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30 Before 30

31 Mar

Making a list

Santa ain't the only somebody who knows how to make a list...

I will be turning 25 two weeks from yesterday.  The thought both excites and frightens me because my car insurance will go down and I have done virtually NOTHING worthwhile in my life.  Honest…my life has been rather vanilla; only one or two truly interesting experiences thrown in there.  A few of years ago, I made a list of thirty things I wanted to do before I turned thirty.  Back then, thirty was an impossibly long time away and now that I am halfway through my twenties, I feel it’s time to get a move on!  I made a new 30 before 30 list two years ago and decided to compile the two existing lists (because they only had 9 of the same things on them) about five minutes ago.  yes, I am aware that I just made a post less than an hour ago.  I am also aware that nobody ever comments on these things (I had 47 people read a post and not a ONE cared to comment on it!).  That was a not so subtle hint…

I digress.  On with the list.

1.  Read a poem at an open mic poetry night

2.  Submit a short film to a film festival

3.  Go on a camping/hiking trip

4.  Convince at least one other person to dine in a fast food restaurant in formal wear (not during Halloween or Prom)

5.  Have an entire conversation in Spanish with a native speaker (outside of school)

6.  Go skydiving

7.  Wear a bikini on a beach

8. Be able to bench press 75 lbs (i.e. multiple reps)

9. Learn to play the piano

10. Visit all 50 states

11. Plant a garden (even if it’s a 3×3 indoor plot)

12. Hanglide

13. Finish a written work

14. Take a theology class

15. Run in a marathon

16. Go into a recording studio and record a song that I’ve written

17. Swim with the dolphins

18. Learn how to ice skate

19. Take ballroom dancing lessons (Don’t laugh.)

20. Go on one of those zero gravity rides (after 30, I’m liable to have a heart attack)

21. Go on an Alaskan cruise

22. Visit at least 2 countries on every continent (except Australia, which is a country, and Antarctica, which has no countries)

23. Join a theater troupe

24. Buy a house

25. Drive from one end of the country to the other (both east to west and north to south)

26. Serve a 5 course meal

27. Spend $500 on a single outfit

28. Rock climb an actual cliff (not the fake one in the Rec Center).

29. Go scuba diving

30. Buy some stocks. 

Three Words that Women Get Twisted on the Regular

23 Mar

Can I iron yo shirt?  N*gga, please!  Iron yo own d*mn shirt!  I ain't no maid; I'm a grown a** woman!

I would be willing to bet the lives of my entire extended family that the word "grown" was used no less than five times in this argument...

 

Good morning (or whatever time of day it is when I post this), y’all!  I would like to serve notice to anyone who will be reading that today’s post is a rant.  That means that I, in an uncharacteristic vein of anger, will write in excess of 2000 words about something that has managed to grind my gears in a MAJOR way.  I also means that whatever argument I am attempting to make may not be linear, coherent, and may end in “yo mama.”  I won’t rant very often because I don’t get angry very often, but I’ve gotta get what I’ve gotta say off my chest.  Now…some of you won’t like it or won’t agree with me.  That’s good.  You can (in a calm manner) tell me why you disagree in the comments section after you have finished reading the post

Okay.  So are you guys ready?  Can I kick it?  Yes.  Yes, I can.

Since I’m all about education and whatnot, I feel that it is my duty and responsibility to teach the masses.  Today I want to teach about something that’s been irritating me as of late:  improper verbage and word usage.  An an English major, I can get pretty nutty about language misuse, especially when people use words incorrectly, that is to say, without really knowing what those words mean. 

Case in point:  while talking with a female acquaintance (i.e. NOT a friend) about relationships, I noticed that she kept saying the following word over and over again:  grown.  She said it with such frequency that I stopped paying attention to what it was that she was saying and focused my limited attention on how she was using the word. 

I’ll spare you all the preliminary jib-jab, but the meat of the conversation went a lil’ something like this:

That chick:  Girl, these men got us twisted!

Me:  Mmmm…

That chick:  I’m for real.  All of ’em.  Pastors up in the pulpit talking ’bout how women need to be submissive to their men.  Submissive?  What, he wants me walking three steps behind some man?  Girl, whatever.  I got a degree and I’m about to get another one.  I ain’t no servant.  I mean, I’m a grown woman! 

Me:   Mmmm…

That chick:  And then these brothas out here talking bout how they give white women and Asian women play because they’re more submissive than black females.  They know how to treat their men.  That’s the wackest ish I’ve ever heard!  I’m a grown a** woman.  What kind of BS is that?  Submission my a**!

Me:   (confused)….I’ve never heard anybody say that.

That chick:  I am too grown to let some man tell me what to do and how to live.  I got one daddy, I don’t need another one.  I’m grown, and I got my own.  I got a job, a degree, a car, and I pay all my own bills.  (Begins to quote, no lie, the chorus from that awful “Independent” song by Webbie.)

Me:  (incredulous)  Are you serious?

That chick:  Like I need a man.  I can do bad all by myself, baby.  I am 100% independent and I don’t need a man.  I’m a grown woman.  Feel me?  I am GROOOOOOOWN!!!

Me:  Mmmmmmmmmmm….

That chick went own about her (grown) business and I went on about mine, but the more I began to think about what she said, the more it started to irk me.  Then I got irritated.  Then I got mad.  You know why?  This is not the first time I’ve heard this argument.  I hear this conversation, or some variation of it, come out of some woman’s mouth almost everyday.  On the surface, it sounds shrewish solid.  Women should be able to take care of themselves and not depend on a man to take care of them, right?  Well…that ain’t what she said at all.  What this chick pretty much said is that she was carrying a chip on her shoulder about something (I don’t know – her job, her past relationship[s], her bad quick weave) and was trying to justify what really amounts to as a bad attitude by spewing this weak, bonafied lame argument that I’m about to poke holes in.  This chick, like so many other women (heck, I used to be one of them) are using the word “grown,” and two other words, incorrectly and I’m about to set the record straight.

Shots fired.

1.  Grown –  adj.,  past participle of “grow”:  having matured; having developed and matured.

My problem with the way this word is used by women is the same one that I have with it being used by teens/young adults:  the incorrect usage is improperly associated with age.  Basically, 11 out of 10 people who use the word “grown,” be it a smart-mouthed teen or an independent woman (whatever that means – I’ll address that later), all use it in reference to their chronological age.  Apparently, turning 18 makes you “grown.” 

This is a lie from the deepest, darkest armpit of HELL!

Age ain’t nothing but a number (going down ain’t nothing but a thang) and being “grown,” or being an “adult,” as I would rather people say, has very little to do with your age.  I know young adults in their early- to mid-twenties with loads more maturity than men and women twice their age.  The opposite is true as well.  You can’t go around throwing the word “grown” in people’s faces just because the government says you are old enough vote and go to the strip club.  Your ability to be responsible and held accountable for your actions, the ability to take care of and provide for yourself, and wisdom are not granted by the Grown Fairy when you turn 18.  It don’t work like that!  Those abilities are the learned and acquired hallmarks of ADULTHOOD.  Everybody wants to be grown, but nobody wants to grow-up.  I’m starting to get even more agitated than when I started…

 

2.  Independent – adj:  self-supporting, not forced to rely on another for money or support; able to function by self, able to operate alone because not dependent on somebody or something else

There were a whole heap of definitions for this word, but because I am being (somewhat) mindful of my word count, I thought I’d give the two most pertinent to my argument.  Most people, when asked, will tell you that being independent means being able to take care of all of your needs and some of your wants without help from anybody.  Most people, when asked, also don’t know the name of their state’s govenor¹.

Now I’m not going to say that these people are wrong, but they’re only half-right.  Yes, self-sufficiency and the ability to provide for one’s self are both integral parts of being independent, but they are not the only parts.  Again, people are tying the definition of this word up into an incomplete, static notion.  Independence doesn’t only mean financial independence.  That’s all some people think it means.  I can buy what I want and need, so I’m independent.  No…you are (depending on your FICO score) financially independent and that’s it.  There are other kinds of dependencies that people, women especially, seem to overlook and most of them are of the emotional variety.  Emotional dependency is a tricky concept for some people to understand because they confuse emotional dependency with relationships – and I don’t just mean the romantic variety.  Let me know if this rings a bell:

Kara:  Oooh, girl!  That new Tyler Perry movie Madea’s Family Beauty Supply Store³ is coming out today!  You’ll go to the movies with me?

Tara:  Well, I was thinking about staying at home.  I’m pretty tired.  It’s been a long week.

Kara:  Girl, pleeeeease???  You know I don’t like going to the movies by myself…

Everyone has had or has been that friend that can’t go nowhere or do anything without another friend.  It goes without saying that this dependence on another person easily translates into a relationship setting.  I know a dozen of “grown, independent” women and men who have jobs, pay bills, are financially self-sufficient, and cannot function without a boyfriend/girlfriend.  How is that being independent?  For that person, the level of enjoyment gained by life is contingent upon the amount of companionship provided by a separate individual.  If it were an equation, it’d look like this:

 

 E = Σ (1 + 1/C)²         
ΔE – ΔC
E= enjoyment; C = companionship

 
I digress.  I won’t even get into the whole argument about how human beings are interdependent by nature and, therefore, cannot be truly independent of one another.  The point I’m trying to make is that there is more to independence than paying your bills or being able to buy a car without a co-signer.  Can you go to the movies by yourself?  Can you go shopping by yourself?  If no one called or texted you for three days straight, would your question your life?  If you were to spend the rest of your life as a single woman (or man) would you be happy?  If your existence is somewhat wholly dependent upon the existence of another human being, then you, my dear, are NOT the father independent.  
 
 ***There’s also what I call the Independence Effect.  I have a theory (which, predictably, I cannot prove) that the reason that men have become less “gentlemanly,” so to speak, is because women have become more bitchy independent.  It’s not reciprocated to them, so they don’t do it.  It’s a weird little cycle.  Boy meets Girl.  Boy asks Girl on date.  Boy opens the door for girl, pays for dinner, and does a number of other chivalrous/traditional things per Girl’s (mostly) unspoken demands.  Time goes by.  Boy and Girl are serious and decide to become Man and Wife.  more time goes by.  Man asks Wife is she’s gonna cook tonight.  Wife tells man that she ain’t no maid and if he wanna eat so bad, he can go to his mama’s house.*** 

 

 3.  Submissive – adj:  inclined or ready to submit; unresistingly or humbly obedient.

The concept of “submission” is very hard for many women – myself included – to grasp and accept.  On the surface, it seems to be a sexist, chauvinist point of view.  However, I firmly believe that the definition of being submissive is being confused with that of the word “subservient.”  Many people equate being submissive to being a repressed, vapid mate who cannot or is unable to make any independent decisions.  They believe that being submissive is the act of yielding to the desires and demands of another person. 

Well, that not (what I think) it is at all.  What I think really and truly is a bit abstract, so bear with my as I attempt to explain. 

 Okay.  When you are in a relationship with another person, you have to understand that the relationship consists of two different people with two different backgrounds and two different sets of experiences which has created two different sets of personal beliefs and opinions.  I mean, you may have a lot in common with your boo, but you aren’t the same person.  Because you are not the same person…there will be times when you disagree and will not see eye to eye.  When this happens, a consensus must be reached and there are three possible outcomes:
                 1.  Your way
                 2.  His/Her way
                 3.  Compromise

I will neglect to mention the “stalemate” outcome because it isn’t an outcome at all.  Things are bound to come to a head. 

Anywho, a person who understands being submissive (re-read the definition) will understand that there are some times when you just have to suck it up and take the high road.  Sometimes you have to bend your wishes just a bit to keep the peace.  You don’t have to do it all the time, but you have to do it.  I wouldn’t want to be with a person who ALWAYS had to have things their way.  You have to learn how to take the back seat sometimes.  That’s what being submissive is about.  It’s not about walking three steps behind any man or being a timid little housewife.  It’s about knowing when to step to the side and let someone else drive for a change.  I know gender roles are changing and things are becoming more and more neutral in terms of what are considered to be “traditional” gender roles…but sometimes a man just wants to be a man.  Let him.

Okay…that’s all I have the energy for.  So…did I hit the mark?  Did I piss you off?  Did I manage to make a valid, coherent argument?  Drop me a comment and let me know!

 
 

 _________________________________________________________________________________________

¹The governor of the state of Alabama is Robert Bentley.  I didn’t have to look that up.  I have no way of proving that most people don’t know the name of their state govenor, but I’m willing to put cold, hard cash down on my unproven statement.  Plus, this is my blog and I can say what I want.²

²And I can do what I want.  Like make up random equations and give my footnote a footnote.

³I have a couple of major issues with Tyler Perry that I will expound upon another day in another post.



Acquired Tastes

15 Mar

Vegemite

I was assured by an Australian friend that Vegemite, which is slathered on toast like jelly, was delicious, but it was an "acquired taste." I should've realized that there is no possible way for me to acquire a taste for concentrated yeast extract...

 

Short post again today.  I don’t want to bore you with my penchant for verbosity everyday.  That’s no bueno.  Besides, this thing is probably filled with typos because the spell check feature isn’t working.  Try not to judge me too harshly…

For the record, I have about five different posts in the pipes.  I have a hard time figuring out what I’m going to post.  I have no shortage of ideas.  I think that’s the problem.  I need to figure out how to focus. 

Anywho…

I was sitting here working on another post (Black Love Pt. I:  The Hollywood Hoax, coming to a blog near YOU!  3.16.11) and listening to Sade’s “No Ordinary Love.”  I love this song, absoltely adore it.  However, a younger Jess couldn’t stand the sound of Sade’s voice and would beg her mother (who has incredibly good music taste, by the way) to change the station.  I didn’t start liking Sade until her album Lover’s Rock and the song “By Your Side” was released.  I absolutely fell in love with her!  All of her older stuff that I couldn’t stand to listen to, like “Smooth Operator” and “Sweetest Taboo,” suddenly became favorites.  I have no explanation for this other than I simply was too young to enjoy her.

While reflecting on that, I thought about some of the other things that I have learned to love as I’ve gotten older.

1.  Grape Juice
I didn’t say that this list would make sense or that this would be a great post.  I despired grape juice as a kid.  I hated taking communion on up into high school because grape juice was pretty much the foulest thing that I could imagine drinking.  Suddenly (or perhaps because of communion), during my freshman year in college, I began guzzling grape juice like it was going out of style.  It was wonderful!  There was a point in time where I had to have a glass every morning. 

2.  Dresses
I know a lot of women probably feel me on this one.  I hated dresses as a kid.  I wasn’t the girliest (or most coordinated, for that matter) child, so my mom always had me wear those long, Anne of Avonlea bloomers underneath my dresses until I was eight.  I didn’t have any complaints.  I could run around and fall and not get as embarrassed.  However, after I turned nine and the bloomers went away, I stopped wearing dresses.  With exception of prom, Ms. SHS, Ms. Syhiscan, and other formal events where I HAD to wear a dress (and a formal dress is a whole ‘nother bag of hate I haven’t quite gotten over…), I wore pants or a pants suit a la hilary Clinton.  I also have an issue with my knees – I don’t like them hos, not one bit.  It wasn’t until I turned 21 that I started voluntarily wearing dresses.  The guy I was dating at the time mentioned that he liked seeing me in dresses, so I went out and bought five of them just for him.  Usually I’m not that accommodating, but I discovered that I actually liked wearing dresses, not just because of him, but because dresses were fun.  I felt like an actual adult, a *gasp* lady every time I wore one.

3.  Driving
When I first started to drive, I HATED it.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t get my learner’s permit until four months after I turned sixteen.  In Alabama, you can get them when you turn fifteen (or could at the time…I don’t know what they do these days).  The only reason I got them then is because I had to have then for driver’s ed (which I was forced to take).  I didn’t like driving.  I have really poor vision and I’m much more comfortable, even now, riding than I am driving.  For a very long time – up until I was 19 – I wouldn’t drive on Hwy 280.  I live on Hwy 280, and the only way I could get to and from UAB was on Hwy 280, so that sort of put a stop to that.  After I got used to the highways and interstates (and taught myself how to parallel park in downtown Birmingham), I became a road warrior.  I LOVE to drive.  Before gas prices got to be this high, I used to drive around just to clear my head.  It was nothing to jump in the car and make an impromptu raodtrip out of state.  I flippin love to drive.  One of these days (as per my 30 before 30 list), I’m going to take what I’m calling my “No Turn Left Behind” trip where I take every exit ending in “13” and just explore.

4.  Bikes
I hated bike riding as a kid.  I’d rather walk.  I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was nine, and that was after being forced to do so by my father after he discovered that my seven-year-old brother could ride a bike and I couldn’t.  I didn’t get the point of bike riding.  It used more energy than walking and getting your feet caught up in the pedals (like I had a habit of doing) HURT.  Now…I don’t find bike riding.  Granted, the extent of my bike riding takes place on the stationary bike at my gym, but I’m actually thinking about purchasing a bike.  So maybe this one doesn’t count after all…hmm…

Anybody got anymore to add?  I know this is a craptastic post…I assure you that tomorrow’s will be loads better!

Break Up Sex and 2 other sexual encounters to stay away from

7 Mar

 

I beg to differ

Well...now that you mention it...

This is in response to a post I read by a friend and the suggestion that I write about the dangers of break-up sex after I failed to read the title of her blog correctly.

We all make bad decisions, right?  Getting that Diddy ‘fro-hawk.  Wearing leggings as pants.  Taking that third serving of pasta Primavera.  Giving your number to the slightly creepy guy/girl who will ultimately end up calling you five zillion times a day, tattooing your name on their neck, and slashing all four of your car tires.  Sometimes we really don’t understand the full implications and consequences of our actions.

Sometimes we do.

There are some decisions that we make knowing full well that they are wrong and will leave us sad, confused, embarrassed, and hurt in their wake.  You can always get your haircut if you decide that you want a ‘fro-hawk (though you can never get me to stop judging you), but there are some things that don’t resolve themselves as easily, or at all.  There are a ton of them that I could list, but I’m only going to focus on 3 of them.

1. Break Up Sex
You know…you’d think this would be pretty obvious, right?  Do not have sex , i.e. continue a physically intimate relationship, with a person with whom you have decided to cut off emotionally intimate ties.  Well, you’d also think it’d be pretty obvious not to sleep with total strangers (see #2), but some people do not ascribe to any logical thought processes. 

There are people who rave about break-up sex.  Songs have been written about it.  I don’t get it and neither have I ever engaged in it.  However, being that I am a female with female friends, I am well versed in the damage (collateral and otherwise) that break up sex causes.  On the surface, I guess I understand the appeal of break-up sex.  You ex is a person with whom you have chemistry and sexual compatibility.  You know what s/he likes and s/he knows what you like.  It’s convenient to your illogical mind and and you have managed to convince yourself that this act eases the emotional hurt of a break-up by allowing you to wean yourself from your former flame instead of quitting cold turkey.  Besides, you guys can still “be friends.”¹  Or some such malarkey.

What I’m amazed by is the fact that people are completely willing to overlook the fact that they decided to terminate the relationship JUST so they can have sexual gratification.  Hello!  You broke up with said ex for a reason; it had to be a good one, otherwise you’d still be together².  All things considered, such as the way the relationship came to an end (cheating, physical/emotional abuse, transsexual strippers named Caramelody lying), is it really worth five minutes of sweating and straining with someone you recently decided to remove from your life?  Just make it a clean break.  There’s no need for the extra emotional baggage (because I am a FIRM opponent of the idea of “no strings attached” sex) caused by continuing what is essentially a dead relationship – especially if you were on the receiving end of the break-up.  I have no statistical data to prove this whatsoever, but I would bet my firstborn than the overwhelming majority of people propositioned FOR break-up sex are the ones who were broken-up WITH.  Would you continue to work at a job that just fired you?  Then why would you have sex with the person who just dumped you?  Again, I don’t get it.  I could get a whole lot deeper with that, but I still got more points to make.

2.  Random Hook-ups with Strangers
Do I really have to explain this one?  Well…apparently so.  While everyone fantasizes about getting your Clarence Carter on with a sexy, mysterious stranger, we all need to realize that fantasies only come true in movies and books.  What usually happens is a night of awkward, drunk sex that you can’t even remember, except for your sore back³ and the inexplicable hickey in the middle of your forehead.  And let’s not forget rolling over to find the creature from the black lagoon in your bed.  Drunk goggles are a mother, and I say that because it seems that the overwhelming majority of random hook-ups involve alcohol.

Forget the obvious consequences, like STDs and inadvertent blindness pregnancy, there are more subtle consequences.  Shame can wreak havoc on the psyche.  There’s something really hurtful about the humiliation of having abased yourself to allow a complete and total stranger the privilege of intimate contact with you.  Unless you are a truly depraved person, or one who has been jaded into emotional apathy, there’s no way that you can escape a random hook-up with a stranger unscathed, even if no one else knows about it.  Trust.

3.  The Homie Hook-up

**the author takes a moment to set up several flashing hazard lights and to position the speakers playing dramatically ominous music.**

This is the worst of the two aforementioned sexual encounters because it:

A.  Has the potential to create a tense, toxic environment in an otherwise healthy platonic relationship, which may lead to- 

B.  The abrupt end of a mutually beneficial friendship that would’ve lasted until one of you got married had you just left well enough alone.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…some people start off as friends and become lovers and live happily ever after.  I don’t know any of them.  I do, however, know lots of people who slept with their best friends (sometimes not even friends that close) and regretted it, and by regret, I mean wish to God in Heaven that they had never ever EVER done such a stupid, insane, predictably moronic thing. 

What is to be gained by sleeping your friends?  A closer friendship?  An actual relationship?  Spare me.  I have a multitude of male friends, many of them closer to me than my female friends, and while I will not lie and say that I haven’t entertained the thought of bumping uglies, I have had enough willpower and sense to realize that the sex would not be worth it.  For starters, I am a very pragmatic person and the following conversation will inevitably happen:

HIM:  What’s wrong with you?  You stay mad these days.

ME:  What’s wrong with you?  I’m good enough to be friends with and to screw, but not good enough to date?  What’s up with that?

HIM:  Uh…

In keeping with the whole, “why buy a cow when you can get the milk for free” argument, I just fail to see the point or benefits 4 of marring a perfectly good friendship with sex.  I mean, if you’re that compatible, then just date.  Seriously.  It’s that simple.

So that’s all I have time/energy for.  Anybody else got anything to add?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

¹I personally do not believe that it is possible to remain friends with an ex.  Well…I won’t say it isn’t possible – I’m sure it is – but it is exceedingly hard, depending on the way the relationship ended.

²Yes, I understand that some people break up for really bad, lame reasons.  Just indulge me here, why don’t you?

³And I don’t mean that good-good, he-beat-it-out soreness either.  More like the I-just got-ran-over-by-a-semitruck kind.

4 I detest the phrase “friends with benefits” along with the word “conversate.” UGH!