Love: The Red Flags

In an effort to find love, we have all been guilty of ignoring the warning signs. While it is important to see the good in every person, it is also important to know when two people do not belong together. Communication styles must be similar. Common interests are a major plus. While it is possible to have different religious beliefs, it helps if there is some sort of connection between the two. Here is a list of common red flags that everyone is familiar with:

1.) Jealousy: This is an evil form of insecurity. It ruins relationships and divides entire communities. When someone has a problem with another person in your life, be aware of how this affects you. Unfortunately, you may be forced to choose sides. I can say that I have always chosen in favor of the person that was present first. 9 out of 10 times, the new person is the true issue.

2.) Neediness: When an individual expects you to be at their beck and call 24hrs a day, regardless of your work, bathroom, or sleep requirements, you need to put a great space in between the two of you. A human being is allowed to be without their significant other during various periods during the day. You are not responsible for the needs of another adult that is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.

3.) Tantrums: People that throw adult sized tantrums whenever they do not get exactly what they want from you, should be left in their crib to knock themselves out.

4.) Excuses: Recognize when you are not a priority. When someone says to you, “I was not able to call you back because I was walking my dogs…..”, do not call that person anymore. “Let me think about it” is another phrase that is used to waste your time.

This list is small but speaks volumes. Sometimes, it is better to stay home on a Friday night and watch Netflix vs. dealing with individuals that do not know what they want and should truly be in therapy vs. any social arena.

WEDDING VS. MARRIAGE: WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT?

White bridal dress. Tears. Runner. Bridal Party. String quartet. Cake. Family. Unity candle. These are some of the things that come to mind when I think about a wedding. I have seen more than my fair share of them in my day. There are the million dollar affairs where the wedding coordination team operates everything like a military unit down to the two people that show up in a chapel in jeans. Different strokes for different folks. However, one question always pops in my mind. Is it a wedding that is desired or a marriage?

The typical wedding puts the bride in the spotlight. Yes, families come together to celebrate their union through love and presents are bestowed upon the happy couple. Although the groom may begin the whole production by proposing, it is the bride that is given the most attention on that day. She is kept hidden and fussed over which sometimes causes emotions to run out of control. Many a bride is allowed to make unreasonable demands which then turns everyone into a ranting raving lunatic until some brave soul is able to control the situation. No one wants an unhappy bride thus people prance around to please her: hair stylist, make-up artist, nail tech etc. Oh the stares of the lovely lady in virginal white. The dress costs a fortune, and she has been on a diet for years. Let us not leave out the sign of the times: the moment she changes her relationship status from engaged to married.

The tossing of the bridal bouquet is taken quite seriously in many circles. Sometimes, women are not as nice to each other while leaping through the air to catch the floral symbol of you are next to wed. What is the rush? Could it be the old standby of the biological clock is ticking? Is it the assumption that we are suppossed to be married by some magical number? Where did all of this originate?

As the divorce rate looms out of control, one wonders if people are truly paying attention to the officiant during the ceremony. It is normally said aloud that marriage isn’t a union which should be entered into lightly. Careful thought should be put into the joining of hands. Now, is it the joining of hands that gets the careful thought or the execution of the large production to please people that will not be present during the first fight? Oh, I am just getting started with this one.

If a woman chooses to keep her last name, she is often chastised for being too modern. The whispers of disapproval begin at the cocktail hour. “You take the last name of your husband to honor him…”. As my eyes roll in utter disgust, I think that that a man should be honored to have you as his wife and shouldn’t care if you choose to keep your last name. My mind reflects on what a colorful sociology professor said during my undergrad years…”I have been married three times and each time, I kept my last name. He married me. He did not adopt me.” A woman may choose to keep her last name as a tie to her origin, her ancestral line, her own identity. She may even answer to Mrs. so and so but keep her maiden name on documents. Maiden name…as if she is Rapunzel or something….

Perhaps there is something to be said about a woman choosing to marry another woman. There are so many debates over this, and its an issue that remains on the legal table. However, when it boils down to the very last grain of rice, why is there an issue with two human beings loving each other and choosing to declare their love publicly? Isn’t that the so called dream? To walk down that aisle in that expensive dress that you get to wear once? Isn’t this the slice of the pie that we are trained to want with all our heart and soul?

People actually begin to wonder about a woman if she is not married by a certain age. She must be a cat person. Workaholic. The inevitable opinions start to swarm freely. You should get out more. I want some wedding cake. Oh, you are too picky. Do you still like men? Don’t you want to give your parents grandchildren before they die? Ah, yes that is the answer: rush into a parenting situation in order to please people before their mortality runs out. Why is the guilt trip necessary?

There are women that choose to marry themselves until further notice. This may be a compromise of sorts. People get to attend a wedding atmosphere and eat cake. Mom can see you walk down the aisle in that white dress and everyone is happy. You do not wake up the next morning realizing that this person is yours for the remainder of your lifetime on earth. Here comes my point.

A wedding is a party that has been blown out of proportion by a billion dolloar industry. When two people fall in love and decide to be together, that is a connection that is celebrated by the two of them. Nothing else is truly necessary. Of course, most want to include their families and close friends but at the end of the day, its about the relationship between the couple. That vision sometimes gets lost among the open bars and photo booths.

If you want a party, have it. You can even have a theme or a coordinator. Invite all your friends and be the life of it all. However, if you want to get married, put the relationship before the pomp and circumstance. It is important. If you invite me, I will attend and have a glass of champagne. Maybe, a dance or two and definetely a slice of the cake.

THE OLIVE PART II: IT CONTINUES TO ROLL

TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012

It was five minutes prior to the Happy Hour potluck on a Friday evening when we were informed that one of the guests would not be in attendance.  Everyone present already knew why without asking.  One rogue guest texted back asking what was the name of the guy.  The response confirmed that we had been tossed away at the last minute for a date.  There wasn’t even the courtesy of clear communication.

Relationships are important.  They often teach us valuable lessons about life and ourselves.  What is the lesson when a woman allows a man to control her time including her bonding with her friends?  Get comfortable.  I will even give you a minute to get some snacks.  If anyone is getting popcorn, please share with me.

There can be many reasons for such enabling: little to no self esteem, body image issues, extreme fear, loneliness, and the list continues.  However, it is hard for one to seek assistance for such problems if denial is present or doesn’t desire true change.  A person can want change, but it does not happen without a true dedication on the part of the individual.  It requires a large amount of effort that many are not prepared to execute which then gives birth to creative excuses.  It is often easier to remain in an unhealthy pattern inside a cage with an open door.  I will use the example of weight loss.

Client # One

She approaches her fitness trainer.  “Can we schedule my privates for this month? I want to make sure that I can have them in between my normal classes so that I can maximize upon my endurance.  Also, do you have any handouts on nutrition? I started cooking more often and want to understand what I should be eating…”.

Client # Two

This client is “friends” with the first client and sees her success and is jealous of it.  She wants to have the weight drop off too but realizes what it would truly take to make that happen.  This is how she approaches the instructor.  “I want to schedule privates with you.  How much are they? Yes, I know that I asked you this three times last week but wanted to make sure.  I wouldn’t mind losing weight, but this is so much work.  I would rather go shopping for more clothes or go to dinner.  The class is a full hour?  I do not know.  I will get back to you….”(and of course never does)

I do not feel the need to elaborate on this scenario any further.  It speaks for itself.

Many of the mentioned issues that we face could be eliminated or at least worked on if we could come together and discuss them; yes, in the sacred circle.  The circle is connected and supported on all sides.  Women used to do this as a regular practice long ago. We supported each other openly which made our journey easier.  We were not isolated or left to feel overwhelmed.  We spoke our hearts and minds together in a safe sisterly environment.  Sincere conversation about ourselves could go a long way to find solutions or at least to begin the healing process.  We used to be sisters.  We used to take care of each other.  We used to have the wise women that served as our elders.  They were called upon to advise us in good times and bad.  Women still have these practices today but they need to be exploded on a grand scale.

 

A lot has happened to divide us and to keep us divided.  Many of you work tirelessly to help your sisters to heal themselves and the world.  These efforts must intensify in order for us to realize our true natural selves.  We have god given gifts that have been run into the ground and cast aside as evil or bizarre when in truth those gifts connect us to ourselves, to our spirit, to our universe.  We are natural born healers.  How is it possible for so many beautiful women with amazing talents to just end up at the bottom of their own lists? Women are important, and women need to know that, own the knowledge, and live in it.  The woman brings forth life into the universe.  The capabilities of a woman are endless, and they amaze me daily.  Let us stand together and embrace those that have yet to hear this message.  It starts with one desire, one voice, one thought of change.  My desire for this feminine unity brought me to this blog.  What will your desire bring you to do? Organize a festival, create a circle, maybe even compose a song or make a phone call.  Whatever it is…we can do this together. My candle is lit, and I am passing you a match.

THE OLIVE

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I have shared it several times before and here it is again.  Women should buy olives.  Yes, I realize that you are wondering where I am going with this but watch as this one unfolds.

When I was in college, I had a friend named Maggie(name has been changed for privacy).  We hung out quite often. One day, she told me that she met a guy. They went out on a couple of dates. Being the naïve college student, I had no idea that I wouldn’t see Maggie anymore. She completely vanished. A few years after that, I was enrolled in my area of concentration. By the end of the term, one girl announced that she was leaving college to get married. This decision baffled me because I didn’t understand why she couldn’t get married and finish her degree. I did not understand why her education was being tossed away so carelessly; however, it was a large beautiful ring.

After I began working, I acquired an associate that was a peculiar individual. She had her acrylic nails worked on each week and loved to gamble. I was really friends with her sister and they were a package deal; this situation made for many entertaining moments. One day, I was telling her how I had just purchased different types of olives and was excited about serving them. She responded with, “Oh, I love olives, but I never buy them because my boyfriend doesn’t like them…”. A look of confusion presented itself on my face. Normally with this particular individual, I allowed such nonsense to go unchallenged by my thoughts, but this was too much for me to stomach. “You do not buy olives because your boyfriend doesn’t eat them?” She slowly admitted her folly, and we continued with other topics of the day. However, this olive scenario has replayed itself over and over again; The complete surrender of a life for the interest of a man.

While attending graduate school, I was given the opportunity to support a local medical scholarship by attending a brunch at a seafood restaurant. The invite came from a business associate whom also insisted that I bring a friend.  Well, I invited this same peculiar individual; my mistake. She was quite excited when I told her about the invitation which indicated that she wanted to attend. When I asked her if she would like to accompany me, her response was,…”Oh well, I don’t know because my boyfriend has a race that day…”. I am assuming that I was supposed to conclude that she had to be with him; however, I would have preferred a very clear yes or no. I responded that since she was busy, I would invite someone else. She agreed that another person should accompany me. Why did she then turn around and tell her sister that she was upset that I went with another person? Wait, allow me.

You chose to cling to your boyfriend instead of doing what you really wanted and also expected me to settle for something other than my true desire because you did. This foolishness then went to the next level because you voiced your poor feelings to your sister and not me. In truth, that was a wise choice because there would have been a serious issue had this been shared with me directly. (Before you ask, I do not deal with these drama queens anymore.) Unfortunately, similar scenarios play out all the time.

The olive rolls further.  Men have often fallen in love with dancers of the Middle Eastern art form, known as bellydance to many.  Many of those men marry such dancers.  Many still then find themselves asking their wives to give up dancing.  Unfortunately, some of those women have stopped dancing at the request of their husbands which ultimately led to serious problems.  Where does the need to control your beautiful wife come into play?  Why does she have to give up something that makes her happy just to be with a mate?

All of these examples lead to one burning question.  Why do so many women feel the need to lay down their entire lives for the sake of a relationship?  The I do not want to be alone answer is a popular response.  It is a sentiment that is easily understood but at what cost should one pay to be in a relationship?  Some of the best moments of my life have happened when I was all by my lonesome.  I often recommend it for those that voice a need to find themselves.  It is possible to maintain your individuality while being in a relationship.  A mate should not “complete you” because you are enough by yourself.  If you are not, then that should be worked on before adding another person to the recipe.

How to Purchase the Olives(mere suggestions)

1.) Solitude– Spending time by yourself enables the mind to find clarity.  It helps you hear your own voice and figure out what it is telling you.

2.) Journaling– You can make your own journal or buy one that attracts your attention.  I often keep a few at once for different purposes.  How you maintain your journal is entirely up to you.  It can be daily, monthly, or whatever floats your boat.  Maybe you want to write Haikus instead of whole paragraphs.  You can track patterns in your life and observe what lessons you have learned.  You can also see what lessons you have yet to learn.

3.) Hobbies   Is there something that you enjoy doing?  Do you know what you enjoy doing? Maybe there is a dance class that you want to try or perhaps painting is a hidden passion.  Find something that you like and pursue it.  It could be one thing or a few…again make it work for you.  It is important to try new things so that you can find out what you like and what you don’t like.

4.) Travel    Traveling is good because it takes you away from your daily routine and gives you another sense of reality.  If you are able to travel to the other side of the world, that can really take you out of the box and give you a global perspective as opposed to just thinking the world ends in Disney or Key West.  The different cultures can inspire you and bring you refreshing perspective on your own.

5.) Your Thing     You are an individual.  There are ways in which you can handle your bag of tricks that are going to be different from anyone else.  You can create your own plan of execution that uses things that bring you joy and enhances your talents.  Your unique approach to your life can be developed to bring out the best in you.