Tag Archives: Friendship

**The Road To 27** Post 3 of 7 – Friends and Relationships

** Reflections on Friends and Relationships **

I was actually debating whether or not to even reflect on this because I could go on forever. But for your sakes (and attention spans) I won’t take long.

These past 27 years haven’t always lent themselves to the best friendships and relationships until just recently. Since as far ago as I can remember, I’ve always wanted “friends of my own”. I know that sounds neurotic, but being the miniature tv addict I was, I wanted a core group of friends like the ones on The BabySitters Club or Harriet the Spy. Up until middle school I had those friends — but heading into high school some of the people I thought were closest to me, actually weren’t as loyal as I thought.

Wait. Let’s back up to the beginning and cover relationships. 

DAY 3

My little adolescent/tween view on relationships and dating was the same as my friendships. Since the day I and three other girls in my kindergarten class were molested by classmates (who were clearly exposed to too much sex), my view on relationships was flawed. From that point on, all I wanted was a boyfriend who would protect me (as my father strove to do each day), and grow into a husband that loved me like the Disney princess my parents always told me I was. I failed to realize that NO ONE under the age of 18 or 20 is truly equipped to protect ANYONE — they’re just learning to handle themselves. I remember the night I told my babysitter what had happened, I was scared to my tiny 5-6 year old core! Now that I’m really taking time to think on it, I was more embarrassed than anything because I didn’t want my parents to think I was ‘fast’. That’s why none of you have probably heard about what happened until this very second. I took all of that trauma, bottled it up, and carried it with me all the way until high school and college. Because I didn’t allow myself to really form the right view on relationships (despite the wonderful example I had in my parents) I was naive, too trustworthy, and felt like I could read people a little better than I actually could.  This led to me making MANY MANY bad judges of character and a few bad choices in boyfriends.

WHEW — did you get all of that?! Ok, let’s keep going and put it all together.

DAY 3 PART 2So here it is, 2010. I’m out of college, full time in the work force, and secretly damaged from all that I’d been through. It was serious, painstaking work attempting to really trust ANYONE — even the friends that were still sticking with me. By 2011, things with the last guy I dated blew up into oblivion and all I could do was just cry out to God…why me?! Why am I always the one getting lied to?! Why do these people insist on chipping away at the last bit of kindness I can muster up?! Why do people insist on misinterpreting my well meaning friendship? Will I be alone and friendless forever?! (dramatic I know, but this is what honestly went through my mind — it made for great poetry though, I’ve got notebooks full!)

That’s when God began to answer the prayers I’d prayed for so long! I began reconnecting with old friends, gaining new ones, and while my dating life was pretty much non existent, I was allowing God to heal me from my past hurts. Now, here I am on the brink of my 27th birthday surrounded by the best friends I could have ever wished for — and can testify that God certainly gave me double for my trouble! The dating life is still — eh — but hey, at least I can say I am free from the bondage of relationships’ past AND I’m looking to get my feet wet in the dating pool again! I’m looking forward to a wonderful future with great friends, an awesome boyfriend (whoever that will be), and a wonderful life!

#NawlinsJoc

Photo shot and edited by Rich Griffis (www.richgriffis.com)

[photo by Rich Griffis ]

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Joc’s End Of The Year Reflections – Men, Friends, Careers, and Family.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Luke 12:33 KJV

I have got to share my excitement, not to brag, but to testify!

As this year comes to a close, I have to sit back and reflect in awe of how awesome God has been to me. Not necessarily in the material THINGS He’s allowed me to acquire, but the opportunities He’s set before me and the ‘doors of distraction’ He’s closed FOR me.

It all started December of last year when my pastor announced his first sermon series of 2013 would be “Eye Hath Not Seen In Twenty-Thirteen”. Not only do I love how catchy this was, but I loved how this series (based on 1 Corinthians 2:9) spoke into my life. Even though this year has been a little rocky, dreams, thoughts, and people I never imagined would cross my path DID! In honor of the 12 months of this year, I will list 12 reflections.

Reflection #1 – When I was feeling borderline depressed about my job situation, God  renewed my gratefulness. As most of you know I work a 9-5 in the insurance industry. And while I am super grateful and have the most amazing boss ever, my creative mind has been feeling starved sitting up in a office crunching numbers. This year God has opened my eyes to how good I actually have it. Though I don’t make as much money as I want, don’t have the benefits that I want, and can’t flex my creative muscles like I want — I’m good. I have a nice roof over my head. I have money to fill my gas tank and pay my bills. The bills I can’t afford to pay, God made a way for them to get paid every year. I have a job that’s full time. Though I work an average of 9-10 hours a day, I KNOW what hours I can look forward to. I don’t have to work graveyard shift or crazy hours that could mess up my sleep pattern.

Reflection #2 – God has opened and expanded doors for me to do what I love. Though I’m not able to exercise my creative talents full time, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow them via a part time hustle. I’ve been photographing freelance for almost 10 years and this year I have been able to purchase new equipment with money I’ve made from my profits. I also have had the opportunity to work with WEEN (the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network) and maintain not only their social media channels, but also serve as a contributing editor. All year I’ve interviewed powerful women in fashion and entertainment like Tionna Smalls, Issa Rae, Essence Editor in Chief Vanessa K. Bush,  Project Runway designer Samantha Black, PR Syreta Oglesby, and many more! It’s mind blowing how I’ve been able to listen to their stories of hustle and have been blessed to grab inspiration first hand! If you were to ask me last year if I’d be doing this, I would have told you “welp…one day”

Reflection #3 – I’m at peace and happy being single and saved! I haven’t been on a legit date in like 3 years and I’m ok with that. Instead of wallowing in despair and drowning my sorrows in wine; I’ve chosen to learn all I can in my season of singleness and boy I’ve been learning A LOT! Years ago I was like most young women — wired to want to take care of a husband and children. But now that I’ve had time to marinate, I realize that while I DO plan to get back out there on the dating scene, I love enjoying my singleness. Only when I’m single will I be able to up and take a random trip to the Bahamas with some friends without having to consider anyone’s schedule but my own. Only when I’m single will I be able to give my all into my building my businesses and career. Only when I’m single will I be able to gather what I can deal with in a relationship and what I can’t deal with. I definitely plan to get married  in the near future, but I’m totally fine casually dating and focusing my energies on God and how HE wants me to do things. When the heart that’s perfect for me comes…I will know it because of all the things I’m learning NOW in my season of being single and saved.

Reflection #4 Friendship doesn’t mean what I thought I meant. We’ve all done it at some point….called a person we know through a friend of a friend…our friend. I’ve learned this year that the older you get, the smaller your circle gets. I am very particular about who I call my friend now. I mean, for descriptive purposes, it’s easier to say “yeah, my friend _______ did this or that” but I’ve learned to say “yeah, this girl _____  or my colleague _________….) instead. A friend is someone who you can let yourself loose with. A friend doesn’t always get to talk to you every day, but still makes an effort to. A friend understands when you’re stressed or need to focus on something and is there with advice or just an ear to vent to. A friend can “do lunch” with you in the afternoons, and pig out on pizza that same night. A friend doesn’t want you around JUST because of what you ‘do’ or what your talent is. A friend is someone who is willing to talk problems out — even if it’s uncomfortable. A friend can never stay mad at you for more than a few weeks. I’m saying all this to say that I’ve learned this year to really categorize people carefully and watch who I let take part in my life.

Reflection #5 God has renewed my dreams and passions. Last year was a year of rebuilding for me. I took a huge hit in the finance department and was feeling kind of stifled in terms of my dreams, goals, and passions. This year, God has had me take it easy in order to reassess what my heart says and make sure it lines up with what He says. Take my photography for example. In the area where I currently reside, art is at an all time low while crime is at an all time high. People would rather pay hundreds of dollars for drugs, but don’t want to pay over $10 for a quality photo session. I never expected for everyone to love photos as much as I do, but when you come asking for me to do an entire 1 hour long session WITH prints for $3 and $5 — it’s an insult not only to my craft and my business, but to me as a professional. I know I have to grow more to be up there with Derek Blanks and Russell James but come on…I have some years under my belt. This entire year, God has been making a way for me to slow down on my photography so I can focus on taking more classes, upgrading my equipment, and explore my other creative talents. For this I am thankful. It’s hard to explain, but when a creative person feels like their dreams are dampened, it’s like a small birthday candle flame holding on for dear life while the wind picks up and tries to blow it out. It’s not easy, but God definitely put the flame back in my fire!

Reflection #6 I learned that God always knows best. This year makes an entire year that I’ve joined my current church and boy did God know what He was doing here! For years at my former church, while I learned a lot as a youngster, felt like I wasn’t growing as an adult. Leaving the church I grew up in was pretty scary, but God knew what He was doing. Searching for a new church home stretched me in every way imaginable….but when God finally led me to the place where I am now, it all came together. The church I attend now is a WORLD of difference from where I came from, but it taught me to not get caught up in denomination, not be locked into tradition, and to open up and meet new people. While I was out searching for a church home visiting around, I didn’t know why God had me floating if I needed to be poured into, but He knew that my best was yet to come. He knew that once He got me where He wanted me, I’d be able to grow not only as a Christian, but a woman.

Reflection #7 NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK! This year working with WEEN has been quite an experience. One part of the experience was learning the true meaning of networking. I’ve learned to not just add people because you think they can help you. Networking is forming genuine bonds and relationships with people on a personal level — and the fact that they happen to have a banging career is just icing on the cake. I experience this on a smaller scale almost every day. People add me on social media sites NEVER to say or want anything….just to have me an inbox message away — “just in case” they need me. How about a HELLO? How about “I love your blog” — something so I know you’re not a robot or opportunist! This year has taught me a ton; and though I still have miles to go and more to learn, I think I’m doing alright if I may say so myself. haha

Reflection #8 If you are guy and you are also my friend — it doesn’t mean I want to date you. I know these are the days of ‘thirst’ where everyone has a motive; but contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to have a friend of the opposite sex who may even have qualities you’d look for in a mate….and be JUST FRIENDS. I’m not busting chops, but just reflecting on what I’ve learned from my experiences. I know up to this year, I’ve learned that I have to be very intentional in spelling out parameters of my friendships with guys because for whatever reason, my friendship has often times been mistaken for ‘an open opportunity to get a date’. Yes you may be attractive. Yes you may have amazing qualities; but unless I clearly say to you “let’s explore dating now” then I’m not interested in dating you. I am the type of person who is totally fine with having a friendship with a guy and it be just that. I am perfectly capable of conducting a friendship with a guy just as I do with a woman. We’d hang out or go somewhere to eat. We’d go to concerts and plays together. We’d catch up and talk on the phone about what’s going on with life….you know, the norm. I know some people reading this may think I’m ‘doing too much’ by even reflecting on this, but hey, it’s something that I’ve learned. So word to all you folks out there. If you are going to be friends with someone of the opposite sex, make sure the parameters of your friendship are clear and drawn out in black and white. If you DO develop a romantic interest down the line, let your friend know up front. You should know within the week if your friendship has grown into something more or if it’s like it’s always been…a friendship.

Reflection #9 Everyone won’t “get me” and that’s ok. All my life I feel like I’ve been on the quirky side, and I’m totally ok with it. But unfortunately I’ve learned the hard way that everyone else may not be…but that’s ok too. You know how some people have a guard up, but as soon as you REALLY get to know them they’re just as silly and vulnerable as you? Well yes…that’s me, J-O-C! I am extremely guarded because I’ve learned that everyone won’t be able to handle my quirks. The year has taught me that there are some people you just CLICK with. They ‘get you’. There are some people who you can just ‘do lunch’ with and nothing more — if you just don’t mesh…you just don’t mesh. No hard feelings.

Reflection #10 I love supporting my friends. This realization actually prompted me to get the ball moving for the media consulting business I want to launch in the year(s) to come. All of my friends are on a primary level — my friends; but looking into the details, we all have a creative mind or are doing big things! That excites me! I honestly and genuinely want to do what I can to help promote and connect my friends to great people. In the past I’ve had guys date me because I was a photographer. I’ve had folks hang around me because of who my family  was — I know what it’s like to have someone just use you for what you can offer them, but when it comes to my friends, I hold an honest, deep desire to want to see them do well. CHEEZY RIGHT?! haha It’s true though. I love all of my friends and when one of us gets one step closer to our dreams, it inspires the rest of us to keep pushing towards our own! I support them. I love them. I want to see them live out their wildest dreams.

Reflection #11 I need to spend more time with my family. I didn’t think that it would happen to me, but my career aspirations have sapped up a lot of the time that I need to be devoting to visiting my family. Most of my family is scattered and spread out, but I have concluded this year that I need to suck it up, and plan trips to see everyone. Even if I don’t get to see my family out of state, I still want to plan a family trip where we could meet or video chat them. I keep up with social media, but I know in my heart that it’s not the same as physical interaction. FACE – To – FACE! Though we all have our problems and busy lives to tend to, I know that God gave me my family for a reason. It’s not going to take a funeral for me to see them. It may take me a while to clear things up, but it’s something I’m DETERMINED to do.

Reflection #12 (and most importantly) I have been blessed by God with amazing parents! Everyone says it, but I actually mean it. When I look at some of my friends and colleagues, I am blessed beyond measure to have the wonderful godly examples that are my parents.  This year more than ever they have guided me in how to live a Christian life as a full grown adult. My mom teaches me each day what it means to be a Proverbs 31 Woman. She is prepping me for my family so that when I marry and have kids, I will be able to effectively pray for and nurture my family in the way a godly woman should. My dad is the epitome of a godly man. SO SERIOUS! He will work until his fingers fell off if it meant providing for his family. He governs his household as a Christian man should. He prays for us (even though my sister and I are grown), he makes sure we all know how to manage our finances and prosper financially, he is a visible example for me as to what a godly man does and doesn’t do. My parents have listened to all of my ramblings, frustrations, and elaborate business brainstorms. Regardless of how they feel at the moment, they’re never too tired or busy to provide the emotional support I need. I love them dearly. I pray that I can be that and so much more to my kids.

– Joc

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Life Lessons from Trey Songz

While flipping for a good radio station yesterday on my drive home from work, I came across a snippet of Trey Songz “Can’t Be Friends” before I decided to just pop in the newest Kierra Sheard cd. But as I waited for the first track to start, I couldn’t help but run through the lyrics to that Trey song in my mind. Up until a few years ago I was always on the latest and greatest when it came to R&B, Hip Hop & Rap — so immediately flashbacks bombarded my mind of my roomies and I back in college. It seemed like my junior and senior year, Trey was in full force and we knew EVERY word to that Pain & Pleasure cd. We’d say things like “oooh yes Trey, ain’t that the truth!” or “That song is for me!” or “I know how you feel Trey!”

But now with my renewed Christian mind, the song wasn’t just some good vocals and a nice track….I ACTUALLY understood why Trey was feeling the way he felt in that song. “Can’t Be Friends” is basically about Trey sleeping with a friend and tells of how everything changed from that point on. I knew on the surface that’s what it was about when he first came out with the song, but I never went into detail of realizing exactly WHY it was that things changed.

WELL I’ll tell you from a Christian standpoint why and how things changed…(ps. save your groans, YES I believe there is a spiritual explaination for every emotion we experience…and so what. Deal.)

S-O-U-L T-I-E

Soul ties are REAL…think it’s a game if you want to! Back in the day my friends and I used to talk about how unless you’re a cold hearted monster, there is NO way in heck you can be intimate with someone and then continue on with the same friendship you had before. From then on into history, they will always be ‘someone you slept with’. Not saying you would necessarily transform into a totally different person, but you would be lying if you said you wouln’t have in the back of your mind “I slept with this person.” Especially if you’re a woman. Women are always the ‘recievers’ when it comes to sexual intimacy, and not saying guys aren’t affected by soul ties (because they are) but since women are more emotional beings, we have to work extremely hard not to get at least a tiny bit attached to the guy we’re intimate with — ESPECIALLY if we were just friends with them before that line was crossed.

But back to “Can’t Be Friends”……

This song is proof of why it makes total since to wait until marriage for sex. (again, save your groans, yes I’m going there) Like Trey, we can start off friends with a person, enjoy their company and want to STAY just friends, but once we introduce sex…oh all that is blown to smithereens!!!! Either you or the other person, like Trey, may get caught up in the soul tie and start wanting more from the relationship when the other person just wants to keep it at friends and no more. COME ON I KNOW AT LEAST ONE PERSON OUT HERE HAS BEEN THERE BEFORE!!!! You may have had a good time and felt a ‘love connection’ but it’s just a soul tie tricking you into thinking you’re closer to that person than you are. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself thinking about them when you should be concentrating on work/school, and you’ll feel yourself getting a tad bit jealous if they end up dating someone else. You have no right to be mad or upset…but you still are. You sit there like Trey wishing you never slept with that person because your emotions have you between a rock & a hard place. You want your old friendship back; even though you know it’s not going to happen.

Let’s all take a lesson from Trey Songz and hold off on the intimacy until later because once that line is crossed, there is no turning back. Jumping the gun can put your friendships, happiness, and emotions at risk. Be wise.

– Joc

“Can’t Be Friends Lyrics” – Trey Songz

Look what this girl done did to me
she done cut me off from her good good love.

she told me that those days were gone ( gone, gone, gone)
now I’m sitting here going half crazy

cuz I know she still thinks about me too
and it ain’t no way in **expletive**, that I can be just friends with you (you, you, you)

And I wish we never did it
And I wish we never loved it
And I wish I never fell so deep in love with you and now it ain’t no way we can be friends.

The way it felt, no faking it
maybe we were moving just a little too fast.

But what we’ve done we can’t take it back (back, back, back)
now im sitting here half way crazy

cuz I know she still thinks about me too
and it ain’t no way in **expletive**, that I can be just friends with you (you, you, you)

And I wish we never did it
And I wish we never loved it
And I wish I never fell so deep in love with you and now it aint no way we can be friends.

And all I can say is
la la la la la la la (laaaaa)
la la la la la la la la la (la la la owwww)
la la la la la la (laaaa)
hey

ain’t no telling what we could have been,
ain’t no telling what we could’ve been (Noo)
and if I knew it’d end like this,
I never woulda kissed ya, cuz I fell in love wit ya,
we never woulda kicked it, girl now everythang’s different
I lost my homie, lover, and my friend thats why I wish we never did it

And I wish we never loved it (I wish we never loved it)
And I wish I never fell so deep in love with you and well now it ain’t no way we can be friends.

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6 Common Mistakes Single Women Make – via AskCheyB

1. They don’t want to/know how to cookFood is the way to a man’s heart……If your goal is to one day be married, you should already possess the qualities of a wife, and that includes taking care of the home. No matter where the food is coming from, a man will find his way to it, so don’t miss this opportunity to keep your man coming home to you.

2. They Look For A Man– Men are hunters, go-getters, and leaders by nature……When a woman goes out and looks for a man, its as if she is assuming the same exact position that a man is preparing himself for. One of the joys of being a woman is that you don’t have to look for a man. When you’re worthy, the right man will find you.

3. They Work Too Much– In these challenging times, we all have to work to make ends meet, but with everything in life, there has to be balance. If you only make time for work, or if your work overextends into the time that should be allocated to family, friends, and loved ones, then that gives off the impression that you don’t value the relationship that you have with them……if you don’t have the time, he won’t invest his.

4. They Confuse Sex With Love– Sex brings out extreme emotions in a woman. For men, it’s just a few minutes of satisfaction. In order for a relationship to have longevity in a positive way, it has to first be built on a solid foundation. A man will value and respect you more if/when you respect yourself…. #Standards

5. They “Friend Zone” Good Men– Let’s be honest…..The “bad boy” offers mystery, adventure, excitement, but is often ambiguous when it comes to monogamy, future plans, and stability. Good men aren’t hard to find; they’re collecting dust in your Rolodex. Friendship is the key to romance, so if you’re looking find love, look first at your true friends.

6. They Travel in “Packs”– For a man, it takes a great deal of inner strength to muster up the confidence to speak to a woman and risk being rejected simply because she’s “not in the mood”. This truth multiplies when a woman travels in “packs” of other women. It gives off a “Waiting To Exhale” kind of vibe that screams “We are tired of men and we do NOT want to be bothered”……you have a far better chance of a attracting a man if you travel alone or perhaps with one girlfriend at a time.

I know I’m definitely guilty of #3 because I juggle like 3 jobs — but right now it’s the only way I’m able to follow my passions and do what I want without being dead broke! But I’ve been intentional about making time for the dating scene. My man of God is coming. BUTTTT in the meantime, I wanted to definitely share with the rest of you single ladies! How many mistakes are YOU guilty of?! BE HONEST! lol

This post is just a condensed version of all the good knowledge CheyB kicked out here on his blog: http://askcheyb.wordpress.com/

Make sure to FOLLOW!

– Joc

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How to Get Out of [insert struggle here]…and STAY OUT! Part 1

A close friend and I were talking about the power of change. As a Christian, I believe that ‘Christianity’ should be more than just a religion, but a relationship. One of the most challenging tasks as a Christian is trying to figure out how to live IN the world without being OF it.

Let me say this before I finish: this is MY personal blog and I respect differing opinions; however, what I believe and how I live my life as a Christian speaks to how I feel I can best glorify God and live as a Christian ought. If you don’t agree with the same things as I and you’re a Christian…so be it. Your soul is your soul; but I will not be ashamed of God or Jesus Christ who is MY Savior. If you’re not of the Christian faith, then you probably won’t agree with me anyway so all I ask is that you be respectful of my thoughts.

NOW…

I’ve noticed that a lot of Christians who have been delivered from their specific ‘bondage’ are having a hard time trying to figure out why they keep falling back in. As a born again (and rededicated) Christian, I want to lay out some key facts to seriously shed some light on how NOT to fall back into old habits.

(side bar – and even if you aren’t a Christian, the same can go for your life as well ie/ toxic ex’s, drug addictions, etc)

#1 Once you get out…stay out! 

If you have the desire to no longer be a liar, a thief, a drug user, homosexual, promiscuous, etc you need to realize that once you have made that decision, you don’t need to hang around the same places or people anymore. I can almost, certainly guarantee that you will get backlash from others…but who cares!? It’s YOUR life you are trying to better. If you have been delivered from alcoholism your tail has NO business being at $2 Tuesday every week ‘hanging out’. If your friends are your TRUE friends, they will understand that you aren’t ‘about that life’ anymore and will not make you feel terrible for making the decisions you make. If the only thing they do is club and drink, you need to revamp your friends circle because all it’s going to do is constantly test you. If you no longer want to be promiscuous or homosexual it will be hard for you to stay away from old habits if you accept an invite for a ‘movie night at 3am on a Friday night’. That’s just setting yourself up for the fail. If it takes distancing yourself from people who will entice you back into the life you’re trying to escape…then do it! Your soul and happiness are more important that trying to keep a ‘friend’ or ‘hang out’.

…..more points to follow

– Joc

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