Most people, especially men, would agree that a good friendship is the basis for a lasting relationship. Ask any man that’s been happily married for more than five years what it is that keeps his marriage alive and you will get the same answer, “She’s my best friend.”
So if all it takes is a friendship to have a lasting relationship, why is it so hard for so many people to have lasting relationships, but so easy to have friendships that span decades. How is a friendship different than a relationship-friendship? Why does it seem that we like our friends in a different way than we like our boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, partners etc.? I don’t know the answer to either of those questions, what I do know is this: There is a big difference between liking someone and loving them, and it’s the like that will keep two people together, not the love.
I know, I know, love conquers all and it can move mountains…but think about it. Do you have family members that you love but absolutely cannot stand being around? You love them but you don’t like them. And trust that a woman in love will accept and be patient with a man that isn’t treating her right, but the minute she stops liking him, it’s over.
Have you ever heard about something bad that happened to an old friend, maybe an ex, and you immediately felt bad for them even though you hadn’t seen or spoken to him or her in years? That’s because youhave love for them, but you’re not in love with them and you wouldn’t necessarily enjoy being around them either—you don’t like them anymore. You can have love, it’s not fleeting and it can be kept for someone forever regardless of whether or not you are with them.
Like on the other hand, comes and goes, but it’s more important than love for a relationship to last. Sometimes love is just simply not enough. For two people to stay together, they have to like each other. They have to like talking to each other, like being around each other, like helping each other, like the sex they have with each other, they have to like the person that the other person is when they’re not together. If love were enough there wouldn’t be so many men cheating on women that they love with a woman they like, but that’s another topic.
Don’t misunderstand me. This is not to say that you either have to love or like someone and that you can’t have both these things in one relationship. You can, that’s the ideal situation. It’s just my humble opinion that liking someone trumps love for a relationship to last.
By the time I got home from class last night I wasn’t able to watch all of President Obama’s State of the Union address. I did catch a lot of clips and I saw the many posts on Facebook and Twitter. People tweeted and re-tweeted that BET should have aired the State of the Union live instead of the popular sitcom, “The Game”. My question is why, because Barack Obama is black? BET is Black Entertainment Television. The State of the Union isn’t necessarily considered entertainment. Would we care about whether or not BET aired a State of the Union address ifJohn McCain had won the election?
While it’s great to see so many of us supporting our leader, if we’re going to be engaged in politics and policy let’s do so because we want to truly make a difference. Or to educate ourselves so we can conduct our lives in a way that is most beneficial to us, not simply because our president is black, mulatto if you want to be specific.
The best way for us to support him is not to only vote for him and to watch his speeches, but by voting in our local and state elections as well. I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and I will be voting for him again this year. However, I also voted for Alex Sink, Kendrik Meek and Frederica Wilson in the 2010 Florida state elections because I want as many Democrats to occupy as many seats as possible to support him.
We don’t know what this year’s election cycle will bring. We must continue to support President Obama and do all that we can to have him serve a second term. Not just to lengthen the legacy of what is undoubtedly a great achievement in African-American history, but to also to show our support for what we believe is right for our country.
What we do know is that Barack Obama will not be our president come January 2017 and his replacement probably won’t be another African-American. Don’t let the conversation end with him. Let’s stay engaged regardless of who are president is and what his or her race may be.
Since the start of 2012, literally beginning on January 1, 2012, my ears listened to more stories about marriage than usual. I spent much of the first day of this year listening to a friend’s reasons for not getting back with his ex-fiancé even though he is still more than madly in love with her. Then, later that day I heard a story from a friend about a man that proposed to his long-time girlfriend over the holidays, not because he was madly in love, but because he felt guilty about being with her for such a long time and not proposing to her and on and on…
The story that made an impression on me came from a total stranger one evening as I sat under the dryer at the salon. I don’t recall how the conversation started but somewhere in the middle of it she told me that she married her husband just last year after being together for eleven years. The hopeless romantic in me smiled widely and quickly said “Congratulations! You must’ve been so happy!” She replied with, “Mmmm,” and rolled her eyes.
Not knowing what to make of her gesture I didn’t say anything else, but she kept talking. She went on to tell me about the many break-ups she and her husband had before getting married, that he had a child with someone else in that time and the countless women that he’s been involved with outside of her and the drama that continues in their marriage. I could see how hurt she was by the expression on her face as she spoke.
I felt bad for her, but I wondered why she had married him after all of that. The only thing that made sense to me was that she married him because to her, marrying him was the prize. Yeah, he caused her a lot of pain but in the end she got the ring. He married her and not any of the other women that he had been involved with, almost like it was a competition to see who he would marry.
Unfortunately, stories like this one aren’t new to me. I’ve heard of and seen other relationship in which a woman is hopelessly and even sometimes unreasonably in love with a man that does her wrong over and over again but she stayed with him in hopes of one day being married to him. Why do women do this? Do we honestly think that marriage will change him or the situation? Even if you do “win” the ring, have you really won anything if he continues to treat you poorly after you’re married? Does being married excuse his behavior? Shouldn’t a woman demand more from the man that she vows to be with in sickness and in health and until death do them part?
To be clear, I do believe that people and situations can change and that a rocky relationship can be turned around to a harmonious one. But generally speaking, have women lost the true meaning of marriage? Were we ever aware of it in the first place? Are we seeking truly happy and healthy relationships based on friendships, love and respect that blossom into long-lasting marriages? Or are we seeking a ring to express to the world that we are desirable? A ring to back up the title of wife, giving a symbolic jab to any other woman that he may have been with, in essence saying, I won.
Drake probably said it best on “Doing it Wrong” when he said “We live in a generation of, not being in love, and not being together, but we sure make it feel like we’re together…” My generation, the so-called Them-Geners (people who were born in the 80s and grew up in the 90s) by author Tim Sanders, an expert in corporate social responsibility. According to Sanders, we are a generation of people who care more about others than we do about ourselves. That may be true in terms of humanity but in relationships a more fitting title would be Me-Geners because in modern-day dating so many of us are concerned only with me, myself and I, so much so that dating rarely turns into an honest, solid relationship.
It starts out great, there’s chemistry, affection, fun, a friendship starts to build then they do something or you do something that changes the course of things. Now one of us has doubts but we’re still not completely over each other so we keep seeing each other, going on dates, sex becomes casual and neither one of us wants to see the other with someone else. You might hold back a little, maybe the other person does too. You’re not officially in a relationship, so where are you? You’re in a place called the gray area, somewhere in between a relationship and bullshit. A place you should never want to be.
You usually don’t know when you’re entering the gray area. By the time you realize that you’re there you might feel like you’ve already invested time and love in the person so it may be worth it to wait it out and see if the situation changes. Meanwhile, you’re creating more memories with the person which makes it harder to move on, wasting more time and your swag starts to move backwards. One of you is holding on to the hope that one day…and that’s lame.
Selfishness dominates in the gray area. One person is in love and the other person wants to keep them there until they decide to commit to the other or they find someone better and they will keep you there as long as you allow them to keep you there. Let me repeat that, they will keep you there as long as you allow them to. Someone that does this is selfish. They’re not thinking about the other person or how that person may feel, their only thought is me. What they want and when and how they want it. When you allow someone to keep you in a gray area, you give them control of your emotions. That’s a step beyond giving yourself to someone in a healthy way. You’ve practically put them on the same level as God.
Some things, such as parking lot pavements, are meant to be gray, relationships are not. You have to both be in it or not, as distinct as black and white. You have to know, and by know I mean know, as in you don’t have to ask. You don’t ask questions about things you already know and relationships shouldn’t be any different. If you don’t know where you stand, you’re setting yourself up for heartache and drama.
It’s been said that Armani dresses the wife and Versace dresses the girlfriend (mistress if you don’t mind). To say that Armani dresses the wife is to say that she is conservative, demure, classy, and even exclusive and that the girlfriend, dressed by Versace is flirty, fun, sexy and most definitely not wife material, the good versus the bad girl. The good girl obviously being “wife material” and the bad girl being eligible for any category from mistress, to friend with benefits, to plain old cut buddy.
Of course there are exceptions to this rule. Courtney Love and Pamela Anderson have been married and it was a racy see-through dress that Kate Middleton, a London party girl at the time, wore down a runway that got the attention of Prince William, eventually gaining her the title of Duchess of Cambridge. But famous people live by a completely different set of rules than us commoners. It is far more likely that a famous or otherwise noteworthy person will be with whomever they please regardless of social norms.
What gives a girl the seemingly permanent title of a “bad girl” on the wrong side of wife material?
The dress that made Kate a British Monarch
Acccording to my recent readings and conversations with men, a woman that is sexy can’t be trusted because she is sure to have a lot of other men after her. Fun girls party a lot, they drink, and maybe even smoke which means that they don’t take care of themselves. Hot women are high maintenance and are usually selfish slobs that you would never want as a mother for your children…And of course, there’s the pride factor. Men want to feel a sense of pride when they’re out with their wife. Pride meaning that she hasn’t slept with anyone they know or are even distantly associated with so her past could be a problem – which is likely the case with a bad girl – and if it is, there’s definitely no future no matter what her present circumstance is. After all, you can’t turn a bad girl good and once a good girl goes bad, she’s gone forever – right? Sorry Jay-Z, you’re wrong.
That is my problem with the whole concept of good and bad girls and the nonsense that is “wife material”. You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife, but women are expected to accept a man’s past and believe that he has changed and can be a good husband/father. In general, it’s acceptable for men to be in a club every night of their life if they want, dress in whichever fashion they want, date and sleep with as many women as they please and then choose a wife when they are ready to settle down. While a woman on the other hand can’t go from a party girl to a wife or be sexy and loyal to a man at the same time in most men’s minds. It is possible for a woman to party hard and see a lot of men in her early years and then outgrow that stage and be ready to settle down later on just like any man. Not every woman was born ready to walk down the aisle, some of us mature to that stage and should be judged only by our present actions, not our clothes or our past.
Shot out to Drake for liking a woman with a future and a past. LOL.
Hoes, gold-diggers—“Some women would rather be a rich man’s slut than a poor man’s queen”– “She only mess with dudes that got money”– either way you put it, this describes a woman that lacks depth and is only concerned with material things and outward appearances, someone that is shallow. In my years of dating I’ve come to realize that some men are just as shallow. The only difference is that it’s not about a woman’s car, salary or home, it’s about her legs, lips and hips.
I used to think a man taking me places meant that he wanted to spend time with me. In my years of dating I’ve come to realize that some men are as shallow as they say women are and that being out with them is sometimes about you making them look better. Don’t ever think that your long hair, clear skin, plump butt and expensive perfume are not welcome around men. They don’t have to give a crap about you to have you in their circle making them look better.
I’ve had conversations with women that were stumped, dazed and confused as to why a man that they were seeing never wanted to really get to know them or spend quality quiet time together, but they had no problem taking them out and having them on their arm. Duh! That’s where the term “Arm Candy” came from. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Just like your dress would look better with those YSL pumps than the Steve Madden shoes you have, he will look better with you than he would without you because you look good.
In today’s society looking good is an asset. A certain rhythm in your step, the way that dress fits your body, how your hair drops and the accessories you choose to wear with that dress make a difference in someone’s impression of you and the man that you’re with. Notice I’m saying looking good–not pretty. Pretty is everywhere, looking good has more to do with the way you carry yourself than anything else and it’s more unique to you as an individual.
If you’re perfectly fine being on his arm and nothing else, more power to you! That works better for some people. But if you’re in this situation and want a relationship, you’re fooling yourself. A relationship in which you see a man only at restaurants, malls, clubs and hotels is not a relationship at all. He’s not losing or feeling anything by your presence, he’s gaining the swag that comes with you. Don’t allow yourself to be used to enhance someone else’s image. Instead, give your time to someone that will make the image you have of yourself better. Candy doesn’t belong on a man’s arm. It belongs covered on the dozen strawberries he has delivered to your office just because he thought it would make you smile.
I hate talking about race, really I do. I’d like to believe that we are all part of one race, the human race and that color doesn’t matter so I try to stay away from racially charged topics or discussions. However, there is one topic that I can’t help having a very strong opinion on and that’s the now widely accepted notion that there is something wrong with black women; that we are undesirable partners because we are all emotionally unstable, bitter and overall unsuitable for marriage.
A friend of mine recently sent me an article from the New York Daily News entitled “Why Black Women are Justifiably Bitter”. The author gives many reasons to justify black women’s bitterness, from the fact that on average, black women make more money than black men to the high incarceration rate of black men to being raised in single parent homes and then becoming single parents themselves etc. I agree with the author’s views, but if these are reasons that justify black women being bitter, it says that black women aren’t only to blame for their bitterness.
There are plenty black men and women that are in happy, healthy relationships or otherwise fulfilled and content with their life, but the majority of black women are lacking something that all women crave whether we realize it or not, and that’s to be loved unconditionally by a man. That love doesn’t necessarily have to come from a boyfriend or husband, it’s supposed to come from your father but if it doesn’t, you’ll be looking for it your entire life either consciously or subconsciously. This lack of love is the root of why so many black women are unhappy and it’s what leads many of us to hold on to relationships long after we should let go. It’s the reason so many of us stay loyal to men that don’t deserve us or even want us, leading to bitterness and baggage.
So what’s wrong with black women? Noting at all! It is perfectly reasonable to feel and behave the way that some of us do based on our circumstances and experiences with men. It seems that society has completely exempted black men from responsibility for the social issues that black women face today. The world seems to think that some of us just woke up one morning with bright and dreamy eyes and said, “I think I’ll be bitter from now, yeah, that’ll get me exactly what I want out of life.”
Where is the black man that was supposed to love us unconditionally? Why do black men have a higher rate of incarceration than any other race leaving black women to deal with what they leave behind when they go to jail? Why are so many black children raised without their fathers leaving black women to play the role of mother and father? Black man, what is wrong with you?
Why do so many black men choose to date outside their race because they just can’t deal with black women’s issues instead of trying to help them heal? Why are so many black men afraid of commitment leaving approximately 70% of black women unwed? Why are black men the most likely of any race to have multiple sex partners leaving black women with the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases of any other group? Black man, what is wrong with you?
Why have so many black men molested and raped their daughters, nieces and grandchildren leaving them with emotional scars before they were even old enough to date? Black man, what is wrong with you?
Okay, so all the pink everywhere won’t let us forget
that it’s still October, which means that it’s still Breast Cancer Awareness
month (I mean that in a good way). At the beginning of the month I ended up
being the listening ear for a friend who was dreading having her first
mammogram. Then, a just a few days after that was over, I was listening to my
boss tell me how shocked she was to learn that an old friend of hers had recently passed away from breast cancer. I started thinking; I would be getting that first mammogram in a few years and what if I ended up with breast cancer? I wanted to speak with someone who had actually experienced it. I wanted someone to tell me what it was like to be diagnosed and survive. I was most appreciative when attorney Camille Coke agreed to talk to me about her experience.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?
Camille: I was 37.
How did you find out? Did you suspect that you had it from a lump in your breast? Or did you just go to the doctor for a regular examination and they found it?
Camille: It was discovered as a result of my first
mammogram. I had scheduled a number of
routine doctor appointments in the summer of 2006 because I was about to leave
a job to start my own business. I
figured I would take advantage of my health insurance benefits and get checked out, since I wasn’t certain how costly things might be once I was on my own. I never expected to learn I had breast cancer during the first (and only) mammogram I ever had. I had fairly dense breasts, which is common for younger women, so I never actually felt any lumps. Ironically, I had a breast exam performed during my pap exam two weeks prior and the nurse practitioner didn’t feel it either apparently.
My primary doctor is a huge advocate for early detection and she had urged me to start going for mammograms when I turned 35. However, I had no family history and I took it for granted that I was relatively young, so I simply put the script in my purse and forgot about scheduling it. After a close girlfriend went for her first mammogram and was told it was suspicious, I scheduled my own immediately. It was a huge shock when my doctor called to inform me that there were small calcifications found in my
films that appeared suspicious.
And what happened after that?
Camille: I was told I had to go back to get enlarged mammogram
views, an ultrasound and a stereotactic (needle) biopsy. I had my breasts virtually smashed like pancakes for the enlarged views. Following that, I submitted to an ultrasound which involved having an ultrasound tech continuously roll a probe over my left breast, which was really uncomfortable! Because the ultrasound revealed some abnormalities, I was told I was going to have to do the biopsy. I was given a local anesthetic and a large needle was stuck into my left breast, while a loud vacuum extracted a small amount of tissue for pathology. The radiologist eventually confirmed I had two small tumors sitting side by side at the 3:00 position, measuring together approximately 2.5 cm. This was not exactly considered a small tumor, but it was not deemed to be huge either. Not long after that, I started a six-month round of chemotherapy.
What was chemotherapy like? Is your body the same as it
was before you went through chemotherapy?
Camille: Let’s just say that even though I had cancer, I never felt sick until I had to do chemo. I was given lots of great anti-emetic drugs that prevent nausea, but there are still so many other side effects that ranged from uncomfortable to tiring to just down-right annoying. I handled the first three months fairly well because I had 4 doses of chemo once every 3 weeks. The last three months involved weekly treatments, and they were the toughest for me because the side effects just seemed relentless. In addition to hair loss, I gained 20 lbs due to the steroids given simultaneously, dealt with insomnia, constipation, severe acne, tender nail beds, swelling of the feet and ankles, runny nose (due to loss of nose hairs), loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, etc. It’s nothing nice. But with a cancer diagnosis, I think most people would agree that you are in a head space that just requires you to do what you have to do to save your life without much complaint. My body is nothing like it was before chemotherapy. I still have a lot of achiness in my joints in the morning, and I’m still battling to lose the last 10 lbs. There are lots of new normals for me now.
You said that cancer doesn’t run in your family. What do you think caused it? Do you think it was just your misfortune, or do you think it was the direct result of something?
Camille: I firmly believe that my cancer was caused by my extensive and continuous use of the birth control pill. There are lots of medical professionals that will discount this theory, but I have strong convictions about it – particularly because I know that hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women has definitely been linked to breast cancer. The birth control pill, in my view, is a similar type of synthetic hormone that can’t be good for your body, if used extensively. There was also a study by the Mayo Clinic that came out soon after I was diagnosed. After surveying a number of breast cancer studies, they concluded that women who had long-term use of the birth control pill, who were over the age of 30, and who had never had a full-term pregnancy were at a 44% higher risk for developing breast cancer over baseline.
A new study from the
Mayo Clinic has concluded that there is “a measurable and statistically
significant” connection between the pill and pre-menopausal breast cancer,
re-enforcing the recent classification of oral contraceptives as Type 1
The study found that the risk association was 44 percent over baseline among women who had been pregnant who took oral contraceptives prior to their first full-term pregnancy has been, to a large degree, ignored by many media organizations.
The report, “Oral Contraceptive use as a Risk Factor for Pre-menopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis,” was authored by Dr. Chris Kahlenborn of the Altoona,
Pa., Hospital’s internal medicine department and others. Kahlenborn said the
results mean that, following standards of informed consent, “women must be
apprised of the potential risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer prior to
commencing drug use.”
The study, which is available online through the Mayo Clinic or at the Polycarp Research Institute, is a meta-analysis of that sometimes-fatal link.
Dr. Kahlenborn focused on the younger, pre-menopausal women who had been on the pill before having their first child. He found 21 of 23 studies showed a connection between the pill and cancer, something that certainly should be alarming women.
What do you suppose got you through? Of course doctors
did an excellent job in saving you, but what helped you to cope mentally?
Camille: I went through all the stages of grief very quickly;
shock, anger, denial…I surprised myself by how easily I was able to move into a
pure state of acceptance. I figured if I didn’t inherit this, then I knew this
experience was designed to teach me something spiritually. I had incredible support from my family and friends and I found a great support group online at www.youngsurvival.org. There I read encouraging stories posted by some amazing women detailing their experiences with breast cancer and it helped me to fight.
Are you ever afraid that the cancer isn’t really gone? Is
there a time frame that the doctor’s give you, something that happens…?
Camille: There was a time, mostly during my treatment, when I thought about cancer every single day. It made me sad that it was always on my mind, and I wondered if I would continue to think about it every day. However, I’m now more than five years out from my diagnosis which is a fairly good prognosis or benchmark for a non-recurrence. I know I had a wonderful team of doctors who did everything to save me, including my oncologist who insisted on chemotherapy and the use of a highly effective drug called Herceptin. I also took Tamoxifen for three years which further helps to reduce the risk of recurrence.
So I wouldn’t say that I suffer from any real anxiety about a recurrence anymore. Perhaps it’s due to my faith which has brought me through so many challenges and obstacles, or it could just be that denial is my best coping mechanism at times. Generally, I don’t worry about things until I HAVE to worry about them. Ultimately, I never truly believed in my heart of hearts that I was going to die from breast cancer. I knew cancer was serious and that it could kill, but I seemed to always believe that I would beat it and that the experience would serve a spiritual purpose in some way. I know my treatment was aggressive, and I now try to take care of myself with a healthy diet and exercise. But it’s still important to say there are no absolutes with this dreadful disease, and we still don’t know enough about all the genetic and environmental factors that may play a role in the outcome. There are lots of women who were just as aggressive as me in their treatment (and even more so) who still lost their lives. That is a painful reality and we must continue supporting research and searching for the cure.
I love October! I can’t help but notice that the sun just seems to shine a little brighter in October, at least in South Florida. Another thing that’s sure to be noticed in October is the pink ribbons on billboards, water bottles and even egg shells. Yes, it’s breast cancer awareness month.
Along with the pink ribbons I see every year I also hear see the name Susan G. Komen or Komen for the Cure. I started to wonder, who is Susan G. Komen? I did a little research and found…
Susan G. Goodman was born on October 31, 1943 in Peoria, Illinois. She was a popular girl in her neighborhood. The high school homecoming queen and college beauty queen married her college sweetheart Stan Komen. She was very close to her younger sister Nancy, who describes her as the perfect older sister.
After noticing a lump in her breast, Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33. Uneducated about cancer, Susan didn’t immediately seek treatment from a cancer specialist and decided to let her family doctor treat her for the life threatening disease. The family doctor eventually called in a surgeon. Adamant against a mastectomy, Susan decided to have a subcutaneous mastectomy, a procedure in which the outside of the breast is left intact but an incision is made and the breast tissue is removed. Susan was told that she was cured after the procedure, however less than six months later, another lump appeared under her arm. The cancer had spread to her lung. At that point, Susan began fighting for her life.
A major turning point in Susan’s struggle for survival came from then first lady Mrs. Betty Ford, who in 1978 got a mastectomy and successfully overcame breast cancer. Susan became more aggressive in her fight and began chemotherapy. Throughout her treatments and hospital stays, Susan wasn’t happy with the aesthetics of the waiting room. The walls were bare are and the chairs were uncomfortable. She told Nancy that she wanted to do something to make the waiting area more comfortable for women that had to be there. She also asked her sister to do something to speed up the research process and Nancy promised her that she would.
After nine operations, three courses of chemotherapy and radiation, Susan G. Komen lost her battle with breast cancer. She passed away on August 4, 1980. Nancy Brinker kept her promise to her sister and founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 1982, which grew to become the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Since its inception, the non-profit has raised over $1.9 billion for research, education, and health services, making it the largest breast cancer charity in the world.