A Salute To The Women Who Know Their Place

I have always been attracted to strong women. My mother is a strong woman. So is my sister. I can’t think of anything more stimulating and sexy than a woman who is confident, bright, thoughtful, self-aware, and my intellectual equal if not master.  I’ve never been intimidated by a woman’s strength. The only mystery in the beginning is understanding whether the strength being displayed is authentic and true as opposed to a cover to mask insecurity and pain. In this case what may look like strength is actually a facade. Beneath the cover is a wounded person who may have great potential to give and experience a beautiful love, but will use her tools as a weapon to strike as opposed to an artisan looking to build something.

I’ve experienced the latter in a few cases. What I perceived as a strong woman was in reality a strong willed woman. There is both a distinction as well as a difference. These women were bright, but they were also competitive within the relationships. Instead of looking to build consensus, they sought to carve out a space and claim territory. They’d dig trenches for the sole purposes of establishing as constitution their own sensibilities. It’s wasn’t easy for me to tell the difference between the strong vs strong willed women in my life. To the untrained eye they look like the exact same thing. It’s only after experiences that require humility, compromise, repentance and trust is authentication revealed. Where there is true strength, humility, compromise, repentance (when necessary) and trust are easy because the goal is beyond self-interest and competition. The goal is for each party in the relationship to win. It’s not to make someone pay for a debt that is intellectually or spiritually impossible to fulfill.

Some of my relationship failures caused me to question my ability to find my own ‘perfect match.’ I’d ask myself, “How do I in essence come up with basically the same (strong willed) chick over and over again?” Logically the common denominator is me! I started to think there was something about me that cause these ‘strong’ women to turn against me. Was I too kind, too graceful, or too easy to figure out?

Being honest and vulnerable early on, even if in limited layers has always been my idea of achieving a pathway to acceptance. Having safe spaces is an important foundation in my humble opinion. I enjoying sharing and being my authentic self with all of my quirks and unusual peculiarities. It can be painful to have your eccentricities rejected, made fun of, or taken advantage of; especially during a dispute. But therein lies an insight into whether one is strong or strong willed.

I see strong minded women (and men) all the time on social media. When it comes to relationships or prospective relationships, there is little hope and much skepticism.  I totally understand. The dating game can be so cruel. People are out here seeking ‘whatever’ for so many reasons. Rare are these reasons totally understood even by the person holding them. In any case, when conflict occurs defenses go up and before you know it, a confrontation is at hand.

I am not afraid of confrontation. I embrace it when I know the object is to resolve the conflict to achieve the best understanding. Many times, however, I’ve found that the women I was communicating with’s ultimately goal was to prove a point, or even worst to win the argument. For some their purpose wasn’t to achieve understanding, or establish healthy boundaries, but rather drawing lines that so that they could enjoy a privileged or Powered status. When discussing a disagreement and there is tension, I understand that she may not understand my intentions. She may think I am attempting to threaten or take something away from her identity or value.  I soften my approach taking the low road offering a clarification if necessary. Then I wait.

Will she soften as well and show some humility?  Or will she relish the victory and keep it moving? If the former, then we may very well be on to something. There is mutual respect as words are chosen carefully to maximize understanding and reduce the tension. If the latter, she’s not looking to build something, she’s looking to have her way. It only gets worse. I learned to distance myself in this scenario. No arguing, just acceptance. We can be cordial, but there is nothing for me to invest in. Soon, I’ll quietly walk away.

There is difference between a strong woman vs a strong willed woman. Though she can be both, a strong woman knows that she doesn’t always have to play her strength card to get things she needs in her relationship. This is of course assuming she has a strong man who wants to give and grow. Instead she is much more crafty and sophisticated in her methods.

I thought about five couples that I respect and admire the most. The women are brilliant and formidable, able to take on most any undertaking. The men are successful yet progressively growing and expanding their depths and potential. The women are the foundation and backbone in the unit. I’ve witnessed them demonstrate the one thing that supersedes Power in any relationship, influence. A strong recognize her areas of influence on her man and she uses it for the greater good.

A man can excel in a lot of areas on his own. But even a greatly accomplished man who doesn’t have the touch of a wise woman to counsel him is going to be a fool in many areas, even if he doesn’t realize he’s a fool. Show me a weak childish and petulant man, I’ll show you a woman who doesn’t influence him at all. (Insert face of the president here.) If you’ve ever seen the Netflix series, “House of Cards,” you’ve identified that the only reason Frank Underwood was a successful governor who parlayed that into the presidency is because of his wife Claire. Frank is the face, standing on the podium with prestige and respect. But Claire is the soul. Her influence, support and counsel were essentially and in advance of any potential successes to Frank’s highly aspired ambitions. Claire embraced her role as the soul and reveled in their ascension as a team.

So when I say, Salute To The Women Who Know Their Place, by ‘place’ I mean ‘role’. And make no mistake it is a role! Why? Because no matter what we (men) do in the marketplace, no matter how many people know our name or sing our praises regarding our exploits or popularity, no matter what kind of car we drive, when WE go home at the end of the day, WE know we ain’t shit unless and until our woman validates us and says we are.

Let’s face it; whether because of necessity through evolution visa-vi social or societal oppression and circumstance, women are often smarter and more intuitive than men; specifically regarding things men tend to be blind about. While we go through life looking to conquer one challenge or another, our women study us and knowing our strengths and weaknesses. They know when we are about to say or do something stupid. They have the ability to see the big picture when we are tunnel visioned. When a man lays eyes on a cake, he sees a cake. An intuitive woman considers the ingredients down to the infinite measurements. It doesn’t matter who makes the most money or who holds the most powerful position in the marketplace either. In a successful relationship, the joint recognition and understanding is differing roles, equal value. Each couple chooses the roles that work for them based on their given talents and strengths.

The woman who operates by influence and uses it accordingly to build her man up, praise him publicly and privately, doesn’t do things to damage his dignity, she has the ultimate power. You see influence IS power but with a soft ‘p’. It is to be shared. But I can’t stress how important it is for men to have the strong yet confidently reassuring touch of his woman’s influence.

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Examining how these play out:

Power (large P) Dominates – Influence Negotiates

Power is harsh and rigid – Influence is gentle and flexible

Power commands – Influence suggest

Power pushes – Influence nudges

Power breeds fear – Influence breeds loyalty and respect

Power says, “You must do this for me!” – Influence says, “I want to do this for you.”

Power produces minimum requirements – Influence produces above and beyond

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Hopefully this makes sense. I did my best not to appear chauvinistic and I hope the feminist reader (I consider myself one) allows for nuance in understanding my intentions here. I’m not assuming this is a woman’s obligation, or that affirming her man is her ONLY role in a relationship. What I am saying is that I absolutely witnessed though my own life and the lives of others the consequences of the woman who demands Power, and the rewards of ones who dispense influence. It’s like night and day, life and death.

 

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Message to Black Lives Matters Critics … who happen to be Black

Black folk are not monolithic.   I know that there are some in America who believe we are.  But we didn’t all agree in Africa before we were sold into slavery.  We didn’t all agree while in the state of slavery.  We didn’t all agree upon emancipation.  We didn’t all agree during Jim Crow, during the civil rights movement, even about having civil rights.  Like any other group of humans, our views differ from liberal, conservative, ambivalent, apathetic.  We are engaged, passionate and absent.  And just as we don’t agree about who is the best MC, the best basketball player of all time, or whether peanut butter is better than chocolate, we don’t all view the Black Lives Matter movement as it relates to police brutality, systematic racism and so called Black on Black crime within our neighborhoods.

Locally speaking, since Michael Brown, many of my friends have been on the forefront of protest, civil disobedience or spreading the word via social media regarding police brutality as it relates to the St. Louis Metropolitan area.  They have fought hard through the midst of resistance from many of their White counterparts, White police unions, and administrations resistant to give up the power of their privilege.  Equally true is that St. Louis is enduring a sickening amount of shootings and murders this year.  There are many reasoning and debates for the escalations of violent crimes, from lack of policing in certain North Side areas, to a mindset among Black youth that they just don’t give a damn about taking a life.  As mentioned in the first sentence, we don’t share all of the same views, therefore we don’t share the same passions.  But unfortunately, instead of respecting one another’s passions for a common goal of bettering the community as best as we can, some of us are at odds in direct conflict against the other.  Specifically, some who are righteously frustrated with the crime being committed against one another, are upset at protesters of police brutality and Black Lives Matter.  The video below from Ferguson resident Peggy Hubbard is an example.

Hubbard isn’t the only one who has expressed these sentiments.  Many of my African-American friends on social media have asked after a murder, “Where are all the protesters now? Why aren’t they protesting or holding a rally for this?”  These are similar to some of my White counterparts who refuse to acknowledge or even justify their lack of interest and subsequent support of police brutality because there are Black criminals; as if there aren’t criminals within their own group.  The difference is that White folk generally aren’t shot, chocked, tased, or mysteriously found dead while in police custody.  I’ve had those conversations with my White friends.  I’ve explained to them, that there are differences in community concern about criminal behavior vs state sponsored oppression and brutality.  My neighbor is a citizen, my police, prosecutors and judges are compensated with tax dollars that I participate in contributing towards.  These have taken an oath to protect and serve righteously for all of it’s citizens.  Contrary to popular belief, we can actually care about both equally.  Not to mention if there is a murder or a robbery in my neighborhood, more times than not we are looking to those same police to solve those crimes and remove those criminals from among us.  Some of us believe these crimes aren’t as vigorously investigated in our neighborhoods as they would in a White neighborhood; thus the cycle continues.

What is missed however, is that there are and have been activities standing up for victims of violent crimes.  They may not be as prevalent or publicly covered as those against police brutality.   But they are there.

http://http://http://www.wsiltv.com/home/top-story/Hundreds-March-to-Stop-the-Violence-in-St-Louis-321964351.html

http://http://fox2now.com/2014/06/01/prayer-vigil-held-to-stop-the-violence-in-st-louis/

http://http://fox2now.com/2015/07/29/funeral-directors-and-morticians-to-hold-stop-the-violence-rally-this-sunday/

Thus my message isn’t to my White counterparts who are anti-Black Lives Matter or anti-police brutality against people of color; though they can get some too if they like.  But specifically to those who like Ms. Hubbard, single mother with a son who is incarcerated, to my Black friends who poo poo the folk fighting the system of government oppression because they think these protesters should protest all things Black struggle, is get off your asses and do it yourself!  If there aren’t enough black protest and rallies against crime in your view, then dammit start one.  Gather like minded individuals, organize and get your asses out in these streets.  Why  be in conflict with your brothers and sisters who are fighting for your right to be equally valued lawfully in the system in which we all rely to a certain extent.  If I am in danger and I can’t solve the issue, I’m calling the police.  I have police who are good friends of mine.  But that prevent me from having a passion against police who are out to kill me.  There is no conflict for me to love my police friends while jamming Fuck The Police in my ride simultaneously.  It seems to me that the folk who DO have the problem are sitting at their computers or making videos or posting empty challenges to folk who are doing something, because they aren’t doing a damn thing.

I have given three examples of people who are making a difference in partaking in efforts that are related to our community, though not the same exact focus.  Hell I’ll throw in a fourth just for good measure.

http://http://fox2now.com/2015/04/29/homicide-in-north-st-louis-highlights-we-must-stop-killing-each-other-campaign/

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The point is, even if you are not a good organizer, there are some people doing some things in the area of crime in Black neighborhoods.  Join them.  It’s just plain ignorant and unproductive to ask those who are focused on police brutality to do your damn passion too.  Get off the sidelines, and do something and make us all stronger.  If not, then by all means stay in your lane and STFU!

Random Thoughts about the NBA 2014 Finals +

As we spring off into NBA free agency, otherwise known as The Decision II, here are my thoughts on the 2014 NBA season.

* The Spurs exercised the hell out of Game 6 demons of the 2013 Finals.  

Say what you want, but the to lose a series that was in your hands based on missing a crucial rebound and seeing Ray Allen step back and rip your hearts out with a corner three ball; live with that all summer; start your training camp by watching the film of that game making that the theme of your redemption story; work your way through the season with a game plan so precise that you not only earn the top seed in the playoffs, but none of your players averaged 30 minutes per game; work through the playoffs in the Wild Wild West including a riveting 7 games against the Mavericks… want the Heat, get the Heat, then dismantle the Heat winning 4-1 by an average of 15 points per game… that’s goal setting, game planning and execution at it’s best.  PERIOD!  That entire organization is a model of a great lesson of perseverance, unity, and trust.  Kudos the Spurs for not panicking and blowing the team up.  Kudos to Tim Duncan who played his ass off last year and missed the bunny at the end of Game 6… and continued to turn back the clock this year.  He meant what he said when he predicted victory this time.  To Danny Green who shot the lights out last year for the first couple games, then dropped off the map.  He returned with vengeance.  So did Manu, who was H20 (HumanTurnOver) in last year’s finals.  That dunk in Game 5 over Bosh and Haslem summed up his resolve.  And Boris Diaw, Mr. Do Whatever It Takes!

manu

* The Spurs are every coach’s dream.

In this day and age of  AAU one on one ego ball gone wild, the way the Spurs shared the ball, cut, moved and mixed in drives with jumpers.  Their dedicated team/accountability defense was a textbook script for successful basketball.  If the NBA were a copy-cat league like the NFL, every team would be trying to replicate the Spurs formula.  For youth and high school coaches, they should be salivating at the opportunity before them to promote team play!  I can only hope!

*The Heat Had a Helluva Run.

Four straight finals is four straight finals.  2-2 is better than the Buffalo Bills 0-4.  Nuff said!

*LeBron Haters are Ridiculous

The one thing I hated about the playoffs, is the social media hateration of LeBron James.  I don’t feel sorry for him.  He’s a champion, an MVP, and will one day be a billionaire before he becomes Hall of Famer.  But the utter jealousy of such a positive and awesome young man is very disturbing to me.  LeBron has never been in legal  trouble, never beat his wife, objectified women, has employed many people and given more of himself that most mainstream athletes over the last 25 years.  He is a talent we won’t see again in our lifetime.  And after he’s gone dammit he will be missed.  I suggest we appreciate him while we have him.   Unfortunately, some people are so utterly and distastefully jealous.  Twitter/nemes make for some bold cowards!

* What Now For The Heat

Obviously the Big 3, (Big 2 little 1) can opt in or out.  D-Wade is holding the trump card in all of this because he’s in the slot for $40 million over the next two years.  Want to know what LeBron is going to do?  Look at what D-Wade does.  He can blow this all up with a little paperwork faxed to Pat Riley in a heartbeat.  Whatever he does, business is business.  He has the right to take the loot.  But I tell you what, that guy is washed up.  A huge Wade fan from his Marquette days, I’ve long grown tired of his refusal to get back on D, (we could call him E Wade) and his whining to officials if not pointing to his teammates to pick up his man.  James logged hundreds of minutes more than anyone else on the team because they were pacing Wade.  He claimed he was healthy, so I’m going to take him at his word.  No excuses he sucked!  As much as LeBron may be able to trust Pat Riley, Pat can only do so much.  Owner Mickey Arison is NOT one to want to go into the luxury tax.  And he’s already shown that he will let players walk in order not to pay them, I.e Mike Miller.  If LeBron takes a pay cut, he’s going to demand that Arison spends that extra loot.  He’s been carrying the piano on his back long enough.  P.S. Carmelo Anthony is NOT the solution.

* Best NBA Stories of 2014

Wizards, Warriors

*Worst NBA Story 2014

Pacers/Sterling

Speaking of Sterling, after all the hub-bub of Adam Silver slinging the hammer like Thor on The Donald, it seems the Sterlings have played the NBA at their own game.  After saying none of the Sterlings’ would have anything to do with the team, it’s been leaked that the Steve Ballmer agreed to let Shelly Sterling have 2 floor seats, parking, and be ‘owner emeritus’ of the team.  If that’s not back tracking I don’t know what is.  I guess $2B wasn’t enough.  Regardless of what one thinks about whether they should have been forced to sell the team in the first place, the NBA has totally walked back just about every demand they made at the press conference.  Most notably, the NBA owners didn’t have to vote.  Which brings me to this… Why the hell hasn’t the NBA re-scheduled the vote since Donald Sterling is again suing the league?  Isn’t this why they were having the vote in the first place?  Are they not back to where they started?  I’m thinking that BOTH the Sterlings’ are playing the NBA.  Don and Shelly have been married for over 50 years.  Is it not obvious?

 

 

 

If I Twitted…

I would say that I need about three to five days to myself so that I can hit the RESET button.  The RESET button would kill all of the corrupted files I have inside and refresh my hard drives.  This would flush the cares and weight of the world and relieve some of the unrealistic expectations that are sometimes placed on my shoulders.  I could rest, reflect, write, and be renewed so that my system can once again run smoothly.