Does the "Friendzone" exist?

Happy Valentine's Day y'all!

Somewhere, there's the single people, lamenting loneliness and lost love and sitting in great company as the "Friendzone" Crew.

I've been on both ends. In the past, I've been the Friend that likes someone that likes someone else, wondering what the hell he sees in her beyond physical attraction and although I've "went for it into shooting my shot" as he complains that the girl of his dreams doesn't see him as anything other than a friend.

I've also been that woman that hears the confession "I've always liked you but I didn't think you'd like me." I'm like, "C'mon, Man!" Him being either 1) someone that I wouldn't be with in a million years anyway or 2) After the women have used and abused them and here they are coming with their tail between their legs. Friendzoned men deal with the same thing, I know.

For the record, it takes a certain man to attract me. There has to be inner work done where he's not just like, "I'm one of the good guys, here I am." No, someone that has the qualities that I've cultivated in myself and I seek the same in any partner that meets the standard. Sounds unrealistic? No worries, I'm not for you.

So what work has to be done for friendzoners and friendzonees to be on the same page?

On the surface level, it's easier to like someone that you know doesn't want you as a defense mechanism from finding a love that is truly worthy of you and that person is worthy of. Subconscious philosophies like, "Why try?" or "I don't want to get hurt again." I'm not saying to settle. I'm saying to real with yourself.

What does the 'girl/guy of your dreams' have that you really want? Do you know what type of person that she/he wants? Are you the type of that would be happy being that person that meets their 'criteria'? Does what you think that you can offer coincide with what he or she needs? Did you do your homework on them? Is what they've told you sound consistent with their results?

Sometimes, the 'friendzoner' isn't a real person to you. They're just someone on a pedestal to be admired, a connection never to be achieved, an idea of an ideal.  Sometimes it's a person that doesn't see their value yet and you may want that person to see how great they are and how great you two can be together. But if they're a confused glutton for punishment, it's a protection that you're not mixed up in their madness. Maybe deep down, you know that. Because if you two aren't on the same page, you'll both just be settling.

Getting past the entry level on loving someone goes more into just attracting that person. Be the type of person that you want to be, set realistic goals for love and if that combination is a winning connection, nothing can stop a true love from happening.

I truly hope that attracting the person you want comes after your internal work being done that now the natural progression is the upgrade from single to couple. But if you want someone because you're lonely, even you aren't there yet. Love yourself, love who you are, (sans a counterpart) and you won't be invisible anymore. Open your eyes, shine bright and don't wait in the shadows for someone to pick you.

Treat yourself good this Valentine's Day and spin that loneliness into loving being alone. Go out enjoy your life and let love catch up to you. When the moment is right, you'll know and that may not be the person who you think it should be in this moment.


Loss in the Village

I woke up this morning to a wailing. Like a guttural, from the soul kind of wailing. I was dreaming and in that dream, I heard that wailing and saw Vanessa's face. I opened my eyes and sat up quickly. A woman that just lost her husband and daughter in one fell swoop, having transitioned, not to be seen on earth and now relegated to dreams and memories.

It's everyone's worst fear. Loss. Vanessa Bryant lost her husband and her daughter. The Altobelli's lost their parents and sister. The Chesters lost their mother and daughter. A coach and a pilot lost their lives. Fans, friends and families lost people that had become a part of their life's experience in one way or another.

Yesterday was hard and emotional. I had to log off of social media altogether. Later, I left my home to pick my son up from his father and when we sat down while in transit, he asked me about Kobe. "Did you hear about Kobe, Mom?" "Yes, Baby." He shows me a tribute that he made and saved on his phone. I smiled. "Do you want to talk about it?" He said no and put his head on my shoulder. I kissed his forehead. That was it. I know that he's in his head, processing and when he's ready, he'll talk more about it.

We all deal with loss in different ways. Tears, stoicism, denial, moved to action, avoidance and tributes. The list goes on. There are so many ways to deal with loss, and none of them are 'wrong'. Our sense of loss is different. I felt the loss of a woman who loves her man and child. Everyone's losses are identified in different ways.

It's not like in the past, where we get the shocking information on the 11 o'clock news. Now we get instant news and social media spreads it like a wildfire with speculation, misinformation until the 'official' details gets shared and confirmed. Everyone is worked into a tizzy trying to process information as fast as it comes out. It's so easy to get overwhelmed as we get inundated with what's happening in the moment.

My heart leaps out of my chest whenever my son leaves the house and returns when he's safe in my arms because life has no guarantees. Vanessa now has 2 empty spaces at her table. An empty side to her bed. One empty bed of a baby that she doesn't get to kiss goodnight anymore. A whole entire part of her life is over in a blink of an eye.

Life isn't promised to any of us. Loss reminds all of us that there's no such thing as forever in this earthly existence. It's loss that reminds us how much we want to live. How much we want 'our people' in our lives. This is a time for grace, a time for reflection and a time for appreciation.

The wounds of loss are always fresh and will stay fresh for awhile. It'll be hard to mention sports without a Kobe reference for awhile. Then as life picks up it's momentum, the pain gets less and less. Because life does go on. People need to grieve for as long as they need to. When the pain doesn't go away, it's because there's nothing in it's place. There's the remaining members of family that needs to be acknowledged and loved despite the losses. The remaining players that deserve no comparisons.

When you lose someone, that pain of loss that was previously put away reemerges within the fresh loss and we grieve all over again. It's hard sometimes to put loss into a degree of perspective without creating ripples.

That's why it's so important to grieve and have a safe place to do so. Express primal and soul wrenching grief. True raw emotions. Male emotions and female emotions, adult emotions and child emotions, with no stigmas and no limits. After the tears dry, there's hope, love and appreciation for our own lives, those we love and those who love us. We deserve to live our lives to the best of our abilities. Leave behind lasting and loving legacies as they did. The people that we've lost would want that for us.


Put Some Respect on Moniece's Name

Since 2014, Moniece Slaughter has told the world that she loves her son so much that she's had to let him go.

Did you hear that?  The woman has suffered through worldwide judgment and ridicule because her personal version of motherhood is different than what's "traditionally" held. Popular digs at her:
"She's not raising her kid." "She's not a good mom." Without substantial proof, mom shaming of the worst kind.

Parenthood is heavy and takes a lot of sacrifice. People fail to realize that it takes great humility and love to admit that you, as a mother, are incapable to caring for her child daily and can actually do something about it.

Guess what she did? She gave him to his father so that she could get help. Cam's father was handed Father of the Year for doing his job and she was vilified. She didn't walk away from her child, she didn't become a deadbeat ghost mom. She gave her son's father primary custody. This isn't a hate on her baby's father post, this is to bring to the forefront the fact that:

1) Parents are killing themselves (and their kids) at alarming rates because they can't function. They suffer in silence with shame and powerlessness that's so crippling that they can't bear to exist and take themselves and/or their kids off this earth. It's so sad that Murder/Suicides are even an option.

2) Admitting that you have postpartum depression or a chemical imbalance and is in need of assistance is brave and needs to be understood and cared for, not criticized or belittled. 

3) The FIRST person in line to care for the children is the OTHER parent. She should be able to entrust her child's care to his other parent. They are co-parents for a reason. No woman should be shamed for giving their children to her co-parent. 

Children's Services didn't have to be called, Going to Auntie's or a drop off at Grandma's wasn't an option, Dad was called for help. Fathers don't "step up", they become Dads, like they should. In this case, Cam wins. He has 2 parents that love him and rise to the occasion of parenthood on their own terms. Nothing is perfect but it has to work because it's all you've got.

There are so many things people may not like about Moniece due to the presentation of her public persona, but one thing that I hope that the world comes to a more developed understanding of: Mothers need help. Mothers need help. MOTHERS DESERVE HELP. 

Moniece asked for help. For that, she deserves respect. 

We're living in this age, where people are becoming martyrs because they've killed themselves. They're overmedicated or spiral because they hate how they feel and feel like their only outlet is to become something or someone else so they don't feel bad anymore. 

Most mothers don't have that luxury. I personally have survived depression and the torturous limbo of not wanting to feel pain, not wanting to die because you have a reason to live but not wanting to live in pain is a horrible feeling. Add on caring for a mini-you that depends on you for life is a lot for people to deal with. Then add to that, the ugly death of a relationship with someone you once cared for & had the child with. 

Motherhood is a process. Sometimes we have good days and many days we feel like failures. Then when we want to do more than "being just moms", we get demonized for "not putting our kids first.

All of us deserve to have a full life and teaching our children how to be the best versions of ourselves is only through experience and shown through the clarity of our example, not an imposed martyrdom drenched in servitude based on worldly standards of motherhood. Any mother that says to the contrary is delusional. It's not realistic and it's unfair. No one has the right to define what kind of mother you should be.

If we're falling apart and our kids are in the front row seats, what example is that? We're trying to break generational curses, and the kids don't win if we can't do our best. 

There is nothing i love more than being Bam's mother but there were days that i couldn't get out of bed and although it was hard, I pushed through. Days that I didn't have help and couldn't call anyone. It took time and patience with myself and a lot of suffering in silence. It took a lot of tears in the dark and forming alliances with other mothers that gave a degree of support and resonance when I felt alone and couldn't depend on Bam's father. But that doesn't make me Mother of the Year. In my silence, I was a part of the problem. What defines a good parent is not cookie-cut. It fluctuates based on instances, the days and stages throughout our lives. 

My son knows that i am not perfect and I know that he loves me, on even my worst days when I didn't love myself. Kids are resilient that way. The best and only judge that can be the gauge is to be seen when your children grow up. That love and understanding given now will be the product of what the world gets when Cam is grown.

I know 2 things: Raising a child should take a village and only time will only tell. Moniece has my respect for her act of love. She is one of the very public faces of maternal mental health that embodies a self care and grace that mothers deserve. 


Feeling Hopeless in the Village.

Anyone that truly knows me, knows about my son, Bam. Bam is 12 years old. In person, he definitely doesn't look his age. He's very active and carefree. He's a good kid. Good manners, courteous, helpful, with a great heart & pure intentions, smart and handsome. He likes Starbucks, jumping off of things, rides his bike, skateboards and does tricks on his hoverboard. He plays soccer, football and runs track. It's a pleasure being his mom. Bam is my only son. 

We live on the Upper West Side and here’s the day-to-day “mini world” we live in: I don't let Bam go home from school alone yet, because he goes to a good school that's in a bad neighborhood. I still have to know his friends before he goes with them, he still doesn't talk to strangers and when he goes out to play, he has a time limit, most likely within my sight and again with friends I know. He doesn't spend the night at anyone's house unless it's family or very close family friends and I'm probably staying too. On alternate weekends, if he takes too long to call me after he goes with his father, I'm calling them both up until I reach him. And I always worry until he comes home.

Needless to say, I've been called overbearing and in some cases, admittedly so, but what else am I to do? All of this time I've been trying to protect him from bullets, gangs, bullies, strangers and molesters and other predators, but now I have to protect him from the police? Predatory police officers are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. In that case, that means I'll never be able to protect him.

Let me get this straight: I've moved into a better neighborhood and it still won't be enough. I make sure that he has golden opportunities to shine and be a better version of himself every day and it's not enough. You mean all I can do is pray? You mean all I can do is teach him to be a good person, help him live a good life and give him tools to be successful and just hope that the predatory police officers don’t pluck his life from this earth? 

Right now, I'm all over the place in my mind because I'm all about being positive and helping my son maintain the belief that life is good and if you work really hard and stay awesome, you'll have a great life. But the reality is, not everyone lives that way. There are people that want your LIFE, that hate you, not because they know you and genuinely don't like you, but people that see Bam, this bright-eyed innocent boy with the sparkling personality, somehow his skin color really scares them.

I've always been street smart, able to access a situation based on the energy in the room, perceptive enough to have us quickly exit if I sense danger and able to fight for him if I ever needed to. I've taught my son to be that way too. I pride myself on being a good mom. I still believe that it takes a village. I've raised my son in this Upper West Side village bubble, with great people, low crime with great opportunities and while the mini world I'm protecting him within, there are still predators that want to take his life. And now I have to school him on the predatory police officers that may lurk inside of our village.

I need for my UWS Village to understand that this world needs more than good moms. This world is screwed up and in 6 years when Bam is 18, I'll probably be just as overbearing. He'll have to call me constantly when he's away in college, I'll probably move to his town when my first grandchild is born and I'll probably give my daughter-in- law a hard time. In these times, that's if he makes it to that part of his life. And when he has that life, his life still won't matter to someone that doesn't value his.

But my while my heart breaks when I think about the things that I’ve protected him from daily can still take him out, looking or not, there are the predatory police officers that can take him from me, from you, from this world. Those predators that have sworn to and supposed to help me protect him. 

Don't get me wrong, all police officers are not all predators, I have friends and family that are police officers. People I trust him with and love him like I do. There are our neighborhood patrolmen and patrolwomen that we see everyday in our village that as long as I see them, he could go a little more out of my sight. So I can't send him the double message that the people wearing blue with badges on their chests are the Boogyman that I'm supposed to protect him from. I work really hard to give him a good life and a care-free existence. The reality is that I can't protect him and neither can my village. What can we really do? 

First, I need for my village to hold it together and maintain our strength and resolve to keep each other and our kids safe. I need us to stay strong. I need for no awkward small talk conversations to pop-up on the playground and on the track, football & soccer fields about, "Did you hear about (insert black victim's name here)?" Or blurt out, "But All lives matter, Right?” or have awkward silences and pretending that the ills of the world regarding the predators in blue can't reach our village bubble and the insanity of the "outside world" doesn't exist for us. I need for us to be conscious and not in denial. I need for us to be more proactive in prevention of injustice instead of waiting for something to happen to one of us to stir the community to action. I need us to really talk about it. Problems, outrage and solutions. I need for us to be a force in holding the Powers That Be accountable.

Next, I need all of the police officers to hold each other accountable. Stop this wall of silence and solidarity. Stand up for what's right and denounce what's wrong. It starts one police officer at a time.

I need for the veteran officers that are training the new officers to bring out the best in their novices. Help them discover and empower their heartfelt need to help the communities that they've sworn to protect, instead of instilling fear and perpetuate the myths of negativity associated with dealing with black people. I need for them to remember that we are not the enemy. I need for our neighborhood patrolmen and patrolwomen to reach out into the community and reassure us that they're going to continue to uphold their sworn, "Protect and serve" and will make sure that that is the message that our kids and parents will pass on through the villages of the rest of the world.

And I need for the police not to be the enemy. I need that for me. I need that for our village. I need that for my Bam. Our villages have enough to worry about.



Without even immersing yourself in Social media, CNN, FOX or any news outlets you are still witnessing a devastating abuse of power in the case of Sandra Bland.

Sandra Bland is me, my sister, our girlfriends, mother's, aunt's and cousins.
And all Sandra Bland did was not properly signal, get stopped for it and "sass" Officer Brian Encinia.

That's it.

Personally, anyone I know, with the weight of their life and their day, the rush to their destination and the anxiety of being stopped by the police; ANY OF US could've been Sandra Bland. And for all of those who do not THINK for one minute that these are unique circumstances, think again. Because unless you live under a rock, buried in a deep ravine, the abuse of power in this country is everywhere. People's lives are unjustly "plucked" from this planet with disregard to life's value in what seems like everyday by those sworn to protect us. When will that stop?

There's no overt conspiracy against police, no police hate here. But what the hell is happening? 

After stopping Sandra Bland, everything else the police officer did was 1000% wrong. None of Sandra Bland's "offensive demeanor" or "black woman attitude" warranted her forced exit from her vehicle. Within that traffic stop, Sandra Bland's rights as an American Citizen, as a woman and as a human were violated.

And to add another insult to her unnecessary death, the transparent cover-up currently in progress is crazy to watch. Where's the accountability? Where's the: "I messed up." "We messed up." "We were wrong." Nope. None of that. Instead, there's this calculated plot to cover up an avalanche of wrongs. What is right with any of this?

There are actual "justifications" being thrown around.
How dare Sandra Bland not respect him? How dare Sandra Bland get sassy with that officer! He's got a badge!
How dare Sandra Bland have ever wanted to die in her past! 
How dare Sandra Bland ever get depressed in her past!
How dare Sandra Bland have weed in her system!
How dare Sandra Bland be a woman!
How dare Sandra Bland be a *gasp* black woman!
How dare Sandra Bland drive a car!
How dare Sandra Bland live!
How dare Sandra Bland die in police custody?
How dare she!

My heart bleeds for Sandra Bland, her family and the senselessness of Sandra Bland's death. And the insulting of our intelligence within the "investigation" we're witnessing. It's heartbreaking.

Sandra Bland is all of us. Sandra Bland does not deserve to be forgotten or swept under the rug. Sandra Bland deserves justice. Bottom line. 

#AllLivesMatter. I just hope that police officers, state government, federal government and all of the rest of us remember that. 

#sayhername #SandraBland #justice


Mother's Day & The Power Of Letting Go

Happy Mother's Day Ladies!

This is the first Mother's Day that I let my son go for the weekend. A "piece of peace" so I can pamper myself, shop and sleep on Mother's Day. I miss him but it's a sweet deal to be off duty for a day. I'll see him later this evening.

I wouldn't have been able to do that years ago. But as my son and I get older, I've realized that there is a point in a single mother's life when she realizes that she must let go.

Let her child go off into the world, make their own way and 'be a man', just like you've taught him.

And when the dust clears and it's just you standing... That's a whole other journey to begin... And it's nothing like it was before baby. You have more wisdom, you have battle scars. The tough skin needed as a single mother, that body armor, isn't needed as much. There's no precious cargo to protect.

Then hopefully by then, you've let go of all of the pain, let go of all of the past. Let go of all of the shame.

Why? Because it's just you now, and there's no kid to hide behind. There's no more package deal. Your child is not stuck to your hip all of the time. Now you stand alone. And if you're like me, single for what feels like forever, you're vulnerable and feeling awkward.

My son is asking me, "Mom, when will you have a someone for yourself?" This isn't new. He's been asking for years. He never wanted his mother to be alone. But I've martyred myself because I was afraid. Afraid of loving and not being loved. Afraid of opening myself again. Afraid of failing again. I can go on and on, the list is endless.

We always tell our children 'always do your best no matter how hard it is' and 'you never know if you don't try'. And I have fallen short of both in my dating life. Depriving myself of love, feigning nobility as a dutiful mother as an excuse to push prospects away. What a Crock of doo-doo. Who was I really fooling?

So I've decided I'm using my Mother's Day to reflect on my independence, examine my heart and prepare for that next phase in my life where my son doesn't need me as much anymore. That doesn't mean that I'll be jumping into the deep end. But I won't be afraid of the water.

Enjoy your day, ladies. I will.


When it comes to approaching a new relationship in regards to my son, I just don't like the term baggage. So, what do you call "baggage" that lives and breathes?
My son was born into a loving and nurturing relationship. Although things are over between his father and I, we still maintain a healthy friendship that has continued only for the best interest of our son. There's no 'hanky-panky' or baby daddy drama. And I'm not bitter about how things ended. It's just me, now starting fresh... With a son.
I know that the term "baggage" comes from what is brought from one relationship into the next relationship... But when it comes to a single women with children, why is it that when men see her coming, some say, "Oh, she has serious baggage." Having children are supposed to be a blessing, a badge of honor, now that there is no man around, some men treat the children as a deterrent. Some men say up front, they don't date women with children.
Perhaps it's the stigma of a single mother that needs rescue. The woman that wants you to be the "daddy" to her children.
I, on the end, do not need a father for my son. He has one.
Then there's the man that thinks that he's better than that woman, he is doing her a favor by dating her, "She has kids, who else is going to want her?" These attitudes, when perpetuated, are dangerous. It teeters on emotional abuse. Then you hear the sob stories of women that let men mistreat their children because they don't want to be alone.
As far as I'm concerned, my son is a VIP. You need a special pass to even come close to him. The VIP section can often be a lonely place, especially when people can't 'get with the program'. but that is fine with me.

I don't want to miss out on my next loving and nurturing relationship because a man isn't up for what they think will be a big challenge (single mom and her offspring), but I also can't control what a man's opinion of what they think a relationship will be like, just based on the fact that my son exists.
A friend of mine, a single man with no children of his own, calls the children of single mothers, "carry on" versus "baggage". I like that better. Me and my son will carry on until it is meant for me to have someone of my own.