We are all reeling from the horrific mass shooting that took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. A vicious attack against people in the LGBTQ community on the club’s Latin night where many people in this community went to be themselves, to dance, to celebrate, to love, to live. It is painful to think that in the midst of exuberance and joy, there was an invasion of hate; hate in a person with a legally purchased assault rifle who proceeded to kill 49 people an injure 53 others. This is the America we live in. We live in a country where discrimination against people in the LBGTQ community is common and frequently justified by religious beliefs. We live in a country where people in the LGBTQ community often feel unsafe being themselves and showing affection to the people they love in public, for fear of retaliation. We live in a country where under the guise of “religious freedom” laws are being put in place that enable close-minded people to discriminate against people in the LGBTQ community who are simply seeking to live their lives freely like other Americans. This is the America we live in. Continue reading “Pulse: Standing with the LGBTQ Community”
As my 30th year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on why 30 has been my favorite age thus far. The year has certainly included challenges and disappointments but overall I have felt more at home and secure with myself than ever before. After turning 30 last June, I felt a shift from an underlying feeling that I was not good enough or needed to get better in some fundamental way, to believing that I am worthy and good enough just as I am. I settled into myself. I began fully embracing my weird, quirky, silly, generous, anxiety-prone, outspoken self and it feels wonderful. When I was younger I had many personal life goals (e.g. getting married, having kids, etc.) that I wanted to accomplish before turning 30 and they have not happened yet. I am thankful that I have experienced this level of groundedness and contentment without reaching those goals. It has enabled me to understand that I don’t need to get everything I want in order to be happy. What follows are the key things that have helped me to love myself during my 30th year. Continue reading “The Gifts of 30: Learning to Love Yourself”
The desire to be partnered is something I felt starting when I was a teenager; at age 16 I thought I would be married by the time I was 25 (ha!). I wanted an intimate emotional connection, a relationship built on mutual support and encouragement. This desire led me to engage in a number of relationships some were good, others weren’t, and I have learned a lot along the way. As black women, we are faced with unique dating challenges. There are stereotypes about our physical appearance, our attitudes, and sexual proclivities. There are assumptions that we are desperate to be in relationships and therefore willing to tolerate inappropriate behavior from partners. There are messages from the media that make it seem like black women are not desirable marriage partners or that the reason we are single is because we are too picky. This is a lot to navigate in the search for love. Continue reading “3 Healthy Ways to Engage in Dating”
My last break up came suddenly; the relationship with my then-boyfriend wasn’t perfect (and in retrospect it had more problems than I acknowledged at the time) but things seemed to be going fairly well. After 7 months, for no clear reason that he could explain, he broke up with me and we never spoke again. I was heartbroken; it wasn’t the worst heart break I had ever experienced but it was painful. Break ups are hard and most of us have experienced at least one. Whether you initiated the end of the relationship or it came unexpectedly, break ups always involve some form of loss and pain. For better or worse, I have experienced a number of break ups and I have counseled people through the end of relationships that only lasted a month to people who are getting divorced after being married for more than a decade. In this post I share four healthy ways to get over a break up. Continue reading “4 Healthy Ways to Get Over a Break Up”
Self-love can make or break your Valentine’s Day whether you’re single or in a relationship. When I didn’t truly love myself (sometimes I still struggle with this), I always felt like the things boyfriends did to show their love for me fell short, or the happiness that their show of love brought would pass quickly. Part of the problem was that because I did not authentically love myself, I was looking for the people I dated to fill a void that only I could fill. If you are in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, you may be focusing on what your partner is going to do for you and if you’re single you may spend the time feeling down and complaining about potential partners. This year I charge you to do something different. I encourage you to reflect on how well you are loving yourself and to take some intentional steps to indulge in self-love on Valentine’s Day.