Wanting What God Did Not Intend

I have to admit that following the Biblical rules can be very challenging. The bible has very set ideas about right and wrong. It leaves no room for in-between and grey areas. This could be the reason why so many of us struggle with feeling like or have committed sins on a daily basis. When God created us with free-will then proclaimed there was a four wall boundary in which to not cross, it inevitably caused confusion, confliction and stress. Maybe that’s the reason most people spend their Christian journey on their knees either asking for forgiveness or discernment in making the right Godly choices.

My single journey has been filled mostly with my own wants and bucket list. I specifically wanted a single, free, do-what-I-want lifestyle and I got it. All of which have been enjoyable and a source of character growth, identity and self-confidence building. I can say that I am very secure within myself that it would take a 9.5 Richter scale earthquake to cause damage to my foundation.  As I am blessed with 39 years of life, the desire for companionship has crept in albeit very slowly. I have come to a slow conclusion over the last 5 years that there is nothing wrong for me in wanting to share the joys and stress of my life with someone else and in tern be supportive to that person on an intimate level.

I am a self professed commitment phobe. Life can be so much easier when you have only yourself to think about. As I had watched my parents marriage over the years, it had taught me the importance of and hard work required to have a committed relationship. Ironically, it was that realization at a young age that pushed me down the single path. I was not ready to give that much of myself to anyone but me.  In the last few weeks, I have been having some very frank discussions with a male former single playboy now married with family coworker. I had to verbally acknowledge a few things I already knew about myself. It has been disconcerting to hear someone point them out and me verbally admitting to certain things to someone beyond myself. It was not eye opening but more real awareness. I learn so much about myself from people who have the balls to give me such honest feeback.

So, what is it that I want that God did not intent? I want the best of both the single and married world. I absolutely love being single and free to go and do what I wish. I love making last minute decisions about what I want to do for any given weekend. I love planning my life according to my schedule. I love the idea that I can pack and move to another state just because I can. I love the fact that I can choose to eat out or dine in and not worry about another mouth to feed. I love not having to give an accountability as to whether I am going to be late or why I am late. I have my own bed to myself  and my things are just the way I like them. I love the autonomy of being single.

On the other hand, the things I love about the marital benefits include having an available social activity partner to try out a new restaurant or event. I love having company when I don’t feel like being alone. I love the idea of being able to release sexual tension and enjoy sex when desired. I love the idea of having someone concerned if I am late to get home. I love the joys of intimacy, having an available helper, and someone close with whom to share good and bad moments. I love the pleasure of companionship.

See my dilemma? Obviously, those two things are on the opposite end of the biblical spectrum. In order to get the best of both worlds, my lifestyle would have to exist outside what God intended. What would that look like? Sort of like Oprah and Steadman – two single people who have their individual lives but come together as wanted or needed. No marriage, no living together, no sharing personal property but an unconventional nontraditional relationship.

In the Christian world, it is either one or  the other not both. So obviously I have a decision to ponder. Do I stick with the joys of singleness and sacrifice the natural desire for companionship? Do I get over my commitment phobia and learn to share my life fully with a compatible partner? Neither of which are the easier road because they require giving up certain things. Can I be certain that if I find a compatible partner I won’t still yearn for the days when it’s just about me? The issue is I only know about the pleasure of singleness because I have yet to meet anyone who had enough pull to entice me to the marital side. Could it be that I need to find the right guy who can change my view of marriage being a stagnant, limiting, excessively compromising institution? I do not have any answers to these questions so until then the most attractive aspect of single vs married is having the best of both worlds.

People in Relationships Overly Concerned With Singles

In case you did not know and the blog page did not tip you off, I am single actually terminally single. In my opinion that status is neither good nor bad but just is what it is. I feel a certain amount of comfort with that status and I see the green side of the grass as well as the brown side of the grass that comes with being single. So, why is it that couples/people in relationships, whether new or old, seem to have such a difficulty accepting and being comfortable with other’s single status particularly with single women? What is so threatening or frightening about being single? Let me compile a few things I have heard and noticed about couples’ behaviors towards singles.

People in relationships think it is their God given right to “set you up” and get you coupled

People in relationships think that because you are single, then ANY other single person will make the best match for you

People in relationships think your life will be so much happier with someone/anyone

People in relationships suddenly know what’s best for your life

People in relationships “can’t understand why you are single because you are such a nice person”

People in relationships do not think singles will fit in with their family lifestyle and are excluded from social events

People in relationships assume singles are avid partiers and have wild random sex ie. promiscuous

People in relationships think that singles cannot possibly understand when they are having difficulties in their relationships

People in relationships think singles will feel bad/sad/sorry for themselves if they talk about their relationships in your presence; so they avoid sharing anything about their relationships

A person who is in a new/early relationship suddenly think singles will be jealous so they avoid discussing their relationships

People in relationships believe that their relationships are so unique that every single person wants what they have/admire their relationship

People in relationships believe that every conversation with you should center around solving your singleness

People in relationships assume that singles are not working hard enough to end their singleness

People in relationships assume that you cannot be genuinely happy for them in their relationships

People in relationships assume singles cannot be truly contented and are faking it until they find their own relationships

…and so on

The funny thing is if you are a Christian then you know that Jesus and most of his disciples were single. Actually the God-head is single. The reality is there are a lot of singles who are more comfortable as singles than what society wants everyone to believe. Happiness is not about being single or married because misery lives in both camps. What I find very interesting is these behaviors are not just confined to couples who have been together since puberty but new couples pick up those very nasty judgmental and exclusionary habits too.  In my personal experience, I try not to react negatively. However, what some of these couples do not realize is that while I am happy for them I do not want their relationships. NEWSFLASH Your life is NOT that special above my own. The ludicrous concept that my marital status is the only thing that puts me in a one-down position is more of a personal problem for others.

If I am going to be single until the day I die, then so be it. If I am to get married in the future, then so be it. These are all just one aspect of my life. God blessed me with one life to live and I will do the best that I can whether single or married. So, if you happen to be reading this, in a relationship and recognize that you are guilty of being a couple snob, please quit with your BS.

Recognizing the Greatest Blessing is Love

In the last few weeks, I had an inordinate amount of interest in my single status. No, it’s not men flocking to ‘rescue’ me from being single but friends who want to save me from an eternal single life. I guess they think being 39 with minute interest in marriage is not normal. I handled the issue like a pro, which means I did not go crazy and spout the “I am woman and don’t need a man” mantra. :-). I understand their well-meaning intention because all those friends are married. Ironically, one friend who has been married for ages is having issues with connecting to her husband, the 2nd person is new to married life with a toddler, and the 3rd, her husband is out of the country for a few months and she is stressed with their few months old baby.

I had the privilege of taking a week of vacation with a long time friend. While on vacation, not realizing the resort was adults only when booked, I was surrounded by majority couples. Is that a sign or something?! (I say sarcastically). I had a few minor uncomfortable moments when it was just me sitting by myself for the nightly entertainment or on the beach to relax. Nothing like being physically alone amongst strange couples to highlight one’s singleness. This was not my first or will it be the last in such situations; however, those things never deter me from doing anything I want to do. There is a certain amount of strength that comes from being able to enjoy life fully as a single and not constantly fearing what others think about being a party of one.

Small Blessings
Small Blessings

So, I just came back from the vacation with lots of pictures in store and decided to resume my lost hobby of printing all my pictures which are stored digitally (a few years worth) and chronologically placing them in albums. As I am going through organizing pictures which starts from year 2010 and choosing a few for my collage picture frame that sits on my mantle 90% empty, I realize a few important things.

1.  I have done quite a few things in my lifetime. I have travelled in and outside the US and have fun evidence of my adventures

2.  I have made friends where I go. I am an introvert who sometimes have a difficult time connecting with people. However, my pictures show that throughout the years I have developed friendships/relationship with others at different moments in life

3.  I have created some good memories. Memories fade but looking through those pictures reminded me that I had good times with people whose company I enjoyed

4.  Caring is sharing. I was blessed to share my life with people who were and some still are important to me. There are pictures with a few people with whom I no longer have a relationship due to falling out; despite that, I can look at those pictures and remember when the relationship was good

5.  A snippet of my life. Those pictures are snippets of good times in my life. We tend to remember the difficulties rather than the pleasure. Those snippets are reminders of pleasurable moments in my life.

6.  God brings people in and out of my life. We tend to forget the people in our lives when things are difficult. We tend to forget the support that surrounds us. Those pictures remind me of the supports I have had throughout the years and sometimes do not realize it. Most of us want to be martyrs by carrying the weight of the world alone. However, when we step back far enough and pull our heads out of our derrieres, then we realize just how many and who God brings into our lives for support. Plus, we see those with whom God has placed us in their lives.

7.  I should not feel unloved. I know that my single never married no children state will at times be a sore spot for me and particularly for others who are uncomfortable with my unmarried status at my age. Feeling Loved is not exclusive to married or coupled people and singleness does not have the exclusive rights to loneliness. Those pictures are a reminder that I was always loved or cared about by someone somewhere (not that I thought I was not).

8.  Acceptance of me. I have difficult personality traits (which I particularly like about me). I am not easy to get close to, I can be very upfront, and I don’t apologize for me. I truly like me. Those pictures show the handful of people who accept all that about me. I am not afraid to be myself around friends. I value the friends who come in and out of my life which make the relationship more authentic and trustworthy. The right compatible people accept you for who you are not who you pretend to be.

The collage picture frame is complete and sitting on my mantle with images of friends and family taken at different points in my life. In the center of the collage that takes a 9×7.5 picture sits my favourite bible passages 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, 13 – the love chapter. “The greatest of all these is LOVE.” I think we become so wrapped up in the image of love being a husband and wife and forget that God blesses us with love and care from many different people at different point in our lives. I sometimes lose sight of God’s blessings and need to be reminded on occasion with mundane things like organizing years worth of photos in an album.

Grey – The Irrational Fear of Looking Older Than 25

Natural Grey Hair – The beauty critics semi-obsession in which to yet again criticize women and diminish their self-image/esteem. Grey Hair… oh the horror!!!!

It is very obvious that women are held to very different standards than men. Every day it is a new body image issue in which to become obsessed. In the past and present, women have been negatively criticized for an array of things to include wearing pants suits because it’s unfeminine, working women do not make good mothers and devoted wives, too fat, too skinny, we need larger breasts, buns, lips and top them off with a thigh gap (this one still baffles me). Short hair is too butch; on the other hand, long hair on older women is a no-no, curly hair is too wild, being assertive means they are bitches and not being married with children means they are selfish. Surely, there is nothing left to pick at right?

Wrong, now women are told to be ashamed of the natural change in the pigment of their hair. Debunk primary myth: Going grey does not mean getting old because there are many people who are prematurely grey in their young lives. However, due to the stigma of grey hair being equated to “granny,” many women have resorted to spending quite a bit of money and time to choose any hair colour except grey. It’s almost like an irrational fear of women aging past 25.

My grey journey started from birth. I was born with a grey strand in the middle of my head. As I was growing up, people who noticed it either wanted to pluck it out because it signified that I would grey early or they thought it brought luck. Well, the first view was right. I did grey early – started during my mid 20’s when more random strands started popping up. At the age of 39, I have noticeable salt and pepper hair with a cluster of grey hair concentration in the front. I can proudly say that I have joined the Women’s Sexy Silver Fox Club (WSSFC). :-)

While scouring the internet, I noticed that other women have been given negative unsolicited comments about their decision to sport their natural silver; however, I have yet to encounter such impudence. A lesson I learnt long ago was, as a woman, I have to find my strength, develop a strong self-esteem and positive self-image from within instead of depending on validation from others. While I have no issues with women who choose to colour their greys, I do find it sad when some women put themselves through the frequent hide-the-grey torture because they are afraid of what others may think of their natural hair colour. They are afraid that people will think they are “old” and have “let themselves go.” Pure nonsense!

Fear and propaganda are good tools to keep people in line. For me, at 39, I am not old but definitely older and I am in much better physical shape than a number of the people who want to criticize. God gave me one body and I intent to care for it, without fear and loathing, the best way possible with greys and all. The grey hair shaming is nothing more than people who want to instill their own ideas of a woman’s beauty. Sadly, other women lead the way in the shame/fear attacks. If it were up to the objectors, most women would be 25 y/o Stepford wives.

Note: A 75 y/o with jet black hair is as ridiculous a reality as the Kardashian sisters’ derrières are naturally the size of the Goodyear Blimp – you are not fooling anyone but yourself. You are not 25! (for the last 20 years).

The issue with grey hair (and all body criticism) is so much more than the way a woman looks but it hits at the heart of a woman’s identify and self-esteem. Here is the bottom line, if you want to control others, then implant a negative message which will weaken their self-esteem and cause damage to their confidence. Wala!! You will have people susceptible to any and everything. Despite the attempted brainwashing that we grey-haired beauties are unkept hags because of hair pigment, many women of varying ages and races are embracing and joining the WSSFC. They are fighting back with the awareness that being a woman is so much more than appearance. They are bringing the sexy back to silver hair, strengthening their identity, improving self-image and redefining beauty on their terms.

Cheers to the Women’s Sexy Silver Fox Club

39-Year-Old Crisis

As I am writing this, it now seems like a funny experience rather than a crisis. Not long ago in the distant past, I somewhat celebrated my 39th birthday. It was low key like all my birthdays and I do what I typically would do… take the day off from work and scheduled a day worth of activities while getting calls, texts and Facebook birthday well-wishes. However, this morning I woke up (thank God) and had a minor 39 year old crisis. OMG I am 39!!!!! I am getting old(er).

So, I got out of bed, looked in the mirror and thought is this what people of a certain age go through? I don’t look 39-I work out and is trying to stave off any excessive weight gain and I don’t have any wrinkles (thanks parents and decent living). While my mind is not taking the senior citizen route, the age numbers are climbing. I literally feel like a 39-year-old in a much younger body (my mirror could be lying or maybe I have early onset cataracts). Should I start dressing differently – more mature? How about my hair? Should I quit wearing my hair in two braids because I am too lazy to find a good hairstyle? LOL…I can’t help laughing at myself as I write this. As a friend of mine would say, this is a first world problem.

What’s my deal about being 39? Well, it’s about life expectations for career then a distant second for relationships. I know…traditionally as a woman my crisis should be all about my terminally single status. Oh well, I guess I am a little different. I woke up this morning thinking that my career life does not match that of my younger self’s dreams or my current age. I really believe that I should be further along in my career pursuit. I asked myself what exactly have I accomplished in my life? The distorted self-defeating mind would say “not much” but the reality is I have done quite a bit with my life. I actually have some tales to tell and wisdom to pass on.

In terms of my marital status – I can explain why that issue takes second place as a crisis (okay a very mild crisis). As a child, my thoughts were never focused on the marital side of life. It has only been since journeying in my 30’s that marriage and family has even been a blip on my radar. So, my current spinster (can’t get a man pathetic single woman) or bachelorette ( hot sexy choose to be single woman) status only made minor contributions to my crisis because it was never a life long dream/desire. I may have to re-evaluate if I start collecting cats as pets.

Could I spruce up my dating life a bit? Sure! I do acknowledge that as I age gracefully I may encounter a slight snag in the long-term relationship department. Apparently, men of my age are looking for women who are a lot little  younger. So, I should expect to get offers (assuming I will ever fully be ready to transition to a MRS degree) from men who range from age 60 and up who are looking for a ‘younger woman.’ Woo hoo!!!!…. I still have a shot at being called a “young woman.”

As a aged woman in crisis, should I start wearing tube tops (hopefully you are old enough to know what that is) and micro mini skirts? Or should I save that for when I am 49? What exactly should the life of a 39 y/o woman look like? Married with kids? Successful career? Traveling the world?  Being a good Christian at church 5 (okay maybe 2 or 3) days out of the week? Am I below the 39 y/o curve? I thought about it and I really don’t have a good answer.

A 39 y/o woman’s life could range from still living with her parents to being a Goodwill UN Ambassador. While society does place ridiculous boundaries on women’s lives, we put the most pressure on ourselves by believing the b.s. So, God blessed me to wake up this morning but I started the day in the first age related panic of my life. While it only lasted for a brief moment, I could not help but think what is my next step? I cannot say that I am totally thrilled with my current career situation and it is certainly not where I envisioned myself at 39. However, I refuse to fall into hysteria (take that Freud!) and make rash decisions but it has motivated me to start pushing a little harder to reach further for my career or at least job satisfaction and breathe new energy into getting out and enjoying the blessings of being alive for 39 years (thanks God).

Abstinence In A Sexualized World

Surfed the internet lately? If yes, then you may have seen a few headlines relating to sex in the Christian community. First, there was the Duggar’s older son inappropriate sexual touching before he was married, Billy Graham’s grandson’s infidelity in a crumbling marriage, and Bristol Palin announcing her 2nd out-of-wedlock pregnancy despite being a public advocate for abstinence. In the old days, all these visible Christians would have been publicly shamed for the rest of their lives.

The reality is we are all sinners, prone to temptation, and each and every one of us have committed sins and will commit sins in our lives. Welcome to the reason why the Bible talks about redemption. Despite knowing that, I do get a sick pleasure when limelight Christians screw up. Why is that? Because it shows that no one is immune and we need to be careful of our actions when we decide to put ourselves in the forefront as perfect Christian leaders.

Let’s chat about abstinence . First, let me say that I do not believe in abstinence only education. Our society is not set up to re-enforce that concept. Second, abstinence does not address some important biological and situational nuances that typically lead to breaking that vow. Third, abstinence is a difficult practice to maintain especially the more sexually charged you are and the length of your intimate relationship.

I believe there are two kinds of abstinence: one is the letter of the law abstinence and the other is the spirit of the law abstinence. When people talk about abstinence they are referring to no sexual penetration using the male and female sex organs. Therefore, if two people in a relationship never have coitus, then they have fulfilled the letter of the abstinence law. This letter of the abstinence law is very important for virgins and those who want to remain “pure” until marriage. However, the spirit of the abstinence law is very different. This is in reference to ALL sexualized behaviors ie. mutual masturbation, over and under the clothes touching of breast and genitals, anal sex, oral sex, foreplay and everything that stops short of penetration. If Christians should be judge by the spirit of the abstinence law, then a great number would be found guilty.

I applaud the concept of no sex before marriage. It’s a great idea for a number of reasons; however, by the time most couples get to their wedding night they have already engaged in various sexualized behaviors “to take the edge off,” and the only thing left is the grand finale. True abstinence is not an easy feat. Christian couples engage in the same dating style such as spending quality and alone time with their partners. Like all relationships, the two people are instinctively and biologically sexually drawn to each other, and each intimate alone time breaks down the abstinence defenses.

When was the last time you went on a date with a chaperone? Do you always kiss your partner on the cheek with a side hug? When the phone conversation turns intimate do you stop and say “God would not approve because we are not married?” or have you instituted a rule that you don’t talk in the bedroom and not past a certain hour? When was the last time that the most intimate thing you did with your partner was holding hands for longer than 5 minutes?

If true abstinence is to be practiced, then the Christian couple has to become puritanical in every sense of the word. If you cannot do that, then it’s time to have the talk (You should have had this talk already if you decided to be in a long-term relationship). The talk should involve what to do if you can’t wait or the it-just-happened moment. It’s time to have the real sex talk and not the ignorant watered down ‘Christian’ version. The version in which birth control and pregnancy are a reality. The version in which when things go too far how do you work through it instead of being riddled with guilt, shame and sometimes blaming.

It’s obvious that Ms Palin, the abstinence advocate, found her own message difficult to uphold – twice. If it was not for the pregnancies, which is how most Christian couples are outed, she would have been able to hide the hypocrisy. I could take cheap shots at her; however, her failures show the holes in the modern-day abstinence message. I do believe that most Christians are very sincere when they take on the abstinence challenge. However, they fail to see and prepare for the inevitable obstacle which is to underestimate how strong one’s normal sexual desires can be in the presence of romantic partner.

For those who intend on practicing the abstinence spirit of the law, I wish you God speed because you will need it. I also wish that you put in place preventive methods instead of reactive measures. Abstinence in a relationship is a good thing; however, ignoring one’s natural sexual urges will make it a feat to truly accomplish in avoiding ALL forms of sexual activities before marriage.

The Power of Communication

I would be the first person in line to advocate and admonish how important it is to keep the lines of communication wide open with the people in your life. Due to my dabble in behavioral health, I would estimate that the destruction of 99.9% (made-up number) of relationships is due  to the lack of communication.

As Christians, we are taught to have an open line with God. It typically crops up in every church sermon and it’s practiced in every religious setting. That open line is prayer. We are taught to bring it all to God (even though He already knows what is going on). However, we are not encouraged to talk to each other as openly as we are to express ourselves to God. God hears all our stressors, dirty secrets, desires, pain, and even joy but we leave out a lot of things with the important people in our lives.

Lack of communication destroys relationships! Lack of communication breeds misconceptions. Lack of communication creates hurt, animosity and sometimes it allows our thoughts to run amuck. Even though most of us know this, it is sometimes the hardest act in which to engage. Why is it so hard to share with the people closest to you? No one wants to take blame or admit wrong. No one wants to offend the other person. No one wants to point out the speck in the other person’s eye or your own. No one wants to experience that awkward moment(s). No one wants to be uncomfortable.

So, in a marriage, when one spouse is hurt or unhappy it’s easier to shut up and ignore. In a friendship, when the bond starts to loosen, it’s easier to think the worse than talk about the problem. In a parent-child relationship, it’s customary to say that each does not understand the other due to the age and culture gap. I can go on about the mountain of excuses we tell ourselves because we are too uncomfortable with being open and honest.

For me, I have made similar mistakes with people in my life. The irony is that my job requires me to ask tough and some times uncomfortable questions in which I won’t even blink an eye. To put the importance of communication in prospective then think about: How many times have we dated and even marry the wrong person because we are uncomfortable to openly communicate about things that bother you? How many marriages have been destroyed because the easier road is to find solace in someone else’s arms or push a person away rather than deal with your problems? How many good friendships have been loss because we choose not to speak up?

While I pride myself on being outspoken (a confidence which has increased with age), I do have my moments when it is easier to let things go even though I knew something was wrong. I need to take blame for being a poor communicator at times. One would think that I should know better because this is what I do and teach for a living.

However, in a recent incident in which I was close to writing off a good friendship, I have learned that I need to do better with my communication with people who are important. I saw my mistakes after they happened and I did not take the responsibility to address them in a timely manner. The funny thing is that once “the elephant was acknowledge” it became so clear how a simple misunderstanding could have been resolved before it became an ongoing issue. It was one of those Whiskey Tango-Foxtrot moments that could have been avoided.

So, the question is how many important relationships have you screwed up/unhappy with because you were too uncomfortable to openly communicate? What are you going to do differently to become a better communicator?

When Life is Different from Expectation

When I get older, then my life will…. When I get married, then my life will…. When I get the right job, then my life will…. We are filled with a variety  of expectations whether they are high expectations or low expectations. For the blessed/fortunate/lucky group, their dreams come true just as how it was expected; however, for everyone else, life can be very different. What do you do when your reality is different from your expectations?

A friend of mine is struggling immensely due to drastic changes that happened in a few short weeks. While her issues require professional intervention, I realize that she is no different from the rest of us who have a hard time reconciling our perfect image of what life should be with what it is. It is very hard to go through our experiences feeling completely helpless and ultimately see ourselves as failures. It is hard to step away from having blinders, tunnel vision, and our individual tales of woe. It is hard to imagine a happy existence as our life do not look quite like how we expect it.

In this day and age, resiliency and thinking outside our ‘perfect’ box seem like a thing of the past. We fall apart so easily; we become incapacitated at the first obstacle; we give up; we blame everyone and everything; we feel excess guilt and shame; we stop searching for a way out and simply accept the mess in which we stand. People stop trying to survive.

As cliché as it may sound, life is what you make of it. If I committed suicide tomorrow, then that’s what I made of my life; if I decided to go out and take a walk in the park instead of sitting inside, then that’s what I made of that moment in my life; if I choose to volunteer or help someone I know, then that’s what I made of that moment in my life. If I choose to be defeated by circumstances that are not going my way; then that is what I made of my life.

This is not to trivialize that most people will have difficulties and tragedies; however, this is a push to recognize when people have crossed the line from normal reactions to hardship or disappointments to ongoing self-defeat. In other words, we stop finding reasons to give thanks and see the other options life has to offer. Many people become so embarrassed or ashamed of their current situations which drives them to isolate or hide and so the spiral of doom begins. The thing is the average person cannot navigate life’s changes all alone. Without a trusted wingman (friends, family, therapist etc.), it is easy to get lost in one’s personal mess. As much as we need the support from others, we also need to learn to get support from ourselves.

Feel free to Google the story of Sgt. Noah Galloway  a double amputee who is one of many people whose life definitely did not go as expected, found himself in a dark hole, and ultimately found the will and strength to climb out of it.

Unstable and Accepting

Insight and introspection are the greatest gifts to one’s self. Due to certain career training, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am forced to look inward and become aware of me. Sometimes I do not like what I see. I can have a vengeful heart; I am ready to cut people out of my life in an instant; I am ready to think the worst of people; I am very guarded, and I struggle to forget and most importantly, forgive.

On the other hand, there are lots of things I love about myself. I love my dry no nonsense personality, I love self-discovery, I love my independence and my ability to be resilient. I love that I am smart.  I love the fact that I can be compassionate and giving. While these do not cancel out the negative things, they give me reasons to be thankful to God.

Since I was young, there is one thing I know about myself and it is the excitement of being fluid whether with people, place, or thing. It yells freedom to me. In my adult years, I have come to accept that I can be “unstable.” Being in one place, accustomed to one thing, and routines become old. Even though I have tried to change (maybe somewhat tried), I have accepted that I really need change in my life even if it is small.

Of everyone that I know, unless you are military, most people strive to have consistency in where they live, their jobs, people in their lives and things in their lives. While I do not find that to be boring per say, I do get antsy with the thought of being stuck.

In the recent months, I have moved states, changed jobs, semi-resume my career, and now have a new agenda for my life. For most people, this seem like too much flurry of activities and this can create anxiety. However, for this unstable woman, it’s all a part of my life. The downside to being so unstable is that I lose the comfort of close family and friends. I have to start all over with bonding which is difficult for me. I had also accepted that this unstable view of life was the main reason for never wanting to get married since I was a child. I could not fathom being ‘stuck.’ While I am happy for those who embrace this way of life, at this moment, it does not seem to be written in my stars.

What does this mean for long term relationships. Only God knows :-) . Really! only he knows. I have resolved to put relationship issues in God’s hands. While this might seem like a passive way of dealing with my relationship instability, it is the best option on the table. I know and accept that the problem is me. I have been told a number of times that once I find ‘the right person’ then I will change. Meh!! Que sera sera. The only thing I know is that God gave me life and as he continues to bless me with life, then I will continue to live it to the fullest (whatever that maybe for me).

If you are a planner, then plan. If you are a little freer, then go with it responsibly. There are a few things I truly want out of life-to enjoy God’s blessings and give thanks, health of my parents for many years to come, and trustworthy people around me who have my six and I have theirs.

God bless you all and enjoy the life He gave you.


The Deception of Beauty Enhancement

A friend had sent me a video of a woman beautifully made up. The image of her carefully painted face was absolutely stunning. Everything was perfect and she was the vision of black Barbie. In order to demonstrate how she became such a vision, the artist had to remove all her mask to start from scratch.

“Good heavens! what the hell?” was my reaction when she was barefaced and au naturel. She was no longer stunning but passed as less than attractive on the beauty measurement stick. Pimples, skin discoloration, etc. She epitomized the idea of dramatic makeover. I could not help but do a Google image search for dramatic makeup before and after and became very aware that this young lady is not the only woman who skillfully change her appearance to look very different from her true self.

Thank heavens I am not a man! One commenter on the young lady’s transformation was that it is imperative for men to take their women swimming on the first date. This is to remove everything false in order to see the true woman. There is a joke which involved a man taking a woman home from the club and in the morning, he discovered that she removed her hair extensions, spanx, fake nails, padded bra, make up and very high heels to reveal someone totally different from the woman he brought home. If you follow the entertainment news’ latest beauty trend, then one could add: fake tan, collagen for lips, butt implants/injection/padded underwear, Botox, and even temporary breast enhancement. Where does the masquerade end? What’s a guy to do when he first meets a well-groomed young lady? Do most men have to wonder if the women they see are deceptively enhanced?

When did it become okay for women to feel so ashamed of their image and are driven to falsely advertise themselves as someone completely different from their true selves? Do we really believe that false advertising is the best way to enhance one’s self-esteem or to feel attractive? While I have no issues with make up and using it to cover minor imperfections, it is something completely different from literally putting on a new face. Contouring is a new word in my vocabulary which means the ability to change enhance one’s facial features with make up – eye’s wider, nose thinner, high cheekbones, lips fuller etc. Frankly, the art of contouring belongs in the theatre and performance art shows.

There is a feeling of empathy for the single men who have to weed through the beauty façade of women. There are women who believe that a new guy should never see them without X item until they have been dating for an extended period of time. This is as deceptive as a man wearing false hair or caps to cover his baldness, a padded underpants to give the illusion of a larger manhood, removes his wedding ring when the Mrs is absent, or drives a flashy car and spend excessively to show wealth while he is in heavy debt. This is a good time to use the verse do to others as you would like to be done to you. Keep it real!

The whole deceptive enhancement creates a dilemma for the average girl next door. The extraordinarily perfect beauty that make up etc creates does not exist in nature. Very rarely will you find a woman who looks any thing close to these enhanced visions of beauty; however, when we are bombarded by these false advertising everyday, we tend to see the average natural beauty as less than. Consequently, men begin to set the beauty bar requirement high and women transform themselves in order to keep up. Take for instance the ever popular entertainment special about ‘Stars without makeup’ which is definitely a sight to behold. The comparison is dramatic and sometimes startling. Some trashy rags even go as far as to say these women are ugly without makeup. In reality, we have become so accustomed to the deception that we accept the parlour tricks over the real thing. I too had the same reaction when black Barbie transformed back to her average beauty self. I can shamefully admit that I thought the true image of this young lady was ugly in comparison to her enhanced image.

I will reiterate that I have no issues with women wearing makeup. I too will wear lip gloss and brow filler due to my thinning eye brows; however, I will never be accused of looking like someone else nor will I ever be lauded as a great beauty. As a single lass, I truly prefer men to see my au naturel state with all the imperfections of which there are many (at least in my eyes). Confidence in one’s imperfect self is a hard pill to swallow and many women were not taught this lesson.