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! 🥰🤣

Advertisements

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.

Ratchet Review: An American Marriage

Ok. I know I told you guys that I don’t write book reviews, but dang it, I have to share what I read with someone.  I finally finished An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and personally, I’m a little pissed. First let me say this, there is a reason that I don’t read the books on the Oprah’s Book Club list. Auntie Oprah tends to go for content with suffering and tragedy. Me, not so much. When I read, I want to escape my day-to-day existence. I want to laugh. I want mystery. I  want love. Intrigue, drama even. Basically, I want a reality show in words. Not Oprah. Oprah likes downtrodden and forlorn on an intellectual level, and honestly, I am not that smart. Self-deprecation aside, I just don’t want to be depressed when I read, and I find that Oprah selects books that leave me feeling like I need to book therapy appointments for the next year. I. Can. Not. Deal. Which brings me to An American Marriage. I had hope that this book would be different. Boy was I wrong. 

Enter Roy and Celeste, star crossed lovers who marry a few years after they meet in college.(Side note: another reason I don’t like writing reviews is because my summaries tend to be too long; I’ll try to keep this one short). Roy is a country boy who made it big and Celeste comes from black royalty…well not royalty, but her family has a little paper. She’s wealthy. Kind of like Dre and Bow on Black-ish. Roy is doing his thing in the business world of Atlanta, and Celeste is an artist finding her niche making poupees, dolls made of fabric. They visit Roy’s parents in the small town of Eloe, Louisiana when Roy gets arrested and falsely accused of rape. Celeste tries to hold Roy down (stand by her man for regular folks) while he is locked up, but soon finds herself feeling like she and Roy don’t have the commitment level needed to maintain the marriage. Celeste decides to leave the marriage and starts caping for Roy’s best man and her friend, Andre. Needless to say, Roy gets ghosted and Celeste shoots him the deuce (she leaves him in the jail cell he’s stuck in).

Now, that is the gist of the story, but in the words of my pastor, “Let’s start over and see what the Lord is telling us today.”

The Lord told me that Celeste was trifling! She vexed my spirit for the entire book! She was selfish, self-absorbed and immature. She didn’t understand what commitment truly was. Commitment is staying with your husband when he is in jail fighting a rape charge. She was his alibi. She knew he was innocent. When the rape happened Roy was with Celeste. I really wanted the author to explore what it would have taken to stay. Instead, she wrote a character who was cliche. Don’t get me wrong, if she wasn’t already married to Roy, I would understand her shooting dude the deuce. However, they were already committed to each other and she basically said, “Nah, bruh! I’m out.” 

Next, Roy was stupid. He had this false humility thing going on. “Don’t wait for me,” but he really wanted her to be ride or die. Then say that! She can’t read your mind. Then she wrote his ass that Dear John letter and the truth came out. He was pissed and was like, “Don’t write me no more…but can you keep putting money on my books…and keep having your parents pay for my attorney to beat this case?” Really ______?!!! I could see that happening in real life. LMAO!

Oh and don’t forget Andre. I won’t waste too much time on him other than to say that Roy gave him a much needed ass whooping that Andre’s daddy told him he deserved! That was my favorite part of the whole book!

Is it a good book? I guess…Oprah says it is. It is well written. I think, in my humble opinion, the book really took a look at how communication can make or break a relationship. It showed how adversity reveals the true character of a person. Love and commitment happen when the butterflies fade and the sex stops being bomb. When you are arguing and fighting and trying to figure out how to navigate the world together. When your kid is sick and you don’t know what to do. When the month is long and the money wrong. The person standing beside you is the person that truly cares for you.  If someone runs from you when trouble starts, they aren’t meant for you. It doesn’t mean you are going to like each other all the time, but you are committed so you CHOOSE to stay and love that person through the good and the bad. That is an American MARRIAGE. The book doesn’t give too much hope for hopeful romantics. So, I will give it a 3.5 out 5 bookmarks because I was hooked on the story, I just hated the characters and I was in my feelings! It was good…I want my money back though, but I borrowed it from a friend.

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! ❤️👩‍👩‍👧‍👧

The Best Revenge is Living Well

“…you, my friend, are a QUEEN. A woman too good, too valuable, too DOPE to let a dude make you think that you are incapable of ANYthIng…LIVE WELL!”

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Some of you were in your feelings because you spent the day alone. Maybe it was because you chose to be, but it might be because the guy you thought held the key to your heart actually stomped on it with his Luccheses or Tims. If you are a part of the latter group of ladies understand this: 1.) You are not alone. 2.) You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and 3.) Things are a lot better than you think. Keep reading.

That dude who pissed you off. Walked off and left you in the bed with a mountain of used snotty Kleenex, eyes that looked like Roma tomatoes, and wondering whether or not you should pull a Jasmine Sullivan on that @$$ and bust ALL his windows out on, not just the car, but the house too. The dude who said you weren’t good enough; or, the one that cheated because someone else was more convenient. How about that dude that told you what you wanted to hear? Words that sounded so good they felt like chocolate and caramel melting when it touches your tongue. You held on to Every. Single. Drop. Only to find out that it was terribly bad for you. After the rush of deliciousness, you crash from the high that left you feeling guilty and ashamed. Yeahhhhh … that dude.

Thank the Lord he is gone, but let’s be honest. He did you a favor when he moved on. You know it, and he does too. He knows he is trash warmed over. He is fish left in the sun for three days. He is the area in the back yard designated for dog poop. HE. IS. NOT. THE. ONE. So let go already!  But in your heart you want to hang on. Why? Because you want to win. Letting go is like losing the Super Bowl by a field goal, a boxing match by split decision, the World Series by one run. Victory was in your grasp, and you watched it slip through your fingers. Friend…the new girlfriend is the victory parade that he flaunts in your face.

But I tell you what, take that “L” like a champ and move on. You really are the better for it and you know it.  Sis, recognize that dude just gave you an opportunity. The opportunity to live your best life minus the baggage that is him. You see if he cut you off, then he obviously is not the person for you. Anybody that is not meant to be in your life is baggage. Weight you are carrying around that isn’t beneficial to your progress.

You can you win this war. Yes, war because that is exactly what it is. A war for your dignity and strength. You need to win this Relationship-Geddon because you need to know that you, my friend, are a QUEEN. A woman too good, too valuable, too DOPE to let a dude make you think that you are incapable of ANYthIng, especially of receiving the love you deserve. So you are about to win this war. And this is how: LIVE WELL!

Yes ma’am. DO IT! Live the best life you can imagine. Travel to exotic places. Eat rich and delicious food every once in a while. Pursue your passion. Do you like to cook? Host a dinner party for your friends. Take a class and learn to sew. Get healthy. That’s right. Get HEALTHY by eating right and exercising. Those endorphins will kick in and boost your attitude, and your skin will glow. The pity party is over. This guy is no longer a factor in your life; he chose not to be. So don’t allow this opportunity that he gave you to go to waste. This is the perfect time for you to say, you know what “I can show you better than I can tell you.” Then show him, girlfriend!

You know what’s great about living well? You won’t even have to tell him! Other people will. “Have you seen______________? She looks good!” “Did you know that ________________went to Costa Rica? Man, I saw her on Facebook. She doing it BIG, homey!” You will know that he knows, too. When you get that late night text that says, “Hi,” don’t answer. Hit delete, then roll over and go to sleep. Trust me. The headache you will have re-opening that door isn’t worth the 10 minutes you are going to waste responding to such foolishness. No, don’t answer! Just continue to live your best life. Bottom line, you aren’t doing this for him anyway. You are doing this for you; you deserve to be happy. You deserve to experience life and appreciate the journey. You deserve the opportunity for the world to see how magnificent you are. You see, you were going to do this anyway, and you tried to invite dude along for the ride. He chose to get off, so let him. That was the Divine Conductor’s way of getting rid of baggage that would surely slow you down.  More than anything, you deserve to live in a space where you are alone but not lonely. You deserve to flourish in your single-hood, so much so that you can stand on your own and be OKAY. You also deserve to be loved by someone who sees these things in you and will step to you the right way. And when you give that person a chance, he will understand that this IS an OPPORTUNITY, and he will work his hardest not to F. IT. UP!

So, stop crying, get out of the bed, take a shower, get dressed, and start living. Look up, thank God, and say, “Thanks, dude. You did me a favor.”

#deucestolosers #notbitterbutblessed! ❤️💅🏾