Go Girl

Boobs and P! Power - Scandal and a PSA

In the words of the Commodores - How can she lose those things she use?
In mid-September, I was running errands when one of Plano's finest pulled up behind me and flashed his lights. Le Sigh. I pulled over with a smile on my face, rolled down my window and spoke, "Hi Officer, how's your day going?" He paused and then blinked. "Um, better than yours. You don't have a front license plate, your inspection sticker is out of date and I can't find proof of insurance on this car in the system." I handed him all my documentation, explained about the inspection sticker all the while smiling and chatting about the weather, the Cowboys, the price of gas, whatevs.

"You are the most pleasant traffic stop I've had in a while." He informed me while he typed up $600 worth of fines into his little handheld. 

"Well, no need to make you feel bad about doing your job. Plus I was just headed to Zumba class so it's not like you're totally ruining my day." I brightened the smile and fluttered the lashes. 

"You know what?" He offered, leaning in. He may or may not have been ogling the boobs. "I'm not supposed to do this but let me tell you how you can get almost all of this excused and pay only a tenth of the fine." 

"That would be soooo awesome," I cooed and wrote down every word he said. He thanked me for my pleasant attitude and we went our separate ways. On the day I was supposed to go in and prove I had fixed all the stuff, I clickety-clacked into the Collin County courthouse, stood in line for 52 minutes (with a lot of really cranky people) and finally handed over my paperwork. She typed my name into the computer and looked up. "One second." She made a phone call.

Everyone stared at me like I was about to get Seal Team 6'ed up outta there. Officer Friendly came out from the back and motioned for him to meet me in the lobby. "Hi there!" I waved. He laughed and said, "Let's take a look." We went outside, looked at the car, he signed off on the paperwork. We walked back in and I saluted him, "Thanks for the service, you be careful out there." He walked away shaking his head. No, Officer Friendly was not cute. He was just a guy doing his job who enjoyed not getting cussed out.

When I handed my stuff back to the clerk, old girl said, "That will be $11." I didn't ask any questions, slid a ten and one across the counter. The guy that was behind me in line looked over and announced, "It must be awesome to have boobs." I grinned, "It rocks." He look stunned that I acknowledged that I had flirted my way out of a $600 fine. Then I hotfooted up out of there before somebody changed their mind. 

Last night on Scandal, Papa Pope was livid that Olivia out-maneuvered his nefarious plot to get rid of Jake while shaming Fitz. When he came to confront her at the pool, she calmly removed her goggles and told him that she had weapons at her disposal that he never would. Okay?! Boom-chicka-wow-wow and whatnot.

She basically touted the power of the p! to her daddy. Admirable? No. But totally true. 

Speaking of girl power, ladies - today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness month - did you get the girls checked? Medically and professionally, I mean... SMH. Get yo' mammogram on.

Ladies, I would ask if you've ever unleashed the power of p! (or merely exercised your God-given estrogen-powered right to be charming) to get something you wanted but that would be giving away the secret sauce, wouldn't it? Enjoy your weekend.

At what point is enough really enough?

Today's letter comes from Arminta in St. Paul. She and her man Ken have broken up and gotten back together several times over the last decade. 
Hi Chele,
Hope this finds you continuing to be fabulous! I've been reading your blog for a while and I notice you've talked about one guy that you've been in and out of a relationship with for a while until you finally pulled the plug. I've been doing the same thing for a little over ten years. I'm wondering how you knew when it was time to let it go or just hang in? 
I've known Kendrick for years, we were drawn to each other from the start but there was always something off. Timing, circumstances, distance. Finally, we got together and it was awesome. We had a really good four year stretch a few years back that was amazing. We were both invested in each other and spending time until well - to be honest I don't even remember what it was that broke us up that time. Anyway, we've given it a try time and time again. We can't seem to stay away from each other. We've both taken breaks and during our time apart we've met other people. Ken was married briefly, I was engaged briefly, but ultimately we found our way back to each other. 
The thing is, I don't think we ever really fixed some of the things that broke us up before we just kind of gave into the idea of being together and gave it another try. This last go round, I am not feeling it 100%, I don't think he was really in it and we seem to just be marking time instead of moving forward. He's a great guy but I don't think I'm getting the best he has to give. I doubt I'm giving him the best I've got either. But I can't let go of everything we've been to each other and neither can he. Any advice from you and the Bougie group? Thanks, Arminta
Yeah, um. Le Ouch. You're kinda going Roberta Flack on me here - telling my story with your song. But in this case, let my life be your lesson. Get. Out. Now. Damn the love. Sorry. That's harsh but the truth of the matter is - love is NOT enough. More specifically, the dangling promise of some glittery future where your love is golden? Where love conquers all and everything else that is wrong fades to black? Shake it off. That whole push me-pull me, we love each other so deeply so why can't it work out? Run from that. 

All this love and whatnot? Where's the ring? If a man wants to be with you, he will put his all into doing so. He wants you happy. He has plans for the future, he has plans to back up the plans and he makes your happiness and those plans a priority. Won't be all the back and forth. What you two have fallen into is known as a rut. A comfortable rut because you know exactly what you're getting. Your rut is so worn and deep it's now a ditch. What ya'll share may have been great once, now it might be good but either way, you owe it to yourself (and to him) to see what else is out there. Don't dwell in ditches, dance in a field of daisies. Okay, that's uber metaphorical and alliterative to boot but I know you feel me.

Listen, I know all about this. Seems like there's no one else who will get you like he does. Who knows your story and has those shared experiences. That level of ease is seductive as hell. You laugh together, the cocoa is still working. But guess what, there may be someone out there who treats you better, who also gets you and who wants to make new memories with you and he comes history-free. You don't even know how much better life could be until you find yourself living it and all of a sudden it's like - wow! Is this what it's SUPPOSED to be like? Girl, don't get me to preaching. Verily, I say unto thee - get thee gone. One of you has to break the chains, it might as well be you.

To answer your first question? How did I know it was time to abandon ship? I found myself reading over old journals where I was saying and thinking the exact same thing way back then and now. My resolution for this year was no more wasted time. Tomorrow ain't promised and life is too short. 

BougieLand, agree or disagree? Can you talk to Arminta and let her know your thoughts. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Do share...

One year and 86 pounds later...

It's very hard to believe that I ever got to the point where I had over fifty pounds to lose. I had stayed right around the same weight from college to fifteen years later. And then it all started creeping up. Lifestyle more sedentary, hormones battling against me, already slow metabolism laying out in the street doing nada and me whipping up gourmet meals for family, friends, boo things and the like which I, of course, had to taste along the way.

Last year when I made the decision to have weight loss surgery it was the absolute last  resort for me. I was diagnosed pre-diabetic with high blood pressure and a hormone disorder (PCOS). Fifty pounds needed to go, stat! I had tried working out, eating less, counting calories, cutting sugars and salt and fat. I was at one point eating raw vegetables and only drinking water while working out four times a week and still the scale laughed at me. It wasn't until my doctor explained how my overall health and genetic makeup was fighting me and I needed to lose the weight quickly or die (okay, not that drastic but darned close) that I said fine. 

Looking back from the other side of the mountain, I guess I would do it over again but I would pay more attention to classes where they talk to you about the side effects and your ability to come to terms with what a new you is really about. The first fifty pounds came off in the first three months and it's a shock to your entire system. My hair (my crowing glory) thinned and fell out. When it grew back in it was a different texture altogether. I have accidentally gone natural without planning on it. My hair no longer requires a perm just many lotions, potions and emollients. 

My skin is super sensitive to the sun and to cold now. Winter was a bitch. I ain't lying. Anything under 40 degrees and I wanted to stay in bed wrapped in an electric blanket. No more sun bathing for me without a complete coating of SPF 30 or higher. The days of slathering on cocoa butter oil and laying out to get all roasty and toasty? Gone. I burned to a crisp after fifteen minutes and spent the rest of that vacay under the umbrella coated with aloe vera.

There have been some fun things - running into people who haven't seen me in years and watching them figure out the best way to say I look healthy without saying "you lost a shitload of weight" - it's a game I play... how many ways can they try to figure out exactly how many pounds I've lost without coming right out and asking? The first time you zip up a pair of jeans in a size you haven't worn since 8th grade - these are fun things.

Not so fun things - retraining my brain. Having a singular bite of cheesecake and letting that be sufficient. Learning to like sugar-free (Splenda is so awesome) drinks. Having friends and family nickname me "Six-bite Suzy" because that's all I can eat in one sitting. Having to explain to waiters that you really DID enjoy the meal, you just don't want your stomach to explode.

Funny things - not realizing that going from a size 20 to a size 10 in pants means your underwear no longer fits. I was strolling across the living room of my apartment when my drawers literally fell off my ass, tangled at my feet causing me to trip and land sprawled on the carpet in the most undignified manner ever. Thankfully, no one was here to witness the event. Surely it should not have taken that bit of foolery for me to let the XL undies go.

Irritating things - going to the doctor for the check-up and having him say - "Optimally, you should push to lose 25 more and level out there." Optimally? Man listen, these last thirty pounds were a bitch. If I take off ten more, I'm good. I've accepted the fact that the boobs shall not be moved. I've fought like the dickens to get muscle tone so things don't sag (batwings are not the business). But battling for that size six? Just cause that's "optimal" - err, okay then. There is that thing in the back of my mind of wanting to tighten this and shrink that and wishing things were more taut but isn't that always the way? Is anybody ever completely satisfied with they way they look?

Weird things - my feet shrank. I was never in a wide shoe but I wore a size 8.5 or 9 medium size my senior year in high school. Now I wear a 7.5 or an 8. Riddle me that, Batman? I've given up trying to buy an entire wardrobe. I just pick up a few pieces here and a few pieces that as I go. I've developed a weird craving for beef where before I was all chicken all the time. And bleu cheese is suddenly a food group. Weird.

All in all, it's been a hell of a journey. I don't recommend it for everyone but it's worked rather well for me. My biggest fear now is that six years from now I'm writing this AGAIN because I've somehow put back on all the weight and then some. Then again, perhaps because I'm so terrified of having to write that post, I'll do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't come true.

At any rate, because you all have been with me through the whole journey - thought it would be nice to share the next steps in the journey. Anyone else getting healthier in 2013?

Question - Do guys hate it when girls outshine them?

So I'm minding my own at Chez Starbucks last week when John and Annette come in. These two happy-asses The lovely couple said to hell with all the wedding drama, broke out to the Dominican Republic and got married on the beach without telling anybody. They're giving a reception/party over Labor Day weekend. None of the parents are speaking to them and they gives not one damn. Congrats! It's our second BnB wedding. Seriously, I'm bout to start charging up in here. Unless one of you finds me a husband. A good one. Mayhaps one who has some change jingling and is built like anyone on the Jamaican Track Team? I'm just saying. Anyone? Le Sigh, never mind.

But onto the point...

On their way back from the beach, Annette and John sat in the airport lounge with another newlywed couple. They were talking about the Olympics and how the American women really shone. Annette went on to say that she really felt that the Ladies Team USA outshone the fellas. The other newlywed dude got salty and said she was taking it too far. (Anyone who watched track & field has to agree with Annette)

John being John - he Googled the stats. For the first time ever there were more female Olympians than men for Team USA. Of the overall medal count, the women brought home 29 gold and the men brought home 17. Total medal count for Team USA? Ladies - 58, Gents - 45. Maybe I'm unclear on the definition of outshining? Cuz um... ur... uh? Scoreboard.

Anywho... when Other New Bride agreed with Annette, Other New Groom stomped off and apparently stayed tart for the flight home and on up and through customs and baggage claim. Other New Bride lamented on the phone to her mother, "He's so sensitive about the slightest criticism!" (Even when it's not aimed at him but at his gender? Really dude?) Other New Bride's Mom said, "You have to let men think they are superior in every way, even when you know they're not. That's the only way for marriage to work."

** flag on the play **

BougieLand, am I the only one (besides Annette and John) to call bullshiggity? Seriously, shouldn't a grown assed man be able to take a little criticism about himself and/or his gender without feeling like it's an attack? Why can't we just admit the American Women kicked ass in London and clearly it's time to hit a reset on some of those men's teams? Is that an attack on all Y-chromosomes everywhere? Fellas - are you really that fragile? Please discuss...

The Fight between Fit and Fat - The Struggle Continues

I have gained and lost so much weight over the past fifteen years, it is ridiculous. I have sizes ranging from eight to twenty-eight in my closet. Even more irksome is the fact that I have always "carried weight well"-  my cute did not diminish regardless of shirt size. (Yes, I'm modest as well) I've always been able to work out, I've cooked healthy for years only indulging on special occasions and I had no discernible health problems. Add to that the fact that I've always been able to attract and date men of all calibers, backgrounds and income brackets and overall I was okay on the weight roller coaster.

Fast forward to last summer, I felt - for lack of a better word - crappy. Not to overshare but my periods were coming whenever they wanted to, I was stressed, gaining weight rapidly, I was fatigued but could not sleep and my energy was on zero. But I was faking it because I was dating a younger man, my family was expecting me to be the Michele they know and love, and my friends, fans and followers were expecting me to be fabulous out there on the road.

Finally I hit the wall. I dragged my tired behinds to my doctor and threw myself at her mercy. "Fix me!" I implored. She tested me for everything, weighed me (I was appalled) and checked my blood pressure. Whoa. And then she sent me to the gynecologist. The next day, they asked me to come in and meet with them both. Ruh-roh.

My general practicioner went first. I was borderline diabetic, I was entering high blood pressure range and due to the genetic jackpot my parents gifted me with, it was only going to get worse. Long and short of it, the weight had to come off with some expediency. I needed to lose 50 pounds in a heartbeat, 75 pounds overall. The only problem was... the gynecologist stepped in - I was diagnosed with PCOS - polycystic ovary syndrome. A nifty little "woman problem" that affects (among other things) your ability to lose weight. It was going to be an uphill battle but we were sure we could do it.

Fast forward two and a half months and I had lost 25 pounds. Awesome, I worked harder. And 18 pounds came back. Welcome to weight struggle when you body fights against you. I would lose 6 pounds and four would come back. Finally, we decided that drastic measures had to be taken. Time was the enemy. I decided to explore bariatric surgery. Let me pause here and make a few public service announcements:
  • Only consider bariatric surgery when ALL else has failed. It's no joke. Not to be played with. Did I mentioned no joke? 
  • Your insurance may not cover the surgery. Mine (thanks Aetna) did not. And I had to come out of pocket to the tune of $16,000 + vitamins, supplements, food scale, protein shakes, etc. Cost more than my first car. 
  • Pick your bariatric surgeon with care. The first guy I went to (Dr. Kim) was a complete jerk who told me to quit eating fried chicken and chocolate cake every day. For that he charged me $250 and said he looked forward to seeing me again. And then he called me Marsha. Yeah no. Do not go to a factory where they don't get to know anything about you and give less than a damn. I ended up going to Dr. Provost and loved everyone there. 
  • Some people in your life will not understand why you are having the surgery and how it will affect you. But that's a whole other post.

I decided on gastric sleeve. Gastric bypass seemed too extreme and the lap band meant something foreign was rattling around inside me forever? No thank you. With the sleeve, they basically go in and slice off most of your stomach leaving you with a little sleeve. I had the surgery on April 20th. Yes it hurt. If I had it to do it over again, I'm not sure if I would. Recovery was a nightmare. I'm just now (almost two months later) getting my energy back. But then again, in two and a half months - I've lost 52 pounds. Twenty seven more to go.

The day after surgery you are free of diabetes, they're not sure why. My blood pressure is back to normal. My PCOS is still there but not as severe. I eat four bites of food three times a day and I'm full. I work out about four times a week. My appetite has changed. Some flavors I no longer like and for some reason I like to drink things that are very, very hot or ice cold. But the joy of zipping up jeans from the "maybe one day, I'll get back into those" section of my closet? Priceless.

Overall, I would not wish this journey on anyone. My best advice to those of you in your twenties and early thirties is to get your fitness on now while your metabolism still likes you and all the genetic conditions are still playing nice. In the meantime, I'll be the one over here whining about yoga, how my abs hate me and why I now believe Snickers bars are the devil. 

Anyway BougieLand, feel free to share your weight struggles. Even if you are just trying to lose five pounds to get back down to a size 4, I promise not to reach through and smack you with a keyboard. Struggles are struggles. Questions, comments, insights? Do share...

Sexy beyond Size Two, a Friday Rant

Men themselves have wondered what they see in me. They try so much, but they can't touch my inner mystery. When I try to show them, they say they still can't see.

I say:
It's in the arch of my back, the sun of my smile, the ride of my breasts, the grace of my style.
I'm a woman phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

~excerpt from Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

One of the good things about Twitter is that everybody can share their thoughts on everything.

One of the bad things about Twitter is that everybody can share their thoughts on everything.

You feel me? I thought so.

For the record, I'm not saying women shouldn't be healthy. I have nothing against fitness. I do yoga, cardio-boxing, all flavor of Wii Fitness, and sometimes I do more than give my treadmill a disdainful glance. But I'll never be whisper thin. It's genetically impossible. I'll always be top heavy and I'll always have to do crunches. My metabolism is the kind that reminds me of every single time I give in to a potato chip or M&M. But I recognize this and do what I have to do to keep it together. Bougie means trying to keep your cute up. So when I hear people (and definitely men) going in on women's appearances and specifically their weight it drives me crazy.

Listening to some of these folks would have you thinking that if you aren't a size 2, you aren't fabulous. Seriously, the scrubs almost tricked me into second-guessing my wonderfulness. I was talking with someone last night who had me cracking up saying it's always the scrubby dude acting like they gotta have Halle Berry on their arm and nothing else will do. Though I have to say, most of the fellas – those that I call "real men" that I hang out with here and in the real world - they like a woman with a little curve to her. Some substance. Someone who eats more than two triscuits and a tic-tac. According to a friend on Twitter: Most real men see quality and value. The scrubs are still trying to live out a fantasy. They want a women to make them look good to other men.

Hmpfh. What prompted this rant you may wonder? A few things caught my attention these past few weeks. First was the Lane Bryant commercial that Fox and ABC refused to broadcast saying it was too racy for primetime. You check it out and tell me what you think…

But this Victoria's Secret commercial directed by Michael Bey is less racy? Old girl is straddling a pool table with a long stick...

So why do the Victoria's Secret commercials warrant airtime but not Lane Bryant? Is someone scared of the real women curves? I'll let you marinate on that.

Second was the whole controversy about Gabby Sibide being "less than pleasant" at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and at other functions.

Okay so she's a newly minted "star" who hasn't learned the art of public graciousness yet (and she looks mighty salty here). But with these tales, the media just has to mix in something abot her weight. This phenomenon was outlined in a great post over at (not)HappyAboutThis. Here's an example of what the media has been saying.

"So, who was the weekend's biggest (no pun intended) disappointment so far?"

"Wow! FishbowlDC wasn't alone when we gave "Precious" star Gabby Sidibe a GIGANTIC (no pun intended...okay, that's a lie) thumbs down."

Okay so is the crime that she was acting bitchy? Or that she's fat and bitchy? I'll let you make your own conclusions.

Let me take a minute to touch on the nonsense surrounding "Just Wright". Apparently, some folks (laser beam side-eye) don't think it's believable that a baller would choose a Queen Latifah over a Paula Patton.

Come on already. Are we still here? Queen Latifah is gorgeous at any size. And I think we've all figured out that any man can fall for any woman if that zing hits. No one knows what causes it; if we did we'd bottle it up and auction it on eBay. There no rhyme or reason what makes two people click. Are we really so shallow that we think the size of the outer shell is all that matters?

One of my online mentees was thoroughly offended because her boyfriend cheated on her with an overweight girl. I asked her if she was mad because he cheated or because of who he cheated with? She was more offended that he cheated with someone she perceived as less attractive. She felt insulted. I informed her that what she should be is introspective. When a man cheats with a supposedly less attractive woman that generally means he found something in her beyond the superficial, something he wasn't getting with his current S.O. That, I told her, is a wake-up call.

Part of the aftermath of that stupid Nightline FaceOff shibacle was that some idiot actually said that Sherri Shepherd didn't deserve to get a man because of her weight. And then a whole bunch more idiots co-signed. Say what now? If it is your preference to date women of a certain body type, good on ya and hope it works out. But are you seriously saying that women of a certain size don't deserve love? GTFOH with all of that.

This whole culture where people feel guilty for eating one piece of cake (and tweet about it), when someone in a size 4 thinks she's fat, where some designers still won't make clothing larger than a size 10 when the average size of a woman in this country is a 14 is sheer craziness. The stupid jokes about Precious, the fact that when Erykah Badu's last video came out half of the comments were about her a$$ and perceived cellulite, and really with Kirstie Alley's Big Life?

Le Sigh. I understand that obesity leads to all sorts of health problems and generally doesn't look great. We all agree that longevity is a shared goal and looking decent in clothes is a plus but check this out: In 1953, Jane Russell (a size 18) and Marilyn Monroe (size 14) were the standard of sexy beauty. In 1976, the three Charlie's Angels were a size 6, 8, and 10. The redone Charlie's Angels in 2000 were size 2, 4 and 6. By 2020 are we just going to prop up cardboard cut-outs and call that sexy? I call bullshiggity. I'm over it… I wish everyone would join me there.

Comments, thoughts, rants? Floor is yours…

My answer to Nightline: “They Don’t Know… Who We Be.”

I'm not going to critique or rant (any more) about the shibacle that was the Nightline FaceOff: Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man? For a great overview and breakdown, check out Melissa Harris-Lacewell's post at The Nation. Here's a sneak preview of the brilliant insights she shared:

The serious, interesting and sensitive social and personal issues embedded in these statistics were hijacked by superficial, cartoonish dialogue that relied heavily on personal anecdotes and baseless personal impressions while perpetuating damaging sexism. Wednesday night's program was co-hosted by comedian Steve Harvey and ABC News Nightline Correspondent Vicki Mabrey and welcomed guests Sherri Shepherd ("The View"), Jacqui Reid (journalist), Jimi Izrael (blogger) and Hill Harper (actor/author). Like other discussions in the genre, the Nightline special began with the Disney-inspired assumption that marriage is an appropriate and universal goal for women. Any failure to achieve marriage must therefore be pathological. With this starting assumption panelists were encouraged to offer solutions without needing to fully articulate why low marriage rates are troubling.

Clearly, I've gone in on this topic over and over again. I'm all talked out. Apologies to those who suffered my rant on Twitter last night, I'd had it up to here. There was nothing fresh, nothing new. Ladies raise your standards but not too high. Date outside the race. Have you thought about dating your plumber or an ex-con? Oh and if you meet a man at Taco Bell who pulls up on the bus, snap him up - he may be the next Hill Harper. One ninja said his woman should make him feel like Super-freakin'-man. Really, sir? Are you gonna make me feel like Wonder Woman?

Woo-sah... Instead of re-hashing all of my grievances, I'll just call on DMX, yes dammit – DMX the growling troubled rapper. Here's the cut…

Okay then, here's the deal. It's hard to say why this person or that person isn't married without peeling back individual and societal layers. There's no "one size fits all" cure to answer the question. AND I honestly believe that talking about it this much just makes it worse. I'll tell you what helps… blogs like this (said modestly) – a place were grown folks can talk openly and honestly (both the men and the women) and see that there are good, attractive, viable folks out there. And that happy successful relationships and marriages exist.

Another issue with the show: I guarantee that if we took an informal vote right here and right now NONE of the women would have elected Sherri Shepherd or Jacqui Reid as our spokespersons NOR would the fellas have picked Steve, Hill or Jimi of the tragic clothing choice. As a matter of fact, find the poll at the bottom of the post. Hill Harper made the most sense though he came up side-eye worthy a time or two. But all his bougenificence was drowned out by the flat-out no-buenoness of the entire event.

How about a show about getting out and meeting real people, staying optimistic, getting yourself together while you search? (Not a reality show, please. We need no more flava/rock/ray j of love) Some might find that marriage isn't your ultimate goal and it's enough to find someone to chill with. But I guess that wouldn't make sexy TV?

Where's my show about the long-time happily married couples and HOW THEY DID IT? (I would TOTALLY watch that) What about the ladies and gents who opted never to marry and are GOOD with that? Where's that show?

So my problem with the continuing dialogue about the SBF as downtrodden victim is that it simply doesn't encompass who we be. The dialogue about the cheating-ass black man who can't commit obviously doesn't reflect who we be. Women who date gangsters and men without ambition is not the end-all-be-all of who we be. I resent a panel of comedians, reporters, actors/authors and I don't know WHAT to call Jimi "I still wear Garanimals" Izrael spouting the same old yada-yada without representing WHO WE BE. We be (artistic license, folks) smart and dumb, greedy and selfless, needy and independent, desperate and satisfied, weak and strong. Above all else, we be survivors. We be human. Start with the flaws in the human condition, then make us black, then make us single, then make us female or male and let US decide how we feel about that.

I blame us for this to a point. Those of us that still watch this stuff, support those books, call into those shows and go to those seminars. We are feeding the monster. Believe me they would shut all this shiggity down tomorrow if it wasn't making money. So I'm asking each of you to think before you buy, watch, join things. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? I'm officially done. Not one more post, rant, tweet about the overexposed plight of the single black woman and the men they can't find. Officially over it.

ABC, step your game up. And any other media outlet determined to beat the poor dead horse – if you're going to cover it, please come with something new that is solution based and positive. Come at me with degreed experts, not entertainers. Bring me stats, stories, witnesses and a good news story. Show me that you know who we be. Or just say nothing at all.

The floor is yours. Comment as you will.

Barack Obama, Sarah Connor and the De-Valuation of Black Women: A Bougie Conspiracy Theory

Yes, I'm one of those. I see conspiracies everywhere I look. There was at least one other shooter on the grassy knoll, Hoffa is on an island with Tupac, Elvis and MJ, Area 51 is named that because there are 50 other joints just like that hidden around the country. Those levees in New Orleans did not fail on their own. Something ain't right with the Mona Lisa, those funky symbols on the $20 bill mean something and folks at DirecTV headquarters are probably watching me through the satellite as I type this right now. [Author stops typing to wave: Konichiwa, b*tches]

Okay, maybe I'm not THAT bad but I know a conspiracy when I see one. And I can see no other reason for the mass media siege against the sisterhood. For those not in the know (and since I've been holding back a rant on it), two more articles on the thankless existence of the African American female came out last week. One detailing how disease ridden we all are (cuz we skanky, doncha know?) and the other on how po' we is (cuz we can't keep a job or get a man). In the wake of this bullshiggitty, I have figured out the game. Stay with me, I'm about to get deep. (Or deeply disturbed, we'll see)

Watch me work these three points: In the Terminator movies, folks in the future sent back a cyborg to kill up Sarah Connor before she could birth the next generation's savior. Next, Barack Obama swept into power on a wave of hope and change. Now, folks are losing their minds that Barack is large and in charge. What would happen if a new and improved (even more untouchable) Barry 2.0 emerged in the next generation or two? The next Barry will have a black mother and a white father because we can't go back through the Kenyan Birth Conspiracy again. So how to stop the next Barry from being born? Nip it at the source. That's right, I said it. Somebody from the future is trying to destroy black women so a better Barack Obama can NOT be born.

They didn't need to send a cyborg, they sent a better weapon: the Mainstream Media Machine. Nothing is more pervasive than that these days. We don't have to be dead, just too mentally beatdown (too broke, fat, tired, diseased and angry) to educate ourselves and procreate. Okay, I'm officially cracking myself up now. I have no idea whose cute child that is in the picture above.

But come ON… there has to be a reason for all the shade being thrown. By the way, if I mysteriously disappear – ya'll will know I was onto something and "they" couldn't allow me to keep speaking truth… LOL!

BougieMom's theory is along my same thought pattern but not quite as extreme. She says it's part of the continued fear of the angry black man. To kill a monster, you cut off the head. Black women are the head and heart of the black family. Wither they goest, the family follows. Hmm, interesting ideology marrying knowledge of greek philosophy and a dose of old school "you know what it is." So wait, am I now de-valuing us by saying it's not about us at all but our men? Aw jeez. Let me move on.

Maybe I'm imagining it. Maybe we've been catching hell like this forever. It just sure seems to be coming from the left and the right on regular these days.

Tell me, BougieLand… what's your theory about all the sad-sack Black Woman news? Or, what is a conspiracy theory in general that you absolutely believe to be true? (I stand behind my DirecTV theory though)

Raise your Wonder Woman Cocktail up: It’s International Women’s Day

It's been a while since we had a Bougie Cocktail Moment. But go ahead and raise them up. Today is International Women's Day.

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. Women's Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1909. Two years later, more than 1 million people attended events in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland during the first International Women's Day.

During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women's Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

This year, World leaders and international organizations are calling for more rights and opportunities for women in order to help solve many of the world's problems. The calls come as many parts of the world mark International Women's Day on Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are hosting a reception at the White House Monday to mark the occasion.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Monday that peace and stability "can only be achieved with the participation of women as equal partners with men." At an event last week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world body's goals "stand in jeopardy" because women are still subject to poverty and discrimination.

To find out about events in your area: click here. I'm headed to a chat about the role of Women in Media & Publishing. You can rest assured, I'm going all IN. Later in the week, look for a quiz to test your knowledge on Women's History. In the meantime, raise your glass up and toast a lady today. In the comments, feel free to shout out your favorite female. For those of you interested, the cocktail recipe is embedded below. Enjoy the day!

Blogging backlash rebuttal: I don’t hate men. I don’t know what a feminista is. I don’t know from welfare.

I didn't set out this week to write a Black Feminist Manifesto. It wasn't my intention to rally up the Sisterhood with the "I am Woman Hear Me Roar" battle cry. Don't get me wrong, we are awesome though. We totally rock and if we wanted to get matching t-shirts and cabbage patch backwards down Pennsylvania Avenue to "Sisters are doing it for themselves"… well let me know when and I'll order up the frozen margarita machine. I really just wanted to squash the negative rhetoric, get a few things off my chest and share an anecdote or two. And I kinda thought I did that, with far more impact than I expected.

But… wow! Along with the great uplifting and supporting comments came the blowback. Thanks to my readers' passion for the subject, the post calling for a halt on the Black Girl Beatdowns was retweeted and reposted all up and through the internet. Essence.com picked it up, it was "buzzed up" at Yahoo, landed on Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Technorati, Live Journals and places that I didn't even know existed. And I'm thankful, I really am. It's every writer's goal to have their work read. Of course we prefer if it is universally hailed and loved but understand when it is not. And this post most definitely was not. I read some of the comments, some of the tweets and all of the emails sent to me. And though I did not answer a lot of them directly, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites here with my thoughts. Okay, my super snarky thoughts. Ya'll know I try to avoid the super-snark but it's been a long day and I lack my usual diplomacy and tact:

Rebecca on Yahoo! said - Single black women would get more respect if they: 1) didn't have children while single. 2) didn't expect their mothers to raise their children. 3) not be so vocal about their private lives and/or lack thereof. said by a single white woman.

Hey Rebecca, thanks so much for your insightful commentary. Stereotype much? In response I say, I don't have any kids. Therefore my mother isn't raising my kids. And I'm assuming you would like black women to be less vocal about our private lives like… one of those Kardashian girls, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton… someone like that? They sure lead by example. Oh and thanks for letting me know you are single and white. I was really interested in that part.

Mr. PantsALot (almost enough said right there) emailed to say: Another mouthy black woman whining. Get a job, lose some weight, eat less chicken and learn to give decent head. Then you'll get a man. You and your blog serve no purpose.

Hi Mister Pants, I'm assuming from your note that if I were a size-four mute making seven figures, snacking on baby greens and swallowing cucumbers whole that we'll be cool and I will then serve a purpose? I'll get to work on that right away because you seem like a catch I'd hate to miss out on. Call me, boo!

On Twitter from a woman who proclaimed herself to be a modern day Incan-Amazon worshipper (I don't know ya'll, I just don't know): You should own your womanist, feminista standards instead of waiting for a man to define you. Men will steal your essence and block your path to the sun whose rays empower and strengthen us. Amazonian woman bask in our self-sufficiency and only ascent to their true queen status when they rid themselves of all men except the ones we birth. You are a sad excuse for encouraging women to depend on a man. Wise up before it's too late to reclaim your soul and body.

Uh Miss Amazon Chick: What? I'm confused and a little scared. There's something both condescending and Oedipal about what you spent fifteen minutes typing to me. I would ask more questions but I find myself terrified of the answers. Since it appears I will miss out on my true queen status, I'll settle for Duchess – wouldn't turn down Countessa status either. Good luck on that sun ray thing though.

On Live Journal Mark shared: So you basically can't get a man so you hate them, why share your pitiful life with the rest of us. Who cares? This is why I date white girls. Yeah I said it and yeah I'm black. What about the fellas, we catch holy hell from the media too, I don't hear your whining about that. Get a life. Peace.

Mark, No one is fooled when you flame throw and then wrap up with "peace". Um, so you have never been on my blog and didn't take the time to look around, huh? You missed my whole I Love Black Men Week? You missed me saying you should get love where you find love, if your love is a white girl – more power to you. Bouge Rule #1 – Bouge is Love… you keep it classy.

For the record, I know black men are catching hell in the media. I see an Ivy League educated Noble Prize Winner in the White House catching hell all day, every day! Let's face it – this is a media-driven society and 24/7/365 news needs to be feed. Nobody escapes the media microscope. Personally, I was a lot happier when I knew a bit less of everybody's business. I just happened to write about single black females… because I am one. We write what we know.

Good readers, do not be dismayed – in one email Tisha from the ATL wiped all the "constructive feedback" from my head. Here's what she wrote.

Dear OneChele,

My husband passed away in Iraq over two years ago. Since then I have really struggled raising our seven-year old daughter. Not financially but keeping her grounded and positive without a strong male figure. She worries about me, I worry about her. I come home from work, get food on the table, get her settled and then finally pop open my laptop with a big glass of wine. The blogosphere is where I go to unwind. I'll come back to that in a second. My daughter and I watch the morning news shows together. One day last week when I ran upstairs, she caught wind of the story about single black females dying alone. On the way to school she told me she never wanted to get married and leave me. I asked her why and she said she didn't want me to end up alone eaten by cats. You know that was a bolt to my heart to hear those words coming out of her young mouth. I told her not to worry about it, it wasn't going to happen. That afternoon she came out of the school dragging some grown man with her. My child had walked up to one the teachers, grilled him and asked him if he wanted to date her mother. You know I wanted to die when she pulled that man up to the car. Man had the nerve to be cute too. Everyday since she asked me what I'm going to do so I don't get eaten by cats. Last night I read your blog. I printed it out and read it to her this morning. She smiled and said Oh Mama you can take your time finding a new man or you can be okay alone. I said yes I could. She was happy. Unfortunately she strutted up to cute teacher and told him My mama doesn't need you anymore, she's gonna be okay. So I thank you Ms. OneChele, your blog post gave me and my daughter what we needed to make it through another day. Thanks , Tisha in Atlanta

As I dab my eyes with the Kleenex let me say – Tisha, you're welcome… and you may want to holla at cute teacher… just sayin' your daughter may have picked a winner.

Okay BougieLand, thoughts or comments? Anyone have a CLUE what an Incan-Amazonian Sun Worshipper is? Don't you just love when a post all about keeping it peaceful causes folks to go completely left and back again? Fellas, get your boys Pants and Mark… please.