Ciara

You Mad? Ciara Doesn’t Deserve To Be Saved, Because She Doesn’t Need To Be

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While women everywhere are swooning over Ciara’s Disney-like love story  and being blinded by the bling her engagement ring is giving off something proper, a few men think Russell Wilson is breaking major bro’ code and setting a bad example by seemingly running in to save the day.

See, it was only a few years ago that Ciara was slithering on the floor in something black and sexy for rapper and now father of her son, Future. When news broke that the pair were indeed a real life thing,  it didn’t take long for female fans everywhere to become BFF’s with the singer in their heads pleading with her to keep those “goodies” in the jar. Nayvadius Wilburn better known as Future, the raunchy rapper behind hits like “Dirty Sprite” and “Same Damn Time” already had five children by three different women at the time in 2013. Fans pleaded with Ciara via social media to proceed with caution and up until that point besides a few backbends and a twerk here or there, most would have considered her a “good girl” in R&B. I mean there was a fling with rapper 50 Cent, but for the most part Ciara didn’t have any sex tapes, no arrest record, no reality show ratchetry and the most questionable thing she may have done in her career was date Bow Wow. Fans expectedly were shocked by her entertaining a typical hip-hop bad boy.

The romance quickly unfolded despite criticism from the fans and it wasn’t long before the couple announced they were expecting. Even I wanted to root for the two and hope they would beat the odds, but I’m a firm believer that a man’s track record speaks volumes. To me it wasn’t as much as IF the break-up would happen but WHEN. The rumors started flying of Future’s infidelity shortly after Future Jr. was born and my as well as other fans’ suspicions were proven true. Break-ups happen and sometimes you don’t see them coming, but I think it’s so important for women to go into relationships with men who don’t have the best reputations being well aware of their patterns and not buying into the unlikely outcome that they will be the exception.

Fast forward to early spring of 2015 when Seattle Seahawks and Superbowl Champ Russell Wilson is escorted by Cici to the Whitehouse Correspondents’ dinner. After a messy break up that included custody battles and Future talking slick about his most recent child’s mother to the masses about how she was rushing a marriage, it seemed as if Ciara was playing it cool by giving that fuccboi the ultimate message that she was over it and moving on. But now that Russell wants to make it official after a year of courtship and a very publicized pledge to celibacy on the couple’s behalf, men around the world are side-eyeing his surprise Seychelle Island proposal as the ultimate sucka move. According to one Facebook user:

“I remember when I was in college/ high school these so called “educated” girls were refusing to date smart guys “squares” because they were too nice or too much of a square. It wasn’t cool to date a square. So instead they would choose to be ran through by all of the ball players, goons, rappers, thugs, dope dealers etc. Then after being ran through till the age of 28-30, they would try to find a “nice corporate square” and were usually successful. This is how the game was ran. So to all my young, educated, successful, brothas out there. Do not settle for hood leftovers. No second chances. Especially hood and ratchet leftovers who have their ex baby daddy’s initials tattooed on their finger. And their ex happens to be a Goon.  Don’t do it.  You deserve the cream of the crop. Russell is setting a terrible example.”

When I read this initially I figured homeboy was just bitter because he felt like he was a good guy that got passed up by all of the fine girls in undergrad. I thought it was unfair because by 28-30, most people are bringing some kind of baggage to a relationship and it’s not fair to only single out attractive women who may have made relationship mistakes in the past. Shoot, Mr. Wilson is bringing a whole ex-wife to the picture but no one is calling out his less-than-perfect past nearly as much as we are focusing on Ciara’s relationship with Future.

Another thing that shady posts like these further confirm to me that most of us have forgotten what healthy relationships actually look like. The fact is Ciara seems finally happy, although some fans can’t find it in their spirits to be happy for her. We were giving her the side-eye when she was taking “us-ies” with Future’s other children’s mothers like she was a part of the sorority Zeta-Baby-Maker. But now that she her very own Disney vault love story, we’re still not pleased. It’s as if so many of us are used to seeing one Love and Hip-Hop surprise multiple pregnancy after the other, that when a man isn’t giving off Creep Squad vibes, we get leery. Or we’ve been through so many unhealthy relationships ourselves, that we begin to forget that a man treating a woman with respect and chivalry is actually a good thing.

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Even I’ll admit that Russell Wilson is making every cheesy effort to come for Prince Charming’s crown, but as much as we’d like to make real-life love a romcom, there are no clear cut roles for anyone. I’d like to think that on his best day Future has really great qualities that made Ciara believe she could build a life with him. It’s also possible that as much as we’d like to believe Russell Wilson is Ciara’s personal caped crusader, he’s not perfect either and he indeed has a past as well according to his ex-wife. When it comes to love, whether we’d like to believe it or not people are allowed to learn, grow and simply change their mind without judgment. Most importantly when it comes to following our personal paths in life, we have to do what works for us as individuals. If you’re basing your #RelationshipGoals on what the hottest celebrity couple is doing or the example the latest sex symbol is setting, then you have a lot to learn about love and relationships. And to “Angry Facebook Man” I hate to break it to you, but the last time I checked Ciara is a Grammy-nominated singer who has a multi-million dollar modeling contract with Wilhelmina Models and endorsements with Verizon and Adidas.  She may need a lot of things, but one of them ain’t saving.

But as hard as I fight against the patriarchal stereo-types and double-standards this post is bringing, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit “Angry Facebook Man” doesn’t have a point. Ciara’s whole situation is giving me “Band-Aid Boyfriend” vibes. Not sure what exactly a Band-Aid Boyfriend is? Allow me to explain. I had a Band-Aide Boyfriend through most of my late teens and early twenties. A “Band-Aid Boyfriend” is a guy that you’ve permanently placed in the friend zone. He probably landed there because he has little swag, doesn’t put you in your place when you’re out of pocket, and swears the sun rises and falls of your smile alone. When the swagged out dude who makes your draws drop because you think his disrespect is endearing breaks your heart, who is the first person you turn to? The Band-Aid Boyfriend. Because Band-Aid Boyfriend will play basketball with your boys, take your mama to church and have a dozen roses waiting for you at work. And suddenly all those sucka moves that may have landed him a 30-year fixed- mortgage in the friend zone will suddenly make him the man you want to marry. Band-Aid Boyfriend is the best because when you’re feeling your lowest, he’ll remind you of how you deserve to be treated and that a good relationship doesn’t have to be about drama. But here’s the thing: If you’re not feeling Band-Aid Boyfriend THAT way, it’s never going to work and here is where I find where I find men’s issues with “Ciara being saved” problematic.

I don’t think any women has a strategy to date the bad boy in their twenties to get their inhibitions out of the way so they can settle down with the “Band-Aid Boyfriend” at the end of the day, but what I will say is that she has every right to. Just like every man has a right to living his bachelor days with women he wouldn’t think of bringing home to mama, only to settle down with the “good girl”. If you feel like you’re getting love’s leftovers because of your “square” status, I think that has more to do with what you allow than how any women is actually treating you. When it comes to love, you determine what you deserve and if a man respecting a woman and her kids, vowing to be celibate and not shading her on Snapchat makes him a sucka, then I’ll take two please.

 

 

 

 

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There’s A Bigger Issue Than Body-Shaming When It Comes to Zendaya

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It was just a few days ago that I was texting a friend and used, “She was giving me Monique ’skinny bitches are evil’ vibes,” to describe a former colleague and my failure to understand why someone I only interacted with via e-mail and social media most days seemed to always have an attitude with me. It’s something every skinny girl experiences at one point or another. You walk into a room of “pleasantly plump” women who aren’t that pleasant. And let me be clear, not for one second do I think all big girls are bitches who have issues with or want to be skinny mini’s. But the ones that do seem to be mentally chanting affirmations like “More cushion for the pushin’” and you can instantly feel the hate slapping you across the face like when someone’s bad breath singes your nostril hairs. It used to be that we could blame the media, cosmetics companies and men for these strict beauty standards that habitually have women defending everything from the arch of their eyebrow to their metabolism, but thanks to the gift of social media we can now take our mean girl attitudes to the internet and insult each other as entertainment for the masses.

I love a good, dark, cut throat joke as much as the next person. When Bette Midler clapped back at Kim Kardashian last week, I had a chuckle or two because it seemed like Bette was coming from a genuine place of comedy and not from a place where she too wished she could black bar her tig ol’ bitties for the Gram. See, the thing about comedy is that even some pretty grave offenses can be forgiven if the joke itself is funny as hell. And I’m sorry, Julie Klausner, you’re not funny. If anything, you seem kind of bitter and a tad bit envious.

If you’re anything like me and hesitant to stan for any comedian that doesn’t begin with “Mindy” and end with “Kaling”, you might be like, “Julie, who?” Klausner is a comic and the star and creator of the Hulu show Difficult People. When Disney star Zendaya took to the stage this past weekend to accept her Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award for Favorite Female TV Star, while we are were all listening to her give a heartfelt speech about inspiring young women, Klausner apparently couldn’t wait to pick apart her appearance (which by the way, my girl ‘Daya was slaying…all day…all night…all damn weekend). Klausner tweeted:

“Zendaya’s ultimate retort to Giuliana Rancic is starving herself down to the size of one of her elbowz.”

“You don’t have to have an eating disorder to attend the Kids’ Choice Awards….but it helps!”

Needless to say, Klausner received a lot of backlash for jumping on the body-shaming bandwagon and even got a little clapback from Zendaya herself who tweeted:

“Do you find this funny? I will write another paragraph to educate you aswell #youreallywannabenext?”

 

My initial response?

1. I still don’t know who the fuck Julie Klausner is but her Twitter is giving me Amy Shumer vibes (you know the girl Hollywood is presently forcing us to find funny) and she’s about as funny as an ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan on piano.

2. It’s NEVER a good look when a grown ass woman comes for a teenager. It just always makes them look bitter and like they start off all drunken conversations with, “Back in my twenties I was so damn skinny.”

But what bothered me about this whole messy exchange what the fact that Klausner attempted to use some sort of half-assed concern for the health of young women to defend what seemed to be a display of her own insecurities:

“I will never stop criticizing celebs who perpetuate dangerous beauty standards for a generation of girls who grow up thinking they’re fat.”

Since when did anyone with a Twitter handle and over five minutes of fame become an authority on health and wellness? It was only a few weeks ago, model Cheryl Tiegs threw a whole Sherwood forest of shade towards cover girl, Ashley Graham for representing “Team Thickness” on the cover of the latest Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

“I don’t like that we’re talking about full-figured women, because it’s glamorizing them, because your waist should be smaller than 35 (inches),” the former Sports Illustrated cover girl model expressed at a pre-Oscar arty a few weeks ago, “That’s what Dr. Oz said, and I’m sticking to it.”

I’m sorry, but are any of these people undercover M.D.’s testing these ladies’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels? How the hell can you look at someone and make an accurate assumption about how healthy they are? “Healthy” looks different on every woman and something tells me Klausner’s jokes were more about a moment of self-hate and less about any actual concern about Zendaya’s health or that 13-year-old who is a size 10 and contemplating starving herself after watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show.

Look, it’s Klausner’s Twitter and she can do whatever she wants with it and if we don’t like it, we all have the option to unfollow. Klausner was quick to remind fans that she would not be backpedaling or deleting any tweets and that everything was said in good fun. Body-shaming celebs being the go to punchline for a few retweets is one thing, but every evil thought that passes through your brain doesn’t need to be shared. Who hasn’t had a mean-spirited thought after being bombarded by images on the daily of rich and famous celebs with perfectly constructed hip to waist ratios. Every time I see a fifty word article about Kylie Jenner’s new hair color I can feel an insult rising with the bile in the back of my throat, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be tweeted, no matter how funny I think it may be.  Especially when what you tweet speaks more volumes on how you view yourself more than your concern with the well-being of other women.

Skinny-girl shame isn’t more acceptable by default because we feel it gives us an excuse to attack America’s narrow standards of beauty in defense of girls who feel awkward because Forever 21 considers them plus size. Being 5’2” and weighing 120 lbs. doesn’t mean I sail through life on a parade float of acceptance and admiration every day. I’ve honestly had women ask me in disbelief why I’d opt for a one piece over a thong bikini on the beach or remind me to clean my plate as if being thin grants me an all-access pass to high self-esteem that allows me to take low-brow Twitter comments and criticism on the chin. Shaming thin girls doesn’t magically uplift curvy girls everywhere. That’s not how it works. Instead of obsessing over the circumference of Zendaya’s forearm and who does or doesn’t want to look like her, why don’t we celebrate her confidence and the fact that there ARE women who actually like themselves whether they are a size 2 or a size 12.

If there’s more to  to be offended by than comments about someone’s size, it’s the attack on another woman’s”moment”. In her book, “Why Not Me?” my favorite comedian, Mindy Kaling makes a profound observation about the conflict that comes with being a confident female, “The scary thing I’ve noticed is that some people feel really uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves.” And I think that what bothered me the most; the fact that Klausner wasn’t just attacking another women’s waist size, but her moment of confidence. It’s a struggle for most women to like themselves in a world that makes it’s a daily mission to convince us not to and we should stop assuming that just because WE think a woman is beautiful means that SHE feels the same way each and everyday or takes the moments when she does feel like she’s kicking the world’s ass for granted. Whether we are accepting an award on national television, posing butt naked in a bathroom mirror, or finally found a pair of jeans that makes us feel like Beyonce’ strutting on the sidelines of an NBA game, every woman deserves a purely untainted moment where she feels like she is unapologetically the shit. One of the worst things we can do as fellow women is fuck with any moment a woman is truly feeling herself.  Because those moments for too many of us are far and few.

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7 Reasons You Need To Make Him Take You On A Date…NOW

 

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The story of how my husband and I first met was far from a fairytale, and as happy as I am with where we are now, I often caution my friends that our situation had just as much of a chance of going wrong as it did right.

Back in the early 2000’s when all my high school friends had gone off to various parts of rural PA to begin their lives as undergrads, I was left working a job I had held through my teens at an ice cream parlor and spent a year or two doing random things you do as a young adult trying to figure it out. I spent the summer blowing minimum wage paychecks on Air Force One’s and hanging out with a guy who had nursed a crush on me since I was freshman.  He was a nice enough guy, but one of those guys that had no idea that I had all but re-financed a mortgage for him in the friend zone. Sometime in the summer of 2005 he ended up introducing me to a close friend of his who at the time I had no idea would be the man I’d eventually marry.

My husband had a lot of undesirable qualities about him, but one of them wasn’t financial management.  He was able to save and purchase a house at a very young age and provide what only I could call the hood’s version of Hedomism for all his friends. It was a bachelor pad that always had liquor readily available, T.I. and Madden NFL blasting throughout the night, and half-dressed girls parading in and out.  It wasn’t exactly the setting to fall in love. But somehow despite him being the host to these shenanigans, I ended up really liking the guy. Of course at this time he wasn’t the type to pick me up for drinks and late night walks along the riverfront. Our relationship began pretty basically, but instead of “Netflix and Chill” back then it was called a booty call and I settled for it. In the occasional night his house was quiet and he finished a shift at 12AM he would call me up and ask if I wanted to come over and watch The Wire which would always inevitably turn into Stringer Bell and Omar peeping our “under-cover activities”.

This went on for few years until I decided I wanted something more serious and was tired of settling for being the girl he knew he could call for a good time and nothing more. I also knew I was worth much more than only being thought of after 10:00 pm. Our first official date of many was a night at the movies to see Denzel Washington star in Book of Eli and although it may not seem like much, I think if a man feels like he never has to leave his apartment for you, it says something about how much he’s invested into you.

Reservations at Painting with a Twist doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve landed yourself a husband, but it will get you a lot closer than Netflix and chill ever will. Here are seven reasons you need to make him take you on a date right the hell NOW:

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1. Because it forces him to make the effort, and you deserve a little damn effort.

Ne-yo has a single on the last album that I love called “Make It Easy” which is about finding the one to spend your life with who makes living comfortable and drama-free. This, however, does not apply to the first few months of dating. If you are the one who is constantly driving to see him, picking up dinner and delivering ass along with a stuffed crust pizza you are a glorified Domino’s delivery driver, not a girlfriend.

I wouldn’t write it, if I didn’t witness it. When a man takes you out on a date it forces him to plan and muster up a little damn effort.  I’m all for being an independent woman and making the first move, but when you “do all the doing” you rob a man of the opportunity to make the effort that you deserve.  Even if his best effort is a Fandango transaction for tickets to the latest Leo DiCaprio flick and buffalo chicken sliders on him, it still required more energy than the dude who showered, threw on sweatpants and made sure his wi-fi was working.

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2. Because being broke is no longer a valid excuse.

A Google search for “dating on a budget” returns 71,400,000 results in .67 seconds which means that “I’m on a budget,” is no longer an excuse for refusing to leave the bedroom. Whether you grab a pretzel and people watch at a local park or you both volunteer for an animal shelter for an afternoon, being broke is not a good enough reason for him to refuse to take you out in public. Better yet why not visit a career fair or a networking event if he claims lack of coins is the only reason why date night is confined to his couch.

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3. Because it allows you the chance to see what he’s bringing to the table outside of the bedroom.

Being in public forces people to present themselves differently to the world than they would when the only social interaction they have is the occasional interruption by the guy delivering a quart of vegetable lo mein.

Does he get a bad case of social anxiety? Did he tip the server more than $2.00 or offer the mom with the screaming toddler a quick glance of sympathy? You can learn more about a person by how they act in public than you ever would from their Netflix queue.

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4. Because there’s the chance you’ll bump into his crew or the girlfriend he forgot to mention.

When a man goes out of his way to avoid taking you out in public (or if when he does you always have to go two counties away and can never hang out with friends) I always assume it’s because he has something to hide. Maybe he’s keeping you away from his boys because they probably won’t know you from the last three girls he brought around in the last week. Or maybe he doesn’t want to bump into his girlfriend’s older brother who frequents the best beer garden in town. Either way if you can’t seem to ever see the light of day with your date, rest assured the skeletons he’s got trapped in the closet aren’t either.

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5. Because the best memories rarely begin with, “Remember that time we were binge-watching Bob’s Burgers?”

Karaoke with strangers, dive bars in small towns and that little deli that makes the best corn beef specials: That’s what the best date memories are made of. If you’ve met a guy that you think you want to get serious with, shared experiences are what relationships are built on. They will be what give you character as a couple and help you bond. You don’t have to go rock climbing in South America or share epic life-changing experiences to become closer. Bonding can come through looking at the same old neighborhood hangouts in a different way through one another’s eyes….which requires leaving his apartment from time to time.

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6. Because a group date may allow your girlfriends to see things that you don’t.

They might catch him shifting uncomfortably or avoiding eye-contact or they may peep that he doesn’t pull off until your seat belt is buckled or how his eyes light up when you walk in the room. Your gut is usually spot-on, but friends and family can sometimes see things that love and lust alike won’t allow you to.

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7. Because ain’t that much “busy” in the world.

The saying never fails: A person will make time for the things they want to do, and excuses for what they don’t want to do. When my now husband/then love interest started to get serious about me, I noticed that even if was working 10 and sometimes 12 hours straight, he’d take the hour he had in between shifts just to bring me Johnny Rockets and sit on the porch and talk. I’m not saying he has to take you to a five-star-restaurant and end the night with a rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight” accompanied by John Legend on piano. But if a man can’t make time to poke your brain, but clears his schedule to penetrate other parts of your anatomy, it’s probably because that’s all he’s interested in.

 

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Signs You Need To Let Go of Being “Young and Fly” and Come In For a Landing

Young and Fly

In case you all have forgotten, let me remind you again that in the past two years I’ve become a wife AND a mother (I’m still getting used to it myself, so I apologize if this is like the umpteenth article I’ve started that way). Every once in a while, when I’m able to steal a little “me-time”, I come up for air from the sea of Mega Blocks, Gerber Puffs and adult responsibilities I’m often surrounded by to see how out-of-touch I’ve really become. Priorities done changed, ya’ll. I used to look forward to what summer music festivals my friends would need to camp out on Ticketmaster.com for and lately all I’m looking forward to are a hot shower and the two hours of Nurse Jackie I can squeeze in when my toddler passes out. On the days I feel most pathetic, I’ll reassure myself I’m still doing the damn thing and randomly blurt out “I’m still young and fly” before my husband abruptly reminds me, “I know, babe, I know.”

The funny thing is, once you hit a certain age and have a few accomplishments under your belt, you begin to realize that being “young and fly” isn’t everything and you trade it in for a little “grown and sexy”. Your tastes change and you gain some experience that makes you feel confident enough to give advice to others. Don’t get me wrong, my twenties were all the way turned up. I remember dragging my BFF on a ten-hour bus ride to Toronto attend my first OVOFest and getting caught up in customs over pepper spray (Apparently the Canadians take aerosol defense sprays very seriously). There were also the “Thirsty Thursdays” of undergrad where we felt like the baddest bitches to ever hit Middle of Nowhere, USA. But in all honesty, even though there’s a part of me that misses being twenty-something with an adventure scheduled for every weekend, and even bigger part of me wants to leave my twenties exactly where they’re at, both physically and mentally. There’s a comfort that comes with routine and having your own. Thirty doesn’t have to mean the end of random bus trips through North America, but at least now maybe I can afford an actual flight without having to eat Chef Boyardee for two weeks to afford it.

Still not convinced you’re ready to say goodbye to your days of “young and fly”, here are a few reminders it might be time to come in for a landing:

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1. Getting dressed becomes a chore.

It’s one thing if bae is treating me to that new Mediterranean place for monthly date night and I muster the effort to throw on a pair of 5” heels, but my days of putting on winged liner for game night with friends are long gone. For one thing, when you have a baby it takes an insane amount of time for your family to get out the door to do any damn thing. A trip to the bank requires a fully stocked baby bag and unrealistic goal of hoping you can make it to the car before your kid covers their outfit in snot or poop or both. More and more I find myself reserving the energy to look fresh to death for when it counts.

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2. Everything that comes on the radio sounds the same (and a tad bit annoying).

This is like the number one sign that you are now your parents. Maybe hip-hop and R&B truly has fallen off significantly, but the truth is we’re probably just old. But that’s OK, because every time I see a 45- year-old man dressed in skinny jeans blasting Fetty Wap from his car, a part of me dies inside. I think as you grow older your taste in music should too; it’s OK if you’re like my husband and don’t know WTH a “DM” is and what goes down in them. There’s nothing wrong with a little trap music to go with some shots of Bacardi every now and then, but most days I can’t tell Jhene from Kehlani. However if New Jack Swing ever makes a comeback, I’ll be waiting with open arms.

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3. You have a liquor preference.

Congratulations if you pass judgment on anyone drinking alcohol out of something that resembles a Capri Sun pouch. You are officially an adult with decent taste. In my twenties I would drink anything that was over 60 proof regardless of what Kool-Aide color it came in. Now my liver has a little more discretion and I’m able to have good time without feeling like I went headfirst into the side of Buick the next day.

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4. You kind of start to give a damn about your health.

There’s a “snatch back” that plagues your twenties that makes you think you can survive ANYTHING. You can pass out from alcohol poisoning one night and wake up the next morning ace a final, pull a double at work and then have sex until the sun comes up. But when I hit 30 all I can remember thinking is, “Damn, I know people who have gotten cancer diagnoses at this age.” Seriously, I had a sharp pain on my left side for a few days that I swore was the end a few months ago. It was actually just gas, but the good news is getting older makes you realize your mortality. And realizing you won’t be here forever makes you take your health a little more seriously and make better choices.

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5. You start to care about quality and use discretion when spending your money.

I lie to you not, one of the best purchases I’ve ever made as an official adult is a quality mattress. Once you sleep on decent furniture, you’ll wonder why futons are even still available for purchase. When you begin to build a work history and recognize the amount of work you have to do to earn so many dollars per hour, you’ll want the things you spend it on to be worth something. You’ll start to pay for quality and convenience, and stop spending your coins casually on things you know won’t survive past a month. Sure, that IKEA nightstand looks cute, but if it falls apart as soon as you put your contact case on it, is it really worth the hassle?

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6. You realize how little time you have for the BS.

When I had nothing but air and opportunity, if my home girl called me up and wanted to ride the Petty Pony when it came to man drama, I was there. But now I have responsibilities and I’m almost tempted to make my friends sign a disclaimer that begins, “If I ride out with you to destroy this man, do you solemnly swear you will not go all #RelationshipGoals with this dude in the next year taking his mama to church and making him omelets in the morning?” As I get older, my time becomes more and more valuable and I refuse to entertain BS. Every moment of my life doesn’t need to be dedicated to serious spiritual growth and introspection, but I just don’t have as much time for the shenanigans anymore.

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7. Comfort and convenience become major factors in most of your decisions.

This doesn’t translate into meaning it’s OK to become lazy as you grow older. Your thirties and beyond should still be filled with plenty of challenges and moments of discomfort to keep you sharp so you can continue to grow. But sometime a few years ago, I started to feel like I no longer had anything to prove, and there was no point in inconveniencing myself just to prove that I was making the most of my life every minute of the day.

I once saw a comedian that gave the best advice when he said, “By the age of 30, I know what I don’t like.”  There’s something about being at peace with the things you know you have no interest in. In other words, just because all of your friends are making vision boards with trips to Dubai, if you truly know you couldn’t care less about seeing the Burj Khalifa or rather have a cheese steak instead of shawarma, there’s no need to defend what makes you happy. You don’t have to push yourself to limit to things that simply aren’t that important to you just to prove your life is epic and amazing.

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8. You stop caring about being “young and fly”.

As much as I still enjoy my share of Nicki Minaj and Love and Hip Hop, I’m noticing the lifestyle I aspire to have affects my priorities. I don’t care as much about designer labels and turning up as much as I care about getting my daughter into a good school and making sure I don’t have to work a 9-5 to survive when I’m sixty. If spending a little more time learning about how a 401K works or taking the time to learn who exactly is my city council person means sacrificing knowing the juicy details of Meek Mill’s latest Twitter rant, I will make my peace with that. My role models have changed as well as my values and I take that as a good sign that I’m growing as a person.