Sometimes...I can't blame the brothers for being annoyed. Sometimes I understand exactly why some men have no behaviour. I get it...I can see why they are apathetic when it comes to the antics of their female counterparts. Sometimes I don't want nothing to do with women because even I don't understand what's going on in your minds! CRAZINESS! I don't want to be a traitor to my gender, BUT sometimes I see things, and hear things, and think about things that drive me nuts! So this is my plea for women..."us women"...to smarten up, and get your shit together!
Yes, I'm single, unmarried, and I have no children. What do I know? Maybe this doesn't qualify me to even dare speak on these subjects. Maybe it qualifies me even more. Nonetheless, here is my bad advice to my sisters everywhere...but especially you in Toronto. Wake up!
1) Educate Youself ~ Education doesn't require thousands of dollars and a university degree, but it does require dedication. Pick up a book! Watch a documentary of some sort. Go to a seminar or two. Have conversations with intelligent people and stop gossiping about nonsense. These are requirements for mental expansion, and the strengthening of your critical thinking skills. Get in the habit of doing things that will challenge your thinking processes, and introduce you to new ideas and systems. Even if you have received formal education, it doesn't mean that you are automatically smart and well-rounded. The mind is something you have to feed and nurture on an ongoing basis. Be committed to consistently learning, growing, and expanding...indefinitely!
2) Know Yourself Before You Judge Others ~ It's so much fun to talk about what other women/people are doing wrong in their lives, why they are messing up, and why you are so much stronger and logical than they are. It's so easy to pass judgement on the people around us, even when our own lives are full of flaws and bad decisions. But there's nothing worse than having an un-informed person decide that they want to be the authority on someone else's life! If you don't fully know yourself, and have full awareness of how YOUR actions look, and how what YOUR behaviours represent, then it might be in your best interest to zip it. We can definitely learn from the actions (and mistakes) of others, but try not to be so quick to summarize and philosophize about another individual until you have your own life figured out. Keep your eyes open, because if there's something that bothers you about someone else...it's more likely a reflection of your own demons that you should work on conquering.
3) Just Because You Look Good Doesn't Mean You're Entitled to ANYTHING ~ You're pretty. We get it. Your breasts are huge, we understand. You live in the gym: you're ripped! You spend hundreds on new shoes, your wardrobe is off the chain, and men are hitting on you left and right. You're a video girl...we can see that! You should be a super model, and enter hair shows in Atlanta, and marry a rapper and live in Hollywood. You're that hot. OK...so what else are YOU bringing to the table? By all means: look good! Work out! We all want to be sexy and attractive, definitely! But don't make your dedication to your appearance the end of the road. By all means: dress nice, and put on makeup! Go for it! BUT, don't let that be the end of your attractive qualities. Because looking good might get you the job interview, and might get you a few "digits" from two brothers every time you touch the road...but what's going to keep that job? What's going to keep that man? Your new boots? Your new expensive hair? Yes...draw them in, but you better make sure you have the strength of character, intelligence, and sensibilities to be MORE than just a pretty face/hot body. Looking good doesn't entitle you to anything. Just because you're hot doesn't mean that men automatically must shower you with money and attention, or that people automatically must pay attention to your business ideas and aspirations. Put in the work on the inside too (cliche enough?), and don't rely on visuals to get you through. Because trust me, that shit is only appealing for so long...you need some other qualities to complement the hotness.
4) Stop Using Your Children as Collateral ~ If I had a dollar for every baby mama drama tale I hear, I'd stop blogging, quit my day job, and buy an actual writing career. For the love of JAH, ladies! If you're going to have children, you better realize that they are going to have a father. And if the father doesn't want nothing to do with his child (aka YOU) and doesn't have the common decency or intellectual ability to realize his role and responsibilities as a father/man...then there's not much you can do. I'm not making excuses for the deadbeats, but do not spend the rest of your life and your energy trying to teach this brother a lesson! Do not resort to police calling, violence, various forms of stalking and crank calling, and other crazy antics (I don't have the stomach to list them all) to get the man's attention, and get him mad. The last thing you should be doing is destroying the father of your child. The same father that you should want to have involved in your child's life--regardless. Asshole or not, kids deserve to have a father figure in their life. And I don't want to defend the loser dads out there that don't even deserve to have "pickney"...but I also don't want to condone manipulative behaviour and illogical activities that women resort to to "prove" just how bad a father he really is. If you have a child...whether you're single, married, living together...wudeva...your one responsibility as a mother is to nurture this baby, and give them every great opportunity and encouragement and love for them to go into the world. Do not bring the negative energies of hatred around them. Do not stop them from seeing their families and fathers...especially if the families and fathers love them very much. You as the mother will most likely always be the #1 caregiver. Don't take the joy away from others who just hope for even a fraction of time that you get to spend with the little one. And don't use this love for your child, as a reason to be evil and prop up your child as collateral for something else you seek...and may never realistically find.
5) Just Because He's Sleeping With You Doesn't Mean He Cares About You ~ Self-explanatory. Unless this is your MAN, and he's acknowledging you publically and proudly as his woman, and you have entered a mutual commitment...don't get your hopes up. It is what it is, sister. Even if it's THE BOMB! Reconize a relationship from a bootie call. Realize attraction from respect. Remember the difference between love and lust. When someone LOVES you...you'll know. You won't have to ask your girlfriends 101 questions and analyze 101 text messages, BBMs, and conversations to search for hidden clues. When he loves you, when he wants you, when he ADORES you...you'll know, because he will make SURE that you know. Anything else...is just a convenient arrangement. And more often than not...it won't be convenient for YOU, if you still have to wonder wha gwan.
6) Stop Waiting For A Man To Save You ~ Not going to happen. Financially, emotionally, spiritually...not going to happen. You've heard it before, but you truly DO need to love yourself before you can expect someone else to love you, and save you, and marry you, and start a life with you. And even if you're married...unfortunately, sometimes that husband isn't going to save you either. Sad and unfortunate as it may sound at times, you really have to learn to take care of yourself. Handle your own business! Learn how to boost your own self-esteem, and realize that there is no one in the world--not even your best girlfriends--that can rescue you from yourself. You really and truly have to put yourself in a position where you can sustain your own actvities and have control of your emotions (Good luck! PMS anyone...?) at all times. Keep buliding up your own methods of maintenance. Stability. Don't wait around for the perfect man to come and complete your life, because truth be told, even when he comes around, you are still going to need to know how to take care of yourself. YOU are all you'll ever need to be you and to achieve your best. Everything else is just a bonus.
7) Pay For Your Own Damn Self ~ Yes, it's nice to be taken care of. I'm sure it's freaking wonderful to have men purchasing cars, condos, clothing, vacations, and jewelry for you regularly. That does actually happen right? Well, I'm sure some women are fortunate to be pampered and put on a financial pedestal like that (all the power to you, ladies!) but you still need to be prepared to pull out your own wallet and handle your business. TRUST ME...I love chivalry like the next girl. Being pampered sounds GREAT to me. "But"...I am prepared to pull out my own wallet and handle my business. I am prepared to save, and plan, and know that if I want to enjoy the luxuries in life, while I hope an intellectual and nurturing sexy chocolate millionnaire (he exists, right?) will come and hand me a platinum card with a smile...that if he isn't around, I can still live the type of life I want to live...by my own methods. Or if something goes wrong and you no longer have access to his pocket or his pampering...that you can still take care of yourself. At the very least...have a backup plan in case your sponsor decides that he don't want to sponsor you again.
8) Stop Hating On Other Women ~ Hating manifests in so many forms! And few women are openly hating. Most are undercover haters. Women that secretly enjoy when you're feeling down, or having a bit of bad luck. Women who secretly think they're smarter/stronger than you, and look down on your choices and practices. Women who don't know how to help you celebrate success, or encourage you to do well. Only stupid women are bold haters that just come out and tell you. The majority if women are not going to admit their insecurities and true feelings...they are going to pretend that it's "all good" and pretend that they're "fine" and pretend that they are "fierce" and emotionally stable. But a true sign of a hater is a woman who isn't keeping it real with HERSELF. Stop watching what other women are doing or not doing. Do you. Celebrate yourself. Celebrate other women. There is strength in sisterhood, and you are more likely to progress in your own life if you learn how to help others, accept help, and genuinely put good energy into the world.
9) Build Your Own Legacy ~ You are here on this earth for a reason. I think the majority of us are dedicated to finding this reason, and developing it. Men and women are here to recognize their God-given abilities, and to put them into action. And our legacy can manifest in many forms: service to others, being a parent, or being involved in particular activities, businesses, or initiatives. There is no clear path to finding your legacy, or determining what it is that you are supposed to contribute to the world, but it is important to have something to build towards. Whether you have it all figured out or not, realize that you are going through life leaving a mark with everything you say, everything you do, and everyone you meet. Make sure this legacy is one marked with class, with integrity, and with purpose. Don't just go through the motions...find a direction, and don't lose focus of it. Stand for something! Represent something! Represent yourself exactly the way you want to be remembered.
10) Know Your Value ~ Once you find that legacy, and find that direction, you can live your life knowing who you are, and what you are worth. And if you are still searching for a direction and a purpose...know that you are capable of doing great things, and that your contribution is valuable. And if you don't believe that...then find a way to make it true. If you think you don't have any value, then create value for yourself. No one else will place a value on you...you have to stand firm in your worth, know yourself, and set some standards. Know exactly who you are, and don't allow anyone else to determine what you are worth, or what your contribution is going to be. Make this clear, so that no one can ever second-guess who you are or what you represent.
There! I got it off my chest! Maybe I need to listen to my own advice at times...but maybe we all just need to look at ourselves more than we look at those around us. Maybe we need to study ourselves, before we study other people. Maybe we need to realize that the only person we can control in this world...is ourself.
Most importantly, we have to recognize that we are women. We are powerful! We have the power of life. We have the power of love. We have the power of nurturing and strength...and we have some other powers that will always carry some weight... (don't make me post the YouTube clip of that Jamaican radio host and her recommendations!!!)
So women, get it together! Make your sisters and friends proud! Be strong! It's all very simple. Stay focused, be smart, and love yourself. Set a high standard and don't compromise (but be realistic). Expect people to respect you, and do so by making yourself WORTHY of respect.
You are a queen. Don't forget it. And don't make me have to remind you again, because I'm pretty sure this entire post qualifies me as #8 (haaaater)!
Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.