When the Rubber Meets The Road: A Story of Compassion

If you read my book Pieces: Finding the Missing Piece is Easier Than You Think, you know that my relationship with my father has always been estranged. Though he lived in the same house with us until I was 13, it was as if he wasn’t there. The emotional detachment proved to be just as detrimental as him not being there at all.

As the years have gone by, I’ve learned to cope and forgive — eventually, I stopped using his absence as an excuse for my poor ability to make sound decisions about men and took responsibility for my part. I even took the advice of a good friend and decided to reach out to him regularly (read: sporadically) just to say “Hi.” Looking back, it paled in comparison to what I would eventually do in a time that truly mattered. Continue reading

“He that Finds a Wife” Recap

Tonight I attended the “He that Finds a Wife” Relationship Symposium hosted by Praise 102.5 and Jack A. Daniels, the author of I Need a Wife: Where Are the Real Women? The panel consisted of men who were “marriage minded”, and, according to radio host KD Bowe, were “single, successful, ready to commit and emotionally stable.”

I took three pages of notes, jotting down the ideas and concepts expressed by the male panelists and audience members (which consisted of 100+ women and about 20 or so men) and here are the things I heard:

  • Most important thing in a relationship? Self awareness.
  • You don’t have to understand all men or women — just the one you’re with.
  • Men have a hard time making decisions. We live in a time where there’s such an influx of information and decisions, that it makes it harder to decide. This idea was compared to a study conducted where consumers had to choose one type of jelly in a store. The more choices there were, the consumer only bought one.  The fewer choices there were, the consumer not only chose faster, but bought more jars of jelly.
  • 1,000 men were interviewed for Daniels’ book and one of the number one things the men said they wanted was for a woman to “celebrate them and not tolerate them.” (at this point, women in the audience were saying, “WE DO TOO!”)
  • Build relationships one step at a time, don’t give everything up at once.
  • Men don’t like to approach women because when women are in big groups, it’s hard to have a conversation because of the pressure to impress the woman he’s interested in and her friends.
  • Women should smile more. It makes us more approachable.
  • Women should NOT approach men. Men want to hunt and catch.

Um. I think that was it. I’ll let y’all decipher through that on your own. >.<

Now, let me address some things:

The absence of men at this discussion was disheartening BECAUSE this initiative was created by, promoted by, and purposed to be a forum for men to share their views. As I mentioned on Facebook, the absence of men here was very indicative of their absence in other places, but that’s a conversation for another time.

In addition, when the men tried to share their perspectives, some women in the audience  groaned and moaned about their dislikes, and tit-for-tat “y’all do that too!” complaints. This is why our discussions on relationships go nowhere; someone is always trying to one-up their counterpart to prove a point. Let the men have their space to share their views. Listen.

Finally, and probably most importantly, this was a room of “believers”, an event hosted by a Christian radio station and there was not one iota about God’s purpose and design for dating — the only man who hit on this was J. White, the motivational speaker/tap dancer/author whose words were poignant, spirit filled, and reflective of what we really should have discussed at length: knowing who you are in God.

I addressed the idea of purpose and relationships on my blog already, so I wont go into that. But what believers need to know and remember is that you can’t expect to get God like results (“He who findeth a wife finds a good thing…”) with worldly standards and expectations (“let’s play reindeer games until someone just gives in and I settle for you…”). You’ll never get God results that way.

Yes, there should be natural application to our day-to-day experiences, but when you’re talking about finding the ONE for you, that’s a result of divine intervention. It’s not wrapped up in the games, the theories, or the in the pages of Essence or KING Magazine.

I wanted to hear something different. I wanted to really delve in to how believers were applying their knowledge to seek God about their own lives and the process they’re using to filter through who’s worth your time and who isn’t. We just threw the darts of accusation back and forth until time ran out.

We did have a chance to mix and mingle (but you could image how that went with a 15-1 women to men ratio)  and I met some really cool people. I also met a young lady who is coming to visit my church this Friday. I think I sealed the deal when I sang impromptu style in the middle of the hallway at Paschal’s. Ha!

I’d like to hear from you guys — as a Christian, how does dating work for you? Do you find yourself stuck in the rut of doing things the world’s way or do you try to really seek God about who you date and what kinds of interactions you have with men/women? Do you think we over think the dating process?

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Bey + Jay vs. Keisha + RayRay

Last night, Twitter was all the buzz over Beyonce’s silent announcement that she was with child (yay!) Before you knew it, three Twitter accounts, all claiming to be the fetus of Bey-Z began tweeting out quirky little comments that kept The Twitter a buzz late into the night.

Back in the real world, however, Tweets and Facebook status began ringing of an old familiar battle cry amongst men and women.

Here’s a taste: Continue reading

:: All of the Lights ::

Today we’re talking about love. Check out a post by a good friend who finds that the “lights” in her life keeps her love life at the intercection of hope and a prayer.

All of the Lights

When you’re driving, there are two signals that are clear-cut: green means “GO”, red indicates “STOP”. Then there’s that pesky yellow light. Some of us speed up, trying to hurry through the intersection. Some slow down, knowing that there’s a chance we might not make it. I’m an aggressive driver, always pushing the limits, switching lanes when the flow of traffic isn’t suiting my needs, even backing up down a one-way instead of going around the block. In love, I’m the same way, whatever it takes to make our way through the winding highways of the heart, mind and soul until…I come upon a yellow light.

I only know what to do with green and red; yellow confuses me, builds internal anxiety and makes my reaction time quite delayed. When I’m not sure on where I stand it’s hard for me to grip the clutch, get a handle on how to proceed and put my foot on the pedal. I’m not saying I expect to speed to every destination in love but yellow lights make me miss important information given by my GPS [heart and mind] because my focus is on whether or not it’s safe to advance with my intentions. Instead of moving forward with no fear of “reading into” actions I find myself playing chicken at a junction of “what ifs”.

The yellow light is unfair in that it doesn’t allow for me to show what I’m made of behind the wheel… or does it? I wonder if the plan is for me to boldly barrel through or come to a complete stop, look both ways and wait for further direction. Either way I can say that no one will ever know what I’m capable of on the road of true love until I have a clear signal. Call me cowardly, but not many people can say they want to leave their most tender affections tied to a railroad track at the mercy of a traffic signal.

All the “lights” of our lives dictate what we do and how we do it. I simply want the opportunity to cruise through with green lights a-go. I don’t have it all figured out but my heart’s at a standstill until I know what to make of All of the Lights.

— Denise R. Bussey

“You tol’ Harpo to beat me?!”

Ms. Sophia

"All my life I had to fight..."

Today, I announced to a group of my coworkers that I was a domestic violence victim. Well, I didn’t intentionally tell them, it just kind of came out while I was discussing a new project that I am leading a group of girls in. They are collecting items for a local women and children’s shelter, and while giving my spill, I included myself in the over 50% of women who endure domestic violence.

As my voice cracked and hands shook, I left the auditorium with a forced smile and a burning feeling in my chest.

Why was I feeling this way? Why was my heart aching so?

It had been years since I even thought about those daunting days and nights in 2004 and for the most part, thought I was over it all. Hell, I even thought that I had dealt with those feelings in my book, Pieces: Finding the Missing Piece is Easier than You Think when I went through the whole rigmarole forgiving the man who was my abuser.

Guess I was wrong.

By the time I made it home, I was a steaming hot mess, and if not for the sweet provoking of a dear friend to “just let it go, cry it out”, I probably would have spent another day, month, year holding on to those feelings.

The embarrassment and shame that comes with domestic abuse is one that I think we forget exists. Once our scars heal and our feelings are mended, once we move on with our lives and, if we’re lucky, have forgiven our offenders, we’re still left with the embarrassment and shame. Those two bastards burrow deep into our souls like little rodents preparing for a long winter’s nap.

The emotions of domestic violence never really leaves you. They are always there, hiding in the folds and crevices of our being, intertwining themselves in our lives, becoming a part of our molecular structure.

Before we realize it, we’ve allowed our embarrassment and shame keep us from pursuing things, leading ventures, chasing dreams because we secretly fear that someone may find out, judge and ridicule us for not being smarter, wiser, seeing the signs.

Today I took off my badge of victimization and waved my victory banner.

I was lucky. His slaps in the face and pushes into walls while 6 months pregnant didn’t stop me. Him chasing me out of my house with a knife into the streets didn’t put a damper on what  good things were to come in my life. The scars and bruises on my face and neck eventually healed. I lived.

I always have to wonder why God causes me to have these major moments of self-realization, but I’m sure it’s for a good reason.

I also know that my pain, your pain isn’t for us to carry. It’s there to face and let go so someone else can have the courage to do the same.

Feel free to share this post with someone you know or love. It may give them the courage necessary to wave their victory banner, too.

On the chase,

Alisha L.