Everybody Hates Kristen…But Fo’ Why?

So let’s think: Last week I suffered all week from heat-induced asthma, my co-workers and I anxiously navigated the budget cuts of a small non-profit fresh off of a colleague’s firing, oh and the world found out that Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson.  Amazingly enough, I cared more about collapsing a lung and losing my job then I cared for Stewart’s infidelity.  Apparently, I was one of few.  Katie and Tom, I saw coming.  Heidi and Seal, hurt my heart and I don’t know about you, but I am still not over Bruce and Demi.  But out of all the celebrity break-ups and divorces that happen about as regularly as a rogue nipple on the red carpet, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the devastation that Kristen Stewart’s infidelity seems to be causing the faithful fans of Robert Pattinson.

Obviously, Stewart will not be the last celebrity chica to cheat and Pattinson will not be the first aesthetically delectable dish to be deceived (Can I get a witness, Halle Berry?), but for some reason fans across the globe feel personally slighted when certain celeb romances go south.  But what the unsettling obsession the public seems to have with the demise of this duo painfully reveals is that: Real relationships aren’t perfect and perfect relationships aren’t real.  And yes, even beautiful people get cheated on too.  For some reason, fans continue to put these fantastical relationships on a pedestal and have the nerve to be insulted when they start collapsing and cracking under the pressure.  When news broke of Kristen’s indiscretion, Tumblr postings from Twihard fans around the world were heartbroken, sympathetic and a tad disturbing.  I mean, for a minute I couldn’t tell whose heart was more broken.  Here are some of my favs:

twilight whispers: I want her to say she was drunk or drugged or whatever. I want this nightmare to end.

daironline: I’m still hoping that the whole Kristen cheating on Robert thing isn’t true, but if it is, I have definitely lost all faith in love.

If today’s Hollywood couples are what we as a society are holding as the standard of true love, we really need to revisit our views on romance.  I mean let’s be honest, in another life Kristen Stewart would probably be pledging some sorority in a sleepy college town while bouncing through keggers in a fresh pair of cozy Uggs.  But in this life she’s a leading Hollywood lady after gaining much of her fame portraying “Bella” in the Twilight movie franchise based on the popular series of teen books whose claim to fame are warring werewolves and vampires. (I actually preferred characters similar to the broody, withdrawn adolescents she played pre-Twilight in movies like Panic Room and Lifetime’s Speak). Stewart is all of 22 years-old, an age that most women are just discovering that they even want a serious relationship, let alone what that relationship should look like.   So would I be surprised if “Bella and Edward” didn’t make it through the test of time?  Yes, because in a fictional story perfection can and sometimes should happen, but am I surprised or slighted that Kristen and Robert didn’t make it down the aisle?  Not one bit.  I’ve had unfamiliar bus transfers that I’ve worried more about.

Admittedly, there are better ways that Stewart could have handled the affair.  But hey, couldn’t we have all handled things a bit better if we had the foresight at 22 that we gain by 32?  And I do feel for Pattinson. Here’s his woman, his co-star, a woman he was probably very much in love with and suddenly there are pictures of her embracing and boo-loving with a married director.  Kristen attempted some damage control, issuing an apology that read, ““This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.”  But as plenty of Facebook walls and Cheaters episodes can attest to, getting caught cheating is anything but pretty and there isn’t much you can do to ease the pain and hurt it causes.

The point is the only ones that should be experiencing any hurt and pain are the people that are directly involved.  The downfall of their relationship won’t affect my income, sanity or well-being.  In a few months we’ll be onto the next celebrity breakup, Pattinson will be whisking another starlet off of her feet, and Twilight will be yesterday’s news as we salivate over who will play Mr. Christian Grey.

So if you ever find yourself losing sleep or sanity over any of the personal successes and failures of your favorite celeb, you really need to do some serious self-evaluation and maybe start exploring a life outside of TMZ and Twitter that includes interaction with actual people. I guess it’s easier to obsess over the problems of celebs than actively work on our own because maybe, just maybe, we have more influence than we think over our own destiny.

But seriously, if Victoria ever breaks David Beckham’s heart, I may just have to give her a fair one.

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If You Like It, I Love It: How Minding Your Business Will Help You Not to Lose Your Mind

It sucks when bad things happen to good people, especially when those people are the ones you love.  It may be the friend that chooses one abusive relationship after another settling for the pleasant moments that are all too far and few in between, or the co-worker who you feel got thrown under the bus for management’s mistakes.  When it comes to those we care for, we sometimes become too involved in problems that aren’t of our own making.  Before we know it we are swinging on the asshole boyfriend, only for our fair-weather friend to run back into his arms before the dust settles.  But the lesson I’ve learned after continuously having my cape fall in my face trying to play Captain Save-‘Em is that you can’t lose your mind in the hope of saving someone else’s sanity.  You have to place boundaries on your compassion.

I learned this lesson when I caught myself repeatedly getting angry over a friend’s inability to stand up for herself.  Even Louis Braille could see that she was getting played time and time again, but she continued to make excuses for men, family, even employers that took her passiveness for weakness. “He hasn’t called me in two weeks because he’s so busy,” she’d say while I thought, “Yep, busy breaking the other girl he’s seeing off.”  And as much as I wanted to blame the jerk “boyfriend”, I had to step back and realize she was as much to blame for allowing this behavior…over and over again.

There are two problems with being a martyr: 1.) The little man you are standing up for never learns how to defend him/herself because they rely on you running in to save the day.  2.) You’re so busy solving everyone else’s problems you begin to neglect your own.  What’s even worse is that some of the things you perceive as problems in someone else’s life may not actually be a problem for them.   So while you’re losing sleep and getting your pressure all high, the “victim” is completely content with what you know is a fucktarded situation.  And since people can literally lock themselves in prisons of denial, you always run the risk of getting accused of “hating” or being jealous.

It’s a struggle to constantly remind myself that as individuals we all have our own paths to follow and some people have to learn the hard way.  In an effort to avoid playing the martyr I’ve created one rule for myself: If you like it, I love it.  You have two times to take my advice (and it usually has to be solicited).  If you repeat the same behaviors, I’ll just take it to mean you’re happy with your situation, and I’ll stop offering.  I refuse to stress over other people’s problems that don’t affect me.  But I warn you: Don’t complain to me about things that you are unwilling to change. I will just as politely dismiss you.  The occasional cry and “all the bad things in life happen to me” vent are acceptable, but I don’t have time for the tears and self-pity from those who choose to do nothing to change their circumstances.

And even with all the advice and well wishes in the world, ultimately although people can’t control what happens to them, they can control how they choose to respond to life’s perils and pitfalls.  See I’m a Sag, and we are happy, optimistic people.  My days of decorating for personal pity parties and engaging in drama for fun are long gone.   I refuse to help people who won’t help themselves.  Whether they are victims of their own denial, complacency, or pure laziness, by flying in to save the day you’re only enabling them to be a victim.  The hardest but best thing you can do as a bystander is be there and offer your advice; you can’t take it personally when someone refuses to take it.

Sometimes it’s easier to deal with and clean up someone else’s mess instead of getting your hands dirty in your own.  But in the end, that does everyone a disservice; how can you hope to help others when you don’t even have yourself together? As selfish as it may sound, you can’t lose your mind fighting for someone who obviously refuses to use theirs.

Why “We” Will Stay Losin’

MadameNoire.com

If there’s one thing I noticed working as a professional in the past three years, it’s that if we aren’t shooting a layup or going long for a touchdown, black people are not team players.  We don’t look at one another as team mates, we see eachother only as competition, and most of the time we have no idea what the prize is, all we know is that we want it and we don’t want to share.

I’ve worked in offices where I was the only African-American and I’ve worked in offices where we were casually sprinkled throughout.  The one thing I noticed is that if our Caucasian counterparts are in positions of power, suddenly instead of cooperating we start competing with the house/field ni**er mindset that there can only be one intelligent negro, one well-spoken negro, or one socially-intelligent negro.  Since when did we start vying for the spot of “the token”?

Take the movie “The Social Network” for example.  A tale of friends turned social network moguls.  It was only until they realized that they were sitting on a cash cow and people’s bank accounts started climbing that the guys started clawing each other down, and even then lawyers were called, the conflict was straight business; everybody walked away with a piece of something that would have them more than financially stable.  If Facebook had been invented by four brothers, I can almost guarantee you it would have never made it out that damn dorm room.   Don’t let a ni**a get some shine and a few hoes and somebody would be fighting, someone else would have spent the little money that had been earned on Louis Vuitton interior in their Impala SS, and someone would want it to be called “The Faces of Dre” or some other narcissistic bull so their name and their name alone would be the face of the company.  My point is that we don’t choose our battles wisely.  We spend so much time beefing at the bottom, that we never even get to see the top.  If we put the petty bull about getting credit, recognition and who’s in charge aside long enough to work cooperatively to get somewhere, we’d truly be a force to be reckoned with.

And what is this obsession with fancy titles?  We could be making $2.00 and hour, but put “executive” somewhere on an official-looking business card, give us a corner office with a window and a company car and you can’t tell us we’re not head of a Fortune 500 company.  I’ve been management before.  I managed a small Dairy Queen in Philly which funded my humble lifestyle as a high school student and then an undergrad.  Thankfully my flexible schedule not only helped me to pursue my academic goals, but I gained some valuable management skills as well.  But let’s be real, I managed an icecream parlor, not  Google headquarters.  The most serious problem we had was dropping the vanilla soft serve into the cone dip.  I didn’t walk up in the restaurant everyday and kick my feet up in a back office barking out orders to my lesser minions.  I was right there blending Oreos and soft serve for our blizzard orders and guiding new employees on how to perfect the “loop” on the top of a cone.  Unfortunately, many of us view “management” or “supervisor” as a first class flight to the land of all talk and no action.  Leaders effectively lead a team by example.  If you’re sitting with a fancy title and a corporate credit card but at the end of the day can’t rub elbows with your team or even worse,  don’t truly possess the skills needed to do that job, you’re nothing but a professional paperweight worthy of no credibility or respect.  I don’t care what your resume’ says, talking a good game will only get you in the door, skills and work ethic are what get you that corner office we crave so much.

We’re so easily divided on very basic levels, and we allow it to be used against us.  Who hasn’t had a the co-worker you were working on a group project with only for them to turn around and take credit for everyone else’s effort and ideas.  Or what about your fellow colored co-worker who uses every opportunity to throw your behind under the bus tires so they can get that overly-hyped executive position they crave, only to blow up your inbox with e-mails on the low about how to add more columns in Excel or use mail merge.

We have got to do better.  In offices where the majority were white employees, I’ve seen employees meet by the water cooler to talk trash about Becky only to throw her a birthday party the next week.  The thing is they rarely mix business with drama.  Becky might be the office bitch, but best believe if she’s about her business, they will work with Becky so everyone will walk away with a hefty ass bonus.  Look at all of the rich and famous politicians who have had successful careers only to have baby mamas and extra-marital affairs pop out of the woodwork.  Their dirty laundry doesn’t come floating to the surface until they’ve reached high points in their careers.  You think everything was on the up and up while they were grinding their way up the corporate ladder?  Probably not and their colleagues were probably aware of their drama if not had a hand in helping create it.   What they didn’t do was let that blind them from their shared ultimate goal.  They knew by exposing secrets and backbiting under bus tires at the bottom, no one would make it to the top.  Why don’t we understand that?

As I write this I am trying to think about all of the black-owned businesses successfully built by African-Americans working together.  For some reason, the only thing popping into my head is FUBU (there probably are a lot more, feel free to educate me in the comments section).  That saddens me, especially when I think of how many young black teenagers are walking around with Iphones while checking their Facebook and Twitter accounts and you can bet they are not dressed in FUBU.

We need to put our egos on stand-by until we are in a position where it matters.  It’s not about how fast we can get to the top it’s about how long we can stay there and the only way we get there is by lifting each other up instead up trying to break each other’s backs.  The late Rodney King was known for saying, “Can we all just get along?”  That could very well be a possibility…as soon as we stop competing to  just be the “token”.