Simple As It Should Be

I had a conversation with a colleague on the elevator the other day, the usual catch-up, “how was your weekend” thing. I said the usual, “the weekend was too short”. He said his was simple. That answer stuck with me. Most times, the answer you’d hear would be like mine: “too short” or “lazy” or “busy” or “fun”. His answer of “simple” made me think: “shouldn’t there be more simplicity in life?” I say yes. We spend far too much time complicating matters by trying to see what’s not there, doing what we shouldn’t or would rather not, or just putting ourselves out for no real reason. Why must we always choose what is pretty much guaranteed to cause us trouble? Why must we always work towards what everyone else says we should work towards? We have increasingly become a society of square pegs trying desperately to fit the circular holes in the range of life. Why is individuality good for some not all? When did we decide it was a good thing for misery to be a consistent part of the landscape? When will we wake up to doing things just for the pleasure of it, for the growing experience, to see where it takes us? Why can’t life be as simple as it should be?

 

The Silent Brush-off: Kind or Cowardly?

The silent brush-off, a occurrance while not being something that happens to EVERYONE, is at least something we’re familiar with however directly or indirectly the situation may have been, is something of a touchy issue with dating and relationships. You may find yourself in the situation of he/she is just not into you anymore and wonder: “what happened?”. The problem is, that person just may not be available to give you the answer to that question. There are some instances in which that person may have been in a situation in which they had to just cut all communication with no warning; however, the more common case is just that that person was just not man or woman enough to just tell what the situation is and walk rather than adding unnecessary questions for the sake of less drama. What is really the case is that the “duck and run” method to ending things isn’t taking away the drama; it’s just transferring the drama and giving a double burden to the one left with countless questions. So in closing, I have just this advice: if you feel the need to end a relationship with someone, just be straight with them, in person if possible, because if that person has to be brave enough to face rejection, then you should be brave enough to address things face to face and deal with the fall-out. While no one likes rejection, no one respects a coward.

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Opinions

I don’t deem myself as the arbiter of what can and cannot be thought or said. I used to feel that I could, but have since realized that not everyone thinks the same. You can’t please everyone; the only thing you can really do is to not be actively offensive. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. We are all at the core ordinary people; it is our actions and the environment in which we surround ourselves that make us extraordinary. A lot can be said for the power of a particular opinion; it can inspire praise, it can inspire derision, it can inspire hope, it can inspire anger. Communication is an unquestionable key to the acceptance of understanding our fellow man. Now if we would all just listen more and be more judicious about what we say, then more opinions would have more weight in the long-term and fewer cringeworthy moments in the present and future. With that said, let’s give a hand for communication and cooperation.

The Lies We Tell To Break Even

We are told in childhood that it is wrong to lie; but as we grow older, this admonition is amended and we are told that is it sometimes okay to lie if it is done to spare someone else pain and embarrassment. As adults, we’re constantly surrounded by the pool of lies that have essential become part of everyday life. Here are examples of such lies:

1) Nothing’s wrong. Now this lie is the most common among all age groups. This is the usual lie told to appear in a position of strength or for self-protection. Now let’s take each of these piece by piece:
1a) Saying nothing’s wrong to appear to be in a position of strength. Being vulnerable is a very scary thing on the face of it. When one thinks of the word “vulnerable” we think “weak” and think of it as essentially giving away power. We don’t want to be a burden or considered the weak link in the relationship; so even when something is wrong, we shield it, claiming to be doing it for others because we don’t want to add to someone else’s problems; but when all’s been said and done, did we really lessen the headache for others or for ourselves?

1b) Saying nothing’s wrong as self-protection. It does in a lot of ways feel very similar to  coming at this to appear to be in a position of strength. However; in this case, it’s less about pride and more about needing to not be hurt in the same way again by the same person(s) or others. We need to feel within ourselves a sense of comfort that as long as we believe there’s nothing wrong, then it is true. While this may not be the most healthy way to cope, sometimes, illusion is better than reality and may even be a stepping stone to face the reality at an emotionally or mentally better time. Sometimes a vacation from present reality is the healthiest thing to do; we just have to remember to come back and deal with what we left behind.

2) Yes. I know, I know. This seems wrong. I mean, “yes” is an affirmation of intention, usually positive. USUALLY, yes. It is also a sticky trap for those of us who find it difficult to say “no”. Yes can be permission or resignation. We might find ourselves okay with telling someone yes and taking on whatever that “yes” means; but a lot of times, we say it because it’s the lesser of two evils and can get us out of a conflict as long as we acquiesce. What we don’t realize until further down the road is that acquiescence ties us down in a certain position going forward. As they say: “start as you mean to go”.

3) Honestly. Now this one I’ll make short and sweet. When most say the word, “honestly”, it is usually in defense of something they’re saying. Sometimes, it’s a defense of their position, sometimes it is to cover their asses. Usually, it’s to give an illusion of a truth that’s just simply not there.

My aren’t we a deceitful lot. We try to lead an existence in which we try to not offend too many people and in the end make liars of us all. Ourselves for uttering the lie and others for letting us perpetuate it. The lies we tell: are they told to ease someone else’s conscience or our own.

Be Merry, Be Gay

This week’s post by staff writer Frank Friedlander focuses on gay marriage.

So one topic that everyone seems to have a strong opinion on today is gay and lesbian marriage. So strong of an opinion that it often dictates how they will vote in an election, regardless of that fact that they live in a rusted trailer and the candidate they’re backing in no other way benefits them. Others are compelled to protest, and even resort to violence.

While on one hand, I could say that why should it matter to gay and lesbian couples of they are married in the eyes of the government so long as they are together and living the lifestyle of a married couple, there are benefits. Depending on the state one lives in, there are Gay marriages, domestic partnerships, and civil unions, each offering their own set of benefits. Such benefits include insurance benefits, tax purposes, and in some states, medical decisions, all rights that they should be offered to any couple which chosen to marry.

Personally, I feel as though if two people are in love, and want to be with each other forever, and let the government cash in, more power to them. This being said, my opinion on it really isn’t that strong. Why? Because I’m an American, and it doesn’t affect me either way in the slightest. Nobody gets hurt. The government gets extra taxes from them, and everyone gets to live happily ever after. Perhaps adopt a few children from a third world country that would otherwise live in squalor.

Now what I do not understand is those who have these strong anti-gay marriage stance. Do they not have anything else to worry about? It’s one thing to be against the lifestyle. Everyone has a right to their opinion no matter how bizarre, bigoted, or flat-out ignorant it may be. Another aspect of the American way. Furthermore,  I’m somewhat baffled by these backwoods meatballs who dedicate their entire lives to stopping it. Even those who attempt to “cure gayness.” personally, I’d like to meet the scientists with the “anti gay” operation, or serum or whatever it is and tell them to get to work on curing something more important, like cancer, or AIDS, or stupid.

Let’s be honest, while I’m sure that there are a lot of people with a strong, anti gay stance throughout the country who are otherwise normal people in normal walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Unfortunately for them, the mouthpieces of the movement are those who seem to spend the rest of their spare time preparing for the apocalypse, bottling their own liquor using their own urine, and watching NASCAR on a p 12 inch black and white screen.

Look, I know Jesus said that homosexuality is a sin, despite the fact that there’s nothing on record of Jesus saying anything about that, though his supposed disciples tend to translate his words into whatever they want them to mean. In fact, in Matthew 5:28-30, the basis of those who claim that any pre-marital sex is a sin, all it really seems to disparage is adultery.  Now I’m no Christian, but from what I can piece together from the words that Jesus actually said, the only important thing is how people treat each other. Helping ones brother in any way you can seems to take precedence above all else to him.

I’m not sure to wind this down, but apparently my stance on the topic is stronger than I though. The stance being if something is of no threat to you, just let it be. And to the meatheads missing a noticeable amount I teeth, hair, and sleeves, next time you go out and think that the “gaybird” at next table to tour right is eyeing you up, he’s no more likely to be doing so than is the well dressed woman at the table to your left.

Girls Just Wanna (Have Fun) Do Work

Over the years, the traditional roles of men and women have changed and evolved in some ways to equal out or to even increase the workload. Staff writer Frank Friedlander focuses on this in his article for this week. What are your thought? Agree or disagree?

So there are two guys hanging out and chatting. The first guy’s dog comes up to him with his leash in his mouth, and drops it at his feet. “That’s his way of telling me that he has to go outside and do his thing,” says the proud owner. “I’ll tell you, this dog is smarter than some of the people I know,” he adds. The second guy is quick to respond with, “dude, my cat is so much smarter than your dog,” to which the second snaps back, “You’re nuts. My dog knows his name, and comes every time I call him. He can even bring me my newspaper and slippers in the morning, not to mention the multitude of tricks that he can perform on command. All I’ve ever seen that lazy cat of yours do is eat and sleep.” “This is true,” responds the first guy.

This little anecdote brings me to an oft-debated topic: who is smarter, men or women? There are perfectly good arguments for each side. From the dawn of time, it’s been the man’s job to do the manual labor, protect the home, and provide for his family, be it food and supplies, or the money needed to purchase said items. The woman’s role was to cook the food, which the man supplied, keep the home clean and orderly, and the most important of all, to create and sustain life, and stay home and care for said life until he or she was ready to go to school. After that, the woman’s role was to once again cook the food and keep the home clean and orderly, at least until the time in which the decided that it was time to create and sustain more life.


As far as sheer importance and hardship, I can’t imagine a more difficult role than to carry a baby for nine months, and then go through the arduous labor process, or in the case of a C-Section delivery, the recovery process. Every father to be has told his pregnant wife at one point that if he could, he’d gladly go through it for them if he could, but it’s very easy to express ones willingness to do something which is physically impossible for one to do. So in the life making department, it is a bit unfair that the woman goes through nine months of pregnancy, as well as the labor, which could last hours, if not longer, whereas the mans contribution lasts about five minutes, give or take, but usually take.

This being said, it’s easy for even the most old-fashioned, pig-headed man to understand why over the past several decades, women have been fighting for their rights, and winning them one by one. And they certainly deserve them. Today, the gap between men and women’s roles in the home and the workplace, even the military is becoming narrower and narrower. Household chores such as cooking and cleaning are shared, in most cases equally. In my case, my wife doesn’t always trust my cooking or cleaning, but I certainly do my share. Women are well represented in virtually every career field these days; The thought or female doctors, lawyers, and CEOs would have been unfathomable, perhaps comical some 50-60 years ago, but today, it’s all a part of the norm. A woman president is a reality that might not be too far away. They just need to find a candidate that’s more likeable than Hillary and less of a sideshow act than what’s-her-face from Alaska. Even in more blue-collar careers such as construction work and truck drivers, we see more and more women than we once did. More and more women are in the military.

Even more unheard of back then is that there are families in which the primary or even sole provider is the woman, and the man stays at home with the children, or simply does housework. The men of yore would certainly not sit back whilst the women folks did all the work. It would be an insult to their manhood. Today, if the wife is the breadwinner, the man’s just as likely to say “don’t forget to bring home some eggs. If you need me, I’ll be here watching my stories.”

One of the most important responsibilities of a man, the one that often defined his “manhood” was once to protect his home and his family. In fact, if a man was unable to do so, he was not considered a man at all. These days, while the man usually is the protector of his family, the general rule of thumb seems to be that if you detect an intruder in you home, you should hide under the bed and call the police. OK, maybe not the hide under the bed part, but certainly call the police. And when the police do arrive, they are very often women. It was not too long ago when if a woman protected a man, he’d never live it down. Today, many don’t even think twice. In fact, most of the things once considered “man-tasks,” such as handy-work and killing bugs and other pests are often done guy simply calling someone, and sitting back as they do the job.


So lets check the score:

Olden Days:
Man’s Responsibilities
-Provide
-Protect
-Manual Labor
Woman’s Responsibilities
-Cook
-Clean
-Create/Sustain Life

Today:

Man’s Responsibilities
-Provide
-Share Housework
-Share Cooking

Woman’s Responsibilities
-Provide
-Share Housework
-Share Cooking
-Create/Sustain Life

Basically, woman have come a very long way since the caveman days, most of which has been in the past 50-60 years or so. Not only do they continue to perform the responsibilities that they have since the beginning, though they are shared more often than not, but they are also taking on new roles each day. Sustaining life and a successful career to provide for, or help provide for her family is very impressive. Women have seemingly doubled their workload, and many are intent on doing even more. As for men, they’re pretty much doing what they’ve done all along. In most cases, tack on a few extra chores. In others, even less work if mama’s bringing home the bacon.


So as for my initial question, while the answer still is unclear…this would probably be a good place to stop, especially if my pregnant wife, who also works full-time, happens to read this.
 

What Size Is Beautiful?

In a society that praises thin, you have to wonder: is there a magic size or weight that gains you entrance in the hallowed club of beautiful and if so, what is it? In thinking of this, I think of this quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

Now what does this really mean? How can one be able to be true to himself/herself? My interpretation of that quote would be to embrace what makes me ME. I have a quirky, off-beat sense of humor that can be a little dead-pan and biting. I use humor, wit, and sometimes sarcasm to make up for what I feel are my shortcomings, especially my biggest one, my weight. I’ve been many sizes over the years and have had different views of myself at those sizes. When I was a size 6, I felt flirty; I was more likely to buy short skirts to show off my legs and felt powerful and sexy. When I was a size 8, I felt a little more womanly, I had more curves and got a lot of attention on two specific areas: my chest and my butt. Now, let me tell you, I felt conflicted about how exactly to feel about the extra attention on these areas. For one thing, I’m a black female; I don’t want a big butt, a nice firm curve is great, but a big bubble butt is something I’ve never wanted. Secondly, I’m a black female with female family members who tend to have large chests; I thank God daily that I missed the hereditary butt; however, I didn’t escape my family genetics scott-free, I got the family breasts. I’m a 25-year-old female with no kids and natural size 38D breasts. I will admit that I’m not necessarily complaining about having my assets appreciated, but I’m not blind or deaf to the common conception that a woman who might be no more than a size 6 with my breast size tends to be more the ideal.

I have seen in my journey to MY ideal beautiful size that what I see in the mirror does weight heavily my decision on who I’ll consider dating as well as the clothes I buy. When I’m at my “skinny weight”, I tend to lean more towards the cocky bad boys who were made for quick flings. When I got more curvy, I tended to lean more towards the “nice guys” who were made for long-term relationships in which I felt secure in the knowledge that in their eyes, I was always beautiful even if I wasn’t model skinny. When it came to my clothing, I would dress more girly when I was “thin”, but when I was “fat”, I did the cardinal sin of “big girl fashion” and dressed to hide the lumps with baggy clothes and essentially dressed like I hated my body rather than make the best of how I was in that present moment and give myself the courage and honesty to work my way to a size and body I could love and felt that “yes, this is the true me”.

A few months ago, I got to my heaviest weight ever and was a solid size 12. Now at 5’10, this wasn’t a complete and utter travesty; but when I stood in front of the mirror with my naked body staring back at me, I realized that I had let things go too far and I didn’t feel beautiful anymore. In the past couple of months, I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds and have started to see the “old me”, the me that wanted to stand out and be fearless in how I presented myself. And let me tell you, it felt damn good. I realized that part of my decision-making process in concern with who I chose to date had less to do with certain winning attributes and more with those that wouldn’t make me feel fat because to society, they like myself were less than perfect physically and in the eyes of that same society, I was “the hot one” in the relationship. Sad, but honest and that is what I have based my blog on and my new journey in life, honesty.

So in answer to the title question, the size that is beautiful isn’t what society tells you is beautiful; it is the point at which you know without a doubt that you are being true to yourself. Don’t be a follower of the “should be”, be your own leader and step out of the shadows and embrace the true you.

Til Death Do Us Part

Here’s the latest post from staff writer Stephanie Becerra. Should marriages always follow the vow “til death do us part”? What are your thoughts about marriage and divorce?

As liberal as I am when it comes to numerous things, my views on marriage are pretty traditional. Not as in, “only man and woman can wed”, but more, “til death do us part”. I believe when a person enters into a marriage they are entering into a sacred thing that will not and should not be broken. I understand that people change, circumstances change, etc but a marriage is supposed to be unbreakable. It’s supposed to be two people fighting through the trenches and blasting away anything that comes their way. Marriage is teamwork. If your teammate is down and no longer in the game, you talk to them, figure out the problem, and damn it, work it out. That’s the problem with society nowadays. Divorce is so readily accepted that couples don’t really have to work out their differences if they don’t want to. I know people who are planning on 3 or 4 divorces, along with elaborate divorce parties to go with it. Nobody wants to work for anything anymore, including love.

 


This is a picture I’ve seen floating around on many a tumblr and Facebook wall. It pretty much sums up my stance on marriage. Also, go Obama.

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Seven Deadly Sins of Relationships- Part 2

As I promised, here is part two of my “Seven Deadly Sins” series.  In this post, I cover the deadly sins: pride and lust. What are your thoughts? Comments always welcome.

Pride– Pride in your mate or relationship is a good thing. Pride in yourself and accomplishments is also good; but when you use this as a measuring stick to whack your mate with to makes them feel inferior, then you’ve crossed the line into being too proud. Confidence and even a certain amount of arrogance can be healthy in a person; but when you use what accomplishments and assets you have to put yourself in a control position then you might want to take a look at yourself and at the relationship you have.  If what you need to feel good is a dominant/submissive relationship, find someone who wants the other side of that. Don’t drag down your mate promising one thing but giving another. Be what you are but at least be fair.

Lust– Most of us have people other than our mates that we find attractive and even allow ourselves a slight fantasy involving these “crushes”. The problem is when that fascination turns into an affair. There have been arguments on both sides about emotional cheating and physical cheating. Some feel that even the mere fantasy about someone other than your mate is a break in trust. Most agree that sex and sexual activities with someone other than your mate is definitely a break in trust and is an affront to the relationship.  While I do feel that emotional cheating is subjective, physical cheating is absolutely a break in trust and a serious wake-up call as to the real status of the relationship. It is very easy to be in the camp of “once a cheater, always a cheater”, but sometimes there’s also an argument for going to counseling to see if the relationship is salvageable. There’s a reason for everything even the things that hurt the most.

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