First, my disclaimer! What I'm about to write is not a generalisation of all men. Nor is what I'm about to write the experience of all women. Now, let me be honest... what you are about to read is my dating experience.
THE BARBERSHOP SCHOOL 'OF RELATIONSHIPS'!
I was raised playing with Barbie and Ken. And although I defaced my barbie dolls (I had an assortment of different shades of brown felt tip pens around the house, of which I used to make black Barbie and black Ken - proof that I had a healthy identity as a young girl...thanks mum). I grew to love, Love and read the 'Love is' book range. Actually, I still have my first 'Love is' book. Published in 1971 and written by Kim Casali, this book was actual the second love in my life (my mother was my first). It was the first item I cherished, loved and adored. In fact I should frame it! The book is so special, it beautifully outlines the 'verb' of love. You know, the things we DO in a loving relationship...to show your partner that you care, that they' re your one and only, that for only them, you would swim the deepest seas and climb the highest mountains just to make them happy. Thank you Kim Casali for giving me the dilemma I now face.
So with this foundation of what 'Love is', I, as with many other young woman kept falling head over heels for men...boys, who's schooling on love was delivered by conversations in the barbershop whilst waiting to get their hair cut. Now this here... what I am about to critically analyse... is slightly disheartening AND confusing for us woman WHO as a child expected the Cinderella wedding, to a black knight who wore mental Armour.
Take a look what the Barbershop 'School of Relationships' teaches:
- NEVER tell a women you love her, she will start to take you for granted and cheat on you
- NEVER eat or drink from a new woman, she might put 'juju' in your food
- DON'T commit to the relationship, until you have tried a range of women and / or (which ever comes first) you are loosing your 'appeal or swag', are getting old, fat or 'run down looking'.
- DON'T get into regular pattern's of going out, to prevent attachment from occurring
- DON'T admit you and her are in a relationship - always call yourself 'just friends'
- DON'T take photo's of you and 'your friend' together. Hide you face by looking away from the camera
- DO keep her coming back for more, be nice but unavailable (do that and she'll be begging to see you and then she'll be like putty in your hands)
- DO share some of your fears with her, opening up will make her think, you think, she's special
- IF you see her get too clingy or you start falling in love with her, detach yourself immediatley by making yourself unavailable, seeing someone else will help this process.
- DON'T let her put comments on your social media, she has to respect your boundaries
- UNDER NO circumstances do you celebrate valentines, birthdays or Christmas with her, however you are free to accept gifts from her during these times (or any other time)
- Remember! being mean keeps them keen - put her down every now and then, making her insecure, this will make her need you more. Then she'll be like putty in your hands
- Women should be happy that they have been given the honour of being in your presence, why commit! What else could they possibly want. Women should be grateful with just seeing you.
Need I go on?
The above Barbershop 'School of Relationships' is the current mindset of many men in urban communities. Now where this mindset stems from, I'm not going to get into now (this blog is long enough)? Some may say slavery (yes slavery), some may say the movies or hip hop music videos, some may even say it derives from the gang cultures prevalent on our streets. *Sigh*
Now compare this barbershop 'rhetoric' with my 1970's 'Love is' book reading foundation
- Love is when you won't leave his beside (when he's sick)
- Love is hitting the road together
- Love is wearing his biker jacket
- Love is enjoying the simple things in life together
- Love is taking on her problems as well as your own
- Love is when your differences make no difference
- Love is taking one day at a time
- Love is having someone to lean on in a crisis
- Love is telling her she's beautiful without her makeup
- Love is helping him overcome his shyness
- Love is a dedication
- Love is all about communication
- Love is saving on the budget by making your own
Need I go on?
In this new age of 'linking' and with men's (or should I say boys) weird and premeditated ways of looking at the 'initiation of relationships', where does 'real love' stand?
Is it no longer important? or do women simply have to wait for the men of their generation to mature (later on in life than expected). And with women's naivety and often powerless voice in correcting such warped mindsets (btw the warped mindsets can actually be a thesis on mental health issues in relationships), I ask!!! What do women do whilst they wait for their man to turn from frog to prince?
Wait, wait, wait....hold on a second I know what women do, we either become baby momma's, career chasers or lesbians, that's what we do and in return we leave no room for foolishness....
... or the MATURE MAN that finally lets go of the Barbershop 'School of Relationships' mindset and enrolls into the world of 'normal' 'balanced' and 'healthy' thought processes.
It's a tricky situation and definitely one to talk about with the young people in our families. We call this food...no school for thought.
xxx take care out there (because sometimes it feels like we are at war.. with dumb ways of thinking in our community)
With Love...Elen B x
Jamaican British Relationships
I was just on Mama B's radio show on Jamaica's SunCity Radio. It's a fantastic radio station for all Jamaican's at home and abroad.
We discussed some of the issues women in the 21 century face in society and in relationships. Particularly in the UK.
Here are my views.
You may agree or you may disagree.
Regardless, we all should find our own way in making our relationships work with the men in our life.
I don't know about you, but this year is my year. Yes I have someone special in my life, but now in my mid thirties, no one can tell me that putting your self first, YES being 'selfish', IS NOT the done deal.
We all know the talk...you must Love yourself before anyone else can Love you. We hear it all the time.
I however, think that learning to Love yourself is easier said then done, especially for those of us born to single parents....who never remarried.
Yeah my Mum showed me Love. She worked 13 hours a day to ensure we didn't look like abandoned children or 'have not's'.
I had everything I needed. HOWEVER, because mummy worked so hard I never saw her relax, or spend time pampering herself.
Learning to Love myself and put myself first was self taught and took many years of people taking the piss with me, to really understand how I should Love Me.
First things first..... I refuse to see putting myself first in any situation that I choose to put myself first, as selfish. If you know me, you know that when I put myself first, yes in front of you (and of course without harming you); you always get the best ME.
The way society has conditioned us to put ourselves last and to give our all to someone else cause, to sacrifice our needs for another, is non beneficial to me.
You may disagree. Maybe people get the best out of you, when you rarely say no to a request, that puts you out in some way or another.
But me....nah, that Love language does not suit my dna. It's not my style. I've been there, done that and trashed the stale t-shirt many years ago.
This Valentines day, it's all about me and that's how I'm going to celebrate valentines from now on.
And I will not apologise to my other quarter (that's what I call my significant other...read in between the lines and you'll know why).
Because at the end of the day, in return of understanding that I have to put myself first...he always gets the best me ;-)
Happy Valentines Day x
Valentine’s Day is only six days away and this year I have promised to treat myself. I'm not expecting my other half (or what I call my other quarter) to magically produce a gift from behind his ear because we're not like that. And why are we not like that.....because commitment has been at the bottom of my list, ever since I can remember.
I would walk away from men who liked me too much, rang me too often, complimented me too much and smiled at me too much. I've been so hard on men....good men. But everything happens for a wiser purpose and now is the time for me to put commitment to the top of my list. (look out for part two to read more about my issueSSS with relationships).
So I am starting by committing to myself. 'Unna mus alweys com firs, yuh zeeit'.
So here's my checklist for my valentines special;
1. Buy fresh flowers for each room in the house, including the corridors.
2. Buy ingredients for my favourite meal and eat like a queen. (If my other 'quarter' says he wants to join me, don't be stubborn and say no...like you may want to.
3. Although Valentine ’s Day is on a Friday this year, dress up to the nines for work, even though its dress down Friday.
4. Buy a new party dress for my birthday next month.
5. Hold a reasoning in the morning and evening giving thanks for all I have.
6. Call mum and dad and tell them you love them.
It's a very simple checklist. But over the last 10 years with my photography business I'd picked up some really bad habits and forgotten to take care of me.
So, for all the people who are self-righteous and refuse to celebrate Valentine’s Day, because of its origins and who knows what else. Why hate on a day that can bring about good things. You know deep down you want someone to show you some love....born in the west we cannot escape the effect Valentine’s Day has on our sub conscious.
Instead of hating and hiding, follow my lead and treat yourself like a King or Queen for the day.
We deserve it.
In my idealistic world my mothers generation will be full of wisdom and encouragement. Ready and more than happy to share their life experiences. Not just because they pity us, 'younger ones', but because they are unashamed of their past, happy to share lessons of dark, frightening moments, that made them stop breathing for fear of death.
Okay I may be exaggerating a touch, but for real...what happened to sharing your secrets, the one's you have learnt lessons from and the ones you are still trying to work out.
I'd much prefer that level of interaction instead of me asking a simple question, and 'your generation', putting up a wall of defense that only Machiavelli would use to strategically fight against enemies.
What made you so angry. Was it 23 years in jail, rape, violation and abuse, neglect and torment that would have you dispise us youngsters.
Well, my elder...I was just a thought in God's great scheme of things when 'those things' happened to you. I was not there when you were wronged and not listened too. I was not there to save you from the ignorance and greed of mankind.
But I am here now, asking you to chill out....sort out your issues; so that we can talk respectfully, as an auntie or uncle would to a niece or nephew. CHILL OUT MAN. And let's be friends and walk this journey together.
For we, although younger, also have secrets, and knowledge and wisdom....and once you take off the veil, of so called 'protection' and lay down your defense. You may just realise, that we are all in the sammme boat, dealing with the sammme issues.
Oh and maybe if you would share your issues, we would be able to deal with ours a lot better than we are.
KMT.....I'm Elen B
In my last post I complained about selfish music managers interested only, in building their personal portfolio; leaving an artist confused, ill prepared and disillusioned.
In the same breath I also said I believe the manager is not to blame for the low profile and static career many independent artists experience.
The artists that categorically KNOW they have a talent, a unique voice or message; or even purpose, always...ALWAYS meet the right people on their journey. People that can SEE their vision and wish to assist them towards achieving their goals and ambition.
These confident artists, may be quieter than the rest, for their inner KNOWING that they will achieve is all they need to get them up in the morning. And their inner KNOWING is all they need to take the necessary steps to; write song after song; record song after song and perform song after song...without a whiff of receiving a Mercury or Brit Award.
But they know....one day; one decision; one action; one song will make all the difference.
So they keep on, and like a magnet keep meeting the right people at the right time. It's what I call the Boomerang Effect; what you feel you deserve deep down inside the depths of your soul, ALWAYS comes back to you ten fold.
So, if you have doubt, you'll meet doubtful people who, with sugar coated words that taste bitter, will insist on helping you on your journey.
If you have low confidence, you'll meet people who just can't keep constructive criticism constructive and, seem to take digs at you in a way that punches you deeper and deeper into feeling unworthy.
Do I need to go on? Because I'm sure you get my point. I've lived through this and seen many others too. See we are all the same, going through the same experiences...just maybe at different stages in our life.
Trust me, watch out for the Boomerang Effect....as it doesn't feel nice when your own negativity turns around and hits you with full force.
I tell you what. Take a look at the people around you. Do any of them put you down for less then pronouncing a word incorrectly? Or do any of them, say your out of your depth? Or.......... does just being around them kill your vibe?
If yes? Then go and do a MOT on yourself. Your self esteem, your self worth and your issues...you know those thoughts you have in the darkness of the night after waking up for what seems no reason at all.
Check yourself, Check your thoughts and Check your fears......(False. Evidence. Appearing. Real).
But most of all, make sure you switch them and turn them around, so that on a daily, hourly then minute to minute and second to second basis; You KNOW you deserve the best, you KNOW your talents are amazing, you KNOW you have something special to offer the world.
Then and only then, will you meet managers, A&R, promoters, booking agents, engineers (the list can go on) that trrrruuuullly truly wish to see you succeed, putting all their own 'God Given', 'I know I've got something to give the world' and 'I know I deserve success 'mantra', into your brand, your skills and your dreams.
I wish you all the best in your careers, what ever it is you do and wish to succeed in. And remember life's journey is a mental struggle so keep your mental healthy and push out the dirt.......immediately.
We do it for success sake....because Our Creator says we are just as Great. You are beautiful.
Imagine being in an empty room and one by one mirrors started to appear. Mirrors of all shapes and sizes. Mirrors that were individual tinted in either black, blue, grey, pink, red, green or yellow.
Imagine then, that whilst deciphering why you where in this room and how you got into this room, the mirrors began talking to you. Individually speaking words of love, kindness and encouragement, as well as words of doubt, harm, malice, jealousy and hatred.
Which words would you hear the loudest? Which words would make you laugh and which would make you cry? And now I ask you to reflect. Which words would you recognise, as words spoken to assist you in getting out of the room and, giving you the answers as to why you where in the room in the first place?
I have a situation at hand, right now as I write and whilst in reflection; calling on wisdom and love to guide me to better understand how I should handle it; I instantly came to understand that often times the people we are in contact with, though strangers or lovers they may be; act as our mirror; regurgitating and spitting out our joys, appreciations and likes as well as our fears, insecurities, secrets and self judgments.
I walk with a note pad because typing in my phone does not compare to writing my thoughts, insights and epiphany's in ink.