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Last night when I was trying to find something to write, my boyfriend suggested that I watch an episode to see if it sparked anything. (Seriously? Made of awesome. I know.) While getting one idea, something else jumped out at me: Carrie’s relationship with her Vogue editor, Enid Frick (Season 4, “A Vogue Idea”).Enid Frick Enid seemed to be very withdrawn, only focused on work, and not very polite. She even got mad at Carrie once for not telling her she invited her sometime-man…something that Carrie would’ve had no way of knowing because she and Enid had not really developed a personal relationship. It got me to thinking about Work relationships.

Unless your last name is Gates, Winfrey, or Zuckerberg…odds are you probably have to go to work tomorrow. Hopefully you love your job (I love my career). However, no matter how much you love your job, there’s probably one person there who works your nerves. They either don’t appreciate your professionalism (or lack thereof). They don’t like how un- or overly social you are. Your natural overachieving nature or simple mediocrity grinds their gears. All without you even trying or caring. Sometimes you try to make that relationship improve…other times you just focus on making sure you do your job and do it well.

School starts back next week, and my one work friend – the friend that I have who jumped out of the “work friend” boat to simply friend (the work is only there so if I’m telling a story, people who don’t know her name still know exactly to whom I’m referring) – got a new job all of a sudden. It was a promotion, and while I’m ecstatic for her……it dimmed the bulb of returning. My response, especially when you tend to be in a highly gossip-y environment, is to stay to yourself. Even then, the gossip goes: is she anti-social? Is she hiding something? Does she hate us? I mean, you can’t win sometimes, it only depends on whose doing the talking to what the story will be.

And this isn’t specific to just work. It can apply to any place where you have to have a working relationship for a common goal. Whether it’s church, social clubs, mutual friends…it happens everywhere. (And if it hasn’t happened…trust me…you’re working someone’s nerves and they haven’t admitted it, lol.) How do you address it? Carrie tried to be overly polite to Enid even when it was never returned unless she needed or wanted something. I, on the other hand, focus on whatever the “work” is and try to disregard anything that doesn’t affect that. What do you do? Let me know 🙂

Love,

-V

I’m six days away from my 30th Birthday. (Yes…Birthday gets a capital B. I’ve decided it’s a proper noun.)

As I alluded in the first post for the #31WriteNow series, I’ve had lots of things I’ve concerned about. Life…Love…the Pursuit of Happiness. It seems that the closer I get to this major milestone birthday, the more I start giving consideration to things on a more long term scale. I also get very definite about the things that I am NOT giving consideration to on a long term scale…or short term for that matter. I’m slowly but surely coming into my own about who I am, and who I’m not for that matter. I know I’ll make mistakes, I’ll have great ideas, I’ll laugh (probably a lot), and cry. I’ll have arguments, and I’ll be woman enough to apologize when I’m wrong.

satc_season5_episode71_514x330_032920041251_thumbThis reminds me of Season 5’s “Cover Girl”, the first fight on record between Carrie and Samantha. Carrie made the statement that she believed it was time for women her age to cover up, she admitted judging the one friend who had never judged her, and out rightly said that she was uncomfortable with the looks suggested to her for her book cover and didn’t bend on it. And like my line sister so eloquently used Beyonce’s newest full version song to explain, that is some Grown Woman ish. She refused to cover who she was.

I’ve noticed about myself that I am less likely to do things I don’t want to do just to make some group happy, or to ensure that others don’t judge me. I also address people head on. I don’t fake it when I’ve been hurt or wronged,…and then, well, please refer to the previous sentence. It takes a lot to decide who you are in spite of the world. Even more to not have an issue to admit when you’re wrong. Even more to know and even welcome your shortcomings. I’m happy to be embarking on my Grown Woman. I’m also refusing to cover up, hide, or refute who I am. I’m a Grown Woman.

What are your signs of growing up?

Love,

-V

Now as I was saying yesterday before I realized I was honing in on 100 posts, I had something prepared to write on yesterday. I’m the kind of person who notices weird things about other people. The cadences in their speech. Crazy preferences. All of that. Once after my boyfriend and I went to Chipotle, I noticed that he was studying his tortilla chips before he ate them. I thought maybe he was looking for the curved side – you know, to put the bite from his bowl in, like Scoops (See what I did there?…lol, inside joke). Once that option was out, I was wondering if he was looking for cracks in the chips so he wouldn’t cut his tongue but I knew that was a long shot. Finally, I said “WHAT…are you doing?” He paused and said, “Um…I’m looking for the salted side. Who wants the unsalted side to hit their tongue? The salt would just mix in with the food. I want salt, chip, and then burrito bowl.” I was tickled, yet it made perfect sense.

carriessbThis made me think about SSBs… Secret Single Behavior (Season 4, “The Good Fight”). In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, your SSBs are habits you have that you would “never want your boyfriend to see you do.” Carrie’s was making a stack of Saltines, putting grape jelly on them, and then eating them standing up in the kitchen while reading fashion magazines. I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed SSBs before, but never having noticed one in the person I was with. I have always wondered about the things it takes awhile for me to do in front of another…especially someone who means something to me. I couldn’t think of anything in particular. (And farting doesn’t count. Everyone does that.)

While typing on yesterday, my boyfriend was sitting next to me and said out of nowhere, “THAT’S YOU?” I was confused. I had a weird look. He said, “You’re making that bass noise.” That’s when I realized something I’ve known but never paid attention to: I read my words in a sort of out loud whisper in a very deep baritone. He said, “I’ve been trying to figure out what that was for the past 3 minutes!” We cracked up.

It’s awesomely great that I can feel awkwardly comfortable with my boyfriend. I’ve been in relationships where I had to fake some part of myself to ensure that the boat didn’t rock. I’m glad this is no longer the case. I probably could’ve added this to yesterdays “Keeping it 100” post…but hey, I’d need something to write today. Six days in for the #31WriteNow, Luvvie…oh yeah!

Do you have SSBs? Have you ever felt comfortable enough to share them? Talk to me 🙂

Love,

-V

Yep. I thought I told you that we won’t stop, I thought I told you that we won’t stop! *Insert random Diddy noises*

Hi.

Yep. A straight Scandal, Pope listening to the President speak words after being shot in the head response… “Hi.”

Yes I know I haven’t written since Valentine’s Day. And I know that I could have and didn’t. But since Luvvie is all rallying the writing troops for her #31WriteNow Challenge…it seemed as good a time as any to get back in the saddle.

For this month of August, I’m going to try to write a post everyday. It seems a good month to do it…I turn 30 this month. I’m entering a new decade. A new age box to check on surveys. A new mindset of things that creep into your head that you never gave more than a passing whim to before. The age group where you start thinking about your parents dying. Or what you want to happen to your career in real-time, not theory. If you think you could handle having an actual kid. Is there someone you could be with the rest of your life and make the new version of your family? Dude…just go running…it’s not about vanity anymore – it’s about health.  Yeah, I’m not doing that………I’m about to be 30, and I’m saying no to that one. Why? Just because.

Those thoughts permeate my brain on a daily basis in one source or form or another. I’m reflective. I’m a creature of habit, so change is a big deal to me. But I’m also a Leo, so challenges aren’t. Let’s see if this month can help filter through the murkiness of my mind…not forgetting to nod to the pristine places too. Here we go…you in?

Love,

-V

Someone called me a skeptic recently.

I have never been called a skeptic by anyone. In my life. Ever. (Well, I guess until recently.)

That has never been me. I’m Miss Optimistic. The sunny side of life. Even if it ain’t sunny, hey, I ain’t complainin’. I’m in the rain doing a buck-forty, hydroplanin’. (If you get that…I love you. +10)

You catch my drift though.

I’ve always had the type of mindset that thought the best of anyone I met, because I figured there was no way they could get to know me and intend to do me harm…right? The more I thought about it, the more I realized … He’s right. I am. A skeptic. At least I am now. I can add it to the list of Learned Behaviors (along with something else I won’t mention here).

I’ve found that the closer someone gets to me, the more my expectations lower. I brace. Wait for the blow. The other shoe will fall any minute now. It reminds me of Miranda when she first met Steve (Season 2, “The Man, The Myth, the Viagra). He wanted to stay around. She pushed him away. He worked harder to be in her life, and each time she fought harder to maintain distance. When he asked why, what was her response? “I guess I’ve just kissed too many bartenders.”

Miranda never considered he could be different. At least not for real. She knew he was saying something that someone “different” might say. Maybe even doing something that someone “different” might do. But to her, he looked the same. The same as every other one who had let her down. Who had said something different before. Who had done something different before. Eventually…it worked out for her. This moment started it…remember?

"...maybe I can believe it..."

“…maybe I can believe it…”

I don’t like it. I’m not okay with being afraid of the next hurt, but I’m also not okay with being so trusting that I become the fool each time. So what’s the middle ground? Skeptical Optimist? Optimistic Skeptic? I remember when Charlotte had that feeling after she and Trey divorced. I understood that place of feeling lost. More than I want to share.

What about you? Have you been in that place? Did you pull yourself out? Did you go for broke and trust? Are you there and okay with it? Let me know, but not right now…because Scandal is about to start. …like, right now. 😉

Love,

–V

I was having a random conversation with my roommate which led to a conversation about gift giving and dating. A piece of advice her father gave her was (and I’m altering the more colorful language here, lol):

“Don’t trust any [man] who doesn’t do right on your birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas.”

I found that really interesting. We then got into the semantics of gift giving and how much attention is necessary, and is a gift only a gift? Or is it some type of compatibility test. My roommate loves perfume. She’ll spend big money on it because it’s her thing. An ex of hers once got her a perfume set from Mary Kay. She decided that he didn’t really know her, nor did he pay attention, and might’ve been a sign that they weren’t going to last. A certain someone told me once that he’d advise anyone dating me not to ever buy me shoes. I know and love them too much, so there’s too much room to mess it up. I think that applies to her perfume addiction.

Now, I’m not really saying that a bad gift equals a bad relationship. But I wonder, how does gift-giving tie into compatibility? I can probably count on one hand the gifts that I’ve received from the testicled-ones that made me know that they were thoughtful and that they paid attention to me (And yes, it couldn’t be something that I specifically asked for…that’s cheating).

Wait, let me make the criteria for invalidation of said gifts:

1. I couldn’t have specifically asked for it. See previous statement about this. This does not, however, include gifts that come up in conversation, but weren’t explicitly requested.

2. It couldn’t have a self-serving purpose. My ex bought me an additional TV, but I think it was more so there could be one in the bedroom also. Doesn’t count.

3. It couldn’t be a gift that would work for just anyone. Flowers, candy, and the like…unless they were specifically tailored to said person. My favorite flower isn’t common…but either it was a) never inquired or b)  never given … got plenty of roses though. And carnations. And we know how the girls feel about that (Season 6).

4. It couldn’t have put them far outside of their means. If I know cash is tight, and you buy an extravagant gift for me, I’m going to worry about for what you probably could’ve used that money. It will take me awhile to appreciate the gift. I’d probably want to give it back, but would be concerned that the guy would be offended.

5. Wasn’t a continuation of a gift I gave them. Still cheating. I wrote my ex a story about a fictitious great day with him. He wrote me back the same story from his point of view. It was awesome…but not original.

Hmmm….. I’m tempted to include that it could not be for some outrageously significant occasion. I mean, obviously…the expectation comes with the day/event. But, I don’t want to count something out just because it happened to be someone’s birthday. So I’ll strike it from the record (but in the weird way that they do it in court, when the jury heard it, but are supposed to act like they didn’t). And it should go without saying that I had to have liked the gift… It doesn’t matter if other people thought it was awesome. If I didn’t like it, it doesn’t count.

Here are the top three gifts I’ve ever received:

1. A stuffed Cocker Spaniel. I told my friend the story of how my sister’s dog, Major, became my dog and I loved him like my own. When my sister and her college boyfriend broke up, he took the dog back. I was heartbroken. He gave us visitation, and then moved to St. Louis. He started complaining that he couldn’t take care of him like he needed, and my sister asked for him back. He said he’d think about it…and then sold my dog to some couple moving to Seattle. I mentioned that to him in some weird random conversation around the time we met. He also knew I wanted a dog, but was concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to truly care for it. And for Christmas, there was my stuffed Cocker Spaniel puppy. I still have it.

2. Plane ticket home for my first Christmas away from my family. My five year ex got that for me. I had just moved to Atlanta, and was trying to be adult and mature. I had gone home for Thanksgiving, and decided that I couldn’t fiscally go back for Christmas. His family, who I knew and loved, were going to be in Atlanta, so I figured it made sense. April Fools. I was miserable. I loved his family, but I wanted my mom. When I opened that, it was a one way home for the day after Christmas because he said he knew that the first Christmas would be hard. He then drove and picked me up and brought me back to Atlanta.

3. ……um…. I’ve literally been sitting here for about 7 minutes trying to come up with a number three. I got nothing that doesn’t break one of those rules up there. So yeah…2.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t gotten sweet gifts, or thoughtful ones, but I’m talking about that “WOW…I can’t believe you did that.” I mean, if I’ve been complaining about my back hurting, and you get a massage certificate… it’s still sweet, thoughtful, and I’m really happy about it. All I’m saying is that was a “Duh” gift. It wasn’t rocket science. This isn’t being unappreciative  – it’s just what I mean for this conversation.

Do you think gift-giving counts for something? Does it tell you something special? I also want to implore the Love Haze clause. If you’re in love, you probably like gifts a lot more than you would if you were looking at them sans emotion. Unless…it really really sucked.

dscn3821

And, do you have a great gift you’d want to share? I’m interested. I’ll live vicariously, 😉

Love,

-V

P.S. Cards are always awesome. I always look for cards. Stealth cards are the best. I am the Queen of giving stealth cards 😉

Whenever I go to the grocery store, it is almost a definite that someone will stop me about my hair. They would say some variation of, “Oh my gosh! I love your hair. What do you do to it? What products do you use? I’m natural, but I’m not sure what I need to do.” I share my hair regimen, and I can see the looks on their faces change from “Oh wow” to “Nuh unh.” 4/5 of the time, I hear this phrase:

“Oh wow. Yeah…that’s too much work for me.”

I normally shrug and say, “Well, it works for me.” It has happened so much that I don’t pay it too much attention. It always reminds me of something I saw on a Kevin Hart behind the scenes video. He and his friends say this as a sort of call and response thing: “Everybody wanna be famous…don’t nobody wanna put the work in.” I would chuckle to myself, and keep it moving.

Then, as I was in the shower, hair twisted, shampooing (only my scalp) section by section, drenching with conditioner, finger detangling, and thinking of the black tea rinse I wanted to do, something occurred to me: The same is true of relationships. Everyone wants their Mr. Big, but nobody wants to have to beat him with flowers. For any individual, how much work is too much?

Sometimes, the work for some is at the beginning with appearance. He doesn’t look like you want him too. He’s too _______. If Charlotte had felt that way, she never would have been with Harry, who is arguably (though not really) the best husband on the series. Sometimes, the work is in the middle. Personality differences, disagreements, and/or compromises. The entire Steve and Miranda relationship is based on that premise. Sometimes she did the work; sometimes it was him; either way, it got done. If the work is at the end, like Samantha and Smith, you’re giving the old college try to make sure you’ve exhausted all possibilities before calling it out. But what if your work is like Carrie and Big…all throughout? Is she just stupid for not leaving sooner? Or did her perseverance finally award her the prize?

On VerySmartBrothas.com, there was a post about why women are overly loyal.My friends and I had a conversation about it, and one said, “Most women don’t give up easily…but we need not to if we are going to be “overloyal” mothers to our daughters and sons (not to create needy daughters or mama’s boys though). So I guess we gotta learn to give up on people early in the game lol??” Her sarcasm, (which I love…it’s one of the reasons why we’re friends) rings very true. Where is the line? I know it may be fine, but can we see it? Would it be dumb to think that something we’re not doing in practice (being loyal/working in relationships) will happen in the game (marriage to divorce)?

Put it like this…I like the outcome of my hair styling sessions. I’m willing to put it the work when the outcome is what it is. BUT, if (God forbid) a fire catches my hair a la Michael Jackson…no amount of deep conditioner can help that. I’m going to have to cut this ish off.

What say you? How much work is too much?

Love,

–V

…but it’s all so personal. I’m pretty sure every writer, at some point, had to get over how much of themselves they felt comfortable baring. This is especially true when your readers aren’t only people you don’t know, but those you do. That’s probably the hardest part of all.

I’m still here. I’m just trying to think my way around this.

Love,

–V

Credit to BET

I swear, this is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve made a Kanye reference on this blog. Who knew that ‘Ye and Sex and the City would be so easily connected? (Well, except for Mr. West’s wardrobe choices for the Watch the Throne tour. Skants. All he needs is a lace crown, and he could’ve been  Carrie…oddly dressed but still dope.) I digress.

My last post about Learned Behaviors had a lot of feedback. It didn’t come in the form of comments on the blog specifically, but rather I was contacted via DM, Facebook inbox messages, texts, calls, and face to face conversations from people who both congratulated my ability to write my most (in my humble opinion) transparent post, and shared that reading said post caused them to reflective in their own relationship behavior and the catalyst there behind. Just think, my sharing caused hundreds (okay, well maybe 9) to reevaluate their behavior for the better! Now, I can admit that there was a more negative connotation associated with learned behaviors, but what about the other side? What about the positive things you’ve picked up from your past that has only been helpful ever since you learned it?

Kanye West had a skit on his album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (I believe it’s at the end of “Blame Game”) where Chris Rock is engaged in conversation with a girl who is (presumably) West’s ex-girlfriend/jump-off/concubine. He kept asking her where she learned to do this or where she picked up that habit (and that description is clearly infinitely more G-rated than the actual song, lol), and her refrain was unchanging: “Yeezy taught me.” Rock’s final conclusion? “Yeezy taught you well.” Basically, being with ‘Ye gave her some skills that made her new man very happy. Now, depending on whose perspective you’re looking from, this could be negative. I think from the perspective of the album, it was decidedly more negative, yet funny. But let’s get it connected.

Yeezy taught her?

Admittedly, there are some things I’ve taken from every relationship-esque situation I’ve been in that have been great assets in my next relationship-esque situation (including some I won’t discuss, but once I have a covenant, will have to get dusted off, lol). My first relationship really got me interested in hip-hop. Oh, I’d liked rap, but not with any great detail. I think the first rap song I learned I was in the 7th grade, and it was Warren G and Nate Dogg’s “Regulate”. When I was 18, the on again/off again semi-relationship/friendshippy thing I had, he loved hip hop. His favorite rapper was Redman, which is an odd choice considering we were both in the deep south (Louisiana). I listened to Eminem’s whole cd, not just the singles. I developed an appreciation for wordplay.

The guy after him, who I will refer to as Dawson’s Creek, was a baseball player. I talk about him here. He loved God, was a virgin (by choice, but even he admitted it was very difficult to do), and had great manners. We would play together all the time. I think baseball is incredibly boring; however, this is where I learned to take interest in my beau’s interests…even if it’s like watching caterpillars change.

My ex, he loved Southern rap. It expanded my palette to OutKast, Jay-Z, 8ball and MJG, etc… But more importantly, this is when I was forced to like football. From about the end of August until the beginning February, if we were going to spend time together on Saturdays, it had to happen on his couch. Preferably with wings. He was both a college and NFL football fan, so inevitably, I picked it up. And took it and ran with it. I’m a SEC girl (LSU! They’re my default. I was a Gator fan when Tebow was there. Loved him.) and wear my Saints t-shirts to work with a pantsuit to piss off my Falcons’ fan co-workers.

And every guy I dated after the previous one absolutely loved each picked up habit.

Big was a known jazz enthusiast. No doubt that helped Carrie with Ray, her jazz musician (until she couldn’t deal with his ADD). Steve taught Miranda to relax when he would wake her with their morning, er…happy time, even though she hated it. By the time she was dating Dr. Robert Leeds, she was comfortable enough to take a personal day of…um…happy time. And she didn’t even argue about it like she did with Steve. Stevie taught her.

All I’m saying is, even though we get some learned behavior that we need to get rid as soon as possible, we also get some beneficial things as well. I’m still me and I want to discuss issues like any other girl……………..as long as the Saints aren’t playing.

What say you? What good skills have you gotten from past relationships that will be helpful in your future ones? Who taught you well? (lol)

Love,

–V

P.S. …all you folks who read this, and then text me, you are more than welcome to actually respond here, lol

One of my favorite sayings from “The Game” character Tasha Mack is, “Emotional walls, girl…emotional walls!” It means that she’s in a situation where she needs to detach herself so she can do something without bias/say something smart/shank somebody/something. It probably (and by probably I mean “not at all” because she’s not a real person) came from a lifetime of having to sustain herself and her child in the hood and beyond. It was a learned behavior.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had some time to reflect on myself and my own behaviors. Even a few months ago in this post, I wondered what I am giving off to attract the “type” of guys who become attracted to me. Now, for the first time in a looooooooooong time, I have started thinking about my past relationship. The one that ended over a year ago. Not about him (in the least), but about it. I’m trying to figure out my learned behaviors.

One thing I’ve observed from watching Sex and the City is that Carrie always took her cues from her relationship with Big. I’m pretty sure that her other relationships did not work because she was either acting like she was still with Big or behaving in the manner that would cause behavior she craved from Big. She kept things light. (He would withdraw if she went too deep.) She made insinuations until absolutely necessary. (He used directness as a way to highlight reluctance to commit, and she never wanted his mind to go there…and he knew it.) Laughing and banter is what cultivated their intimacy. (He would have been turned off by emotional outpours.) She learned the game and played it until she couldn’t. (I would normally reference a specific show here, but choose an episode with Big in it, and then pick an example. Don’t worry…the words will still be here when you get back ;). )

Anyone who has known me for at least 8 years knows about three different versions of who I am, and I’m willing to bet that they are all some variation of timid, subdued, and bold. Some people (who shall remain nameless) have referred to me as a nutcracker within the past year or so (how rude, lol). It wasn’t like this before. Oh, I’ve always been opinionated. Maybe a little less direct than I am now,  but I’ve never been afraid to express that opinion, but in relationships? I walked the line that was drawn. Tried to be ever-accommodating. I was vulnerable (not a bad thing necessarily) and though I was never overly emotional, I was not afraid to express my feelings.

My ex was very scaled back. He wasn’t overly affectionate. We had a highly intellectual relationship…our jokes about arguing over the correct pronunciation of Hungary during the Olympics at 4am, or the little Jamaican girl with the attitude on the Scripp’s Spelling Bee are some of my best memories of us because it was totally us. No one else would do it. Most of the time if we were together, people could only tell we were dating by the proximity of our seating, but they admired the yin and yang thing we had going. We held hands rarely, and usually in cases that dictated it – romantic dinners, walks on a beach, around other people who were holding hands. We danced together on New Year’s Eve at his uncle’s annual party. We sat opposite each other at dinner…never shared a bench like the people we sometimes made fun of (“Don’t they need elbow room?”) What’s funny is, I always wanted more (not a lot more because it would have been too much). He shut down if I “explained” too much and it seemed like it was emotional. He complained if I fell asleep on him while watching movies, because it would make it difficult for him to move around if he needed to do so.

So what did I do? I danced on New Year’s Eve. I sat on the opposite bench. I held hands quickly at traffic lights. I solidified my explanations to bare speaking points, infused with jokes so it never seemed too emotionally driven. I put my feet on him instead of my head. I allowed him to temper my emotional behavior because that relationship was my first “real” one. It cultivated “relationships” for me. In other words, I Carrie-d.

Now, I don’t understand real flirting with actual feelings involved. Oh I can play the game, but not when there’s anything to lose. It’s not in my natural reaction to be overly affectionate, even though I don’t dislike it at all. I shut down when I hear too much emotion in someone’s explanation to find the bare points. And I try as I’m learning. It comes out in spurts like cars with 9 tablespoons of gas. I’ll get very affectionate…and then go sit in my chair where it is impossible to sit next to me. I wonder if anyone else has this story.

I don’t think I want to stay this way, but I don’t want to Carrie either. What’s a girl to do?

Do you have any learned behaviors lingering from the past? Are they helpful? Harmful?

Love,

–V

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