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It’s Complicated

>>This piece was originally posted on ‘ The Uppidity Negro’ the personal blog of ICUs Joshua Lazard>>>

Joshua Lawrence Lazard

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Domestic violence, inherently, creates complexities on both sides of the gender aisle.  We, as a society, have to admit that in order to have an open and honest conversation.  This would be a conversation that appropriately lets emotions be felt and listen to opinions that may seem like something directly from a male chauvinist playbook be dealt with directly.  The first open and honest paradigm that should govern these types of conversations is that the victim should not be further victimized.  There is nothing ever that the victim caused to be a victim of domestic abuse.  There is no word or action that has the power of causation for them to be hit or struck in any shape, form or fashion.

I’ve sat back, silently (and perhaps that is a fault of my own I hope to explore later in this piece), and watched some of my black brothers bring out…

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>>GAME Changer..America’s Teachable Moment@Ray Rice

..MAJOR SOCIETAL FAILURE** >>When a woman is figuratively RAPED in front of the entire world over & over & over again as she’s victimized repeatedly ..The point has been made clear by the NFL @WE don’t believe women. WE think they are wrong & we’ve got to be convinced they’re right… So, here is my breakdown of how many times Janay Palmer was victimized since Ray Rice PUNCHED her in the face this past February & knocked her out cold! >>

First a FACT that the NFL might want to take note of(Or more so) ..Especially with the “indefinite suspension” for Ray Rice. In my humble opinion? He should be banned for life from playing professional football. I’ll get back to that later..Over 45% of football fans are women. Go figure..A traditionally male-oriented , very often female-exclusionary sport has a fan base of almost half female. Many of us have watched it right along side our husbands/partners/Dads/sons..Some of us love it! Having said all of that..If the men of the NFL won’t man up & stand UP against violence towards women(I simply don’t believe they’d not seen enough evidence to dump Ray Rice when they gave him the 2 game suspension..) Then the women of the NFL should and need to. If half its fans don’t tune in or buy NFL products??? I bet it wouldn’t take a TMZ released video for the NFL to do the right thing next time! Come on now..A celebrity gossip entity can get the full video & the NFL couldn’t have?? Wasn’t it already clear what happened in that elevator with even the first video of Ray DRAGGING unconscious Janay ??? Does anyone expect Goodell to say , NOW , that he made a right decision with the first suspension?? A guesstimated 375,00 women attend NFL games each weekend of the season..Alot of moolah is on the line. However, what I really feel is on the line is the sentiment about women in America>>

Back to the list of ways Janay Palmer was victimized>>

#1. When Ray Rice punched her(like she was a grown MAN) in the face..Every picture I’ve found of Rice, alone, he’s pointing to his enormous muscles. Yet? He instantly responded to the situation by punching the mother of his child. He could’ve simply lifted her off her feet to calm the situation. I’ve heard not one report on her injuries..Not one.

#2 Janay was next victimized when, from the onset, the Ravens minimized her assault. It was called “a distraction” in their star player’s life.

#3 She was forced to sit in front of the media & the ENTIRE world in an interview..Apologizing for her role in being punched in the face..WTF & OMG..I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. And America sat back in full acceptance. The game must go on at any cost. Right?

#4 When Rice’s lawyer said it was “completely hypothetical” Panay instigated and Rice was in defense mode. Later the justice system, didn’t even pursue full charges against Rice. Hmmm big money talks & at times it truly is a man’s world. Still even in 2014>>

#5 When the NFL’s powers that be, somehow didn’t see enough evidence to punish beyond a 2 game suspension. Why wasn’t a request made to gain access to the entire video? Major League Baseball got evidence during the Biogenesis scandal, right? Yet, the NFL (btw the # 1 American sport & quite powerful..) couldn’t get a tape from a hotel??? Poppycock!

#6 By Ravens cheering fans when Rice returned to the field. WOW..Enough said.

#7 The full footage of the incident being released to the world last Monday. Truly an invasion of Janay’s privacy! As IF it wasn’t enough for the entire world to have seen her dragged out that elevator like a cave dweller..I won’t post that video clip as a visual for that reason. It’s been seen enough and too much as it is..Shouldn’t have been necessary to reveal so much.

The final painful thing to occur is that many(one was too many…) blamed Janay Palmer. That somehow something she DID or said provoked her to get punched..As IF..Why is it the woman always gets the burden of proof??? Casted as being mentally imbalanced, or as gold digger, or dressed provocatively, or simply saying something to rile a man UP..Lawyer’s use this(as Rice’s did…) time & time again. Because it works! Why? Why is it a woman’s word(especially with supporting evidence…) isn’t a good as a man’s? It is a deep cultural misunderstanding of how violence operates , to think that the victim incites the abuse. How about a person using self-control(some dang discipline!) & keeping their hands OFF another person? Especially when they dominate over them in size/weight/physical power? Football is a sport driven with aggression and violence. That is no secret..When played with great sportsmanship it is a sport many enjoy watching and playing. I get that!(though I readily admit football has never been a sport I adore) And when that aggression is left on the field, where it belongs, it can’t impact innocent others who aren’t football players. If they want to beat their own bodies up to a broken down mess by time they reach their 40s & 50s..So be it! Humans though are habitual in nature..I’m more shocked this isn’t a more wide-spread issue. Youth hormones + amped up testosterone + aggression training + the coddling athletes receive..The potential is there..As a woman I’d have felt better if Ray Rice had been banned for life from the inception of the first video being released..Immediate. At least then it would’ve been obvious how the NFL(or rather the men in power calling the shots…) felt about women. It is as if they didn’t believe (or care..) about Janay Palmer’s opinion or well-being. Not one bit.. Furthermore, I don’t believe no one in the NFL saw that full video. The burden of proof should be on them to PROVE they are in full support of women’s rights..Nothing less than banning Rice will prove that. An example needs to be set. Let him use his millions to seek continual therapy..Rice needs to question his own ethics..Why did he allow the mother of his child to be pimped out in an interview? Amongst other questions. This isn’t just a football matter. It is personal. I’ve already spoken before about how I feel about violence..Didn’t physically discipline my sons/ I’ve never been in a physical fight/ I don’t feel war is a necessary tool except in self defense…We live in a time when education is made more & more accessible and excessive technological advances..Yet bohemian and heathenish(is that a word???) behavior is viewed as a mere “distraction” ..When such a great deal of people could cast Janay Palmer at fault in her own assault; instead of feeling compassion for her as a victim. As a society we’re in trouble!! ..Good self-esteem isn’t something we’re born with. It is cultivated, nurtured and taught! A great deal of lessons learned are from what we see..And the way I see it? The NFL needs to be clear on its stance against violence away from the field. Can’t sit on the sidelines & make the right decision only after the truth comes to light. Women are more than just potential profits and should be treated as such. Not just during football season either. All the time.

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>I Want The Type of LOVE That Isn’t…Disposable

Single, Sexy, and very Smart..it is beginning to feel like a curse! In the love department. I’ll never get to write about fiction; because real life is FAR more exciting plus full of UNDANGbelievable moments..Hold onto your hats & wigs folks ! This might get a little raw and as always totally real..but I’m almost 50 yrs old I can say what I feel and mean & mean what I say. Right? Yep, I’m very right about alot more than I give myself credit for. Till now. Ya’ll ready for this? Ready..Get set..

 

Here i GO..This might very well come off as a rant, possibly even venting. I’d prefer to say it is a ..release of pent-UP unexpressed sentiment. Having recently relocated from the Right Coast to the Left Coast; I’ve finally! begun to like it here.  All is falling into place and I no longer(sort of..) feen for my beloved Cali. Truly dig the people here, have made FABULOUS friends here, and I love my JOB. And yet, for the 1st time in my life I seem to be attracting alot of married brothers! I don’t get it ..but I swear if ONE more approaches me , in anything-other-than-a-friendship-type-of-“thang”; I will scream! And I won’t be held responsible for what comes out of my mouth…I don’t think married guys realize the total and UTmost disrespect that is to a woman. Not to mention their wife..and on my pisstivity meter it rates a 10 out of 10.

Certainly we all know there are women who go after married men on purpose…They even see it as a personal challenge to go for unavailable and married men. Anyone who knows me knows that without a shred of doubt; I am NOT one of those women. I want, deserve!, and am patiently (trying dang hard not to fall off the wagon..) awaiting for my “the one” to find me. Maybe because this is the longest timeframe I’ve been single; I’m throwing off pheromones like crazy. Or least that is the line that someone recently used on me; as IF. I’d even go as far as to say, and I have, that I’m pretty vulnerable right about now(no matter how strong I project I am & feel I am) Nonetheless the type of love relationship I’m seeking does NOT include a married brother..and I’ll briefly attempt to explain why. >

First of all it makes me feel cheap and dirty! And I hope some of ya’ll are reading this..Mayhaps it will make ya’ll think twice about hitting hard on single women. As IF having a wife at home isn’t enough. And what the heck happened to the time when everyone WORE a wedding band?!? When I was married IF my husband had walked around without his wedding band on..it would’ve sent off a major alarm in my head. Although truth be told if your man is going to cheat; you could wrap his entire body in wedding bands & he’ll still cheat. A cheater will find a way to cheat in a locked room by themselves! Or so it is my belief…and yep I’ve got major issues with cheating-while-married. For a reason. It happened to me. Once upon a time long ago. And literally broke my heart into tiny fragmented pieces…(though we’re great friends now, forgiveness works wonders!)

Isn’t it quite unfair to dangle candy in front of a baby; and then say the baby can’t have the candy? That is exactly what it feels like to “think” someone is single; only to find out surprise! he’s charming/HOT/funny!/personality to die for but MARRIED. When in actuality that is something that should be well known from the get-go. I just feel anything less when approaching a woman is perpetuating a fraud. And one step further so are the married ones who say they’re cool with friendship..and then bam! Swooooop down and hit on a woman so hard it can quite literally take her breath away. Note: Insert the word “men” & “wife”  in the following picture..>

We all fall short of perfection. I get that; and I have my hand held UP high that I’m not perfect. I’ll say it one ‘mo time for the record. I don’t even strive to be perfect anymore. Being perfect would make me..boring. And if anyone reading this has met a perfect person; point them out I’d like to finally see what a perfect person really looks like. I say allll of that to say married folks can do whatever they please. I care less..do YOUR thing and do it well. BUT don’t include me in it. I want no parts of it. As IF I want to be next in line to be sitting at home; waiting on a husband who is working hard to get next to a single woman. Or mayhaps only I look at it from that perspective. It really does, for a minute, hurt my feelings that said married brothers would think that little of me. For a minute…then after that minute or so passes? I get MAD..especially if I felt the temptation. That leads me back again to level 10 on my pisstivity meter. I’m not there often; and I don’t like being there. Exclamation mark. Period

Someone recently said  something; and this saying is getting so OLD. I’ve tired of hearing it because I simply refuse to believe it. They said that all of the good brothers are either married; or in prison. NOT..I won’t comment on the either of those situations. What I will say is this. I exist/divorced & single & sexy, attractive & physically fit/and I’m a dang good woman. And I’ve got a couple single girl friends who are even more fabulous than I am.  So since we exist then there have GOT to be 3 HOT heckafied brothers out there also…and I know mine is looking for me. He is searching for me high & low. I can feel it in my bones. I’m thinking about getting a T -shirt that says “Here i AM baby & I waited just for U” Lol! Actually thats not a bad idea..

Bottom line is I love everyone..I truly, truly LOVE/admire/cherish/dig my brotha’s. And 99.9% of the time I get nothing but MAD, and I mean mad props, from my brothers. Including friendships that I treasure dearly..but I just had to add these thoughts as a footnote. Often times folks, including me, can do things that we don’t know offend others. I’m making it known, again, I find it highly offensive. Enough said…Until I write/read ya’ll again stay UPlifted and blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the one & only)

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~~CONFESSIONS of a Single, Sexy, Divorced Sista~~Black History Month Tribute

I make this look ALOT easier than it really “tis..Alot of my commentary about “being  single & waiting for my ‘The One’ might come across as IF it is always …A walk in the park/through rows & rows of rose petals/and full of fabulous, sunny days..While 99.9% of my days ARE full of sunshine/tons of smiles/& even more laughter; it is some of those after-hour moments that can be trying at best. Shows like ‘Sex in the City‘ & even the black casted “Girlfriends‘; didn’t always reveal the “real” scoop. …

Majority of the time I can’t/won’t lie; my vibe is right and tight. No complaints with being single & sexy other than…I’m ready to NOT be single! I am ready for my onceinalifetimeloveofalifetime. And before I dive in deeper this song will or should set the background for the foreground; that I’m getting ready to lay down. Just so there are no misinterpretations of where I’m coming from..

Now that its been established the phase of life I’m in…Its the notsofabulous moments when thoughts of temptation can creep into the crevices of my mind..Usually right before I go to sleep when I’m finally; still. Those times when the part of my inner self? has doubts>

That “trouble-making” part of self that attempts to disturb my groove of feeling hecka-fied and awesome..Asks funky questions like: What IF waiting on “the 1” is for naught?!? Where the heck is HE? Is he lost??? Is time spent going to make up for these months of waiting? Why isn’t THE time for love right now? Maybe Mr Right Now is better than waiting for Mr Right..

I don’t profess to speak for all Black women..BUT I can not be the only one going through IT. However I am so busy it isn’t often I have time to even get “that lonely feeling”. That feeling of remembrance…of how sweet love can be and IS. *sigh* Certainly I can’t be the only Sista trying to walk the walk; and talk the talk…Single by choice and actually I’m not even dating yet, lol!, BUT I’m close to being ready to date..I guess I was hoping I’d run into Mr Right and he’d be SO awesome, that I’d be forced to give up my “dating hiatus”. After all I am a dreamer; and I dream BIG and in color…

Truth be told I’ve never waited on love before..this is my very first time. There isn’t much of my adult life that I’ve spent *single and unattached*. I’m far more used to being part of a love union than..this. I don’t even know if I’m doing this right! How does one know when it is their very first time? And how much longer can I endure those late night thoughts that creep in? Not sure how many more sheep I can count..

That nagging feeling that comes when my body is tired yet..mymindisstillracing gets me SO amped up I think about the unthinkable. A long distance relationship. Ugh! Or what about joining an internet dating site? Double Ugh! But holding on the hope of all hopes that not ALL of the outstanding brothers are married..IF so where the heck are they?! I keep running smack into hot married ones on this coast. Triple Ugh! And I refuse to go down that road…Did all of the hot, outstanding ,single,   brothers move to the right coast when I relocated to the left coast?!?? OMG

The really great news? I don’t have these type of thoughts often..though honestly I’ve had them alot more than when I first decided to take a breather from dating..More fabulous news? Overall the results have far exceeded what I’d wished for. Doing ‘me’ for a minute was one of the best decisions of my life..And I know, in my heart of hearts , I’m so close to the finish line. I can feel it! I can and will overcome those “nagging” late night thoughts & temptations..because settling now would truly mean I’d wasted alot of precious time learning me/doing me/reaching for my dreams, etc etc yada yada. And the best news of all? I feel so much better after this rant and venting it all out…exhaling is necessary from timetotime. Thank you GOD for blogging ;for its served as such a sweet release. Problem solved for now…

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~MANsharing..WHY are Black Women Supporting this?!?

This topic is as REAL as it gets! I’ve got a naturally nuturing/loving spirit..To love is part of my DNA..Anyone who knows me  can attest that I’ll literally give the shirt off my back to someone in need. And I have…without being asked I’ll give. Whether its money to someone holding UP a sign @will work for food…I’m a giver. And I feel we should all share of what we have to those in need; even if we’re close to broke our dang selves. BUT one thing I will NOT share, UNequivocally, is my MAN. I expect women to look..because I’ve got excellent taste..but do NOT touch him. Ever. And ever is a very long time. So read my lips so the message is clear..I won’t participate in MANsharing. But we all know it exists…It might even be common place for some. So much so there are jokes about it & many articles written on MANsharing among Black women.  I laugh alot! Probably more than the average person..but this is no laughing matter. And I’m so serious..I’m not down with O.P.P.(is that term even used anymore??? well if not I’m bringing it back) My man is considered Private Stock(a term my ex taught me 🙂 ) so flirt if you must because he’ll be HOT… (I’m single at the moment or certainly I’d not be writing on Valentine’s  evening. So this message is for when I start dating again.  lol! ) but do NOT touch my MAN…

Some of the terms, for lack of a better word, used to describe “love triangles” these days are: Main chicks, Side Chicks, Mansharing…For anyone who watches reality tv, which I don’t!, you might have seen some of this laid out in living color(and REALness) on the show”Love and Hip Hop Atlanta”..I ran across a narrative while on a Black website; I was interacting in a group online discussion about Black Love Relationships. And first let me say , OMG! To say my hair was blown back is an understatement…I had NO idea ‘polyamourous coupling’ could be considered an IN thing these days. Or least enough to have it shown on the boob tube. Backintheday we used to called those type of arrangements; open relationships or just plain ole cheating! But seems things have changed or have they?

These days apparently many women , in accepting their rights to sexual freedom and choice, are far less ashamed of those choices…even when they’re generally seen/portrayed as indecent. What usually happens when these love triangles or mansharing accounts are heard of or discovered!(sometimes by an un-assuming wife/girlfriend) the heavier side of blame is placed on the woman involved in the arrangement. She is scorned in some cases and called every name under the sun; except a child of GOD. I know because I’ve been on the flip side of that coin myself. Yep! I was once a very, totally “UNassuming” wife who got the surprise of my life..which also broke my heart into a cazillion pieces. But moving right along….

However, as we get to “the other side of feelings”; also known as getting over a broken heart or lost love..we begin to analyze the “entire situation” and often times can understand” somewhat” how that certain situation came about…Or least those of us that want to truly heal & forgive when we’ve been hurt by someone practice this. So anyways how does a 3rd party come into a marriage or relationship? Is it always KNOWN by the 3rd party that said man is married or taken? Are there women who prey on married men and consider them a challenge? Last but not least the question that begs to be answered…Are there rising numbers of MANsharing among Black women because of the shortage of BLACK men due to high rate of Black men behind bars in our country?!? Here is the take on those answers and the way I see it..

At this point in my life I’ve grown to believe things I never thought I’d believe when I was alot younger…Grey area DOES exist! I used to think everything was either Black or White. That everything either was or wasn’t..and that simply isn’t the case. I now believe that one person can be IN love with two people. Might seem like its impossible to alot of ya’ll out there…but that is because it hasn’t yet happened to you. You’ll have to trust me on this one. Also , I think sometimes folks get into “situations” and don’t know how to get out of them. Lets call it getting caught UP. I also think sometimes people that aren’t totally “satisfied” in a relationship can easily wind UP having an affair. BUT I also think some Sista’s have been duped by Brotha’s who don’t reveal the truth from the onset…Many a woman has probably, nope has!, gotten involved not knowing the man was married. Or the infamous statement IS= He’ll say he is married; but separated…In my opinion until the ink is wet on the divorce decree you’re still MARRIED. I told this brother that once who said he’d been separated for 3 years. 3 years! And as MUCH as I was digging him I said when you’ve gotten your divorce and IF I’m still single; give me a buzz. And he did!

In my heart of hearts I just think there is a way to conduct ourselves like we respect ourselves. Like a lady. Sounds corny but I mean it..Doesn’t mean we can’t have sex appeal or even flirt. Sex appeal is as natural as the air we breathe..IF you got it , then flaunt IT. But with some amount of decency and class. IF a woman doesn’t respect or honor her OWN self/body; how the heck can we expect a man do to the same by us?!? That answer is easy to see; even for a blind person.

For folks that are into poly-relationships..as long as its all mutually agreed upon..do your thing! Its a free country and you can have at it if you like…Not my style because the one thing in life I’m selfish about is my MAN. I do not nor will I share. Not yesterday, not today, and not whenever I get into my next/last! relationship. But for the Sista’s into chasing married men…or adding notches to some sort of married belt. What is going to happen whenever ya’ll settle down & finally get married?? What IF some marriedmanchasingsista comes along and snags YOUR husband??! What will you then think about women who have no issue DOing a married man? Sometimes we should think about the flip side of things; before we do them. Having a heart helps…and also karma is a B! The good news? One can repent and regroup for their past transgressions. That is the beauty of this life journey. Having said all of that there should be a couple unspoken Sista rules when dating…Ya’ll ready for this?

Rule 1. IF he only calls you during work hours of the day and not on the weekend at all. He IS married or in a relationship. And thus not worthy. Period

Rule 2. IF he tells you he is married but separated…I don’t care how many years. He IS still married. And thus someone else’s MAN. Legally. Period

Rule 3. IF he is the ex of a friend of yours…Not worth possibly ruining your relationship with your friend. I don’t care how fine or cute he is.

Rule 4. IF he asks for your number but can’t/won’t give you his. MARRIED. Run quickly from this situation before it even becomes a situation. Period

Rule 5. IF you know he is either married or taken…Walk away or just engage in friendship. Even talking or flirting with the idea of a relationship can lead to an emotional attachment. And getting emotionally attached or falling in love! with a man that isn’t available will drain you/block your blessings/and guarantee your heart will be crushed