A Woman’s Success Measured in Clicks…

Let’s not fool ourselves. We all know in this day and age that we measure how awesome our lives are by how many likes and comments we get on social media. Otherwise, why would we even post big achievements? Why else would we rave and post pics about our amazing lives? Even when half the time it’s a farce? I mean, it has been proven that when it comes to social media, we almost always put our best face forward.

But I’ve seen a glaringly different attitude towards a woman’s success vs. a man’s. Or even a traditional woman’s success vs. a new-aged woman’s. Looking at my own social media, including friends, family, and other colleagues (aka authors), I can see which “type” of success for a woman is more praised than others.

When it comes to a woman posting that she has gotten engaged or married. Or she announces that she’s pregnant or just had her baby, the ‘likes’ and ‘congratulations’ comments are off the charts. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are definitely things that should be praised and congratulated. They are amazing moments in a person’s life (not just for women by the way).

But what about the successes of a working woman? Married with children or otherwise?

When women are focused on furthering their education and/or their careers. When they achieve huge successes in their professional lives and post about it…the same praise and congratulations are nowhere to be found. Why is tying yourself to a man or raising children more revered than a woman working hard at her career or focusing on herself? Why does a woman have to be selfless to be considered truly successful? Men sure don’t.

I’ve seen men post about their successful careers, getting a promotion, a raise, a new amazing job. And just like the marriage and baby announcements women post, the men’s professional posts skyrocket in likes and comments. What the hell?! Way to set us back about 30-40 years!

Equality in the workplace or at home starts with us. If you can’t even give a woman praise or recognize all she’s trying to do to better herself professionally while scrolling through your phone or computer. What makes you think anyone will do the same for you, your wife or even your daughter for that matter when it’s her turn to enter the workforce? Because what you think at home, many think at work… “She thinks she’s all that”… “She has no place here.” We can do better. It really is time to transform your thinking.

 

***I don't own any of these photographs. They are the sole property of the owners.***
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The Elusive Happily Single Female

No matter what popular belief tells you…YES!!! It is possible! Possible to be a woman, single, and happy.

This post is in direct response to something a family member said to my mother, that I feel I should address on behalf of all the happily single ladies out there. “I think Twyla is lonely because of something she said on Facebook.” I wonder if it was this post he was referring to…

 

Or maybe this post…

Why is it that even when you say and show that you’re happy as a single woman, people (especially attached people) assume that you’re just silently crying out that you’re lonely? Let me make this perfectly clear…I AM HAPPY BEING SINGLE!!!

Now I’ve been single since 2009. And I wasn’t always happy about it. But two years ago, I found the key to being happily single (at least for me). It’s finding passion in something else…ME! I’ve been learning to love myself without a man. I’ve found my passion in writing as well. Once I started working on my writing career and me as a person, I stopped caring about wanting a relationship. And trust me, my WHOLE life, up until this point, had been about thinking, looking, and searching for “the one”. So much so, that I settled for less too many times.

Don’t get me wrong. I miss sex…like, really miss sex! And I have moments where I think it would be nice to have someone. And then I quickly come to my senses. I’m not ready. I’ve still got some time left in the oven. Besides, none of the men I have encountered are right for me. When you’re finally free of the fear of being alone (Don’t confuse with lonely), is when your Bullshit-O-Meter kicks into high gear and you’re less likely to put up with drama and nonsense.

The moral of the story ladies…find your life’s purpose, travel, meet cool and interesting people, discover passion in yourself. That is when you’ll finally be free. Free to truly enjoy life and let love find you. Until then, I’ll just have to enjoy the plethora of fun battery operated boyfriends out there and free porn. Hey…it is 2016! Don’t judge me! 😉

“Til death do us part,” scares me to death!

Is it really possible to live the dream I write about? I’m not so sure anymore. The older I get and the longer I’m single, the more my tenacious hold on the dream and my naive beliefs in the dream, slip through my fingers. I can no longer pretend I haven’t seen behind the proverbial curtain.

Quite a few months ago a bunch of us were talking about why marriages didn’t last anymore, and I said the standard, “Because no one wants to work hard anymore.” That’s when my neighbor said something that I haven’t been able to shake, since. “It’s because women are so independent now.” And in my head, I was like, Holy shit!

I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before! Back in the day, it seemed like marriages lasted forever. Couples worked hard at their relationships and they stayed together through thick and thin. Well, it’s nowhere near as romantic as all that. At least, not as much as we thought. Women didn’t have many rights back then. Many depended on their husband’s income. Also, back in the 50s and 60s, men held all the power. If a woman wanted a divorce, he was immediately granted custody of the kids. Most women weren’t going to lose their kids. So the unhappy marriage is where they stayed. Which is why many of them turned to the bottle and became closet alcoholics. Or just miserable in general.

Then women’s lib came into play, and that was it. Women were getting jobs. Making their own money. Getting good educations. And started getting rights over their children. We no longer need to put up with the bullshit of a man. If a man hits us, we can leave. If we’re brave enough, mind you. He cheats…Bye, Felicia! We cheat and get caught…Sorry! K bye! Your husband works your nerves, spends too much money, etc…you can pack up your shit and ride off into the sunset. And men don’t have to worry about you being destitute and on the street anymore either.

Even watching my parents that have been together for 43 years, gives me pause. They love each other for sure, but what they go through daily ain’t easy. My dad is not an easy man to deal with, and my mom’s nagging scares me because I don’t want to be that person. In past relationships, I’ve caught myself nagging and I hated it. I enjoy my freedom. I’m not a fan of answering to anyone. And I refuse to put up with bullshit. I’m not Suzy Homemaker and I don’t want kids. Then throw in social media, the new homewrecker and my relationship status is looking like it’s going to hold steady at ‘single’ because I’m just not seeing the incentive.

But all I know for sure is that I’ll be going into my next relationship like I’m walking through a minefield. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!! Which is a good thing, considering in my late 20s I was trying to rush commitment and marriage in the race to get it all done before thirty. Which is and was, a quick way to scare away a man. This new leery attitude might serve me well in the next relationship. Though, I still have hope that I’ll get my HEA. That there is a man out there that can handle me and vice versa. Happily Ever After can’t just be the stuff of fiction…right?

***I own none of the photographs. They are the property of the owners.***

My Racial Divide

There is a racial shitstorm a brewing in this country whether you want to believe it or not. A clear line is being drawn and everyone is starting to line up on either side, taking a stand and making their beliefs known. And here I am, like a mixed girl on the playground with black kids on one side and white kids on the other. Calling to me. “Red Rover. Red Rover. Send Twyla on over!” Which side do I choose? I know which side, but not without losing some friends in the process.

Here’s a little backstory as to why this is a sad decision for me. From the moment I could talk, I was labeled as different by my extended black family and community. “Why she talk so proper?” “You talk like a white girl.” “You act white.” These statements perplexed me because in my mind I talked and acted like…Twyla. Anyone who knows me knows that I have NEVER been phony. It’s not in me. I just can’t pretend to be something I’m not.

Anyway, it was hard for me to be accepted by own people. I was teased for the way I spoke and bullied because I got good grades and liked to read. No, seriously. I literally had someone say “You get good grades and like to read. You act white.” Wow. What a way to insult our entire race in two sentences. And I know it wasn’t completely his fault. We are raised in a society where you are taught not to amount to much of anything. From people outside of our race and our very own. And if you decide to rise up to be more, you get picked on or beat up for it.

So the only people that were willing to accept me more often than not were white and Hispanic girls. If I wanted to listen to rock music, watch 90210 or My So-Called Life, or read bodice-ripper romance novels with Fabio on the cover, they didn’t care. For the most part, they let me be, well…ME.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some great black friends in my life. One, in particular, was my girl Sharon that I met in college. She was an incredible woman and though we grew up in different neighborhoods, we just got each other. And I will miss her for the rest of my life, God rest her sweet and fierce soul.

Growing up in a neighborhood that was mixed with black and white, where the kids played in the street together in the summertime. Going to practically equally mixed schools of black, white, and Latino. And making a diverse group of friends in college and when I went to teach English in Japan. I’ve had a well-rounded life. I don’t believe any race is better than the next. I believe the world should be fair and equal, but not everyone sees things as I do.

When many whites grow up in predominantly white neighborhoods and practically all white schools. Blacks grow up in predominantly black neighborhoods and almost all black schools. And Latinos the same. Many only think of how to better their own. And that is great to help each other out, but that’s also what causes division and unfairness. Especially when one group holds the most power.

And this very thing is the reason for all the racial tension building in this country. When one group holds the power and mainly caters to their own, another group suffers for it and then becomes angry. But many white people are like the teacher’s pet in a classroom. No one wants to admit they’re the teacher’s pet. For one, that would mean admitting they’re getting preferential treatment and second, that they’d have to give it up if they do admit it. Hey, I was one of those kids, so I know.

So this is where I get frustrated and quite hurt by my white friends. Many of them love me for me and consider me a close friend. Someone that is there for them if they need a shoulder and vice versa. But that love I feel sometimes comes with conditions. Just so long as I don’t bring up injustices that I see against me or other blacks. Well, being black and my experiences as such is a part of me. Of who I am. And if I bring up things I see or get upset about, if you’re really my friend, you should actually listen and try to understand where I’m coming from. And understand that it doesn’t mean I’m attacking you personally.

It wasn’t until I started writing that I found black females much like me. To which, I am overjoyed. To finally find people who understand me on all sides, is an amazing thing at 30-something years old. Also, once I started writing was the first time I truly felt blocked from succeeding because of the color of my skin. Growing up my parents told me I could be anything I wanted to be. And I believed them. But once I found what I wanted to do with my life, I had no idea how exclusive the publishing industry could actually be. Though that’s another post for another time.

So here I am now with two sets of friends from either side, almost for the first time in my life. And as racial tension rises in this country, now I’m found stuck in the middle. I’ve had great white friends all my life and now I have new great black friends. Some of my black friends are angry and rightly so though I’m just not the person that lets things bother me as much. I like being a happy person. I like living in my world of rainbows and unicorns. I let a lot of things roll off my back because otherwise I’d be angry all the time. But with the advent of the internet and social media, it’s harder to ignore. I can see injustices happening all over the world, instead of just my town. And when these injustices piss me off, I say something and finally voice my feelings. Now my white friends are quite loudly voicing their displeasure with me by their glaringly obvious silence.

So to my white friends…to admit that minority groups are being unfairly treated doesn’t make you any less white or turning against your own. It just lets others know you see the truth. If a friend you know and trust (ME!) tells you something isn’t right, they’re the best person to listen to, to get a new perspective on something that you may have never known otherwise. Maybe you can’t empathize with the Black Lives Matter protester shouting passionately at the news camera because you feel far removed from the situation. But surely you can empathize with one of your good friends that tells you of their struggles?

And to my black friends…Just because I may not voice my frustrations as loudly as others, doesn’t mean I’m any less black. I’ve just had friends of other races my whole life that treated me better than my own at times. So I’m not going to shout and rail at them. I am just trying to find a diplomatic way to get the other side to understand our plight.

No matter what, though, I will always be on the side of right. Equality. All-inclusiveness. And fairness. That is what’s right.