Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Friends Help You Live Longer

Me and My Bestie Tracy R.
I’m not sure if I want to live a long life, but I do know that I want to live a good one. According to an article I recently read in Men's Journal Magazine, “Nearly all the research into healthy aging has found that the key to a long, happy life is not diet or exercise but strong social connections or friendships. Loneliness accelerates age related declines in cognition and motor function, while a single good friend has been shown to make as much as a 10-year difference in overall life expectancy.”
That isn’t surprising to me, but it is interesting. The article goes on the say that men have greater difficulties in creating and maintaining friendships than women. Although, if I can draw on my experiences and those of others I know, while women have no problem in creating friendships, sometimes we have serious problems in maintaining them. Some say that it's because we are too jealous-hearted, petty, or catty. If you watch reality TV that’s very easy to believe. Women on those shows are full of drama and always fighting. They were friends or at least friendly toward one another at the beginning of the season and by the end they can’t stand one another. Even in my own life, I’ve realized that when women have problems with one another instead of talking in out we often just stop talking to one another. Often, it’s over something quite silly. Years of friendship down the drain over a misunderstanding or hurt feelings. It’s quite sad, if you ask me. We must do better ladies simply for the sake of living well into our 90's, if nothing else. (-:

The article also says that  “loneliness is just as harmful as not exercising, smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and alcoholism, and fully twice as bad as being obese….Isolated people tend to exercise less, eat poorly, and drink too much.” One study found that loneliness in and of itself is a killer, “Lonely people have chronically elevated levels of stress and fear hormones cortisol and epinephrine .” Wow! I have to get more friends…FAST.
I for one am happy to know that the fountain of youth has always been as close as our BFFs. We can spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery, Botox, anti-aging creams and medical procedures designed to help us look and feel younger but if we really want to maintain the kid in us we simply need to develop meaningful friendships with one another. Although, I’m sure none of that will matter if we don’t maintain proper diet and exercise, but I can truly see how happiness can play a part in longevity.

In my opinion, it is especially important that we single women have good friends. It helps to keep us from becoming desperate and dating any man who comes along so we won’t be alone. It is our good friends who will ask us why we are dating someone who isn’t good for us. They can provide an objective opinion when we are contemplating whether or not to date someone seriously. It is their love for us as a true friend and their desire for us to be happy that will  allow them to tell us he’s a keeper or drop that loser regardless of if it will make us angry. And it’s our ace that will bring over our favorite fatty foods and hand us tissues as we cry if that loser breaks our heart. She might also tell us to go get fabulous and take us out to party and get drunk to numb the pain for a few hours. So, next time you look in the mirror and notice an extra wrinkle or another gray hair instead of going to your favorite drug store or make up counter and buying another product, call your BFF and invite her to lunch.
Question: So what are your thoughts: Do you believe that healthy happy friendships can help you live longer?

*In case, you wondering why I’m reading Men's Journal, whoever lived in my house before me had a subscription and they have begun sending him copies again. I’m assuming that it’s in hopes that he will renew. I’m actually really enjoying the articles.

Here are some of my other amazing long-term friends!

Me and Anetra B.
Me and Gwen W.
Me and Dorsha J.

Me and my sister Van

My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her inspirational romance novels, Someday, Someday, Too, and Forever and a Day are now available in ebook (Kindle and Nook) and paperback. Get her new ebook Things Every Good Woman Should Know Volume 1 on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Behind the Post: Men Don't Really Want A Christian Woman

Behind the Post: This is where I expound on something I posted on social media

I am convinced that most single men don't really want a good Christian woman. They want a freak who is familiar with the word of God. (or something like that)

I don’t think anything conjures up more hypocritical contradictory behavior than religion, dating, and sex. Many a man of the cloth has been subjected to public ruin for succumbing to the flesh. I encounter men regularly who say they want a good Christian woman and when they meet one they ask her to participate in all kinds of acts that would be more fitting of a video vixen.  I think what they really want is a woman who appears to be a Christian in public but when they get behind closed doors will do all the nasty freaky things they fantasize about without the benefit of a ring.  This gives the term "Jesus Freak" a whole new meaning. If that is what a man wants fine, but be honest and say that.

Being a single woman in today’s society truly is a delicate balance. Women are told not to give it up too soon because we’ll look like a slut but don’t make him wait too long because he’ll lose interest. If there are things we won’t do we are told to learn to do it and like it because if we won’t do it another woman will. Very rarely do I hear talk encouraging women to behave like women of God anyplace other than INSIDE the church. Listen to mainstream radio, look at TV and movies and even video games and we are all taking off our clothes off at record speed. 

Yes, I recognized that as human beings we are flawed creatures prone to contradictions. Especially, when physical desires and emotions come into play. However, I don’t think many men realize what they are saying when then say they want a good Christian woman. Or perhaps we women don’t know what we’re saying when we profess to be good Christian women. I’m not saying that we all have to be prudes but as Christian women we are called to exhibit behaviors that are reflective of the Christ who lives within us. This includes a lot more than going to church and singing in the choir. Jesus did not engage in premarital sex, wear revealing clothes or draw pictures of his penis on scrolls and send them to women he found attractive. Yes, I know there is a lot of competition out there from saved and unsaved women alike but what sense does saying something and then behaving like just the opposite make. Oh yeah, we all have needs, right? Trust me, I've been there. We mean what we say when we say it but when we are in that heated moment and he finds our "spot" we may reconsider. What's a girl to do? The answer: Stay prayed up! 

However, there is one area I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with and that is sexting. The invention of texting has ushered in a method sexual communication that’s no farther than our fingertips. Sexting seems to be expected in this new millennium of dating and it is often done with no regard of where those texts and pictures could end up. I’m a writer. So believe me when I say I can conjure up an arousing text that could make a Zane novel look like a bedtime story for teens if I wanted to. Yet, one must realize that sexting is usually a gateway to the physical. Electronic foreplay, if you will.  Think carefully before choosing to participate. At some point you will probably be asked to put up or shut up. I must warn you,  if you should choose not to sext some men may not appreciate your unwillingness to do so. I once told a man that I didn’t do naked pictures because I might decide to run for president one day and his response was simply cut your head off.  I guess it didn’t matter that this was my body that I was sharing over an electronic device or that I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. His only regard was that was what he wanted and I needed to deliver. Another guy I know requested a picture of me and when I sent him one of me wearing a dress I thought looked quite attractive on me, he responded that I looked “churchy”.  Call me naive but I guess I didn’t realize that send me a pic actually meant send me booty shots. Oh well, I tried.  I understand such requests could also be a test to see if I practice what I preach but when a married Christian comedian I barley know sends me a  text requesting that I put on a pair of “pretty panties” and send him a picture I have to question his walk and his judgment.  How about I screenshot that nonsense and put it on Twitter instead? No worries, I wouldn’t. His wife looks very happy in the pics he posts on Facebook. I don’t want to change that. 

I honestly don’t have any suggestions about how to improve this behavior. I’ve really chalked it up to "it is what it is". Individual decisions have to be made. Ladies, we have to decide what behaviors we will and will not exhibit for the sake of getting and keeping the attention of a man. Whatever you decide make sure it is something you and the God you serve can live with. As for the fellas, they need to be careful about what they ask for because they just might get it. The question is, “Is a good Christian woman really what they want or does that just seem like the saved thing to say?”

My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her inspirational romance novels, Someday, Someday, Too, and Forever and a Day are now available in ebook (Kindle and Nook) and paperback. Get her new ebook Things Every Good Woman Should Know Volume 1 on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

R.I.P. Simone Battle: I Wish She Had Loved Herself to Life

I recently heard the news of the suicide by pop singer Simone Battle. Immediately my heart ached for her. Don’t get me wrong, my heart ached for Robin Williams too but somehow as I stared into the eyes of this beautiful young woman, on a photograph on my computer screen, I was impacted. I wanted to know what happened to her and began scouring the net for any information I could find. One publication said she was facing financial woes.

I watched her videos. She was a former contestant on X Factor and a member of the girl group G.R.L. It appears that G.R.L., dubbed the new Pussy Cat Dolls, was just beginning to garner some major attention. They had a video with rapper Pitbull and their new single "Ugly Heart" was #2 on the Australian charts. What could have been tugging on this young woman's heart and mind so terribly that she thought the only answer was to end her life? She was only 25! There was so much more for her to experience. I wondered if she called anyone to talk about what she was going through. It couldn’t have been that bad. Was she having a moment of irrational hysteria? I can’t say what happened but what I do know is depression and mental illness are real. I’ve battled with depression myself and although I’ve never had suicidal thoughts I have had moments where I wondered if anyone cared or really loved me. I wondered why I was here and what purpose I could possibly have. These moments of worthlessness would come after a break up, a fight with a friend, when I felt lonely and unwanted, and especially after the death of my mother. I wondered that if I suddenly died how long would it be before someone realized that they hadn’t heard from me and bothered to come to my home and find my body. Sad, right? I know. But that’s exactly was depression is an intense state of sadness that looms over you like a bad haircut. It impacts lives across the country and has claimed many of them.

If Simone had held on a little longer she may have won a Grammy, gone on a world tour or founded a charitable organization for other young women battling depression. What she was about to do in her career thousands if not millions of women would have loved to experience. I know there are some ugly sides to fame but if that was what was bothering her there is always a way out. If it was about finances when compared to a life we must remember, it truly is only money.

Miss Simone Battle, I wish I could have talked to you and made you look forward to tomorrow rather than dread it. I would have given you a hug and told you that it was going to be okay. I’d hand you Kleenex and grab you by the hand and get you out of the house. Maybe we’d go see a movie, dance in the park to a street musician’s tune or just sit and talk about everything and nothing. Whatever you were going through there were people who could help you and you didn’t have to go through it alone. Some people say I love you to death but I would have attempted to show you how to love you to life. 

The present is such a beautiful place to be. It truly is a gift and it isn’t one that we should decide to give back before its time. We may never know why Simone Battle committed suicide but what we do know is that the world is a little bit dimmer because her bright smile is no longer in it. Rest in peace my beautiful sister.
If you ever have suicidal thoughts, please before you do the irreversible, reach out to at least three people. They can be people you know or even people you don’t know. Someone who can tell you just how valuable you are.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her inspirational romance novels, Someday, Someday, Too, and Forever and a Day are now available in ebook (Kindle and Nook) and paperback. Get her new ebook Things Every Good Woman Should Know Volume 1 on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Scandal vs. Being Mary Jane


 I can’t say that I am a Gladiator, but I do keep up with the show. Who doesn’t love a good “SCANDAL”. However, when I heard about the creation of BET’s “Being Mary Jane” with Gabrielle Union and learned that she too would be playing a mistress I began to become concerned about the images these networks  are presenting for black woman and successful women as a whole. Kerri Washington and Gabrielle’s characters are both attractive, intelligent, successful, headstrong black women who have a killer wardrobe, an affinity for wine and who are sleeping with married men. The stark difference in their affairs, at least from my opinion, is Olivia Pope knew that the president was married when they began their affair whereas Mary Jane Paul had no idea. Both women tried to leave their lovers alone only to end up back in their beds repeatedly because they had fallen in love with forbidden fruit. As the last season ended, Olivia and the president seem to have taken a break. Mary Jane had an attack of conscience and sent her lover home to his wife and kids. She even apologized to his wife and asked her to take him back.

I have to say that I enjoy "Being Mary Jane" more and that is probably because I can relate to her better. As a broadcast journalism major who once wanted to be a TV anchor, until I fell in love with radio, I love being able to go behind the scenes of the news desk. All the newsroom woes they present are the very reasons I chose not to pursue the field. It takes a special person to do that job.  I’m big enough to admit it wasn’t for me but I have much respect for the profession and the people who do it. I still work hand in hand with them in my role as a publicist.

Now back to the shows……
“Scandal” is about a woman with an extraordinary amount of power she uses to control the lives of others like a puppet master even if it means lying, stealing, hacking computer files, and injuring others. Her tactics can either help or inflict great harm. No wonder she has no problem sleeping with a married man and was actually about to help him tear the country apart by allowing him to leave his wife while in office. Her clients in most cases have done bad things that they are trying to keep from ruining their careers, marriages and lives-- whether it be theirs or others. Mary Jane’s job requires her to decide which stories are newsworthy but juicy enough to keep her ratings up. Sometimes that means hurting people she cares about. Oh we can’t forget that she and her money seem to be the glue helping to keep her family together. Out of all of the children born to her retired airline father and Lupus-stricken mother she is the only one who seems to be stable. Her passionate desire for them to get it together often makes her appear extremely bossy and lacking compassionate at times.Although I must say the level of dysfunction in her family is over the top if you ask me.

As far as the affairs are concerned, unlike Mary Jane, Olivia didn’t leave the president alone because she had a fit of conscience. She left the president alone because she realized what being #2 meant….being told to basically shut up because her lover was talking to his wife. Women with that kind of power are used to getting what they want and they don’t take kindly to being put in their place. Yes, Scandal is a juicy tale but if you look at it through a critical moral eye Olivia Pope isn't a very good role model for women. Although I do like that she doesn’t believe in running around killing people.  Huck would knock off his own mother if she told him to. Yet, she has connived, stolen elections and helped orchestrate plans to make sure no one found out  to get to the top and keep her clients there. Mary Jane Paul is no angel either, but her job is less conniving. She seems to have a good heart and is woman enough to clean up her messes to the best of her ability and walk away. Actually that is exactly where Scandal left off this past season with Olivia on a plane escaping the madness that had become her life. But I guess you would be messed up too if you found out that both your parents were professional killers: one for the government and the other for terrorist groups. Olivia does try to do good when she can. Several ill-fated things on the show are completely out of her hands, like Cyrus's desire to do anything to keep the president in office or her father's desire to do anything to keep his job at MI-16 or whatever it's called and to keep the president away from his daughter. However, both shows seem to tout the message black women can’t have it all. If you have successful business women, they’re going to have crappy personal lives. This includes their families and their lovers. And ladies, if you can’t find a single man you like, it’s perfectly okay to try somebody’s husband. Please note my sarcasm.

However, if all were perfect they wouldn’t be successful TV shows, now would they? Let’s just chalk this up to great entertainment not meant to impart good messages. Get ready to grab your favorite snack and enjoy the new season people! I’ll be watching myself. It’s my guilty pleasure. It's just television....right?

My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her inspirational romance novels, Someday, Someday, Too, and Forever and a Day are now available in ebook (Kindle and Nook) and paperback. Get her new ebook Things Every Good Woman Should Know Volume 1 on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. V

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sex Is More Than Just Sex

This was Jermaine and Sasha’s third date. After a wonderful dinner at Houston’s, they returned to her house for dessert. Sasha had baked a strawberry cake she wanted him to try.  Her mother always told her that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach and Sasha wanted Jermaine to know that she had culinary skills. They sat and talked and laughed over cake and coffee for quite some time. It was obvious that Jermaine enjoyed the cake.  He even asked for seconds. Sasha laughed as he used the pads of his fingers to pick up the crumbs and remnants of the thick strawberry icing on his plate. He didn’t leave anything. Sasha yawned, then  looked at the clock and realized that it was shortly after midnight. Where did the time go? 
“It’s getting late,” she said. “And I have to get up early tomorrow.”
Jermaine rose from his seat. “You’re right. Time just seems to fly by when we’re together.”
“It most certainly does. I had a wonderful evening. Dinner was excellent. Thank you. Let me walk you to the door.”
“The pleasure was mine. That cake was delicious.” Jermaine picked up his plate and set it in the sink. He then grabbed Sasha by the hand.  They walked, while smiling at one another, from the kitchen to the front door. This was one of the best dates Sasha ever had!
They reached the door and stood there looking into one another’s eyes. “I hope to see you again soon,” said Sasha. “Good night and text me when you make it home to let me know that you arrived safely.”
Instead of responding, Jermaine pulled Sasha closer and kissed her passionately. “You are an amazingly beautiful woman. I knew the moment I saw you that I had to get to know you better.”
           Sasha's body grew hot.  "Th-Th-Th-Thank you,” Sasha stammered. She knew she needed to back away but she didn’t want to. She hadn’t been in a relationship in three years. She missed the closeness of a man.   
             Jermaine pulled her into him, placed his moist lips against her ear, and whispered, “This night doesn’t have to end. I know you want me. Let’s seize this moment and begin a journey that could last a lifetime. He then pressed his mouth against hers again and began to plant sweet soft kisses on her face, neck, and shoulders.
            Jermaine’s breath made Sasha's knees weak. The seductive sound of his voice made her head light. His lips sent a tingle down her spine that was working its way through the rest of her. She clasped his shirt tightly in her hands as if she was about to rip his clothes from his muscular body. Of course she wanted him.  What women in her right mind wouldn’t want a man like Jermaine who appeared to be what every woman dreams of?  Attractiveness , intelligence, a  great sense of humor and wealth were all packaged within a great body. Yet, Sasha had to ask herself was this the right time. They barely even knew each other. It was just their third date.

Timing is everything in relationships. A woman usually knows within 10 minutes to an hour after she meets a man whether or not she wants to sleep with him. That is basic physical attraction. You look him up and down, determine that you do find him physically attractive and have a few minutes of conversation to determine that he is not a Neanderthal and think to yourself, “Yep. He could get it.” However, it is our capacity to think and reason in complex situations that separates us from the animals. It is the wisdom we’ve gained--whether it be from others or personal experience--that gives a reason for pause and rational decision making.  Sleeping with a man you barely know is often unwise and could possibly have disastrous consequences.

I often speak about what I refer to as responsible dating. The concept is simple and is based on plain old common sense rather than religion. Whether you believe that fornication is a sin or not, sex although a  pleasurable  experience, is a responsibility. It is the things that can result as a result of having sex that makes it so. After the effects of reaching the BIG “O” have worn off you may experience:

1. Pregnancy 
      2. Contraction of a STD
3. An emotional/physical  bond to another human being who is unworthy of such an attachment

It is because of those three things I believe that the decision to share your body with a man deserves more than five seconds of consideration.  If any of the three occur your life could be altered forever.  Yes, I know that condoms and birth control have been created to ward against the first two. But we all know that the only 100% form of protection is abstinence. Just something to think about the next time you are in the heat of the moment. The WHAT IFS are more powerful than the I WANTS. Take the time to get to know one another before becoming intimate. You will be glad you did. If you do, you have time to determine these things:

1. If he is a good man that deserves to have access to your body and your heart.
2. If he is a good father to the kids he presently has and if he would be one to yours should things head in that direction. If he doesn't have kids how does he treat his nieces and nephews and little cousins?
      3. You can talk about what you both want out of the time you spend together.  For example, he may be looking for someone to occasionally have sex with (nothing serious) while you are looking for a relationship that could possibly lead to marriage. Wouldn’t you rather know that before sex rather than find out after having sex.  You can also observe to see if his actions align with his words. If he says he is serious about you but is always playing games, is he really serious?
4. You can both get tested for STDs and have comfort in knowing that is no longer a concern.
Sex truly is more than “just sex”.  Date responsibly.

 My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her inspirational romance novels, Someday, Someday, Too, and Forever and a Day are now available in ebook (Kindle and Nook) and paperback. Get her new ebook Things Every Good Woman Should Know Volume 1 on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. Visit Jae at, www.jaehendersonauthor.com and www.imagoodwoman.com.