Friday, February 14, 2014

Be Your Own Valentine

            Today is a celebration that many single people (women) loathe or despise, mainly because you’re not in a relationship at this very moment. And thinking back to when I wasn’t, (while I currently think about popping some Hershey’s Pieces), I get it. While I never despised Valentine’s Day, it certainly made me feel acutely alone. And sad.  If I got nothing.

            So I woke up this morning because my mind was writing this post, and I got up so my fingers could obey my mind. This is my special Valentine’s Day post for you.

 Change Your Focus

         While Valentine’s Day evolved into celebrating romantic love, it didn’t start out that way. A little trip down history lane reveals that it began with a letter written by a Roman priest named Valentine to a blind girl he supposedly healed right before he was executed (nothing romantic about that). The holiday didn’t evolve into celebrating romance until much later.

            And now, it’s evolved again. Because no longer is it just about romantic love ― Eros ― as evidenced by all the greeting cards on display. You’ll find cards to mom, dad, daughter, son, and someone special, alongside all the typical husband, wife, and couple cards. So what does that tell you? That the love we celebrate now on Valentine’s Day includes all forms of love ― Phileo (friendship) and Agape (Godly). 

Give Yourself 

            You want to feel loved today? Spend some time giving love to people who need to feel it as well. Stop by your community center, or Boys and Girls club and give time, smiles, or treats to children who need to feel affirmed.

            Stop by the hospital or nursing home and pass out heart balloons or cards to those who may have you as their only special visitor today.

            Go to a shelter for the homeless or abused, and show care for those who miss it the most.

            Call your family, whether blood or love, and friends and tell them what you appreciate about them. Then pamper yourself in the way that makes you feel the best about you.

Bottom line: When you step outside of yourself and what you feel you’re missing, and give what you actually have to someone else, you’ll feel loved on this Valentine’s Day. Because whatever you give away will come right back to you. Guarantee!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mind Games

            A few weeks ago, I watched an episode of the “Steve Harvey” show where he arranged for “Mr. Perfect” – a man considered to be the most desirable man in America – to meet 10 potential “Mrs. Rights” at one time. I mean, dude was in heaven!
I watched, in dismay, as the more aggressive women in this group of diverse, attractive, polished ladies jockeyed for Mr. Perfect’s attention. From butting in on other ladies’ five minutes with him, to French-kissing him in a corner, many of the women acted like they were part of a cattle drive. For real? 
The funny thing was that Mr. Perfect ended up choosing one of the more reserved women for his solo date, someone who was from another country he’d lived in before. This left the  overtly sexy, pushy, in-your-face women with only their 15 minutes of TV fame. 

Who Wins?

I mean, I get it. On one side are reports with marriage stats like one that came out in ‘92 – the year I turned 31 and was still single. It said that, according to the trends, 3 out of 4 Black women would marry later than White women, and a far greater proportion of Black women than White women would never marry. It was hard not to feel a slight sense of panic.
            On the other side are all the folks saying, “There’s somebody out there for everybody,.”  or “Ladies, there are plenty of men; you just gotta know where to find ‘em and snag them.” And if you believe the reports, of course you feel obligated to try all the techniques offered.
Emotional ping-pong anyone?

Play the Hand You’re Dealt

            For me to stay sane in the face of opposing messages, I lived my single life according to neither side. I lived in what was my current reality then. I was not a statistic, and I was not trying to snag every man in my view. I simply focused on keeping my life filled with positive friendships, activities, and purpose.
            That’s not to say that I completely ignored the statistics or the tips. I just didn’t allow my living to revolve around either. I figured if I just kept playing life as it came, the result would shake out however God intended.
            So don’t get trapped fretting about which side you’ll end up on. That’ll just mess with your head. Instead, make smart decisions and leave the ultimate result to God.  He’s the only one who already knows the outcome anyway. 

If you use that strategy, either way, you win!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Apparently, Not Much Has Changed…

            A couple of months before turning 30 years old, it struck me that my life looked nothing like I assumed it would “at that age.” Mainly, I thought I’d be married already. But as 30 approached I had no marriage prospects; I wasn’t even in a serious relationship. O.k., I wasn’t in a relationship at all. I was working a part-time job, by choice, which gave me lots of time on my hands. So I used the time to write my thoughts and feelings about turning 30 and still being single.
            What I ended up with was “Nobody Ever Told Me I Might Not Get Married,” a manuscript chronicling my personal experiences being a Christian single woman who desired to be married, but was encountering a different reality. A reality I wasn’t prepared for.

Life Keeps Moving

         I didn’t feel confident that I could interest a publisher in my manuscript so I never tried. Then my life changed. I did meet “the one” and we married. I was 32, he, 35. The manuscript sat in a manila envelope under my desk. I became a college teacher, and every once in a while I would reference my “book” in conversations with female students.
            At one point, an editor who visited the college convinced me to submit the manuscript to the publisher she worked for. I did. They rejected it. So it kept sitting, safe in its manila envelope which gathered dust.

Now’s the Time

            Then out of the blue a few months ago, my god-sister, who is in her mid-30s and single, asked me “whatever happened to that book you wrote?” She wanted to read it. And a couple of months after that, one of my former students asked “whatever happened to that book you wrote?” She shared how she and her circle of girlfriends – all in their late 20s, career women, and still single – were feeling that their realities were a lot different than they expected.
            Hmmmm. Sounded familiar. Could it be that my thoughts and feelings from the past were still relevant today?  I thought that today’s women preferred being single later in life, focusing on careers, traveling, and pursuing personal goals. Apparently, not so much, as I found out by sharing parts of the manuscript with several groups of older single women.  

So as I prepare to publish my manuscript as an e-book in the next few weeks, I look forward to sharing my personal experiences facing the reality that – for those who want it − marriage might not be every female’s destiny. And although it’s a little scary to talk about, let’s.