Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do Better


When you know better, you do better. - Maya Angelou
Oprah credits Maya Angelou for changing her life and easing her mind when she was feeling down about her own mistakes with this very quote. During an episode of the 'Oprah Winfrey Show' years ago, she stated the following:
Maya Angelou had said this to me once when I was talking to her about mistakes I had made in my youth.
                                 
And she was saying you did in your 20s what you knew how to do and when you knew better you did better and you should not be judged for the person that you were but for the person you are trying to be and the woman that you are now. -Oprah

Those words are so freeing from the hostage internally created from who I used to be or anything I used to do. She who has never made mistakes, is a better woman than I. Since I don't believe those people exist, I know that at times, we all fall short.  I also recognize the power I hold and hold no grudges towards those I willingly gave that power to. Why? Because I didn't know any better.

Now that I know better, I do better.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Am My Name

Growing up with a middle name that contains 14 letters and 7 syllables, a first and last name that rhyme with R-rated taunt-worthy body parts was not easy. [Insert a bullying story here.] I won't bore anyone with the details of how I was bullied throughout elementary and middle school due to my name because weren't we all? bullied for something.  To tell you the truth, I didn't learn how to spell or properly pronounce my middle name until junior high. It didn't mean much to me then. It was  different and made me different and therefore an east target.

My three names (given name, middle and surname) are of Nigerian Yoruba origin. My given name in English roughly translates to 'Everlasting joy' or 'Eternal Happiness'. Heavy, right?
 
The translation of my middle name is 'God gives me joy' or  'Joyful Gift of God'. Pressure much?

According to a name meaning website I recently visited, my name includes the following traits:
 
Who is she?
Immensely likeable, charming and conciliatory; she is also energetic, courageous and fiercely determined. Extremely sensitive and emotional by nature, she could experience fluctuating moods and a certain amount of nervous tension... [Silent] is capable of living in harmony with the vibrations of her master number 11, which endow her with tremendous physical and moral strength. Her view on life would therefore be broad and idealistic; her aspirations elevated and noble... (especially if she was born [...] in November.  [Silent] is honest, frank and direct; she doesn´t see the point in beating around the bush and loathes pretentiousness with a passion while injustice which makes her absolutely furious. Indeed, even though she is usually all smiles, sweetness and light, she is nevertheless capable of violent rage if you rub her up the wrong way. She can be very talkative and spontaneous, lively and quick as a flash; and although she remains essentially altruistic with a great love for humanity, she is not completely indifferent to the material realm and could sometimes be sensitive to external symbols of wealth. She likes to take care of her appearance and could have a penchant for precious stones or beautiful clothes.

What does she like?
[Silent] likes to make others happy and maintain harmonious relationships with those around her. She enjoys communicating and exchanging within a group that she animates with warmth, generosity, a sense of humor and a critical mind. She has a profound sense of friendship and loves to be able to help others.

If this aint me, man listen this is so me!

We won't even discuss my surname but you should know there is a famous non-blood related singer with the same surname.  I say all of this to say, I have a lot to live up to. This is something I don't take light heartedly.
 
As an adult, I appreciate my grandmother for giving me names that represents who she is and what she wanted me to be. My names are unique and give me something to strive towards. Unfortunately, having these names aren't all peaches and cream. I experience the same annoying interactions with new individuals. The most annoying interaction is due to my given name being "difficult" for an unfamiliar individuals to pronounce. A lot of times they shorten it without my consent. It is for the reasons mentioned before, my frank personality mainly, that when someone mispronounces, shortens, or misspells any of these names, I speak up.

When I moved to New York, I started a new practice, I began going by my complete given name. I no longer readily allow new people to refer to me by my old nickname. I don't press the issue much but normally upon introduction I will provide my complete given name.  For over 2 decades, I introduced myself to people with my nickname because at that point, my name didn't mean much to me. I didn't let it define me. But these days it does. I find it much more respectful for a person  to attempt pronounce my given name and completely butcher it, versus those that don't even try, scrunch their face and tell me what they are going to call me. Seriously, how would you like it if I called you asshole from this day forth? How does that make you feel?

Listen, I am my name.

I am a joyful gift of God with everlasting joy.

I am also, "honest, frank and direct," so when we meet, at least attempt to call me by the name I provide.

 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Still Don't Want No Short Man

Earlier today I received a notification for a post I did on my old blog I Hate The Way You Eat Cereal. It's been almost 3 years since I wrote this post about not wanting to date men shorter than me through the use of a night out on the town.

For those of you who don't remember, here's what I wrote:

It must suck to be a short man (under 5 ’9″**) in this world. Seriously after Sunday night, I feel for you. After seeing how this man was treated, I just wanted to take off my heels and pass them to all the Napoleons out there. Let me start from the beginning…
According to Grace and several other friends, I have a tendency to talk to anyone with a pulse, especially when I’m in the club. In my defense, even though I am hardly ever interested in pursuing anything outside the confines of the flashing lights and blasting music, I don’t see any harm in friendly conversation. In my opinion, it would be rude if I ignored men just because I couldn’t see myself doing the horizontal with them. Hell, I wouldn’t talk to many people if I were restricted to those strict standards. So, if you catch me out and you have something interesting to say, I’ll lend an open ear.
Being that it was Labor Day weekend and I wouldn’t have to pull myself out of bed at the crack of dawn, I decided to go out Sunday night. A couple of my girls knew of a Labor Day celebration (without the all-white requirement thank goodness). I invited my sister along for the ride and off we went.
As is typical for a club in L.A., we noticed immediately that the male patrons were vertically challenged.  Being that myself and one of my girls are 6 ‘4” with heels on, my sister is close behind reaching 6 ‘2” with her stilettos, and Grace is, well she prefers tall men, it was looking that it was going to be one of those nights. After a “fat” man, Nadia’s words not mine, invited us over to his bottle service, the night was looking up. Her actual words were and I quote, “Hey that fat guy invited us over drinks.”  Free alcohol and a comfortable place to sit made the chubby man’s offer promising.
As we were sitting down sipping and talking to each other, our conversation was interrupted by a Gary Coleman look-a-like. (Gary, I’m going to call him that for the purpose of this story if you don’t mind, told me he was the average height- 5’10″… and since most guys lie about their height he was probably actually 5 ‘7” 5 ‘8” but with my heels on he didn’t even reach my shoulders) Apparently he was the cousin of the chubster and wanted to introduce himself. After greetings, he took a seat next to me of course. It didn’t even dawn on me that he was interested in anything more than conversation until he told me he was attracted to me. Pause. What did he want me to do with that information? I brushed off his slight advances and continued to listen to him go on and on about himself, his career and all of the celebrities he had dated (I hate L.A. men for this reason by the way). You think I care you dated Tyra Banks because…[fill in stupid response that makes no sense because I don’t actually give a rat's ass].
After my sister noticed that I was stuck with a shadow, she invited me to the dance floor. Being that he was now physically attached to my hip, Gary decided to tag along. As we made our way through the crowds of people, I kept losing sight of Gary. I saw him on his tippy toes a couple of times as he tried to keep up with our long strides. This man got absolutely no respect. Since he was nothing but nice to us the entire time, I didn’t see any harm in dancing with him. It wasn’t like I was really doing anything else and its nice to have a partner on the dance floor sometimes. Unfortunately for him, other men weren’t letting that happen. A guy spotted me and started talking to me in my ear as I danced with Gary. The entire time Gary looked confused so I told the guy I wasn’t interested. Either he didn’t hear me over the loud music, or he just didn’t care, but he decided he was going to dance with me too. Now I was standing in the middle of the dance floor dancing with both a startled Gary and a cocky ass. I just laughed to myself. I looked over at my sister and her friend and they were shaking their heads and laughing too. Finally, Gary tapped me on my shoulder to find out what was going on, I bent down and let him know that I didn’t know the guy and turned away. So he immediately got the guys attention and let him know I was with him. Really Gary, you’ve got some balls. Although I had no interest in any romantic interest in him, Gary seemed like a genuinely sweet man.  Hopefully he’ll find some average height woman out there.
How do you feel about a height difference? As a woman, would you date a man shorter than you? As a man, do you feel emasculated by a woman who is taller than you after she puts on heels? What about if she’s taller than you without heels?
**In relation to me, any man under 6 ’0″ is short.
I still stand by this post but I can admit it is a bit harsh. It's my truth and I don't apologize for it. Today I just wanted to give a special shoutout to the best comment to date on this post. Cheers to Mike:

5’7 isn’t even that short. I’m 6’1but You sound like a real bitch that judges everyone. 6’4 is a litttttle ridiculous for a woman so maybe if you weren’t a sasquatch lookin bitch, you wouldn’t pass judgement so much on shorter men. You need to put your focus on more important things in life rather than sitting on your computer writing articles about your clubbing adventures as a sasquatch and seeing an ‘overweight’ and ‘short’ man.
He said 5 '7 isn't even that short. I bet this little man is 5 '7. Listen I didn't make the rules but everyone would agree 5 '7 is short for a man.

That is all. I had a good laugh, I hope you did as well. 

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