Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reporting, Live from the Motherland

So I was watching a show called ‘African Diaspora’ the other night and the discussion was about future President Barak Obama and how his presidency would affect the nations of Africa. I sensed from the questions that were being asked by the host that there is an expectation for Obama to create policy to effect change in the motherland. Wow! I mean that is so much pressure but I completely get it. The way they see it, he’s black, hell he’s half Kenyan so he needs to “help a brother and a sister out” essentially.

One of the things that I’ve noticed and appreciate about people in the places that I’ve visited in Africa is that Africans don’t mince words. They pretty much put it out there. So the host was asking the guest questions like “what changes will Obama make to ease the economic, social and political strains that many African nations are facing today”? “Will Obama have an “I’m my brother’s keeper policy strategy or will he seek to please his constituents in Washington”? Yes, he actually asked this question. My mouth was agape during this entire episode!

The guest was Monica Faith Stewart, a an EMEA delegate to the Democratic Convention who lives in South Africa and represents the US Democratic party in that region. Well Ms. Stewart, being the American that she is (you know how we like to mince words, be politically correct, and use cute euphemisms for obvious shit) was practically accosted with questions that she clearly did not feel comfortable answering. In her defense, she’s obviously NOT in the position to speak for Senator Obama and the truth is no one really knows what this man will do once in office. The host’s position was basically that Africa is tired of being viewed as the Dark Continent that’s plagued with HIV. As the host stated, African nations have been saying for years that they want "trade and not aid". There is talent amongst the people but most of the countries are not in the position to help themselves without an opportunity to trade and engage economically with the western world, sad but true. But the way the host badgered this woman was priceless! Maybe you had to be there to really get it, but I laughed my ass off.

So then I watched a show called ‘Countdown to 2010’, which basically is all about South Africa’s country preparedness plan to host the FIFA World Cup in 2010. As I watched all, I could think to myself was WTF is wrong with the people making economic decisions in this country? I understand that to host a huge event like the World Cup, the Olympics, etc, the host nation must make some adjustments and changes to the infrastructure of that area in order to accommodate the event. Maybe I’m naïve but it seems to me, that those changes will cost a lot and for that reason, that country needs to be able recoup that loss from revenue generated during the event and AFTER!

To me South Africa is not the place for this. For one, there is a huge energy crisis in SA. The last time I was here, all the power in the area I was went out every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 4-6pm. If you had a generator, great, if not, lights out for 2 hours. Why, because there was not enough coal/energy supply to sustain the normal energy usage so the government devised this load shedding plan for the entire country to help assuage the costs. During this trip, we didn’t have these power outages because the government raised the electricity costs by 40% instead. Gotta love that! I don’t even know if it’s worth mentioning the crime rate here. So of course they’re beefing up the police force. Good thing for people who’ll get jobs during this time but what happens when the festivities end? Will the economy be stimulated enough to sustain itself or will it crumble in the aftermath?

It seems to me that SA is taking a huge leap of faith by agreeing to host this thing, in the hopes that hosting the World Cup will “put South Africa on the map”. See right there is where I’m like get the f%&k outta here. How many of us have not heard of freaking South Africa? Nelson Mandela, hello!!

Ask 10 (black) Americans to name some countries on the continent of Africa (first make sure that those 10 people know that Africa itself is not a country) and I am almost positive that South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Senegal (maybe folks who realize that Senegalese twists are called that for a reason), Ethiopia & Somalia (thanks to all those ‘Save the Children’ TV campaigns), Rwanda (thanks to Don Cheadle), Kenya (cause they always win for running at the Olympics, sorry), Sierra Leon (blood diamonds), and maybe Cote D’Ivoire and the Congo. Zimbabwe’s getting a lot of airplay on the global news scene now (maybe on BBC, not FOX news) thanks to Robert Mugabe’s thuggish ways but I have a colleague here who’s from Zimbabwe who worked in Malawi and was asked by a South African recruiter if Malawi was a town in Zimbabwe, which BTW shares a border with South Africa.

Some of the countries listed above are questionable depending on one’s global (African) scope of awareness but I don’t care what they try to sell me, South Africa is on the damn map!!! Cut the jokes and tell us the real reason why you’re gambling with this country that’s already in economic dire straits. Oh that’s right you won’t. I got my own theories though.

I’d love to meet people from or that have visited places in Africa that I’ve never heard of for real. Right I am obsessed with everything about the entire continent.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Selfish People

See me, I get great pleasure in doing things and even going the extra mile to make people happy and comfortable, especially when I’m not obligated to do so. It just makes me feel good! But I have seen and it’s finally sinking in that it’s the nature of people to just be selfish and unappreciative and they will find something unsatisfactory with your efforts and harp on that regardless of whatever else you’ve done that is great. That mess cracks me up.

So this weekend I WORKED!! I’ve worked an average of 11 hours per day since I’ve been in SA but I have not complained because it’s all for the cause. But this weekend we embarked on a MISSION to set up a new office, not just an office, an entire 1535 square meter, 4 story building, you do the math…

I did all that I felt was necessary to get this right, from managing vendors, screaming and kicking to get things right to hunching over a hoover and vacuuming every inch of this building myself to make it beautiful, I’m talking breaking out the furniture polish and everything! Because let’s be honest; presentation is everything. Why build a fabulous new house and hand it over to the new owners, filthy? Since this is SA and people (smart for them) don’t work on the weekend, I had to put on my maid hat and get busy and honestly, I did so happily because no one forced me to, you know?

Fast forward to this morning, the first thing people started doing was complaining about the smallest things; “my ceiling tile in my office is open”. Okay well, the alarm company is making some changes to the system because it’s too sensitive and we had 3 false alarms over the weekend! “Why didn’t we get the white boards and art work hung up over the weekend”? WTF? Okay how about we moved two offices into this building over the weekend and hanging paintings was not in the scope of work for the movers or me for that matter! “This light bulb is out”. “We need to build a climate controlled area for these HIV test kits”. Okay why in the world did you not give me that specification (even though I asked each manager) before construction? Let me call my architect and engineers up and handle that right fast. Then my favorite; “I want my desk this way because I don’t want to look up and stare someone in the face, and when you turn it around I want this bloody screen off because it won’t look right”. Okay well, the way you want it won’t allow the door to open all the way or grant you proper egress from your desk to the door and the reason the screen is there is because the Chief wanted me to make the best use of all the old screens that we’ve already invested in and I did my best to grant that wish. So basically you want me to break fire code regulations to make you happy? I’ll get right on that. It might sit better with me if they at least ASKED instead of demanding but honestly, if it were me and I knew that on Friday I was working in one office and I came in on Monday morning and the contents of that office had been moved to a gorgeous new one with all my shit in it and intact, not to mention all my necessary electronics had been moved, set up and WORKING, I would just unpack, enjoy all the natural sunlight seeping in through the huge floor to ceiling windows in my office, eat me a slice of the “welcome to our new office” cake and Shut the hell up!! But hey, that’s just me.

This feels like making a “just because” elaborate dinner for your man, cleaning HIS whole house from top to bottom just to make the load lighter on him and he comes home and says “that’s all you’ve done”? Or, “why didn’t you make a loaded baked potato to accompany that steak instead of steak fries”? Or for a man; noting a favorite new CD in your girl’s car and copping some tickets for her to see that artist in a town nearby and she says “oh you too cheap to buy front row seats”? Some people are so “obliviously selfish”, but I digress...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

If I Was Your Girlfriend

I've got a confession.

This strong, intelligent, independent, free spirited, successful beautiful black woman gets lonely sometimes. Yes, there I've said it and guess what? I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE!! I know plenty more just like me!

Okay now I know it seems like I'm stating the obvious but apparently I'm not. I got an email from a well meaning friend this week that stated the he watched CNN's Black in America, particularly the episode where they featured a successful black woman who was content with the idea of never getting married and it made him think of me! I know he meant well because he KNOWS me and knows my stance on marriage and committed relationships but I have to admit that I had a WTF moment after reading his email. I was like WTF is he trying to say, that I'll never get married if I so choose? Then I realized that the answer is YES. Not that he necessarily thinks so but apparently all signs point to the fact that my chances of being married are slim. Lucky for me, as I stand right now, I'm not overly enthralled with the idea of getting married but I do desire companionship, preferably with a black man! The fact is yes, I don't need a man for material things but I NEED and desire a strong black man that is willing to give me all the intangibles that money can't buy and I think I'm speaking for myself and a host of other black women that I know. WE NEED YOU and WE WANT YOU, so get your mind right and come be with us and let's work this out together!

Unfortunately intelligent women don't always make intelligent decisions when it comes to men, loneliness and the like. Case in point...

There's this man that I love and want so much that I feel like a raggedy bitch all the time because of my desire for him. I do things that I question the appropriateness of and I just want his energy around me all the time. I want him to do and say certain things but he can't and he won't and I get really frustrated and I feel disappointed at times. But who can I blame but myself, because I know that he has a girlfriend. We don't cross the line and we've both resigned to being "just friends".

The intelligent part of me wants to say, I'm done...totally! Fuck the pseudo friendship, forget the random times spent together, forget the possibilities and thinking of how happy we could be "if I was his girlfriend". If he wants me and loves me and misses me, he'll be with me and not someone else. It's just that simple. It's been a year and we’re still not together. Cry a river, build a bridge and get over it!

Then I find myself getting so emotional over little things. I save voice messages for as long as the voicemail box will hold them just so I can replay them and smile to myself. I get mad when he doesn't respond to emails; I get so excited when he does. I love the sound of his voice in my I got it bad! But this is so silly and I know I'm better than this. It's not a positive reflection of who I am and it makes me so angry with myself that I'm going through this. What is wrong with me? Why haven’t I yet snapped out of this trance?

One of my sheroes, Harriet Tubman shares in her biography that after she escaped slavery, she planned to come back for her husband. She toiled as a laborer, cleaned after white folks and saved her money, bought him a wardrobe full of clothes, prepared for him and risked her life to go back for him. When she got back, she sent word for him to come and meet her in her hiding place but he'd already taken on another wife! Devastated and feeling betrayed and mad as hell, she almost risked being caught to go back to her former plantation to confront dude! But she thought better of it and decided that "if he could do without her, she could do without him" and she "let him drop out of her heart". From there she shifted her focus from bringing her husband and her immediate family to freedom to bringing as many slaves to freedom as she could. And we're all well aware of her contribution and powerful legacy.

What would her legacy be had she allowed her emotions to get the best of her? What would have been her place in history, none! She’d be just another dead slave who tried to escape but got caught. Over a man who chose someone else. I'm going to take a cue from Harriet, get over myself, and consider the bigger picture...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sometimes.... I REALLY HATE MEN!!!!!

I would like to know why some men have the ability to just lie, cheat, and be less than forthcoming without flinching?? I would actually love to have a concrete reason. I mean is it biological? Are men just programmed to be able to detach emotionally thus be able to exhibit the above negative behaviors without caring? I mean WTF is it???!!! Men, please help me with this one.

Yes, I know that some women can be just as deceitful, careless, selfish, etc...but I'm not a lesbian and I don't deal with women, I deal with men so can only speak from that perspective. I know of some selfish ass women that have good men that they take for granted and guess what? Those hoes make me sick too! I can also say that yes, I know some good brothers and I'm thankful for them and I try to show them my appreciation, but even some of the "good ones" do shady shit! Yes, I've been hurt...BAD at least 2 good times but I'm still open to the possibilities, but how many times is someone supposed to put themselves out there, just to get burned?

Thankfully, I am not talking about a personal situation right now, but I'm mad for someone else. My girl cut off a lot of people and was ready to make some pretty drastic sacrifices for the sake of having someone real and starting a family with a man that presented himself as God fearing, honest, loyal, and ready!! But he was still fucking his ex-girlfriend. So now she's devastated and has had her life changed over some bullshit. This pisses me off because it's not the first time and she was so sincere...I feel so bad for her and I'm not going to disclose all the details, but for real I could not even sleep last night and I just prayed for her and asked God to restore whatever's been broken in her physically, spiritually and emotionally. I just want to know why?? Is she perfect? No. Are any of us? But when can a woman really let her guard down and know that she's found her rest?

I like to learn from other people's experiences as much as possible and I think one thing I'm learning from this is that I need to more careful about the karma that I put out because somehow it will come back. I need to really stop trying to do it my way and listen to the voice of God when it comes to everything, especially these relationships. So my advice to her (as I STRUGGLED to find a comforting word) was to seek God and ask what she's to learn from this. What is the grander plan? I am so blown and I feel like her situation is mine. I guess it's because I love her and was so excited for her, thinking that she'd found what she wanted, that she'd found a reason to let her guard down and rest...I guess not, at least not quite yet...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mandela, Zebras and Lions

I’m 6 hours ahead of Washington, so it’s about 7pm on Sunday and my weekend is more or less a wrap! But it’s all good, because it was excellent!! I’m sitting reminiscing on everything and I can’t even believe all the things that I’ve been able to experience so far this year and the opportunities that are coming my way. I’m in awe. WOW!! I have been to Ghana to unite with my (long lost) family, the Caribbean with my girls and I’m now enjoying my second trip to South Africa, courtesy of my J.O.B. Who could ask for more? I am so thankful and I appreciate all these blessings so much that I can’t fully encapsulate my emotions in words. Okay maybe one word, GOD!!!!

Back to this weekend; I actually stood on the premises where the great Nelson Mandela and others involved in the struggle against apartheid were once held prisoner. Mandela or "Madiba" (an honorary title adopted by elders of his clan) as he’s referred to in SA along with others led the revolution that eventually awakened the rest of the world to the situation in South Africa. Through sanctions, protests, and intervention from global powers, the Apartheid regime was ended in 1994 and Mr. Mandela was elected President of South Africa; but not after spending 27 years of his life in prison simply for demanding freedom and justice in the land of his birth. Can you image? Honestly, 1994 was only 5 minutes ago in the historic landscape and the aftermath of apartheid can still be well felt in South Africa. This is still a very segregated country, especially in the Western Cape area. I’ve been told that Johannesburg has a larger population of middle class blacks, but I’ve yet to visit Johannesburg. The other thing that I hear that’s synonymous with Jo’Burg is the high crime rate. Now I’m not crazy and I try to use wisdom but I kind of smell foul play when the area with the most well off black people in this country is also black balled with the violence stigma. Maybe it’s as bad as they say and I’m being a conspiracy theorist or naïve, but I still want to visit this place, and I will.

July 18 was also Mr. Mandela's 90th birthday so the whole country has been in celebration mode. This made the visit to Robben Island so much more meaningful. There were people from all over the world on the tour, what an awesome impact he's had on humanity.

Happy Birthday Madiba!!!! Thank you for your selfless sacrifice for freedom, your leadership, strength, and courage. And for being a revolutionary.

Saturday we hit the marketplace again and I got some commerce goods to bring back to the states. I got orders, I got customers and now I’ve got some more supply! LOL!

Today we went on a safari at a private game reserve. It was really cool. Of course the animals aren’t allowed to totally run wild, well they are because they aren’t behind a cage like a zoo, but they seem pretty trained to stay in their lane. I also heard that the tour guides have guns and they aren’t afraid to use them, but overall it was a great experience, topped by the fact that we did our tour on horseback!!! That right there made the whole experience so worthwhile. I had never ridden a horse. I’ve taken a 5 minute guided ride at church picnics and such like any other child, but never really rode a horse, until today. The tour was two hours on horseback and then we got in the car to get closer to the lions, who are actually a bit more contained because, well because they are lions and they just don’t play as nice as other animals. The only disappointing thing was that the lions were in chill mode by the time we got to them and they weren’t in the mood to come closer for photo ops. Also the elephants were MIA. After all they are allowed to roam around so I had to just get over it. Back to the horses, that was great! After I got off I was so darn sore, wow!! I thought I was in shape, ha!!

My weekend was great and I’m ready to get back to work. I have a LOT to do and I'm prepared to handle any drama that might ensue, like the true soldier that I am.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Annoyed as Hell!!!!!

I need to vent.

I hate the fact that the organization I work for has senior management that can spend donor/public funds like it’s going out of style! If I have any complaints about my job, that’s the biggest one! Like WTF, this is not our money!! Yes we have a resource development group that works hard and do an excellent job at fund raising but ultimately the reason why Bill Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation and others give so much damn money to us is because of the freaking mission. We don’t have a product that we’re selling. We’re not a law firm billing hours to clients, we don’t provide any services as engineers do to generate this income.

We are tasked with finding HIV prevention options for women in disadvantaged situations, not fattening the pockets of rich, white men is the very country that these same women (black) have been oppressed in for years and are still economically, socially, and politically disenfranchised. This is some bullshit and as the project manager for this particular project, I am not going to allow this organization to simply give into to these creeps! They have breached our contract and now they want us to pay X amount of money for charges that they are alleging as ours with NO proper documentation, official invoices, change in scope orders, etc? Hell No! I know that the approach to just pay it is due to the fact that we “have the money”, “it’s in rand and not dollars”, and we just want to be done with this” but so what? I don’t think this is proper business practice. So we pay this money and when we’re audited what’ll be the justification? And of course the auditors will be looking to me for an explanation. So with all due respect Mr. CFO, I disagree with your approach and at the end of the day I have to be able to sleep at night. You may not have the time or energy to fight this, but I do. Isn’t this why you sent me all the way to Africa, to manage this process? Well let me do my job, I’ve got all day! I can’t stand to see us waste money (I could think of a million others ways to spend R300,000) and I know this is bigger than me but I’ve gotta do my part and I’m starting with you…

Dear Mr. CFO,

I understand that the ultimate decision in this transaction is yours, but I respectfully disagree with this approach…

Monday, July 14, 2008

This weekend was so nice!! One of our colleagues volunteered to show us around and took us shopping and for drinks at one of the wine farms in Paarl. Later she took us back to her home and we hand a Braai aka a barbecue, bka a cookout! Only it was cold out so we brought the food inside to eat. South Africans are serious about food.

It's strange because I don't feel as foreign to all of this since I've been here once before and it feels kind of nice to be able to show other people that have never been here around a bit. We took a cab into Cape Town over the weekend and the cab driver did not know where he was going. As soon as we got lost, I knew it. He was not even saying anything but I was like, "dude I don't think we're going to right way". We did some shopping on the open market and then we went to the waterfront and visited my favorite store. It’s a t-shirt store that boasts to be the "Greatest T-Shirt Store in the World" and until I see one better, I am inclined to believe it. They have all kinds of T-shirts, hoodies and trucker hats. My friend was going crazy! I bought a few for me as well as some gifts. I love the fact that a good selection of the tees are locally manufactured. I try to buy those.

I went to the Body Shop at the mall and found a new love! A few years ago I went to visit my girlfriend in NYC and she gave me some Crème Brule body stuff by Laura Mercier. I love, love, love this stuff and I often give it away as gifts. But man it's pricey, so in these economically difficult times, I now have the Body Shop's Brazil Nut line to supplement with. Love it!! I know this is totally random but that's how serious I am about pampering and how stoked I am about this discovery! My only question is why did I have to come all the way to South Africa to find this?

I have not exercised in one whole week and I feel so out of sorts. I am on a mission to find a gym to do some weights in and I am running again, stating this evening. Last week I was staying at work late and it gets dark here at like 6pm, not exactly safe for a runner in a foreign land. But I did bring a jump rope and my resistance band, but have not skipped one turn with the rope since I've been here and been stuff my face with food and wine. But I'm loving every minute! LOL, sometimes, you just gotta let go....

I think I'm on the brink of an important and life changing decision. I believe I am ready to decide that I see me living abroad within the next 3 years. Yes abroad, preferably in Africa. I know it's calling me, but will I answer? I know I want to relocate and I know that I love Africa!! Okay I've only been to two countries in Africa but I love both. I guess that's the same thing as someone that's only been to Washington saying that they love America. Of course there are details that I would need to iron out but man, I can so see it!

My ex called to say he was "just thinking about" me and hoping that "everything was going well". I was surprised but I thought that was sweet of him, considering that no one else has called or even sent a text. The ironic thing is that earlier while I was at the market I saw the most amazing gift for him and I really considered getting it. He is an avid chess player and this gift would be meaningful to him and it was so beautiful and was being sold by a brother from Malawi who is also really into chess. He was really trying to talk to me about chess as if I cared but I obliged him because he was clearly passionate. My girlfriend who knows the history of me and the ex was like “girl, I know you aint about to buy him anything”???!!!! Is it strange that I would consider it? I mean he’s not my enemy and it took a WHILE for me to come around to even speaking to him, but dang. That’s just my heart I guess. All I could think about in that moment was how much he would love this piece...

One last thought, my hair is outta control!!! More on that later...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

South Africa....One More Time!!!

I am writing this while watching Zulu soap operas (I am addicted to them) at a bed & breakfast in Paarl, South Africa. I'm actually in my friend/colleague's hotel room because my room is freezing. Yes it's cold here and it's taking my body a minute to adjust to it. But I'll be alright, I have three more weeks to be here.

When I was leaving on Monday I phoned him from the plane and said something about if I didn't make it, he should know that he's the last person I spoke to. Why did I say that? Of course I made it safely but the turbulence on that plane ride here had me praying in tongues and begging for mercy & forgiveness for my reckless words. I have learned my lesson, trust! I should have just said what I really wanted to say instead of talking crazy.

Also while I was on the plane I had an interesting conversation with a tobacco exec from South Carolina. I work for an HIV prevention non-profit that basically functions like a biotech in that we research and hope to develop viable HIV prevention options for women, specifically women in resource poor countries who are more vulnerable to the disease. Anyway, once I explained this (what a mouthful)to Mr. Tobacco Exec he made some comment about still thinking AIDS was a homosexual disease (ignorance is bliss for some people) and then he just flat out asked me if I'd been "exposed to HIV". He meant to say do I have HIV. I know that I don't THANK GOD but I laughed to myself because I have always pretty much figured that some people wonder that when I tell them about the line of work I'm in but just never had the nerve to ask, but this old man just came straight out and asked. I think that when it comes to this topic more people should just ask and as a matter of fact more open dialogue would probably prevent a lot of new HIV infections, yes indeed. (End of soap box)

So far it's going well and I am so excited to be here. I've been very busy since I touched down and I had to give a few Afrikaans (white) men a piece of my mind today, but it's all good. In the end I am here to do a job and I don't scare easily. You can really feel the racism here and I've confirmed with others that it's not just my imagination. Basically this architect was trying to breach our contract and I was not having it. My boss does not even know about it yet and I hope to have it all sorted out without having to dish on the drama. I've got it covered though.

I am trying to make my way into Cape Town this weekend for some business (personal entrepreneurial venture) and some action! Paarl is pretty to look at and has plenty of good wine but is boring as hell. Cape Town is where all the magic happens. LOL!

It's interesting to me that whenever I am away from home I NEVER feel home sick or have an overwhelming desire to come home. I wonder what that means? We'll see how it goes this time. Overall I am loving this opportunity and experience. I am so appreciative, I recognize that I am blessed and I am having the time of my life!!!! I plan to get everything that I can out of it and not take a moment of it for granted.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Marriage-Real Talk

When you get married, you’re forced to drink the milk long after it’s spoiled.”

-Kimora Lee Simmons.

Why do we really want to get married? Meeting men who are "marriage ready" has really got me thinking hard about this. I'm not even going to lie, I flip flop on my desire or lack there of to be married. But as I get older I find myself questioning why I (and others) feel the need to get married. I really want some HONEST dialogue on WHY we want to get married. I don't beleive that being in love with someone is a good enough reason to marry them. I mean real talk, here's my take.

1. I want to be married because from time to time I realize the amount of time I spend alone and it shocks and terrifies me.

2. I want to get married so that I can engage in as much Guilt Free Sex as I like. I was once told that we should be specific in asking God for a mate so I've actually prayed for a man with a sex drive that parallels or exceeds mine; and I was serious.

3. I want to get married because I want children and I prefere not to be a baby mama. However, I am very warm to the idea of adopting and/or being a foster mother to a child/children in need of a loving home. Ironically, engaging in this endeavor as single person is not considered taboo or socially/religiously unacceptable. So I guess it goes back to the sex thing.

4. I want to get married because certain religious doctrines (which I happen to ascribe to) dictate that marriage (between a man and woman)is the only union that is acceptable in the eyes of God, whom I happen to believe in, love and reverence.

5. I want to be married because theoretically, being married will protect me from contracting AIDS, other STD's.

6. I want to be married because I want a partner to hustle with, build with, grow old with, get rich with, get fly with, brainstorm with, you get my drift... and I don't want that partner to just up and leave with my half of the coins in tow without some legal footing (for me) to stand on. F*&# that! I'm keeping it real. There is legal protection against a fool who's lost his damn when you're in a marriage. Plus no matter what day of the week it is, two incomes are always better than one.

So my question is this: Which of the 6 reasons why I want to marry above can not be accomplished in a healthy adult relationship?

I am NOT talking about some trash where someone is cheating, being dishonest, or playing games. I am talking about a situation where two adults agree and WANT to be together, realizing that NO ONE is ever going to be everything to you so let's bring out the best in each other, compliment one another in the areas that we can, and help to build each other up and give it our all until/if we decide that we want out for whatever reason.

For those of us that ascribe to any religious doctrine that sanctifies marriage, if shacking up or pre marital sex were not against the laws of said religion, would you REALLY still feel the need to get married? I will honestly answer no to that question. To me it all comes back to sex! I feel like the only thing above that I can not accomplish in an unmarried situation with a man is "guilt free sex"! Yes this is an area of struggle for me.

From time to time I've had dialogue on marriage with married and unmarried people alike and here is what I've gotten:

1. Marriage is not a natural desire. There is nothing innate within us that make us desire to be with one person for the rest of our lives. We, especially women are raised to believe that marriage is necessary to maintain some semblance of purity, and women also desire marriage for the sake of protecting their children. (I actually think that this desire to protect the child is innate).

2. Marriage does not cure the desire to be with other people sexually, emotionally, or mentally.

3. Some women no longer feel the need to be married once they've fulfilled the desire for children. Some even don't fear being divorced with children because in their head they can say "at least I was married" or these children were conceived within the confines so therefore they are not a "baby mama". Crazy but has actually been said to me!

4. There are married people that would be open to the idea of their mate going out and doing their thing and not be mad as long as they come back home.

Now I have said on several occasions to a few close people that sometimes I feel I lack the maturity that is necessary to forsake all and get married or be in a committed relationship and I really feel like my thoughts are very out the box or even strange. The fact is that I spent most of my adult life with one man and never cheated. I KNOW that this was only possible because we maintained our individual lives and I spent a lot of just "me" time in spite of the fact that I had someone. But I can't have that in a marriage can I? No, and I'm also beginning to see that as I get older most men define being in a relationship as living together and having stuff together, something that I'm completely against; unless of course I were married.

Personally I don't feel the "silent panic" that so many women to marry before 30 frankly because I just find that to be such a silly notion. I might actually respect this notion if I lived in a society where that same pressure were applied to men, but I don't because it's not. I don't know how I'll feel about all this in 5, heck, even 2 years but at this moment I...I just don't know. Maybe I'm just a bitter hater. LOL! Maybe someone else could chime in and help me out.

Hell Dates

Love is a many strange thing...

When you're feeling someone, often times, they can't or won't commit to you and when you want nothing to do with someone else, they practically stalk you or call you so many times that you're tempted to change your phone number. Why is this!??

I'm somewhere between getting over someone and not wanting to be bothered at all and honestly at this time, I just want to take things easy. I know that I'm rusty when it comes to the dating scene but damn, is this what it really is?

I met this man who wants to be married. I should be stoked right? NOT!! But obviously he believes that simply because HE wants to be married, He's a successful doctor and HE wants me to possibly fill this position, that I should just bow at his feet? I spent an entire date with this man where he blabbed on about him self, ALL his accomplishments, etc...and NEVER once asked me anything about me, most importantly IF I WANT to get married. How can one be so self-absorbed? I spent the entire time imagining myself in a loveless, sexless, bored to tears existence with this dude..even after I told him I don't want all that..he continues to call and text every day claiming to MISS me, WTF?? So basically I had to put on my mean girl face and tell him how I really feel cause this nice girl thing was getting me no where but annoyed.

This other cat, same deal; calls almost everyday and expresses how much he wants to "get in another relationship with a good woman that he can marry because the last chick could not stop her friendships with her male friends". LOL! Hell, I'm that chick!! Has that deterred him at all? Of course not. My girl Bunz always tells me that men love whores, bitches and other women that are just bad for them...I'm starting to think that maybe she's right.