Are you ready for your close up?

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Welcome 

I am sending out a casting call into cyberspace. Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I am in the midst of creating a documentary about marriage in the Black Community. 

I am looking for people with unique stories to add to my film. 

  • Couples who have been in successful long term marriages or other committed unions.
  • Men and women looking for love
  • People who been married several times
  • People who are vehemently anti marriage
  • Individuals who wound only date/marry a very specific type of person – be it race, status, nationality, interests etc.
  • People who have set up dating agencies/events for people of colour

The tone of my documentary will be  empowering and respectful. My film will bear no relation to the many reality TV shows on our screens. 

My budget can only accommodate individuals living in the United Kingdom. I intend to cover the US with the sequel 🙂 

If you have any questions or are interested in taking part email me: suddie@sudelicous.com 

Please spread the word 

Thanking you all 

Sudelicious 

Bad things happen when you listen to stupid people

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Welcome

It’s been a while since I have written a post. Thanks to all those who still visited the site during my hiatus.

I will be the first to admit that I am very contrary by nature and hate being told what to do. Hey, I guess it’s the Taurean in me. Perhaps that why certain life coaches/dating experts just do not appeal to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I know of a lot of people personally and professionally who do a very good job in helping people deal with unresolved issues and enable them to develop the tools to empower themselves.

What I object to is the snake oil salesman variety of dating guru who thinks that all it takes is a few catchy slogans and a sharp suit to declare himself an authority on matters of the heart. What I find really galling is that the majority of these men are not even in happy relationships yet feel they have the right to tell others how they should find a partner. The whole thing smacks of ‘physician heal thyself’. I won’t go to a hairdresser with a bad hairdo nor would I sit in a dentist’s chair if said dentist is not sporting a set of pearly whites.

Black women are not a monolithic group and have a wide range of attributes that they want in a partner, let’s for arguments sake agree on a few basic characteristics that most women would probably like in a partner – loving, honest and faithful. The joke is that the king of dating gurus, Steve Harvey is a womaniser. These dating gurus are trying to give women advice on how to find the type of men who are their complete antithesis. How could they know what would attract a decent man if they are not a decent man in the first place?

It also alerts my ‘spidey’ senses that these life coach aficionados always target the female audience. True wisdom should be universal and a benefit to all. Not for these guys, they actively seek the female pound/dollar. I don’t believe that women are more susceptible to being told what do than men. What I do believe is that they are tapping into society’s mistaken belief that women are defined by their relationship status. To be unmarried post 35 is some kind of sin for which women should be publicly flogged in the streets. However single men of a similar age are just reviewing their options. It is really disappointing that so many women easily believe that these individuals can unlock the secrets of the male mind. These dating gurus typically reveal the thinking of traditional, knuckle dragging cavemen who don’t really like women very much. In their world, everything is the women’s fault. Women are not supportive enough, don’t dress appropriately, are too difficult, are too demanding and don’t allow men to be men. You wouldn’t think that it takes two people to make a relationship work. There is one dating guru in particular, I refuse to name him (I will not be giving him free publicity on this blog) who blamed women with large exteriors for being disrespected by men. In no uncertain terms this is the policing of female sexuality while giving men a pass for misogynistic behaviour. It’s really depressing that these jokers are making money by preying on the insecurities of women while removing male responsibility for how they treat women. It makes absolutely no sense to take the advice of a man who dislikes women. The chances are that the information given will not be for any woman’s benefit.

Misinformation is another big red flag. Why do so many of these men all claim to be God fearing individuals? If you are claiming that you are basing a lot of your works on scripture, then you have to follow the word – chapter and verse. Steve Harvey et al all promote Christianity but also promote sex outside of marriage. There should be no talk of giving the cookie (as Mr Harvey puts it); if you are only going to have sex once you are married? If you claim to be something but do not act upon it – that makes you a fraud. Do I claim to be perfect? No. However, I am not pretending to have some God given authority on how to tell people to live their lives.
If this has not be enough to help you be able to spot these charlatans at thirty paces, here is a short checklist of their most common attributes.

• In possession of a sharp suit
• Usually not in the possession of any meaningful qualifications (Anything you can acquire online requiring less than a fortnight’s worth of study is not a meaningful qualification)
• Typically unmarried or divorced. The married experts have usually been married for just over 5 years
• They will without fail describe themselves as ‘God fearing’ in their bio
• If the relationship coaching doesn’t work out for them, they will reinvent themselves as Pastors or used car salesmen
• Lastly, if in doubt that this is a relationship expert, they will blame women for everything. Absolutely everything. Ladies, global warming and the financial meltdown is entirely your fault.

All jokes aside some of these relationship experts are nothing more than money hungry frauds looking for a quick buck. Although they are easy to poke fun at they represent a desire by some to drag women back to the dark ages, they are gatekeepers of the status quo. As women, Black women in particular have made strides educationally and economically their requirements of what they want in a mate have expanded. These relationship experts are all too happy to spread the myth that there is a good man shortage to induce panic/desperation and that all men want a clingy, needy woman who does their bidding. These relationship experts want women to return to a time when a woman was largely defined by her relationship status. They want to encourage Black women to put everyone else first and themselves last.

I am not against seeking professional advice; I just think it is wise to show discernment in whose advice we take. If I want relationship advice, I will speak to people in long term, happy unions. I will not listen to some ‘reformed player’ or a woman who accepts maltreatment from her own partner. Unfortunately life does not come with a manual and we will make mistakes, be hurt and sometimes hurt others. This is just part of the course. We have to deal with this and cannot give away our power and responsibility to these experts who are happy to take our money and provide a one size fits all approach to our problems. Only we can ‘fix’ our problems, some power dressed ‘expert’ will not save but only confuse us.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

There will be mourning

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Welcome

Velesha Keoma Griffith Percival passed away on 2nd March 2013 aged 32. She was one of my sister’s best friends and their friendship spans nearly two decades. Like most of my favourite people, she was a no nonsense woman with a dry wit and sense of fun. She leaves behind a beautiful daughter who will be raised by an army of mothers. I am grateful to her for the love and support she gave to my sister and my family. Sleep in perfect peace.

There will be mourning

Snow drains spring’s early charm

Grief dictates, leaving the air polluted with anguish

What once was is no more

Her past tense consumes the present

The days are dimmed, vulnerable, uncertain

Youth provides no protection

Memories fail to comfort

Mysterious ways remain a mystery

There will be mourning

I search for you, be my Lazarus

Make a lie of these proceedings

Your mothering had just begun

I will join the chorus to tell your daughter of her mother’s grace

All is borrowed and you are returned

We reflect the light you gave and are forever changed

The dark makes way for the day

For there will be morning

Suddie

The weight of great expectation

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Welcome 

       ‘If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content’    

                                                    (Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenia)  

How do you know if your partner is the one? Do soul mates exist? Is it ridiculous to expect one person to ‘complete you’? We sometimes make life harder for ourselves by having unrealistic expectations of others that no one can live up to. In the age of self help books, online dating gurus, relationship blogs and various magazine articles we are bombarded with experts telling us what we should feel and when we should feel it. If we set the bar for our love lives at such a high level aren’t we setting up our relationships for failure? 

We live in an age of unprecedented choice. We are all expected to strive for the perfect career, life and partner. Yet all of this choice comes with a price. If we fall short of making the best decisions in life we are made to feel that we have failed. Generations before relationships were such a pragmatic affair, you married the stable provider or the affable girl next door. Now it seems that people are paralysed by indecision, opting to flit in and out of relationships instead of deciding to commit to someone. At the end of the day that’s all that love is – a decision. You decide to allow someone into your life or to walk away.

The tools used to make that decision is very important. I have heard the strangest reasons given to explain why an individual ended a relationship. One friend told me that she hated the way that an ex boyfriend chewed their food. An acquaintance told me that although he really liked the woman he was dating that she wasn’t as glamorous as his previous girlfriends. He decided that he wasn’t comfortable being seen with her and let their relationship fizzle out. Attraction is important; it’s the magic ingredient which separates potential love matches from platonic friendships. That said people can allow really trivial things to thwart a solid relationship in the making. I really doubt that those who focus on the shallow and superficial are ready to experience a deep meaningful relationship.

I just want to reiterate that I am not in any way trying to champion settling or for making do with less than you deserve. However, as with anything in life there should be a clear distinction between the attributes/qualities which are deal breakers and those which can be lived without. Happier people are able to make that distinction. Personally, someone’s character, their moral/belief system, being family orientated would be deal breakers. Everything else can be worked around, work being the operative word. Anything worth having always requires effort. We have been indoctrinated by romantic films that love conquers all, with minimal effort. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is not reality. We all come to any relationship with our past experiences, baggage, dreams and issues. It is our own personal responsibility to deal with this. It’s wonderful when we come across someone who inspires us to become better people but it’s the individual who has to do all the heavy lifting, resolving past issues and achieving various milestones. It is also for our own self preservation that we enter relationships as complete individuals. We leave ourselves in a perilous position when we expect others to make us totally happy. It is exhausting to be someone’s everything and cannot be sustained in the long term. It is also easier to manipulate someone who is desperate to be loved. Those with confidence will not stay in a relationship where their needs are not being met.

 We should be glad that not only one person can make us happy. It makes the odds of finding love very favourable. Those who do hold on to this belief are set up to have unrealistic standards for themselves and others. There is no magic equation to love, even if someone were to tick every single box, there is still an element of risk. Love is the ability to care for others without fear or judgement. It requires courage as we have to let our defences down and be vulnerable. It is not always an easy process, it requires constant effort. All we can do is try our utmost to ensure that our relationships are worth the work needed. If two people can be kind, share similar values, be honest and authentic with each other, they have a shot. The search for perfection is just another barrier for those who are too scared to reveal who they really are. Let’s not continue to waste time chasing after an abstract ideal and celebrate our unique imperfections.

 Please let me know your thoughts

 Sudelicious 

Men are not for sharing

Welcome

I have never been entirely convinced by the idea that men struggle with fidelity. I don’t believe that their sex drives are so high that if they do not have it away with a different woman every day of the week that they will self combust. This type of thinking is really disrespectful to scores of men out there. It debases them, making men out to be mindless drones controlled by their hormones. It’s very simple, if men want to be faithful, they will be.

That said; where does the belief that men struggle with fidelity and that somehow women do not comes from? As we all know both men and women cheat. In the UK a statistician, Dr Catherine Mercer spoke to 2000 people and questioned them about their sexual activity within a year. 15% of men had been unfaithful compared to 9% of women (source: BBC) Based on this small study and general consensus we can ascertain that men are still more likely to cheat. However, the chances are that they are cheating with single women who wouldn’t appear in these stats but whose behaviour is just as complicit.

The big question is why do we expect men to find it hard to remain sexually exclusive? Male sexuality is seen as this insatiable, uncontrollable force. Yes I am a feminist but here’s a news flash, I like men. I even live with one. I don’t deny that the average man thinks about sex more than the average woman but how they express their sexuality is complicated and dependent on the individual.

So the next big question is why are men encouraged to demonstrate their sexuality in a uniformed way. It all boils down to gender stereotypes. Women are supposed to crave love but hate sex, men love sex but hate emotion and so both parties trade to get what they want. Women who step out of this norm and dare admit that they love sex are sluts and men who admit that they like snuggling are seen as wimps. Ultimately control is name of the game. If a man has sex with a lot of women, the chances that he will have a limited emotional connection, if any with his sleeping partners. That detachment brings control. He can come and go as he pleases; his conquests’ emotional well being is not a priority, if it were he would not be sleeping around. True strength of character comes from being vulnerable and genuine with the people in your life. I think that serial cheaters prevent themselves from having honest, loving relationships.

Whenever I have debated men and fidelity, the polygamy counter argument rears its ugly head. Men aren’t meant to be faithful; one man can impregnate several women at a time, blah blah blah. What a lot of men fail to realise is that in all polygamous society only the wealthy could afford to marry. This would typically be the elder men in the community who had land, wealth and livestock. The upshot being that poorer, younger men would be excluded from the marriage pool. There are areas in the world where this practice continues. These unmarried men are more likely to partake in risky illegal behaviours. Joe Henrich, a leading anthropologist saw a rise of rapes, gang activity general disturbance in men who stood little chance of marrying. Love and family life gives a man motivation to invest in the wider community. I am intrigued to see how countries such as China and India will fare in the future. Both countries have seen a massive decline in the female population due to, infanticide, sex selection abortions and the one child policy. According to a study by the BBC, 8 million female foetuses were aborted in India in the last decade. By 2030 projections suggest that 25% of the male Chinese population will never marry due to the low number of female to male ratio (Source Forbes magazine). It would be ironic that an enforced bachelor life might bring about more social disturbance than war or a financial crisis. It just highlights how strong the human desire is to love, be loved, to care and be cared for by others.

To conclude, monogamy works. Now I am not a member of the sex police. There are many people who don’t want conventional relationships. What two consenting and equally informed adults get up to is their business. At different points of our lives we look for different things in our relationships. In my early 20’s marriage was the last thing on my mind. The point of this post is that I don’t believe that men are hard wired to be unfaithful. I do believe that men are encouraged to focus on the physical pleasure and not necessarily the emotional connection to be found in sex. This way of thinking hurts us all. In order to have a real connection we all have to be honest and vulnerable or what’s the point? The love that we are shown and we show to others are the ties that bind us to our families, communities etc. Monogamous relationships instead of being perceived as the ball and chain provide the platform to experience emotional, spiritual and physical love. That type of love requires concentration, tenacity and most importantly exclusivity. None of us have enough within to give that type of love to several people at a time.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Violent relationships

Welcome

I am no expert when it comes to domestic violence but as a general rule I believe that love doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t humiliate, injure, ridicule or damage. In the UK, 45% of women have experienced at least one incident of inter-personal violence in their lifetimes. (Walby and Allen 2004) Across the pond, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. (US Department of Justice 2007) According to various reports up to 40% of domestic incidents go unreported. Shockingly, these statistics are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Violence against women is at epidemic proportions, which seems at odds with the post feminist age we live in. How can women have come so far educationally and economically without their physical safety being guaranteed? With more prominent women in society, it would make sense that issues affecting women should have more credence than ever before. That is sadly not the case. It would appear that we are becoming numb towards violence against women. Domestic violence was often an act committed behind closed doors, the aggressors too ashamed to promote their crime. That sense of shame or fear of disapproval is alarmingly on the wane.

Much has been said about Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna. I accept that both parties were raised in violent households and that no one other than the former couple knows what happened that night. However, Mr Brown’s use of excessive force against his then girlfriend was and shall ever be despicable and inexcusable. The reason why we are still debating an event which occurred over three years ago is that it shone a light upon male/female dynamics in the Western world. What was brought to light is frightening, twisted and ugly. I do hope that Chris Brown is young enough to learn from this experience and conduct his future relationships in a positive and loving way. That’s what I hope but not what I believe will actually happen. I was shocked at the level of male and female support of Chris Brown and the demonising of Rihanna. She was painted as the mouthy, fiery wench who must have pushed him to his limit. Men are not rabid dogs; they are able to control themselves. This was an open and shut case. Chris Brown behaved violently and unlawfully and was punished. End of story. If students during the Civil Rights tolerated being water hosed, racially abused by police and set upon by dogs what could reasonably provoke a young man to punch, bite and attempt to throw his girlfriend out of a moving car?

The big question is why did Chris Brown receive so much wide spread support? We live in a society which expects the woman to be the victim and the male to be the aggressor. This is why we are so appalled when women abuse their children or kill. It goes against the saintly, passive feminine construct. Similarly with men, there is an expectation for them to be bad at expressing their feelings verbally, to be dominant and prone to violent outbursts. Therefore it stands to reason that men cannot be blamed if they behave violently, if challenged in a verbal argument or dealing with the fallout of a relationship breakdown. They simply do not have the emotional dexterity to be able to express themselves in a non –violent way in their relationships. Women knowing this are therefore to blame for pushing their position in an argument, with their quick minds and sharp tongues provoking the poor emotionally stunted man. When the overly emotional and the overly physical collide, violence is the regrettable but expected outcome. This is a lie. Unfortunately it is a lie which has been spread through every race, class and gender. Too many people genuinely buy into this nonsense and that’s why I doubt that the likes of Chris Brown and his ilk will change. This is no need to. There are plenty of men who will sympathise with his actions and women who will believe that the constant threat of violence is yet another facet of modern love.

Women bear the brunt but domestic violence is a straightjacket which traps us all. I believe that the majority of men want to be loved, to be vulnerable, to protect, to provide, to confide, to be emotionally intimate and held in high esteem by others. They just happen to be the silent majority. Instead society tries to fool us into believing that men are happy being dominant, emotionally stunted cave men. Males are encouraged to cling desperately to a vision of manhood which prevents many from living an emotionally fulfilling life. On the flip side, women are cast as victims who expect the path to true love to be thwarted with obstacles and danger. Men oppress and women are oppressed. The dynamic is always the victor versus the victim. It plays out with White against Black, straight against gay and man against woman. It is this belief system that makes peaceful coexistence a foolish dream as opposed to a reality which we should all strive for.

Politicians are always trying to secure the female vote; after all we are more than half of the electorate. I find it odd that wealthy middle aged White men feel that they have the legitimacy to lecture women about their fertility, abortion or defining what is rape and yet are noticeable silent about domestic violence? In the United Kingdom the average sentencing for ‘Grevious Bodily Harm’ is five to ten years in prison. That is in stark contrast to the whopping 68% of domestic abusers who only receive sentences of less than three months. (Source BBC News) In early 2012 the funding of women’s refuges in Britain was cut by 31%. Women’s bodies, fertility and mothering skills are constantly under scrutiny. However, when it comes to our safety, our esteem and our justice these are topics that no wants to discuss. Why? To bring about change would require all of us to change. To deal with violence against women you have to deal with the root cause, male entitlement to the female form. To change that will be to alter the accepted dynamic between men and women. Until women are truly seen as equals we will always be seen as the second sex.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Revolution of one

Welcome

Unfortunately, I haven’t returned refreshed from a holiday in the Maldives. Life is still hectic but most importantly the desire to write has returned. Many thanks for bearing with me.

I have written about love before but usually I focus on relationships and romantic love. During my hiatus I have been dwelling on the power of self-love. Once we have peace within ourselves we increase the probability of finding contentment within various aspects of our lives be it a job, family or relationships. I do believe that having that approach to life is a revolutionary act because it is the only way that we are truly free. Only by placing our internal desires ahead of societal or familial pressures do we get to exert free will. That is the battle, the challenge for us all.

Every day, we are bombarded with images, which leave us with a sense of inadequacy. I don’t have the right car, house, lifestyle, body or job. The point of advertising is to create a need where there really isn’t one. If your car is still running, you don’t really need a new one. Our internal happiness is not related to our external appearance. Contrary to popular belief, finding true love is not dependent on being a size eight with a DD cup size. We follow this shallow nonsense because we desperately want to believe that there is a clear cut path to happiness. That we can somehow buy our way out of sorrow, doubt or pain. That we can pin all of our happiness onto one thing, I will be happy when I get that new job/partner/lose a dress size. Focusing on the superficial is the original avoidance technique. We can run as fast as we like but we cannot run away from ourselves.

Societal pressures forces us to conform not just to materialism but to prop up an existing pecking order. Race, gender and sexual orientation are all social constructs designed to uphold White patriarchy by spreading insecurity and fear to ensure conformity. If young Black men are continually told that they face unemployment and incarceration, the hope is that this information will take root in said young men and the majority will not fight against what they believe to be inevitable. If we tell young Black women that only light skinned Black women are attractive and that women of darker hue are of no value, the hope is that Black women will be locked in a battle to be ‘The fairest of them all’. This mentality pits Black women against each other, encouraging some to damage their bodies with lightening creams and pass this self hate to future generations. In short this is just a smoke screen to distract people from living happy, contented and most importantly authentic lives.

This is where self love comes in. Love is not just warm and fuzzy; it has a steely element to it. If you have love for yourself, you have the ability to exercise discernment. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart. It takes strength to know who to follow, to ignore, to let enter your life and who to walk away from. None of this is easy but it is all very necessary. I refuse to engage with or financially support Black male artists who promote negative beliefs or stereotypes about Black women. Likewise I will not support Black women who publicly bash all Black men as I was raised by a loving Black father. I will not allow people of other races who wish to be disrespectful about my colour or gender to affect me. That is to give the ignorant far too much power and control. They do not affect how I feel about myself, I do. Their agenda is to reduce me to a negative stereotype and to prevent me from having the courage to live and love freely. Trying to cajole or force another’s validation is a fool’s errand. Perhaps I am wrong but I find that intolerance is usually fuelled by insecurity. Rather than working on the aspects of their lives that need to be improved, they find someone who they can feel superior to. It is virtually impossible to be liked by someone who does not like themselves.

So why is love a revolutionary idea. Simply, it is the only way in which we are all free. If we truly believe that we are ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14) who do we have to prove anything to? I know that this is not an easy concept to execute. On a daily basis I flit from lioness mode to a quivering wreck but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. If we live our lives with love and authenticity we don’t get lost in the crowd, we don’t ask the world to cherish the individual when it seeks to control the masses. We can only hope that if we all follow our own paths, that the generation to come will do the same. That is the true power of social change; it takes only one person to start a revolution.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious