The Audacity of Blogging

In honor of my 10th post, I am reflecting on my blogging journey. I am proud of myself! After starting and stopping three blogs prior to this one, I am happy to announce that I have consistently updated Scribbles And Tostitos for two whole months! My topics have been intriguing, informative, and innovative; this is more than I could say about the previous blogs.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to merely share my writing skills. Writing is what I do when I’m stressed, happy, sad, or lovesick. If this is what I love to do, why not share it with those who can benefit from it? And that’s the mentality that motivated me to start this blog. Admittedly, there have been some days where I wonder who is reading it and at times I’ve been disappointed with the lack of feedback I’ve received. Some of my good friends have either failed to acknowledge the blog or failed to read it; whereas some of my acquaintances have provided constructive criticisms and feedback on ways for me to improve this blog. I noticed this trend after the third post, but promised myself that I wouldn’t be hung up on those that read it and those that don’t. This blog wasn’t intended for those that aren’t interested in reading it; I know that there are plenty of other readers who love reading my posts.

There are plenty of other blogs that I’ve read in the past that have changed my life. In a post, the blogger introduced me to a new concept; encouraged me to continue trusting in God, or made me laugh on a bad day. The blogs that have made the most impact on me were the ones that were touching that after reading it, I wanted to reach through my computer and give the writer a hug. In that moment, I could identify with the reader because I knew that I wasn’t crazy if she was experiencing the same feelings as me.

I was once afraid to start a blog for fear that people would judge me. In person, I can wear a mask, but in my writing my mask disappears. I continuously struggle with how personal to be. Should I reveal my current crush? Should I share that particular experience on my blog? Ok, if I admit this, people are going to think I am crazy! These thoughts run through my mind repeatedly before I hit the “publish” button. Yesterday, a creepy feeling came over me, what if a potential employer stumbled across this blog, hated my opinions, and as a result rescinded a job offer?

Ok, maybe I was going a little to far with that statement. But I can say this, I applaud bloggers who are transparent on their blogs – the ones who bare their soul on the web for readers like me to benefit from. Seldom do I judge an individual who admits her mistakes on her blog. In fact, after reading her story, I sit at my Mac in awe. This person had the audacity to share her story on the World Wide Web? Doesn’t she realize how silly and vulnerable she appears?  Like Rasheeda Matthews of the blog, A Better Part of Me, says “healing comes through sharing.” I am grateful to the bloggers who have touched me through their words.

On this blog, you’ll notice a hint of vulnerability. You’ll learn about my lessons learned, and you’ll learn what has made me the Strong Black Woman that writes today. I am proud of who I’ve become and who I am becoming. This blog conveys the process of me becoming comfortable in my own skin. I am tired of pretending I am someone I am not.  Of course, I will exercise wisdom in what I share and how I share it.

I want my blog to make an impact. I want it to reflect who I am in an unapologetic manner but still connect with others. I want it to enlighten, encourage, and entertain those who read it. I hope that Scribbles And Tostitos is what other blogs have been to me.

Why Christians Aren’t Waiting Anymore

Many of my friends on Twitter and Facebook posted a link to a recent CNN article entitled “Why Young Christians Aren’t Waiting Anymore.” The title was intriguing, so of course I clicked on it, even scrolled through the comments in the comments section of the article, but still, I haven’t heard from my readers and friends: what do they think of the article?

For those of you haven’t read it, I’ll summarize. The article suggests that unmarried Christians are having almost as much premarital sex as their non-Christian peers. The author thinks our society  is so saturated with sexual images and messages in the media that drastically contradict “Abstinence Until Marriage” messages. Secondly, we live in a society where people do what feels right; this notion is preferred over delayed gratification. Thirdly, unlike previous generations, people of the current generation get married later in life, leaving them a good 13 – 15 years after puberty to slip up. Fourthly, the abstinence message is no longer relevant. The people who lived in Bible times got married at age young ages, so abstaining was easier.

While I agree with most of these arguments, I would like to present two of my own. First, it is HARD to save sex until marriage! I don’t know if any of you have tried to abstain lately, but my goodness, it takes the every fiber in your being (and God) to resist “temptation.” And secondly, finding a partner who willing to abstain is like finding a casette tape of one of your favorite music artists of the 90’s. Even the “very Christian” men will look at you funny when you propose your intention to abstain from sex until marriage.

So, readers, why do you think Christians aren’t waiting until marriage to have sex?

Dear Woman In A Relationship

I am so happy for you and your new-found love. You are happier than usual, grinning from ear to ear, and you have been flaunting a side of you that I’ve never seen before. It’s beautiful! But what I wanted to talk to you about is something that has been bothering me since you and your boo started dating. Don’t kill the messenger; these are just my observations.

You consistently cancel dates with your friends. 

On Saturday we had a plan for a girls night out. You know dinner at an ethic restaurant followed by a Spoken Word Night at Apache Cafe? Our plans were set and about 2 hours before our intended meeting time, you cancelled on us. Your reason? To go out to dinner with your boyfriend. Now, I know that he’s your boo, but we had these plans arranged before he called. As a matter of fact, we were here before he was. Would he have done the same for you? Don’t think so. Most men hardly ever cancel an outing with their boys because their girlfriend called. Would you like someone doing that to you? Nope. We didn’t like it either.

You no longer share your own opinion.

You used to stay abreast on the latest news and have a strong opinion about politics and international affairs. When we spent time together, we would talk for hours about those things.  Searching for the best restaurant in town used to give you such a thrill and you would Yelp about your experiences afterwards. Nowadays, I can’t even ask your opinion about a restaurant without you expressing his opinion tooI’m sorry, I asked your opinion, not his.

You no longer have an interest in doing the things that once made you happy.

Monday night kickboxing, Tuesday night belly dancing, Wednesday night Bible study, Thursday night poetry. Girl, your weekly schedule was packed! I understand that with the presence of a man in your life, somethings would change but I’ve noticed you only do what he wants to do. In the 15 years that we’ve been friends, I never knew you to be a sports fanatic. In fact, you never followed football or even knew what teams were playing in the Superbowl.  On the rare occasions that we did find ourselves at a Superbowl party, you would be in another room playing Spades, completely oblivious to what’s happening in the game. The cool thing about being in a relationship is the opportunities you have to expand your horizons and be introduced to the things that he enjoys. But that doesn’t mean you should lose yourself in the process.

You share intimate details about your love life in public.

Flirty comments about how good your man looks in his Facebook profile pic: sweet. Calling him the name of a superhero on his Facebook status: not so much. I know we’re close, but no one wants to know the names you call each other in the bedroom; no one wants to know the type of activities you two engage in when no one is looking. And most importantly, no one wants to know when you got some. Take a hint from your man. You see how he sparingly he posts intimate details about your relationship. There’s a reason for that; follow his lead

You are now an expert on all things surrounding relationships.

Ok, so you got lucky in the Love department. But that doesn’t grant you a doctorate degree in the area of Love and how to find it. Everyone is different. Everyone is looking for something different. You may be an expert on your relationship, but that doesn’t make you an expert on mine.

Women In A Relationship, I want you to have a happy healthy relationship. Explore your own interests and be protective of your special friendship. And finally, and I say this sincerely, spare me on the I-Know-It-All-Cause-I-Snagged-A-Man attitude. It is not flattering.

I’ve written this letter in the nicest way possible, but what I really want to say was so well articulated by Jozen Cummings, writer of the blog, “Until I Get Married.” I’ll direct you to his blog to supplement my message. Please click here.

Sincerely,

Yaa Yaa

 

How I Got Into Graduate School

My younger brother is in his senior year at Morehouse College. As a Big Sister who has matriculated through graduate school, I get the pleasure of offering advice through one of the most challenging years of his life. The other day, as I was fixing him a hearty breakfast before his GRE Exam, he asks me, “How many graduate schools did you apply to?” Lost in thought, I absentmindedly replied, “Three.” I didn’t think much of it, but he did and responded, “That didn’t seem like much. Why didn’t you apply to more?” I sighed and thought, Kobi always asks a lot of questions. I let out a deep breath and proceeded to tell him my story.

I can be indecisive about a lot of things, but in 2007, during my senior year in college, I was decisive about the three graduate schools I wanted to attend. My first choice was located in the South; the second choice was in the Midwest and my third choice was Boston University (BU). There were no other schools I wanted to attend. If I didn’t get into those schools, I planned to apply to graduate school again the following year.

Shockingly, I did not get accepted to any of my first two choices. Although I had maintained Honor Roll status throughout my four years at Spelman College, successfully competed and defended a thesis, listed three research related internships on my résumé, and had held leadership positions in four campus organizations, my first and second choice schools did not accept me. Their reason? My GRE scores did not meet their criteria.

I have never been good at standardized tests. I get anxious. I over-analyze questions. I take too much time and fail to complete the sections. Standardized tests don’t like me and I don’t like them. It was no surprise that my GRE scores were low; my SAT scores weren’t high either. My top two choices had stringent GRE standards; they used GRE scores to filter your applications. If your application didn’t meet the GRE requirement, your application was ruled out no matter what your credentials looked like.

BU wasn’t like that. During my visit to BU in the Fall of my senior year in college, I met the admissions recruiter and professors who in spite of my shortcomings saw in me raw talent. The admissions recruiter was adamant about maintaining contact with me throughout the application process. We both knew that my GRE scores were below the school’s requirements, but given my other qualifications, he thought I had a good shot. Even so, I had to work extra hard to get in. I submitted research papers and projects; I solicited recommendation letters from professors. I had even started communicating with professors at BU.

The end of April was quickly approaching. Final exams were around the corner, and I was putting finishing touches on final projects. Some of my classmates were already saying their final “Goodbyes.” Most schools had already sent out their acceptance letters and I was getting more and more anxious about my graduate school career with each passing day. My classmates were welcoming acceptance letters from Ivy League institutions like Harvard University and Columbia University. Others were entering into the corporate world, boasting about job offers on Wall Street. They asked what I was doing after graduation, and I didn’t have much to say. I met rejection letters in my campus mailbox frequently. And I was beginning to feel like graduate school was not in the cards for me, at least not immediately after college.

But to my surprise and joy, good news finally came.  After about six weeks in agony about not getting into graduate school, I received a phone call from the admissions recruiter from BU at around noon on Friday, April 20, 2007.  “On behalf of the admissions team here at BU, I’d like to welcome you to our school,” said the Admissions recruiter on the other end. I started yelling, screaming, and jumping up and down. Given the numerous conversations the admissions recruiter and I had held in the past few months, he had become accustomed to my vocal gestures and tendencies, he chuckled. “I know you’d be excited. CONGRATLATIONS!!” I hung up the phone and proceeded to call my biggest fans and supporters to tell them I did it.

It has been four years since that phone call, but I can still vividly recall the series of events leading up to my admission. I remember the anxiety I felt about the possibility of not getting in and I remember the long hours I invested to produce paperwork for the School to grant my admission. I am happy that I did not get into my first and second choice school. If I did, my life would have turned out differently.

BU offered me a host of opportunities that the other schools could not. I met some amazing people that I not only admire; I call them my friends. I learned from professors who were pioneers in their field.  I also had the time of my life in Boston, while learning alongside the nation’s most educated people. As a young woman from a historically Black college for women, I seized opportunities to share my experiences with my classmates. My college and my experiences were foreign to my classmates, as were their experiences to me.  We represented different cultures, countries, perspectives, and lifestyles, yet we learned from each other; we exchanged notes, stories, opinions, and perspectives. Each person I encountered at BU has made a positive influence on me and have contributed to the professional I am today.

You’d think, having gone through a series of ups and downs in my career, I’d be used to the feelings and the anxiety that it brings. I’m not. I am always in need of encouragement to continue pursuing my dreams. It’s when I look back at where I come from; it’s when I look at others who are successful and have been through tough times, that I am inspired to keep on keeping on ’cause in the midst of turmoil, rejection, and chaos, you will get what you wanted; in fact you will get even better than what you wanted.

So if this story resonates with you because you are in the midst of applying to graduate school; If you’re that woman from a small liberal arts institution; if you’re talented but talents are not reflected in your standardized tests scores; if your personal statement is just not perfect enough no matter how hard you work on it, then I encourage to keep on trekking on. Your time is coming soon. And when it does, you will be satisfied with the outcome even if you weren’t granted your first choice.

Why I Want A Wedding Not A Marriage

I love a good party. And a wedding is a grand excuse for a party.  Coral bridesmaid dresses, white wedding gown, Reggae Music, the Electric Slide, the Wobble and the Cupid Shuffle; family and friends; honeymooning in an exotic island; riding around in stretch White Cadillac Escalade with my favorite girls. All eyes on Yours Truly? (Sigh) I’ve gone to Heaven.

I believe in the institution of marriage but understand that social union involves a lot of work that I am not willing to invest. Each time I log onto Facebook, my newsfeed greets me with stories of friends tying the knot. I’m happy for them and anxiously click on their page, view all of their engagement and wedding photos, actively searching for a hints about how they met. I notice each and every detail in their pictures: wedding color scheme, the ring’s cut, the groom’s cumber bond. Everything. The couple appears ecstatic, grinning from ear to ear. But in a matter of weeks, after the couple has returned from their honeymoon. They update their status “No one told me that a marriage would be so much work!” A conversation that I initiate, “How’s married life?” ends with, a wide-mouthed response and he utters, “A lot of work. I wasn’t prepared for this.”

Marriage? A lot of Work? Oh, okay then, “no thank you.” I’m lazy and would rather be a ball with no chain, an independent woman, a free spirt. Here are my reasons why:

Marriages take years of preparation. Weddings don’t.

Marriage is the coming together of two people with personality flaws, expectations, bad experiences, hang-ups, regrets, and bad habits. Each person enters marital bliss with baggage, baggage that took a lifetime to create.  Both parties thrust their baggage upon their spouse, as if it were her spouse’s fault that she shops too much. She was a shopaholic long before their wedding day, but yet he is the scapegoat for her enormous credit card debt. Baggage was the result of bad experiences as a child and former relationships; no one acquires baggage overnight. It is the result of habits you developed as a child, as a teenager and it followed you into adulthood.

Weddings require one year of planning. That’s it. And if you’re like my highly organized friend, it could only take you one week. For a wedding, all that’s required is the dress, floral arrangements and some logistics, wedding invites and you’re done.

Marriage lasts one lifetime. Weddings last one day.

Well, let me take that back. Some weddings last a couple days, like the wedding I attended in India. But traditional American weddings  usually last one day. Marriages are usually intended to last a lifetime.  I can sense a lot of you offering the option of divorce. I acknowledge that, but I don’t really consider divorce an option when I think about marriage. Considering divorce is like planning to fail, and I’m too busy focused on success that really, I don’t contemplate failure.

Weddings are quick. You’re in. Dress up. See long lost friends. Drink and be merry. Dance til you can’t anymore and you’re done.

Chemistry fades. But marital commitments don’t.

One of my favorite things in this world are love stories. Any type. Romantic movies, romance novels, romantic songs, real life love stories, videographies – anything that conveys a story about how a couple met and fell in love. I am always amused about the life circumstances that bring a couple together: a car accident, a friend’s introduction, a random encounter at a bar. One thing that all these stories have in common is that they all start the same way. They met, felt butterflies, and had a gut feeling she/he was “The One.”  The chemistry was off the charts and it just felt “so right.” So why deny something that feels so good? The couple gets married. Weeks, months, or years into the marriage, the once happily married bride and groom begin to bicker. She used to love the fact that he was talkative, but now, after a few months of marriage, he talks too much. He used to love to wine and dine her, but now all he wants is a homecooked meal and she can’t cook. The chemistry deteriorates but those vows that the bride and groom uttered at the altar, they are still in effect.

Marriage destroys the agenda of the independent woman. Wedding doesn’t.

“Miss Independent” by Ne-yo was my mantra during the time of its release in 2008. Man, if any song could have describe me at that time, it was definitely that song. The song presented me with a bit of a conflict, however. On one hand, I wanted to be married one day, but on the other hand, I enjoyed being independent too much to be tied down. I asked my mom if you could be married and independent. She says, “it’s impossible.” She was right.

The foundation for marriage is the commitment each party has to one another. You depend on him; he depends on you. You can’t have a successful marriage and do things your way while he does things his way. If that was the case, then there would be no need for marriage. We can all stay unmarried forever. I don’t wanna give up my Miss Independent card. I want to pay my own bills, make my own decisions, and not have to consider how my decisions are going to affect someone else.

When marriages end, there is bitterness and regret. Weddings end in happiness.

Ever left a wedding angry? (Well, I have but the reason had nothing to do with the wedding itself and everything to do with a personal conflict I was dealing with at the time.) Weddings usually don’t make people angry. Weddings are joyous events; they lighten one’s spirits. They inspire people to continue searching for the love of their life. Marriages, on the other hand, end with people falling into depression; some contemplate suicide. The children are hurt, harboring resentments to parents and may experience trust issues afterwards. Just ugly. When weddings end, the situation is beautiful.

I don’t want to be married and given the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce, I’m sure a lot of you would agree with me too. Weddings are a lot more fun; a lot less work; and a lot more appealing than a lifetime of marriage. No?

Author’s Note:

For those of you take this post to heart, know that I am only being sarcastic; I am poking fun of those that spend more time preparing for a brief event rather than a lifetime commitment. Yes, I realize that you cannot have a wedding without a marriage. Yes, I do want to get married one day. Like what you’ve read? Listen to the inspiration for this post: Love, Sex, & Dating Series by Adam Stanley of Buckhead Church.