In My Feelings

This past weekend, my line sisters and I participated in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area Joint Founders Day Celebration for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. We, along with more than 100 other women, were honored and we celebrated 25 years as members in the largest and one the most influential African American sororities in the nation. This was a pretty awesome day. Well, it should have been awesome. There were so many positive things happening, but the only thing that I could really focus on was the negative conversation in my head. As you read this post, please don’t think that I am looking for sympathy. That is not my steelo (for all of my non-90’s readers, that’s hip hop lingo for style). I guess what I am trying to do is process what I am thinking and feeling so I can end the conversation in my head and move on.

Anyway, what should have been a glorious and grand day was almost a bummer and it was no one’s fault but my own. You see for most of the day all I did was criticize myself in my head. My outfit didn’t fit right. The braids on my hair were awesome, but my edges wouldn’t stay down. My hips were on full display, and not in a good way. It didn’t matter if I turned to the left or to the right, whether I crossed my legs or stood straight, none the pics I took were flattering.  I should have picked the other pair of shoes. My pearls weren’t pretty enough. When I walked I could feel myself waddle. I even ran into the back of my line sister during the processional. I was soooo over the day. I just couldn’t feel what I should have been feeling. I should have been excited. Yet, all I could think about was how out of place I felt. Not because I was in a room full of bosses and change agents. Not because I wasn’t smart enough to be there, or that I hadn’t worked hard (well…for a few years I took a vacation). Not because my line sisters and chapter sorors make me feel bad or judge me. Nope. For the most part, they think I’m pretty dope. And, I think they are amazing! We have no problem gassing each other up. It was simply because I let negative thoughts cloud my thinking.

You see, I’m my own worst critic. Some would say I am self-deprecating. I’m not sure if that is the correct word, but I am definitely hyper-critical of myself. Yesterday, it almost got the best of me. I can honestly say that even listening to the keynote speaker, one of my Founders granddaughters and my national chaplain, THE Vashti Murphy McKenzie, tell me emphatically to “SLAY IN MY LANE,” I couldn’t shake that feeling of…dissatisfaction. I just knew I wasn’t happy with myself and it sucked. 

So on a day that is filled with some fantastic memories of being with some of my very best friends for 25 years, some pretty amazing big sisters and mentors, some of the sweetest neos (my little sisters), celebrating a huge milestone, and in addition, celebrating my line sisters 50th birthday party (it was EPIC), I allowed myself to focus on stupid shit.  Stupid shit like feelings of inadequacy because my dress didn’t turn out like I had imagined because my hair hadn’t turned out like I imagined, because I don’t walk like I think I should walk, or because my stomach was protruding. You see inside, I’m still just an insecure little girl wanting to fit in and be best that I can be. 

My first lady said in Sunday school yesterday that when we think of leprosy we usually think about the disease in the Bible, people with open sores and living in isolation because they are contagious. She talked about the idea that if you think of leprosy in a spiritual way then you will understand that anyone can have it. In a spiritual sense, leprosy is anything that is toxic that overtakes your life and isolates you. We all have it in some way. My leprosy is judging myself too harshly especially in comparison to other people. It almost ruined my day. Almost

So right in the middle the Soror Mackenzie again telling the crowd to “slay in our lanes”, I decided to focus on why I was in the room and instead focusing on what I thought I was or wasn’t. I was there because in the 8th grade I decided I wanted to be a member of a group of women who were powerful, women who changed the world. Women like Barbara Jordan, Lena Horne, and Shirley Chisholm. I was in the room because when I got to the campus of UTA I saw a chapter of young ladies who were involved in the community and who were leaders on campus. Like we used to say back in the day, “The Deltas ran the yard.” I was there because when I decided to apply, my friend was a regional officer and she wrote my letter of recommendation at the last minute because the person who said she would write my letter originally wouldn’t even answer the phone. I was there because on April 15, 1994, I crossed burning sands with 11 other women who were excited and eager to no longer be pyramids but full-fledged Deltas. We didn’t have to practice throwing up the pyramid in the room or softly saying oo-oop so no one else could hear it. We could say it out loud! We could work and serve our community with other powerful black women. I was there because I wanted and I was a change agent.

Luckily, I spent about three years in therapy, learning to recognize negative self-talk. Luckily, I have developed a few strategies to help me focus and redirect such toxic thinking. ANNDD, I know Jesus and I could hear Him speak to me and say, “You are my child so you are worthy and you are beautiful. Then I heard my granny call down from Heaven to say, “Look, little girl! Ain’t nobody thinking about that shit but you!” 

I was in the room because of the sisterhood! We have been through so much together! Graduations, babies, marriages, divorces, health problems, money problems, and career changes. Chapter meetings, state meetings, regional conferences, and national conventions. Lord have mercy, even lemon squeezes (Deltas knew about Lemonade well before Beyoncé) because our is grand but so are our fights. You name it, we’ve been through it! It has been a journey.

When people get married they say they do life together. I “do life” with my sorors. My friends. Don’t get me wrong, I have three blood sisters that I adore.  No one can take their place. But you know what? When God gave me my sorors, he showed me “sisterhood amplified.” My sorors are there right along with my sisters to support me on this journey, and I would change it! 

My mind was playing tricks on me. It was lying to me. But being with my sorors changed the game. We shut it down!!! We partied, laughed, danced, and celebrated my line sister who is aging not just gracefully but phenomenally! She is sweet, supportive, smart, and successful! My other line sisters and sorors too! We held the 25-year debate of who was the meanest, Kiphani or Misty (I promise you, we will have this debate at our 50th. SMH). It was a day that I needed. Joy…I just had to take the focus off myself and enjoy the moment, enjoy my friends.

I think it is called imposter syndrome, and I write this because there are women that feel the same way. We talk ourselves out of experiencing and feeling joy. We smile, but inside the struggle is real. If you feel this way at times remember, there is more about you to celebrate than to criticize. Know that you are not alone. Fight those feelings of inadequacy and flip the script in your head. Take the focus off yourself, embrace your sisterhood, celebrate life, and live in the moment with your friends and family. Fight it, Sis. I promise you, it is worth it! I am so glad I did. One of the BEST DAYS EVER!

P.S. Kiphani and Misty, it’s a tie. You are both nice-nasty! 🥰🤣

Michelle Obama is Everybody’s Homegirl

She isn’t the best friend we wish we had; she is the best friend we KNOW we have.

God is truly good to me. God and my friends. Thank you, Kiphani for thinking of me and allowing me to experience a dream come true, getting to see my First Lady. It is surreal. I hate that word. It is so overused, but that is the only way I can describe this experience. 

If this post seems incoherent then please blame two things: fatigue and excitement. I rushed home to get my thoughts on paper because I wanted this post to be as authentic as possible. I am not a journalist so writing a play-by-play would really be doing a disservice to what I experienced tonight. I really just want to share the range of emotions I felt listening to Mrs. Obama, how I felt hearing and seeing her in person for the first time. 

I am sure it is the training of being a lawyer, a professional woman, a mother, and the former FLOTUS that makes her have the ability to speak to thousands of women in a sold-out stadium and make us all feel like she was speaking to each of us personally. Michelle, that’s what I call her because she is my friend in my head, is everything we used to be and everything we aspire to be. She is the epitome of a friend. She was honest, reflective, respectful funny, transparent, kind, hopeful, humble, elegant, classy and real! She isn’t the best friend we wish we had; she is the best friend we KNOW we have. We all have a Michelle Obama or two in our everyday lives. At least I do. In Michelle, I see my mama, my sisters, my nieces, my sorority sisters, and my friends. She reminds me that I don’t need to look for squad goals. I already have them. Her conversation was familiar and anecdotal because I have had those same conversations with my friends. So for me, Michelle Obama is a symbol of the familiar;  the average, but not the ordinary, woman on a journey to becoming who God has called her to be. She was and is refreshing. In a world filled with reality stars and shows where women tear each other down, gossip, fight, backbite, compete, and bully one another, it was good to be reminded that that is not who we are, or who we are meant to be. We are striving to be servants with purpose designed to make the world a better place and our connections to each other, even in our differences, unite us. It felt good to hear that and be surrounded by it. Surrounded by thousands of people who felt the same way.

More than anything, Michelle Obama reminded me of the value of community. That is what being a real homegirl is about. Family and neighbors living together around a shared set of basic values. When she spoke of her family and how she was raised, it reminded me so much of my own family. How I witnessed everyone coming together to make sure that our needs where met whether it was paying a bill, making sure a kid had lunch money, going to church, learning to vote, babysitting someone’s child, or just sitting around shooting the shit. My grandmother, mother, aunt, uncles, and cousins. It was a united effort to help each other survive. The sense that the struggle is bearable if we all stick together, and the sense that if you work hard you can accomplish anything. 

Experiencing Michelle Obama live and in-person left me encouraged. I left feeling inspired. I left feeling hopeful. I left feeling like I had just chatted it up with my friend who gave me the best advice and then hugged me while she said, “Girl, it’s gone be alright.” She was phenomenal.

Click here for a snippet from the evening.

Gifts for the Homies❤️🎁

Shop @beflydesigns and @avamichelejewelry for gifts for friends and family!

I know that many of you are still out shopping for Christmas gifs. Some of you are just getting started. Before the hustle and bustle of the holidays gets you so frustrated that you decide to give up and decide to write all of your friends and family $20 checks just be done, consider buying a gift or two from a local, small business. Not only would it show that you put some thought into your gift, but the person you buy it for will probably appreciate the special attention. 

Get creative this Christmas.  Creativity need not require large amounts of money. If you are shopping on a budget you can still give great gifts and support your local economy. Instead of heading to Walmart or the mall, try perusing social media. If you are skilled at arts and crafts, Pinterest is a great place to get ideas on making gifts by hand. Amazon is also a great place to get reasonably priced gifts, but honestly, try looking at some of your friend’s pages. The rise of social media has fostered opportunities for new and upcoming entrepreneurs. You would be surprised at the number of people that you know who are business owners and would appreciate your support.

I want to highlight two businesses in particular that I think are super dope! 

First, if you need a graphic tee, check out Be Fly Designs (BFD). BFD operated in Fort Worth, Texas and it specializes in providing creative and compelling tees that empower African-American and female communities through fashion.  It is owned by my friend and soror, Beletra Thomas, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Beletra’s t-shirts offer inspirational, motivational, political, and sometimes comical messaging in a way that allows you to wear your activism. My favorite shirt says “Faith Eliminates Worry”. Sometimes when I know I am facing a tough day at work, I wear that shirt to remind myself that everything will be okay. Coupled with some slacks and a blazer, I’m professional and ready to take on the world. I wore it this summer to my sorority conference and got lots of compliments on it. I also love the shirt that says, “FLY (First Love Yourself)” because sometimes I have to remind myself that I need to make myself a priority. I am waiting to buy the “Gangsta Napper” shirt because sleeping is my specialty. But don’t take my word for it head on over to http://www.beflydesigns.com to see for yourself. Oh…BFD offers great sales too! Quality product at great pricing; you can’t lose! 

My friend and Soror, Erica, rocking the “Spread Love” tee from the BFD collection!

Now that you have a cute shirt, you gotta add some dope accessories. Ava Michele Jewelry is the place to go. Earrings, necklaces, and some really fly arm candy! I love Ava’s pieces and not just because I’ve known her for almost 30 years (she’s also a Fort Worth native), but because she really takes her time to design and assemble pieces that men and women would love. In particular, her stacked braclets are cool, elegant, and super classy yet you can wear them for any occasion. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Ava Michele ensures that each color of the Divine 9 is represented in her pieces, but anyone can wear them! Follow Ava on Instagram @avamichelejewelry. You won’t be disappointed. 

Custom stack from Ava Michele Jewelry. LOVE!

And if you think its too late to order, it’s not. I contacted both of these ladies and said, “This is what I need. How can you help me?” They both came through! More than anything, they offer quality customer service.

So stop reading, pull out your laptop or cell phone, and start shopping!

Be Fly Designs: http://www.beflydesigns.com

Instagram: @beflydesigns

Facebook: @beflydesigns

Ava Michele Jewelry: 

Instagram: @avamichelejewelry

Facebook: @avamichelejewelry

Big Willie Style!

“I’ve made it a point in my life to attack anything that I’m afraid of.” ~Will Smith

Today is October 1st! It is officially my birthday month. If you know me, then you know that for the next 31 days I will be doing THE MOST. My birthday is one of the few times of the year that I make things all about me. The month is no longer October nor is it Libra season. It is officially “Tracy Cass Awareness Month!” I have no shame! Don’t judge me.

Each year I try to have a theme. One year it was all about exercise. Another year, I wanted to try as many new restaurants as I could. And then, other years I focused on things I could do with my family and friends. Theme or no theme, I try to always have a great time doing things with the people I love and care for most. This year I have struggled to find my focus…until Will Smith’s bungee jump over the Grand Canyon for his 50th!

In an interview, my fellow Libra said that when he was a child, he visited the Grand Canyon, but he was afraid of walking to the edge so he stayed back, too afraid to take in all of the beauty. But now, a fully grown man, Will was challenged by some YouTubers to face his fears. In response he said, “I’ve made it a point in my life to attack anything that I’m afraid of.” So he did it, and I watched in amazement thinking, “That fool is crazy!” But is he?

After some mild alcohol induced contemplation,  I thought how liberating it must feel to face the very thing that has you paralyzed. Surely, it must be amazing to experience that sense of freedom. I knew then that I had to do the same thing and face my fears.

So this month is about being fearless. As I inch closer to the half-century mark, I realize there are so many things that make me clutch my pearls and stop in my tracks. Most often they aren’t things that are as adventurous as bungee jumping. Emotional and relational jumps are my biggest hurdle. People don’t believe it, but I’m actually very shy…a forced extrovert. I’m outgoing because I have to be, not because I want to be. Meeting new people makes me want to vomit. I become frozen in fear not knowing how people will receive or, more importantly, perceive me. Oftentimes, the bravado I so easily project is my defense mechanism so people won’t know how afraid I really am. So, I am on a quest to be just a bit more friendly. Seems small, but to me it’s like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! 

I really don’t have an agenda as grandiose as Will’s; I just want to have new experiences. Some online dating perhaps. Because why not? I need a few hilarious dates in my life. If I hug you or smile at you, don’t run…or frown…or ask me what’s wrong. Usually when I’m nice to people, that is the first thing people say, “What’s wrong with you?” Nothing, damn it! I just want to be kind. LOL!! I might even let you hug me first…trust me, it’s a thing. When you are hugging me I am screaming on the inside.

But, I need to give myself permission to be vulnerable. Low key, writing this piece feels like exposing my inner organs. 

Anywhoo, I’m looking forward to this month and turning 47. Maybe, when I turn 50 I will celebrate the whole year (I did when I turned 40). I don’t know. All I know is that, life is a gift meant to be shared so I might as well take the jump and dive right in. Let’s see where this takes me! #livinglife #bigwilliestyle #willsmithchallenge #befearless

P.S. Comment with a suggestion or two about what I should try. Or, try facing a fear of your own and tell me about it. Shoot me an email at everybodyshomegirl11@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from your or reading your posts. 

Some Girls Be Like…😒

At some point we all make horrible choices when it comes to relationships, myself included. Here’s a glimpse of my journey into “triflingness.” Let it bless you…or convict you. #nojudgment

As I sit here, half-past 10 PM, eating a sandwich and chips and listening to J. Sullivan, I recall the first time I knew that he liked me. My friend of eight years, who was about to get married in six months sent me a message on Facebook. I had just signed up, browsing the page on my day off. He hit me up in a chat saying, “I’ve always had a crush on you.” I panicked; I was scared, excited, and…angry. Why would he tell me now when nothing could be done, could be pursued? I didn’t remember what he said next, just some flirting back and forth. I should have ended the conversation, but something about the forbidden excited me. We were cool acquaintances before, but now, it seemed like more. It felt like we were connected, even though I knew we couldn’t be.

I don’t think most people start out having affairs with one decision; I think most indiscretions start out innocently. Something small happens, small but inappropriate, and then, gradually, it progresses into something more. At least, that was the case for me; first, we were chatting, then texting. I remember clearly how we “linked up,” as he liked to call it, for the first time.

I had to chaperone a football game, and afterward, I had dinner with a co-worker. However, I was distracted because he had been texting me throughout the game. I told myself that he was keeping me company, keeping my mind off of the fact that I didn’t want to be at work on a Friday night with a bunch of disrespectful, bad-attitude-having-ass, high schoolers. As I sat at dinner, the conversations continued. The frivolity of it all, in hindsight, is so absurd, but in the moment, it was…everything, romantic, fun, and intriguing. Most of all, it was seductive.  I remember telling him about my favorite singer, Jill Scott, and my favorite song at the time, “Come See Me.” He responded, “I want you.” I grew warm inside. My heart and my head were all over the place, and I needed to understand what we were doing. Why was he saying these things now? What did all of this mean? Was he not going to get married? I’m not booty call material; I’m an all-or-nothing type chick. I sent him a message around midnight when I was leaving dinner: “We need to talk.” We were only going to talk, I rationalized. He responded, “I’m on my way.”

It was one in the morning when he arrived. In my mind, it made sense because I was strong and in charge. He walked in, looking and smelling good. We sat on the couch. “What’s up?” he asked. “The question is what’s up with you?” I needed to understand where all of this attention was coming from six months before he was to be married. His answer didn’t even matter. The real question was, what made me decide to play with fire? To entertain the foolish thought that this was nothing more than a conversation. To meet inappropriately after midnight with a man who was clearly unavailable.

I thought I was strong, and in the beginning, I was. I said emphatically, “This can’t happen. I will look like the other woman who stole somebody’s man. Nothing will happen to you. And, in the end, we will not be able to be friends again.”

He chuckled, “I have more to lose than you think, and we will always be friends.”

“If you have so much to lose, why are you getting married?”

With a slight shrug of the shoulders and the smirk that made my heart melt, “It’s just time.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. We had been talking for at least two hours. I don’t know how we ended up in bed together, but there he was holding me, but not touching me at the same time. I was still trying to convince myself that nothing was going to happen between us if I could just get through the night. He didn’t try anything; he just held me. He didn’t kiss me or caress me. The only thing he did was pull me closer to him when I tried to move away. He pulled me close, like I belonged to him, like he had claimed me. His breath on the back of my neck and his heart beating against my chest felt good. It was satisfying just to be claimed, and I was starting to believe the lie. Maybe he will change his mind, maybe he won’t do it. “Just be patient,” I told myself. I should have understood that I wasn’t being claimed. I was just a warm, breathing body next to a man with his eyes closed, eyes closed to the fact that he wasn’t ready to be married, and he was using me as a distraction.  If I had allowed myself to accept that realization, I would have saved myself some heartache.

He didn’t change his mind, about her or me. I kept saying no, but he kept calling and texting, and we kept having our visits. He continued keeping me company on my late nights at work. I’m not sure when I started to become that chick, that crazy chick. That chick that rationalizes her bad behavior, the one who is happy one minute and crying the next. I think I knew in the end I would be left out, but I couldn’t pull back. It wasn’t so much that he had a hold over me; it was more than that. This was all about me. I needed to see what would happen, what could be, or what should be because in my heart I knew…he was the one for me. But he knew differently. He liked the idea of me but not the reality of me. I required too much, and I was his choice and his consequence all at the same time. His decision to see me, to love me, to care for me, meant that he needed to face the reality of who he was. He was a cheater. An adulterer. But in his mind, “I’m not married yet,” made a difference. To me, it didn’t, but I climbed down that rabbit hole anyway because one night over hot dogs and tater tots, he kissed me. He kissed me long, deep, and strong, and that kiss held a promise that one day he might love me.

He never did. I don’t hate him though. We shared a lot, an intimacy that I had never experienced before. In my mind, no one knew, but on the real, everyone did. We were connected. When we were in the same room, the energy changed. He was too attentive to me, and I tried too hard to ignore him. Looking back, I’m sure it was obvious to everyone but us.

I learned a lot, too, like what strength really means. It means picking yourself up when you are devastated, and you have no one to blame except yourself. It means smiling when tears are all you have. It means recognizing how scared you are of being alone and that you are willing to be second in someone’s life. I was desperate for love and craving attention. I was willing to sacrifice my integrity and lower my expectations for fear that I might miss out on knowing what it means to feel loved. I was willing to accept videos and hot wings so we didn’t have to go out, and secret meet-ups at Alvin Ailey because it seemed romantic and illicit and because I thought he loved me but was afraid to call it off.

Strength is accepting responsibility for your part in the destruction of a relationship. It is understanding that walking away when you know something is wrong is the only answer. It is writing this piece with the understanding that he might read it and know that it is about him, but not caring because you know it is time to release whatever guilt you are holding on to. It means letting go and moving on even when standing alone. There’s an old adage that says, “The best way to get over a man is under a new one.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it. Yet, I knew that would only make things worse. Make me worse. I needed to heal. I wanted peace. I wanted to stand tall on my own. It took a while. More tears. Some alcohol. Some “come-to-Jesus” sessions with my girls and a few ratchet dates. But, here I am.  Strength is learning never to say never. I had never been the side chick. But there I was. I will never do it again, even if it means being alone. I’m worth more than that.

Girl Code

“The only side that matters is your friend’s.”

The person who vets these little vignettes for me said, “Cass, this is all over the place. You need a unifying theme.” She’s extremely smart, masters in literature kind of smart. So, when she reads my work it’s hard for her to allow me to bend the rules of structured writing. But, I do, and I did here in this piece as well. And as the Grammar Guru that she is, her nerves are most assuredly grated. 

I said all of that to say, I don’t have a unifying theme except to say that friendship is essential to the soul. Genuine friends, real, true, ride or die friends feed your spirit and help you mature and blossom. Friends can be closer than your family. It is written in holy script somewhere that a person that has friends must show himself friendly. In other words, in order  to be a good friend, you must ALSO be a good friend. 

Having said that, some of y’all out here living foul. Just like man law or bro code, girls, too, have a code that we live by. Rules, regulations, a set of boundaries that allow us to grow and flourish in sisterhoods in which we are not bound by birth, and sometimes in those which we are. To be blunt, there are just some things you do’t do, but y’all violating the code. And it is my responsibility, my duty, as a member of a true squad to get y’all together and let you know the rules, the code, the Girl Code. What makes me an expert? I have a PH.D in maintaining friendships. I have three sisters, and I have a squad of friends that I have been down with for more than 20 years. So, uh yeah, I think I can talk a little bit about friendship. Don’t judge. Just learn and apply. So here they are, my rules for being not just a good friend, but a great friend! Girl Code 2018.

1) Husbands and boyfriends are off limits. Period. Forever! There is no statute of limitations. Once someone has dipped into that love-pool, dude is forever off limits to you. Despite what other cultures may do, our culture does not. Bump that…other cultures don’t do it either. I’m telling you now; stop it! Even if she says, “It’s ok. Go ahead, I don’t care.” We all know she’s lying. Don’t do it. This is the ultimate no-no. Taking this chance causes years of conflict and confusion, most often ending friendships permanently. I say it again, “DON’T DO IT. Dude ain’t that cute anyway!

2) My business is my business. If I choose to share it with you, that means I choose to share it WITH YOU. Not everybody else, even if the person you are itching to tell is my friend. When you decide to tell my business without my permission, you are violating my trust, and I’m not going to tell you anything else. Now, I won’t necessarily ex-communicate you for this, but I damn sure won’t trust you with anything else. Keep your trap shut…but we both know you are probably thinking of who to call faster than I can hit END CALL.

3) If we had an argument 10 minutes ago, then that’s just what that is. An argument. Ten minutes ago, or two days ago, or three weeks ago, or five years ago. It’s over, never to be brought back up again.  Say what you have to say and then let that be the end of it. Period. Ain’t nobody got time for grudges. Once we have hashed it out, we will cry, hug, blow snot, and move on. We are no longer mad at each other. It’s done. Now…let’s go get ice cream!

4) If you are mad at one of our friends, you are mad, not me. We, she and I, are still cool, just as I am still cool with you. I will not let you talk about her, and she can’t talk about you to me. I will try my best to help you reconcile, but bottom line, that’s y’all’s business. Don’t expect me to stop speaking to my friend because you are mad at her. I’m not going to stop speaking to you when she has beef with you. Hopefully, you two will resolve your issues; however, I understand that some disagreements are just too hard to work out. In that case, I will respect your decision to move on from that friendship, but until that person does something to me, she and I are still friends. Respect it.

5) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…imitation, not copying. Listen, God made us all different, with unique gifts and talents. Use what God gave you for the greater good…what God gave YOU, not me. If every time I do something, you do it too, that is not a friendship. That is a person who is insecure and competitive. Friendships are built on mutually beneficial relationships; they are diverse and rich. No one learns or grows if everyone in the village is just alike⏤dressed alike, talks alike, eats the same food, wears the same style, has the same job. Where is the fun in that? When you win, I win. I will celebrate you and let you have your moment, do the same for others. Let us all be great! Because honestly, no one likes a copycat.

6)If we came together, we leave together, even in our forties, fifties, and sixties. Have you ever seen Golden Girls? My favorite show, by the way.  As your friend, I am responsible for your well-being, and you are responsible for mine. We must look out for each other. Your family SHALL NOT call me and say have you seen_____________, and I can’t answer that question. If we are out and someone is coming on too strong or trying to harm you, he will have to come through me and the squad, you hear me? We will let you make moves; I’m not a blocker at all. However, we will all have our eyes on each other to make sure that we leave a place just like we arrived…TOGETHER.

7) It’s your job to get me together; don’t have me out here looking a fool. Not in fashion. Not in relationships. Not in my career. Not in life. As friends, we will speak the truth in love. But we will speak truth! If you are out of order, I will tell you. If I am out of order, please tell me. (Delicately though, I’m sensitive. ☺).

8)Friendship is friendship, and business is business. If you can’t separate the two then friendship comes first. We will not lose our friendship behind business. 

Bonus Code:

Okay let’s pause and take a break. I wrote a previous version of these rules a few years ago. I have since grown and matured, and even still, most of the rules still apply although in this version I hope that I am a bit softer in my approach, a tad bit wiser, but still honest. I re-read the previous version, which I didn’t remember writing until I finished this post, and not shockingly, not much had changed. Just my delivery. There were a few rules, however, that I would like to add from my earlier version.

9) Trust your friend’s to be who they are. Okay, this rule is simple. If your homegirl talks too much, don’t tell her all your business and get mad when everybody knows your story. You knew she talked too much when you opened your mouth. If you have a friend that is always late, why do you insist on giving her the correct time to show up when something starts, then pitch a fit when you are two hours late because you were waiting on her to pick you up? You know you need to tell that girl to show up two hours early just so you guys can get where you’re going on time. I know you want to believe in your friends. You  also need someone to talk to, someone with whom you can share your problems so they can pour into your soul. In essence, sometimes you need to unburden your soul onto someone else just so you won’t go crazy. So, you call your friend, your sis, in hopes that this one time you can tell her something and she won’t go blabbing your business all over town. You love her so you give her one more chance. But in reality, you are not being fair to her. You are expecting her to be someone she is either not capable of being, or she doesn’t want to be.  You screwed up when you thought your friend would be someone different. The best predictor of past behavior is previous behavior; pay attention and learn!

10) Keep your opinions to yourself. We all want to make comments or suggestions on someone’s, style, hair, relationship, decisions, etc… Be like the government- if they don’t ask, you don’t tell! Honestly, they don’t really care what you think if they haven’t asked for your opinion. And really, these pieces of advice you are giving are just your way of manipulating your friend into being just like you. But, what would the world be like if we were all the same? 

But wait, you told us earlier to “get you together.” There is a fine line between making sure I’m slaying versus you just knocking my style. If you are constantly criticizing someone, then chances are you are being a negative Nancy and you should probably keep your opinions to yourself. However, if you are that friend that celebrates more than she critiques, when you have to give a critical word then your friend will take it in the love in which it is given. She will know you came to help her slay and you are trying to help get her life together. It’s hard to do, and balance is the key. My advice here is to tread lightly and check your motivation.

11) Have some honor among thieves! Let me handle this rule gingerly. Some of us have been put in situations where our fidelity to one another has been…tested. For example, Your homegirl is stepping out on her man. You and her man are cool. One night he calls you. General conversation in the beginning, just idle chit-chat. “How are the kids?” “You coming by to watch the game next week?” As the conversation progresses, he knows you are going to ask where she is and what she is doing. He tells you, but before you know it he starts talking about their relationship and how he really cares about her. Let’s face it, this is the start of him picking you for information.  First and foremost, you were wrong for talking to him so long. I know, I know…you feel sorry for the brother. He’s crying on the phone, sounding all pitiful. But remember, your loyalty is to your friend, not him. GET OFF THE PHONE! Think about it, if the situation were reversed, would he look out for you or he would stick with his homeboy? You already know the answer to that question: Man-Law #1 BROS OVER _____s! You don’t have to lie to him, just don’t answer! 

This isn’t just about relationships. This is any situation where you have to take sides. Remember, the only side that matters is your friend’s. When I pledged my sorority, one of the first things I learned was that “soror business is soror business.” This means what we do and talk about stays between us; if and when we are wrong, we will handle that behind closed doors. As I tell my trainer when he tells me I always take Kim’s side (See March 6, 2018 post: Ode to Comfort Foods/ Requiem for a Fat Girl.) “She’s my line sister. I can talk about her, but you can’t. I’ll tell her she’s wrong later!” And when it comes to my blood sisters, do we even have to ask?

Girl Code is not written in stone and it shouldn’t be. As women, we have a right to change our minds. Depending on how the group feels about certain things, these rules are simply a guideline to help us navigate in the space of friendship. Fellas, as you read this and you suspect that your wife, sister, mother, cousin, auntie might be violating the code, do not, I repeat DO NOT try to charge them up and hold them accountable! Why? Because you are not officially part of the squad. You can try but it probably won’t go over well. When you do it, you are judging. Get one of her homegirls to do it! When she calls her to the carpet, it’s LOVE! I hope this blesses somebody. Be a good friend, not a shady one! LOL!

P.S. Coming soon Part 2: “Get You a Crew!”

#mycrew! ❤️👩‍👩‍👧‍👧

Ode to Comfort Foods/ Requiem for a Fat Girl.

#weighinrevolution #trainerconfessions

Every week, I weigh in with my trainer, Chris. But not this week. This week, I am staging a rebellion!! I refuse to step on that scale. Why? Because I know that I have done the fool with my food, and I just cannot…I will not feel bad about it. I know that he is going to fuss and tell me he is disappointed. We will have another session of #trainerconfessions, and I will move on. Yet, I just don’t feel like going through it this week.

My trainer is really good; he is. I wouldn’t say it if were not so, but I am often …hmmm, is “disobedient” a good word? Yes, he would probably say I’m disobedient. Every week I get, “You don’t listen to nothing I tell you!” Meh…Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t. The exercise regimen he outlines for me, I got that! I go hard in the paint. At least my version of going hard. But the food part, not so much. I have good intentions, and I do well with my meal prepping—Monday through Friday. On the weekends? HA!!! I know that I can’t outwork a bad diet. I know that! I know that fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. I KNOW THAT. I know that I can’t keep doing things the same way and expecting a different result. I know ALL of that…But I miss food, dammit!

I miss Cocoa Pebbles and Fruit Loops.

I miss Little Debbie Donut Sticks and Oatmeal Cakes.

Strolling pizza buffets as if I were taking walks through the park.

Hamburgers…oh how I miss thee! And not turkey burgers. I want ground beef. With two slices of cheese, onions, and bacon, on a nice buttery, toasted bun.  I had one, too, on Thursday, when I went to the movies! And, it was DELICIOUS!

I miss Paul’s Donuts on Hemphill. Nothing beats that warm, soft, sugary pastry that just melts in my mouth.

I miss Braum’s Ice Cream and the 31 flavors of Baskin-Robbins. On the way home from the gym on Thursday evenings, I often glance at the Braum’s Ice Cream Parlor on the side of the freeway. “Let me have an ice cream sundae, please. Vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, not hot fudge. Whip Cream, no nuts, and extra cherries.” My order is cemented in my mind. I’m always tempted to exit, but I force myself to keep driving because…the scale!

I miss the catfish basket from Lisa’s chicken.  There’s one right in front of the gym. As I leave class, the aroma of Lisa’s wafts through the air like mist on a dewy morning. I get weak, I tell you!

And I miss Popeye’s, and Chicken Express…one day we shall meet again. Maybe this Friday when I can stay at home and enjoy some ratchet TV in my robe.

I miss Cherry Pepsi and Cherry Coke. If they didn’t have so many calories, I would get a 2-liter bottle and freeze it until it was slushy. Then after my long day at work, I would drink like it like it was a gin and tonic.

Oh, how I miss my comfort foods! They got me through so many trials in my life. Crazy parents at school? I got a honey bun from the vending machine to calm my nerves. My Granny died? Chicken and 7-up cake made my day. Relationship blues? Cookies and cake were food for my tears. Food was my friend, and I miss my BFF!

But what I don’t miss is not being able to bend over and tie my shoes. I don’t miss the pain in my legs when I stand too long. I don’t miss wondering if my seatbelt is too tight because it’s stuck or because I’m just fat. I don’t miss those things at all.

I’ll do better next week…but I’m still not weighing in tomorrow! #resist! #chubbygirlblues

P.S. This weigh-in revolution was the brain child of my line sister and friend, Kim! We hatched this plan on Friday night, and I wrote this opus after we agreed to stand in solidarity. Well, let me tell y’all what happened Saturday morning. We walked in the gym Saturday morning, and I said, “I’m ain’t doing it!” She said, “Yeah… we’re not weighing in.” But something in my spirit knew her response sounded kinda shaky. I went to the restroom and came out only to find out that Kim had sold me out! Chris is a mastermind at divide-and-conquer. He’s like a ninja! I knew I shouldn’t have left her alone with him. I weighed in after all because the weigh-in revolution was televised via Kim. Regrettably, I kicked her out of Wakanda (she can only cross her arms at the bottom), and then I gave her a good tongue lashing because she violated girl code! Thus, the topic of my next blog. I must remind you heifers of the rules!

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I guess I’ll let her come back to Wakanda