The Ah… Shit Moment!

satc

The last time I was feeling like this was around my 25th birthday when I went through a quarter life crisis. So I did what I did then. I resorted to my favorite show of all time Sex and the City.

Last week was a doozy!  There was a big black cloud that was following me everywhere I went.  I couldn’t shake it.  The more I attempted to run from it the more it kept following me.  You know where you have one of those weeks where everything seems to be going completely WRONG!  It’s one disaster after the next.  Just last week the guy I had been dating for the last 3 months informed me he didn’t want to have any more children.  Yes, the first man I had dated and liked consistently since 1932.  It a fucking wrap!  I noticed he was starting to pull back.  We went out to Moon Shadows and watched the sunset.  I was finishing a glass of wine when “Barry” dropped the bomb on me.

Barry:  I’m not sure about having more kids.  My son is 21 years old and almost done with college.  I have stayed up many nights thinking about this since you and I started seeing each other.  I really like you.  I’m just not sure we want the same things.  And if this wasn’t an issue we’d be on the fast track to marriage but I know it’s important to you and I am so conflicted.

I sat there looking at him.  My first thought was to say to him what I was thinking, “Ummmmm…. I haven’t even slept with you yet and I’m not sure if I would a) want to marry you and/or b) have a child with you.  What the fuck?  I just wanted to order another glass of wine.” I of course took the grown woman high road.

Me:  I can’t continue to date you knowing you feel this way.  I just can’t chance falling in love with you and getting married and either you getting a secret vasectomy or even worse, I get pregnant and the whole time I am concerned you’re not excited about it. 

Barry:  I think you’re such an amazing woman and I wish things could be different.

Me:  To be honest Barry, I could feel you starting to pull back and I knew deep inside that’s what was going on.  But I really and truly appreciate your honesty.  Good luck with everything.

Barry:  Why are you saying that like I’ll never see you again?

Me:  I’m sure I’ll see you around. 

I’m not that woman who is going to keep seeing a guy knowing we want completely different things in life.  What was going to do?  Keep moving forward and hope and pray he changes his mind?  Um… No!  When a man tells you who he is, you have to believe him.

We finished our drinks.  The silence was deafening.  AND we had to drive ALL the way back to the valley.  That was the longest 40 minute drive of my life.  He walked me to my door.  I took my final look at “Barry” gave him a hug and closed the door.  I took a deep breath and a sunk to the floor and had myself a good cry.  Not because I had fallen in love with him or even in a deep like with him.  I had no idea if he and I even had a future.  The shallow part of me was never attracted to his big ass over grown stomach.  He was a 45 year old man that needed to go to the gym and go on a diet immediately!  But I managed to get over that.  At times he even came off a little cheap.  This issue was slowly actually rapidly beginning to annoy me.  There’s nothing worse than a stingy man!  I cried because I was so frustrated!  How many more disappointments did I have to go through?  What if it didn’t happen for me?  Was I destined to be one of those women with a great career and social life who ended up alone?  Did I need to brace myself and begin to accept that love might not happen for me.  And even worse yet, babies might not happen either?!  I was enjoying my life.  If I was completely honest with myself I wasn’t ready for a kid.  Just a few weeks ago I went to my god daughter’s volleyball game after work.  After stressing out and breaking several traffic laws to get there on time, cheering her on, and then taking her out to dinner afterwards.  By the time I got home, I passed out.  Not my usual wine induced pass out but I was genuinely and naturally exhausted.  I thought to myself, “Shit, how in the fuck did my mother do this?  And she had 3 kids and was doing it on her own.”  I found a whole new appreciation for her and other mothers of the world.  When did I become that poster child for the 35+ woman whose biological clock was ticking when I hadn’t even purchased the clock yet alone set the alarm?!  What the fuck was happening?  My cry was from pure and utter frustration.  Thank God I didn’t sleep with “Barry.”  That could have really clouded my judgment especially if the sex resulted in a great orgasm!  I might have been like, “Kids are overrated!”  Okay I digressed…     

By the time Friday rolled around not only did I have the black cloud still hanging over me but I felt like I was slowly descending into a deep hole!  I was in a funk of all funks and I wasn’t quite sure how to shake it.  And it was NOT over “Barry” it was life in general.  Was this the best it was gonna get?  Was this my future?  The last time I was feeling like this was around my 25th birthday when I went through a quarter life crisis.  So I did what I did then.  I resorted to my favorite show of all time Sex and the City.  I had the full DVD set.  So I could watch every single season.  It always seemed to get me out of my funk before.  And that’s exactly what I did for the entire weekend.   I had just gone to the Bev Mo five cent wine sale.  My wine storage and fridge was full of great wines.  I was experimenting with various recipes and settled on eggplant parmesan.  And I sat on my couch and watched Sex and the City for the entire weekend.  I laughed, I cringed, and I reminisced.  And by the time I got to Season 6 when Charlotte went through her divorce.  I had a MAJOR “Ah….Shit” moment.  When I used to watch Sex and the City 10 years ago it was pure entertainment.  It was a familiar yet foreign concept.  I could relate to these women but at the same time I couldn’t.  But as I watched Charlotte deal with her over bearing mother in law and Carrie Bradshaw debate whether to continue dating Alexander Protrovsky knowing he had a vasectomy and she was 38 years old without kids.  I paused the DVD and reflected on my life.  This show was no longer a foreign concept.  I was their target demo… the 35+ single woman living in the city.  I was the living and breathing black version of Sex and the City the only difference was I lived in LA.  And Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda didn’t have the added text messaging etiquette and social media of dating aspect to over obsess over.  But I watched it with a whole new set of eyes.  And realized why this show never got old.  These four women each had a piece of my heart.

Miranda- She was career driven and independent.  When she was feeling insecure she dove in her work.  After keeping a wall up for so many years she final allowed herself to give into Steve.  She was no nonsense.  I learned there’s nothing wrong with having drive for a great career.  And not being afraid to just say what the fuck is on my mind without apologies.

miranda and steve

Miranda- Nonsense

Charlotte- The hopeless romantic.  Also, if you really watch the show Charlotte was having more sex than everyone even Samantha.  But she packaged it up to look like a relationship.  She went through the devastation of living in a fantasy world when it came to dating and men and her divorce is what shook her into reality after dealing with an overbearing mother in law and a momma’s boy ex husband (can we say déjà vu?).  But ultimately she never settled.  Her second husband might have been short, overweight, and bald.  But he could keep her in the lifestyle she was accustomed to and he adored her.  She found her gift in a package she never expected.

charlotte

Charlotte- The Hopeless Romantic

Carrie- Carrie taught me so many things.  And watching her now I could relate to her on so many levels.  The most important thing I noticed after having my “Ah…Shit” moment was Carrie knew how to express what she was feeling.  It didn’t always come out poetic and pretty.  And she most certainly had her flaws.  But I learned to just be upfront and let a man know how I felt no matter how uncomfortable the conversation.

Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie- Expressions

Samantha-  I learned the most from her.  She showed me it is okay to be single and fabulous.  Getting married and having children does not equate to happiness.  Happiness comes from living life on your own terms and not apologizing for it.  It was just what I needed at this time.

Samantha-jones

Samantha- Being single can be fabulous

I know I ultimately would like to get married again and have children.  But until it is right I realized I have to make myself okay with where I am in the journey right now.  I have spent so many years trying to control my future and worry about the what-ifs.  What if I never meet my true soul mate.. What if by the time I meet him I am too old to have children… What if I can’t have kids… What if I messed up a good thing.. what if this is as good as it gets?  Instead… my “Ah…Shit” moment made once again realize I need to live in the here and the now.  After all, Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte ended up just fine.  And yes, I am at the Sex and the City age.  And it’s okay.  I have had a journey of so many discoveries and learning who I really am.  And damn it, my life is just as… if not even more fabulous the ladies of Sex and the City!  I did a toast to the lessons and thanked them for once again being the sunshine that got rid of the dark cloud.

rel=”attachment wp-att-180″>Monique K.Bradley

 

 

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

Boomerang!

Since I am on vacation this week, I am bringing you 3 posts in one!   I’ll be back next week with more Confessions.  But I figured this one will tie you over until then.  This is a long one so enjoy it!!! 

Upset young couple sitting on bed separately

2000 was one of the toughest years of my life… I was 23 years old and in a very vulnerable state.

I think every woman dreams of the day when they can run into a guy that did them dirty and have a “Look at me now moment.”  Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

2000 was one of the toughest years of my life.  My brother had passed (not ready to go into details on that).  I was 23 years old and in a very vulnerable state.  Enter “Kyle,”  “Kyle” was a 28 year old up and coming photographer I met at a gallery opening.  He was experiencing a career high.  His latest exhibition had opened to critical acclaimed.  He was pegged “The Next Gordon Parks.”  “Kyle” was originally from Indiana.  He and his college friends had made the move from the mid west to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams.  Nearly 3 years after moving to LA he was on the rise.  When we met in the crowded Downtown LA Gallery I felt like I was in the scene from West Side Story where Maria and Tony laid eyes on each other and suddenly there was no one else in the room.

“Kyle” and I had the best conversation.  His creative mind was so intense.  He was brilliant and his photography made a statement about the world.  It felt like I was tapping into his inner being as I looked at his photography.  I have always connected with artist and photographers.  As a matter of fact when I need to clear my head, I will go to an art museum and lose myself in the world of art.  “Kyle” and I made plans to hang out the next day.  At the time he and his college friends were sharing a car.  Let me explain that in greater detail.  4 grown ass men were sharing 1 damn car in Southern California.  Not New York City where you can get away without having a car because there is great public transportation system.  Los Angeles was and still is a city where you absolutely MUST have a car.  So “Kyle” gave me his address and I went to pick his grown ass up.  Keep in mind; this is me as a young vulnerable (a.k.a stupid) 23 year old.  Back in the day before I Had truly found my stride and wanted to make sure I “made” “Kyle” like me by being accommodating.  LMAO!  Growth is a beautiful thing.  When I got to his home in the middle of the HOOD I was scared to get out of my car.  This man lived in the for sure for sure HOOD (The Jungle) and that’s with a capital H.  Yes I am from New Jersey and yes I have a smart ass mouth.  But I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, the beautiful suburbs.  I used to apologize for being bourgeois.  Now I embrace and own up to it.  As I got out of my car I bee lined to his door and knocked.  As I waited for him to answer the door, I prayed, “Lord Jesus please let this man hurry up and answer the door before gun shots are fired.  I am too young to die. My obituary cannot say I died in The Jungle.  That’s not the legacy I want to leave behind. I want to live!!!!”  As usual the Lord is always on time!  “Kyle” answered the door and invited me in.  It was a small apartment.  It had a lot of African Wooden sculptures of naked women with pointy breasts, lots of black and white photography (unframed hung on the wall by thumbnails), the typical bachelor pad black leather (or perhaps pleather) couches and glass coffee tables.    His 3 college roommates were sitting on the couch watching a basketball game eating Cheetos and drinking Heinekens.  “Kyle” gave me a hug and invited me in.

Kyle:  You remember my roommates.

In my mind I heard the record screech to a halt.  Did he say, “roommates, with an S?

Me:  Which one is your roommate?

Kyle:  Both of them.  Did you want a beer?

Me:  No.  I’ll take a glass of wine. (even back then I loved my wine)

Kyle:  We all live here together. 

I looked around the apartment and I only saw one bedroom.  How in the world did 3 big ass grown men live in a one bedroom apartment?  As I pondered this question “Kyle” came back into the room and handed me a glass of… White Zinfandel.  WTF?  He had to be kidding me.  White Zinfandel.  I might have been a 23 year fool but even at that age I knew White Zinfindel was comparable to drinking Boone’s Farm.  But I really really liked “Kyle” so I decided to be a good sport and chill out.

Me:  So what did you want to do?

Kyle:  I figured we could hang out here and watch the game.

Me:  Ummmmm… okay.

So I sat there for 2 hours on his pleather couch watching a fucking basketball game.  Did I mention how much I hated basketball?  Did I mention the White Zinfandel was stale?  Picture me on the couch in between 3 rowdy guys watching a Laker game.  After the game ended “Kyle” walked me to my car.

Kyle:  I had a great time with you.  I like how you can just kick it and hang out.  You’re so different from these bourgeois LA girls.

Me:  Thanks.

Kyle:  Can we hang out again?

There goes that word.  “Hang out.”  I still liked him but I had a slight attitude.  I didn’t want to cuss him out just yet.  This was before the baggage.  This is when I still had hope and looked at the silver lining.

Me:  We can.  But next time I would like for us to go out somewhere.

Kyle:  That’s cool, kid.

“Kid.”  WTF?  Who was he calling kid?  Did that mean he was looking at me as a friend?  Talk about confused.  “Kyle” and I made plans to go out to days later.  Lucky for me it also happened to be a day when he had the car.  He picked me up and before we reached the restaurant he stopped at the ATM machine.  He was there for a few minutes.  It was taking him unusually long.  He started making his way back to the car.  He had his hands in his pockets and his great posture he had when he walked to the ATM was replaced with slouched over shoulders.  He got in the car.  Took a deep breath and said.

Kyle:  We have a problem.

Me:  What’s wrong?

Kyle:  I can’t access my account.

Me:  That is a major problem. 

Kyle:  I was really looking forward to us going to hear the spoken poetry at my spot. (Back in 2000 spoke poetry was VERY popular)

Me:  Don’t worry about it, let’s just go and I’ll get us a round of drinks. 

My inner loving Diva that guides me through my love life now wasn’t awakened until I hit my 30’s.  Back then I didn’t have her to shake me back into reality.  What the hell was I thinking?  I barely had two nickels to rub together at that time and here I was taking a grown ass man out for drinks?!  So “Kyle” and I headed to the spoken word spot that was in Leimert Park (not one of my favorite spots in LA even to this day… don’t judge me, but I much prefer going to Beverly Hills or Manhattan Beach.. just sayin’).  “Kyle” had no problem throwing back a few rounds of drinks that I bought!  Back then, being a young fool, I saw so much “potential” in “Kyle.”  I looked at him as the photographer that would change the world.  We still had great conversation… so I thought.  Looking back on it I don’t remember anything about the conversation.  At that time, I think I needed a hole to be filled.  Then I thought meeting the right man and falling in love would fill that hole.  Of course now I am fully aware the only person that can fill the void in your life is you.  In addition to paying for our dates I did every single stupid thing that a young girl would do to “make” a guy like me.  Ultimately, “Kyle” stopped returning my phone calls (this was prior to the text messaging days).  I even called from a friend’s house and he actually answered the phone because he didn’t recognize the number!  I felt like a damn fool!

I ended up going out to Reign (THE hot spot back in the day in LA before Keyshawn Johnson sold it in order to have to pay less in alimony when he and his wife got divorced).  My girlfriends were trying to cheer me up.  I had never been dissed like that before.  “Kyle” dissed my ass!  Big time!  I was hurt, devastated, and mad.  After throwing back quite a few cocktails.  I noticed my girlfriends face lose color.

Me:  What’s wrong?

Girlfriend:  Oh….. Nothing.  Guuurl, we should get outta here….

She attempted to pick up my stuff and scurry out.  That’s when I realized her eyes kept looking over my head.  I turned around and there was “Kyle” sitting at a table holding hands and locking eyes with another woman.  The waiter had come to the table to give him the bill and he quickly reached for it and put his credit card in the bill envelope.  I was LIVID!!!  I literally saw red.

Girlfriend:  Monique, do not give him the power.  Do not cause a scene.  Let’s just go.

Me:  Go, but I am having such a great time.  We are going to stay here and order another drink.

With that I signaled to the bartender and ordered another cocktail.  My girlfriend was nervous as shit.  I think the sense of calm that came over me scared her because I was normally such a firecracker.  I waited for my signal and it finally came two more drinks later.  I saw “Kyle” go to the bathroom.  I applied a fresh coat of lip gloss and I made my way to the restroom area when I realized his date was waiting for him at the table.  Even back then, I had the theory of never approaching the other woman.  First of all it makes you look crazy and it’s not the other woman’s fault that the man she is out with is a complete and total asshole.  “Kyle” came out of the restroom and when he saw me he looked like a deer in headlights.

 

couple-arguing

There was really no rhyme or reason to my 23 year old ass going off on this man. Looking back on it I looked a total jack ass myself. But in my mind I was going to get this man told! Oh yeah! I showed him I was the shit. LOL! More like a big dumb shit.

Me:  Hello Kyle.

Kyle:  Ummmm…. Monique… uh.. Hello… how are you, kid?

Me:  If you picked up the phone to answer my calls you would know. (I didn’t realize how tipsy I was until I felt like my words weren’t coming out of my mouth as fast as they were rolling around in my brain.  Not to mention when he called me “kid” again it certainly hit a nerve)

Kyle:  I’ve been busy…

Me:  I see.  I also see you have gotten a bigger paycheck and can afford to pay for dates now.  You cheap, broke ass fuck! (that certainly wasn’t the sophisticated line I had practiced in my head when I Was walking over to confront him)

Kyle:  What do you want from me, kid?

Me:  I don’t want shit from you!  You could have been a man and been honest instead of avoiding my calls. 

Kyle:  I figured you’d get the hint.

Me:  Oh I did.

Kyle:  So why are you sweating me?

Me:  Nobody is sweating your broke tired ass.  I’m glad you had the car so you could actually pick up your date. (there was really no rhyme or reason to my 23 year old ass going off on this man.  Looking back on it I looked a total jack ass myself.  But in my mind I was going to get this man told!)

Kyle:  Have a nice night kid. 

Kyle started to walk off.  And me needing to get the last and final parting blow and being tipsy and 23 yelled back at him.

Me:  By the way your photography sucks! 

Oh yeah!  I showed him I was the shit.  LOL!  More like a big dumb shit.  I always looked back on “Kyle” with absolute disdain and horror.  I would have nightmares for months to follow after that outburst and wake up and re-run what I should have said and how I should have said it.  There were times I would pray to run into him and say, “Look at me now.”  I would play various scenarios in my mind of what I would say when I ran into him again and what I would do.  When the run in did not happen it eventually faded off into my mind as a bad memory that I grew from.

Fast forward to present time.  13 years later.  13 years of growth.  13 years of bad dates, a bad marriage, a shitty divorce, and the rediscovery of ME.  13 years of finding out who I was and discovering an inner strength I had no idea existed.  13 years of the evolution of ME.  13 years of realizing and recognizing my growth.  13 years of loving myself more than anyone else possibly could.  13 years of knowing exactly what I wanted and not apologizing for it or reasoning with myself why I didn’t deserve to have it.  13 years… I had finally reached my stride and become a true, bonafide, unapologetic WOMAN.

 

A few months ago I was at a networking mixer for work.  I had been none of the organizers of the event.  It was one of the typical Hollywood executive power mixers.  I was wearing my purple DVF power dress and some killer heels.  I was working the room making introductions, hugging people I knew, and really having a good time.  It was coming towards the end of the evening and the event was finally winding down.  This meant I was finally ready to have my first glass of wine.  I have a rule of thumb, at work events I do not have more than one glass of wine and I typically wait until the end of event.  Anyway I digressed…  As I walked over to the bar there was… “Kyle.”  The long dreadlocks had been cut off and he was now sporting a neat fade.  His bohemian chic attire was now replaced with a sports jacket, matching slacks and no tie.  He turned around and spotted me.  He did a triple take.  You know those moments when someone sees you and is trying to place where they know you from.  How funny, here was a bastard who had taught me one of the most profound and hurtful lessons (outside of my ex husband) only 13 years ago and this motherfucker couldn’t even remember me.  I wanted to take my 6 inch Jimmy Choo and poke his eye out but I remembered I was at a work event.  Not to mention my inner loving diva slowly relaxed me, “You’re no longer the “kid” he used to call you.  You’re now a grown ass woman.  You finally get the proper closure.”   With that I took a deep breath and smiled at him.  That’s when it clicked.  He realized who I was.  I walked up to “Kyle.”

boomerang

… As I walked over to the bar there was… “Kyle.” The long dreadlocks had been cut off and he was now sporting a neat fade. His bohemian chic attire was now replaced with a sports jacket, matching slacks…

Me:  Well what a blast from the past.  Hello “Kyle.”

Kyle:  Wow.  I can’t believe my yes.  You’re all grown up.

Me:  Yes I am.

Kyle:  You look great.

Me:  Thank you.  (I didn’t feel the need to return the compliment.  I hadn’t evolved that damn much.)

Kyle:  How have you been?

Me:  Wonderful.  Yourself?

Kyle:  I’ve been good.  What are you doing these days?

I told him that I was now an executive at a studio and told him a little about my job.  I kept it brief and very professional.

Me:  Good seeing you Kyle.

I started to walk off.  Kyle practically ran to me and handed me a card.

Kyle:  Here’s my card.  Please let me take you out to dinner so we can catch up.

Me:  That’s not necessary.  Like I said, it was great seeing you.

Kyle:  Listen, I know I wasn’t right back in the day and I hope we can move past that.

ME:  That’s water under the bridge.  We were both young and I was wide open then.  But I must thank you for the lesson you taught me.  You truly changed my perspective on dating and how I approached things moving forward and for that I am so grateful. 

Kyle:  I was fucked up.

Me:  Yeah you were.  You were a true bonafide asshole.  But again, that was so long ago and I have moved past that. 

Kyle:  I look forward to hearing from you.  Do you have a card on you?

ME:  No I ran out. I’ll call you.

With that, I gave “Kyle” a kiss on the cheek and strutted off.  As I left the restaurant I looked at his card and threw that shit out.  Of course I wasn’t going to call that bastard.  Yes I had moved past it and I had evolved but I had no intention of reconnecting with a man who had already shown me who he was.  I opened up my purse and looked for the valet ticket.  It was in between a stack full of my business cards I had brought with me to pass out at the networking event.  There was no way in hell I was about to waste a card on his ass either.

black-woman-throwing-her-head-back-laughing

When I got in my car I suddenly started cracking up. Not just little giggles either. I had a case of uncontrollable laughter.

When I got in my car I suddenly started cracking up.  Not just little giggles either.  I had a case of uncontrollable laughter.  I laughed at the woman I was and the silly mistakes I made and the dumb shit I did in the name of love.  I laughed at how life is truly a series of full circle moments.  And if you don’t truly allow yourself to live in the moment and be perceptive to life’s little and big lessons it will pass you by.  Talk about Boomerang!  There were so many times I wished I could run into “Kyle” and give him a piece of my mind and say “Ha-ha look at me now.”  I even have those moments with my ex husband where I would love to run into his ass and scream on top of a mountain, “YOU DID NOT BREAK ME!!!”  I realize in life things happen when they are supposed to happen.  They do not happen on your on time, they happen at the right time.  Who knows if I will ever have a run in with my ex or if I will have another run in with a dumb ass I have dated in the past.  But I can say with full confidence whatever happens I am ready.

Monique K.Bradley

 

 

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

The Sponsorship Package

nightclub

I confess… in my 20’s I was a party girl. No surprise there.

What an exhausting week!  Whenever there is an Awards Show taking place in LA it is easy to wear yourself out going to all the various events and parties.  This past weekend was no different.  By the time Saturday rolled around I could not move out of my bed.  I literally stayed in the bed watching Lifetime and Bravo all day with the exception of heading out to Trader Joe’s to pick up a bottle of Kono Sauvignon Blanc (one of the best wines for a great price).  How in the world did I allow myself to run out of a bottle?!  Anyway, I digressed.  I had an interesting interaction with a blast from the past over the weekend.  And it stayed heavily on my mind.  I met “Sharon” shortly after I moved to LA.  I was 23 at the time.  “Sharon” never divulged her age.  I suspect she was in her late 30’s when I met her back then.  We met at a party at The Gate.  I confess… in my 20’s I was a party girl.  No surprise there.  Now let me elaborate on that because in this day and age when you say “Party Girl” people envision Lindsey Lohan, snorting drugs, and doing all kinds of crazy shit.  That is certainly not what I mean.  For me, I went out 5 days a week.  I looked forward to Thursday nights at The Gate and Sunday nights at The Garden of Eden.  Back when I was in my 20’s those were the Black Hollywood hot spots.  I knew all the bouncers.  There’s nothing more exhilarating for a 20 year to walk past a long line and hug the bouncers as they opened the red velvet rope to allow you access to the hottest party in town.  The Door Men in LA are treated like “Gods.”  They have the “power” to elevate your social status or send you into a depression by not letting you in.  I have seen it happen on many occasions.  A young girl who might be slightly overweight or unattractive gets dissed at the door.  To give someone that kind of power is astonishing.  These men are just Door Men.  Get the fuck outta here!  Looking back on it now it is so damn silly.  I would go out and get home around 3am in the morning and be up for work the next day at 8:30 and not miss a beat.  If I did that shit now I would pass out.  I had complimented “Sharon” on her fabulous Manolo Blahnik shoes.  When we discovered we both wore a size 11 we instantly bonded.  We Big Feet girls have to stick together.
Me:  I have looked all over for a size 11 in those shoes!  (I failed to mention even during the Neiman Marcus yearly sale at the reduced price of $250 my budget still could not afford it at that time)

Sharon:  Oh honey, I have to get my shoes customized! 

Me:  How much did those cost to get them custom?

Sharon:  Just $1200.

Me:  Go guuuuurl!

Sharon:  We big feet girls gotta stick together.  I have a table you should come over and join us for a drink.

With that I followed “Sharon” to the VIP section of the club.  She happened to be with a very famous real estate developer in LA.  There were endless bottles of Perrier Joulet Champagne.  I was in a sea of fake hair, oversized breast implants, skin tight short dresses, overly plumped lips, and ridiculously made up faces.  The club scene in LA comprises of various categories of women.  Actually this is LA in generally inside and outside of the club.

Draya

The Video Vixen

The Video Vixen

These are the women who make a living out of showing off their ASS-ets.  Typically they had their first child in high school and have another child with an unsuspecting rookie star athlete.  They have the long weaves, big asses and breasts with a tiny waistline.  They know they have Coke bottle bodies and make it a point to show it off. They roll with a crew of Video Vixens and typically know all the athletes and rappers in the club.  They are constantly on the grind to be featured in the next hot new video.  Refer to Draya from Basketball Wives LA.  She is the epitome of a Video Vixen.

Meagan-Good-Wallpapers-13

The Hollywood Starlet

 

The Hollywood Starlet

These are the women who are currently in a TV Series or Reality show.  They aren’t exactly A Listers but they are on their way.  They walk into a club or a restaurant with an air of “You should know who I am.”  They are bigger in their own minds than in reality.  They all are carbon copies of each other.  The long weave, the overly made up camera ready face, the trendy clothes.  But don’t hate on these up and coming starlets.  2 out of 10 of them just may make it big and become A -Listers.  Going out for them is a business it is a job to make sure they are being seen on the scene.  In their minds they figure being out on the scene they bump into Russell Simmons or Mara Brock Akil and get offered their next role.  Refer to Nene Leakes (circa RHOA Season 1) or Meagan Good (circa 2006 before she got married to the preacher)

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The Groupie

The Groupie

The main difference between The Groupie and The Video Vixen is really quite simple, they do not try to front like they are on a grind.  The mission of the groupie is to land a star athlete so they do not have to work anymore.  7 times out of 10 these are hairstylists who work in smaller salons and do not have celebrity clients.  (Don’t ask me why, but they are.  I’m just saying don’t shoot the messenger.)  They go to the club on a mission. These are the women when the second a star athlete walks into a party with their entourage suddenly they make it a point to dance seductively in front of them or go to the bar near them all in an effort to catch their eye.  They will sleep with one of these guys for a handbag or some small piece of jewelry.  They will rock the latest fashions and carry the largest designer handbag.  Refer to Evelyn Lozado from Basketball Wives she is the epitome of a groupie who fucked her way to stardom (no judgment).

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The Has Been

The Has Been

These women are the antithesis of the Hollywood Starlet.  They were once on a hot show or reality show.  They long to be back to where they were in their hay-day.  They are typically in their late forties but still try to dress like they are in their 20’s.  That’s the thing about Hollywood; you are only as good as your last movie or hit TV series.  The hard thing for a lot of actresses is once you are on a hit TV series or been a star of a hit movie, if you cannot keep on your grind and land the next project you are kind of screwed.  Lots of these women do not have a fall back plan or they end up being in a bunch of D list straight to video Indie movies.  Or they land on a reality show thinking it will revive their career or do all kinds of crazy antics to remain relevant in the press.  Refer to former Miss USA Kenya Moore or Claudia Jordan.

Shonda Rhimes

The Executive

The Executive

The thing I love about The Executives is because they are behind the scenes at first glance people do not know how they are unless they are in the industry and have worked closely with them.  So when the Video Vixens, The Has Beens, and The Hollywood Starlet walk past the table of executives sitting at an event or a party and do not say anything, little do they know they passed up the potential opportunity for work.  These women are classy, low key, and exude a confidence that shows.  They sit in board rooms and multimillion dollar productions of major studios.  They have power.  Refer to famous executives like a Shonda Rhimes or a Tracey Edmonds.  As well as low key executives like a Robbi Reed who has casts most of the famous black actresses in Hollywood in their first movie roles.

Monique

The Universal Down Chick

The Universal Down Chick

These are the women who actually go out to have a good time.  They are professional women.  Some are up and coming executives, doctors, lawyers, and business women.  They know how to trade in the scrubs and business suits and rock a short skirt or a tight dress.  They have a natural beauty to them; short haircuts, naturally long hair.  They know lots of people in the industry and are typically very friendly and class acts.  They are the everyday professional women.  They take care of themselves and are independent.  They like the finer things in life but they also have no problem rocking something cute from Zara’s.  They buy things based on how they look not necessarily the name brands. But don’t get it confused they will rock a designer handbag and some high Louboutins in a heartbeat.  Don’t get it twisted these woman could pull the best of the best men.  They are what men refer to as “marriage material” because they are sincere and do not have a hidden agenda.  Refer to… Me!!!

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The Kept Woman

The Kept Woman

These women take being a Groupie to the next level.  These are women who only deal with multimillionaires/billionaires.  I’m talking $300million plus.  Dating an athlete is beneath them.  They do not have time for new money men.  They want old and solidified money.  Typically the men the deal with are married or have a significant other.  That doesn’t bother these women as a matter of fact the wives usually know they exist and just deal with it.  Their lifestyle is being funded by these men.  This includes their high end condos, expensive cars, clothes, and just day to day living expenses.  They are at the mercy and becking call of these men.  They take trips to St. Tropez and other exotic places.  They are living life to the fullest on the dime of these men who have the money to spend it.

“Sharon” was a kept woman.  She and I became close because she trusted me with a lot of her secrets.  I was always amazed with how she would just spend money like it was nothing.  We would have lunch at the Polo Lounge, dinner at Crustaceans.  Her life was fascinating.  She lived in an amazing condo in the Palisades that over looked the ocean.  She has a personal shopper at Neiman Marcus and Saks.  Here I was struggling at that time in my life.  I had just moved out to LA with a dollar and a dream. But I had this thing called independence.  I never wanted to be dependent on anyone.  And then you had “Sharon” who was living the high life.  However, I remember the times when “Sharon’s” “sponsor” would get mad at her and she had no idea how she was going to pay her rent or car note.   That’s the thing with being a Kept Woman.  The lifestyle seems so glamorous and so enticing but a man can wake up and change his mind and what are you supposed to do then?  What is your fall back plan?

And that’s exactly what happened to “Sharon” one day her “sponsor” woke up and changed his mind and she was left with NOTHING!  She fought him on it and threatened to tell the press his deepest darkest secrets and write a tell all book.  He ended up giving her a settlement and made her sign an NDA which shut her up for good and she couldn’t go back and ask him for more money.  She ended up leaving LA for a while.  I had no idea where she went and we lost touch.  Fast forward to last weekend when I ran into her.  She had definitely aged.  Her weave was looking tired.  As a matter of fact you could see her tracks.  She had on an older Herve Leger dress.  The sparkle that once existed in her eyes when we used to hang out a decade earlier was lost.  It was quite sad.  She gave me the biggest hug.  We promised to get together for dinner later that week at Riva Bella.  This was one of the newest restaurants by the same owner of Boa (Definitely one of the Hollywood hot spots of the moment).

Just like old times the bitch was late!!!  And not just a few minutes late, try 1 fucking hour late!  I was completely annoyed and close to bouncing out.  Luckily, the host knew me well from my various client meetings I had there so she was able to get me a table.  I looked outside and saw “Sharon” had pulled up in a Honda.  It was quite a switch from the comfortable Jaguar she used to drive.  I was stunned.  When she finally made her appearance she was frazzled.

Sharon:  Girl I am so sorry I was late.  I wasn’t sure what to wear. My friend said this dress wasn’t fancy enough but I thought it was fine….

Me:  You look fine but your ass was about to get left.

Sharon:  I know, I know there was so much traffic.

Me:  Where were you coming from?

Sharon:  Ladera Heights.

Me:  Ladera Heights?  What were you doing there?

Sharon:  I’m staying with a friend there.

I was shocked.  Ladera Heights is often referred to as the black Beverly Hills or the Hills above the Hood.  A lot of professional blacks live in that area.  The houses are beautiful and reasonably priced.  But it is a few traffic lights from Inglewood and not really my cup of tea.  I prefer to live in the actual Beverly Hills a few traffic lights away from Bel Air.  That’s just me.  There was once a time when “Sharon” said she wouldn’t be caught dead in Ladera Heights and now she was living there?  When we finally got to the table she hadn’t stopped talking.  She was now interested in managing talent and was in the process of finding “clients.”

Me:  What have you been up to in the last few years.

Sharon:  I ended up living in Barbados for a while just to get away.

Me:  Have you spoken to——

Sharon:  Girl once.  I had called him and asked him if I could get more money.  You know he gave me a settlement but that wasn’t enough to live off for a long period of time.

Me:  Did he send you more money?

Sharon:  Guuuurl no!  He hung up on me and blocked my calls.

Me:  Damn.  I’m sorry to hear that.  So now what?

Sharon:  Next week I am taking a break and heading out St. Tropez.  It’s time to find another sponsor girl!

Me:  How in the world are you going to afford to go to St Tropez?!

Sharon:  A friend of mine got me a ticket and I am staying with him for a while. We deserve to live the glamorous life.

Me:  Why not stay here and build your management firm?  You don’t need a sponsor you need to start depending on you.

I tried not to sound judgmental or too motherly.  But hadn’t she learned her lesson?  She once had a sponsor and lived the high life and that got her absolutely NO WHERE but broke and penniless and here she was damn near 50 and still up to the same shenanigans.  It was sad.  There was once a time when I looked up to her lifestyle.  All I saw was this glamorous life she lived.  At that time I had no idea the price she had to pay for that lifestyle.  It is so easy to get caught up in that lifestyle and living for the moment instead of the bigger picture.  LA is a city where if you aren’t grounded you can end up in orbit and not know how to return to the stratosphere.  Lots of times us Universal Down Chicks look at the Groupie, The Video Vixens, The Kept Women, and The Has Beens and we can find ourselves wondering What am I doing wrong?  Why do they always seem to get the “good” guys?  Maybe I should get a weave or change my wardrobe…  We look from the outside and not the reality of what’s really going on.  At the end of the evening I ended up paying for our dinner and gave her a hug as I left.  Hey, if she likes it I love it.  It was defeintely a full circle moment.  I love the lane I am in an don’t plan on switching.  There is certainly something to being the Universal Down Chick and The Executive.  Nice girls don’t always finish last.

Monique K.Bradley

 

 

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40 Shades of Grey

Looking in Mirror

I remember the first few months of my divorce; I would look at myself in the mirror and feel like there was a huge weight on my shoulders. I would also look at myself and feel like I was a different person.

I remember the first few months of my divorce; I would look at myself in the mirror and feel like there was a huge weight on my shoulders.  I would also look at myself and feel like I was a different person.  I still looked like myself but I felt like I was wounded and I didn’t know how to heel the injury.  Fast forward to present day.  I have really been focusing on my friendships and my family.  I went out with one of my close girlfriends last weekend.  She is 42 and newly engaged.  We have been close friends for the last 10 years.  We have gone through the ups and downs of dating and as her close friend it is so great to see her excitement during this time of her life.  As we sat down having cocktails overlooking the ocean at the Loew’s Hotel in Santa Monica she was reminiscing over the last decade.

Girlfriend:  I tell you, life is so interesting.  You really have to enjoy your life and live in the moment. 

Me:  That has been a recurring theme lately.

Girlfriend:  Trust me, I understand.  I met my honey later in life.  But if I had met him before I did neither one of us would have been ready.  You see, the 20’s are for making the mistakes.  The 30’s are for learning the lessons, and once you reach your 40’s you hit your stride.  You’ve made the mistakes and learned the lessons.  And you are at a point in your life where you say fuck it!  I am who I am and it’s okay.

Ironically, this wasn’t the first time I had heard that saying.  But perhaps it was the first time I was really paying attention to what she was saying.  The very next day, I met up with another group of my girlfriends who happened to be in their early 40’s as well.  We were celebrating my girlfriend’s 40th birthday.  It was a beautiful day in Malibu.  We sat outside at Gladstone’s eating Oysters and having some wine.   We were all sharing our dating horror stories and just bonding.  All of us at the table had gone through a divorce or some type of heartache at one point in our lives and had made it to the other side.

Me:  What are some of the lessons you learned in your 30’s?

Girlfriend:  Let me tell you something.  You are young.  You cannot settle!  Lots of times we settle and we put up with a lot of shit that we shouldn’t.  If something doesn’t seem right, keep it moving!

Me:  How do I know if I am not being reasonable?  In the past I have been accused of not giving guys a chance.

Girlfriend:  Oh please, if it’s not right it’s not right.  You know when shit doesn’t feel right.  You can’t force stuff.  I’m not telling you to be a raging bitch.  But I don’t want you to be in something just because you don’t want to be alone.  I don’t want you to put up with crap just because you think you can’t get better or you’re getting “old.”  Chile’ please. 

There seems to be a certain stride that women hit once they turn 40.  I noticed it in a lot of my friends.  First of all, they all look beautiful.  There is an inner and outer beauty that radiates from within.  There is a certain amount of confidence I notice in women in their 40’s as well.  When I was going through my divorce my mother once told me, “You have earned your battle stripes.”  I realized those times when I was looking at myself in the mirror I WAS looking at a different person.  I no longer lived in this fantasy world.  I had gone through the trenches of a bitter breakup and I made it.  I realized I was becoming a true grown ass woman.  You see, in my 20’s I saw things as either black or white.  There was no in between.  I was going to be married by the time I reached 30, it would last forever, I would have my 2.5 children, and a house with a white picket fence.  By the time I reached my 30’s and was in a bad marriage, I still saw things as black and white, I was determined to make things work in spite of the fact I knew deep in my soul I was with the wrong person.  I was willing to shrink who I was to fit into his small world in order to make him happy.  But by the time I was going through the divorce that is when my black and white world was suddenly turning gray.  And that’s when I realized as a 35 year old women I am in the midst of becoming the woman I was supposed to be.  Without the experience I had I would have still been living in my black and white fantasy world.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I have a lot of my close girlfriends who are in their 40’s.   They are like big sisters to me and there is such a love that we share.  And there is also authenticity.  We don’t bullshit around; we say it like we mean it.  Although I have sometime before I hit my 40’s (I ain’t trying to rush shit).  I realized I was finally hitting my stride.  I was in the middle of learning those lessons.  I had already made the big mistakes and now was my time to learn from them.  It’s amazing what happens when you decide to focus on you and not finding a relationship.  I am hyper aware of a lot of things around me.  I yearn for those perils of wisdom.  I can’t lie, in the last few months I had those moments of feeling like, I’m getting older.  If I don’t meet someone by the time I hit 40 the pickings are going to get slimmer.  I live in LA; men will think I am too old.  I want to have children one day.  I need to hurry up and find someone before I hit 40!

 

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I don’t think it is a coincidence that I have a lot of my close girlfriends who are in their 40’s. They are like big sisters to me and there is such a love that we share. And there is also authenticity. We don’t bullshit around; we say it like we mean it.

That’s why it is important to surround yourself around positive people who have some damn sense!  I was already beginning to do exactly what I was doing in my late 20’s and look where that got me.  Now at 35 I had learned the lesson.  When you let fear and worry dictate your actions you end up making major mistakes.  I am finally learning to enjoy my “grey” time.  Life isn’t just black and white.  When you mix the two colors together you become a fully authentic woman.  When you earn your battle strips you learn what roads lead you to another war.  When you begin to embrace who you are at any age life becomes worth living it to the fullest.
 
Monique K.Bradley

 

 

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