Monday, February 25, 2013

Lots of Fun and Love:
Paul C. Brunson Stops in San Francisco on It's Complicated Live Tour

I did not expect to have so much fun at Bloomingdales on Saturday with matchmaker Paul C. Brunson and nearly 200 people (mostly women). I didn’t expect a Kool-Aid quiz or people getting their Caribbean wine dance on. But somehow it all tied into the love advice we were all seeking.

Paul is the author of It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be): A Modern Guide to Finding and Keeping Love.  And he stars on the OWN (as in Oprah’s OWN) show Lovetown, USA. He’s dropping love knowledge all over the world with the “It’s Complicated Live Tour.” In San Francisco, the DJ was spinning good music while we sipped a yummy, orange drink out of flutes, snacked on chocolate treats, caught a fashion show and watched professional Chicago Steppers.

As you know I’ve received some off-the-walllove advice. So I was looking for tips I could apply in my life. I really need it since Paul informed us San Francisco has one of the lowest marriage rates in the country. We’re at 20%, compared to the national average of 40-50%. I interviewed Paul about my bad love advice and you can listen to that podcast below or here. Our discussion was a lot of fun and he even shared some breaking news on Cocoa Fly about a big project. For those who attended the event, you’ll appreciate it because Paul and I talked about things not covered at Bloomingdales.

Paul C. Brunson speaking to the Bay Area audience. 
Paul said the secret to matching yourself up with a special someone is to know your relationship vitals.

Values—What are your values? What are your guiding principles? What do you live for?

Know Your Personality Type (based on the Carl Jung and Meyers-Briggs personality theory).  Which one of these are you? Which personality is more compatible for you when it comes to a mate?
 Analyst—always wants to be right, are mindful of how their actions will impact
other people. (this is me)
Controller—task and results orientated, rigid, don’t always listen closely to other people
Supporter—loyal, patient, good listeners
Promoter—energetic, fun, motivators but don’t finish what they started.

Non-Starters—Things that impact the health or happiness of your relationship. For example, if your partner is okay with doing drugs and you’re not. Or if he/she believes in open marriage and you want monogamy.

Attraction – This is not the same as “He’s tall, bald, muscular and fine.” Attraction is different from finding someone attractive. Does the person share your values? If so, is there some romantic chemistry?


These people volunteered for Paul's attraction activity. I can't
believe they didn't know each other. They had crazy chemistry. 

Right before they got their wine on. These two were hilarious. 

Later Paul addressed broken hearts and how many of us feel like we can’t love again. We did this cool activity where he asked us our childhood crushes and how they made us feel. Mine was Christopher Reeve and in my childhood fantasy of flying with him over Metropolis, he made me feel like a princess and protected. He’s still my favorite Superman.

Next Paul asked us our adult crushes and how they made us feel. Mine is LL Cool J and he makes me feel sexy (FYI, Idris Elba name has been mentioned the most on Paul’s worldwide tour). The light bulb came on for us in the audience. Our crushes served a purpose for us at certain times in our life. And after we outgrew Superman, Al B. Sure, Usher, DeVante from Jodeci, we moved on to other crushes. The same goes for a broken heart. We can love again. Things change and what we’re looking for in love does too.

My heart has healed after being run over by a steamroller. I agree with Paul’s suggestions for working through a broken heart.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Paul C. Brunson Bringing Love Advice to San Francisco

I know I said in my last post that I could NOT handle any more love advice. The older I get, the crazier the advice I receive. But I’ll make an exception for matchmaker Paul C. Brunson. Paul is the author of It’s Complicated But It Doesn’t Have to Be: A Modern Guide to Finding and Keeping Love. Yes, dating in the millennium is so darn complicated. I blame technology partly. It seems like people don’t know how to communicate in person anymore.

I trust Paul’s knowledge. I used to watch his YouTube videos and he gave solid tips for navigating the dating jungle. When I watched him, I always said, “Someone needs to give this man a show.” The folks at Oprah’s network OWN made a good choice.

I will be reading his book before he comes to Bloomingdales in San Francisco for his It’s Complicated Live world tour. The love lesson goes down this Saturday, February 23rd at 2pm. They’re going to have refreshments, makeovers, a discussion with Paul and a book signing.  Books will be sold there. Sounds like some fun girly-girl time, plus it’s free.

I’m looking forward to hopefully asking him a few questions, and getting good dating advice that I can use. I hear the event is filling up quick so RSVP.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

No More Dating Advice!

My Valentine’s Week was a disaster. It was so bad it was funny.  Between the guy who wouldn’t let me get a word in during a conversation, the cute guy I met who I later found out was bisexual (he’s a very nice guy but I just can’t) and my aunt trying to hook me up with the guy at her local sushi spot, it was just all bad. She told the guy I was smart and successful. She also mentioned that we would make pretty babies and that although I didn’t inherit my family’s busty lineage, I had a lot of junk in my trunk. Well she didn’t say I had junk in my trunk, she did the hand-curving motion for a big booty. AWAKWARD.  Yes it was a bad week in love, but funny. My aunt is one of my favorite people in the world, but she couldn’t hook up two rabbits in heat. She means well, I think.

Valentine’s week fumbles were funny. But what I can’t stand sometimes is the crazy dating advice I get. Some people are concerned for me b/c I’m 30-ish and single.  I’m not worried because I know THE ONE will come one day. And I’m actually enjoying my singlehood at the moment. I’ve never felt more fun and flirty. But if I base my dating pool on the “advice” I’ve been given, my dating pool is about the size of a teacup.  You ready? Here we go: 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Whitney Houston and the Insensitive Media

The fun, talented, sexy Whitney Houston I idolized.

It took me a while to take in Whitney Houston’s death one year ago today.  She died a few days before my grandfather, so I was more focused on his transition.  I still can’t believe she’s gone. She was beautiful, amazing, graceful, indefinably talented and classy when she debuted.  Whitney was also troubled. Some pain in her life drove her to drugs. And for that I have compassion for her.  It hurts to see a family member or friend who is brilliant and kind, spin out of control from drugs. I know personally from relatives who couldn’t move past their pain so they turned to substances.

But I won’t dwell on that because that was just a part of Whitney’s life. I cannot tell you how many times as a little girl, I paraded around my bedroom in my pajamas with a hairbrush microphone pretending to be Whitney. I wanted to cut holes in my jeans so bad just to be like her. Oh and her voice. It was like she gave a gift to your ears and heart with every note. That’s the Whitney I loved and admired.

I wish I saw more of this Whitney from the media.  I noticed when she died, it seemed like the media used as many crackish looking shots they could find. They’ll show her “I Will Love You” video and then cut to a crackish shot. I felt like there was some sick joy in watching her fall. Lady Gaga has talked about society’s love for a rising star and their twisted eagerness to see them tumble.  But most of the media was definitely not Team Whitney.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I’m a Black Woman from East Oakland and I LOVE Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is on their  “Because We Can Tour and I want to go.  I have two problems:
  •    I have no one to go with to the show. Apparently, there aren’t too many other black women from East Oakland I know who like Bon Jovi. Actually, jokes and race of friends aside, I’m the only one in my crew who likes them a lot.
  • The concert is about 1 hour away and I‘m not sure if I’ll feel like making that drive. 

BUT, I’ve wanted to see them for a long time. I know Bon Jovi first became the shiz-nit in the ‘80s. However, I didn’t get into them until 2001. I actually did a piece about how I came to love them on NPR a long time ago.

Long story short, I was in college contemplating if I should do an exchange program to the HBCU Spelman College. I dreamt of being a Spelmanite since I was a little girl. I was accepted to the school but didn’t get enough financial support to attend. I went to UC San Diego instead.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker: Unstoppable, Fearless Women

Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker
I would love to know what they're saying. 

While I was sick and shut in with the flu, I lived on Hulu when it didn’t hurt to keep my eyes open. I finally saw Frida, the 2002 film about the revolutionary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). I wasn’t crazy about the script but Salma Hayek was awesome as Frida Kahlo.

The first time I saw Frida Kahlo’s work was in college. My boss at the time had her art in his office. Honestly, I was a bit repulsed and uncomfortable with her work. She painted her imperfections and her pain so vividly. Frida was seriously injured in a bus accident while a teenager and had many surgeries on her back. I could feel her intensity and sense her pain looking at her photos. He facial hair and stern unibrowed glare scared me. A woman viewing her facial flaws as art? Then there were the images of blood, scissors, thorns etc. in her body.
"I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality,” she once said.  

Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo
You know how folks say “Do you”? That was how Frida lived her life. She lived by her own rules. She was bisexual, had a turbulent/passionate marriage with the great artist Diego Rivera (they had some serious drama, a lot of cheating) and was a communist activist. In an interview, Salma Hayek said while everyone was dressing more European/Western in Mexico, Frida dressed in traditional Mexican attire, like the poorer people in the country. In the short time she was here, her life was a wild ride.  But she stayed at the wheel steering it.

Then there’s Josephine Baker (1906-1975), the aunt in my head who I imagine would pour me a glass of expensive champagne in her mansion and tell me all of the crazy stuff she did as a young woman. I love Josephine for moving to France when the racist American entertainment industry wouldn’t let her be the big star she was born to be. She didn’t allow bigotry to kill her dream. She was unstoppable. She performed nude and adopted children from various racial backgrounds. Miss Josephine was an amazing woman.

I was excited about a year ago when I saw this photo of Josephine Baker and Frida Kahlo together. I shared it on Facebook and wrote that I imagined them talking about deep, philosophical artsy stuff, politics and being revolutionary. My former boss popped that bubble on my thread and said they were probably talking about hooking up later that night! LOL. Supposedly the women I idolize for their “Do me” attitude were doing each other. Josephine's son has vouched that his mother had multiple affairs with women. The film Frida included their affair. The actress looked nothing like Josephine Baker but she had a heck of a body.

I was shocked, but then later not surprised about their relationship. It’s juicy news, but now I don’t care. I love these women. They were two women of color, in highly sexist and racist times, who loved and lusted for whomever they chose. They aspired to be great, open and challenge the status quo. And they left behind an amazing legacy.

I love Frida and Josephine because they were daring and there are times in my life, when I wish I were more daring. More outspoken. More “I don’t give a damn.” The older I get, I notice I become more of that woman. Some people who know me may be reading this and thinking, “Damn how much more daring does she want to be?” Yes I’m outspoken, and yes I challenge myself. But I don’t want to get too comfortable.

When it comes to my dreams and goals, I know I need an attitude of fearlessness. I have to be unstoppable.  I have to be honest about my pain and flaws, and find the beauty in it all. I have to stand up for what I believe in. I have to live life like I’m happily dancing topless in a banana skirt. And although the world sees me, and may judge, I keep dancing because I don’t give a damn. I'm not living for them. I'm living for me. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Flu: My Blessing in Disguise

Photo by Andres Rueda

Unemployed. Moved back home. Job search. Grandfather ill. Worked odd jobs. Job search. Debt .Calls to the doctor. Job Search. Grandfather Cancer. My back pain. Lawsuit. Job search. Job search. Frustration from hell. Grandfather Cancer. Therapy. Hours in the ER. Back and forth to the hospital. Back and forth to the store. Back and forth. Back and forth. HIRED. Work. Grandfather’s Surgery. Hospital visits. Business travel. I’m Tired. No Rest. Cancer. Back and forth. Work. Hospital visits. No peace. No quiet. Holidays. Missing my friends. Work. Exhausted. Life on hold. Insomnia. Cancer. Draining. Dizzy spells. Death looming. Work. Back and forth. Cancer is winning. Bracing myself. He’s Gone. Funeral planning. Funeral. Work. Processing loss. Anxiety. Wow, he’s really gone. Work. No peace. No quiet. Another death. Sad. Business Travel. Conferences. Award. R&R. Another death. Shock. Sorrow. Sorority Event. Holidays. BlogHer. Moving. Some Peace. Unpacking. Some Quiet. New Year. Work. Inauguration! DC. Cross Country Flight. Home. FLU

What you read has been the last two years of my life. I was exhausted. I craved rest. I was so tired that I was angry. Angry, because all I wanted was for my brain to slow down and a few nights of good sleep. Now I know why little kids get cranky when they’re tired. I kept putting off rest. I’ll rest after the holidays.  I’ll rest after I move. I’ll rest after my trip to DC and the international conference my job is hosting.  Well I didn’t make it to the conference because I came down with the flu. I was coughing the whole way back from DC to San Francisco.  Funny thing is, I hardly ever get the flu. But the 101-degree fever, chills and body aches knocked me out. My body hurt when I showered. I was so disappointed because I really wanted to be at my job’s conference. I had to rest. What I had been putting off for two years finally happened. Life, God, the Universe slowed me down because I wouldn’t.

I was sick for nearly a week. All I did was take medication, eat a little and just let my body fight the bug. I slept a lot. I was too consumed with trying to get well to stress over things or think a lot. My brain got a break.

After my body temperature returned to normal and I could breathe out of my nose again, I felt weak. My body needed to recuperate from fighting the flu. During my weakness I mainly slept, ate and watched a little Hulu (which is how I got hooked on The Carrie Diaries). 

As I began to regain my strength, I felt better. It was the best I felt in two years. Because I take herbs and vitamins, I had a mild strain of the flu. I’m grateful for it because it slowed me down. I’m thankful it didn’t kill me, but it gave me myself back.

The stress from long-term unemployment and losing my grandfather changed my body. I gained weight from bad eating habits. Patches of discoloration formed on parts of my skin (doc said I’m okay). I had dizzy spells and I couldn’t sleep. My mind felt like a VHS tape on high-speed fast-forward. It was awful! Most of the things I listed were happening to me for the first time.  It’s amazing how your body will tell you it’s stressed the hell out.

I’m sharing this with you because let’s face it, stress can kill you. During the ordeal I visited a therapist and went to meditations. That helped me tremendously. Or I said no and let someone else run an errand. But there were many times I didn’t take care of myself. I know as women we often put ourselves last. When we don’t take care of ourselves, it only makes things worse for us. I’m lucky that I learned my lesson from the flu, because I could have easily learned it from a stroke.

So take care of yourselves ladies. Take a vacation, meditate, turn of the computer, whatever you need to do. Just take care of yourselves. And it’s okay to put yourself first. It’s okay to say, “No.” It’s okay to say, “Damn I need a break.” Just make sure you take it.


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