.  I was super active with church, my sorority, and other organizations of which I was a part.   There were guys I was interested in and vice versa, even though some of them weren’t the best catches, at least for me, and a little shady, but I thank God for allowing them to cross my path.  Because if I had never met them, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.  But having a boyfriend/being in a relationship wasn’t really that important.

I think the reason why I enjoyed my time in Florida was because I was just living life.  I had an amazing group of friends, people who cared about me, and a beach that was 20 minutes away…but I digress.  Recently, I think that I have gotten so caught up with wanting a companion that I’ve forgotten to live life. (It could also be contributed to the fact that most of the women around me have or are getting rings on that special finger and are adding the title of “Mommy” to their resume.)  Yeah, I am active with my sorority, the other organizations of which I belong, hang out my friends, and do other stuff, but I’m not living.  I’m just doing and being-and sometimes that’s not enough.  And the fact I’m officially in my 30’s now and not in my mid-20’s could be contributed to the way that I feel.

But when I was in the Sunshine State, I was super involved with church-attended service each Sunday, volunteered with the Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and performed with the Step Team.  I can’t tell you the last time I went to church in DC.  And that bothers me.  If I can be honest, I think that’s my problem.  Actually, I KNOW that’s my problem.  Somehow, I’ve lost my connection with God.  And in the midst of finding a church home in my “new” city, I’ve given up.  Sure I still pray and bless my food at each meal, but I don’t worship with others.  I don’t even watch Joel Osteen on Sunday mornings if I don’t make it to the house of the Lord anymore.

In short, I think I’ve solved my own dilemma.  I know what needs to be done.  I need to pray about this season in my life.  And ask that God give me the clarity needed to make it through this temporary space.  And to enjoy life.  And to LIVE life, not just go through the motions.  The question is will I do what needs to be done?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.