Archived Blog Posts (2017)
I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
There comes a time in everyone's life that they settle down--maybe not necessarily in the conventional sense but in the sense that your circle of friends get smaller, you start to slow down on your nights out or you start thinking more about your IRA rather than your IG.
But there's that time right before that--the time when you're crying uncontrollably or when you're laughing till you're crying uncontrollably... That time is probably spent with your friends. This 20 Something time in my life wouldn't be made possible without them. Sure, we're all in different places physically and mentally. I have one as far as Moscow and one as close as right next to me (my roomie)-- and some in between. But they all serve such a big purpose in my life. They're the family I got to choose and really honestly chose me—which makes it even that much more special.
There are some I go to for the hard hitting truth, some I go to for the words I would say to someone and need to hear myself. There are some that will comfort me and let me come to my own conclusions and some that will show me an entirely different perspective. BUT the one thing each and every one of them have in common, they all support me. Through the ride-bys, drunken nights dancing on couches, the boys, the shots of Fireball and all the mess in between--I get by with a little help from my friends.
This post is simply an ode to those that have consistently been there for me--through all the good and the bad. The sad days of losing loved ones. The nights spent up drinking champagne reminiscing about undergrad. The college night that turned into a drunken day of working and faking food poisoning because you're really just that hungover. The simple texts of asking how your day has been. The nights of high school foolery that we barley escaped alive. They'll be more days that I need them because, well frankly, shit happens. But really when the dust settles it's those that have been fighting with you that you really can count on and those aren't friends--those people are really your family.
Go text or call your BFF and tell them you love them. Stay really connected 20 Somethings and not just social media connected.
My mission for this blog is to be relatable and really try to work through my thoughts--since I'm such an over thinker. And after listening to so many of my friends and experiencing a few too many myself, certain unfortunate interactions are all too normal. And I personally, am so disappointed in what my generation has deemed as appropriate behavior when it comes to "talking," "dating" and "marriage."
Riddle me this gentlemen... Particularly my 20-30 Somethings... Why get married if you're not ready to stop being single? I get it responsibilities pile up, someone ends up pregnant, you're getting way too old for free before 11 club nights or you're tired of your mama telling you to settle down but either way, are you doing it for the right reasons?
This nice gentlemen and I were partaking in the usual back and forth that two [single] people have when they first meet. Nothing was overtly inappropriate or sexual in any way just really nice conversation. Like conversation that you have when you're wanting to really get to know the other person. This lasts for about 5 days. It's nice. This guy is smart, funny, seems very secure in himself and really normal. Day 5 and basically we're getting to the point where it's like okay we've been talking on and off all day for days and it's time to shoot the shot--figure out the real intentions. Well after giving me a compliment he proceeds to say, "but I don't want to interrupt your life with my BS..." I go on to ask, "your BS?" Him- "I'm married." BOMB FREAKING DROP.
Now has our interaction been sexual in any way? No. Have we even talked about anything romantic? Nope. Now you may ask, did I ask if he was married? NO. But under the circumstances and the ongoing conversation assumptions were acceptable here. BUT no doubt all signs pointed to F*CKBOY. Listen, even F*ckboys could have the best intentions. He figured we could be friends even though he knew he was married. Even though our conversations into the late nights were OBVIOUSLY inappropriate... he still wanted to be friends. So I ask the question again, why get married if clearly you're still enjoying being single?! This is single people behavior bruh, bruh.
First, he should have never engaged in any type of conversation with me. I'm single, don't know his wife and we weren't friends before he was married. AND firstly off rip, he should have told me he was MARRIED. I would have cut ALL interactions REAL quick. But I think he knew this, hence why I didn't find out until after all the "what do you do," "where did you graduate from" type conversation.
I don't get it. Like if you're needing a friend go be with your best friend, your WIFE. If you need to have a stimulating conversation, tap your WIFE on her shoulder in bed and talk to her. If you need a good laugh, text your WIFE and ask her to tell you joke. Do not call on some single woman to fill any type of void or fulfill some type of repressed wet dream. It makes no sense. Most of us do not want someone else's HUSBAND in any capacity. Hell not even as friends.
We've got to do better 20 Somethings; men and women. We've got to start going out on REAL dates, being HONEST and UPFRONT about our intentions. We need to start holding ourselves accountable and stop making excuses for our bad romantic behaviors. If you want to be single be single but don't drag anyone with monogamous intentions into your chaos. It's immature and wrong. It's much easier to just be honest--less clean up in the end. Listen there are plenty of people who will do dirt with you even if you're upfront but let them know--let them make the decision for themselves; don't make the decision for them. We need to get back to really fostering real relationships and treasuring the bond that two people can have OR don't and be single--but don't expect to be able to have both and not tell the other person. Listen being in a relationship and/or dating is hard enough, so let's try to make it that much easier by being HONEST.
IT’S OKAY… TO NOT BE OKAY.
ometimes I feel forced when someone questions, “how are you?” to say, “oh, I’m good,” or “I’m fine,” or “I’m okay.” Sometimes I just want to say—“Today sucked and I’d like to go lay down instead of be here.” And you know what, I think that’s perfectly okay. It seems like society is hell bent on telling each other to get over our sad emotions, put our big girl panties on (or big boy boxers or briefs—whatever is your thing) and move on. Well, I’m here to say—it’s okay to not always be okay. It should be perfectly normal to exclaim, 'I feel like shit' and not have anyone judge you or make you feel weak for it. We have emotions for a reason. If we were always supposed to be fine and feel the same emotions—we’d all be the same gender, race, age and be the same socioeconomically. The best part about being a person is the fact that we’re all one of one. There’s no one like any of us. And with that there are variables that effect each of us differently. We should respect each other's differences and respect that sometimes those variables can make us sad or depressed. AND it’s okay for us to say it and not feel condemned because of it. I think it’s healthy to understand your emotions and be able to express them accordingly. People fight to overcome or deal with mental illness like depression and anxiety and don’t always feel safe expressing that—we have to change that. We have to rewrite that narrative.
As 20 Somethings, we should help each other more when it comes to emotional stability and mental illness in general. We need to go beyond our friend groups and seek out others who need us. The next time you see someone visibly sad or going through something, be genuinely concerned and ask them if they’d like to talk about it. Sometimes, that’s all anyone needs. A genuine listening ear. If it’s bigger than that—ask them if they’ve thought about counseling or therapy. Be genuine in your approach. Do not judge or make them feel lesser because they're dealing with something emotionally differently than you would. If they don’t want to talk about it—watch out for them. Be aware and be helpful. It's so easy. Because every once and a while we're 'not okay' when we say we are.
Let’s be kind to one another. Happy Hump Day 20 Somethings.
REVIEW: BLACK BRILLIANCE 360, WEBISODE 1
One of my Facebook friends posted an article about a new webisode on YouTube titled, Black Brilliance 360. I've linked the webisode in a couple places in this post. Check it out before you read. This webisode was created to really give a positive space to the male black voice not necessarily in response to what's going on in the world, but to speak on the daily complexities of life through the black male perspective. First off, excellent job! I haven't seen a group of educated black men that created an internet presence that is speaking about these types of topics in the manner in which these gentlemen are speaking. Please correct me if I'm wrong and point me towards other groups like this in the comments below. I would love to watch or listen to more things of this nature.
Now, I've never been a black man. And I self-identify as a woman--so my review of this webisode is based on my perspective--the only one I have. Much like their conversation is based on having always been a black man. So if and when I say that I don't agree with them on a topic about black women, know that I as a black woman, know more about it than a black man does. Often time men will correct women about being a woman based on their male perspective. I get it, you've been taught your entire life about rational and critical thinking--so naturally as a man you should understand my womanness if you understand the variables that make us up. But you do not. Not in the way that we as women do. There are emotions, complexities and contradictions that make us up. So believe me when I say something about being a woman and how certain things make us feel/react/believe/say. I feel like its imperative to mention all of this to avoid arguments or debates about being a woman from a woman's perspective during this review.
Okay, on to the review.
This webisode is titled, Relationships, Commitment and Identity. Already, I'm excited. As a single woman, I'm always interested to hear what men really think about being committed and the importance romantic relationships play in their lives. These gentlemen didn't all go into detail about their own personal relationship status but it seems like they all range from single to seriously dating to married. Someone opens up with the question are black men afraid of commitment? They go along stating why they agree or disagree (or somewhere in the gray) with that statement. I think that men in general always want more-- piggybacking on one of their statements using Capitalism as reasoning. It's the idea that by taking one and only that one, I'm giving up the opportunity to have so many others. It seems men would rather a buffet over a nice sit down plated dinner. But one guy expresses that he has friends that most certainly want the wife and kids lifestyle. (While he was saying this I was thinking WHERE IS HE?!) But then another host chimed in and basically talked about timing. To which I totally agree. Timing is everything.
It wouldn't be a conversation if a group of men didn't bring up a woman's "ticking clock." The freaking clock--so effing frustrating to constantly have to deal with it. Because men hold this against us like biologically we can change any of it easily it is a topic that I instantly become frustrated with. We all have a timeframe for goals in our life, men and women. Some may want three degrees by the time they're 30 or some may want to be married by then. Men seemingly get biology and wants mixed up when it comes to women. Though most certainly they can be dependent upon each other, one does not always dictate the other. I think that a lot of women I know feel the pressure from society to make certain things happen by a certain age. If we don't have children by 30 it's almost like, "well why are you waiting this long?" If you don't have children by 35-38 your gynecologist is shoving charts down your throat about high risk pregnancies and diseases your child could get as a result to you waiting this long. And if you're over 40, forget about it you’ve officially waited too long. So yes, biology has placed a clock on our reproductive systems, thus making us overtly cognizant of our age and where we are on that timeline of goals. And if you're with a woman and she's almost 30, know that if she wants to have children (in the traditional sense) after marriage-- she's most certainly dating with that in mind. And that situation most certainly colors her narrative as a partner in that relationship. And as a woman she has to be honest about that and I think as a man you should too. Going into a situation like that, where you clearly know where she is in her life and not being honest about your intentions is wrong and misleading. As a woman we don't all have this ticking clock hanging around our necks, but certain circumstances causes us to be hyperaware. It will make us question, where are we going with this—in our careers and relationships. Blame biology or Eve but that's just facts. And using that against us is hurtful and causes real damage when it’s held against us.
Like the hosts of the webisode, I never fully came to a conclusion about black men and if they could commit to a relationship or not. I don't think there's a solid answer. If any man wants to commit they will. I do think that history plays a major part in everyone's makeup. Historically in America, black men weren't allowed to stay with their families. Be it if they were ripped from their families in Africa or if were "bred" and sold off when the plantation was done with them. Unfortunately, that’s the foundation we had as blacks in America. Marriages happened during slavery but often couples were driven apart for profit and never ever to even be together again--leaving fatherless children with their mothers only to repeat the same process. Then there's the mass incarceration of black men before, during and after the civil war. Many laws were built around herding of black men into prisons. Many left behind children and partners. I say all of this to say, part of the reasoning it seems so easy for black men to stay noncommittal is rooted in history and has never really been rectified.
The gentlemen go on to debate briefly about the idea of commitment verses monogamy. I think all points are valid. And women in particular are looking for someone that is willing and ready for both. I don't think someone can be committed and not monogamous or vice versa and have a fully healthy long term relationship. If you're in a monogamous relationship with someone and not committed to making it work--why are you even together?! And if you're committed to someone and 3 other someones, why are you even together?! I think it takes both commitment and monogamy to make a relationship work.
The last main topic I'd like to talk about is the question regarding black men needing to feel an "obligation" to date black women. I see both sides of the argument. As a black woman there's no other person that understands that struggle like a black man. Coming home at the end of the day it's easier to say how I'm feeling without having to explain references, history or just that innate understanding of what I'm talking about. With this being said, there are benefits to being with someone outside of your race or culture because their perspective can challenge or reshape yours with their views and opinions. Where I find an issue with black men that date outside their race is when they hold the other race to a higher regard. And in turn degrade black women for not being this other race. I think the degradation of women is repugnant in general but it's especially hard to see and be a part of it when that man's mother, sister and if he has a daughter looks like me but yet, you’re debasing my worth. So how can black me degrade black women when we're the ones who made them? The obligation doesn't lie in dating black women, the obligation lies in respecting and understanding the bonds that link us together--regardless of your dating preference. I think love knows no color and who you love is so much more than skin. It's about a spiritual thing. So I can't say that black men are obligated to date black women. They're obligated to follow their hearts all while understanding the importance and worth of all women equally.
All in all this first webisode was BRILLIANT. I WISH it was longer!! The men trailed off saying some things I wish I could hear. The premise of this series is thoughtful, thought provoking and much needed. I've subscribed to their channel and you should too!! .
Let me know if you'd like me to keep weighing in on this series 20 Somethings.
WHO'S LOVING YOU?
"I learned to really love myself. So that I could stop mistaking other's feelings for my own. That way when others decide to stop loving me, I won't" –brandisjaniese
I thought about the above quote a couple of days ago and posted it on my Snapchat. It has been a mantra of mine for a couple of years now. I've said this plenty of times on the blog but I battle the feeling of never really being enough--for any and everyone, myself included. So I had to really dig deep and figure out where this feeling really stemmed from... And I think it's rooted in always wanting to please and take care of everyone. I've risked my own feelings to make sure that this happened. But over time I've grown to realize that treating myself like that was unhealthy FOR ME. And no matter what at the very end of the day, I had to be the one okay with myself. I stop participating in unhealthy behavior and I stopped allowing people to shape how I felt about myself.
If you really work on a healthy self-image, your mental state and better understanding and communicating your emotions you will be able to truly and fully love yourself. Don't get me wrong, a lot of this takes years and continues to take time actively doing it as you get older but it's taking those first steps that make the difference. Also, I want to mention that I am a proponent of therapy. I personally haven't utilized therapy in the conventional sense BUT I totally see its benefits and I will probably partake in some type of therapy in the future. I think being able to connect to your true self and accept yourself is the MOST important thing you can start to do in 20s. In a world where people love you one day and don't the next, YOU have to know how you feel about YOU so you don't confuse the two.
The MOST important relationship on this Earth that you can have is with YOURSELF. Cultivate, nurture and really protect that relationship because that's the one you KNOW you'll have your entire lifetime.
Happy New Year 20 Somethings!! What a blessing it is to see another year! There are so many people that did not get the opportunity to see the sun on this side of 2017--so make sure you're utilizing your opportunity to the fullest!
20 SOMETHING DATING: PROACTIVE VERSES REACTIVE
I was having a little conversation with a very close friend of mine and we were talking about relationships, and how they're very complicated to say in the least. And I remember saying something like I'm working on really trying to think before I do something drastic--more so ask myself is this decision/action proactive or reactive?
In our teens and early 20s we tend to be very reactive. We tend to fly off the handle or make drastic decisions on a whim. We really don't have that luxury in our late 20s because there's usually no safety net (parents, excuse of being young, second and third chances...) to catch us when our actions cause negative reactions. The decisions we make now have such staying power and could effect our lives long term.
Through the lens of relationships, I think understanding that simply reacting to something can cause major damage. There are times when we must step back and think, 'okay, is this something I will regret afterwards?' OR 'Will I be okay with this decision in the long run?' Because if your logical and rational state of mind says no to either of those questions, then take the time necessary to think through what you should do rather than just doing it. I believe it's a true sign of maturity when you can reflect and come to a healthy decision.
Now, I say all of this to also say trust your gut instinct FIRST. There are situations we know are bad for us--they're unhealthy or not beneficial to our personal growth. These situations also lend themselves to my initial question in the way where you have to ask yourself if this situation is proactive? Or am I reacting in this way because I'm ________ (lonely, unhappy with my current relationship, trying to fill a void, not wanting to deal with my emotions about x,y and z...) If this situation is not proactive then why are you really in it? Maybe asking yourself that question first can lead you to some type of resolve with the real rooted issue rather than just reacting or remaining in something that's not proactive. Trust me, I've made (and will continue to make) my fair share of unnecessary, reactive relationship mistakes but I do tend to step back now and ask myself, is this really beneficial? Is my decision reactive or proactive? Is this interaction or relationship going to feed the best part of me or eat away at me? If those answers aren't positive--I don't partake in the interaction or relationship. It's just not worth the peace I have in my life and I will not jeopardize that peace for anything that's not beneficial. I guess you have to want to weigh what's worth more. This entire decision process becomes easier the more you do it. I say this all the time, dating is hard during these 20 Something years, don't make it harder on yourself by not thinking things all the way through.
Have a wonderful weekend 20 Somethings!
Before there are hashtags about young black men's deaths, there are incidents like this. Please read the story of Micah Speed--I've provided some article links below.
I felt like I couldn't stay silent. Micah could be my either of my brothers or cousins. I had to write the principal, Patti Hamler. You'll find my letter below. I don't want to just say there needs to be change--I want to help create it. The time is now.
If you'd like to sign the petition that is urging the school's administration to recind Micah's suspension here's the link:
Investigation into the Suspension of Micah Speed
Good morning Principal Hamler,
I am a concerned American citizen. I am reaching out to you after reading the story and watching the video about the incident involving Micah Speed on Friday, March 3rd, 2017. I know that there are many sides to every story and growing up is very difficult to navigate, my hope is as an administrator, you have opened an investigation about the bullying incident in total and those that were involved are disciplined accordingly.
Do I think that Micah’s reaction was appropriate? No, not at all. Violence of any kind should never beget violence. Do I think that he was bullied and provoked beyond the point of reason—yes, I do. It is difficult for even an adult to handle a situation where you’re continuously thwarted with verbal abuse about one’s culture, race and appearance and then be threatened with the death of one’s family and self—that’s an insurmountable amount of mental and verbal abuse. Again, I fully understand that this incident involves children—but WE are the adults. WE must show them that hate is never okay. That bullying is never okay. That racism is never okay. That verbal abuse is just as damning as physical abuse. WE must show them that WE will not stand for racial slurs in our schools. WE must educate our teachers about how to handle these types of situations and that by doing nothing or doing the bare minimum the bully is embolden thus telling the bully, their actions are acceptable. This is not okay.
This is not the world, America, school system, classroom or environment I would ever want to raise my children in—I ask that you take this opportunity to not only rectify the issue at your school but to put in place real action that will ignite real change across America’s schools. I understand that you’re faced with many variables, parents, other students, the bureaucracy of a school system—and now the public eye, but I challenge you to use your platform to bring about justice not just for Micah, but for the countless other Micahs at your school that are being bullied and are too scared to say anything. Show them that everyone deserves a “positive learning environment” and that their “safety” is just as important as their counterparts that look differently than them. Show them that no matter how small they may be they too can bring about real change—they are the American citizens of tomorrow. Let US create a better tomorrow by showing and being better today. Let’s create change out of even the most unfortunate situations.
If you would like to reach me or need my assistance in any way please do not hesitate to contact me.
Brandis J. Haynes
YOU HEAR BUT YOU DON'T LISTEN
I find myself thinking a lot lately about my intentions and how they come across to the receivers. I try to figure out if what I said was based on what I wanted to say or based on what I actually heard the person say to me.
A lot of the times we can hear what a person is saying but we're not actively really listening. I think that's a real problem today. The reason we can't relate, empathize or genuinely care for one another is because we don't really listen and try to understand before we comment with their opinion about or to each other. I personally over analyze everything naturally, so I know by nature I closely listen to what others are saying and really try to take in what they're saying and what they mean before I assert my own opinion. I try to see things from their perspective and really account for the many different variables that color who we are as a person.
I find myself being more intentional with my conversations and interactions and really try to invest in the person I'm speaking with. I think closely listening to each other can solve a lot of conflicts or at least open up an honest and genuine flow of communication.
As I'm nearing the end of my 20's, I find myself really trying to learn the lessons and not repeat my past mistakes. Clearly, I'm not perfect and make mistakes daily--but one thing that I'm constantly working on is living intentionally instead of just wandering through life. I know that I have a purpose on this Earth and being intentional in my daily workings, I believe moves me closer to discovering that purpose. And really listening--to others and my inner voice, I know for certain can only help aid me in this journey.
For this post I would like to host the blog's first GIVEAWAY. My mother pointed me in the direction of this awesome company that defines exactly what I've been trying to get across in my blog posts-- intent. The "MyIntent Project is a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive energy... [They] believe there is a purpose inside each of us..." And I want to give one of my readers a piece of their own. You'll get to choose the word that means the most to you and the band color. I will select at random one person that "likes" the Instagram picture announcing this blog post going live and that follows my Instagram account, @brandisjaniese. A bonus treat for the winner that SHARES the announcement on their own IG account. The giveaway will end on March 10th, 2017 at noon EST (CLOSED). So that gives you all a full week to enter and share the giveaway with others!
I will DM the winner on IG and ask them their word of choice and color of band. I will then purchase the bracelet and ship it directly to the winner.
I've completely fallen in love with both my bracelets. I wear them both 24/7 since I've ordered them. I have two, one that reads "ENOUGH" and the other that reads "PURPOSE." Both words I've written about in detail on The Secret Life. The topic of "being enough" is one of my very first blog posts actually! Good luck to the winners and know that this won't be the last giveaway on the blog so stay tuned.
Have an awesome weekend 20 Somethings! And remember to always live with INTENT!