Posts Tagged ‘personal opinion’

Are personal politics really a good excuse?

About two weeks ago I got notice from the Alumni Association for my high school. Our marching band had been selected to go to China to play at the Beijing Olympics. I was excited. More than plenty happy for them. Then came the paragraph asking for donations and I paused.

I really can’t fault them for asking for financial help. They need it. A inner-city public school largely populated by low to middle income students in a city wracked by scandal in a state with an economy that’s grasping at straws. But this was China they were talking about. One of the worst violators of human rights in the world. I love my alma mater, but I really couldn’t bring myself to donate. Not that I really have anything to donate (unless they want to take $1.20 in coke bottles), but even if I had…I couldn’t see funding that trip.

They have successfully raised more than enough money for the trip (thanks to a last minute $10,000 donation from the Governor), but this is still nagging at me. My personal politics would actually allow me to keep these kids from having the experience of a life time. And I’m pretty well justified. The protests in Tibet, the conviction of a Chinese human rights activist to spend three years in jail for speaking out against the government, the constant threat of war if Taiwan should even mention independence, the forced removal of residents for construction of the Olympic Village, the repression of the Uighur and other Muslim people, the repression of the Catholic church (yeah I know, it’s shocking I’m defending them, but they have every right to believe as they please, even if I don’t agree with their hierarchy) and on and on.
But these are kids who, for the most part, will never travel beyond the western hemisphere. Should I really let politics stand in the way of this? Part of me feels this is the right thing to do, another part feels it’s totally selfish. I rant and rave about the IOC not putting enough pressure on China to clean up its act. I talk about how the Olympics shouldn’t be held in China at all. But can I really hold a bunch of high schoolers to that same standard? Their refusal to go would be a strong statement on a local level, but totally ignored by the world at large except to ask “Why in God’s name would you do that?!?” The Chinese Olympic officials wouldn’t bat an eye. Neither would the government.

So, if their protest would be pointless, wouldn’t mine too?

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The Most Disturbing Blog I’ve Ever Seen

I do a lot of blog surfing. Especially when I’m bored (which is often). And I’ve stumbled across blogs of almost every sort on almost every topic in nearly every language (thank God for Google Translator and Babel Fish). I’ve read blogs by people who are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, morally reprehensible, narrow minded (and not in a benign way), or just plain offensive to anyone who has any sort of morals (even the most lax). I rarely bat an eye. I’ve learned to curb my instinct to rant and rave and berate these people. Fact is they thrive off that sort of attention, so I don’t give it to them.

However, this time, I’m not disgusted. I’m not offended. I’m frightened. Not for myself, but for this blogger.

I was going through WordPress’ tag surfer when my eye fell on a blog that started “I was going to steal condoms today!” Well that was enough to stop me dead. She goes on to talk about how she didn’t get the opportunity to, what she plans to wear for her “hang-date” and how the guy she’s going out with sent her a message on Facebook. Then I looked at her login name: how to lose your virginity in 150 days.

I did a double take. That couldn’t have been what it said. But it did. I went to her blog. There was no way this was real. It couldn’t be. Could it? She was obviously young based on what she had said in the blog that I initially read. Could a young teenage girl really be scheming to lose her virginity in such a crass manner? Previous entries proved my worst fears to be real. She doesn’t have an archive up, so I had to go back through entries one at a time (each time HOPING to find some proof that this was a hoax). My heart sank when I came to her “Welcome” page:

I’m 15 years old, and most likely one of the horniest people you will ever meet. I’m on a quest to lose my virginity before I turn 16 (which is in 151 days from today), meaning I have 150 days left.

“But, NKA, it’s not really your business. This is a matter for her parents to handle.”

Well, yes, but, apparently, her parents are clueless about her plans or this blog wouldn’t have gotten to day 121 (she’s counting down). I have to wonder what sort of conversation this girl’s parents have had with her about sex and sexuality that she thinks this is the appropriate way to lose her virginity. Being homeschooled I’m guessing they gave her the abstinence talk, but not much else.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not stupid. I know teens have sex every damn day, but most don’t document their quest to lose their virginity with the desperation this girl does, and I wonder if this goal of hers is going to cause her to be reckless (we’ve already seen she’s having problems getting condoms [even though you can get them free just by searching “free condoms” on google]). Not only that, but I wonder about where she’s meeting these guys she plans to meet and try to have sex with. Not every 17 year old boy online is a 17 year old boy in real life.

This is why I’m a total advocate of invading your kid’s privacy (to an extent). So long as your modem is working, the whole world is at your door and not all of them give a half a damn about you or your family. In fact, a startling large number of them don’t.

I’m not wholly against homeschooling. I once met a five year old that was homeschooled and knew her times tables (though whether she knew them or had simply memorised them is something I’ll never know). But if you’re going to cut your kid off like that (and it is cutting them off, especially when you’re already “in the middle of nowhere” [her words]), you need to make sure you’re teaching them every last thing they’ll need to know about surviving in the world past the end of their driveway.

Reading her blog you can tell she’s naive, beyond the normal naivety that most 15 year old girls have. She is putting herself in harms way just because she wasn’t taught how to handle her hormones.

Part of me wants to keep an eye on her blog (the part of me that wants to save everyone), but part of me can’t bear to watch this girl put herself at risk.

I dunno…maybe I’ll decide tomorrow. Right now, I have to go kiss my baby girl and pray to God I don’t make whatever mistakes this girls parents made that set her on this road.

Addendum: I don’t blame her parents for what she’s doing. She’s smart enough to know what she’s doing isn’t exactly going to rank high on their list of things they approve of, this is proven by the fact that she goes through great lengths to hide her identity. Therefore she’s smart enough to understand she’s taking a huge risk. But understanding something intellectually and accepting as a truth it are two different things. I’m certain her parents did their absolute level best. That they taught her what they thought she needed to know. Sometimes though, in protecting our kids, we strip them of the weapons necessary to live in this world. And with the best of intentions, we send them into the world, declawed and toothless. Every parent screws up in some aspect of raising a kid (the fact that The Kid isn’t irreversibly traumatised is still amazing to me), it’s a daunting task and we can only do what we feel is right and best and hope to God that it really is.

If anything, her parents have my deepest sympathies. If I could possibly hunt down her parents to alert them, I most certainly would. Without a single moment’s hesitation.

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Thoughts on body image

(Warning for those who are faint of heart: the links below are from two Dom/sub blogs; if the idea of Dominant/submissive relationships offends you then I suggest you go and read another post because I’ll be referencing them throughout this entry. I am not here to promote their -or anyone else’s [not even mine]- lifestyle, but I speak on wisdom where I find it. Either read without judgment or keep it moving.)

Surfing around through wordpress I came across a blog about body image. He referenced another blog about it, so naturally I scooted over there and read what she had to say. She was on point with everything and her suggestions for helping with one’s body image issues were insightful. Of course, I had to speak on this myself.

I’ve always been an advocate for the destruction of the false beauty model as set by Hollywood and mass media. Everything I learned growing up goes counter to what Elle and Cosmo says I should look like. Guys I knew and met growing up much preferred curvy women (“Girls with some meat on their bones,” as they so eloquently put it). And growing up in a family that is largely from the south (Alabama, and Mississippi) and was dominated by women who were big, I was taught early on that “only dogs like bones, men need meat” and then had another helping of ribs, macaroni and cheese (baked, not from the box), greens and who knows what else heaped onto my plate because I was “too skinny” (I was, and for the most part still am, the thinnest woman genetically related to my family, with only one or two exceptions in my age group).

As a kid and teenager, I was afraid of being too skinny. When I hit 5th grade and saw girls my age blooming while I maintained my rail thin, tomboy figure, I got nervous that I would never “have what it takes” to net one of the cute boys in my neighborhood. Especially not when placed in competition with girls who had long since passed their training bra stage and whose hips and butts were rounding out nicely. (If you read my boob post, you already know how that story ends)

Even in college, after finally having caught up with (and in some cases surpassed) my female peers in the figure department, I was still an advocate for a curvier female population. Jessica Alba was on tv in those skin tight outfits showing off her lovely figure (which she subsequently lost after drinking the Hollywood Kool-Aide and decided to abandon any aspect that would hint of her multi-ethnicity…I’d call her a sell out, but that would be oversimplifying it). Jennifer Lopez was shaking her badunkadunk across stages all over the world to her Diddy-ised Latino-hip hop beat. Maxim came out and was profiling women with lush hips (though, not too lush). Then there was the girl-next-door homegrown good looks of Rachel Ray (I can’t stand her, but she is cute). Jazzyfatnastees. Jill Scott. Tyra Banks (I can’t stand her ass either lol). Curves were everywhere. I was delighted.

However, I was also broke. When I saw a flier in one of the campus food courts looking for young women to model nude, I decided “what the hell, why not?” I checked his site and all of his shots were tasteful. Nothing pornographic or questionable. It was artistic nudity. And I had no problem with that. So I shot him an email expressing interest (oh don’t look so shocked…at least I would have been getting paid, unlike those morons who do girls gone wild tit shots for a fucking t-shirt) and he asked me to describe myself. At the time I was 5’4″, fluctuating between 127 and 130, 36DD and a size 8 in jeans. I thought I was pretty damn thin and I looked good in shorts. He said he wanted more of an athletic body. Less curve, more of a flat stomach, etc etc. And I was willing to diet to give it to him, until I stepped back and thought to myself “Um, wait a second. There is nothing wrong with my shape or my weight. Why in the hell am I trying to lose weight that I don’t need to lose?” I admit, I could have used to some toning, but weight loss? Nah. So I flipped that idea the bird and settled for a minimum wage campus job answering phones.

I walked a lot in high school and college, so keeping weight off was never really a problem, but when I got married and moved to a new city (that I wasn’t familiar with), walking went out the window. Not long after getting married I got pregnant, and that’s when all my problems started.

My first trimester I lost 11lbs, dropping me down to my college weight of 131. The doc said this was normal and was because my body was just burning off fat stores for energy while it was preparing to carry my baby. I was fine. My sex life was fine. Everything was fine. Until I hit month five. That’s when I really started to show and my baby started moving a bit. Sex became uncomfortable and I was unhappy with my distended belly, but I tried anyway. Around 7 months I simply couldn’t bear the idea of showing my body to my husband, who insisted that I was just as beautiful pregnant as I was before. Even with all of his heartfelt assurances, I couldn’t accept that the whale I had become could be considered beautiful.

My pregnancy weight topped out at 161, which meant I had only really added 20lbs to my pre-pregnancy weight (about 140), but I was very unhappy with my appearance. Even after having my daughter and losing most of the weight I was unhappy with my stretch marks, love handles and saddle bags (all of which were a result of pregnancy). I was a stay at home mom and often too exhausted to work out. Plus there was no where for me to work out. I have a lifetime membership to Fitness USA, but the closest one is over 20 minutes away and gas prices were rising. I hated my body, and slipped into a deeper depression over it. Sex was almost totally out of the question. I felt completely undesirable (though my husband felt differently, he loved my extra curves). And though I kept up my banner waving for women with curves, I kept thinking back to my thinner high school and college figure.

I often spoke with my friends about having pride in our curves. Taking pleasure in the stretch marks that came from us bearing children. I was all but singing “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”. But away from all those people, my inner-voice became especially nasty.

Let me break in here real quick to explain my “inner-voice”. I have had depression since I was 12, and my depression often came in the form of a “voice” that repeated over and over about what a failure I was, how unattractive I was, that I was a disappointment to my friends and family, I was worthless, useless, hopeless. Most of the time I could tune it out (without the aid of medication), but it was a steady drum beat that never wavered from its typically self-assured tone, and when it got bad, I would believe everything it said. After I had my daughter, the messages of this voice grew nastier as my self confidence began to falter. I became not only unattractive, but unlovable. My husband was, of course, cheating on me (so my voice said), who wouldn’t? I was fat, ugly, unemployed, useless, a drain on our finances, a horrible mother…and on and on. And I believed it. No matter what my husband said to the contrary. This left him frustrated on many levels.

I knew I needed to make a change when a doctors visit revealed that I had hit 170. Years after having my daughter, I had gained 15lbs. And as I said earlier, my family is full of big women. On both my mom and my dad’s side. I accept that there is some genetic propensity towards holding our weight, especially after we have babies. However I knew I could choose how much of that weight was genetic and how much was voluntary. I also knew that the older I got, the harder it’d be for me to lose. So if I was going to take control of my weight, my life and, most importantly, my self image, now was going to be the time. I started working out (not just to lose weight but to help alleviate my depression naturally) and asked my doc for anti-depressants.

It wasn’t until after this that I began to believe my own hype about the beauty of curves again. Yes, I’m curvy, and yes I’m good looking (I’m too humble to call myself beautiful). No, my breasts aren’t sitting right on top of my chest, but you show me a 36DDD woman whose breasts are and I’ll show you some fake boobs. I still have a pooch from my pregnancy and I’m fairly convinced that’s not going to go away completely without surgery. I’m still fluctuating between the mid to high 150’s and low 160’s, but I’m ok with that too. I don’t pay attention to BMI results because I saw first hand how very wrong it is to gage one’s health (I had lost 6lbs, gained muscle tone, but my BMI went up two points saying I was at risk for obesity…that was when I flipped BMI charts the bird). My sex life is back on track and I love my husband all the more for sticking with me when I was at my absolute lowest.

I haven’t given up my fight against false beauty standards either. I refuse to watch shows like America’s Next Top Model. I don’t buy fashion magazines. I expose my daughter to women of all shapes, sizes, heights, colors and tones so she understands that we’re all beautiful. I don’t watch music videos (I don’t have cable, but when I did, I didn’t watch them). And though I can’t stand her annoying ass, I applaud Raven Simone for not drinking the Hollywood Kool-Aide and loving her body and herself, curves and all. It’s a small effort, hardly a dent in the mass media image machine, but it’s my dent, and it’s a dent I pass on to every one of my girl-friends and my daughter so they can add on to it.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Sellout

I made a promise to myself to not blog about Hizzoner anymore. Fact of the matter is, Kwame doesn’t need bloggers or media to make him look bad. He’s doing a good job of that himself. He’s used up every legal path to block the release of his text messages, and has been slapped down at every turn too, even though he wrote a memo to staff back in 2000 letting them know all electronic communications would be a matter of public record (though he’s trying to weasel out of that one too).

But this…this needed repeating.

Partly because I agree 10001% with everything the author is saying (hell it’s something I’ve said myself in less eloquent ways). And partly because I was reading Seriously McMillan’s blog about how she was accused of being “whitewashed” (for my ethnically impaired readers: sell out) because she demands that we set a higher standard for ourselves.

It’s time we set the record straight about what a sell out is when it comes to the black community. This is a good place to start:

“Don’t let them talk about y’all’s boy!”
—Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, 2005

Mama Kilpatrick, I’m talking about your boy. In his new book, Sellout, The Politics of Racial Betrayal (Pantheon Books, 2008), author Randall Kennedy examines how and why various African-American figures have been labeled as such. Kennedy, an African-American Harvard law professor who has been called a sellout by some, urges a more thoughtful, discriminating use of the label. Merely having views contrary to conventional black positions does not make one a sellout. “A sellout,” he says, “is someone who betrays something to which she is said to owe allegiance.” In a racial context, a sellout “is a disparaging term that refers to blacks who knowingly or with gross negligence act against the interest of blacks as a whole.”

That said, and with all due reflection, I declare that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is a sellout. “Y’all’s boy,” as his mother tagged him when coming to his aid in a tight re-election contest, has sold y’all out.

Last week’s revelation of text messages exchanged between Kilpatrick and his chief of staff Christine Beatty bore that out. The texts revealed that long-standing allegations of a romantic relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty are true and that they lied about it under oath.

The revelations are the most stinging blow for Kilpatrick, the charismatic hip-hop mayor who knows how to skillfully manipulate image to inspire his following, but they are not in themselves the reason I call him a sellout. Bear with me.

Since early in his administration, rumors of bad behavior have percolated around Kilpatrick. Another book, Deconstructing Tyrone (Cleis Press, 2006) by Natalie Hopkinson and Natalie Y. Moore, which explores black masculinity in the hip-hop generation, devotes its entire first chapter to Kilpatrick and his woes. Moore, who formerly worked at The Detroit News, covered City Council during Kilpatrick’s first administration and became familiar with the ongoing soap opera. The authors, who by and large defended Kilpatrick, wrote that he “is a symbol of both the coming generation of black leadership and the city of Detroit itself: postmodern, postindustrial, so black it’s postblack.”

It’s a clever bit of writing that bespeaks Kilpatrick’s charisma. Moore, who developed a professionally adversarial though personally friendly relationship with the mayor, wrote that, “Kilpatrick is so affable that it’s hard to walk away from him without a tingling feeling.”

Given what we know now about the smooth-talking mayor, I wonder exactly what parts he was trying to tingle. The Natalies objectively allowed the mayor’s own words to carry much of the argument. Regarding the rumored wild party with strippers said to have taken place at Manoogian Mansion, they quoted Kilpatrick saying: “If I was 60 years old, if I came from the ‘country club community,’ if I came out of an established private firm or something like that, none of these would get the lift that they have. … I guess it’s believable that a 32-year-old black man with an earring would have parties like that. It’s so unfortunate. I’m here to fight that stigma.”

In other words, y’all are getting down on me just because I’m young and black. It is this exact point that shows why Kilpatrick is a sellout. Kilpatrick has played the racism card again and again to protect himself. He’s used code to do it, but every black Detroiter knows the code. After he was found responsible in the whistleblower suit last August, he said: “I think my reputation rests with the city of Detroit. Being that there was only one [Detroit juror], I guess I will have to talk to her.”

There he goes again; from Detroit means you’re black and sympathetic, not from Detroit means you’re white and adversarial. In his 2005 re-election campaign he played Hendrix as the brother the white business interests of the suburbs were behind, while he, Kilpatrick, was blacker than thou. He fanned the fire of city-suburb enmity to solidify his base.

All of this so he could sell us out.

And as the truth came out last week, where was the larger-than-life mayor? Did he stand tall to face the music? Did he admit to his wrongdoing. No, he went into hiding and again made excuses that did not address the issue. He released a statement saying the charges were five and six years old and that he and his wife had worked things out. Yet it was just last August that he sat in court and lied about it. It was September when he pointed the accusatory finger of racism.

In the end, it’s not his affair with Beatty. That’s between him and his wife. It’s wasn’t even the lies about his affair — although lying under oath in a court of law may turn out to be the legal linchpin that brings him down. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said last week that her office will conduct an investigation into that aspect. It isn’t even the $9 million in legal fees and payouts to wrongfully terminated police officers. Although in a cash-strapped city that has closed police and fire stations, laid off police officers, cut the city work force and initiated a trash fee, the money would have come in handy.

Where Kilpatrick sold us out was in his constant crying of racism as an excuse for his own foibles. If he were white, he implied, no one would be after him. All the while he sat in City Hall texting messages with his lover when he should have been attending to the city’s business. Every false claim of racism undermines the next African-American with a just claim. Every false claim of racism turns a knife in the wounds of those who have been destroyed by racism. Every false claim of racism sets Detroiters back when business-decision makers don’t know if they can trust the man in Manoogian.

Every false claim of racism belies the pain of Africans who were captured and enslaved, those who endured the lash as they labored as chattel, those who didn’t get an even break, were denied the vote, who marched and got beaten, who sacrificed some little pleasure so their children could someday be somebody, who saw a young man with so much promise who might lead our city to dignity and plenty.

He was just putting on a show as he knowingly and with gross negligence acted against our interests as a whole.

That’s why Kwame Kilpatrick, by even a stringent definition, is a sellout.

If Kilpatrick were either convicted or recalled from office (I can’t imagine that his inflated ego would allow him to quit), then City Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr. would run city government until an election could be held. I don’t know what kind of mayor Cockrel would be. I do know that he has mostly conducted himself in a low-key businesslike manner. He seems to get it that he is a public servant — though surely warts will appear once the spotlight shines on him. He at least deserves kudos for not ranting, raving and making a spectacle of himself during this Kilpatrick malaise. That’s smart politics, if nothing else.

(Written by Larry Gabriel)

Spanking Makes You Kinky

So maybe that explains it…

Doing my morning rounds of RSS feeds, I came across this link in Mistress Matisse‘s blog.

I dunno if I agree though. I can’t say I know anyone who doesn’t have some sort of kink or “perversion”. Also they don’t really explain their definition of “sexual deviancy”. I know folks who think talking dirty during sex would qualify you as a deviant. On the other hand, I know a girl who enjoys being spit on and humiliated during sex (no I mean really humiliated, the less of an actual person she feels like during sex, the better it is for her) and everyone that knows her pretty much agrees that she fits the definition of “sexual deviant” (and these are people who are pretty out in the open with their kinks).

I grew up being spanked (pretty often too, I was a little hellion), and I admit, I have some kinks (nope not gonna list em here), but I don’t think it has anything to do with being spanked as a kid. If anything, I would connect it to the fact that I was just plain rough as a kid. I was a tomboy from the age of 6. Being the only girl in my neighborhood pretty much made sure of that for me. I fought, wrestled, rode bikes, climbed trees and did all the things that most boys did…because that’s all I had to play with. Boys. When a girl my age finally moved into my neighborhood, we played a bit, but she was too girly for my tastes. She wore skirts and kept her hair nicely done. Me, you couldn’t pay me to wear a skirt (except when forced to by the nazis in catholic school…maybe that explains my kinks…). For all that, I was never sexually promiscuous. Yes, I did the normal high school experimentation, but didn’t have actual “sex” until I was 19. Even when I started having sex I was picky about my partners. I had a monogamous relationship for over a year and a half; after that ended I had a series of partners whose numbers remain in the single digits. Then I got married.

That was it for me.

It was the same for my (older) sister. She was spanked too. She was my complete opposite. She was the “golden child” of the family. Very girly. Dated often. But wasn’t promiscuous. I think she actually had fewer partners than I did before she got married (I got married about two years before she did).

On the other hand, we’ve had friends (and family members) who weren’t spanked, but instead were sheltered. Once they got an ounce of freedom, they became the village bike.

Maybe me and my experiences are the exception and not the rule. But, then again, maybe it’s time we stopped being afraid of actually enjoying sex. Hell, even the Catholics stopped promoting the idea that sex for enjoyment (as opposed to strictly for procreative reasons) was bad. Not every position outside of missionary is deviant.

You like being spanked? Fine. You like being tied up? Go for it. You like having clamps put on your nipples and being shocked with low doses of electricity? Erm…well…if that’s your kink and you can find someone to participate with you…why not.

Folks want to tackle the problem of promiscuity and risky sexual behavior in teens, how about we start with what these little brats are watching on TV?

There’s no such thing as “Happily Ever After”

This one isn’t going to win me any friends. I realise this, and I’m ok with it. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is time we woke up from this Disney induced fantasy that somewhere out there is the “perfect relationship”, and it’s just waiting for us to come find it. It isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, deep down I’m a tried and true romantic. I believe that love at first sight can happen. I believe in soul mates. All that hokey BS that we’re spoon fed from the time we can understand Mother Goose, Brothers Grimm, and Disney I’m all for it. However, I don’t believe there is a such thing as a perfect relationship. Even the best relationships have problems.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Humans are flawed. That means anything we engage in is flawed, even if it’s in the most minuscule way, regardless of how pure our intentions are. So if we go back to 9th grade algebra and accept that A+B=C, then one flawed human in a relationship with another flawed human, no matter how well matched they are, means that the relationship is going to have its problems. This isn’t a death sentence for relationships, and I’m certainly not advocating inter-specie relationships (ick). We just need to accept that nothing is perfect so we can stop striving for perfection and stressing ourselves out.

Let’s look at our favorite fairy tales. Where do they end? Most often on the wedding day. “Princess So-and-So married her beloved Prince Whoever and they lived happily ever after.” Realistically, life doesn’t stop on the wedding day. It doesn’t stop after the honeymoon, or after you have kids. Nor do we stop growing as people after any of these events. But your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, so what better place to end the story? Why bother looking down the road four years when Princess So-and-So is tired of being cooped up in the castle and Prince Whoever is too busy flirting with the courtiers to notice her misery? And who wants to hear about how irritating of a mother in law Queen Whatsherface is? No. Just end it when everyone but the bad-guys are happy.

Fairy tales and trashy romance novels sell this idea of the perfect relationship. But they don’t exist, and we need to stop pretending they do. Ask anyone who’s been married for 15 or 20 years, marriage is hard. Making it work is even harder. Dealing with two different personalities, who had two different upbringing, and have two different ways of doing things…there’s nothing easy about any of that. Add to that equation that both persons grow and change throughout the relationship. They develop hobbies and interests that don’t always coincide with the other persons. They have friends their other half can’t stand.

But we want perfect. We don’t allow for growth or change. No wiggle room for mistakes to be made. The minute the image of perfect gets the slightest hint of tarnish, that’s it. Towel’s on the mat. Fights over.

If we could get past this, we’d all be a lot happier. And I wouldn’t spend a good portion of my days helping friends (and sometimes near strangers) with their relationship issues. I don’t mean for you to settle with whatever is handed to you. Not at all. Happiness is necessary in any relationship. But happiness can’t be appreciated if there’s nothing to compare it to. However if you’re going to search for happiness in perfection, prepare to be very disappointed.

Everyone has issues and baggage that they drag into their relationships. Some of us heap these things onto our partners (whether they deserve it or not) without consideration of how it affects them. We’re blind to everything except how things affect us. We need to open our collective eyes and see our partners for the flawed humans they are and accept that they will never be anymore perfect than we are (and if you actually believe that you are perfect just as you are, then may I suggest that you live alone, possibly with cats, for the rest of your perfect, miserable life and spare the rest of humanity from having to deal with you).

Flip Cinderella the bird and you’ll find yourself a lot better off for it.

BEWBS!

Wow, blog’s not even a week old and already I’m talking about boobs. How much you wanna bet I’ll be talking about sex before the month is out?

During the holidays one of my favorite DJs got a boobjob done. And I can understand her reasons behind doing it (not that a grown woman has to justify what she wants to do with her body to anyone, but she’s a public figure [no pun intended] and knew there’d be endless questions, so she explained her reasons on her blog), however, as a card-carrying member of the Association for Large Busted Ladies, I have to say big boobs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

(Don’t mind that slamming sound. That was just my two straight male readers walking out on me because I blasphemed teh bewbage. They’ll come back when I start talking about head or something.)

I sympathise with Holly. I really truly do. I wasn’t always cursed to carry two three pound sandbags on my chest. In seventh grade, the nickname this kid Omari had chosen for me was “two backs”. And I couldn’t argue with it. I was pretty flat chested. By 8th grade I had enough to say I had something up there. Just not a lot. (Omari had graduated by then so it didn’t really matter anymore)

9th grade blessed me with artists like Aaliyah, Boss, Lady of Rage, and Bahamadia who made it ok for girls to wear baggy clothes. Plus West Coast rap had pretty much taken over and the cholo look was ok here in the MidWest. All this was to my benefit because my training bra sized A-cups had popped into full blown B’s and were edging toward C (take note: I was about 5’2″ and 110lbs soaking wet holding bricks).

I kept my figure pretty well hidden for most of freshman and sophomore year (there are actually multiple reasons behind this, but I won’t get into them here). So much so that during a school play my drama class put on two of my closest male friends (Rob and Booker) damn near fell out their chairs when I walked on stage in a figure hugging white wool/angora dress (I was playing a woman with a crisis of faith who hadn’t been to church in a while, so I had to find something that spoke to that image…that dress seemed to work just fine). They turned to my best friend Toya and said “That’s Tori?” “That’s not Tori. Is it?” “Tori has a figure?” “When did she get a figure?” “When did she get those?” “Did you know she had those?” Toya, who had basically adopted me that previous summer because she lived a few blocks over and her family was much more sane than mine, just laughed. For months afterwards I had to deal with them (mostly Booker) going “You have boobs. When did you get boobs? Did you know you have boobs?” As though I could possibly miss them in my bathroom’s full length mirror.

Through high school I easily went from a B, to a C, to a D. By time prom rolled around I was just a few centimetres shy of DD. By January of my freshman year of college, I could no longer zip my prom dress all the way up. Where my boobs started, my zipper stopped. And all the creative inhaling and exhaling and contorting of my chest, spine, shoulders, and whatever other part of my upper body I could think of, couldn’t get it to budge. There went my gorgeous dress. Le sigh.

When I got pregnant, teh bewbs grew again. But this was normal, I was told. You’ll go back to your natural size in no time, I was told. Once you’ve stopped breastfeeding they’ll go down, I was told. Well, let me tell you, I was told a load of bullshit. They did not go back to my natural (now former) size. They did not shrink as promised. No. They stayed. Stubbornly at that. Even when I lost weight, they were still there. I was officially a DDD (yes, that’s 3 D’s), which is the equivalent to having having two boston terriers attached to your chest. (So what I’m exaggerating, it’s my damn blog)

Seemingly over night my underwear budget doubled. Where once I could get three really cute bras for $40 (five if I caught a sale at Target), I was now paying that much for one. And let me tell you, they aren’t always cute. There are a limited number of places that even sell bras in my size. I have to go to Lane Bryant if I don’t want to go broke. Being a size 10, that means I’m the skinniest heffa in there shopping for myself. Yeah, I get nasty looks. Lane Bryant doesn’t seem to like the idea of setting their bra rack up according to size. Just style. You’re on your own after that. They also don’t have the little tags on the tops of the hangers to let you know what size the bra is. So you have to go wading through rack after rack of bras to hopefully find one that fits. I have given up on doing this in-store. I just shop online. And while that solves one problem, I’m left with another one (in the bra department). Sports bras. My last one was a D, it ran me nearly $45. I can still wear it, but it doesn’t provide the necessary support I need to keep me, or anyone around me, from getting a black eye when they bounce around. Lane Bryant doesn’t sell sports bras in my size. Neither does Bravissimo (a UK based store that caters to large busted women…so I’d be paying in pounds, and insane shipping costs…yeah, that’s fun).

Beyond just the fashion aspect of this, these things are heavy. During my last yearly humiliation, I tried to subliminally tell my doctor that I wanted to her suggest a reduction for me. And I know she got the message, but she’s a member of the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Committee), and IBTC members generally have little sympathy for those of us in ALBL. Not that she’s not an awesome doctor. She’s great. I love her to bits. Only doc to ever get me to laugh during my yearly humiliation (she was telling me about how she wanted to tell one of her older male patients to quit whining about having to get a prostate check, and that if we can get a check every year from the time we’re 18, he can suck it up and get a check every year after he turns 50), but she wasn’t hearing me on the reduction. And if she doesn’t ok it, neither does insurance. And I know they won’t ok getting a lift (which I’d gladly take in lieu of a reduction). So teh bewbs and I are stuck together (literally), until I can prove to my doc that I need a reduction for health reasons, not just because I’m a little fed up with not being able to just look down and see my feet.

Thoughts on infidelity

This whole Kwame thing has me thinking about cheating, specifically when you’re the one being cheated ON, and I gotta say Carlita Kilpatrick’s (public) reaction has been a pretty good example of what you SHOULD do when you catch your mate/spouse/SO/whatever cheating.

I’m the first to admit that cheating isn’t always an indication of love lost between to people. You can be with the most wonderful person in the world, but if there’s something lacking (no matter how small it may seem) that’s a door for someone who fills that need to come through. Not only that, but sometimes, sometimes, shit just happens. You don’t plan it. You’re not looking for it, it just happens. I’m not talking late-night-out-drinking-with-friends/coworkers-getting-drunk-and-knocking-boots type shit happening. I’m talking about that one time in a million where your guard is down and the right person just HAPPENS to come on by. Now, I have to say this particular reason for cheating…it’s really a pretty piss poor excuse, but it happens. Which is why it’s the “shit happens” reason. Because (all together now) shit happens.

My personal approach to cheating (or, rather, being cheated on), came together right before I got married. My husband was doing a lot of touring at the time, and I told him, flat out, right before we were married “Shit happens. Just don’t let it follow you home.” I’m not dumb. I’ve been to plenty of concerts and shows (big and small) and I know how those groupie heffas are. Some just don’t care. If my man is out on the road for months at a time and has a moment of weakness, so be it. I just don’t want to hear about it, and I don’t want it coming home with him. This means no babies, no diseases, no crazy stalker heffas who don’t get the idea of “one night stand”. None of it. The minute it hits my doorstep, we’re going to have problems. It also means don’t come confessing to me. I’m forgiving, but you catch me on a bad day and you’ll be chilling on the curb.

So here are my thoughts on being cheated on, and what to (and not to) do when you find out about it:

1. The one IN the relationship (cheater) bears the largest portion of blame.

No matter what the circumstances, this is, and will always be, true. I can’t think of any situation where the opposite would be true. Even if the person they were cheating with (here on out known as the co-cheater) knew they were in a relationship, the cheater knew before anyone else. Therefore the cheater bears the majority of the blame.

2. Blaming the co-cheater is a waste of time.

This one is related to the first one. I’ve seen women make this mistake more often than men. Instead of getting mad and confronting the cheater, they get mad and go after the co-cheater. WRONG MOVE! As I said above: The one in the relationship bears the largest portion of the blame. You can let the co-cheater know that the cheater is in a relationship and has been lying to the both of you, if you feel (or know) that the co-cheater is unaware of this fact. However, the blame does not rest heavily on the co-cheater (except in cases where the co-cheater happens to be family or close friends…at which point you may want to reevaluate your friendships and maybe disown a few family members).

In cases where the co-cheater is aware of the fact that the cheater is in a relationship, confrontation shouldn’t really go beyond letting the co-cheater know that you know. If they know the cheater is in a relationship and they sleep with them anyway, they obviously couldn’t care less whether or not you get upset or pissed off. So don’t waste the emotional, physical, or mental energy to cuss them out or threaten them with violence. They don’t care.

3. Relationships can rebound from cheating; but don’t expect it to be the way it had been.

Some folks throw in the towel once infidelity has been discovered. I don’t think that’s always necessary. I’m not one of those rose-colored-glasses optimists but I do think that some relationships (I repeat: some relationships) can be salvaged after cheating. It takes work on both parts, and the cheater can’t expect the cheatee to just trust them right off the bat. There’s going to be some mistrust and suspicion, especially immediately afterwards. If you can, and want to, work on the relationship, it can survive. But it ain’t easy, and it ain’t gonna happen overnight.

4. Cheating isn’t about looks.

One thing that my friends and I (and everyone else) have been talking about is the fact that Christine Beatty doesn’t even compare to Carlita Kilpatrick looks-wise. There’s even an email going around comparing her to Scottie Pippen (which is just wrong, but so damn funny anyway). People can’t understand why Kwame would pick this over this. What we fail to realise is that cheating has nothing to do with looks (ok, I can’t say this is the case 100% of the time, but for the most part it is). It has more to do with the connection and chemistry between two people. Sometimes that fresh connection is just too much to resist. Not that I’m justifying cheating. I’m not. Adultery is pretty low on my list of commandments to break. But this is the reality of things. It sucks, but that’s how it is.

5. There is a difference between emotional infidelity and physical infidelity; but both can be equally devastating.

This one sort of speaks for itself. It’s probably easier to get beyond emotional infidelity, but it still leaves a scar on the relationship.

6. It is never the cheatee’s fault.

Ok, so maybe “never” is a broad brush, but 99.9999% of the time, there is little the cheatee could have done to prevent the cheater from cheating.

7. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Or however that saying goes. To beat an oft beaten dead horse, communication is important. If there is a weakness in your relationship, address it before it leads to something bigger.

For example: Your SO doesn’t share your libidinous nature. Not that they aren’t good, they just aren’t the sex hound you are. Once every other day is enough for them, but three times a day is just getting by for you. Talk with your SO, you never know what could come of it. They could tell you to head to adultfriendfinder.com (thanks to Jeremy for bringing it to my attention that this website even exists…you nasty freak lol) and find yourself a discreet playmate to satiate your raging appetite. Or they could tell you to get over yourself and find a hobby that helps you expend some of that extra energy in a non-sexual manner.

Of course you could talk about this before you get too deep into your relationship, or address it when it does come up, and therefore stem the problem before it becomes the 400 lb gorilla in the room. But this takes some openness and honesty and the ability to deal with the fact that your perfect match may have some parts that don’t match up with yours exactly. A tall order for most people.

8. Get over it.

Yep. Get over it. They cheated. You ended the relationship. It’s over. Now move on. Don’t sit there and dwell on it. Don’t become bitter over it. Don’t hold the next person responsible for what the last one did. Learn the lessons that are there to learn and K.I.M.