On Decepticons Posing As Men

If you’re dating for marriage you need to learn how to recognise decoys or, as my friend Lyn and I like to call them – Decepticons. Decepticons come in various forms and learning how to identify them in the shortest possible time is vital. 

Type 1: YOU’RE JUST NOT INTO HIM
These are men who look good on paper but that you just don’t find attractive. If you have ‘a list’ -you shouldn’t, you should have non-negotiables and there should be no more than two or three- everything on that list checks out BUT the feeling just isn’t there; you can’t connect emotionally at all. You forget this man exists, you never miss him, you only tolerate him because you feel bad about not liking him since he’s ‘everything you want’ and you hang on to him in case nothing better comes along. You’re being unfair to this man and you’re short-changing yourself: it’s beneath you. You can do better than be motivated by fear. Let him go. And while you’re at, if you do have a list you might want to think about chucking it out because clearly, it’s not serving you well. 

Type 2: HE DOESN’T like YOU LIKE THAT

Marriage is incredibly difficult. Some people even claim that getting married is a sure-fire way to kill a relationship but here’s the thing: people who say that are usually men with commitment issues or women dating men they know are not worthy of the husband title. Sure these people might love their partners, but they know it’s a for-now situation and they want the option of an out, just in case their worst fears come true. Leaving a girlfriend/boyfriend is always going to be easier than leaving a spouse. Marriage is not for everyone nor should it be, but obviously I’m talking to people who understand and accept the value of marriage as an important building-block of society. If you’re anti-marriage, this isn’t for you. 

This Type 2 Decepticon wastes your time by saying all the right things but doing none of them. He says and does just enough to keep you hoping and believing and sexing, but falls just short of giving you the exclusive commitment and the security you really want. Hear this: if a man doesn’t want to lose you he’ll make sure he doesn’t, but if his life is not improved by your presence in it he’ll do the bare minimum: you’re Miss Good-enough till Miss Game-changer comes on by. If you’re not his game-changer – you’ll know if you are – keep it moving. 


Type 3: HE MAKES YOUR LADY-PARTS EXCEEDINGLY HAPPY, and DASSIT

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you know anything at all about marriage you know that sex is very important, but if you know a lot about marriage you’ll know that good sex won’t save a bad marriage. If all this man is good for is several screaming Os a day (please Lord), that alone is not enough to build a relationship on, certainly not a marriage. If he’s not your intellectual equal (NOT measured in degrees fyi); if he can’t give you emotional and spiritual support (a man has to be able to ‘stand in the gap’ for his wife and ‘cover’ her); if he can’t fulfill his God-given role to ‘provide and protect’ – that man is not husband-material. You would do well to RUN before all that oxytocin makes you make a bad decision. 

See that last ‘and’? It’s not an either/or situation.

Decepticons are called that because they deceive you into thinking they’re the real deal. Decoys, or Decepticons, come into your life to steal your time, energy and your resources; to keep you from finding the love God has for you; and to destroy your sense of worth/self-esteem by making you think you’re unloveable and convincing you you’ll die alone. You have to be self-aware to recognise a Type 1 Decepticon so do the work to figure out who you are, what kind of relationship makes you thrive, and then grow into the kind of woman your kind of man would value.

 You have to be paying attention to how a man treats you and to how he makes you feel to identify Types 2 and 3. If we (women) paid as much attention to our emotional health as we do to our looks and gassing each other up with lies, we’d be far better off because we’d recognise those threats to the pillars of our self-esteem long before they did any real damage.

 
What other kinds of Decepticons do you know? Tell me, please!

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Happy New Year To Yours Truly

*pic heavy post

I wanted a pic of the cast of Living Single and instead I found the exact thing to inspire me to put into words what I want out of this year:

On food. Eat better. Chips&Russian is my comfort food when work stresses me, and pasta comforts me when life nje just does that thing where it falls apart. I have the jelly belly to prove the folly of relying on white carbs for comfort, and I am over it. This year, I’m eating better. Who knows, I might even start running and weight-training again.

On shelter. Love my home. It’s everything I need though perhaps not what I thought I wanted. I’m grateful for it and this year I want to be a homemaker of note and become the woman my mother raised me to be: the bestest hostess with the mostest.

On career. I’m a writer. It’s taken me a long while to get to the point where I can say that without feeling like a sham, like a fraudster with no shame. I have a job and I’m blessed to be pursuing my career as well. My goal is to eventually merge the two: do what I love (teach) and design and create the programs I teach (write). This is the year I do the work. All of the work. 

On sex. If you know me at all, I don’t need to explain the last. Unlike the first three, this isn’t up to me alone, but it’s still a goal because you know what? I have work to do before I can have the sex I really want: great sex with a man who loves me, wants me, chooses me, and with whom I can be my highly sexed and super loving self (TMI? JBS *just be strong). The best sex happens when the intimacy is real and deep and goes beyond just the physical. I know this. So I’m determined to not just hold out for exclusive commitment but to actively become the woman that the kind of man I want can commit to, exclusively. 

Today is the first day of my new year. I’m going to do brunch, I’m going to get ready for a new week and a new school term, I’m going to do all of the things I need to do, but I’m committing, today, to doing the REAL work, to not just saying I’m bawse, but to being bawse which gifs and memes aside, really is easier said then done. It’s gonna be hard I know, °but something tells me good things are coming and I ain’t gonna not believe…

I’m taking my person somewhere exoticall  for my 40th, and I know I won’t do that if I don’t ‘werk’. She’s my rock, my strength, my inspiration, my drive, my peace, my joy; like my children, she’s why I want to do better and be better. 

And so it begins. Happy new year sun goddess, make it count.

°Freedom, Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton 

Inwele Zakhe. HerStory.

The best part of a natural hair journey is the knowledge you get about yourself. You examine your own perceptions of beauty. You find your own beauty inside, and while you enjoy compliments (who doesn’t?) your need and desire for external validation decrease dramatically. You are a black woman, and like your hair you reach outward and upward, embracing the world and your place in it. Natural hair perhaps more than anything else is the one thing that tells the world who you are and what you’re about, and thus loving your natural hair becomes a political statement about personal growth that the whole world can read.

 The woman who relaxes her hair is saying something about herself and her world. So too the woman with a brush cut. And the one with dreadlocks. Yes it’s just hair, yet every single black woman, regardless of how she wears it, has a story about and an emotional connection to her hair and to the story it tells about her. 

In 2014 Reuters reported that Africans spend US$7bn annually on wigs and weaves. Hair matters, it matters a great deal. Whether it’s horse hair, 100% synthetic hair, or 100% human hair; whether its yours because it grows out of your scalp or yours because you paid for it, hair matter, and it matters a lot. Whether you hate it or love it, the bottom line is that yes it’s just hair, and yes it matters. 

I met a beautiful woman last week. Gorgeous, drop-dead gorgeous. Her hair is cut very low, and she is so comfortable in her skin that her self-love is an aura around her, beautiful and authentic. Her story around hair and beauty is about how much she loves herself, because every woman has a story about hair and beauty whether or not they recognise it as such. We had a brief chat about hair, and I was so happy to meet a black woman who has accepted her natural beauty and fallen in love with it. Her skin is beautiful: clear, not a blemish or pimple in sight, and glowy with melanin and pure joy. Looking at her was such a pleasure; she may have caught me staring, gazing rather, when I sat down to lunch with her. I hope not. I may even have been gushy in her presence. My point is, hair is just hair but it’s also much, much more than that. You see, once you love and accept your hair as it is, and accept what it can and can’t do, you’re that much closer to true self-love and from there, mental emancipation follows naturally. You cannot love yourself and choose bondage, but perhaps that deserves its own post. The woman I’m talking about encapsulates black beauty so perfectly, her love for herself and how she expresses that in her self presentation is inspiring and a delight to witness. She’s winning all day, because she has set her own standard of beauty and is living up to it, regardless of what anybody else might say. 

There’s a reason why the coloniser and the slaver set standards of beauty that taught black people to hate our melanin and the coils and kinks in our hair. The reason is that once a black woman learns self-love, she becomes unstoppable. Worldwide black women are waking up, one melanated queen at a time, and the world was never ready. #staywoke

We’re coming, and we’re coming for everything. Every. Thing. 

#squadsalute #femrising

All the world’s a stage, and all of life is a performance. 

Alone

The most difficult times in a woman’s life are when she is alone. The difficulty lies in the horror felt by a grown woman upon realising that she is facing an endless procession of dreary days without the warmth of affirmation and the comfort of just being, without being approved of as she is. In my view love is not love if it does not come with acceptance. 

I have learnt -some might say the hard way- that love cannot exist where there is falsehood. I have determined that when love comes I will have no trouble recognising it because it will be without guile or subterfuge; it will manifest boldly, freely, bodaciously. I believe in love that is unashamed, certain, determined, sure; love that is faithful and loyal, love that chooses to love even through the longest winter and the darkest day. 

I’ve complicated love in my past by trying to turn things that were not love, into love. Things like lust, desire, loneliness, fear, co-dependence…those things we hide in ourselves and find in others, things that, unfortunately, form the foundations of our most intimate relationships because we rarely dare to just be who we are. If you think about it, most of our relationships are founded on lies, on things that imitate love because love is hard and doing the easier thing is always, well, easy, which is why we do it so often. Those relationships based on lies and misrepresentation of self are common because everybody settles, as my hero (you know yourself) would say. But with all of that said, I dare to dream

Love

I dream about real relationships, the ones where you don’t have to perform, the ones where you can be random and petty because this is a safe space and they don’t judge, and where you can admit your lack of motivation to do housework and nobody thinks that makes you a bad person because it’s just one more thing to know about you. The conversations in such relationships are free, open, honest; it’s how we talk to our bestest friends. At least, that’s what I think it’s like to have a real best friend, to be someone like Monica and have a Chandler in your life, or Temperance with a Seeley Booth. Someone who can absolutely take all of your love with it’s fears and delusions of grandeur, and love you truly, madly, deeply in return.

Have you read my writing on love? It’s fantastic. No, I mean it’s fantastic as in improbable, implausible; nonsensical. Well, be that as it may that’s what I want. That implausible, improbable kind of love, the stuff my dreams are made of. I want that and up until very recently, I didn’t realise that I’ve been cheating myself of the thing I really want – to be loved for who I am- by never being who I truly am. It struck me that the reason I have not been loved how I want is that I haven’t always been honest about what I want, nor strong enough to respond appropriately, honestly, when I was presented with things that pretended to be love, but weren’t. I am older now and better loved, and as a result of both I am able to love myself and others authentically.

Performance

Living life by performing truth. The world’s a stage and all that. 

Well, I’ve decided to play the part I really want to play. If the world’s a stage and life a performance, best believe I’m the star of this show called My Life.  

On Writing as Self-administered Therapy

This reminds me of public speaking in high school. Yes; shy, introverted, socially-awkward me who always puts her foot in it by saying the wrong thing- this shy woman was once an awkward but award-winning public speaker. My command of the English language flees in social situations (but not when I’m training, funny that) and I often struggle to express myself when speaking; but the words I write! My God!

You don’t know how therapeutic writing is for me. I don’t do it just for the likes although those serve their purpose. I write because words are my life, the grace that saves me. This is why I’ll write books, and why I’ll once again be a public speaker: because that is who I am. I am the woman who writes, who speaks her passion and lives it, bodaciously. I want to be that woman. I am that woman. In the show that is my life, the part I can play most effectively, most authentically, most truthfully, is that part. In the show that is MY life, that is who I am. 

Who are you showing up as, in your life?

I choose to show up as the passionate black woman writer/speaker who loves wildly, freely, deeply, and is loved as much in return. 

So yes, it’s difficult to be alone, it is so very very hard, but what’s harder still is trying to turn into love anything pretending to be love. Love cannot be apart from truth, and I would far rather be alone, than be lied to. 

-Beauty’s Daughter

​Akeni Liyekele Amadoda Angalifuniyo

One of the things I’m going to get my squad to teach my daughter is never to spend time on a man who has rejected her. The work you do to put yourself back together is painful and time- and energy-consuming -why willingly go through that for a man who doesn’t want you? That will be the gist of the lesson. 

 

What this means is that I need to expose my daughter to women who know that they are goddesses and live like it; women who have learnt the secret of feminine power; women who do not apologise for giving zero fucks as they live their lives, but are graceful and poised (think Adichie in any interview) at all times because they’ve fought the battles and won the wars, because they understand that to be a woman is to not be a man, and know too that different is not the same as less-than. The kind of women who don’t chase after men who don’t want them, because each and every one of them knows that just as everybody is not for her, she is not for everybody. 
It means I need to be that woman. The kind of woman who has all her shit together. 

Basically what I’m saying is: if you’re in my squad I’m going to ask you to help me set a good example for my daughter and yours, for all the daughters. We owe it to younger women in general and to our daughters in particular to do better, to be the examples we say they need, the ones we wish we’d had. 

We owe it to them not just to ‘lean in’ but also to live true and to live loud; to show them what power looks like; what love looks like, both in terms of loving and being loved; we all owe it to our descendants and the descendants of our ‘villages’ to help every other woman live her highest calling. We owe it to them because we owe it to ourselves. We are all learning, us and the daughters, but we have something they don’t have: experience. We have to stop lying about life and start being honest about what the game is and how it’s played; we are the ones to break the news that it’s actually not a game anymore. 

Life is farquing hard work and I’m too busy finding the virtue in honest labour to spend any time or energy on men who don’t want me. Ain’t nobody got time for that, and our daughters can only learn that from us. We have not been able to treat ourselves right but let’s treat our daughters right: we can start by not forcing them to watch us be rejected and humiliated by men who would never have had the opportunity if we hadn’t given it to them. We need to get our shit together. Let’s at least give our daughters that. 

Squad Salute!