Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Liar, Liar...

I have a friend who I believe is a pathological liar. The MAIN purpose of me writing this blog is the hopes that this person sees this blog and recognizes its about them, and decides to do something about their life. This is not about me, because these lies do not personally affect me but they do affect our friendship and our interactions. Let me explain...

When I first met TJ* (not their initials or related to their name but this allows for anonymity)  I thought they were the bees knees! TJ lived an awesome life, knew awesome people, and had a great wealth of knowledge. I immediately became taken with this person and wanted them in my life. So we became friends and I loved hearing their fanciful tales of places and people. There were times I'd say to myself "this seems unbelievable" but never far-fetched. I am sure some of the stories I tell seem implausible, so I would dismiss any notions I'd have about their life because...well...it wasn't my life and just because I can't doesn't mean they can't. TJ became a good friend.

As years went on I started realizing that TJ had a lying problem. I started recognizing lies TJ was telling to me and others. Sometimes on Twitter, I'd see them tweeting about certain things and I'd say to myself "That's not right..." and it'd be silly stuff. Like "What are you doing tonight?" TJ would say "About to go to this spot, get some more drinks, party blah blah..." when they would be at home about to go to bed. These petty lies meant nothing at the time because we all lie right? We lie for various reasons...to look good, to protect ourselves, to protect our friends, to get over.

NOTE: I think lying to protect someone's feelings is bullshit. You are NOT protecting anyone's feelings, you are protecting your own livelihood. If  you cared about a person's feelings, you would STOP with the actions hurting that person OR you'd leave that person alone because you aren't the friend that person needs. How simple is that? But I digress...

I didn't care. If TJ wanted to be a liar all of their life then fine. Not my issue. But one day I caught them in a flat out lie. I later hit them up like "Why did you lie about this?" (The lie involved me so yes I'm asking). They spun such a tale that I begin to believe that I was the one tripping. Okay TJ didn't lie. It wasn't like THAT. Fine. But as years went on, I noticed it more and more. TJ lied about 70% of the time. It wasn't hurtful lies, or serious lies. But they were lies. And now I'm thinking...TJ can't help lying. Lying has become such a part of this person's every day life that they lie about the most mundane things without forethought.

You: "TJ did you read that book?"
TJ:  "Yeah."
You: "What did you think?"
TJ: "Ahh it was ok. But (general thing on author)."
You: "Well ok. But what did you think about this part?"
TJ: "It was ok."

Now you could say "TJ just wasn't interested in talking about the book." However, if you bring up a book TJ did read, they will carry on a full convo about the book even if they hated it. Okay so why are you lying about reading this book TJ? Finally I said to TJ. "You are a liar, and I don't trust a lot of what you say." TJ looked stupid. TJ made up an excuse. TJ denied it all. The wild part about all this is...the things you THINK TJ is lying about are true. It's the petty nonsensical stuff that TJ lies about that makes this all so crazy.TJ has a problem.

Most recently TJ lied to me about their ex. They said their ex was doing xyz. So when I saw their ex on the street I said to them "Oh I heard about xyz. Congrats!" The ex goes "What?" I repeat that I heard whatever good news it was and they go "no...who told you that..." and I almost say "TJ." but then I stop and go "wait wait...i confused you with (other person with same name). i think they are doing that now...my fault." Because had I said TJ I believe this person may have ranted. Days later when I spoke to TJ, I wanted to bring up the info on their ex but then I stopped myself. TJ will lie again and make up some excuse. Or my fav is "I never said that, what I said was..." Exposing TJ's lies doesn't bring about change, it just brings about more lies to cover up the initial lies.

This past weekend I spoke to TJ. They asked me what I did and I lied. I lied because I didn't want to engage this person, because I felt they didn't deserve to know my life if they kept lying to me and everyone else about theirs. I lied because I was upset. I lied because that seems to be TJ's preferred method of communication. I lied and I can admit it.

TJ can you admit to your lies? Not for me, because it's not about me. I will be your friend regardless, but what I cannot and will not do is to continue to entertain your antics. I tried pointing out blatant lies. I tried pointing it out low key. I tried being high key about it. I said specifically to you "You are a liar." Now I'm typing it in my blog so that the message won't be lost upon you. You are lying to people who love you for no reason. I have no clue as to who you are trying to impress. It can't be me. I don't know why lying is your go to mechanism. Lying doesn't show strength. It shows weakness. Weakness in recognizing the truth and accepting it. Because if you really accepted truth and reality, this facade you created would crumble. But sometimes things need to be destroyed in order to be rebuilt into something better.

TJ you are an amazing person, but you are a liar. I want you to break this cycle because only in truth will you be free and only in truth will you become the person you are trying to be.

But a quick question to my readers...how would you (or how do you) deal with a person who you consider a good friend who is always lying to you?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

True Life: The reality of Dating a "Celebrity"

Every time I log onto Facebook, Twitter, or one of my favorite message boards, I see the same thing time and time again. Women lusting after a celebrity wanting to bed him or even date him...and I get it, we all want that person everyone wants. These people are celebrities for a reason and most of them are good looking, charismatic, and smart. What most of these women don't get it: It takes a special
kind of woman to date a "famous" person or even a person in the industry period. It's not easy so I decided to offer the reality of it all. Now if it's your plan to just sleep with a celeb, that's easy. With twitter and IG and VIP all access passes, there's no reason a put together woman in a nice outfit with her edges laid can't hook up with someone randomly for a night. (Note: Easy is a relative term. Meeting the celeb is the easy part; having sex is the part that requires work. But honestly unless he's married, just shoot your shot.) However dating? That's something completely different...

1. Ain't no 9 to 5 bih: They do NOT work the same schedule "regular" people work, which means a call at 2 am ain't always a booty call. It could be  "I just got out of the studio/off set and I have some time, can I see you?" call. This will happen often. You will rarely be on the same schedule and when you are, cherish those days. A lot of the time you will get off at 5/6 and if they work in music, they are about to go to the studio because apparently studios don't get popping until 9 or 10 pm.

2. The Studio/Set is Boring: If you are over 25, the appeal of being on set or in the studio while your bae works quickly wears off after a month or so. It's always fun at first. You get to tweet cute things like "I love watching him work" "Bae is a beast in the studio" but I swear two months later when he asks if you want to go to the studio or the set, you will only say yes for two reasons: 1. to make sure there aren't any groupies around or 2. someone else you really want to meet will be there. THE STUDIO IS BORING!! Being on set is sometimes fun until you realize they are shooting that alley scene once again.

3. That song everyone loves? You are going to hate.: Just to piggy back off #2, the studio is boring and redundant! Rarely is a track made one day and released the next, so what usually happens is you will hear the same song played over and over and over while they get it perfect. When the song finally makes it to the radio (if it makes it to the radio), you will know all the lyrics, the ad libs, the slight mistakes that they left it, the chords, the drums...all of it. And unless that song is about you, chances are you are already going to be tired of it. But you just smile and say "that's my boo!"

4. "My phone was off" is often true: There is nothing worse than recording a perfect take in the studio or on set, just to have someone's phone start ringing or buzzing and fuck up the recording. Now this is also the perfect lie to use when you are cheating but at the same time, it's a fact. Your non-stop texts and calls are messing up the session. Remember in "Life" when Eddie Murphy's phone rang and he answered it and everyone laughed!! LOL. Funny right? In real life, the money for those sessions and movies comes out of someone's pocket, so that person ain't laughing.

5. "(Blank) is in town! I gotta go.":  Plans get ruined quickly when someone your boo wants to work with comes into town. He might not even take a shower, he will just pull on clothes and GHOST! Mentally you have to be prepared and know that you can't whine or complain unless it's your birthday or a holiday. And then if it's someone like Beyonce or Jay Z, then you just have to try to convince them that you know how to act and you have "ideas" too.

6.  "I can't tell you": "What are you working on? Who are you working with?" "I can't tell you." You can take this personal but be honest, if he tells you he's working on the new Denzel movie and it's a secret, chances are you won't tell everyone but you might tell your girl. Who might tell her girl. Who might tell her girl. And so on...so when it's a real secret, he probably won't tell you until the time is right. So patience is a virtue.

7. "Groupies": Depending on the level of celebrity, groupies are always going to be around. The thing is...there is no competition. Sure, some of them are BAD BITCHES!! But for the most part, most of them are trash and average as hell (with all due respect to the groupies reading this blog).  If he (or she) chose you as the one, you're the one. If you are the jealous type, then this isn't for you or you have to learn to check your jealousy. But they will always be around and they don't care if that's your boyfriend, that song or the role he played spoke to THEM and they want that experience.

Take everything above into consideration and ask yourself: is that the relationship I want? Can I deal with this? Or do I need a different type of relationship? But if you are in it for the fame, the money, and the cars, then disregard the above and just go to your local IG boutique and make sure you keep a buddy pass on deck.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Transition...

Initially I wanted to write this blog about procrastination...but I couldn't get it together. Then when I finally sat down to do it, I realize I wrote one on the same topic on 12/26/09. It's right here: Procrastination is a Mutha!. Of course, I go back to read that blog and it's about me trying to write an essay for a grant. I did NOT get that grant in 2009. I got that grant this year. In 2015. Think about that...it took me damn near 5 years to write what I needed to write to get that money. I believe I did finish and submit it in 2010, but I didn't get it. Last year, I saw some summer classes I wanted to take at Columbia U and said "Wait, I know where I can get the money." Less than a week later, I had done everything necessary. A few months later, they call me and say they were really impressed with my essay and LOR (which I wrote for one of my supervisor's because that's how things are done)...as she's gushing I'm like man...maybe this writing thing is for me.

But I digress.  This is about transition.

Lately everyone around me has been in a transitional phase. Leaving jobs, homes, friends, whatever, and starting new. In the past few months around 5 ppl have left my job. Three of them went to totally different careers and I'm proud of them. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I was jealous. Well, I don't know if  jealous is the word.

What's the word for when you wish you could do something to but you aren't 100% sure what that thing is you want to do but you know that you want to do something else and you want to be great at and you think MAYBE it's this one thing or maybe it's that one thing so essentially you can't go anywhere because you don't know what to do?

That feeling? Do you know it? What's that called? Help me define the space I am in.

I jot down things I  know...like...

I love writing.
I love public health.
I love working with kids.
I like teaching but would never do it all day, everyday.
I want to be able to work from home sometimes.
I want a PhD.
I love tweeting. Can I get paid for this?!?! (Seriously...if I could get paid to tweet!!!!)
I want to travel more.
I love money not being an issue.

And that's the biggest thing...when you get to the point in your life where you aren't living check to check, you kind of settle into that because that's comfortable. Is life about being comfortable? A lot of people will say it's about being happy...but comfort is happy sometimes right?

I don't know where I'm going. But I will say this...a few years ago one of my friends told me that I had to spend at least 3 years in NYC to get the real experience of living in the city. He was right. And now it's almost 5 years later (well October, I will have lived here 5 years. How the hell did time fly?). I now realize that what I thought I came here for it not why I'm really here...I saw I came here for more opportunities but really...I was tired of being who I was in Baltimore. And while I'm still not the person I want to be, I know I'm finally on the path of who I was meant to be.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bucket List Item #9: Spend My *Birthday* in Hawaii

Okay I'll be honest, my initial bucket list item said to spend NYE in Hawaii...I modified it last year when I decided to go to Oahu last year (Jan 2014) to climb the Haiku Stairs. If you don't know about the Haiku Stairs (or the Stairway to Heaven), please see here: Yelp Review: Haiku Stairs. And technically my birthday is a New Year right...so I will claim it.

So I booked a direct flight on Hawaiian Airlines (via Priceline-always check Priceline first) and lucky for me I had enough air miles for a free return flight on American Airline. I booked an ocean view king room at Hyatt Place Waikiki for a reasonable price. Note...a lot ppl say Hawaii is expensive but I spent just about the same amount booking this trip as I did going to Essence last year, so I can't even call it. I chose to spend 5 days/4 nights in Oahu and it was amazing. How I spent my first trip to Hawaii is below:

Thursday: I arrived around 4 pm and took a shuttle to the hotel ($30 roundtrip, very reasonable). My girls weren't coming until after 11 pm so I had plenty of time to myself. During this time I walked up and down the board walk, had garlic shrimp (that was $6.50), and went shopping where I bought a silk dress that I do not need for anything ever in life. But it's cute so it's okay. I walked along the beach and enjoyed the light rain...then I took a nap. Once my friends arrived, we went to a restaurant and chilled on the beach until about 330 am or so.

Friday: We looked into our options and decided to go on a tour on Saturday...which left today for whatever. We went to the zoo and it was cool but not worth $14. Do NOT go to the zoo. There is nothing special at the zoo. I can't stress this enough. Then, we got garlic shrimp. Again. From the same place. It was $7.00 this time. Then we went shopping because guess who didn't try on their bikini top before they got to Hawaii?!?! We shopped for a while and then jet lag caught up with us but we still managed to go out to eat then go to bed since we had to be up at 6 the next day.

Saturday: The ultimate EcoTour! I loved opting to go on the all day tour because we got to see a lot of the North Shore and side of the island. We went to several beaches, got to eat amazing pineapple ice cream, drink macadamia nut coffee, and swim at a waterfall. Lunch was included, which we ate at a ranch before we almost died at Sunset Beach. Just a note...when the signs at the beach say "Warning/Dangerous" please TRUST that it means that because Brandi and I almost died. I literally looked at the wave and said "this is the biggest wave I ever saw" and then proceeded to try to take a picture of it and instead got washed by this wave and almost dragged out to die. But God blessed me. (The pic to your left is the Byodo-In Temple, the second highlight of the tour for me...as far as sites go because we all know the pineapple ice cream was highlights 1-10 for me).

Sunday: My birthday. I'm old. We laid out on the beach and I got a killer tan. Ate more garlic shrimp. I think. Then we went to a luau at Paradise Cove and it was fantastic. Finally...authentic roasted in the ground with hot rocks pig. When I tell you the pork was the best thing I ever ate...(as far as pork goes)...I mean it. If you go, try it before you add the sauce. For some reason, people love to add the sauce before they taste the meat but the pork is like a good steak. If it's done correctly, no sauce is necessary.  I also tried poi, which basically tastes like glue. It wasn't bad and if you liked glue as a child, you'd love it now. It was just different. But the food and drinks and dancers (male and female) were great. When we got back we were tired. It was late (my body thought it was 2 am) and I was tipsy because the drinks were so good.

Monday: Last day. Really didn't do much. Ate breakfast, tried to get my ear pierced (failed...but I will get it done now that I'm home), and did some light weight shopping. I left around 5 pm to go back to NYC. I also returned my lei back to the island.

All in all, I think I spent the perfect amount of time in Oahu. I wasn't able to do the hike I wanted to do because one of the people who was suppose to attend this trip wasn't able to make it at the last minute. That lowkey sucked because this person had completed the hike before and I was not confident with it being just me and one other person, so we substituted that hike for the hike to the waterfall. Also shout out to Keith of Paradise Cove! He gave me a cd full of authentic Hawaiian music and I have no clue what they are singing about but I still love it.

Also shout out to Pam, Thembi, and Brandi for coming out and spending my birthday in Hawaii. I appreciate it more than you know (also thank you Pam for the Sephora gift card that I used to buy all the things I didn't need).

I tried to add pics not on my IG here...Oahu is beautiful! You can see those pics here (@steph_bmore) I can't wait to go back and visit the other islands and yes, I plan to go back and do the Haiku Stairs but this time I won't depend on someone else to help me...I will train on my own so I can do it on my own. Also note...I didn't edit any of these pictures, they are still raw because I'm lazy.

Next year...I'm thinking of spending my birthday in Cuba...Havana is also very beautiful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Prose: Urban Fabulous-ness or "How It's Cool When White People Do It"

As young broke black teens we would dye our hair with packets of kool-aid,
Marveling at how, in the sun, the red, orange, or blue colors would pop.
Our perms were not used to make our hair curly, but to "relax" it into a straight state,
And then we'd style it up into braids, waves, waterfalls, twists, buns, rolls;
While jars of ampro lined our dressers, beside the soft brushes we'd use to lay down our edges.
Our nails were long and adorned with different colors, jewels, and sometimes dollar bills.
Fitted jeans and Baby Phat tees.
Timberlands were not work gear, but a symbol of social status.
Juicy Fruit. Bangles. Bad Attitudes.
Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning, I'm so good.
Through our speakers banged the voice of our generation:
Biggie, Tupac, Bone Thugs, TLC, Xscape, Aaliyah.
Our bodies moved in sync to the rhythms of their words and we were great.
But we weren't seen as good, but more like hood.
Ghetto in every way. Don't hang around them or they will lead you astray.
Don't care about school, and thinks its cool to hang out on the corner.
Their parents don't care about them, and all they do sin.
Sinners. They need Jesus.They need to pray. They need us to tell them what's right and wrong.

Fast forward 20 years later, now they praise us.
The colorful hair is now the next big think.
Baby hairs are now "slicked down tendrils."
Braids are BOLD. Long pointy nails are EDGY.
Du-rags are now made of vegan leather.
Kente clothed items are available at your local store,
and if you don't have a black friend, you ain't cool.
The bad hip hop is now okay because we now see white faces spitting rhymes.
White faces with urbanized accents to lend authenticity to a culture they appropriated.
And now we don't need a special channel or a special show to see our favorite rap videos.
That's dope right?
The Harlem shake is no longer a nod to the fiends who walked up and down 125th
But a comedic meme that shows no love to the original.
Miley invented the twerk, and if you are confused, there's plenty of articles and videos.
And "nigga what, nigga who" why can't we say what you do?
Gangsta grillz...no gold mouth adornment that can urbanized your look.
There is never any love to the original.

See it's not enough to be stolen. Or to have your history stolen.
The one thing that we can still be actively involved in is our culture.
The one thing we thought we owned, that no one could steal or take from us.
For years, our culture was less than.
So less than that it's now cool and on the runways of Milan and NYC
Our culture is on the cover of magazines. In the pages of Vogue, Marie Claire.
You want that fab slicked down hair? Or see the latest in street wear?
Youtube is there.
But we aren't there.
Because when we do it, it's ghetto.
When white people do it, it's cool.