Why We Hate the Other Woman

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If you’ve ever been cheated on, you know how painful that feels to have the one person you’ve entrusted your life secrets and commitments to simply just throw it all way for a fling.  If you’ve ever went through it, you know how deep the rage runs for what they did to you, but some of us transfer that rage from our boyfriend/husband to the other woman.  Are we allowed to be angry at them?  Of course we should be angry at them if they knew the person they were seeing had a mate, but we should never be angrier at them than we are at our own mate.  They are not the ones who agreed to be in a relationship with us and were supposed to honor the terms of that agreement.  They weren’t the ones that lied to us day in and day out and continued on as if nothing happened.  The other woman is not responsible for keeping our relationship afloat, so why do we blame her as if she were?

We ask why women can be such homewreckers and whores when we don’t ask why our men can’t be faithful to us.  We wonder why women are so often scapegoated except when we’re the ones doing it.  Then, we ask why our fellow women don’t have standards when we should in fact be wondering where our standards are.  If we allow men to continually cheat on us and continually blame women, how do we view ourselves?  We are both victims and abusers at the same time while we don’t demand that men are held to the same standards.  This is not an issue of the patriarchy holding us down, but something that we as women must deal with ourselves.

So why do we blame the other woman and not our men?  In cases where we actually leave our men, we understand the relationship is no longer tenable, but for those of us who chose to stay, we sometimes shift the blame to the other woman so that we don’t have to blame our husband or boyfriend.  Because if we do, we would have to reckon with actually doing something about our pain and anger towards him, and that may mean leaving him, so we don’t blame him.  Instead, we blame an easy target who is not in our home everyday and whom we see every morning when we wake up so that we can continue living with them.  And what happens to this misplaced anger and pain?  Not only do we end up hating a woman that has no relation to us, but we invite the anger and pain into our household, creating an uneasy tension that our children can feel.

Can we stay with a person who has cheated?  Of course we can, but that requires a great deal of work.  We must work through our own hurt and pain, forgive the other person, and have assurances for the future, but if we falter on any of those steps, the hurt and anger never subsides.  It is always there like a cancer to remind us of what happened to us.  If we can overcome it, we can go on to experience a healthy and loving relationship, but if we cannot, it would be best to sever ties and move on.  And some of us are not yet ready to move on, but we also can’t deal with the pain, so we shift the blame and focus our energy on the other woman.  If we can learn to forgive the ones who cheated on us, why can’t we learn to forgive the one he cheated on us with?  For the only one who is getting destroyed by all the anger is ourselves in the end.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

Why Do Black People Riot?

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I’ve heard this question by many people who aren’t Black.  Why are Black people rioting?  Why are they destroying their own neighborhoods?  How do they think this is going to help change anything?  It’s not going to help change anything.  Rioting is not about effecting change.  That is what the protesters are trying to do.  The Protesters of BLM are trying to bring about change because they are tired of systematic racism and abuse by the police.  So why riot?  What does rioting accomplish?  In the eyes of those who are non-Black, rioting diminishes the message of the protesters and even invalidates their claims because they view rioting as illegal and unwarranted.

Rioting is not relegated only to Black people though.   White people have used riots as well.  On March 5, 1770, a crowd armed with clubs formed to protest about a British soldier not paying a bill that later resulted in the death of Crispus Attucks and which later became known as the Boston Massacre.  On December 16, 1773, people who were fed up with paying taxes to the King dumped a shipment of tea into the bay dressed as Native Americans.  Rioting by any other name such as a rebellion, revolt, or civil unrest is still an act of speaking up against injustices.  And yet, when White people riot after their team has won the Superbowl, no one condemns a whole race or even the football team, but when Black people protest and riot, it invalidates the entire reason for their struggle.  Perhaps it is because some of us do not want to listen to them that we we simply ignore their struggles.

We then say that they have no right to destroy property that is not theirs.  That it is illegal to loot and take down statues and as such, we will no longer listen to their protests because the rioting has tainted it.  But White people have killed Blacks in the Tulsa Race Riot in 1921 and the Rosewood Massacre in 1923 and yet, it is still Black people who we view as violent and dangerous.  When it is convenient, we use certain narratives to fuel carefully crafted ideas we have of others and that isn’t fair.  And still, we ask ‘why do they riot?’  What does it accomplish?  Once again, it accomplishes nothing because rioting is not about calling for action.  Protesting calls for action.  Black rioting is simply a reaction.

After Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated on April 4,1968, multiple riots happened throughout the United States, taking place in cities such as Washington D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, and Kansas City.  It was a reaction to the murder of a beloved leader who could no longer lead them.  It was about the pain and sorrow they had carried for decades and the anger they felt for what had happened.  After 4 officers were acquitted of charges for excessive force against Rodney King on April 29, 1992, Los Angeles erupted in riots because Black residents were enraged over the continual treatment of their kind by police and how the system worked against them but did work for the very police who trampled upon their rights.

Black rioting has never been about demanding change.  Black rioting is a reaction of raw emotions that have always been bubbling beneath the surface and has erupted because of further injustices.  So to answer your question, no, rioting by Black people does not accomplish anything, but what it does do is lay bare the emotional pain of a people who have been mistreated for hundreds of years because non-Blacks refuse to acknowledge their plights and dismiss their concerns because they feel as if Black people aren’t broaching them in a way that is valid.

Photo by Maan Limburg on Unsplash

 

Who is responsible for watering this plant?

So we have this plant in our office that is rigged up with a water bottle to self-water when needed.  It got moved to my window and I let it be known that it was not my job to take care of this plant and I washed my hands of it.  Over the last few months, it has slowly been dying and withering away, but when I look at it, the water bottle is half full, so I thought that it was fine.  Still, I said it’s not my problem because I already said I refused to take care of it.  Last week, the dying leaves littered the floor around me and I was forced to clean it up.  I thought that the water bottle may be faulty and poured water into the pot and when I did, the soil soaked it up and the water bottle started to actually leak out water.  I realized then that the soil was so dry that the bottle couldn’t even properly work.  I feel this is a good analogy for what’s happening right now in our country.  We never said that it was our personal responsibility to take care of police brutality and racism against Black people, so we didn’t.  It happened, but it was just there and we didn’t acknowledge it until it started dying on our very doorsteps.  And when we looked into the issue, we started to realize that we were blaming Black people for not growing when it was really the system that was failing them.  Perhaps we can stop refusing to acknowledge the root of the problem and what lies underneath because it actually does affect all of us.

George Floyd’s Death and Riots will Change Nothing

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On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed after police were called to an alleged forging incident at a store in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Almost immediately, everyone in America began watching the video shot by bystanders and were horrified when George stopped breathing under the weight of 3 Minnesota police officers and another one that stood by controlling the crowd.  I felt terrified as I watched the police officers callously kneel on top of him, instructing him to get in the car, and then admonishing him for not being able to.  Because of this, they said he was not complying with their commands and continued to cut off his air supply.  And finally, the moment came when George stopped moving and you could see that the officers did not care if he lived or died.  What came in the aftermath of his death was outrage, fear, and calls for change.  Inevitably, the rioting came and with them came discourse that we as a nation could not agree with.

Some have said that the rioting is overshadowing George’s death and undermine the calls for change, but those people must also realize that rioting after a Black person has been killed by police is a part of American history.  For those that agree with it, rioting means that Black people are trying to be heard and taking back the power from the police and government by instilling the same fear they feel on them.  They want them to feel as helpless as they did.  For those that disagree, it means that the destruction is destroying homes and livelihoods while putting actual lives at risk.  Although both sides may not see eye to eye, both are contending with real fear and to minimize either side means that the other won’t listen.  If they don’t listen, there can be no real change because change is needed by the majority.

Tamir Rice was killed in 2014.  Philando Castille was killed in 2016.  Eric Garner was killed in 2014.  All were unarmed and killed by police and multiple peaceful protests erupted to agitate for change, and yet in 2020, there is still no change.  Why is that?  We can train police better, have better techniques, and have more body cams, but it is still not preventing any deaths.  In truth, any protests peaceful or otherwise will not change the status quo, but protest is still vital because it is an expression of the human psyche.  They protest to be treated equally, and to be treated equally, we must change laws and society so that we can be closer to equality.  We need opportunities for those who are poor and minorities to have an equal footing.  We need school districts equally funded and affordable higher education.  We need more social safety nets for all families who are experiencing hunger, homelessness, or abuse.  We need affordable medical and mental health care so that we can live.  And to get these things, we must stop gerrymandering, Super PACs, and stop all corruption in our government.  And to have that, we must get ordinary people to care and the truth is that most of us just don’t care enough.

It’s hard to care when all these millionaires can buy and sell congressmen and big business can write new laws at will.  How can the average person take part in change if they have no idea where to start?  We can start by not hating each other.  If we can stop hating each other long enough to agree on a different future, we can bring about change because we must realize it is our indifference that is killing Black people.  However, if we ourselves are not Black, we care a little less.  It’s natural to have an affinity for those like us because even babies are proven to choose someone that has the same choices as them.  What isn’t natural is letting the killing continue.  We must speak out, but at the same time, we cannot tell the other side they are completely wrong, for when we do that, we end up alienating them and lose them even further to the other side.

I myself am Hmong and with the Hmong officer who stood watch during George Floyd’s murder, there have been strong opinions on what should happen to him.  My people are mostly outraged that some of their business and homes are being destroyed and they are being targeted for hate because of the Hmong officer.  While I may not agree with some of their sentiments, I can’t discount them either.  Their fear is palpable and very real, but so are the fears that Black people face every day.  All I can do is advocate for what I think is right while still respecting their wishes, because if I don’t, they will stop listening.  Whether you are White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native, or anything else, you will usually feel more strongly for your own kind, but we must also try to understand each other for we are all in this together.  We are not all on the same footing, but we can try to listen to each other because we need them more than we think.

Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

Should Women Lower Their Standards?

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We get conflicting messages as women as when to lower our standards and when not to.  Sometimes, as little girls, we are told that we are princesses who must never give up and hold out for our knight in shining armor, so that’s what we do, passing up other choices along the way until we meet this imagined savior.  Other times, we are told we shouldn’t be so picky and to accept what comes our way, leading to disastrous consequences.  Because of these mixed messages, it can be hard to know what should really happen.  The truth is that we should do both.  When it comes to our expectations of a partner and relationship, we should lower our expectations if someone doesn’t quite fit the mold of who we were expecting.  If we hold out for that knight on a white horse all of our lives, we may be waiting a long time.  The truth is that most of us have some emotional baggage and/or hang-ups from our childhoods that define who we are, so that means no one is perfect and it will be hard to find someone that is. We are all persons who are constantly learning, coping with past hurt, and  hoping for a better outcome.

However, when it comes to our standards for how we should be treated by a partner and in a relationship, we should never lower those standards.  We most hold steadfast to our beliefs in how we should be treated and never expect less.  When we do lower them, we do not know it, but we are agreeing to a contract where the other person sees that less is expected of them and may treat us worse.  The worst part of this is that as young women, most of us do not know what standards we should be holding, so we blindly go through relationships until we figure out what we like and don’t like and what we can accept and what we can’t.  As parents, it is crucial to instill standards in all of our children at a young age to help them through their journey.  This starts with having standards for yourself and what you are willing to do with your own life.

Above all else, it is the standards that we set for ourselves that should matter more than anything else.  If we can’t even live up to our own standards, how can we expect someone else to live up to them?  And if we fall, we must learn to forgive ourselves as well, because many women are trapped in a cycle of guilt and remorse that doesn’t allow them to move on.  So what standards should we have for ourselves?  They can be as simple as watching how we speak about others and how we treat them.  When we can achieve our own standards, we will begin to understand how we allow others to treat us.  If we see ourselves as worthy, we know we should be treated as such.  Not all of us are looking for a mate, but if we are, we must remember to lower our standards in regards to what we expect them to be, but never in terms of how they treat us.

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Ladies, Stop Mothering Your Boyfriends

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Recently, I was discussing online the topic of handling a boyfriend or husband who isn’t motivated to succeed.  Multiple women saw it as their duty to try to reform their better halves and strongly encourage them to change their lives for the better because they wanted the unit as a whole to succeed.  However, most of these women didn’t realize that when they overstep the boundary of simply encouraging their boyfriends to actively trying to get them to move on, they are no longer treating their boyfriends as a partner but a child.  When women can’t accept that their mates don’t want anything more and are content at where they are after years and years of trying to persuade them, they are wasting their time, patience, and the relationship in the feat.  Does this mean we should never encourage our partners?  Absolutely not.  We should always encourage them to be and do better, but what we want is different than what we expect.  If we want better for our spouses, that is one thing, but to expect better means we are in for a world of hurt when they don’t live up to our expectations.

Women have been wired to be nurturers and to love unconditionally and that is the definition of what a mother does.  Mothers nurture their children and love them unconditionally so that when girls grow up to be women, they somehow think that is how they should love their boyfriends, but that is not the case.  When women do this, they relegate their spouses to the role of children and become increasingly disillusioned with the relationship, thinking that they are always doing more than their fair share when in fact they are taking on more than they should, causing them to despise the other.  Every non-parental relationship should be based on conditional love and clear boundaries.  As women, we tend to lose who we are in helping others and in the end, we resent those that we help if we don’t practice self-care.  When we enter into relationships, we must be aware of the rules of the relationship and how we are willing to help our mates.

Oftentimes, we as women do not really know what we want out of a mate until we date a few men and understand what it is that we want.  At that point, we may already be with someone that we aren’t willing to leave and realize that they are not as ambitious as we’d like.  So what do we do?  We constantly encourage them.  We go out of our way to remind them of things they have to do to better themselves.  We seek out opportunities for them that they may not have sought.  We do this because we want to shape them into the man we want them to be, but have we ever accepted them for who they are?  If your boyfriend is receptive to your advice, that is great, but if he is unwilling to change after many years, he will only see your advice as nagging and resent you for not accepting him.  What is at risk of being hurt here is not our futures, but our expectations.  We may have expected too much out of someone who has always told us who they were, but we refused to listen.  Instead, we saw them for who they could be and remained for that reason.

So how do you stop mothering your boyfriend?  Rein in your own expectations of him and the relationship.  Your wants and needs are important and if they are important enough that he can’t meet them, perhaps you are not in the right relationship.  Sometimes, we as women blame our boyfriends for not growing, when in fact we had the choice to leave all along.  Oftentimes, people only change when they are forced to, so we see many exes blossoming into who we’ve always wanted them to be afterwards, but that change must come at the price of us leaving.  What if you are committed to staying?  Have a frank discussion with him and what you want for him.  If he doesn’t agree, you must honor his wishes; for to simply bulldoze over his wishes and blindly continue on your quest to push him towards greatness is quite like that of an overzealous mother.  And yet, we don’t see it that way.  We see it as love, but love is not pushing someone to do what they don’t want to do.  You may have good intentions, but if he doesn’t see that, it doesn’t matter.

When you rein in your own expectations, there will be less disappointment and grief on your end.  You will spend less time worrying about if he is doing the right thing and more time on enjoying the relationship.  Remember that the more duties you take on in a relationship, the more you will mentally suffer, so lessen your burden if there is nothing you can do to control the situation.  I had an ex who constantly woke up late for his job and I didn’t make it my job to wake him up on time.  His mother chastised me for not doing it as I lived with him and I retorted that I was not his mother.  She immediately sat back and realized the importance of my words.  If it wasn’t my duty to wake him up in the morning, I didn’t have to worry about him getting to work on time.  If it was my duty, I would’ve been very upset every morning.  I let it be known that I refused to mother him in this way and it was his responsibility to get up in time for work.  There were definitely other issues that led to the end our relationship, but in this small way, I refused to be his mother and agreed only to be his partner.

It may sting to try to only be their partner because so much of what happens in their life affects us, but we must realize what we are giving up to try to mother them.  We are giving up our time, piece of mind, and patience.  Then, we will have less patience for other areas in our lives.  In the end, we are really just adjusting our expectations and setting boundaries that we never knew to establish because we’ve always felt as if it were our duty to do these things.  A partner complements you and we may want certain things from them, but we should never expect them if the person has already told us they cannot do those things.  And above all else, if our needs are not being met, we must answer to ourselves before we do to them.

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The Places We Were

I don’t hear your voice anymore

Nor do I catch myself catching your face in the crowds.

I left an impression on you

While the memory you etched in me dissipates.

And yet,

I can still recall the way to your house,

Perched on top of the hill,

Reminding me of things gone by.

Perhaps you remember too,

Which is why you visit me

In the in-between world of dreams.

Hoping against hope that you can find a way back

To who we were.

To the stories we told ourselves about the future

And to something that could never be.

Because that restaurant we loved closed,

That park with the lake outgrew us,

And the house that we built fell apart.

And yet,

A part of me searches for it in the dark,

For that place calls to me as well,

Whispering that all things are possible

When I lay myself to sleep.

 

 

 

 

Coping with Corona Virus

It’s been a few weeks into our quarantine and we’ve just been told there are many more weeks left in isolation and many of us are freaking out.  Some of us want to get back to normal.  Some of us hate being told what to do.  And some of us aren’t quarantining at all.  Many of us do understand why we have to self-isolate and are doing so, but like those that aren’t, we aren’t coping with it as well as we should, perhaps because this is the first real big pandemic that we have faced and we’ve all been coddled all of our lives, living in bubbles thinking that nothing bad will ever happen to us.

We’ve been through recessions, 9/11, and other national issues, but those things never came close to what we are experiencing now and as such, we don’t know what to do.  The truth is that we’ve never been prepared as the proliferation of anti-vaxxers have taught us that you don’t have to listen to science and the government if you don’t want to.  We don’t have a social safety net to take care of millions of out-of-work citizens because we think everyone should be able to fend for themselves.  And we think we don’t have to care about the outside world because we need to take care of ourselves first.  It is precisely these ideas that have shaped how we have dealt with this pandemic and it has been disastrous.  We don’t have to blame Trump or the government because we’re the ones who think this way and we’re the ones that let this happen.

There are no easy answers and no magic solutions that will happen overnight and that scares a lot of people that are used to instantaneous results.  We’re a nation that runs on fast food and faster coffee, so when we’re told that they don’t know when life is going to return to normal again, we cannot comprehend that.  There is a lot of uncertainty right now and so people are trying to regain some measure of strength by protesting, acting racist, and breaking rules; for in doing so, they feel they are taking control of something that they can’t control.  This in turn creates more chaos and fuels narratives that people fashion into their own liking.  We have to accept that there is nothing we can do about the virus right now, but there is a lot we can do about how we treat one another.

So how do you cope with everything that is going on?  You take it one day at a time.  Stand up for others.  Help where you can.  Keep your hands busy.  And above all else, understand that how we view ourselves and others must change.  What we’ve been doing barely worked before and the virus has laid bare the inadequacies of our rules, policies, and ways of thinking.  Sometimes, change comes quietly and at others, it comes in on the back of a tidal wave.

How To Let Down Your Guard

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Someone asked how you let someone in after a considerably hard break up.  How do you break down your wall and allow another person to truly see you?  The real question is not how to let your guard down, but how do I overcome this hurt that impacted me so greatly.  Once we tackle that question, the first one becomes much easier.  After a break up, we punish ourselves for feeling the way we did.  We think that we made a mistake in letting someone into our most inner spaces, so we push others out.  On the surface, we are upset and angry, but internally, we are deeply hurt and sad.  Thus, it is easier to blame our choices rather than accept what happened to us.

This hurt can be so tremendous that we build walls that no one can scale, but the truth is that the wall only exists so that we never can blame or hurt ourselves again.  In the end, we are the ones who lose out.  So how do we accept what happened to us instead of blaming our choices?  We need to own our own actions and what brought us into that situation, but also recognize that there were things we could not control.  This will allow us to have a fresh perspective on our experiences and guide us towards peace, for peace is acceptance of what you can’t change.  Speak to the other person as if they were there or write them a letter and never mail it.  Talk about your pain.  Acknowledge your guilt and shame and then ultimately, learn to forgive yourself.For when we blame our choices, we tend to shy away from making them again in the future or constantly think about if we made the right choice.  However, if we can learn to accept what happened, we can slowly move on.

If we choose not to acknowledge the pain we have endured, they become chains that we carry with us into each new relationship and interaction, always hindering us from seeing with fresh eyes.  We can let this hurt destroy and change us into someone we don’t recognize or understand all because we can’t process the hurt.  Pain happens, but we must acknowledge it and move forward in order to grow.  If not, we will always remain hurt and scared.  At the surface, we may lash out in anger or internally, we may always feel a sorrow that never goes away.  We are quick to ask how we can move on, but we don’t ask how we can deal with the pain, because the process of that is much harder than simply letting your guard down.