Shoot Your Shot, Sis.

“I always wanted to talk to a guy, but I was never allowed to because society and my friends said no. So I said, ‘We’re going to reverse engineer this.'”

Whitney Wolfe, Founder and CEO of Bumble, tells Guy Raz her story on one of my favorite podcasts, How I Built This. She explains what inspired her to create the dating app where women must message the men first or else their match deletes in 24 hours. Bumble is a great concept because it flips gender roles on their head. But the ball being in the woman’s court isn’t limited to Bumble. In my opinion, it’s time for more women to “shoot their shot”.

I wasn’t always for women making the first move because I myself didn’t have the confidence to do so. But my fear of not getting asked to my high school senior prom pushed me to shoot my first ever shot. I asked my coworker to prom and I’m glad I did. I had an amazing time that night and got my first taste of female empowerment.

Not all the shots I take are slam dunks. I once flirted with a guy on a party boat just for him to burst my bubble by telling me he was gay. Another time, I flirted with the employee at my gym, only to find out he’s 18 (I’m 22). A few weeks ago, I had a one way conversation with a dude at a party. Turns out, he was being so icy because I had completely missed the wedding band on his finger.

Sometimes shooting your shot is a hit and sometimes it’s a miss. It can be awkward, embarrassing, or just flat out challenging to think of something to say to a guy. But as one of my male friends told me, “If you never ask, the answer will always be no.” This is how I look at shooting my shot now: What do I have to lose? The worst thing someone can tell you is “no”. I highly doubt you’re going to ever get a response of “ew no as if lmao” from a guy, unlike the brutal responses girls give men in their DM.

I feel bad for men sometimes. They are raised from an early age to be the go getter in a heterosexual relationship. Literally, go-get-her. And women, on the flip side, are trained to play hard to get. So, to be clear, society is telling men to always make the first move and telling women to do the complete opposite of that. This logic doesn’t make much sense. We’re telling two human beings to act in inverse directions of each other. No wonder we’re failing at love.

Men are pretty much set up to be rejected, and women get called snobby/boujee because they sit pretty waiting for the knight in shining armor. Why not put ourselves in control, ladies, by shooting our shot? Shooting our shot enables us to steer the conversation in the direction that we wish. When we take the reigns, it takes the pressure off the men for once. Most of them say they’re actually flattered by it.

“I think it’s definitely cool. I think it shows that the woman is brave and can make her own moves. It can show she’s a very confident person.” -Craig, 25

“Just like dudes are supposed to initiate convos, be smooth af, do and say everything right, ask the girl out, make the first move, I think it’s fair that if a girl wants to do one of those, then she can because relationships these days are changing in so many ways. So, girls are allowed to do some things out of the norm if they’re interested.” -Dan, 22

Still, even with the above proof, we have women calling favoriting all of a man’s tweets and liking 6 Instagram pictures in a row “shooting their shot”. I conducted a poll on Twitter that concluded 42% of people think women don’t shoot their shot as often as men because “they think the man should do it”. That kind of thinking is why ladies will never get the man they really want. You’re on an Applebee’s date with a lame you don’t even like, hoping your Instagram crush watches your story for a “hint”, when you could simply message him first.

At this point, women shooting their shot is so few and far in between, you might wow a guy just by being the first to hit him up. Ladies, did you know that men want to feel wanted too? Heed my advice and let the chips fall where they may. And don’t give me that “what if he’s out of my league” crap. Do you think Nola Darling or Jacqueline Broyer ever worried if a man was out of their league? There’s no such thing when you’re in a league of your own.

As usual, I’m sharing this piece of advice after observing and living it. I’m tired of seeing women act like little girls who are too scared to go after what they want. If we can shoot our shot for the careers we want, why should we be intimated by men? We have women proposing marriage and paying for dates these days! If I can get over my fear of rejection, you can too. As G.L. Lambert says on BGAE, “True confidence doesn’t come from never being challenged in life, it comes from overcoming those obstacles.” Are you up for the challenge sis?

Advertisements

The Art of Being Selfish

Listen to the audio version of this post!

Two years ago, I was in a relationship where I felt the need to watch my words around my then-boyfriend. I felt like I was walking on eggshells all the time just to avoid a fight. If something was bothering me, I tried to hold it in to spare his feelings. First of all, that was toxic af and I didn’t even realize. Second, I understand relationships are about compromise, but my feelings, not his, should have been my top priority.


What if I told you that people who always put themselves first and only worry about their own feelings exist? You’d probably call them selfish. The word selfish has a negative connotation because it is associated with being inconsiderate. Since we were children, we were raised to be selfless instead of selfish. We’re told to play nice, be fair, be polite. I’ve come to learn that it’s very possible to be all those things and still be selfish. I’m not talking about the “my way or the highway” selfish. There is an art to putting yourself first for the sake of your happiness so you can be a better human being and offer even more to this world. To understand my point better, check this blog out.

One of my favorite quotes is “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. A part of being selfish is self-love. How can you keep giving love, attention, and affection to others when you can’t even give it to yourself? By the way, self-love is more than face masks and bubble baths. When you really love yourself, not just saying it, it bubbles up from within you and oozes through your pores and radiates out. And guess what? That self-love, that selfishness, that “I’m going to do me, for me” attitude just might inspire someone more than your faux philosophical tweets ever could.

So here is what I’ve gathered and narrowed down for you from my reading on this topic. The YBO art of being selfish is:

  1. Physical Self-care

You can’t make a difference in this world if you’re dead and that’s just facts. Exercise (even just a 30 minute walk). Take your vitamins. Don’t skip breakfast. Get a good night’s sleep. Drink water. And would it kill you to get STD tested?

2. Saying No

I have the hardest time saying no to people because I don’t like to disappoint them. But saying no sometimes is necessary. Think about the money and time you could have saved if you didn’t let your friend convince you to go out to that wack ass party that you never wanted to go to anyway.

3. Not Requiring Validation

The key to being selfish is doing the best thing for you. Not your friends. Not your followers. It takes time to shake off the brainwashing, but eventually you have to live YOUR life for YOU. You came in this world alone and you’re gonna leave alone. So what if people laugh at you or judge you? Do they wear your shoes? Do they pay your bills?

4. Unplugging

I often take random social media hiatuses and I highly suggest you do the same. It’s simply to clear your head. You can’t focus on you when you’re scrolling and watching everyone else’s life religiously. Pray, meditate, or read a book instead. I promise when you return, your notifications will be right there waiting.

5. Doing More of What You Love

Please make time for your hobbies. When you get wrapped up in society’s obligations and adulting, you lose what makes you, you. Whether it be photography, dance, cooking, drawing, do more of what makes you happy. I always say, I don’t care if 10 people or 100 people read this blog. I write as my escape.

6. Getting Help

Self-love, self-care, self-help. These names are deceiving because sometimes you can’t do it alone. If you need help, ask. I’ve seen a therapist. There is no shame in my game. Psychological health should be #1 on your to-do list! I also run all my insecurities by my mom. I visit online communities of people going through the same things as me. Being selfish doesn’t mean isolating yourself.

The art of being selfish is hard to master. We’re wired to care for other people. Not doing so almost seems immoral. But remember to care for yourself first and foremost.

Mind Their Business

I’ve been ruminating about all that is happening in our world and country lately and I can’t think of the perfect combination of words to express my disgust and fear. Neo-Nazis rallying like it’s 1952. Y’all president not caring about climate change like 2 severe hurricanes and massive forrest fires haven’t hit the U.S. in the same week. I’m MFing tired. The latest foolery we’ve been dealing with is the revocation of DACA.

Attempting to send young people back to a country they’ve never even been to or ever called home is ridiculous enough. But really my disappoint comes from my fellow Black people. I’m sick of some of y’all saying, “That’s their problem. I’m minding my business.” Nah. Any injustice to a minority group is all of our business. Did you forget your Latina roommate was shouting Black Lives Matter for you? Remember when your Indian homie was marching with you?  That could easily be your Black ass that Trump’s trying to send back to Africa and how many of you have ever even stepped foot on the motherland?

This heated opinion of mine comes from my trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture in D.C. at the end of August. If I wore a wig it would have been snatched by that museum. I was in complete and utter awe at the beauty and talent and resilience of my people. It made me so happy to be Black.

One of the most chilling exhibits I saw was the room dedicated to Emmett Till. In huge gold letters on the wall, hanging over her son’s coffin, Mamie Till’s words read, “The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of all of us.” As a woman living in Chicago, Mamie turned the other cheek when she saw what was happening down south and thanked God it wasn’t happening in her hood. I’m sure many of you did the same when white nationalists flooded the campus of University of Virginia. I can’t imagine why though. UVA could have easily been UCONN or UCLA or little Rider University in New Jersey.


I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is, this is only the beginning of the bs. Racism is bigger and badder than ever. The good news is, Black and Brown people are going to overcome as usual. For centuries, Black people have fought tooth and nail for everything we have. Slavery – beat that. Jim Crow – beat that. Now it’s 2017 and you better not dare think we’re caving in. Another quote I saw at the museum that stuck with me was “Lifting as we Climb”. The only way we can lift others up on our climb to the top is by minding their business. Advocate for other marginalized groups. Stay informed. I’m not tryna wake y’all up. I’m just asking you to give a damn.

Addendum:

I have just become aware of the events that took place on Friday, September 8 against Chicago teen Kenneka Jenkins that lead to the discovery of her dead body on Sunday, September 10. I have to add that this is yet ANOTHER example of when we should mind the business of others! A girl was raped in a hotel room full of people who were supposed to be her friends. Two days later, she’s found dead in a freezer. Instead of checking on her and doing the right thing, these so-called friends of hers “minded their own business” and went on Instagram Live. When I think about all the hotel parties I’ve been to, I realize that could have easily been me. More on this story can be read here.

It’s Not Him, It’s You.

Hello again to my avid readers and welcome to newcomers! I want to cut right to the chase and discuss what I like to call the “n*ggas ain’t shit” narrative. When things don’t work out with a guy the first thing women tend to say is, “He wasn’t shit anyway” and “There aren’t any good guys left.” I’m not going to lie, even I have said some of these things. But ladies, let’s face it – the “men ain’t shit” excuse is just that, an excuse. We’re pointing the finger at them, playing the blame game, pen pointing all they do wrong but the pen seems to be broken when it comes to us. It’s not him sis, it’s you! We’re chasing good guys away with our behavior.


Some guys really are not shit. This includes but is not limited to cheaters, liars, abusers, rapists, unmotivated bums, deadbeat dads, and dudes that want to “talk” for a year without commitment. But some of them aren’t all that bad! I know it’s hard out here on the dating scene girl, trust me. But once I got a good one and started stressing him, I had to take a look at myself and realize that I was pushing an amazing person away because of my personal issues. There’s only so much drama a man can take.

When are we going to stop with the “I’m crazy. Take it or leave it” bs and start working on ourselves? We’re big bad women right? A real woman acknowledges her flaws. Sometimes I think to myself, I wouldn’t want to date me either! I’m not telling us to change who we are, but we have to start being more accountable (and chill tf out). Note: That doesn’t mean compromise for a dude who really isn’t shit. Nevertheless, here’s what a few dudes told me turns them away from a woman they’re dating/pursuing.

Nagging

Nagging makes your partner feel inadequate, resentful, and defensive. You can pester him all you want about seeing you more often or cleaning the bathroom. If he doesn’t want to do it, it ain’t happening. Men already have mothers and bosses. They didn’t sign up for you to be another.

Pettiness

Ya’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Snapchatting yourself singing Rihanna’s “Needed Me” in hopes that he’ll watch your story and get the hint. Texting him “goodnight.” (with the period) at 4 PM because you’re mad and still expecting him to text you back. See what being petty got Blac Chyna? Being petty may have you feeling like you have the upper hand for a moment, but you’re wasting time on revenge instead of letting that hurt go.

Insecurity

This one is tough, no doubt. I struggle with insecurity just like the next chick. Not every woman can have Queen Bey confidence. Not even Queen Bey herself. But sometimes you have to send yourself heart eyes. You feel me? Our insecurity turns into requiring constant validation from our men and it is draining them. We can only lean on the “my ex cheated so I have trust issues” crutch for so long.


Notice I keep saying “you, me, I, we” because I’m guilty of all 3 of these things. The only reason I feel that I can tell other women about themselves is because someone told me about myself. That made me dig deep and think about what I’m doing wrong in my relationships instead of saying “men ain’t shit”. I’m learning, growing, and hoping my sisters of all races and ages join me. ‘Cause it’s not just Black women who act like this. But that’s a story for another blog post. If you’re a man who thinks I left a huge pet peeve off the list, comment below!

No Justice, No Surprise

When are we going to get some fxcking justice for the innocent Black lives slain in the street?! My heart is broken over the not guilty verdict in the murder – yes, MURDER – of Philando Castile.

Castile was a 32-year-old cafeteria worker who was shot and killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez on the evening of July 6, 2016 in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. He was shot at 7 times in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter while reaching for his wallet during what he thought was a routine traffic stop. There were only 74 seconds between the moment Yanez turned on his police car lights to the moment he fired at Philando Castile.

Philando Castile


Seconds after Philando’s death, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds shared the occurance in real time on Facebook live video, her child still in the backseat. I’m trying to set the scene so you all can realize how absolutely absurd this officer’s acquittal is. But the folks at MPR do a better job in the podcast 74 Seconds, which I have been listening to since before this verdict was announced yesterday.

If you all thought I was heated when I wrote about this last year, I’m completely outraged today. But at the same time, am I surprised? No. Cops continue to slaughter my people and get a slap on the wrist. Why did I expect Philando’s case to be any different? I guess I had a shred of hope because at least the cop was indicted this time. But maybe that hope was misplaced. I can’t expect a justice system that doesn’t give a shxt about Black people to get justice for Black people.

Philando was a gentle, caring guy according to his coworkers, family, and friends. But I wouldn’t care if he was a convicted felon or deadbeat dad. NOBODY deserves to have their life taken in that way. Over 5 years, Jeronimo Yanez only went through 2 hours of deescalation training. TWO. Why are cops still being taught to shoot on site and ask questions later?

I’m tired of crying about the same thing every year. We need some damn change. There has not been any justice, and I’m honestly not surprised.

Black Film Got Folks Shook

Hey everybody! I’m so sorry I haven’t written since March. I had my 22nd birthday in April and just graduated college a week and a half ago. For those who are curious, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rider University with a B.A. in graphic design and a double minor in advertising/web design. So holla at me if you’re hiring. For now, I’ve taken on a freelance marketing/design position at a non-profit in Bronx, NY in which I get to work from home.


In addition to graduating, my two friends and I treated ourselves to a “graduation vacation” to Jamaica and I just got back yesterday. I’m sharing all of this to get to today’s topic: the Netflix original series Dear White People. On the flight to Jamaica, I started watching the show and I ended up finishing it during my trip. I was blown away. Ya’ll thought Get Out had me shook? Racism, natural hair, homosexuality, gun violence – creator Justin Simien left no stone unturned with this one. Dear White People was even more relatable to me because my alma mater, Rider University,  was a PWI.


Although I may not be as radical as the main character Samantha White, here’s 5 quotes that had me screaming YASSS in agreement on the plane to Jamaica:

1. “So, nah, you don’t get to show up in a Halloween costume version of us and claim irony or ignorance.” -Sam

It’s 2017 and I’m no longer accepting excuses fueled by white privilege. Don’t play dumb honey.

2. “Dear white people, dating a Black guy to piss off your parents doesn’t make you down. It makes you an asshole.” -CoCo

Literally! Just because you mess with a Black guy or girl, you’re not suddenly cultured. You might listen to NWA with ya little boyfriend, but you still get to go home to The Hills.


3. “People take one look at my skin and assume that I’m poor, or uneducated, or ratchet. So yeah, I tone it down.” -CoCo

I felt for Coco because as a Black woman, I’m thought of as loud or angry when I’m just being my candid self. I’ve felt the need to tame my hair for interviews and put on my “White voice” during business calls.

4. “Sometimes being carefree and Black is an act of revolution.” -Jo

Rightt?!? I’m all for change, but I’m not usually the one to organize a protest or sit in. Proving racists wrong with my lifestyle is enough for me sometimes.

“I’ll bring some Beyoncé and blast ‘Freedom’.”


5. “Yeah we’re friends, but suddenly I’m supposed to give you ngga dispensation?” -Reggie

Rule of thumb: don’t say the N word if you’re not Black. Honestly, we shouldn’t even say it. But idc if you voted for Obama or you “have a Black friend”. It’s off limits.

6. “…wasting time, deciding who’s Black enough. Who cares if you’re woke or not if you’re dead?” -CoCo

Okay I had to add a 6th quote because this is super important. It doesn’t matter if you’re natural, wear a weave, come from Kenya, have one white parent, woke or not. We’re all Black and we’re all the same in the eyes of racists. Even 23-year-old Richard Collins III, who served this damn country, was seen as “other”. I’m tired of Black people being in competition with one another. We need togetherness now more than ever.

If you haven’t watched Dear White People, this is my plug for you to do so. Watch the movie of the same name too. If you have seen it, comment a good quote/scene I may have missed. Until next time xoxo

Gone Girls

There were arrests at Russian protests against Putin. Republicans aim for tax cuts. The Final Four is set for the NCAA basketball tournament. These are all on the front page of The New York Times’ national edition this morning. What’s missing? The Black girls who have vanished in Washington, D.C.

That’s what I thought to myself when I glazed over one of the most prominent publications in the country today. This past week I saw missing Black and Latina girls from the D.C. area all over social media. One post said that 14 girls had vanished in 24 hours. But as usual with foul play in the African American community, no one was talking about it besides people of color.

I started to think, “I can’t expect the same people who shoot our men dead in the street to find our girls.” But these juveniles of color couldn’t even get a 2 minute news segment? Thank God for social media or I wouldn’t have even known myself. Even Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jersey was given more coverage than these girls.

I knew I wanted to spread the word on Young, Black, and Opinionated, but not without getting the facts straight. And once I did my research, I realized there was more to the story. Inaccurate statements have been shared by celebrities and citizen journalists about the missing girls of D.C. Apparently, 14 girls did not go missing in 24 hours. The D.C. police has just been sharing missing persons fliers more frequently to get the word out. More on this and other misconceptions can be read here.

Despite the miscommunications about missing girls in D.C. one thing is true, no one’s looking out for us, but us. I don’t care if they ran away, were kidnapped, or trafficked. They’re still living breathing people and their safety matters. But it seems that our nation has bigger things to report on than the 500+ human beings who have disappeared in our captial this year.

malcolm_x_disrespected_person

tumblr.com

I think this pisses me off so much because I’m listening to to a true crime podcast right now where a filmmaker cracked open a cold case of a white woman  who has been missing in Georgia for 11 years. Mind you, this filmmaker has no relation to the woman. Just wanted to make a podcast and found her story interesting. Last week there was a break in her case. Missing for eleven years, people! There’s so much power in new emergent media like podcasts and social media. I’m proud that my people were quick to repost about the DC girls and raise awareness ’cause nobody else seemed to care.

I’ve said it before on here and I’ll say it again, Black women are the mule of society. If America were a totem pole, we would be at the bottom below white men, white women, and black men. Disagree if you want. That’s my opinion. Malcolm X described our neglect today best in 1962 , “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman.”