Extroverted Introvert. Are You One of Us?

After reading the title, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “is there such a thing?” Well, yes. Yes, there is. Most people think extroversion and introversion are either/or types of things. They aren’t. There are millions of people out there who actually identify with both. I’m one of them, believe it or not.

Upon our initial meeting (depending on the day and situation) you’d automatically assume I am nothing, but an extrovert because that’s the side of me that gets the most attention. I like to talk – especially about thoughts and feelings, I’m outgoing, I’m a socializer. But not all the time. Not even most of the time. There are lots of days when I just want to climb under my bed and listen to some music – alone. And it’s not that anything is wrong, but a sista just needs her time away from everyone every now and then. If you are the friend of an extroverted introvert, I’d like to apologize for them in advance. Sometimes we can be looked at as kind of wishy-washy because of how often things change with us. But please understand, if we like you, we REALLY like you. So be patient.

To relieve you of some confusion, here are a few things us extroverted introverts would like you to know.

– Responding to texts is a personal battle we fight with ourselves almost constantly. The extrovert wants to reply immediately, but sometimes the introvert doesn’t want to talk at all. It’s like playing double dutch with yourself.

– We’re open to meeting your new friends, if you give us a heads up beforehand. We’ve gotta mentally prepare for those types of things. We’ll happily chat with your friends, family members, pets, etc., but when that’s over – SILENCE! I know you’re saying, “what’s the big deal? Say hello, introduce yourself and go from there like you always do.” It’s not always that easy, my friend. We can definitely adapt, but…..you know. Just trust me on this one, ok?

– Because we’re outgoing and particular at the same time, a lot of us end up being leaders. Just please don’t give us too much praise. It gets awkward for us. We struggle between wanting to be noticed for our hard work and wanting to remain in the shadows. When people start ranting and raving about how great we are, the entire time we’re thinking, “you really think that of me? No way. Liar!” The extrovert in us will never allow anyone to see the remnants of those thoughts on our faces though.

– We like hanging out one on one better than in groups. That’s all I have to say about that. It’s just the way it is lol.

– It is haaarrrdd to get us out of the house. Sometimes we need some coercing. Again, it’s not that we don’t want to hang out, we’re just thinking, “what if it’s boring? What if I can’t find anything to wear because I’m so ill-prepared? I could be chillin’ at home reading a book or something.” We often get upset with ourselves during these times because we tend to feel like we’re letting our friends down. But when we do get out, we typically have lots of fun.

– We hate small talk. If we’re actually talking to you, the conversation needs to have substance. We wanna get to know you – or at least something meaningful about you. We live in our heads, so our thoughts are constantly running and we’re analyzing everything. We can’t help it.

Hopefully, this has brought on some understanding for your extroverted introvert friends. Ya’ll be blessed!

#TeamAmbivert

 

Dark & lovely; no one above thee. β€οΈπŸ–€πŸ’š

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Dark Skinned Thang

Kousins, how y’all doin’? Y’all alright? Cool.

I have been going back and forth with the thought of publishing this blog for some time now. And today is the day. We’re finally gonna talk about the dark skin struggle.

When I think of all the dark skinned people I know, I think of how regularly they (we) are excluded, insulted, mistreated. Men, women and even children. Sometimes discreetly – sometimes not. And in the midst of all that, we are somehow supposed to love the skin we’re in. That has proven to be a difficult task for many of us. I mean, c’mon… Growing up, all a lot of us heard, all day long, were black jokes. “You so black…,” “African booty scratcher…,” “Go outside in the heat?! Nuh uh, I’m not tryin’ to get black!” And so on and so forth. Imagine the kind of psychological track that puts a child on in life. I will say, in my case, I was very lucky because I had good parents and a good family and that provided the basis for seeing myself as I do now.

Unfortunately, some of my friends were not as lucky as I. Every time the conversation of dark skin struggles comes up, the emotional strain encompasses every person within earshot. Just hearing that some of my friends have hated their complexions for more than half of their lives is downright sickening. Now don’t get me wrong, black people of all shades and hues have their struggles with being black in this world – but these dark skin struggles are on another level, honey! Us darker complected folk are tired of hearing about how you don’t date dark skinned people…or how you think we’re being sensitive when you give unwarrated ass suggestions on what colors we should or shouldn’t wear. Cut it!

But I believe the “paper bag” theory, which separated the black race further, has a lot to do with the struggles we deal with still today. Blacks who were lighter than the brown paper bag were able to work in the house and received β€œbetter” treatment than the other slaves. As a result of this, and many other things, darker skin was looked at as bad and less attractive. Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865. But 150+ years post-slavery, young black men and women continue to carry the weight of feeling unloved and not beautiful simply because of the variance in their brown skin.

So, the next time you’re gearing up to remind someone about how you don’t usually date dark skinned people or how they’re cute to be dark, remember there are no limitations or exceptions attached to compliments. Either it is or it isn’t. And if it isn’t, keep that shit to yourself!

– Dark & lovely; no one above thee. β€οΈπŸ–€πŸ’š


 

Remarried Dads Obligations to Their Stepmom Wives

Hey there, kousins! If there’s anything I’ve learned in the many years I’ve shared with my husband, it’s that raising kids is HARD! Kids need love and attention all the time, but they also need dinner, help with homework, a bath and sometimes some discipline all before bedtime. It’s endless. 

What’s even harder is being a stepmom. A little over two years ago, my husband’s son (nine years old at the time) came to live with us full time and to be completely honest….I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Now, don’t get me wrong. He’s not at all a bad child. I just hadn’t realized how much of my personal life I’d be sacrificing as a stepmom. Even as much as putting my personal motherhood plans on hold for my stepson’s benefit. 

But even without these complications, stepping into a pre-existing family condition as a stepmom is still an awkward fit for any new spouse. All too often, the stepmom is being told that she isn’t a parent. Especially if she’s a childless stepmom, such as myself. However, I quickly learned, that statement is completely false. She may not be the biological parent, but she is definitely a parent. She donates considerable time, space, attention, resources and family income to people from another life. A life she had nothing to do with. Not only has she willingly opened her private life to the one she loves, but she has allowed it to be invaded by needy, willful attachments with whom she has no biological, legal or dependent connection. And what does she get for all her trouble? Probably not as much as she deserves. 

This is not to say that stepmoms are miserable. Often they dearly love the children brought into their lives. But to be honest, her wants and needs are too frequently overshadowed by those of the children and her husband. So throughout my experience being a stepmom, I have identified a few things dads with children owe their stepmom wives. 

  1. Time – Children take up a lot of your time. Be sure that their needs and extra curricular activities don’t suck up too much of your one-on-one time with your wife. 
  2. Compassion – Compassion means understanding that your children’s funny, joyous and wonderfully curious personalities are brought into your wife’s world right along with their temper tantrums, dirty dishes and incessant noise. Know that your wife pays a price for devoting herself to you. Make sure she gets a return on her investment.
  3. Patience – There will be lots of times when your wife is understanding and willing to sacrifice. Then there will be those times when she’s impatient and deeply frustrated. Be patient with her during these times. Allow her to express herself truthfully without judgment. Remember, she is still human.
  4. Empathy – Being a stepmom is not an easy job. Whether you know it or not, the way your wife handles any situation involving your children is being judged and graded 24/7. When/if a biological parent becomes frustrated with a child, it’s summed up to parenting being hard. When/if a stepparent becomes frustrated, they’re almost always accused of not liking the child. Be mindful. Empathize. 
  5. Commitment – So many couples let parenthood absorb and deflate their marriages, wounding and sometimes killing it. The ring on your finger says nothing about children and everything about the vow you made to God and your spouse. Regardless of the status of your dadhood, your wife deserves a partner who is unequivocally committed to your marriage. So do you, for that matter. Being committed means doing everything you can to protect and preserve your marriage – not remain the good guy in your children’s lives. 

The Day I Lost My Friend

Friendships are like marriages. Some evolve to become mutually supportive and life-giving bonds, while others grow more and more unhealthy, or even toxic over time. Then there are those friendships that end and you have no clue why. When a friendship ends – abruptly or subtly; via email, phone conversation or personal confrontation; with words or with silence – I believe it needs to be processed in a similar, if not the same way, as a terminated marriage. Because, even if the split was inevitable or not, it still hurts. 

Let me tell you about the day I lost my friend……

So, this particular friend, we’ll call her Tanya. Tanya and I have been friends for many, many years. Our families have history. We grew together from little girls to grown women, watched each other achieve goals, make mistakes, go to college, date around, get married, everything. I mean, the love was definitely real in our case. And on my part, it still is. But as you grow in life, you tend to realize that not all things remain the same. This being one of those things.

Anyhow, growing up, Tanya had it pretty rough. Family life for her wasn’t that sweet, but what I always admired about her was the fact that she rarely ever let it steal her smile. The laughter we shared is absolutely immeasurable, but there was also a side of Tanya that I hated. A side of her that I tried to come to grips with for years, but never understood. You see, Tanya had a thing for men who treated her like trash.  They didn’t put their hands on her or anything (as far as I know), but they didn’t respect her. In my opinion, the reason behind it was because she didn’t demand that respect from them, nor did she respect herself in some instances. In the beginning, she’d claim to want to find love and settle down. But that’d soon change once sex was introduced.

The moment she gave up the goods, she’d be soooo into them, but the guys would begin to treat her like all the rest. Booty call type stuff. Only calling or coming by to have sex. Nothing real. No substance. Strictly physical. When all the while, she’s falling in love. Pretending to be ok with ‘only getting the dick.’ Crying herself to sleep at times. Depressed. Confused. Alone. 

Seeing Tanya go through this time and time again started to really hurt my feelings. It started making me wonder why she felt like she had to give so much of herself in order for a man to want her. So I’d explain to her that what she was doing wasn’t a good look and from what I could tell, she wasn’t making a good name for herself. One day, years ago, Tanya responded to my attempts to get through to her. Her response was, everyone can’t have long-lasting relationships like you, Ebony!”  I didn’t know what to say. I was………speechless. Not because I hadn’t thought of it that way, but because of the way she said it. It was almost as if she was upset with me for having a successful relationship. How do you respond to something like that? 

Fast-forward a few years. I’d gotten married and relocated. Tanya and I would talk on a regular. Not everyday, but at least twice a month. One day while lying in bed with my husband, I told him that I was feeling like Tanya and I didn’t have much in common anymore. My life had gone in one direction and hers in another. Not in a bad way, just opposite directions. What interested her no longer piqued my interest and vice versa. My husband assured me that everything was ok; things like this happen in life. No biggie. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling. For the most part, every time we spoke, it’d be about one of two things. Her sexcapades/men or we’d reminisce about old times. DASSIT! Nothing new. 

So one day she told me about this new guy she was dealing with. She’d literally met this guy less than a week before she told me about him……and she’d already had sex with him. Multiple times. Now I’m not one to dictate what another grown person should do with their body, but for me, that’s waaaaayy too soon. Anyhow, it turns out I knew this guy. A family member of mine has a child with him. To make a long story short, he ended up using and dogging her out as well. So I asked….“Tanya, why is it that when your female friends make you upset, you completely cut them off? But when a guy treats you like shit, you try your hardest to repair the damage when it’s clear he doesn’t give a fuck?” There was this awkward silence for about three seconds and then she chuckled and said, “I really don’t know.” At that point, I knew what it was, so I didn’t press her any further. 

Shortly after that conversation, the guy gets locked up. Of course, Tanya being the supportive partner (or whatever her title was) that she is, she was there for him every step of the way, despite being treated poorly when he was free. Well, one day I get a call from Tanya. Clearly, she’s sad about this situation and needs someone to talk to, so I’m there for her. No problem. She expressed to me how upset she was about him being locked up again and how bad she feels for him. Honestly, I didn’t have any sympathy for the guy because his actions got him locked up. No one else’s. But at that moment, my job was to lend an ear to a friend in need, so I allowed her to vent. As the conversation went on, Tanya stated that my family member (who has the baby by Tanya’s new guy) was jealous of the fact that the guy had moved on and no longer wanted her. She also said that this particular member of my family was putting on a front for me, by acting like she really didn’t care that Tanya was with her baby’s daddy. So I asked Tanya, why would she front for me? She’s known me all my life, what do I care if she still has feelings for him or not?”  Why in the world did I ask that question? Tanya came back at me with the attitude of a single mother who’s paycheck was short. She raised her voice, accused me of never believing her, always taking other people’s side…..blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH! Before losing my cool, I tried to explain to Tanya that I was simply asking why she felt fronting would be necessary on my family member’s part. It wasn’t that I was discrediting what she felt. Well, that didn’t work either. She was still mad. 

So after a few more seconds of her raising her voice at me, I lost it. Now prior to this conversation starting, I’d told Tanya, as her friend, I was going to lend her a listening ear, but I’d rather not get caught in the middle. Anyhow, I went off on her and ended the call. The next day, I texted Tanya telling her that I really didn’t want to fight with my friend over something that has absolutely nothing to do with me. I also apologized for losing my temper and hanging up the phone in her face. Tanya’s response to my heartfelt message was, “it’s all good.” I figured she was still upset, so I let her breathe. The next time I looked up, two months had passed and I hadn’t heard anything from Tanya. So, I decided to reach out. 

I sent her a message asking if she still considered us friends because it was way out of the norm not to hear from her at all. Her response to me at that point was, “if you wanna be friends, that’s cool…..if not, that’s cool too.” After 30 years of friendship, that seemed really harsh to me. I attempted to explain to her, to no avail, why I questioned the friendship. Things got worse and worse. Eventually, I decided to let the friendship die. I removed Tanya’s ability to contact me and moved on with my life. That all happened about a year ago. 

I say all of that to say this. Friendships change all the time and it’s ok. What’s also ok is to let a friendship die if it is no longer beneficial to all parties. The love I have in my heart for Tanya will never change. I have mourned the loss of that friendship and I can honestly say that I am ok with not being apart of each other’s lives. God puts some people in your life for a season. There is absolutely no point in you constantly trying to spray paint the fall leaves green when the season for those leaves has changed. 

Dark & Lovely; no one above thee. πŸ–€

It’s Not You, It’s What You Represent (part one)

From the moment a couple finds out they’re expecting, the flood gates open up with people and their stories of how difficult parenting really is. Stories about how much work it takes to bring up a child the right way. Although most of us don’t plan on the relationship with our children’s other parent ending, in a lot of cases, it does. And most of the time, your ex moves on and gets into a relationship or marriage with someone new. Suddenly, you’re left with the thought of your child possibly being largely influenced by, what sometimes is, a complete and total stranger; a stepparent. At that moment, all sorts of questions start rushing through your head. Will this person like my child? Will they have my child’s best interest at heart? Can I trust this person? And lots of times, for one reason or another, the bio parent comes to the conclusion that they don’t like this new stepparent at all. On the flip side, your ex’s new love interest has a few questions of his/her own. Why doesn’t he/she like me? Why won’t he/she give me a chance? I haven’t done anything to him/her. 

Because these questions come up so often, and so many of them have gone unanswered for several years, I’ve come up with a list of possible reasons your step child’s bio parent might not think too fondly of you.

1. You actually did something to make him/her dislike you. – Take a long, hard look at yourself; your behaviors and motivations. Look deep into your situation and see how you could be contributing to the high-conflict dynamic.

2. He/she may have unresolved grief about their break up/divorce. – For quite some time, he/she was able to somewhat ignore the hurtful feelings that accompany a break up. Now that you’ve arrived, he/she suddenly has to face the music. It’s really over. He/she may even be remarried, but never actually grieved the loss of their marriage and family. With you being in the picture, all of that changes. God forbid they haven’t moved on yet. Them seeing their ex being a better man/woman for you can cause them to feel unworthy. Then they begin asking themselves, “Why wasn’t I good enough? Why couldn’t I keep my family together? What’s wrong with me?” The fear that their child may be ruined due to their failed relationship is also a very strong possibility.
3. He/she may be afraid of their kids loving another man/woman – Although, in my opinion, this is irrational as hell, it’s a legitimate fear for some parents. They think that the stepparent is somehow going to be so cool that their child will lose every ounce of love they’ve ever had for them and pass it along. 

4. He/she may think you’re overstepping your boundaries. – This might include: posting photos on social media, taking his/her son to get a haircut, participating in school activities, painting his/her daughters nails similar to yours, calling the child “mine”, responding to messages sent to their ex, etc. Think of any situation under the sun and some bio parents will be offended by your presence. It’s just the way things go sometimes.

5. You may act as a mirror for him/her. – The sight of your strengths may magnify their weaknesses in their eyes. If he/she never thought they were that great of a parent and their child loves to be around you, that insecurity now has 10’s on it. Same could be said for your physical appearance, your age, your intelligence and/or your happy marriage. 

Although there are many reasons why a bio parent could dislike their child’s step parent, we all must remember, everything we do should be in the best interest of the child. They did not ask to be in this situation, so they should not suffer at the hands of bitter, immature, ill-mannered adults. I have learned a plethora of lessons through my experience with step parenting. And after ten years on the job, one of the most comforting lessons I’ve learned is, it might not be me that she hates. It could be the very thing I represent. And I am ok with that. 

– Dark & lovely; no one above thee. ❀️

  

Growing Up Black

“Because I said so!” That there is a universal black mom statement. One that every black child has heard, at least once in their lifetime. Although there are many different parenting styles; there are certain experiences that only black children have while growing up. For example, I was in Target a few weeks ago, looking to purchase some yogurt for my morning snack at work. I’d say, it was about 11:30am on a school day. As I walked to the register to pay for my items, I see three middle school aged boys already standing in line. Two white, one black. My first thought was, “why aren’t these boys in school?”, but I didn’t bother to ask. They walk up to the cashier and one of the boys, who happened to be white, asked the cashier to price one of his items for him. 

*beep* Cashier: “That’ll be $3.69.” πŸ™‚

Boy: “$3.69?!?! Aww HAYO NAH! Wtf?! Y’all got me f****d up! I ain’t payin that much for this!”

By this time, I’m standing in line in complete and total shock! As the young man goes to put the item back on the shelf, he’s steadily cursing and knocking everything in his path, onto the floor. At that point, the shock had worn off and before I knew it, I’d hemmed him up in a corner and explained to him how I’d beat the breaks off of him if he continued with the foolishness. All the while, the black young man was giving me “the look.” You know, that look of immense fear that we have on our faces while our siblings are getting their whoopin and we know we’re up next! Yes, THAT look. To make a long story short, the two  white young men had no clue what that look meant; but us? Yeah, we knew.

For the sake of reminiscing, I’m going to list a few more examples of things that happen while growing up black! 

1. No matter how ill you are, black parents will not let you skip school. “TUH! Stay home from school and work MY nerves all damn day? The devil is a lie. You better take this Robitussin, put some Vicks Vapor Rub on your chest and get in that bed, because you gone be at that schoolhouse come tomorrow morning.” You’re barely clinging to life because you were hit by a car the day before, but your black mama sends you to school anyway. Crutches, body cast, catheter and all. 

2. All black mamas have given the store run speech to their kids in the store parking lot. Short, not so sweet, but straight to the point. *parks car and turns towards the back seat* “Now, we gone go in this store and we comin right back out. DON’T ASK FOR SHIT! Do y’all hear me?!”  Like, do you know how crushing that statement is to a child who only wants a pack of skittles, a ring pop and a Snapple? Omg, it’s devastating.

3. “Come turn my light off and close my door.” πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘ This one used to make me wanna curse my mama ALL the way out……………………in my head. Mama, you for real?! You called me from my friend’s house to come home and turn off your light?! Really? Please note: No black kid was ever bold enough to really show their mom their frustrations surrounding this request. The ones who did, are no longer with us. πŸ˜”πŸ™πŸΎ

4. Back in the good ol’ days, eating out was rare. Our parents cooked our meals from scratch. Although we knew eating fast food wasn’t something that happened on a regular, we’d shoot our shot any time we were feeling lucky. Child: “Mama, can we go to McDonald’s?” Mama: “You got McDonald’s money?!” Child: πŸ˜‘πŸ˜’……as mama drives past McDonald’s. *mumbles* “I can’t stand her.” πŸ™„

5. You’ve had a long day at school and you’ve finally made it home. You throw your backpack on the floor, run to the kitchen to eat your daily fried bologna sandwich. You’re sure to use a paper plate because you don’t feel like washing any dishes today. You finish your after school snack, take your school clothes off and plop down on the couch for a quick breather before starting your homework. Minutes later, you hear mama’s car pull in the driveway. She walks in and the first thing she says is, “Why are AWWWLLLL these dishes in my damn sink?!” You run to the kitchen to see what she’s talking about. There’s ONE butter knife in the sink. πŸ˜‘ 

6. “Move your hand!” That’s all I’m gonna say about that one. We all know what was happening when that was said. 😩

7. Every black family has hundreds of one particular item in their home that they NEVER run out of. This item is used for many, many things. Can you guess what it is? That’s right! You guessed it. Plastic grocery bags! Baby, when I tell you there isn’t a black home that I’ve visited yet that doesn’t have a stash of plastic grocery bags somewhere. I’m so serious. In the pantry, in the kitchen drawer, under the sink, hanging on the back of the door. They’re there! Trust me! 

8. As a little girl, I had a head full of super thick hair that needed to be laid every year for Easter Sunday and/or any fancy event my family attended! Same goes for every other black girl growing up, I’m sure. Unfortunately, being burned by the pressing comb and then being lied to by your mother, claiming “that’s just the grease” was the norm lol. It’s a wonder I still have ears and my scalp still works. 

9. Superstition. NEVER split the pole! It’s bad luck. πŸ˜‘ NEVER let the broom touch someone’s feet. That’s also bad luck. πŸ˜‘NEVER wash clothes on New Year’s Day or you’ll wash someone’s life down the drain. πŸ˜‘ NEVER flush your hair down the toilet because it can be used on voodoo dolls or the birds will get it and it’ll drive you crazy. πŸ˜‘ ALWAYS eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. They bring good luck. πŸ˜‘ *sigh* Smh.

10. “Mrs. Taylor, can I spend the night?” Wheeeeew! If you ever wanted to beg your mama for a whoopin, send your friend in her room to ask if they can spend the night. If she says yes, you better PRAY you have the time of your life during that sleepover because there won’t be any others for a looooong time. Immediately after your mama says yes to your friend, she tells them to send you in her room next. That journey to her room is like walking the green mile. You just KNOW she’s about to tell you to pencil in a beat down after your friend leaves in the morning. Now you’re not even in the mood to have company anymore. Gots to be more careful. 

Growing up black is an experience I wouldn’t change for the world! Although many lessons were learned (some helpful, some pointless) it allowed me to perfect my nonverbal communication skills that I use almost daily with other black people around the world. “The look” and/or the “shaking of the head” that takes place in public amongst all black folks worldwide is nothing short of amazing. Know this. 

– Dark & lovely; no one above thee. ❀️

  

Suicidal Thoughts…

I was always taught that suicide is as ungodly as it gets. That it’s the quickest way to receive a first class ticket to the hottest party there ever was. Hell. And none of us want to spend any amount of time down there. But what if there is a way to get around the eternal suffering with ol’ Satan? Hmm…

I have been having suicidal thoughts lately. I have been thinking about going through with it for quite some time now and I’m finally at the point in my life where I’ve had enough. Some say it’s not the answer. Other people’s lives will be altered. What will my family and friends do when I’m gone? How will they go on? In my mind, they will be much better off. Sure, there will be times when they feel as though things are unbearable. There may even be moments when they think back on times we had together and become very upset with me…….but in the end, they will finally be able to live life freely with very few worries. They’ll be able to wake up with smiles on their faces most mornings. And that sounds perfect to me. Just perfect.  

I have had many, many dreams throughout my life that I allowed to fall by the wayside. Fear, uncertainty and sudden change are a few of the key components that helped kill those dreams. Along with procrastination and lack of self esteem. But the time has come for me to kill the person living inside of me who has allowed that to happen time and time again. That part of me must die, so that a new me can be born. I will no longer allow opportunities to pass me by because of fear. She must go. Tonight. God will be very pleased with this. I am sure of it. As He did not place me on this earth to be average and that is exactly what I have become. I can only ask that The Lord would have it that my family and friends are still proud of me while I transition into this new life. A life of smiles, hard work and financial freedom. The life of a successful, young, black woman. The life of a winner.

Situational suicide. Yes. I couldn’t be more ready. Because when you change your way of thinking, you change your way of living. Use me, Lord. I am yours.

– Dark & lovely; no one above thee. ❀️