This quick post is about why you shouldn’t trip over Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I think it can be a really sweet day where people get to express themselves in a loving and special way. However, I do think it can also be a day of pressure and anxiety for those without a significant other, or those thinking they have to be extravagant and pull out all the stops. Below is why I think we should chill on the intensity:
· Don’t have a significant other? So what? Who said Valentine’s Day has to be about romantic love? Yes, if you let media and the stores that have had pink and red hearts up and down their aisles since December tell it, it’s only about being snuggled up with your honey. I don’t know about you, but I have family, friends, and a very adorable dog that I can love and show appreciation to.
· Rose petals leading up to the bed after dining on champagne and oysters? Sure! Pizza and a binge watching session of House of Cards before the new season comes out? Sure! A quiet walk around the neighborhood? Sure! My point is, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to look like the movies. It can look any way you want. The point is that you are comfortable and feel loved with whoever you’re with. Don’t stress!
· Don’t break the bank. Just, don’t. I know people want to make their significant others feel special, but if you have to eat ramen noodles or PB&J sandwiches for 3 weeks until you can recover financially, maybe there should be some reevaluation involved. Look at the big picture and see if that new item is really feasible. Gifts are great, but you should not be strained when I’m sure your partner would love your quality time and affection. What’s more valuable?
· Is this your 1st Valentine’s Day with someone? Spending it with someone new? Nice. I’d like to encourage folks to keep the pressure to a minimum. Valentine’s Day does NOT equal I’m Guaranteed Sex Night. Nope. If that’s your intention with someone, you better state it up front! Hey, maybe the other person is down for the cause. Don’t think that someone gives you their time or money, or you spend time or money, that sex is a guarantee. Be honest and have the best intentions please.
· We happen to celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th. But guess what? March 3rd, May 2nd , July 16th , October 23rd, and ALL the other days on the calendar are also Valentine’s Day! Didn’t y’all hear what Andre 3000 said? Every day is the 14th! This holiday has been so hyped that sometimes we feel we have to dump ALL of the love we ever had into this ONE day. We have 364 other days to show love too! I don’t want to take away the meaning some people have put into this day- for some, Valentine’s Day is magic. Keep that idea! I just also want to put it out there that any and every day can be magical. Spread the love around! J
· My last point is that YOU ARE LOVED. Point. Blank. Period. I better not see any of you moping around because you have SO much love surrounding you, that just one day cannot contain it! Take a second to think of the people and things you are grateful for. Feel that? That’s awesomeness. Be thankful for the love that you had, instead of being upset about the love you think you want.
Well, my friends, that’s all I have to say for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts and any additional advice you’d add to my list. Have a loving Valentine’s Day, however you may celebrate it!!
What I learned from my ex.
The ending of my last relationship was tough on me. It came at a difficult time in my life, when I was trying to get a lot of things in order. I was heartbroken. I was sad. I was mad and confused. I thought about all of the things that could’ve gone differently.
Four years in a committed relationship meant ups and downs, and also a lot of lessons.
We, generally speaking, talk negatively about our exes. We mention how crazy she is, or how he was a dog. Rarely do I hear people talk about the positive qualities of their exes or what they learned from their ceased relationships. Of course, no one likes a relationship to end when you weren’t expecting it or weren’t ready. But, I always believe things happen (or don’t) for a reason.
My Mom regularly sends me motivational emails. In one recent email, there was a mention of having an “attitude of gratitude”. I think this can be applied to all aspects of life, including our relationships. Looking at the good in others and the good in relationships help us heal from past hurts and help us to seek healthier partnerships in the future. Yes, I went through the initial breakup feelings (see first paragraph). But after I was over those feelings, I looked at all of the things I learned and experienced. I’m grateful to say that I learned a lot from being in my past relationship. Below are a few of those things.
- Cooking! I admit it: before I met my ex, I ate like my 8 year old self, and was quite content with that. I could throw something together that was edible and decent, but he taught me the basics and some of the fanciness of the art of cooking. And I actually enjoyed it. I never knew the world of wine was so immense or how to make a black bean burger from scratch. Now I know.
- Money management: My ex was one of the most responsible people I have ever met. He had great organization and discipline when it came to money. I took the budget spreadsheet he helped me with when I moved to Cameroon, and it really helped me keep track of my income and expenses. Now that I’m back in the states, I’m able to adjust it according to my new life. It’s a motivational tool to spend less, save more, and get ahead financially.
- Business savvy: One of the most important things I learned from my ex is some business knowledge. He has a business background and was willing to go over the details of my business with me. I was challenged to think outside of the box, be creative, and be thorough in planning.
These are not the only things I’ve learned or are grateful for. These are just a few examples. Keeping that “attitude of gratitude” kept me from being bitter and wallowing in my hurt feelings. Who has time for that? Focus on the good, learn, and KEEP IT MOVING.
I’d like you to think about your past relationship. What things will you take or have you taken into your next relationship? What have you left behind? What did you learn from your ex? Share below.
There’s a problem with my availability: it’s too open.
I’ve met some interesting people during my 20s. Some I’ve had connections with, some not. Out of those I’ve made connections with, some have turned into more than friendships, but not quite relationships. You know, that whole ambiguous thing I’ve talked about before. The issue with ambiguity is that since it’s never really defined, its left open to interpretation. And often the interpretations differ. What would usually happen with my ambiguous things is that they would fade out, or the man would realize he was still in love with someone from his past, or wanted to date someone else he was seeing exclusively. I never really got or could get mad because technically we weren’t together; we were just kickin it. The problem was when the man became lonely or figured out he wasn’t still in love or the dating thing didn’t work out. That’s when my Gchat, Facebook, and text messaging would become much more active. This is what I call a “pop up”, when someone resurfaces out of nowhere after a time of minimal or no communication.
Pop ups happen. Especially if there was a connection between the people involved. However, there is often an assumption that the other person has not changed (especially if years have gone by), or that somehow that person was waiting on the pop up’s phone call/text message/chat. And this is where my mistake comes in.
I consider myself to be a nice person. And in being a nice person, I usually don’t take issue with responding to someone that has reached out. But, my niceness also has a way of letting people think that things were like they were in the past, or that I still carry the same level of interest as I may have before. Being available for every phone call/text message/chat can give that impression. Because I didn’t nip it in the bud, I would end up in the murky waters of ambiguity, wondering how I got there. I think it has to do with a combination of liking the attention, and reminiscing on the good times of the past. That can only last so long before it gets old and someone either has the urge to intensify the situation or move on.
Experience has taught me to be direct and be upfront about my intentions with people (new and pop ups alike). It eliminates the guessing games and for me, has created an avenue for open and “grown up” conversations. And I find that the more forthcoming I am the level of potential drama that could occur decreases significantly. Is this method 100% foolproof? No, not at all. But no one can say that he doesn’t know my perspective or how I may feel.
As far as my current availability goes? Well, I guess you will just have to see won't you?
A pause for the cause.
As some of you know, I am leaving for Cameroon, Africa this weekend. I will be there for at least a year teaching and volunteering. It's always been on my personal life list to live abroad and this opportunity came at just the right time! People have asked what will happen to Jaali Co. while I'm away. Well, Jaali Co. isn't going anywhere! I will just manage it in a different capacity. I will still be in contact with you all, and continue to post relevant information about our communities. My goal is to learn about sex and sexuality related issues in Cameroon and other African countries to give myself and Jaali Co. a more global perspective. I will be blogging about my experiences at www.cartwheelsincameroon.wordpress.com.
Are there any specific questions/issues/themes I should explore while in Africa? All suggestions are welcome!
I love sex.
I was told once (okay, maybe twice) that I think too much during sex. Guilty. I’ve caught myself a time or two drifting off into my academic mind, “bookmarking” a certain feeling or thinking of ways to do something better or more effectively J This, while good, should NOT be happening during sex. I mean, how can you truly be in tune with the sexual experience if you’re thinking about other things? Normally when people are “thinking” during sex, it’s typically something surrounding body image or sexual performance. Me? I’m thinking about research topics, blog posts, questions I could ask to engage people and start discussions. What can I say, I love sex. I love everything about it- the great stuff, the terrible stuff, the confusing stuff, the myths, the mysteries, all of it. I read (A LOT), research, talk to people, ask questions, answer questions, and listen…all to make myself a better professional (my friends call me the “sex lady”) and really, a better person. It’s a good feeling to know what you are supposed to do with your life. I’m here to ultimately educate, encourage and empower people.
This is not to say that I don’t enjoy sex or that I’m not paying attention. Because that’s certainly NOT true. This is also no excuse for the occasional thought that drifts outside the sexual experience I’m in. I certainly “preach” letting go and being immersed in every experience one has. It can be tough for a mile a minute mind like mine to slow down sometimes. Just know that I’m passionate about this, and that I take it seriously.
Presented by YWTF-ATL Chapter and Jaali Co.
Are you creative and inspirational younger woman who would like to empower other women to better sexual health?
Help us to name our new sex education campaign and win $50!
Do you have a creative name or slogan idea?
YWTF-ATL Chapter and Jaali Co. will soon launch a new sex education campaign targeted at women age 20-39 that live or work in metro Atlanta.
The purpose of this campaign is to:
Voting: YWTF-ATL Board of Directors will review all submissions and rank the top slogans and taglines based on these criteria (1-10 points 10 is highest):
Please submit your safe sex slogan and tagline to email@example.com along with your name, email, phone, place of employment, or/and school affiliation.
Contest Deadline: July 6, 2012 before by 5pm EST
The winner will be announced on the YWTF-ATL blog and website on July 13, 2012 and notified via email
Contest prize: Winner will receive a $50 VISA gift card and the winner will be featured on the YWTF-ATL chapter blog, Many Voices. One Force.
Share your creativity and wittiness today in support of a movement promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Submit your slogan and tag line and let your voice be heard!!
About YWTF-ATL-Founded in 2009, the purpose of YWTF-ATL is to translate, transform, and improve systems, policies, and cultural imperatives to create, promote, and sustain an empowering, enriching, and enterprising community for young women aged 20-39 who live and work in the Atlanta area. YWTF-ATL is a project of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (a 501 (c) 3 organization).
Let me see those papers...
Let’s say you’re in a relationship getting to know somebody. Some time goes by and you want to take it to the next level. You know, to the physical level. So during your discussion on the matter, you ask her/him to see the papers to prove that she/he has been tested and is free of infection. (insert screeching sound here) What? Too much?
In a time where sexual contamination seems to be at its peak, and in a time where most people infected with something don’t know about it, I think it ought to be a relationship requirement to see proof from one’s partner that all is clear in the southern hemisphere. My thought is that if you’re grown enough to have sex, then you ought to be grown enough to discuss sex in its entirety. This includes discussion on ways to ensure everyone’s safety. Isn’t better to be safe than sorry?
I, as well as many sex ed and medical professionals suggest that you have screenings done with your regular medical checkups. The CDC recommends that anyone who is sexually active be tested at least once every 6 months. In spite of that recommendation, however, most people are tested on the basis of their risk factors for getting HIV. You should get tested for HIV at least every year if you:
If you are invested in your partner, and more importantly, if you are invested in yourself, it’s completely worth it to get yourself tested. Get tested together. It’s better to be proactive and have a peaceful mind than have to figure out a solution to a tricky situation.
Crazy In Love...No, Really.
_ We’ve all had a crush or 2 in our lives. Some say that it’s a part of life. You know, the guy from the coffee shop or the woman you always see in your office building. Most of the time we may smile or say hello and leave it there. Sometimes a crush may sneak into our fantasies and dreams. Still, most of us don’t take it beyond that point. But what about those people who see the line, walk up to it, and take a gigantic leap over it? So when a crush becomes way more than a crush and turns into obsession, there could be problems. There are some cases where a man or woman falls for someone and irrationally thinks that person, sometimes a complete stranger, loves them back. This is called erotomania. Erotomania is a psychological disorder where a person has a delusional belief that someone else (usually of a higher social status) is in love and sometimes makes advances towards him or her. There is little known about the background or treatment of this disorder, but researchers think that erotomania could coincide with other mental disorders. It’s okay for someone to “crush a lot”, but there could be an element of danger to this disorder or at least cause some really awkward moments. This is because it is common for those with erotomania to try and contact their subjects of affection. You may have seen stories in the news about fans trying to contact and get close to celebrities. Some stalking cases also fall into this category. Either way, more research should be conducted in order to discover possible trigger and underlying causes such as attachment and abandonment issues. We don’t know, but erotomania could be more common than we think.
This story is gonna be short becuase I'd like to keep it that way. I used to... talk? see?...something with this guy some years ago. One day, in the midst of all that ambiguousness, I met him at his place to hang out. I don't remember what we were doing earlier that day and I can't tell you what led up to the sex. But I DO remember that there was NO type of foreplay. At all. I know that every time doesn't have to include foreplay, but we weren't in a rush so I could have gotten something rubbed or touched or SOMETHING. Anyway, clothes come off and we get to it. Only I'm the one getting to anything! He's just laying there. I think I'm working it out, tossing my hair and whatnot (I had straight hair at the time) and he's laying there. Chillin I guess. So I have a decision to make. I opt to switch up the positioning I'm trying to transition gracefully, but dude is absolutely not moving with me. I KNOW he knew that I was trying to switch up the flow. At this point my interest, libido, and drive all jump out his apartment window and I'm over it. Meanwhile, he's STILL chillin?!??! I promptly ended whatever that was, gathered my stuff, and left for the "meeting I had to get to". That relationship did not flourish (for many reasons) and needless to say, neither did any other sexual contact. Sigh.
The first time...
I would wish my first time on anyone. Yes, you read that correctly. If there was a virginity store where one could choose how his or her first time would play out, I would want my experience on the shelf as an option. You know, there's something to be said about making your own decisions with a clear mind and no pressure. I waited to have sex because I felt like waiting- no other reasons, no other logic. I was 22 when I did decide and was in a relationship. We had discussions about everything- expectations, condoms, logisitics (lol), and the like. Being someone who think a lot, I had to make sure I covered all bases. I'm pretty sure he felt some kind of way about being the one "responsible" for this experience.
I can't say that it happened in the most romantic of places... unless dorm rooms are romantic. I mean, you can make any place romantic if you want to. It was night and the playlist I intensely labored over for hours was probably playing. I don't remember feeling nervous or anything, but I know I wanted it to be right, whatever that means. Knowing me, I was telling myself to "be sexy" as not to scare the man off! I didn't, in the least bit, know what the flip I was doing. Going with the flow made the whole experience great because I didn't stress myself out with anticipation. And how did I end up? Pleasantly pleased, thank you very much.
I must say that I am thankful that he was careful and gentle with me. He truly made me feel comfortable and wanted and loved. I'm glad I waited, I'm glad that we TALKED, and most importantly, I'm glad that it was my choice.
Sexy people rock.