Archive for July, 2009

The Death (and Resurrection) of House Music – (Are You A Real House Head??)

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2009 by djvinceadams

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House-Music-Festival-Logo

This subject has been something that I have thought about for many years and I think that its time to address it.  As with all of my blogs, this isn’t directed to any one person or incident – it’s a collection of experiences that have happened over many years of experience.  In this blog I want to address all the people who claim to have a love for house music.

I was born a “house head.”  I can say that because I think that anybody who was born before 1975 and raised in Chicago almost didn’t have a choice.  As Hip Hop culture is to NY, so is House culture in Chicago.  House Music in the 80’s wasn’t just a genre of music, it was a culture, a way of life.  People planned their week on what parties they would attend and you HAD to have a cassette deck in your house or car to listen to a Ron Hardy mix live from the Music Box, ToneMaster tape recordings of WBMX’s Hot Mix Five or any other number of classic mixes.

Let me clue everybody in on a missed “concept” about House DJ’s in the 1980’s.  In Chicago there were several House DJ’s that are considered pioneers or legends.  This is not an all-inclusive list, but for the purpose of conversation I will say that Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Lil Louis and Steve Hurley were 4 of the most revered Club DJ’s of that time.  Here is what set them all apart – they didn’t play the same music.  Frankie may have had a “Bad Luck” edit that the others didn’t have.  Louis debuted his new tracks live at the Bismark Hotel before they ever hit vinyl.  Ron may have played a Jamie Principal cut before anybody else had it.  I can remember being at the Hotel Intercontinental looking at Steve Hurley play the original Jack Your Body on a 4-track Tascam.

There used to be a time that people went to the club to listen to new music, to be introduced to something different.  They wanted to be there while history was being made.

My point is that introducing listeners to new music was each of these legends claim to fame.  You HAD to be at their parties because you may miss the time they introduced a new song.  Of course there were classic songs that worked for everybody, but it was the introduction of new styles, new songs and new energy (i.e. Farley’s “Jack Tracks” , Chip E’s “It’s House”, Phuture’s “Acid Trax”) where the old school energy began to fuse successfully with new flavor and go to new places.  It became an exciting challenge and a testament to the creativity of these legends to push the envelope and take the music in new directions.

It can definitely be said that 1982 – 1990 is the golden age of house music.  Fast forward to 2009, where has house music gone?  Quite honestly, house “music” has gone to newer, better and even more exciting places.  Unfortunately, the “house head” is stuck between 1982 – 1990.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a contingency of house music listeners who have progressed with the music and understand that DJ’s like DJ Emanuel, Vick Lavender, Ron Trent, Gene Hunt and many, many others in Chicago are breaking new ground and pushing the house music envelope forward.  Again, the disappointing part is that the once fertile mind of the “house head” in many cases is more closed off and narrow in their thinking than ever.  I have news for the self-proclaimed house head stuck in the 80’s – THIS IS A NEW MILLENNIUM AND THE MUSIC HAS PROGRESSED!!

Unfortunately the old school house head comes out to attempt to recreate history as opposed to take the trip to where the music has progressed.

I would consider myself as much of a Hip Hop fan as I am a House fan (the same could be said of Jazz and Old School R&B – I’m a lover of great music.)  Imagine if Hip Hop had stopped in the 80’s.  Imagine if we were never willing to give Common, Jay Z, Biggie, Kanye or Tupac a chance to be introduced.  The “old school house head” is living the House Music of the past and not allowing the music to be what it is.  House Music by its roots is a music of growth and development – not stagnation.

I want to thank Oscar McMillan and Vick Lavender for bringing me over to the “other side” of house music back in 1999.  Also, I want to thank Boolumaster, Fathom DJ, Sadar, Ron/Rick Troupe, Mark Grant, Gene Ferris, Terry Hunter, David Sabat, Andre Hatchett and the other DJ’s named above (along with countless others in Chicago) for progressing the sound and continuing to introduce listeners to new house music.  I also want to thank promoters like Ronda Flowers, Koko and Dave Risque along with the House Music websites and publications that keep the music going.  It would be impossible to name everyone that has a hand in keeping the movement going.   My point moreover is that the listener has to decide that they will not be stuck in a time warp and will grow with the music.  We never have to abandon the past/classics, at the same time we should not be stuck there and we always need to keep moving forward.

Let me make it clear – I’m not talking about Techno, Electro, etc.  There are great, soulful, NEW house songs being made and released on a monthly basis.  No they don’t sound like Dr. Love, The Love I Lost or The Real Thing.  It’s the same way that Jay Z doesn’t sound like LL.  The past has its place, but there’s “HEAT” being made now – people just have to be receptive to new music.

The bottom line is that anytime I get a chance to spin House Music I will always pay homage to the past, but I will always keep the music moving forward.  I want to return to a day where people come to the DJ and say “I like that song – I’ve never heard it before” as opposed to “why is he playing this – I’ve never heard it before.” House Music was a music of firsts and is known for introducing new energy, it can be that again if people open up to accepting that new can be good, if not better than old.  Quality is what matters and there’s still quality house music being made.

House Music is not dead, the movement is going strong.  There is an opportunity here for the “so called” house head to resurrect themselves and be a part of the movement.  Free your mind and the rest will follow…One House Nation Under A Groove – VA

Websites dedicated to the progressive spirit of House Music:

www.deephousepage.com

www.housemusicscene.com

www.housemusicchannel.net

www.grooveparlor.com

www.deepershades.net

www.thaunderground.com/subhtml/music.htm

http://davidsabat.com/live/

www.boolumaster.com

For more info and updates, add me/visit me on:

http://twitter.com/djvinceadams

http://www.djvinceadamschicago.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/DJ-Vince-Adams/122820205624?ref=ts

Can We Remember How To Imagine??

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Aladdin lamp

Well, I’m back and at it again.  I decided to take a little break after the relationship blogs to let all of that information settle in.  I want to thank everybody for taking the time to check them out and I really had no idea that the blogs would go beyond 6,000 views in just a couple of weeks.  I’ve received some questions from people asking me when is the next “relationship blog” coming and it may be a few weeks or maybe months.  I’ve definitely got a lot on my mind and relationships as a topic is only one thread of thought for me.

So, moving forward with what’s next I’m now on the thought of building a better future.  I have 2 aspects of a better future I’d like to share, one is the perspective of building a better community/culture and the second, building a better “you” (or me in my case.)

A gentleman by the name of George Zalucki is a life coach and motivational speaker.  To paraphrase Mr. Zalucki, he said that “imagination is the closest thing that we possess as humans that allows us to tap into the God that is in all of us.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement when you look at the fact that everything that has ever been formed was at one time a thought before it was a physical outcome or a tangible item.  It’s very similar to Napoleon Hill’s words that “Whatever The Mind of Man Can Conceive, It Can Achieve” taken from his book “Think and Grow Rich.”

I personally think that when we look at the progression of technology and advances in “lifestyle” we can say that there have been many improvements made in American civilization.  I think that there is a degradation that is also taking place at the same time.  Being a DJ, I am constantly surrounded by music in one form or another.  Also, I am surrounded by people that have opinions about music.  It is my opinion and only my opinion that the quality of music and the standards of music desired by the mainstream music listener have been reduced to an all-time low in 2009.

At first glance it may seem that I’m talking about a lot of different things, but I’d like to bring them together.  I believe that we as Americans are some of the laziest thinkers in the world.  I also think that technology has made so many things readily accessible and has “painted the picture” of what we could think so vividly, that people have come to the point that they don’t imagine anymore – they don’t think for themselves.  Of course this is a widespread generalization and it couldn’t nearly apply to everyone.  I do feel that the number of people who read for pleasure, is probably at an all-time low.  I think that the patience that we have for and with one another is at an all-time low.  To put it succinctly, we have become a “microwave” society that needs and wants everything immediately.  However, we don’t put much thought into life beyond just “wanting things.”

Simply put, if we’re not using our imagination – we’re actually moving further and further away as individuals and as a society from being the most and the best that we can be.  When I say imagination, some people may think of that as “goal setting” and although that is a part of it, I do think that we “as a people” are quite comfortable with “wanting things.”  The imaginations of most people these days seem to stop short at what we can have.  What about what we can do, who we can ultimately be??  I think that we have stopped dreaming, stopped imagining as a people and we have become very preoccupied with wanting and having.

This could be caused by a number of things – upbringing, influences, environment, etc.  Regardless of the source of the stagnation, we can do something about elevating and moving to a better place.  I think that we all owe it to our parents, our friends/families and communities to become the best and most that we can become.  It’s not fair to those who need us to be our best to settle for less than who we can ultimately become.  Of course that’s relative to everybody, some people are leaders and some will never lead.  However, those who don’t lead have just as important a job as the leaders – it takes a village to raise a child and it takes us on a “conscious” level to understand that we all are villagers – we need one another.

So, what can be done about a stagnant society or about the lack of consciousness within many of us?  I think that the first thing we can do is to understand what it is that we let in our “space.”  That can be people, music, entertainment or anything that influences who we are or what we do.  If you find that the music on the radio is monotonous and annoying, turn off the radio.  When it comes to TV, sure it’s cool to have a guilty pleasure in reality TV, but what about creating your own reality by taking some of that time back.  I think that music listeners, movie watchers and tv viewers have increasingly accepted far less in quality without questioning it, as opposed to knowing that they deserve a better offering.  Listeners/viewers deserve better, however in many cases far less time is being spent creating value around what standards their lives should be held to.

Instead of spending time watching/listening/viewing others, spend that same time to sit with yourself, quietly and think about where you want to go in your life.  I think that more and more people are spending time looking at their current position in life and not spending time just thinking, imagining where they can be (as opposed to where they are.)  When we look at some of the great thinkers of the last 40 years including Dr. King, President Obama and Oprah Winfrey – I think that it can be said that they “had a dream” (pun intended.)  My point is that the chances of you getting where you want to go in life increase exponentially when you put conscious effort – just 15 minutes a day directing your mind to where it is that you would like to go with your life, who you want to be, what you want to do.  Not only can you get more, but the “things” that appealed to you can become less significant or even totally lose their appeal based on your having a higher standard of where you see yourself moving in your life.

Your imagination can serve as your life’s compass.  That’s a great thing and a scary one for some at the same time.  The good news is that if you take time to direct your thoughts in a positive and progressive fashion you have a great chance to advance to whatever heights you seek.  The “not so good” news is that for those who don’t take the time to direct their thoughts – there’s enough garbage out here to drive them to a less than desirable destination.  The worse part is that they often times won’t take responsibility for being the architect of that dead end destination by not using their energies to chart a better course as opposed to the one that they’re on.

I think that the great thing about Soul music from the 50’s – 90’s is that it was filled with imagery and imagination.  Additionally, Hip Hop music from the 80’s – 1999 was peppered with texture, creativity and “I could have never thought to say that” lyricism.  Where is the next Spike Lee, Russell Simmons or Susan Taylor (creator of Essence Magazine?)  There used to be so many discussions surrounding Terri McMillan and other fiction authors just 15 years ago.  It’s not to say that we don’t have visionaries in 2009, but it could be said that there are so many people trying to fit “in the box”, that “out of the box” thinking is more the exception than the rule these days.

I think that imagination will move us out of the copycat mentally of trying to sound like, look like and be like everybody else.  Furthermore, imagination will allow creativity and originality to take the forefront.  The person who becomes the creator of the “original material” will be inspired to be different and improve the quality of the products they deliver.  In turn, the receiving audience will expect to receive more than sub-standard products and will elevate the standards of the media (i.e. tv, film, music, etc.) companies to deliver quality instead of quantity.  This will force companies to go back to offering substance over style.  In the end this leads to a better community and environment overall with more progressive material and influences as opposed to stagnant or destructive material.

That speaks to the culture that we’re in, but what about you?  Ask yourself, who’s in my “inner circle” – what do they concern themselves with or “are we talking about anything that matters?”  What do you consider entertainment AND is it purely entertainment or more a lifestyle for you (aka “living the music video”)?  There are many books, articles and websites developed to encourage people to do more and be better with their God-given abilities.  I think that the simplest thing we can begin to do is to read more.  Reading sparks thought, it sparks imagination.  Some people say they don’t have time to read, but I’m sure that in many cases (not all) that there could be a time shift made to incorporate more reading and less of other forms of entertainment.

In the end, it boils down to vision – where do you see yourself.  Many people use different ways to stimulate positive thought within themselves.  Some people may meditate, some may use affirmations, some may pray.  All of these activities require some use of the imagination to move us from where we are to where we desire ourselves to be.  I’ve said it before in other blogs that people often times acquire what they think they want and find themselves unhappy once they get it.  This is partially due to spending a lot more time thinking about what they want as opposed to who they want to be.  There’s a big difference between “having” and “doing.”

It was revealed in Earl Nightingale’s 1956 audio recording “The Strangest Secret” that the commonality in all men is a secret that is revealed with these six words: “we become what we think about.”  So, ask yourself – what do you think about most?  By adjusting your environment along with having directed thoughts of who you want to be and what you want to do, you’re half way there.  If you find that you’re not where you want to be in life – tune out the outside world and tune into yourself.  Become the child you once were, connect to the little God inside of you – your imagination is only a thought away.  I hope you find it.  Your life, your family and your community’s survival depend on it…VA

For additional information on “The Strangest Secret” visit http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

Open Letter To Men/Women Wanting a Healthy Relationship…Do You Know Where You’re Going??

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Road to Nowhere Color

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Disclaimer: This is the third of a three-part blog series on relationships.  The first was An Open Letter To Men and the second was an Open Letter To Women.  As with all of these entries, they are based on conversations, observations and experiences related to male/female relationships and behavior.  The premise of the letter is to expand the conversation regarding relationships and hopefully serve as a benefit to those seeking positive and healthy relationships.  This entry will not be able to address or account for everything that has ever gone wrong in the history of relationships or totally prepare the reader for everything needed for a fulfilling relationship.  That is totally beyond the scope of one letter, book, seminar, sermon or other aid.  This is just one step in what should be a person’s never-ending search for knowledge, understanding and progression.

This document is geared more toward single individuals that are open to pursuing a relationship as opposed to people currently in a relationship.  Again, it’s just that the scope of this letter can not realistically address all issues related to dating whether in a relationship or open to being in one.  The attitudes and behavior addressed in the Letter to Men and Letter to Women aren’t addressed in this letter because those behaviors need to be addressed if they haven’t before this information can be applied.

Dear Friends,

What’s up and I am glad that you’re willing to take a moment of your time to allow me to share some things with you.  You may have read my prior two letters to men and women addressing different aspects of how “we” can be or how some of us are.  If you have not read those letters I would definitely recommend them for when you have time.  By this point in life you may have had a relationship or two (or three or more) and find the opposite sex to be confusing, frustrating, unpredictable or some other adjective that may not be positive.  If you have great feelings about relationships and the opposite sex then that’s definitely a good thing because I would not assert that all people are disenchanted with the opposite sex.

Before I go any further I know that everyone has their own perspective and this is simply my perspective.  It can’t be all-inclusive of all things, it’s really just meant to operate as a springboard to a better understanding or just something to consider.  Millions of books have been written on love/relationships.  I will share 5 major components/understandings that I think if addressed could significantly improve a person’s chances of achieving a fulfilling relationship.  In addition to these components I will share solutions that can get the ball rolling in getting over the hurdles that are presented.  The good news is that there is a solution in most cases.  The “not so good news” is that there are no quick remedies or instant revelations that move you from Point A to Point B overnight – as with anything worth having, it’s a process that takes work, time, energy and effort.

1) If You Are A Weak Individual By Yourself, You Are Just As Weak In A Relationship

Far too many people view a relationship as crazy glue, as a wonder drug or some magical remedy that will address a void in their lives or their personality.  I believe that it can be said that far too many people do not assess their own personalities or their own offerings prior to entering into a relationship and feel that something or someone outside themselves will fill the void of what’s possibly missing within them.  The first person that you must love in a relationship is the person that you are.  There are too many instances of a person not loving (in some cases not even liking) themselves that enter into a relationship and project their loneliness, their emptiness, their discontent for where their lives are on to the person they’re dating.  Their next step is to load up the figurative “relationship wheel barrel” and they hand their discontent to their new partner and say “you carry the load now – I don’t have to do this by myself anymore.”

That’s where it is first and foremost required that anyone understands that in love/relationships – two halves don’t make a whole. There are an extremely high number of individuals who do not go through the often times uncomfortable process of evaluating “who am I and am I fulfilled with my life independent of who is in it.”  This is a must-do process for anybody for two reasons.  One, it’s the smart thing to do because understanding deficiencies in your life independent of a relationship gets you to the place of identifying that regardless of how many relationships you enter – you won’t be satisfied and its not the other person’s fault for your dissatisfaction.  The second reason is that it’s the socially responsible thing to do because as you lure other people into your “no-win relationship” you drag other people through the process of you being unfulfilled.  How does this happen?  It becomes a situation where you are constantly going to the relationship to address your voids and that’s not the responsibility of your mate, that’s your responsibility.  You virtually become insatiable.

It is absolutely true for anyone to be fulfilled in a relationship that they have to be very comfortable with who and how they are as a person.  That doesn’t mean that people don’t have insecurities about themselves or things that they would like to improve.  The key word in this instance is identification.  Some people understand this next point and some are totally unaware of it.  That point is that if you truly can’t spend time with yourself, be fulfilled within yourself and you constantly NEED other people and things around you to be fulfilled then the chances of you being fulfilled outside of yourself decrease exponentially.

Many people feel that ignorance is bliss and it truly can be.  In this case, ignorance can be weakness as well.  By blocking out the constructive criticism and positive feedback from individuals that are closest to us share about our “ways”, characteristics and behavior that could use some improvement we are consciously choosing to remain a lesser form of ourselves.  Let me clarify what I mean by this.  I’m not referring to “directions in life” type of advice like “you should go back to school”, “you really need to settle down” or “your job is not challenging enough.”  These are life decisions that everyone needs to make on their own and although outside consideration is valuable, its not always the best course for you.  I’m referring to behavior statements like “you’re pretty hard to get along with sometimes”, “its hard for me to communicate with you because you seem to not listen to anyone other than yourself” or “why does it seem that you are never willing to compromise with other people.”  Those around us who actually are of great integrity and have our best interest in mind can be a catalyst for positive change if we are open to receiving what they share.

The basic solution to this understanding is that life is an ever-evolving and progressive learning process.  Many people think that learning ends when formal education (i.e. high school, college, graduate school, etc.) comes to an end.  Puberty is the first stage to adult development, but the true “wonder years” of figuring life out take place when the first bill with your name hits your mailbox post graduation.  The true leaders and winners in life understand that they don’t have it “all figured out” and they seek the progressive advice of people, books and other sources of information to progress their life from where it is to where they want to go.

The true winners understand that you must be a student of life in order to really progress yourself and your life’s conditions. For many people, they would rather “wing it” and take an “I got this covered” approach.  Often times the result is if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.  Watching Oprah a few times a week and other casual activities won’t make you the best career person, parent or prospect for a successful relationship.  Value the input of those around you that you respect when they share, but just as important – you have to pursue excellence in order to be excellent.  Many people are content to lean on their own understanding which is an exercise in futility in many cases.  True learning begins after you graduate.  Never stop your willingness to learn.

2) People Often Seek Relationships With Others Who Have Qualities That Are Not Compatible With Their Preferences or Qualities That Aren’t Compatible Period

Many people have a physical or virtual list of qualities that they want in a person.  It has been my observation that far too often this list contains qualities that are dissimilar and incongruent.  That is not to say that there isn’t that magical person out there that fits all of your qualities listed on your “should have” list.  However, the chances of you finding that individual grow far less likely when you are looking for someone whose character traits are unlikely to exist in one person.  Again, it’s improbable, not impossible.

What do I mean by dissimilar, incongruent or incompatible character traits?  Let’s look at women for a second.  I’ll share a story about a good friend of mine who has done well for herself as a lawyer in “the big city.”  She used to date a guy that was a big time real estate investor and they would kick it hard.  This guy would take her on expensive vacations, everything they did was top shelf, dinner for two people would be over $500 many times.  That’s great and they both enjoyed the time and the lifestyle.  Now here’s the issue, sometimes the guy would be an hour or two hours late for dinner.  I can hear women across the country with one collective “aww hell naw – that’s not gonna work for me.”

Let’s look at this a little closer, this guy is a multi-millionaire in real estate.  Anyone who has ever sat in a closing for the sale of property knows that you literally can never tell how long a closing will last, they easily could go over the expected time by one or more hours.  Here’s the bottom line, if you want a man that’s always on time you will have to find a guy who’s career and lifestyle fit the type of flexibility or inflexibility that works for you.  It would be different if the guy was cheap as hell, but if she wants to enjoy the fruits of his labor with him, she’ll have to give him the room and understanding that go along with his career.  Bottom line, your preferred attributes and qualities in a partner should be congruent – if you want someone who is on banker’s hours, date a banker, not a real estate mogul.

Now let’s take a look at the fellas.  For the guy that is looking for a match to his power couple image of a relationship, he may pursue women that are very career oriented.  Along with that woman comes her schedule and responsibilities.  That means that it’s pretty unreasonable for that guy to want this career oriented woman to have dinner on the table everyday at 7pm like his mother did.  She may have dinner on the table at 7pm one day, 9pm the next day, she may pick up the dinner the next day on the way home and you may have to do something for dinner to help out the other two days of the week.  For him to have the expectation that this “compliment” to his “power couple image” will have the same schedule of “household maintenance” that a woman who is looking to be more of a caretaker in a relationship are incompatible traits.  If he wants to date a woman with that ambition, somethings got to give OR if he wants dinner on the table everyday at a certain time then he may need to find a woman who’s career and lifestyle make that possible.

Understand that these examples are only that, examples, they are not absolutes.  I’m not saying that real estate moguls are exempt from respecting a woman’s time and that career women are exempt from providing nurturing and “feel good” esthetics that men like.  I’m simply saying that there has to be a degree of flexibility that tempers your expectations if you have preferred characteristics in a partner that may be more of a contrast than a compliment.

Then there are people that date a person that has traits that are incompatible with their own.  A woman who hates sports may want to date a guy who is a sports nut.  A guy who loves sports may want to date a woman who has never been and doesn’t ever care to go to a football game.  An even better example of this is the person who has a very active social life that falls for the person that has a very inactive social life.  In all of the examples just stated there is often a strong desire to CHANGE the person that you are in a relationship with.

Let me now state this – the only person that you can change, control or exert power over is yourself. If you met a person and they have “undesirable” likes, manner, interest and lifestyle (meaning that they differ from your preferences) you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration by understanding what makes them tick as opposed to getting them to change what they gravitated to long before the two of you were a couple.

If a woman had a lot of male friends before you met her, its not probable that she will stop talking to her male friends now that you’re in her life.  If a guy has “guy’s night” out and likes to hang with his boys – that’s his thing and although prospective shifts in a relationship you can’t remove people from their interests and likes.  The primary result of attempting to change them is resentment and as much as you think you’re helping yourself by trying to change your partner, you’re probably creating resentment toward you and your position if his/her behavior was like that prior to the relationship.

This is not to say that opposites don’t attract or that people can’t expose others to more than they already know.  It is to say that expectations have to be viewed as contiguous qualities and not these disjointed desires such as “I want a beautiful woman with no male friends” or “I want this head strong man who never refutes what I say or has an opinion different than mine.”  The more closely in alignment with one another your desired qualities are, the better chance you have of finding someone who realistically meets your standards.

The solution to this issue is born out of the definitions of disappointment.  My definition of disappointment is “the result of unmet expectations.” Some people are crafting a world of disappointment by creating tons of expectations in another person that more than likely will never be met by them.  Of course you should have expectations, standards and behavior guidelines that work for you in your relationship.  However, it’s important that you align those expectations in a way that you give the person you’re dating the opportunity to win.  Far too often men and women create a set of diametrically opposed traits that will create their own frustration.  The awareness has to be adjusted in their expectations that give themselves and the other person the opportunity to win in the relationship.

3) Many People Tend To Be Reactive and Problem Oriented in Relationships

This issue can’t be any more plainly stated than it already is.  There is a large contingency of people that chronically complain.  It may be that their observations are accurate, but they continuously whine and complain as opposed to create a winning environment.

The words that usually accompany the complaint are “you should already know this”, “why should I have to even tell you this” or “I thought you would have figured that out by now.”  Any iteration of that statement has a certain level of presumption and/or assumption in it.  Although I do agree that there is a basic code of conduct that most people would have toward one another, I would add that “common conduct” ain’t always common.  That just means what’s expected by one person isn’t a “given” to somebody else.  For example, I went on a lunch date with a woman who thought that it was proper for me to get out of the car when we parked, walk around to her door and let her out in order for her to exit the car.  I definitely didn’t do it, but my illustration (though a bit of an outlier) more so is to illustrate that people have different perspectives on what “common conduct” is.

My main point here is to say that people are not mind readers.  There are a lot of cases where people sulk, “blow a gasket” and get bent out of shape when people don’t perform an activity or provide something that they wanted or expected that somebody should or would do.  Additionally, some people are more apt to complain in many instances rather than see this disconnect as an opportunity to grow closer to together.

The solution to this issue is simply open, honest and effective communication.  The key to making the communication effective is to be solution oriented with the issue by creating an outcome that works for not just one, but both people. Additionally, in order to preempt an issue from arising, more people need to communicate what their expected/desired behavior or response from their mate is prior to an issue ever coming up.

Let me go back to the example of my lawyer-friend and her real estate mogul boyfriend.  I agreed with her that her time mattered and that she needed to be given notification of times that he was running extremely late.  I suggested to her that instead of wagging her finger in his face and demanding that she wasn’t going to be disrespected that she present a solution.  I gave her several examples of things that she could do that would create a win-win scenario and she said that what I shared with her was not only practical and feasible for her, but not an inconvenience to him either.  Although the relationship with that guy didn’t work out she found that the general advice of being solution oriented made sense and she put it to use in her next relationship.  I just found out that she and her current boyfriend just got engaged this weekend and she’s happier than she’s ever been.  I’m sure that providing solutions and not just addressing problems has gone a long way to creating a more collaborative environment than combative one for her.  Yes, it takes more work, but most things worth having do take more work.

4) People Show You Who They Are If You Take The Time To Look & Listen

Let’s get real for a second – most people that are horrible in a relationship show you that they’re going to be horrible before you ever commit to the person.  There are a ton of non-verbal and verbal clues that people share with you to let you know that they are selfish, shady, volatile or a ton of other undesirable qualities before you wake up and ask yourself “what have I gotten into.”  How does this happen?  Often times people go into relationships with their “eyes wide shut” looking at the things that they want to see and not the things that are actually happening in front of them.

This is not to say that there are not some good posers, actors and con artist (men and women) out there.  However, I bet in many instances that when people look at situations in hindsight that they can piece together different things that they glossed over that should have been something that was more disconcerting at the time it was recognized than it actually was.  We all have to go through different situations, experiences and frustrations in order to learn and grow.  Part of learning what you want is experiencing what you don’t like.

Volumes could be written on this point alone, but I will share one quick item to address this point.  Simply stated – A RED FLAG IS A RED FLAG!! I can’t take credit for this phrase, its something that I actually got from my Mom, but the truth of it is undeniable.  There are too many people that look at undesirable behavior in a dismissive capacity instead of with the seriousness and importance that it really deserves.  The worse part is that more times than not, by the time a person accepts the red flag as being a red flag they are “time committed” into the situation and then begin to put good time in after bad time as opposed to recognizing that the situation isn’t a fit for them and removing themselves from it.

There are times that a guy will give a woman an indication (hint: maybe a red flag in their book) that he is not the most dependable person as it relates to remembering things that she would feel are important to her (i.e. appointments, dates, things that he said he would do, etc.)  Yet, in many cases this pattern is dismissed in favor of thinking that as the relationship progresses that he’ll get better.  The news here is that often times people are at their best behavior in the early stages of the relationship and this is about the best that she’ll get from him (possibly.)  Many women talk about how guys have “representatives” in the early stage of getting to know the guy that he sheds to reveal his true self at a later time.  That’s well and good, but what about his (or her) true self that is shown to you that you choose to ignore. Many times people are given all they need to know up front still go deep into an undesirable situation where the person is showing who they really are up front.

However, there is a danger that some people have of becoming highly speculative or even paranoid after being hurt by a person that showed themselves to be different than how they were initially perceived to be.  The danger here is that there are some situations where you as the “hurt person” must shoulder more of the responsibility for the caliber of people that you have in your life (friends and lovers) and more importantly for the time that you put into these relationships after you discovered that this person was not meant for you.

Many people may have heard the Maya Angelou quote “If a person shows you who they are, believe them.”  Unfortunately far too many people don’t believe that fire is hot and they have to stand in the flames long after they’ve been ignited before they remove themselves (if they ever do.)  Everybody has their own motivation for why they stay in a situation, so I could never address them all globally.  The one thing that I can say globally is that the object of experience is to not repeat lessons that have already been learned.  No need to be bitter, contrary or vindictive to the next person that you encounter – however, no need to be bitten by a different animal in the same spot you were bitten before.  Learn your lesson and recognize those red flags that you’ve seen or those like them when they present themselves.  Additionally, don’t erect so many walls of protection and create so many defense mechanisms that you cut yourself off from blessings at the time that you decide you are open to a relationship if you choose.  Being a cynic is not a good look for anybody, being aware is your responsibility though.  Knowledge is power, use it wisely, but you have to use it.

As a side note, not all people are bad, messed up, etc.  Sometimes people “just don’t work out”, have different agendas or are incompatible.  That comes along with the process.  I just didn’t want it to be implied that I feel everyone presents red flags.

5) Fear and Love Can’t Occupy The Same Space

This is a lesson that I understood clearly when I got it from The Road Less Traveled by Dr. M. Scott Peck.  There are far too many people that let fear and insecurity not only lead them into a relationship, but rule them once they get there.  A relationship is a process of giving.  However, the person that is constantly in a state of fear/panic/insecurity/gluttony/selfishness becomes much more concerned about what they’re getting (or not getting) that they often times forget (or neglect) to give.

A healthy relationship is meant to be a place where you are not only getting nourished, but you are nourishing someone in return.  Many times in relationships the scales of who gives and how much they give is thrown way out of balance by the fact that people are far more concerned about what it is they are receiving than what they are giving.

The solution to this issue is that there is a certain amount of ego that has to be dialed down (by men and women) and a certain amount of vulnerability that both people must expose themselves to in order to allow an environment of sharing or a win-win scenario to take place. In layman’s terms “it ain’t all about you.”  However, just as important, it ain’t all about the other person either.  Far too many people can lose themselves in a relationship by losing their love/care of self for the benefit of the person that their involved with and to their own detriment.  Either way it goes, when the scales are tipped too far to either side, somebody or both people in the relationship are bound to lose.

There’s no simpler way that I can explain the point that Fear and Love Can’t Occupy the same space than that.  This may seem like an oversimplified explanation, but really how much more difficult is it?  Humility is something that both people in a relationship need to exhibit in order to make it work.  Deferring to your partner because you respect their ability to make a decision is usually needed.  If you don’t respect your partner enough to allow them to participate in the decision making parts of your relationship then you need an entirely different letter written to you.

Let me quickly share something about tolerance in a relationship.  People need people.  You need somebody (not a relationship per se, just the love of people) and somebody needs you.  If you’re in a relationship you have to accept someone for who they are and their desire and ability to give their best (which is relative to every individual.)  We have to be patient and tolerate one another as we strive to be our best (and I’m not speaking financially or career oriented best.) HOWEVER, the word strive is the optimal word in that sentence.  If you are in a situation or venturing into a relationship with someone who is not seeking to live their best life or looking to be their best self, then enter at your own risk.  A person does not have to verbally commit to you that they are living their best life.  Its in their manner, their character and in their way of being.  If you openly choose to start a relationship with someone who wants nothing more than what they have and where they are (i.e. spiritually, mentally, emotionally, communicatively, etc.) then it is not their fault if they don’t live up to your view of who they should be.  More responsibility needs to be taken by people for the decisions that they make, as opposed to passing blame to their partner for doing what they have always done – simply being themselves, not their “best self.”  If you value your time, your energy and your emotions you will take the time to respectfully qualify the people that you have in your life, relationships as well as friendships because you are the sum total of the people you associate with – they are a reflection of you and vice versa.

We all come from different upbringings, different environments and don’t have the same experiences when we’re raised.  In order to balance this difference in all of us, it’s important to encapsulate all 5 of these points that I’ve presented to give you and the person that you’re looking to enter a relationship with the chance to win.  By being a student of life, properly identifying/aligning your desires, being solution oriented, seeing the red flags and being emotionally/mentally capable and available for that relationship if you choose to enter into it, you’re set up for success.

Why don’t people do these things?  I can quite honestly say it’s a lot easier to be lazy, be “about yourself” and not do the work that it takes to prepare yourself for a quality relationship than it is to work at being ready.  No truer words have been spoken than “you reap what you sow.” Identify what you want, but also create a life game plan that gets you where you want to go.  Many people are willing to invest thousands of dollars into their formal careers and academic progress, but don’t take the free time to learn and improve themselves as people when they want to progress outside of their careers.

Again, life is a never-ending lesson if you’re willing to take the course.  Some books that have helped me gain a view of what “matters” to me are:

  • “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck M.D.
  • “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business” by T. Cole-Whittaker
  • “Awaken The Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins
  • “The Law of Attraction” by Esther & Jerry Hicks

To paraphrase the great Jim Rohn “if you’re in the wrong direction you’ll never get to your destination.  If you’re in the right direction it may take you 5 years to reach your destination.  Although you can’t reach your destination overnight – if by chance you find that you’re going in the wrong direction, you can change your direction in an instant.” I pray that you’re all going in the right direction and find your destination.

Take care of one another – “we all we got.”  Thanks for taking the time to grow with me.  Much love…VA

An Open Letter to Women – “The Woman In The Mirror”…

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Black frame with detail mirror

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This is the second of a three part series regarding the Male/Female Relationship.  This entry is an open letter to Women, the first was an open letter to Men and the third is an open letter to Men and Women who want a productive and fulfilling relationship.  This submission is intended to loosely connect with the first letter to Men.  Therefore, issues that were addressed in the letter to men will not be rehashed in this letter.

Disclaimer(s):  I could write an entire blog about disclaimers given that women are very dynamic individuals.  Very much like the letter to men, this entry is the culmination of experience, observations and conversations with men and women about women.  The nature of the blog is very frank and it is not intended to be inflammatory or antagonistic, merely one person’s vast, broad assimilation of information.  If you are a woman reading this you may feel that there are some items, examples and inferences that may not relate to you.  In that case, feel free to look past that as a “does not apply to me” issue.  HOWEVER, it has been my experience that there is quite a bit of denial within some women with regard to how they “really” are perceived by others vs. how they perceive themselves.

Also, this is a “lengthy” discussion to a broad topic.  I do not speak for all men, but I would say that the information is very pertinent.  I thank you in advance for taking the time to read it.  With that being said – here we go…

Dear Ladies,

Hello Ladies, I hope that you’re doing well at the time of receiving this letter.  Many of you had the opportunity to peek at the letter to Men that I wrote and if you have not, I would encourage you to when you find time.  As that letter stated, I don’t know everyone that this letter will reach, but there are some that I have had the opportunity to know in passing, some very well or maybe even “personally.”  I know that some of you are single, married, “unhappily connected” or “happily connected.”  Any way you may be at this time, I applaud you for making it this far and doing so much in a world that is often dominated by men.

Before I get started, I would like it if you as the ladies could do me a huge favor.  As you’re reading this, can you please let go of the excuse of “well if guys would just” or “what about when guys do” and all of the other references that could come up about men’s transgressions or wrong doings.  Two wrongs don’t make a right and men behaving badly in no way removes women’s accountability for the issues that they bring to the table.  So this letter is focused on women, not the things that men do to make women do unproductive things in return.  Ok, thanks for agreeing to that.

I think that there are many, many issues ranging from esteem issues, to insecurity, materialism, prior abuse, self-respect and many more issues that impact women in relationships.  Also, because women are so dynamic it would be impossible to address all of these issues within this letter.  With that in mind I will let ladies know that this letter will specifically speak to why many women attract more “busters” and bad choices in men and many times don’t get a call back or chance to pursue a relationship with the guy who may have been a better quality catch. Plainly stated, the undesirable components of some women’s personality quite possibly attract the buster and repel the guy with good sense.

Today (July 7, 2009) Michael Jackson was laid to rest and one of his more poignant songs is “The Man In The Mirror” which inspired the title of this letter.  I would like to ask every woman, presuming you could meet a single man who possessed your criteria for what a good man is, who wasn’t intimidated by other men or your place in life, wasn’t insecure, who was willing to develop a mature relationship with you that could lead to marriage – would you consider yourself to be the woman that he would want in return??  As much talking that has been done about how trifling, immature and under-developed men are, do you really consider yourself to be the woman that “Mr. Right For You” would want in return??

The origin of this question doesn’t come from my past serious relationships and it doesn’t come from my divorce.  It actually comes from the many conversations I’ve had with women (some dating, some just conversations), the conversations that I’ve had with “good” men regarding their experiences with women and my personal observations of women as a business man and DJ in the 3rd largest city of the country, Chicago.  It certainly comes from the numerous conversations or observations of women when I and other men think “do you even hear the words that are coming out of your mouth??” Unfortunately, if I had to assess whether many women are what I or what other men of good character would want (not referring to physical attraction, purely personality), the answer would be a resounding “hell NO.”

To cut to the chase as to why this may be the point, it is my observation that there are two types of women (for the purposes of this letter), the first is the woman that simply knows herself, the second woman is the woman who not only knows herself, but she is also “self aware.”  We all know what knowing yourself is – it includes your likes, turn-offs, ambitions, desires, etc.  However, being “self aware” means that you not only know yourself, you are also fully aware of how you are perceived by other people.

Again, my observation is that there are many women that exhibit less than desirable personality qualities (i.e. argumentative, uber-passive, over bearing, etc.) and unfortunately, they have no idea that they would run a good guy off in a heartbeat.  I’ve asked several women lately “which one of your girlfriends would you personally date if you were a guy.”  After a pause and some thought, many of them cycle through their girlfriend’s idiosyncrasies, quirks, bad habits and oddities to then say, “let me get back to you on that.”  Of course that’s not true of every woman.  However, the major point that I’m sharing is that sometimes women can be so fixated on “this is me and this is who I am, take it or leave it” that they don’t realize how much of a turn off their personality truly is, especially to a man that they would want to attract.

Its even amazing the number of arguments/squabbles that women have with their women friends during girls night out, girl’s vacations, etc.  You hear comments like “I’ll never travel with her again”, “I hate waiting for her” or “that’s why I like it when I drive as opposed to riding with them” and many more complaints about women friends.  Guess what – you and/or your girlfriends bring that same behavior (and more) in their relationships with men.  Women don’t even want to deal with their girl friends (in some cases) because “you know how SHE is.”  That’s exactly the point I’m making about the same and worse behavior with men.

Again, the natural defense is to say “well, what about the guys who…” – we’re not talking about them right now, this is about you being ready for “Mr. Right For You” in the event that’s what you would like to have in your life.

I know that there are some women that would say “if a guy doesn’t like me for who I am, then he’s not the guy for me.”  Well, let’s take a look at who you are quite honestly:

  • Are you conflict oriented or conflict averse?
  • Are you boring or engaging?
  • Are you open to new things or stuck in your ways?
  • Are you super-stubborn or open to new ways of seeing things?
  • Are you bossy or flexible?
  • Are you abrasive or soothing?
  • Are you clingly/insecure or secure?
  • Are you overly needy or independent to the extent there’s no room for anyone else or somewhere in the middle?
  • Do you appear to be frigid or tastefully alluring (let’s be honest, men do want to be ATTRACTED to a woman?)

I know that times have changed and that women have to assume more responsibility in the home and in the office than ever before.  HOWEVER, one of the biggest things that I’ve seen in the 21st century woman that is a major turn-off is the lack of a brain buffer.  Quite honestly that means that what comes up, comes out.  In addition to the brain buffer issue is women who are theoretically so far on their own page with their likes, dislikes, “this is the way that I amisms”, that it literally turns people (women and men) off or runs them away.  Again, I am referring to the “getting to know you” process.”  These issues can be omnipresent even prior to an actual relationship ensuing.

Let me explain something briefly.  Many times the guy that you are looking for who is sensitive to your needs, supports you in your progression of yourself, wants to carry his part of the load and all those other great things really doesn’t want a sarcastic, “flip”, “say whatever you feel” kind of woman.  This doesn’t mean that he’s not looking for your opinion and doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.  That also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want a funny, witty woman with a ton of personality.  This is where the old adage “it’s not always what you say, but how you say it” comes in.  We are in a time where far too often women don’t care how they say what it is they have to say to a man.  This may seem unreasonable, but it’s no different than the desire to have a man ask something of you rather than demand it.  The gruff, crass and thoughtless way that some women speak (especially to men) these days doesn’t garner any level of respect, love, courtesy or desire to want to spend time with a woman who doesn’t have enough discretion to think before she speaks.

Some women may say “I don’t want to have to go through all of that, if I feel something I should just be able to say whatever.”  Again, you wouldn’t want some guy coming at you half-witted and quarter-cocked with the first dumb ass thing out of his mouth.  Just consider the feeling mutual.  Too often the lack of decorum and the feeling of “whatever” that many women have will continue to attract the guys who do the same in return and alienate the ones who would offer them the respect in return of thinking before they said the first thing that came to mind.

Many women are under the impression that men are intimidated by free-thinking, motivated and assertive women.  Though that may be the case with some men, there are many men who want a woman with wit, energy, ideas and ambition.  HOWEVER, they want them to still be and act like women.  The same way that it’s a turn off for a man to exhibit what would be considered “girl like” tendencies, it is equally as much of a turn off to a man for a woman to interact with him, have conflict with him and “get at” him the way that a man would.  It doesn’t mean that a “good” man wants a woman to be demure or soft-spoken.  Mature and developed men can receive what you’re saying much better when it’s delivered with grace, class and panache’ as opposed to when it’s being delivered with the subtlety of a baseball bat.  The same way you want a man to be a man, a man talking with a woman, doesn’t wants to feel like he’s “going at it” with one of his boys unless it’s the tone of a specific conversation.  It is cool to feel like you have a woman that can flow between “kickin it” and the serious man/woman vibe.  Unfortunately, I’m not referring to moments of conflict; I’m just referring to typical everyday conversation where women are so raw and at times abrasive that it’s a turnoff.  When I say abrasive I’m not referring to profanity.  More like talking at someone instead of talking to them or just frankly saying anything that comes to mind regardless of how it may be received.

On the other end of the spectrum is the woman that feels that her opinion doesn’t matter or she constantly relegates herself to whatever the man’s position would be.  Included in that is the woman who is not engaging in many regards and doesn’t present any level of allure or captivating quality to attract a man.  The man you want typically only fully respects women that they fully respect themselves.  Good guys typically are drawn to women who feel good about themselves.  It is not my assertion in any way that a woman should “kow tow” to a man in any way.  I feel that the most progressive relationships will always be the ones where the two act as equals (still respective of the man/woman dynamic) and the woman is not relegated to the lesser person in the relationship.  Unfortunately, many woman position themselves in that place are at times taken advantage of because of it.  Much of that was/is her doing.

Again, it is my personal opinion that the right woman can get a man to do just about anything that she would want if she was more desirable (mentally and yes, physically too – this is a desire based connection for both sexes) than demanding in many cases.  There is an old statement that still is  as true today as it has ever been – “you can attract a lot more bees with honey than you can with vinegar” and unfortunately many women have lost sight of that.  On far too many occasions the otherwise desirable woman is driving men away by not being “self aware” and simply being herself.

So how is it that this position assumed by women of not being “self aware” can attract busters and stave off the desirable guy?  Let’s look at the buster.  The synonym for buster is predator.  Busters look at women with emotional issues, super-ego/attitudes, walls, emotionally unavailable and/or low self-esteem as prey or a challenge.  That means that by their very nature they know that your soft exterior or rough exterior, whatever you may have can be broken down by a series of saying and/or doing the things to get past the barriers that have been put up.  The same way that the jackal stalks the lioness, many women are throwing so much of their “this is how I am” nature or their “I have low esteem” nature out there that its literally pheromones attracting the jackal who is willing to “play the game” until you break down and give him whatever it is he wants.  The buster/predator sees you as a project, a thing to do, a conquest and is willing to engage in the game of “this is me” because he wants to destroy you or at least take the parts that he wants and leave the rest behind.

How does being “self aware” help minimize the attacks from the buster/predator?  The same way that the woman that is not self aware can turn her friends off and not care, can rub the right guy the wrong way and say “he wasn’t the one for me” is the same woman that is so far on her own page that she doesn’t see the true intentions of the buster.  It is her bullshit ways that have become the bait that the buster uses because they know that given the right “approach” they can and will break her down.

On the total other hand – the mature, progressive, “willing to grow with you” type guy is the one that typically sees the walls, the issues, the unnecessary difficulty, the low-esteem, the inflexibility or brash disposition and would rather not be bothered with all of that.  All of what you may ask?  All of the posturing, extreme ego, insensitivity, lack of esteem, potential conflict that he will notice very early in interacting with a woman if he himself is “self aware.”  Self aware women and self aware men are not predators.  They don’t have time to decipher the code of what makes you tick or burst through the proverbial walls that have been erected.

It is the law of attraction – those things that are alike in life are drawn to one another.  The predator and the prey are drawn to one another.  It is very much like Job 3:25 from the bible “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”  Many women, I have to tell you – you are running the desirable guys away with your attitudes, lack of humility, lack of grace, lack of self-anything, lack of femininity (beyond sex appeal) and you are attracting the busters for the same exact reasons.  Then those same women are enabling and supporting the behavior of the predators that they are in relationships with and are looking to place the blame on the man.  Every person’s first order of priority is to love yourself, you can not look for anyone to love you more than you are willing to love yourself.

Men and women have a lot of complexities in relationships and again, this letter can not and does not address all of them.  However, if you are finding that you don’t know where “the good men are” or if you seem to attract predators in your life, it’s possible that you may have the entire male species figured out, so you would like to believe.  My question then would be, how much time have you taken to assess your own quirks, idiosyncrasies and ways about you that may drive your friends or a good man to not want to further a relationship with you?  How happy are you with your “this is me” attitude or disposition if “good” men and women may not want to be around you while you’re being you.  When you look at the woman in the mirror, is that your best self or the person that you’ve resigned yourself to be?

Life should be evolving, it should exhibit growth and I’ve seen and observed far too many women who have tuned out the world so much that the only tune that they hear is their own.  The sad part about that is that they’re the only ones willing to play that song because there’s no room for anybody else to join in.

I was raised by three wonderful women (mom, aunt and grandmother) and they are all very strong willed and opinionated.  The thing that I love about them most is that they speak loud and clear, but they also listen in return.  They taught me to listen, not only to myself, but to others.  That ability to listen is what can allow me to be in a conversation with a woman and be able to detect that the primary tune that she hears is her own, there’s really no place for me in that band.

I would venture to say that given the number of men that I’ve talked to about the state of their relationships that I’m “on to something” with this synopsis.  These good brothers find themselves on bad dates and undesirable situations with women just the same way women do.  Here’s the scary part – the buster/predator guys that are bad dates, really don’t care if they are good to women or not.  The buster/predator doesn’t care how you perceive him, if it’s a failed attempt, he’s on to the next victim.  The women who are bad dates, you can’t tell them a damn thing!!  To say that they are not self-aware is an understatement.  The even scarier part is that the dynamics of some (not all, but some) female friendships is that women can’t even keep it real with their girls and let them know how “out of pocket” that their girl is.  Or if they do tell her, she’s not listening.  Additionally, the women who know that they haven’t taken a good look in the mirror intentionally relay stories (by only telling part of the truth) to their girls to get advice from them that fosters their continuance of their less than desirable behavior.

In the end, it’s not up to a guy, your girls or anybody to police your behavior ladies. In the end it’s you.

Let me take this one step further for the women who do move past the “getting to know you” stage and actually develop a relationship with a “good guy.”  The woman who is “self aware” recognizes that once she has started dating a good guy that the journey is not over, it has just begun while the woman that only knows what she likes and dislikes feels like “mission accomplished.”  Far too many women equate fidelity with being a “good woman.” That is to say that as long as she’s faithful to her guy she can act in any manner that she wants (including driving a guy crazy for no reason) and as long as she’s faithful she’s a “good woman.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  If you are not aware of how your moods, outbursts, despondence, “shitty tone”, demands, sometimes insatiable or needy behavior is affecting your man you are not being a “good woman” in his eyes regardless of how faithful you are. This is where it becomes most critical that you are “self aware” because your behavior will push a good guy out the door if you can’t police yourself.

To the women who none of this applies to, congratulations to you.  That still doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues to be fleshed out while in the relationship, but at least you’re one step closer to shakin’ the busters and attracting a winner.  To the women that want to know where are all of the good men and why does this keep happening to me, when was the last time you took a look at the woman in the mirror.  When was the last time you heard and received the positive and progressive advice of the men and women in your life, when was the last time you asked somebody “what. if anything, do you think that I could work on to be the best person I could be for myself and in a relationship?”  I would venture to say that women spend an inordinate amount of time griping about how there are no (or only a few) good men out here, but not nearly as much time is spent on being the best that they can be or pointing out issues to their girls.  Again, sometimes they do that and their girl “knows so much” that she’s not listening to the good advice being offered.

I’d like to share that denial is a lose/lose scenario for everybody.  Its great to love yourself and feel good about who you are and I would never want to insinuate that anyone become less of a person to allow room for somebody else.  As men are to be providers and protectors, women are nurturers and sources of comfort.  I’m not saying to give your “gifts” of comfort and nurture to everyone.  However, allow for others to qualify you as you should qualify them without the “all self-knowing” part of your personality disqualifying you before you even get a chance.

Understand that the notion that the “right guy for you” will love you just as you are, despite your idiosyncrasies, quirks, flaws and attitudes that are a manifestation of “this is how I am” (as opposed to general likes and dislikes) is highly unlikely. What’s a general like or dislike?  Basic things like “I don’t like football”, “I would prefer to go to the early church service” as opposed to “this is how I talk, so deal with it”, “this is how I get sometimes” or “I’ve never had to do XYZ for myself, so I won’t worry how to do it now.”  Its not that only “strong” women exhibit these attitudes, a passive woman who doesn’t form her own opinion or appears helpless or “whoa is me” at all times can be just as much of a turnoff for the mature man looking for a progressive relationship.

The fairytale, the “Notebook” (refering to the movie) love affair, the myth that any person male or female will totally accept and more importantly, be fulfilled with another person without regard to that person operating in their best self is again, high unlikely.  It doesn’t mean that a meaningful relationship can not be had, it more so means that the odds of that relationship being with the “ideal” man that was desired/envisioned is very improbable.

Thesis Statement Ladies: Many women say that they are not settling until they find what they want ideally in a man.  However, many of those same women settle on being their lesser selves as a person and potential mate as opposed to finding their best self that would attract the man they feel would be their ideal compliment.

When I speak of settling within yourself I’m not referring to worldly ambition or being “goal oriented.”  I am referring to character and the caliber of “feminine esthetic” that makes a man want to be around and partner with a woman.  There are many ambitious and accomplished women who develop false-pride (as many men do) and lose a fair amount of humility as they accomplish more and also as they feel better about themselves.  Accomplishment and esteem are in direct relationship to humility.  The more you “are”, the more you “do”, the more you “have to offer”, the more humble ANY PERSON (man or woman) should become.  Far too often women gain a stronger sense of self, attain more “stuff” and lose their humility which in turn may be a turn-off to a good guy.  Women deserve to be proud and feel good about what they have done or who they are as women.  There is however a huge difference in being proud and remaining humble.  The right guy will respect you more and possibly desire you more if your confidence and accomplishments surpass the average man without having the “false pride”, “BIG EGO” (pun intended) and “chip on her shoulder” to go with it.

A quick note to the women who have been hurt by guys in the past, let that burden and frustration go.  It is not the next guy’s job to pick up the slack and remove the hurt of your past relationships.  Yes, I agree – this is true of men, as well as women – I got you!!  Again, we’re talking about women here.

So, let me put a wrap on the letter by saying that of course there is no such thing as perfection.  There is an air of compromise, acceptance, patience and tolerance that a relationship will have to endure on both sides.  However, there is a growing contingency of women who are not “self aware” and have attitudes, insufferable dispositions/opinions who refuse to make adjustments in any relationships male/female and even with female friends and these individuals can not figure out why they’re unlucky in love.  The mirror is only a step away.

I also want to say that if your first response upon reading this is “well about what the guys when they” or “if men didn’t do” or “if men would do”, then basically you’re listening to your own song and missed the entire purpose of the letter.  It wouldn’t be surprising if you never heard what anyone said outside of your own voice in your head.  The subject of this letter is women’s issues in a particular area, not men’s issues.

Go to the mirror, put your song on mute, take a long look with both eyes open and ask yourself – “am I the only person that likes what I see”, your soul and your environment will provide the answer – only if you are willing to listen.

Much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

An Open Letter to Men – Insecurity and “Bitchassness” in Male/Female Relationships Affects Everyone…

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , on July 6, 2009 by djvinceadams

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NOBitchassness

NOTE: THIS IS A THREE-PART SERIES.  TO ACCESS THE OTHER ENTRIES CLICK THE LINKS ABOVE BY THE TITLE…

This is the first of a three part series regarding the Male/Female Relationship.  This entry is an open letter to Men, the second is an open letter to Women and the third is an open letter to Men and Women who want a productive and fulfilling relationship.

DISCLAIMER: This is a very “touchy” and adult subject.  Some men may have hurt feelings or take offense to what I’m saying here – if that’s the case, I will apologize in advance.  I have taken my years of conversations, experiences and observations with men and with women about men to create this letter.  This letter does not reflect a single encounter, again, it is based on a wide array of encounters.  The following is just “real talk” from the way I see things.  Additionally, this is an adult blog entry with profanity.

Dear Bruhs,

What’s up?  I know some of you personally, some of you as acquaintances and I have not had the opportunity to meet many of you at the time of preparing this letter.  To all of you who have defied the odds (regarding Black Men) by being a productive member of society, educated in many cases and furthering yourselves, I applaud you as many people in society will not give you that credit.  It is my observation that our communities are suffering more and more for a myriad of reasons – all too broad to discuss in this one letter.  I can say that part of the issue in our community stems from our unhealthy relationships with women.

From the beginning of time men have been accused and guilty of being liars, cheaters, ill-tempered (even abusive), unable to properly communicate and many other things.  Again, this letter is by no means the forum to discuss every challenge that befalls men and more specifically, Black Men.  I can say that I have had the opportunity to know, date, befriend and converse with many, many women over the past 20+ years.  It is through my relationships (friend and dating) with women that I really get to learn a lot about my Black Brothers.  Additionally, I would have to say that many of you Bruhs have been pretty honest in “telling on yourselves”, but its really through conversations with other women that I get “the scoop.”

It is through these conversations, relationships and encounters with women that I have come to see that there are two divisions of men (as it relates specifically to this letter.)  There is the secure, directed and “well put together” brother and there is the brother that suffers from bitchassness and insecurity.  It is my observation over the past 5 years that there has been a HUGE upsurge in these two increasingly pervasive issues when it comes to men: bitchassness and insecurity.  I know that we as men have egos and rarely want to see a “lesser” form of ourselves, so let me help you in identifying if you have been or are guilty of bitchassness or insecurity.

The Urban Dictionary defines bitchassness (a word created by P. Diddy) as:

“newly discovered disease running rampant, especially in the black community.

symptoms include:

1.punkish tendencies
2. cattiness, such as talking behind someone’s back
3. thinking highly of yourself, but only expressing it under your breath
4.claiming “hurt feelings” when you are called out on your bullshit”

In addition to this definition, I would state that specifically for the purposes of this letter that going through a woman’s personal possessions (i.e. phone log, text messages, email, purse – anything that’s not yours) is the epitome of bitchassness.  Along with these actions is being passive aggressive.  Passive aggressive would simply be not directly addressing issues that you have with a woman and creating more issues by being, well, a bitch ass.

That’s only half of the problem, the other is insecurity.  I have had girlfriends, I’ve been married and I have had the opportunity to date a wide range of women.  I think that this would give me an opportunity to display insecurity at some point in my life.  So Bruhs, if you want to know if you’re insecure, here is a list of questions (or any form of the question) that may qualify you as insecure if you’ve ever asked them to a woman:

  • “Where are you going?” (other form “Where were you?”)
  • “Who are you going with?”
  • “When are you coming back?”
  • “Why don’t you wear something less revealing?”
  • “Who was that on the phone?”
  • “Who was that guy over there you were talking to?”
  • “Who is he and what it is he to you?”

I am very proud to say that in my 20+ years of dating (or being a husband) that I have NEVER asked a woman these questions.  Why not, because it was either none of my business, people are entitled to have their own lives and in the case of the revealing clothes – if she had “great cleavage”, sexy legs or anything outwardly appealing when I met her it wouldn’t be fair of me to ask her to start being “less appealing” because she’s in my life now.

By now Bruhs, you should get the picture.  Of course this is not an all-inclusive list of questions that the insecure brother asks and you can get the varieties of how these questions are asked without me doing it for you.  The important thing is that men have been insecure since the beginning of time because of our “fragile egos”, but insecurity is now ramping up to an all-time high.

Women are the ones who normally have the qualities of curious, intuition and suspicion associated with them.  I am by no means condoning poor behavior or actions on the part of women (i.e. going through a man’s phone or private possessions.)  I am more so saying that this is behavior more associated with a woman than with a man.  Let me give you a hand Bruh, leave all the suspicions and “girl-like” behavior to the women – grab your nuts and get your shit together.

Now, let me state, there are a fair number of women who are “doing dirt” and it’s not like there isn’t a fair space for speculation.  To be even more frank about it, there are some “shady ass” women out here and women will tell you that there are a lot of women that are up to “no good.”  The primary point that I’m making is that men should handle issues like a man, not like a woman.  There is no amount of “shadiness” or suspicion about a woman that should ever make a man resort to handling any issue in the way that a woman would.  There are always two sides to a story, but again, nothing should reduce a man to handling situations anyway other than like a man.  This bitchassness has got to stop or at least be identified because simply stated – it’s not a “good look” at all.

Let me explain to you what you’re doing my man.  You’re trying to control somebody else (mainly your woman) because you have no self control.  You’re trying to manipulate someone else’s “way of doing things” because of issues that you have within yourself.  The biggest and probably worst part of it is that your woman (if she loves you) really wants to respect you.  Well, I hate to break it to you, but every time you display your bitchassness by not handling things like a man or you display insecurity you are losing more and more of her respect.  It’s no different than putting stricter rules on a teenager who isn’t doing anything wrong, the more you stifle them, the more they don’t like you and the more they will rebel.

With that being the case, you brothers who display these bitch ass tendencies and insecurities become your own biggest problem.  You are creating your own world where you will never be fulfilled and by brow beating, dominating or manipulating a woman you will never get where you are trying to go – it only creates tension, resentment and the lack of real love and compassion in the relationship – that’s in the case that you even want a “real relationship.”

The worst part about it Bruhs is that the overwhelming majority of you who are displaying some degree (or a large degree) of bitchassness or insecurity are guilty of not handling your business in the relationship.  It’s a fact that there are some women that are simply out for themselves and it doesn’t matter what you do for them or to them, they will simply not be a good fit for you.  HOWEVER, there is a large contingency of women who believe in you, want you to succeed, want the best for you, but you don’t give them the support that they need in order for them to do what’s right for you.

You may ask how does that work.  C’mon Bruhs, let’s not play stupid.  The majority of men that participate in insecurity and bitch ass actions are the ones who are not willing to step up to the plate fully and handle your end of the business in the relationship.  In other cases you guys emotionally neglect or even mistreat your women and your bitch ass tendencies or insecurities arise because you know by all rights that your girl shouldn’t want to put up with your half-ass approach to the relationship.  She might say that it’s not her fault for loving you, but I would disagree and say that it is her fault, but that’s a topic for another letter.

I could go on and on about bitchassness and insecurity because it has really spun out of control.  I’ll just say that there are a lot of ways that you can “look bad” to your woman, but this is probably the worst way that you could because your actions are so woman-like that she honestly sees you as less of a man every time you do these things whether she tells you to your face or not.  I just thought that you should know.

I have to admit that there is a somewhat selfish reason that I have for reaching out to my brothers who display bitch ass qualities and insecurities.  Earlier I said that there are two types of guys for the purpose of this letter – the second guy is the “well put together” guy who is secure.  I would put myself in this category.  So what’s the selfish reason?  Well, you insecure Bruhs with these bitch ass tendencies are making it hard for the guys without all of these issues to have good relationships with single women because of all of the bullshit that you’ve taken them through with your games, manipulation and insecurities.

Now, let me say this, I am not saying that ALL issues with men/women relationships stem from the insecure man, not at all.  However, you are a healthy contributor Bruh.  Women get so confused, so disheartened and so discontent by all the shit that you’ve heaped on them that by time they get to sit down and have a conversation with a brother who doesn’t have these qualities they have a hard time discerning whether we are the real deal or if they’re sitting with our “representative” the same way that they sat with your “representative” before all of your skeletons and bitch ass tendencies came out.

I can’t say it any plainer than letting you know my brother, you’re messing up the situation for everybody not just yourself.

I’ll conclude by saying that I don’t expect for all of my brothers with these insecurities and tendencies to change overnight for the benefit of the secure brothers and the sisters who really don’t deserve what you’re doing.  However, as the old saying goes “knowing is half the battle.”  I think that its time that the conversation on how to create a better climate for relationships starts with us addressing our own issues.  Sisters can tell us things until we’re blue in the face.  Maybe hearing it from one of our own may bring a greater awareness or at least start the conversation in order to minimize this behavior or at least stop the rampant progression of it.

In the end, I want to congratulate my secure brothers for hanging in there and enduring all the frustrations that come with the climate that the insecure brother creates and the aftermath of his failed relationships with his “female victims.”  To the insecure brother with less than desirable tendencies, it’s not too late to change your ways.  I believe that you want to be fulfilled in your relationships too and maybe if you can identify that you are part of your own problem, also that you can’t control anybody’s behavior other than your own, maybe then you can be a part of the solution.

I will apologize if I hurt any of my brother’s feelings.  We as Black Men are sometimes chastised for having feelings and I don’t want to be insensitive to that.  Some guys may be upset and feel that I’m out of bounds for what I’m saying.  To that I would say that your behavior is no secret and I haven’t said anything that anybody can’t see for themselves.  It’s always easier to ask others to lower their standards than for a person to raise their own.

As for the women who may have been “AMENing” or hi-fiving me during this letter, I gladly will accept it and hope that I was able to speak to many of the issues that you would like to see removed from our relationships.  I certainly hope that you are as open and honest with yourselves when I share my open letter to you coming shortly.

Much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA