Re-Inventing Elle

Commence means “to begin:start” (thanks dictionary.com).  I had my fourth commencement ceremony almost two months ago.  And while it was a very joyous occasion, after all of the pomp and circumstance (see what I did there???) was over, I felt like something was missing.  I was asking myself, “What’s next?” And if I can be honest with you all, I was a little disappointed.  I had this great plan that once I finished, I would get promoted and begin a new sojourn professionally.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  So I felt lost, alone, and somewhat empty.  We all know that commencement ceremonies not only show an end to studies but they are also to serve as a beginning of something new.  And with my not getting my promotion as soon as I would like, for me, I felt like there was nothing new for me to do.  Not only did I no longer have to read books or write papers or do group work (thank GOD!) but I felt as if I didn’t have anything new to look forward to, either.  And that was very disheartening.

After I got over my little pity party, I had to do what I tell my students-come up with a Plan B. So that’s what I did.  Just because I didn’t see the promotion I wanted at this particular time didn’t mean it was never going to come.  So I created a plan to better myself so that I can be ready when the time comes for me again to apply for a promotion.  In addition to getting myself ready professionally, I knew there were some other changes I wanted to make personally.  I’m eating better (yes, even during the summertime with all these cookouts and trips), I’m getting more exercise, and I decided to change my hair, which for me is really nothing new.  But the change I’m seeking will be a little more permanent than my previous changes.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Additionally, for me, especially growing up, it was important to me that people liked me.  And I hate confrontation/arguments, so I would say “Yes” to a lot of things that I didn’t really want to.  Or not speak when I didn’t like something because I hate dissension.  Welp, the new Elle is speaking up more, being more assertive, and making sure that I take care of No. 1 first! I have to protect myself and my feelings (no one else will).  And if that includes telling people “No” or doing things for me, then so be it.  Will people be mad?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not really.  Just as others put themselves first, I MUST start doing the same!

Oh, and my love life??? Meh, but of course old flames start rising again during summer time (I’ve had two old beaus reach out within the last two weeks).  We’ll see what happens, but if I can be honest, I’m trying to live a Hot Girl Summer!  And I think you should, too!

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

Taking Care of Self

The first time I went to see a therapist/counselor was three months after Southern Mom passed away.  While dealing with the grief of losing my mom I was also dealing with the loss of relationships with certain members of my mom’s side of the family.  I saw the therapist a few times, an older white woman, who was pleasant enough but not very helpful.  After my third session, she and I mutually decided (I think she guided me to this stance more than anything) that I was dealing with my grief appropriately and I should contact her anytime I felt the need to come in.  Needless to say, I have not seen her since.

About 10 months ago, I decided that I wanted to see a therapist.  Not because anything was wrong, but because everything was going right. But the therapist had to meet certain criteria.  She had to be black. She had to be a woman. And she had to be on my insurance. After doing some research, I found a consortium in the city and made a phone call.  At the time, they did not have anyone available that was accepting new clients.  So I waited a little over 5 weeks for them to call me and tell me they had someone available.  Since then, I’ve seen her a few times and she’s been awesome.  She’s had me open up about my familial relationships, dating, and other things that are going on with life.  She makes me think outside of the box.  She has me think about things a lot differently that I have in the past.  And for that, I appreciate her.

Now some of you may think I’m crazy for stating that I wanted a black woman therapist, but I respectfully disagree.  First, it’s my therapy, and if there is a particular person that I feel comfortable with, that’s going to be my request.  Second, I knew that a black woman would understand certain things that I may encounter in life because we have race AND gender in common.

I haven’t seen her in sometime (we have an appointment tomorrow), and I almost cancelled my appointment.  Not only because I have things to do, but because it’s hard to talk to someone about your most intimate thoughts.  Even if you have a relationship with them. Even if you feel comfortable with them.  It’s hard to honestly, really, and truly take care of yourself.  Yes, we may travel, hang out with our friends and family, go out for cocktails, or read a book.  But making sure that we are mentally fit is an important component of self-care.

This summer, I have pledged to live my best life, inclusive of having fun, taking breaks when needed, and talking to my therapist to work through stuff or just to say “Hey, girl!”

I kindly advise that you all do the same!  Figure out what not only makes you happy but what you need to do in order to stay healthy.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

PS The podcast is going GREAT!  To catch up on all the episodes, you can find us on, The Femme Noir Files, on Google Play, iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!  Be sure to subscribe, rate, and share! 🙂

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.