Insanity is sometimes the best way to describe my actions, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I went to Walmart again, in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. This is the ultimate example of insanity. Surely, I had to know that tom foolery was waiting on the other side of that terra cotta-colored stone wall. Of course it was. But I had a recipe in my head that was itching to get onto a plate, and didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on ingredients. For this recipe, I needed to make sofrito. Sofrito is a combination of onions, cilantro, garlic, green peppers and olive oil (and sometimes tomatoes), all pulsed together in a food processor until it has reached the consistency of pesto. Well, maybe coarse pesto. I always have a slew of onions in my kitchen, but was lacking cilantro. I went to the produce section and was mystified. The cilantro could easily have passed for dandelion weeds that had been peed on by a stray dog. I was pretty offended that Walmart would bother put that pile of wilted greenish-brown weeds on display and call it cilantro. Needless to say, I ended up coming home with a frozen tub of Goya recaito, which is nowhere near as good as the homemade stuff. They put MSG in it, for crying out loud. I didn’t realize that until I scanned the ingredients out of curiosity, so it ended up in the trash.
The purpose of this post was not to vent about Walmart, but I find it difficult to stop once I get started. What I really wanted to vent about were some of the sights I saw in Walmart. I am pretty old-fashioned for a person my age (which will never be revealed on this blog, by the way). I miss the days when women had more pride and left something to the imagination. Those days are long gone. I saw so many women who were practically naked, that I wondered if Playboy was doing a shoot at the store. Since when did it become acceptable to come outside in underwear with no bottoms covering them? It’s ironic how people take offense to the amount of fabric I choose to wear, yet I am supposed to be perfectly fine with being subjected to the butt cleavage of random strangers.
I was standing in the checkout line when I couldn’t help but take notice of the women behind me. One of them was seriously invading my personal space, and I couldn’t help but turn around to make sure she wasn’t trying to pick my pockets. Clothed in denim “micro shorts” and a bra top with stilettos, I could only imagine where she was on her way to or from. She was deep in conversation with the woman next to her, who was similarly dressed in a tight dress with an oval cutout revealing the space between her breasts. She was complaining about how all men were the same. They don’t know how to treat or appreciate a real woman, and none of them were any good. Now I am sure this post will offend, but some things just need to be said. You attract what you are. It’s easy to go looking for a good man, but look inside first and ask yourself if you are just as good a catch as what you are looking for. There is always a possibility of a decent woman ending up with some deadbeat who preys on nice girls, but when you consistently find yourself in a relationship with a loser, it’s time to start searching within yourself. Insanity is what continuously puts you in that bad relationship. Looking for the same qualities in a man when those qualities have not proven to accommodate your needs in the past will land you in the same situation over and over. And as I said previously, don’t think for one second that you are going to change a man. You can pluck a thug from the street corner and move him to a nice neighborhood, but remember this: he will bring himself wherever he goes.
Cultivating a strong, rewarding relationship requires work and good decision making. If you are looking to be nothing more than a friend with benefits, there is no need to put forth that effort. But if you are looking for a man who will be committed to you and treat you well, you have to start with treating yourself well. Have some respect for yourself. As I have heard some mothers say; act like you have some home training. I have my own set of guidelines that I plan to instill in children, and I thought I would share them with you. These guidelines can be applied by all women, regardless of religious inclination.
1. A good man is sometimes a selfish man. Let me explain: when a man is in a relationship with a woman, he wants her for himself. He doesn’t want to share her “goodies” with other man. Save your beauty for him. There is no reason why other guys need to know what you look like underneath your clothes. If you want him to respect you, have respect for yourself first. Which brings me to the next point:
2. Having respect for yourself means saving the good stuff for later. If you give away all that you have up front, what incentive does anyone have to commit to you? And don’t hand me that hogwash about needing to test the waters. You can test those waters if you want to; just don’t expect a guy to make you much of a priority afterwards.
3. Take some time to think about the qualities that a good man should have. In Islam, a woman has what is called a wali before she gets married. The wali is the man who makes sure the prospective bride’s best interests are kept on the forefront. He is an investigator of sorts. Women are wired differently than men. It is easy for us to get so caught up in the idea of being in love, that we are blinded to potentially detrimental flaws. It really helps to have someone else look at the situation objectively. Now if you aren’t Muslim, you probably wouldn’t bother with a wali because it isn’t obligatory for you in beginning your relationship. But you can be your own investigator. Before you open you heart and allow emotion to blind your ability to think logically, perform your own analysis. How does this man view women? How does he treat his mother? Does he hold a steady (and legal) job? Does he live on his own, or with his parents? Or worse yet, does he live with an ex girlfriend because he can’t afford to live on his own (yes, I have seen this one before)? These questions sound shallow, but there is a reason behind them:
4. A man who has never earned anything for himself will never be able to fully appreciate anything. When I was younger, my parents provided me with the basics: food, shelter and clothing. Anything else, I had to earn. At the time, I thought they were the most horrible people in the world for not buying that Nintendo game I wanted without my cleaning the garage first, but I completely understand their motives now. When I have to work for something instead of having it given to me, I appreciate it more. The same goes for grown men. If he has never worked for anything, don’t expect him to treat you (or your belongings, for that matter) with any regard.
5. If you run into his ex girlfriend and she warns you of physical abuse, substance abuse, or any other deadly tendencies, run the other way. Sure, she could just be a disgruntled ex looking to get back at him in any way she can, but do you really want to stick around to find out for yourself? A man who assaults woman is lower than the belly of a snake and a man abuses his own body can’t possibly have much concern for someone else’s. And abuse is not limited to physical form. If this man can comfortably refer to another woman by using the term “mother effer” with more passion than Samuel Jackson, steer clear. Don’t think for one second that you will be the exception to the rule when it comes to the way he views women.
6. Last but not least, learn love yourself. Don’t wait around for someone else to do that for you. A predator can sense low self-esteem from a mile away, so don’t allow yourself to be an easy target.
I wish I had the courage to tell these things to those ladies who were standing behind me in the checkout line. I wish I could have explained to them how they deserved to be treated as women, but how they had to treat themselves first. I have a feeling that they may not have taken kindly to that kind of advice, given to them by some strange lady with a scarf on her head. Unfortunately, they will probably remain trapped in the perpetual cycle of disregard and emotional neglect. If this post can save at least one person from that heartache, it has served its purpose.