Save the Date! Cocktails and Confessions is back! September 15th

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The Seven Year Itch… Scratch… Wound…

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Today would have been my seven year wedding anniversary. And please don’t get me wrong. I do not in any way want to be back in my marriage. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel some kind of way.

You all know every once in a while I get deep.  Maybe this is post will be TMI and feel like emotional diarrhea.  But I always feel like my experiences can help someone else out.  I also never want to make it seem like my life is all daisies and roses.  The reason I started this blog was because I wanted women to have a place where they could get authentic stories.  This blog has morphed into something bigger than just my dating foolery.  So today… I want to be vulnerable and honest because quite frankly, that’s how I am feeling!

I woke up this morning my stomach was hurting and my chest felt a little heavy.  I recognized the feeling.  Today would have been my seven year wedding anniversary.  And please don’t get me wrong.  I do not in any way want to be back in my marriage.  There is nothing worse than being in a marriage where you feel lonely.  I understand that being alone and lonely is far better than being in a marriage and lonely.  And being single is better than being in a bad marriage.  Hell anything is better than being in a bad marriage!  But I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel some kind of way. The idea that just seven years ago I was in my hotel suite getting ready to walk down the aisle seems like a lifetime ago and somewhat daunting.  Trust me I am not walking around all depressed with my head down.  But for some reason, I felt the need to sit with the feeling instead of pushing it away.  I think all women who have gone through a divorce have moments where they think of what their life would be like if they were still married to their ex-husband.  I think I would more than likely be 50 pounds bigger, have two kids, be homely, and extremely unhappy.  But knowing me, I would have fooled myself into thinking that I was actually happy.  And that I loved my extra curves and that being a mother and wife was all I needed in life to make me happy.  I would have made myself okay with the ordinary.  It’s amazing what an expert I am at selling myself on a dream.  I had perfected that craft which is why I ultimately got married in the first place… Oh boy… I think I am digressing!

Here’s the honest to goodness truth.  No matter how shitty a marriage is, no matter how happy you are to be free and single.  No matter being a self proclaimed Serial Dater.  No one likes divorce.  That’s why I never understood the concept of a divorce parties.  There is nothing to celebrate; it’s the ending of a dream.  It’s the ending of the life you thought you were supposed to have.  Hell, going through a divorce is downright depressing.  It annoys the shit out of me when women who have been through the divorce process gloss over how hard the shit really is.  No matter how long you have been married… or in my case, how short the marriage lasted.   Having to ask the court for your maiden name back, moving, and starting a new life when you still haven’t figured out what the hell happened to the life you thought you were beginning is a fucked up feeling.  While I am now in a great place it has been a journey getting here.  There were sleepless nights, non stop crying, and the feeling of hopelessness.    As painful as the journey was, I wouldn’t change a thing.  The pain is what made me who I am today.  It forced me to take a good long hard look at myself and figure out what the hell I wanted in life.  It forced me to face things I had pushed down for many years.

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Here’s the honest to goodness truth. No matter how shitty a marriage is, no matter how happy you are to be free and single. No matter being a self proclaimed Serial Dater. No one likes divorce.

If someone would have told me seven years ago on the day that  I got married, that seven years later I would be single again and dating.  I think I would have passed out!  Here’s a fact… As much as I enjoy bringing you tales from my dating foolery, as fulfilling as this blog is, I would love to be in a relationship with my true soul mate.  However, there’s a caveat to that.  As much as I look forward to my real relationship as well as the day I will be able to call this blog Confessions of a FORMER Serial Dater in LA.  Since I have experienced a bad marriage, I will stay single for another 40 years if it means waiting on the right person.  (Please LAWD don’t let it be 40 years).  As much as I have enjoyed dating, I really am a relationship type of girl.  Go figure!  The Serial Dater is a relationship girl.  At the end of the day I want to Serial Date my husband!  But I won’t force myself into a relationship that isn’t right because I fear I won’t find something better.  I won’t rush into something because I do not have the patience to wait for what’s right.  But I have no qualms saying to the world, I am ready for my real relationship.  I can’t wait to experience the relationship in the place where I am now.  Now  that the healing has taken place, now that my journey has brought me to where I am today.  Wow!  It’s going to be Euphoric.  That man will be one lucky guy!

Over the last seven years I have experienced the itch of having to sit in my fear, loneliness, and impatience that I tried to mask by being in the wrong relationship.  I have experienced the scratch of the unknown.  It is hard to not have a crystal ball into your future and not know what lays ahead.  And finally I experienced the wound of going through a marriage and a devastating divorce.

Without an injury you can’t experience the joy of being healed.  If you don’t go through the pain you can’t truly appreciate what it means to recover.  Seven years later I can honestly say I am grateful for the experience.

Like I said, I woke up this morning and took a second to reflect on what my life would be like if I were still married.  Then I went downstairs, made myself a cup of coffee, wrote in my journal, and meditated.  And it hit me…  Why in the hell was I reflecting on could’ve, should’ve, would’ve?!   Why do I always dwell on the past?  This was something I was more aware of in the last few weeks and I was making an effort to be in the present moment.  So instead I chose to be grateful for what I have gained over the last seven years the career I have now, the experiences I have had, the amazing friends that I have gained, the knowledge of knowing I have a family I can lean on at my lowest point who love me unconditionally.

After my morning meditation, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and the movie of the last seven years played in my mind.  And I suddenly found myself crying happy tears because I had an epiphany… through my pain I found my purpose.  It took seven years.  Well actually 37 years… But I finally found what I was brought into this world to do and what a great feeling of joy it brought me!  So happy anniversary to me!

Monique K.Bradley

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

 

Behind The Scenes Sneak Peak of The Relaunch

BTS CollageExciting times folks.  I have been so busy with this Relaunch I haven’t had anytime to date.  This project has become my new Man and I am so fulfilled!  Go figure!  But don’t worry I have plenty in my dating archives to keep bringing you the Tea.  Don’t forget, I’ve been dating since I was 15 and I am now… well… older than that!  LOL!

You know my favorite saying “Don’t talk about it… be about it!”  So here’s a Behind the Scenes Sneak Peak of the Relaunch.  Enjoy!!!

 

Déjà… Dude?

Spin class

I went to the spin class and it was an outer body experience. The music was poppin’, the energy was off the charts, and I felt rejuvenated after my workout. I knew I burned at least 1500 calories in 50 minutes which is exactly what I needed to shed those last 5 pounds I was trying to lose.

I recognize it has been a long ass time since I brought you tales from my dating foolery.  I wish I could say it was only due to the site revamp.  But then I would be lying and you all know how I feel about giving you the Tea the whole Tea and nothing but the Tea.  The first half of my year was quite interesting in terms of dating.  I met the King of the Fools also known as The Great Pretender!  But I will wait to give you that story a little later.  It was certainly a dating doozey!  However I recognize I have left you all high and dry and that ain’t right.  But hey… I’m human!  LOL!  It’s not about how you fall but how you get back up!  And I’m baaaaaaaccccckkkkk!!!!

A little over a year ago I made the switch to Equinox Gym.  I had no intention of paying $200 for a gym membership.  I mean seriously… that’s ridiculous!  I was already a member at 24 Hour Fitness.  I wasn’t really feeling the gym.  It was kind of dirty, the folks there were weird, the spin classes weren’t that great and didn’t have the right pedals for my spin shoes,  and to be honest I wasn’t really seeing the results I wanted (first world problems).  But I appreciated the $27/month membership fee.  However, when I got an Equinox one week trial membership my ass decided to take advantage of a good deal.  After all, I wasn’t about to spend a shit load of money of an expensive gym membership.  Who the fuck does that?!  But when I found myself pulling up to the gym and saw the valet parking I immediately knew I was in a different league.  I went to the spin class and it was an outer body experience.  The music was poppin’, the energy was off the charts, and I felt rejuvenated after my workout.  I knew I burned at least 1500 calories in 50 minutes which is exactly what I needed to shed those last 5 pounds I was trying to lose.  And to top it all off they had chilled eucalyptus towels to wipe your face after the workout!  This was what I would call gym heaven.  After my one week trial membership I really made an effort to enjoy 24 Hour Fitness but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it felt like Good Times.  This was no longer where I wanted to workout.  I had experienced the good life and I didn’t want to go back to the hood of gyms!  So against my own budget I went ahead and joined Equinox.  What can I say; I am a sucker for luxury!  And I reasoned with myself… “Obviously the men that go to this gym are in a different league.  A broke ass isn’t spending $200 on a gym membership… You’re in your late 30’s and in order to have a bangin’ body you have to spend money…  If you break it down and go 3 days a week it’s comparable to $15 per spin class which is less than you were spending at Barry’s Boot Camp and Cardio Barre.”  I know I’m not the only person who tries to justify a splurge!

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After my one week trial membership I really made an effort to enjoy 24 Hour Fitness but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it felt like Good Times. This was no longer where I wanted to workout. I had experienced the good life and I didn’t want to go back to the hood of gyms! So against my own budget I went ahead and joined Equinox.

Now let me be very clear.  I do not like to be picked up at the gym.  My gym time is sacred.  When I am in the midst of cardio the last thing I need is a man coming up to me trying to holler.  It is a straight up violation.  However, if I see something I like then I might do my toning in the same vicinity.  Not to mention, Equinox is THE place to be in LA.  The who’s who is there and it’s just refreshing to work out there.  It’s a whole different level of a gym.  I mean seriously there are Kheiel’s products in the locker room.  Okay… that’s the end of my free advertising for Equinox!  LOL!

A few weeks ago I had a summer Friday from work.  I normally go to my spin classes in the evenings but on this particular day I went in the afternoon and decided to switch it up and do my cardio on the Elliptical machine.  As I was going hard listening to ratchet music and sweating my ass off an extremely attractive man walked in.  “Eli” was tall, chocolate, and had a VERY nice body.  Damn!  I was impressed.   He saw me and gave me the head nod and a smile.  And I flashed my pearly whites right back at him.  Side note… ladies, you really need to start smiling more.  I have heard so many men complain about women walking by them and not even acknowledging them.  In particular my sistas!  You can’t complain about there not being good men out there and you don’t even take the time to acknowledge them when they are right in front of you.  I’ve become more conscious of being more approachable and just smiling and acknowledging brothas when I see them.  Well acknowledging men in general.  I don’t know about you all.  But a part of me is somewhat shy.  I know… pause for reaction.  But seriously sometimes, when I am really attracted to a guy I go into shy mode and get nervous.  Shocker!

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When I finished my cardio, I decided to do my arm and abs work in his peripheral vision. I might be shy… But a bitch knows how to position herself to be seen!

When I finished my cardio, I decided to do my arm and ab work in his peripheral vision.  I might be shy… But a bitch knows how to position herself to be seen!  LOL!  I can’t take myself sometimes.  I noticed him checking me out.  And although I was struggling with the weights I was trying to act like I had it going on.  I knew my arms were going to suffer the next day from my gym foolery.  As I put up the weights he said Hello and I said Hi back.  And then I headed to the locker room, washed my face and put on some lip gloss.  As I headed out of gym “Eli” stopped me:

Eli:  Great workout.

Me:  Not too bad yourself.  By the way…. You look so familiar.  I apologize if I kept staring but I’m trying to place where I’ve met you before. 

Now this was total bullshit.  I had never seen this man in my life.  As a matter of fact if a guy used a shitty pick up line on me like that I would have given him major side eye.  But after my last dating experience with The Great Pretender (post coming soon).  I was making a conscious effort to be open after that dating disaster.  I had spent the first few months of the year passing up some potential good guys because I was dealing with an ass!  So if that meant using a corny ass pick up line… So be it.  But to my surprise:

Eli:  You actually look familiar too.

Ummm… Really?  I wasn’t expecting that response.  More and more people are familiar with my blog, which is a good thing.  But when you’re trying to hit on a guy you don’t wasn’t that to be the first thing he knows about you.  His name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place the face.

Me:  I do… I mean… Umm…  Really?  Where are you from?

Eli:  Born and raised here in Cali.  How about you?

I will try not to hold that against him.  LOL!

  Me:  I’m a Jersey girl but I’ve lived here for the last 15 years.  I moved here shortly after I graduated from college.

Eli:  Where did you go?

When I told him my Alma Matter he paused and a big smile came across his face.

Eli: Me too!

Me:  No way… really?

Eli:  Yep.

Although he graduated a significant amount of years before me, whenever I ran into anyone who went to my Alma Matter there is an instant love.  Like we say…  We don’t shake hands we hug!  We exchanged numbers and made plan to meet up for drinks the next night.  Prior to meeting up “Eli” gave me a call and we were on the phone for hours.  We talked politics, relationships, and divorce.  “Eli” was divorced as well.  I was looking forward to our date the next evening.  I figured it the convo was this good over the phone then it would be even better in person.  He suggested one of my favorite LA restaurants for the date.  Le Petit Four and even decided to bring a bottle of Pinot Noir we had been talking about over the phone that he wanted me to try.  Okay was feeling this, cultured, well-traveled, and he knew about wines.  Really?!  It had been a while since I was actually looking forward to a date especially since I had been in shut down mode for the last few weeks.   This was a welcome change to my mood.  I even decided to wear a new dress that had the tags on it for weeks.  Fuck it why not?!

So when I arrived at the restaurant and was greeted by “Eli” wearing a baseball cap, sweatpants, and a sweatshirt I was thrown off.  WTF?  This is not indicative of a graduate from the HBCU I attended.  Really?  And it was Le Petit Four… we weren’t at Burger King!  My inner loving diva went into calming mode.

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The more he talked the more I was turned off. Even my second glass of Pinot Noir didn’t help my annoyance.

Okay Monique… Calm your ass down.  Watch your non verbals and don’t be a vain asshole.

So we began talking.  And the conversation was easy flowing.  The Pinot Noir he brought was excellent.  IT was from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  His good taste in wine made it easy for me to dismiss that he was dressed like a bus boy for our date.  The conversation was going well until we started talking about relationship pet peeves.  And that’s when “Eli’s” true color came out.

Eli:  I’m the type of guy that doesn’t believe in giving compliments.  A woman should know that if she’s with me she looks good.  I don’t need to tell her that.  She should already know.  I don’t have time to feed into insecurities…  I don’t mess with these young girls.  They aren’t ready for this.  I would mess up their lives because they wouldn’t meet anyone else like me and would compare these young cats to me…I know a lot of athletes so I’m hip to the game.  That’s why I don’t even like valet parking at parties, I don’t need thirsty broads to see my whip and then try to jock… I’m the type if I get pissed off, I’ll just stop talking to you and you won’t have a clue why until I’m ready to say something…”

The more he talked the more I was turned off.  Even my second glass of Pinot Noir didn’t help my annoyance.  That explained why he didn’t even bother getting half way decent for the date.  In his mind he didn’t have to.  He was the catch.  I also realized, he was an Entourage Dude.  This was typical of a lot of guys who are from LA.  Because they hang out with athletes they begin to try emulate them.  They workout so they have the build of an athlete (hence his great body.  Hell I thought he could have been retired NFL), they start to have the swagger of athletes, wear the same kind of flashy jewelry, and frequent all the hot spots where they go.  They are usually part of the Entourage that comes into spots with the athletes and get the leftover girls at the clubs who the athletes don’t want.  I knew the game.  I had seen it often back in my partying days in my 20’s.  These men typically don’t have shit and in order to make up for the fact that they are inadequate; they would typically make the women they date feel insecure in order to hype themselves up.  And maybe I was jumping the gun on this one.  But by the time he paid the bill I knew I would never go out with him again or call him.  It’s not like he did anything completely awful.  But I was at a point in my dating life where I knew when shit wasn’t going to work out and I was no longer trying to fit a square pg into a round hole.

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He was an Entourage Dude. This was typical of a lot of guys who are from LA. Because they hang out with athletes they begin to emulate them.

The next night I was meeting up with some friends for drinks.  And that’s when it hit me!  That’s when I had my déjà vu moment.  But no it couldn’t be…  When my one friend walked in that’s when I put two and two together.

Me:  What is the name of that guy you dated way back in the day?  Like 12 years ago?  It wasn’t Eli was it? 

Girlfriend:  Yes!  That was that fools name.  Why?

So I told her about meeting him and we had a good laugh about it.  I vaguely remembered when she was dating him, but when she walked in the light bulb went on and I put 2 and 2 together.  Obviously she didn’t end up with him for a reason.  She was now happily married to a great guy.  She rolled her eyes and blew it off.  And I am sure she said a prayer thanking God for giving her patience to wait on the right guy.

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I told her about meeting him and we had a good laugh about it… She was now happily married to one of the greatest guys.

Although we were able to laugh it off.  I have to admit I had a freak out moment.  What if I had gone out with “Eli” and really enjoyed his company?  What if he had showed up looking dapper and the conversation was on point?  What if he swept me off my feet and weeks later I had the déjà vu moment?  What the hell would I have done?  There is a certain thing called Girl Code.  And although my friend is happily married I still would have never felt comfortable dating a guy who once went out with one of my girlfriends.  That’s violation number 1 of Girl Code.  Luckily I wouldn’t have to worry about that.  But I realized I know A LOT of people in LA.  Hell… I know a lot of people all over.  Whereas most people have 6 degrees of separation I literally have 2!  It makes for a great social life and wonderful friends.   But what happens as your circles get larger and because of that your dating pool of men get smaller.  What was the universe trying to tell me?  Déjà vu or no dating pool?  I guess I need to stop worrying about the what if’s and focus on the now.  That bridge has not been crossed so no need to create a large body of water that doesn’t exist.  Go figure… the story of my life!

 

Monique K.Bradley

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

The Woman Behind the Illustration…

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The Creator and Mastermind behind Confessions of a Serial Dater in LA…

When I first started this blog I wasn’t sure if I wanted people to know who I really was.  So I had an illustration created so I could write freely.  I think it was fear that people wouldn’t like my writing, fear of being exposed, fear of people knowing my business, and fear of getting “found out.”   Well… I no longer live in fear.  I am all about endless possibilities and ready to take on the world as ME!  It’s been a fun, insightful, self reflective 2 1/2 year journey.  And your support and loyalty has made this blog an overnight success.  It’s nice to know you’re not alone in your dating victories, disappointments, insecurities, uncertainties, hopefulness, and successes.  I hope reading this blog has made your journey a little easier no matter what dating/relationship stage you are currently experiencing.

I have decided to emerge from my Illustration and let the world see me.  Over the next few weeks I will be re-vamping this website.  And you will love it!  I wanted to make sure my loyal readers had a chance to see there is actually a real person behind the illustration.  Meet the Creator and Mastermind behind the hit blog Confessions of a Serial Dater in LA…  Monique Kelley also known as…ME!

Check out my video below.  I will still be bringing you Confessions as I revamp the site.  But Summertime is around the corner!  New season.. New beginnings… New Confessions!

 

 

 

Monique K.Bradley

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

30 Is NOT The New 20… Part 1

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Gino was a notorious for being a ruthless doorman. We had witnessed Gino play a firsthand role in lowering many 20 something’s self esteem by not letting them into a hot spot because they were either too fat, too homely, or he was just in a bad mood. And the guys had it worse. If you weren’t a recognizable actor, rapper, or athlete, you would need to have some money to spend to get a table.

As you might have guessed most of my weeknights are spent going to client dinners for work or network mixers.  It is the story of my life.  This week was no different than most.  I worked a full day and headed over to downtown LA to the City Club for yet another networking mixer.  Most normal folks would have listened to their body and took their asses home and had a relaxing evening on the couch.  After my vow to no longer succumb to FOMO (fear of missing out) I recently started declining these invitations.  However, this was something different than the usual mixers I attended so I decided to follow my first notion and go.  Upon arriving to the City Club the grouchy spirit I had most of the day was lifted by the beautiful 360 view of the city of LA.  I forgot what beautiful views this venue had.  There’s nothing like being high up and taking in what made me fall in love with this city.  I made my rounds around the event, exchanged business cards, gave my 2 minute pitch speech on what I did and how much I loved my job… blah… blah… blah…  I finally had a second to order a glass of wine from the bar and I took a second to go over to one of the windows and actually enjoy the view of the city.  The sun had gone down and the sparkling lights looked like diamonds.  Awwww… the feeling of endless possibilities.  Sometimes in life you need to take a moment to stop and take things in instead of reaching for your cell phone to respond to an email or taking a picture to post on your social media.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I made a conscious effort to take a deep breath, enjoy my Sauvignon Blanc and look out at the city that had become my lover over the last 15 years.

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Upon arriving to the City Club my grouchy spirit I had most of the day was uplifted by the beautiful 360 view of the city of LA. I forgot what beautiful views this venue had. There’s nothing like being high up and taking in what made me fall in love with this city.

I was enjoying my few minutes to myself when I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned around and there was my home girl from back in the day.  It had been a good 5 ½ years since I had seen her.  Tanya and I met at a party shortly after I moved to LA.  And from there we both had a second job of hitting up all the hot parties back in the day.  Not a real second job.  But I would leave work, head home, and change to go out and dance the night away.  We literally partied 4 nights of the week.  I would be out until 3am and wake up the next morning at 7:30 for work and not miss a beat.  There is no way I would even attempt that now.  I know my limits!  But back then there was no stopping us.  The highlight of course was The Garden of Eden on Sunday Nights and The Gate on Thursday night.  We knew we had arrived when we finally knew the doormen at the clubs and would just walk up and they would open the ropes to let us in with no questions asked. And then when Gino knew our names and would show us love as well, our young foolish 20 year old selves thought we had hit the social city jackpot!  How could we not?  Gino was a notorious for being a ruthless doorman.  He had no filter and would tell you straight up “You’re not getting in this club.”  We had witnessed Gino play a firsthand role in lowering many 20 something’s self esteem by not letting them into a hot spot because they were either too fat, too homely, or he was just in a bad mood.  And the guys had it worse.  If you weren’t a recognizable actor, rapper, or athlete, you would need to have some money to spend to get a table.  And when I say money, I’m not talking a few hundred dollars.  I had seen guys pay $1000+ just to get a table to get into the club.  If you were a guy who didn’t have money, status, or notoriety Gino would play the fuck out of you.  I’m surprised Gino never got knocked out.  He was downright evil when it came to who he let into the clubs.  His job was to make sure the club maintained the reputation for being the hottest party with a very select group of people that were granted access.  Luckily Tanya and I had made it on his good side and had the opportunity to have access to all the hot parties without any questions asked.  Looking back on it now, it was so damn silly.  Gino was a doorman!  His job was literally to pick and choose who gets into a club and open and close a red carpet.  Guys actually got paid to do this!  And the only reason why they were able to experience any power was because young 20 year olds allowed them to have that power.  Hind sight… hind sight…

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I would leave work, head home, and change to go out and dance the night away. We literally partied 4 nights of the week. The highlight of course was The Garden of Eden on Sunday Nights and The Gate on Thursday night.

So there was me and Tanya, two former party girls turned executives.  How the tides have turned.  We had a good laugh about the good old days and we promised to get together for a drink and reminisce about those times.  The last time Tanya and I hung out was shortly after I separated from my ex.  We went to The Garden Of Eden on a Sunday.  I thought it would be fun to go back to my pre-marital life.  I thought I could pick up where I left off and enjoy the clubs like I used to.  But when we arrived to the club all I saw was a bunch of over exposed breasts, too tight clothing, overly made-up faces, and long weaves.  You knew the moment an athlete walked into the club, because an area that was once crowded with people dancing would clear up and you would see a majority of the girls placing themselves in eye sight of one of the athletes with a “pick me” look.  It was downright pathetic and obvious.  I tried to order a glass of wine but all they had was White Zinfandel.  That was like drinking the Kool Aid of wines.  Back in the day when I used to frequent the clubs my drink of choice was an “Adios Motherfucker.”  Since I wasn’t making money back then that drink was one that could get my nice and tipsy after a few sips.

It was still the same scene.  Everything was still the same.  But what changed was I was the 30+ bitch in the club!  It didn’t feel right.  It wasn’t exciting.  That’s when it hit me.  That life was no longer who I was.  I enjoyed every minute of it in my 20’s.  That’s what you’re supposed to do in your 20’s.  And there wasn’t judgment on those young girls who were doing exactly what they were supposed to do at that age.  Live it up and have fun so they could one day have fun “Remember when…” stories to tell and laugh about just like Tanya and I had.  I had zero regrets.

Young woman rolling her eyes

It was still the same scene. Everything was still the same. But what changed was I was the 30+ bitch in the club! It didn’t feel right. It wasn’t exciting.

 

But fast forwarding to that time after the ending of my marriage, I was on a different journey.  The life I had before marriage was no longer who I was.  The person I was when I was married was never who I was or what I was supposed to be.  The woman I was in my 20’s had evolved.  The things that used to make me happy were no longer the same.  I was now a woman in my 30’s and the 20 year girl I was had grown up.  I had no idea who the hell I was at that time.  I was so confused.  The ending of the marriage and the beginning of the unknown is a scary freaking thing. It was at that moment my journey to self discovery began.  To be completely honest the journey took some years.  It took me a while to find myself.  Realizing you are no longer the person you once were, but not yet the women you are supposed to be can be downright confusing.  And I was at that point.  I was starting over and the evolution of Me began.

So here I am.  Almost 6 years later.  In a space of knowing who I am.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when the road is rough or I have confusion.  But I know who I am and I am okay with it.  I know what I need and desire and don’t compromise on it.  I think back on to my 20’s fondly.  It was a great ride and I wouldn’t change a thing.  Well… maybe some of the outfits and the time I had a weave that came down to the middle of my back…  Lawd have mercy!  I appreciate the journey.  I recognize I wouldn’t be Me had I not gone through that experience.  Because 30 is not the new 20 what would my 35+ self now tell the girl I was in my 20’s after experiencing life’s ups and downs and growth?   Hmmmmmm….

To be continued…

Monique K.Bradley

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+        

Cocktails and Confessions… Coming Soon!!!!

She's Back

I Want… I Need… It Would Be Nice to Have

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I am about to go there. I am about to confess something that most single, independent women, in their 30’s and up will never say out loud because some woman somewhere in the world made these statements taboo for single women.

I am about to go there.  I am about to confess something that most single, independent women, in their 30’s and up will never say out loud because some woman somewhere in the world made these statements taboo for single women.  More than likely this is a woman who either never really had to date as a grown women in her 30’s and up.  More than likely she met her husband in college and got married shortly after graduation and has watched dating from an audience perspective and hasn’t really lived it.  OR it is a woman who is in a relationship or newly married and has what I call Newlywed amnesia and forgot about the game called dating.  OR it is a woman who is extremely bitter and in the process of a divorce or a bad breakup and is at the anger stage.  OR is a women who has read A LOT of Marianne Williamson books (who by the way is one of my favorite authors) and is taking some of what she said out of context.  But I feel the need to break this stigma.  It is okay to say…

I want… A Man…

I need… A Man…

It would be nice to have… A Man.

Oh shit!  Let me take a moment to pause for all the cynics, all the female feminists.  Go ahead, throw apples, oranges, bananas or whatever you need to throw at the screen right now.  But let me break this down so you can fully understand what I am trying to say.  You can choose to agree, disagree, but I am just being real.  I get so tired of women lying to themselves about the desires of their heart because of the fear of how it sounds.  The fear they sound like weak women who can’t take care of themselves.  The fear of looking desperate or even the fear of coming off as a woman who is too needy.  There is nothing wrong with admitting to yourself your desires when it comes to men, relationships, and dating.

I WANT A MAN…

Being single is fun.  You can come and go as you please.  You can sleep in the middle of your bed; you have control of the remote control.  The best part about being single, when you really are truly happy is dating Yourself.  What I did in the past was try out new recipes.  I would make dinners as if I was in a relationship to practice for the real thing.  I would make sure I took myself out on dates.  Not with a big group of girlfriends just you by yourself.  Even if it’s going to your favorite neighborhood bar or coffee shop after work and sitting by yourself.   Or you can even go bigger than that.  I once took myself on a trip to Hawaii.  Yes I did!   All by myself!  I would wake up in the morning, mediate and journal by the ocean.  I would sit by the pool most of the day reading Fifty Shades of Grey (don’t judge but I think I read all three books during that vacation).  In the evening I would take myself out to a fabulous dinner.  Or go to the spa.  It was so freeing.   I say all this to say, that as much as I enjoyed being single I still recognized I had to get out there.  Sitting at home on my couch thinking that I would meet someone was just plain silly.  Making the excuse that you don’t want a relationship because you are focused on your career is a defense mechanism if you are 35+.  One of my favorite phrases is “In addition to…”  Admitting you want a relationship does not translate to meaning you do not like your life, or you are not happy with where you are.  It’s simply saying out loud that you are looking forward to a partner that you can share your life with.  It doesn’t make you a weak co-dependent woman!

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I once took myself on a trip to Hawaii. Yes I did! All by myself! I would wake up in the morning, mediate and journal by the ocean.

 

I also understand the importance of making sure you get with the right person.  When I walk into my home it is peaceful, the energy is calm, and it is my oasis.  I currently have an amazing life and I recognize that anyone I allow to come into my life has to enhance it.  I couldn’t be in a situation where I allow someone to disrupt the beauty of my life and the calm of my home.  So saying you want a man doesn’t mean you are settling for some bullshit and will take anything that comes just to say you have a man.  It is simply acknowledging that you are at a point in your life where you have worked on yourself, you have acknowledged where you are, you are very clear on your negotiables and your non-negotaibles, and you WANT someone in your life that you two can come together and build a life as partners, lovers, friends, confidants, etc.

Admitting out loud that you want a man doesn’t make you desperate.  It also doesn’t mean that’s all you want out of life.  Don’t forget my catch phrase… “IN ADDITION TO…  I believe it puts  the wheels in motion.

 

I NEED A MAN…

This one will probably send some women over the edge.  And before you call Oprah on me and get me kicked out of the Intelligent Independent Spiritual Woman movement.  Once again let me explain.  Let’s face it… There are some things that you need a man for.  There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  You know I do not go into detail about my personal sex life.  Because it’s really none of anyone’s business and there is a certain line that even this blog won’t cross.  But I get so sick and tired of women talking about their battery operated devices.  If that’s your thing, that’s your thing.  I know Kandi Buress from Real Housewives of Atlanta fame has made a lucrative business out of selling Bedroom Kandi products.  And hey, if that’s your thing, that’s your thing.  But battery operated devices can’t kiss you back, battery operated devices can’t hold you at night in their nook, battery operated devices can’t give you pillow talk.  There are certain things you need a man for.  That’s just a fact!  And you can pretend that your battery operated devices are doing the trick, but if you had a choice between a battery operated device and a real man what would you choose?

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Battery operated devices can’t kiss you back, battery operated devices can’t hold you at night in their nook, battery operated devices can’t give you pillow talk. There are certain things you need a man for. That’s just a fact!

 

I happen to have an office with a balcony (one of the benefits of hard work paying off).  Last week while on a conference call a Raven flew onto the balcony with a dead squirrel in its mouth.  The damn thing was tearing into it like it was his last supper.  I banged on the window to try to get it to go away and it kind of looked up at me and rolled its eyes and continued feasting on this dead squirrel.  I was disgusted.  I went out to my office freaked out and two of my male colleagues went onto the balcony and shooed the Raven away.  Then one of the male custodians came and cleaned up the bloody mess that was left behind.  Yes, a woman could have done the same thing.  But there are certain things that you just gotta admit you need a man for.

When I need to move around heavy furniture, or have things done around my house.  I NEED A MAN.  Yes I said it, I ain’t taking it back!  I’m not ashamed to say it out loud.  Notice I am not saying my life isn’t complete without a man.  I am not saying I need a man to survive.  But what I am saying is there are certain things in life you NEED a man for.  Is that a bad thing to admit?  Ummm no!  I have a feeling men like to feel needed.  Perhaps us modern women have been so used to trying to do it all on our own and be Superwoman we forgot that men have feelings.  And it’s okay to make them feel needed.  To stroke their egos.  To allow them to rescue you every once in awhile.  Once again, I am not saying you need a man to be complete.  This post is for women who are whole and ready for a relationship.

 

IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A MAN….

I am not suggesting your world should revolve around a man or finding a man. But I think women have stopped being vulnerable and open.  Some of us have put up a brick wall around our hearts and our emotions to prevent ourselves from being hurt.  Some of us have major defense mechanisms up.  Understandably so!  You reach a point where you get tired of hurt after hurt and disappointment after disappointment.  You get tired to getting excited and hopeful only to find out a few weeks in that the man you were excited about isn’t who you thought he was.  It fucking sucks!  However, just because you have been hurt in the past (we all have) doesn’t mean you shut yourself down.  It doesn’t mean you LIE to yourself and do not admit it would be nice to have a man in your life.  There is something so nice when you meet the right man for you and have the chance to experience falling in love, being adored, and meeting YOUR man.  There is something so nice about that last call of the day.. Meeting the man that gives you butterflies.. meeting a man who supports you in your dreams… meeting a man who is honest about who he is and what he is looking for… meeting a man who isn’t afraid to shout on top of a mountain THIS IS MY WOMAN… Meeting a man whose touch calms you and makes you feel safe… meeting a man who will protect you and your heart…  We are not meant to go through this world alone.

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Some of us have put up a brick wall around our hearts and our emotions to prevent ourselves from being hurt. Some of us have major defense mechanisms up. Understandably so! You reach a point where you get tired of hurt after hurt and disappointment after disappointment. You get tired to getting excited and hopeful only to find out a few weeks/months in that the man you were excited about isn’t who you thought he was. It fucking sucks! However, just because you have been hurt in the past (we all have) doesn’t mean you shut yourself down.

 

Ladies- it’s okay to admit your desire for a relationship.  It doesn’t make you weak, desperate, or needy.  It doesn’t mean that your life is not full.  It doesn’t mean that you’re not independent.  All I ask is that you are honest with yourself about what you need and remove the worry of what it sounds like.  Once again I am not saying your life isn’t complete without a man, or your life has no meaning without a man, or you can’t function without a man, or you need a man to be successful in life.  Please do not get confused with the message.  I am talking about when you are truly whole and in a place in your life where you can receive the right relationship because you have done the work on yourself.  Once you reach that point in life it is okay to say I Want… I Need… It would be nice to have…  Manifest your desires!

 

Monique K.Bradley

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

 

 

Cocktails… Confessions… And Concessions?

drinking

Cocktails… Confessions… And Concessions?

Before I revamped my site, I figured I would give my readers one last dating epiphany, lesson, observation for old time’s sake.  Enjoy!

Unlike most college students who spent their time sowing their royal oats and kicking it.  I met my college sweetheart my second day of college and I was with him until six months after graduation.  Yes… I was booed up my entire 4 years of college!  Did you think I was always a serial dater?!  LOL!  I do not regret this decision for one second.  My college sweetheart was a great guy and he set the bar high for what I expected out of my relationships and dating.  And I won’t go into details regarding the break up but I have nothing but great things to say about him.  He is one of the coolest guys I know.  I look back on those times fondly.

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Do you remember those days before you had major baggage, divorces, kids, heartbreaks, and disappointments? I miss those days of innocence. Those days where the only expectation you had about dating was a good outcome. Those days when both of you came with a clean slate? Because I had such a great first experience with my first true love at Hampton University my dating expectations were high…

 

Do you remember those days before you had major baggage, divorces, kids, heartbreaks, and disappointments?  I miss those days of innocence.  Those days where the only expectation you had about dating was a good outcome.  Those days when both of you came with a clean slate?  Can we have a moment of silence as we reminisce about those days…  Woosa….

Because I had such a great first experience with my first true love, when we broke up I was new to the single scene.  Since I hadn’t experienced the ups and downs of dating while at Hampton University, I ended having a late start to the game.    I was no longer a college student dating with the security of being on campus.  I was now officially living in Los Angeles, and dating.  It was exciting.  It was also very convenient.  To be honest, I was BROKE back then!  I was pursuing acting and my funds weren’t just low, they were non-existent.  I went on dates so I could eat and drink.  I know I am not the only woman who was guilty of this back in their twenties.  I am just woman enough to admit it.  LOL!  However, my expectations were high and I didn’t put up with a lot of shit.  I generally believed that most guys were decent until proven foolish.

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To be honest, I was BROKE back then! I was pursuing acting and my funds weren’t just low, they were non-existent. I went on dates so I could eat and drink. I know I am not the only woman who was guilty of this back in their twenties. I am just woman enough to admit it.

 

In my twenties I had a laundry list of what I expected from a guy.  What I would and would not settle for.  Some of the things on my list (mind you the total number of things on the list added up to be 52) included:

  • No kids/ baby mommas
  • Must have a career
  • Must kiss with his eyes closed (don’t judge my 20’s ignorance)
  • Must wear a suit to work (I know major side eye)
  • Must be over 6’3
  • Must have college degree
  • No roommates

Then I got married to a man that fit “the list” and we already know how that ended.  Then you take time to re-evaluate the bullshit you had on the list.  Just because someone seems great on paper does not mean that they are great for you.  You also realize relationships aren’t based on a list, but instead on things that are important to you, your non-negotiables.  And clearly with life things that were important to me changed and I had a better understanding of what I needed out of relationships.

  • Must be a good communicator
  • Must be honest/loyal
  • Must love unconditionally
  • Must be spiritual not religious
  • If he has children should be from a former marriage or not have multiple baby mammas
  • Should have had a significant relationship/marriage at some point
  • Supportive of my career and aspirations
  • Is a team player

I also learned you can’t be married to the list.  You have to make concessions from time to time and be open.  As you continue to date things are very different when you hit your 30’s/40’s.  And a lot of it is because you are no longer college kids navigating relationships on campus…  Or a young 20 year old dating fresh out of college, here’s an exercise… Sit with a group of ladies in their 20’s and hear their experiences and thoughts about dating.  You will certainly see a lot of yourself in them.  There is a certain amount of them thinking they know it all.  They will even try to guide you on what to do when it comes to dating.  And you have to embrace it with love.  Remember what you were like in your 20’s.  It’s not a dig on my younger loyal readers.  It’s just a reality.

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I also learned you can’t be married to the list. You have to make concessions from time to time and be open.

 

The fact is as you get older things change and you have to make allowances in order to be open.  Life experiences force you to have to look at things differently.  You are no longer married to a list.  Instead you try to be open, and learn from your experiences.  You begin to make concessions.   You go with the “feeling” the “connection” the “strong vibe” you feel with a man.  And trust me, it is so damn refreshing to meet a man and realize that those feelings you thought were buried deep down inside or even the “connection” you have heard others speak of but after one dating disaster after another you feel like that feeling is not in your DNA, so when you meet a man, and he literally sweeps you off your feet.  He opens you up to become vulnerable and feel safe with him.  He looks you in your eyes and you feel as though he is staring into your soul.  When his phone number flashes on the screen you find yourself smiling in the same way you did when you were a young college student without baggage.  You allow your walls to come down.  Because you have finally connected with someone in a way that is so refreshing!  Can I get an AMEM ladies?!

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You go with the “feeling” the “connection” the “strong vibe” you feel with a man. And trust me, it is so damn refreshing to meet a man and realize that those feelings you thought were buried deep down inside or even the “connection” you have heard others speak of but after one dating disaster after another you feel like that feeling is not in your DNA, so when you meet a man, and he literally sweeps you off your feet.

 

One of two things happen, you realize that this is IT!  You have finally connected with a man on a level that feels so grown.  It is unlike anything you have ever experienced.  It feels so invigorating.  It’s the holy grail of dating. And isn’t that the best feeling?  Experiencing meeting your true soulmate for all the right reasons.

But then there is the other side…  You think that you have met a man who is grown and honest.  Interestingly enough men are very “honest” these days about their various situations and what they have going on in their life.  I suspect some men use the “blatant honesty” to cover themselves for all the bullshit they have going on.  It is their way of alleviating their guilt for being shady as hell!  And it’s easy to be seduced by the “brutal honesty.”  So much so, you begin to make major concessions for the foolery.  “Honesty” is a seductive foreplay when you have a man who is everything you ever dreamt of.  You begin to make concessions for the bullshit.  You put aside your needs and desires because he is being “honest.”  He tells you everything that is going on in his life.  All the craziness and the bullshit, it serves as a way to cover his bases.  And because the bullshit is under the guise of “I’m just being honest.”  You begin to make concessions.  You begin to second guess all of the shit that you are looking for and what is important in a relationship because you are blinded by “the honesty” and suddenly you can find yourself scrambled in the middle of some bullshit.  When you hit a certain age in Singledom it is so easy to start putting aside things that are important to you.  You think that you are being unreasonable.  Hell… you even have folks around who tell you need to let go of certain expectations.  Here’s the famous line “How has that worked for you so far?”  And you are left sitting in a dizzy state wondering… “Am I expecting too much?  I am no longer the college freshman; I am a grown ass woman and I need to make more concessions.”  And while I completely agree that you cannot be married to a list of expectations… I also do not want my members of Singledom who are in their 30’s and 40’s to think that they should let go of their core values when it comes to dating.  It is so damn tempting to do so.  You can meet a man who fits all of your physical, mental, emotional criteria but at the end of the day isn’t available and is feeding you bullshit “honesty” to make himself feel better and alleviate his own damn guilt so he can say, “I was HONEST with her about my situation.”

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You can meet a man who fits all of your physical, mental, emotional criteria but at the end of the day isn’t available and is feeding you bullshit “honesty” to make himself feel better and alleviate his own damn guilt so he can say, “I was HONEST with her about my situation.”

 

And you can really believe that you won’t find better.  Or the connection you have with this man is something that you will never experience again.  Would you believe there are women out here that are actually begging men to stay with them?  And accepting CRUMBS?!  They will be in a relationship with a man who CLEARLY does not have the same strong feelings for them and think they can fuck them, feed them, and force them into the relationship they want.  Talk about poster women for low self esteem!  And they are fucking it up for the rest of us who actually have standards and expectations.  When you let a man know what works for you they are thrown off because they have been able to get away with running shit with other women who allow them to just shit on them.  Note to these women:  Get standards and stop fucking it up for women who actually have self esteem and standards.  Begging a man to stay with you is not going to make him love you or decide to be in a committed relationship with you!  I am not coming from a place of judgment but concern.  I get so frustrated with men who have been allowed to get away with treating women any old way, that when they finally meet a woman who isn’t willing to put up with taking crumbs they don’t know how to handle it.  To all you nosy men out there reading this blog who actually have the audacity to ask a woman to compromise who they are and their needs for your own selfishness, ask yourself this question:  Would you want your mother, sister, or daughters to make concessions that compromise who they are?  I didn’t think so.  So why expect that of woman you are pursuing?  Just a little food for thought….  There I go digressing…

sire says - omarion rayuana

Would you believe there are women out here that are actually begging men to stay with them? And accepting CRUMBS?! They will be in a relationship with a man who CLEARLY does not have the same strong feelings for them and think they can fuck them, feed them, and force them into the relationship they want. Talk about poster women for low self esteem! And they are fucking it up for the rest of us who actually have standards and expectations.

 

There comes a point when older seasoned 30+ women have to have a heart to heart with their inner younger 20+ college woman and have a meeting of the minds.  While I know I will not ever have the experience of my college sweetheart at this stage of my life due to circumstances, baggage, and life I do know that I have experienced what it feels like to have pure love, support, real honesty that isn’t a mask for some bullshit.  I also know that in life you will have to make a certain amount of concessions but that does not mean you have to dishonor who you are and compromise your values.

In order to have true love you do not have to compromise what is important to you.  Or make some allowances for some bullshit because a man is “honest” about his situation.  Don’t let the honesty blind you to the reality of what he is actually saying and the situation.  Just because a man is “HONEST” does not mean he isn’t still full of shit.  And please don’t get me wrong.  This is not a bitter woman rant.  But I want to make sure you don’t fall into the seduction of honesty where you become blinded by the reality and the man’s actions.  That’s what really tells you the truth, his ACTIONS!  If his words and actions aren’t matching up… well there you have it!  That’s your answer.

At the end of the day I find we are thrown tests to see if we are really ready to “trust” the process and have “faith” that what we are looking for is coming and the “patience” to wait for what is right.  I never want any of you to beg for a man to give you a chance.  Or even worse wait on a man to make up his mind that he is ready to pursue you wholeheartedly without any doubt.  Your needs and desires when it comes to dating are important to maintain.  I challenge you to dig deep within and find that untarnished, unmarked, open and optimistic young girl in you that had a clean slate and believed in love to reacquaint themselves with the woman you are today.  I believe the marriage of the two moments in time will give you a better perspective and understanding of you who you are today and lead you in the direction where you can be open, make concessions, but not compromise on what is important to you.

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Don’t fall into the seduction of honesty and are blinded by the reality and the man’s actions. That what really tells you the truth, his ACTIONS! If his words and actions aren’t matching up… well there you have it!

 

Sometimes walking away from a situation is harder than realizing the situation is not for you especially when your head and your heart are not in alignment.  It is really hard!  And deeply disappointing to realize who you thought someone was, is not at all who they really are.  You question if all of the things he said, the feelings he said he felt for you, was just a lie or an act.  You even question, how you allowed yourself to once again fall for the okie doke.  You think you had learned from past mistakes and can shift through the bullshit.  You even get mad at yourself for allowing yourself to be vulnerable and let your walls down.  It fucking SUCKS!!!!!  The road less traveled is not an easy one to take, especially after years and years of being disappointed.  Especially when you think you have met a man that is IT.  Walking away is so hard.  But you have to teach a man how to treat you.  And you also have to look at who he truly is not who you thought he was, what you wanted him to be, or the idea of how you thought the outcome would be.  Sometimes you have to walk away and be strong in the fact that if it is meant to be it will be.  If he is right for you he will return and be better than what you had already established or you will be open and cleared to meet the man who really is IT.  If you find yourself making concessions that is not honoring who you are or compromising the core of what you need.  You have to be willing to walk away.  And trust me, I know it isn’t easy.  Especially as you get older and have kissed a lot of frogs.  However, that’s when you pour yourself a cocktail, you confess to the reality of the situation, and you promise yourself you will not make concessions that compromise the core of who you are as a woman.  I’ll leave you with this.  My girlfriend once told me God does not come from a place of No.  He will answer you with one of three things:

  • Yes
  • Not now
  • I have something better for you….

If you truly have faith and allow yourself to trust the process and know what is for you is for you.  You will not have to make a bunch of concessions.  And my goodness, it will be worth the journey.

Monique K.Bradley

I can be found on: Facebook | Twitter | Google+        
 

Never Can Say Goodbye…

goodbye2 (1)Yes… it’s been weeks since my last post.  And I haven’t forgotten about my loyal readers and followers.  I am working on some game changing things.  You know my favorite saying Go Big or Go Home!  I promise it will be worth the wait!  Meanwhile Date On!  Be open… And love as though you have never been hurt….

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