Category Archives: Relationships

Lessons from Hiding Your Crazy

April 4, 2017

We’ve all been there. Crazy. Insane. Mental. Someone has hurt us and we want revenge. We want them to feel the pain, the heartache, the distress they caused us. But what happens if we act on our natural human response to get even? What comes of it? What benefits do we truly gain? Maybe an eye for an eye isn’t the solution. Maybe living out a Lifetime movie isn’t the answer. As Miranda Lambert’s song “Mama’s Broken Heart” says, “hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.”

Society is full of bad advice- really bad advice. As someone who has lived through utter destruction because of others’ actions, I can testify that taking the high road isn’t easy but so worth it. Being the bigger person can truly help heal and teach us things we never knew about ourselves; it can help save us from further damage.

1. You keep your integrity. When we stoop to the level of the one who betrayed us, we can often hurt ourselves. We can lose the respect of others, cause people to question our morals and dignity. When you choose to keep your mouth shut and your actions calm, you win. You don’t give that person the satisfaction of getting the best of you. You can keep your reputation; you can hold fast onto your personal integrity.

2.You gain peace. Anxiety can often ensue when we seek out to destroy others. Being wrapped up in anger and uncontrolled emotions, you will find that it can and will consume you. When you choose to let it go (forgive), there’s a peace that takes its place. Peace allows us to keep our sanity, our normalcy and our health.

3. You earn respect. People watch your actions whether you know it or not. People will watch how you handle things especially adversity. When I chose to take the high road, many people confronted me and told me how much respect they had for me because I was doing something most people wouldn’t or couldn’t. This made me feel good. It helped me rise above and motivated me to continuing to do the right thing. Respect is everything and by choosing to handle a disastrous situation with dignity, people will see it. People will be inspired.

4. You grow. I’ve never been more proud of myself-I learned that I had self-discipline like I never thought I had. I grew as a person learning to control my actions, learning the journey of forgiveness, and learning that I was a strong woman who deserved more. I was able to mentor others and through giving advice that counters society’s, I was able to help other women make better decisions-not for the person who hurt them, but for themselves.

5. You become worthy of grace. We all make mistakes. Heck, we may have hurt others and caused pain and when we came to the point where we needed mercy and grace, did we receive it as we had hoped for? Have you ever needed forgiveness so desperately in order to heal and move forward? Who are we to deny the same? When we extend forgiveness, we can then be worthy of receiving forgiveness for our transgressions. When we selflessly show grace, we then become worthy of being given grace. You reap what you sow.

Maybe if more people chose to not act on all thoughts, practice self-control and forgive, the world would be a more peaceful place. Maybe instead of seeking revenge and destruction, we seek to love beyond what is deserved. We choose to better ourselves and positively influence others. So, the next time your blood pressure is rising and your inner psycho starts acting a fool, stop, breathe and chill.

Act like a lady. Keep it together. Remember what your momma told ya. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all. And we all know momma knows best. Sweetheart, just hide your crazy.

Xoxo,

Brynlea Taylor

Brynlea lives in Texas and is a southern Bama girl at heart. At 32, she has had the opportunity to be blessed with two callings in her life transitioning from 8 years of teaching middle school and high school to a life in fashion and retail management. Brynlea believes that style is truly forever and can only be successful when personalized and true to who a woman is (or who she wants to be for
the day).  Class and modesty go a long way. Valuing family, faith, friends, fitness (and football), Brynlea sets out to sprinkle exclamations marks everywhere she goes!

Instagram: @stylishly_strong

Sweet Southern Roots

November 18, 2016

Luv Cooks

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from the kitchen of Callie Blount of Luv Cooks – see recipe at bottom.

 

Growing up in the Deep South, I was surrounded by great food. It was and still is at the center of all family gatherings.  My sisters and I had the privilege of eating fresh vegetables from the garden almost every meal. We always ate buffet style: Squash, okra, green beans, and collards colorfully decorated the stove top. Of course, at least one of them was hand-battered and fried in my dad’s secret recipe. I never realized how special it was until I didn’t have it everyday. (Ahh, adulthood!) The thought of starting a garden is daunting.

However, I haven’t always valued the things that have signified my Southern roots. I’ll never forget the first time I was taunted for my accent. I tried desperately in college to change it. Around certain people, I would talk less and softer just to avoid being called out. I hated it. I’ve since then managed to pronounce certain words correctly, but my vowels are still slow and long and Southern as sweet tea. People point it out occasionally.

And then it was my small town I grew up in that I never wanted to admit I was from. I’ve always lived by the mantra, “Just because you’re from a small town doesn’t mean you’re small minded.” I didn’t want to be stereotyped by a classist. I’m intrigued by other cultures and consider myself to have a broad worldview. I used to cringe when someone asked the question, “Where are you from?”

My town is infamous for landmarks like The Booby Trap and the Carrie Lawson case where theorists claim her body was dumped in the depth of Smith Lake. Apparently, that’s where all bodies are cast, probably by the hitman that you can hire for just a case of beer. (Seriously, this is a known fact.) Most recently, we became famous when National Geographic aired a special about the “Sipsey Wilderness Creature.” The hour long docuseries is of a man recalling his experience with an animal that is as closely related to Big Foot as you could find. Walker County doesn’t exactly have the best reputation.

Luv Cooks

The Spicy Chocolate Sweetie- Pie from Laura Chancey of Humble Pie- scroll down for recipe.

But what I see when I think of my childhood is my cousin and I crafting mud pies and topping them off with wild flowers; playing hours outside until dark; leaping from hay bale to hay bale with my sisters; sneaking vanilla wafers from my great grandmother’s cookie jar; and my dad making us pick vegetables from the garden in the sweltering summer heat. (Have you ever “looked” peas? It’s pretty dreadful!)

Goodness, I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

My childhood home sits beautifully in a large field and the cows peacefully in the neighboring farm.

No, I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

I see that now, and I’m not so ashamed of my Southern drawl. I’m still going to say “y’all.” It’s a part of me, and, apparently, it’s not going anywhere no matter how hard I try. And as for my small town, I’m not sure I’d be who I am without it. I wouldn’t value simplicity or relish in the small things.

This Thanksgiving, I’m going to attempt to make my great aunt’s fried apple pies, not just because they are mouth watering good. But rather, because they symbolize tradition, love and hard work – treasures I want to preserve.

I’m thankful for my Southern roots. That may be the first time I’ve ever said that.

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In honor of Thanksgiving, tradition, and family, I thought I’d share with you two recipes from two sweet Southern women, Callie Blount of Luv Cooks and Laura Chancey from Humble Pie. They both formed their love for cooking at an early age while learning and watching their grandmothers in the kitchen.

For the Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies above, click here. See below for Laura’s Spicy Chocolate Sweetie-Pie.

Pie Shot #1 Pie Shot #2 Pie Shot #3

 

Chocolate Pie Dough

What You Will Need

- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
- 1/2 cup ice plus 1/2 cup water to make super cold ice water

What You Will Do

1. Whisk the first 4 ingredients together, then with a pastry knife cut the butter into the flour mix until it resembles small pebbles.
2. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time, using a wooden spoon to incorporate it in.
3. When the mixture starts to resemble dough, form a ball with your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or if you’re impatient, like me, freeze for at least 30 minutes.)
Note: When you’re ready to begin making the pie, roll the dough out first, put it into the baking dish, poke the bottom with a fork about 10-15 times, and then stick the dish in the freezer until your filling is ready.

 

For full recipe and the story behind Laura and Humble Pie, click here.

Brittany Windle

The Ugly Side of Insecurity

October 1, 2015

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After interviewing the beautiful Callie Blount of Luv Cooks recently, I thought I’d re-post this article. Our conversation consisted of beauty and allowing it to be redeemed through the sometimes painful healing process. (Okay, that sounded really deep.) Stay tuned for a new Style and Substance feature with Callie.

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I scanned her picture. Okay… It wasn’t just a scan. I examined it like an investigator picks a part a crime scene. Why did her big thighs and ankles make me feel better? (She really didn’t have either). If I could find a flaw, just one flaw, it would remedy my malady: insecurity.

Insecurity is like a festering sore. At times, I allow it to begin to heal. Then I pick at it again, opening the tender wound.

[Side note: I’m not insecure in every area of my life. And I’m not the stereotypical picture either: mousy, shy or quiet.]

Insecurity has exposed a very ugly side in me at times: Jealousy, anger, and competitiveness have all derived from this evil culprit. It had to have started long ago. It didn’t just magically appear in my 29 year old self. And honestly, I’m not sure if it matters when.

But it’s there, and I know I’m not the only female who experiences it. In fact, one of my best girl friends recently admitted to looking at all of her current boyfriend’s ex’s social media outlets. “At least, I don’t have bleach blonde hair and two kids,” she taunted.

We get vicious, and treat one another like wild animals in an untamed jungle. It’s like survival of the prettiest in our superficial, sickly minds. I wonder if Darwin would have agreed.

After a heartbreaking end to a relationship a couple of years ago, I dated this so called party guy. He claimed he had changed, and I did enjoy having something to do on my now cleared agenda. His clingy ex girlfriend found my cell number and anonymously texted me one day. She was sick with insecurity, and she was beautiful. Granted, her insecurity was fueled by a noncommittal guy who kept her at arm’s length.

I’ve been trying to understand this insecurity that lurks around and rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. Why do I feel insecure at times, and at other times, I don’t? And it occurred to me that it is when I feel most threatened, when I fear danger or loss of security.

Beth Moore in her book entitled, So Long, Insecurity, confesses to having irrational thoughts and actions, which have been fueled by insecurity. She admits that she has feared that her husband might leave her for another woman. She also admits this is an irrational fear, probably stemming from a tumultuous upbringing. However, she poses a question to her readers: What if that one thing you fear actually comes true?

She plainly states something like this: You’d be hurt, cry a bit, maybe act out a lot, then move on. And it would be okay. You would be okay.

Most of the time we are fearing things that will never happen. We hold too tightly the one thing that gives us security: looks, intelligence, sense of humor, etc. When someone threatens this thing we most associate ourselves with, we fear. However, someone’s talent doesn’t void us of our own. We are no longer pretty because the girl next to us is pretty. I’ve wasted too much time worrying and fearing the what if’s.

I want that wound to heal. And I’ll tell myself: It will be okay. I will be okay.

Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.

7 Musts to Look for in a Spouse

July 29, 2015

2b PhotographyLast night I met a close girl friend at the eclectic Mexican restaurant one street over from where I live. We normally have our weekly talks at the gym after church on Sundays.

“I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone like that,” she confessed as she was telling me about the ex that was reaching out to her. We all saw that coming. He’d realize he made a mistake and come crawling back. We, humans, are so predictable.

The first three to five months are what many people call the “honeymoon” stage: sweaty palms, butterflies, and blindness. Seriously, we are blind. It’s not because the person is always hiding their flaws or bad habits, although some do. My girl friend would often smell cigarette smoke in his bathroom. The funny thing is that smoking was not a deal breaker to her. Even if they aren’t hiding anything, we are blind because we simply don’t know that person yet.

We often can only see the good and admire the qualities we like in that person. The focus is what they are offering us and what we have in common. Although common interests are nice, they are not paramount. This is a revelation to me.

I admit that I’m a sapiosexual. “What the heck is this?” you may ask. By definition, it is one who finds intelligence as the most sexually attractive feature (thanks, Urban Dictionary.) I’ve become so fixated on one quality or two that I overlook red flags that are waving and yelling, “Mayday, mayday!” My focus has been on our common interests and my likes and dislikes of that man (his style, his interests, intelligence, etc.)

This, to most, doesn’t seem like a problem. However, recently, I read an article in Elephant Journal that made me change my whole perspective:

“Love is more than a series of likes and dislikes, attraction and interests. If attraction is based on what you like or dislike about the person, it is a setup for failure. Likes and dislikes change over time, and remain at the surface level of human expression. Common interests change, appearances change, language change.”

Ten years ago, I didn’t know that I would absolutely love sushi and coffee. They are now my two favorite things. Ten years ago, I also bleached my hair too blonde. We change. We grow and evolve. If the sole reasons we are with someone are based on likes and dislikes, then overtime, we may not still appreciate or like those things.

“The only constant is change,” Artisan states.

So what exactly do we look for in a person if we are aren’t looking for attraction, likes and common interests alone?

Here are 7 Musts to Look for in a Potential Spouse:

1. Character – What is the integrity of that person when no one is watching?

2. Chemistry- Physical attraction. This seems self explanatory.

3. Competency- Can this person hang on to a job? Or are they always going from thing to the next?

4. Culture- Can your cultures blend? Do you have similar views on finances, education, and spirituality?

5. Commitment- If a person can’t keep a commitment with other things, then something is wrong.

6. Communication- Can you identify your own feelings and the other person’s feelings?

7. Core Values- Are your core values the same? Do you have the same beliefs?

Although intellectual conversation about literature and art is fascinating to me, it is not what will see a marriage through during its most turbulent times. And as a close friend said to me, “That type of conversation all the time sounds exhausting!”

It is the core traits that are sustaining and nurturing that should be most sought after.

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

(Photo Credit: 2b Photography)

(Resource: Family Life)

For Him

February 11, 2015

Finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift can be challenging, especially depending on the length of the romance. Here are five gifts that are perfect no matter the intensity of the spark.

1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails

A definitive catalog of the most suave cocktails. To shake or stir? Muddle or mix? The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails answers all of these questions and more.

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2. J. Crew leather phone case

J Crew Leather phone case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Zoraab Socks

Sock subscription that will keep him stylish every month!

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4. Night Owl Paper Goods

From cutesy to romantic, Night Owl Paper Goods provides one-of-a-kind cards.

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5. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club couldn’t be simpler. Select one of their great blades, pay only
for the cost of the blades, and they send them right to your door every month.

dollar shave club1

Smorgasbord of Men

December 9, 2014

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I thought dating would be a smorgasbord of scrumptious men after my four year relationship ended. The men started coming out of the woodwork, whether through meeting them through friends, arranged blind dates or the occasional reconnection through Facebook (which I hate).

I was flattered, had the upper-hand, and I was going to enjoy the process. But I was quickly reminded of why dating is not what it is cracked up to be.

The Rebound. Everyone has one. You are completely blind and incompetent to make sane decisions during this time. Friends and family should lock you in a padded room after a bad breakup.

But instead I met him….

I cared nothing about him besides his stunningly beautiful blue eyes and muscular arms. Somehow during the course of our dating, I overlooked the ridiculous stupidity that vomited from his mouth or, rather, texts. He would often text acronyms like “bb” which apparently stands for baby. (Why abbreviate a four letter word?!) And my all time favorite, “SMH,” which means “shake my head.” (You don’t know what this does to an English teacher.) No person over the age of sixteen should talk like that.

He was my trainer at the gym. (Note to self: Never date your trainer.) After his countless requests for me to get breast implants and his week-long gambling trip to Vegas which included a lovely picture with a stripper, I realized we were on different pages.

After all, he is ten years older than I; should he still be partying like it’s 1999? I ended it. And he called me 40 times from 2 different phones trying to win me back.

Four months after, he got hitched… probably in Vegas.

The Elderly. “I can’t believe I never thought of setting you up with him,” my dear friend stated eagerly regarding her single male friend. “He’s a lawyer, running for circuit judge and around forty years old,” she continued. I was willing to give it a go at least once, even though I was not keen on the age factor. We met at her house for dinner with friends. He firmly shook my hand and his blue eyes sparkled under his cute ball cap. The conversation was natural, and he seemed like a true gentlemen.

He asked me to dinner the next day. I obliged. We met at a local Mexican restaurant. Walking toward me was a man who looked much older. With his geriatric shoes, pleated khaki pants, and reading glasses around his neck, I was a bit taken aback. Is this the same man? Instead of the cute ball cap, he sported a comb-over, one of the worst I had ever seen. Ten desperate hairs draped across his bald head. “Maybe others will think he’s my dad,” I thought as I spotted several acquaintances.

The conversation was pleasant yet again. We talked politics, religion, relationships, and none of it uncomfortable. Normally, I am very forgiving with looks as long as the personality chemistry is there. But I could not believe this man was the age my friend told me. He never would reveal it… red flag, perhaps? Needless to say, we never went out again.

I later found out he is at least twenty years older, not thirteen. I see him from time to time at church and have thought about setting him up with my mom.

To Be Continued…

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

Broken Not Destroyed: Leaving

December 9, 2014

Chelsie1

Tough Man was of masculine stature. I would need more than two hands to count the number of times he was stopped and asked for his autograph. By “his” I mean that of Vin Diesel. Same bald head, same features, same full lips, and yes, Tough Man was stacked. The two looked very much alike. His nickname by many was “The Hulk.”

Yes, “The Hulk” arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes. I froze in the doorway just staring in trembling fear of his unknown move. He cleared his throat with a dry cough, sniffed, puffed his lips out as if kissing the air, and refocused on Pre Game stats. All the normal signs and evidence letting me know I was in for days of ignorance therapy. I was in the clear. I closed the door behind me, and before I could even make it to the stairs, I was bid farewell by the locking of the double deadbolt.

Looking back now, the evidence to the truth of Tough Man’s final words to me, were apparent all along. It would just take me awhile, and unfortunately, a lot more pain before I built enough courage to truly leave.

I tossed the luxury weekender in the backseat of my 2000 VW Passat, and I drove, and I drove, and I drove. Noon turned to two, two turned to four, and four turned to six. Six hours and an empty gas tank later, I pulled into the 7Eleven not five minutes from the house. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be gone this many hours, but this was the first time I left without being told to get the hell out. He hadn’t called, he hadn’t checked in, and I knew it probably wouldn’t be good to go home. The unknown consequences scared me more. I had to make a decision, and checking into a motel wasn’t an option. Those were the days shortly after my first year of grad school. Tough Man was inspired by my drive to advance my education, and decided to do the same. Money was tighter than tight, and I was already going to hear about the unnecessary gas expense. I had isolated myself from most of my friendships to keep the abuse hidden, so there wasn’t exactly a laundry list of people to call. I wasn’t really prepared to sleep in my car that night, as I normally would. My favorite spot, the place I felt the most safe and hidden, was discovered by Grapevine Police Department the last time I was kicked out. The officer was kind, but firm, and promised me a ticket the next time I was found at 3:00AM in a secure zone.

Daylight was fading fast, I had a PA (Public Appearance) the next day from one of the top makeup brands. Driving four hours to my parents wasn’t really an option, and I wasn’t even close to ready to share with them, or anyone, of the fear, pain, and shame found in what had become my routine lifestyle. I needed a shower, a real one. The kind of shower where I get to use a fluffy, home washed, Downey smelling towel, and take as long as I need. Not the type of shower where I paid by the quarter hour, locker room style. I had become pretty close to Jennie and Randy that had a crappy little stop off HWY 10. I had discovered them two years earlier, when I was welcomed home one night after work to my belongings in the front yard of the apartment. To this day, I still don’t know what I did. Anyhow, whatever I did, awarded me four days of motel Passat, bathroom not included. By day two of long work days, I needed a shower. I felt prompted in my spirit to take a different drive to my “safe place.” That’s where I saw the sign for “hot showers and daily stay rates.” I pulled into the parking lot, and mustered up every ounce of dignity I had to walk through the office door and ask the mousey brown-haired woman about purchasing a shower. My eyes were full of tears, and my lip was quivering, not out of fear, but out of total embarrassment. I was humiliated.

My professional makeup, elegant side sweep, and tailored business suit created mystery to my question, but my red face, glassy eyes, and quivering lip caused the middle-aged woman to refrain from questioning. I had a $5 bill, and asked if that would work? The rates were for rooms including a hot shower, so I needed a bit more. With excitement she explained they took debit/credit cards.

A little side note to those unfamiliar with abuse. purchases are one of the easiest ways to track a location, so the last thing I wanted to do was give Tough Man a traceable transaction to my whereabouts. I looked her dead in the face, and I lied, explaining the $5 cash was all I had. To this day I appreciate her reading between the lines. She looked at me with compassion and a smile, knowing there was more to the story. She walked around the counter, and handed me a key to room 113. She handed me a travel size of Perell shampoo and a bar of Irish Spring. She said her name was Jennie, and that her and her son, Randy ran the place. My imagination never allowed me to sleep a night on one of their beds. I did, however, appreciate the numerous showers and cheap toiletries, gifted at no charge. There was never a time, I didn’t, randomly and inconveniently, walk through their door with glassy eyes, and quivering lip, to a warm smile and humble acts of service. They didn’t know why I randomly appeared in a tailored business suit, and the need for a shower away from home, nor did they ever ask. All they knew was that something wasn’t alright, and they wanted to be a part of creating a little stability for the mystery girl. The new routine for the unpredictable had become their shower for hygiene, and the Passat for sleep. My location wasn’t traceable, and the PD hadn’t discovered me in a secure zone.

The gas pump jolted, signaling the tank was full. I hung up the pump, pulled the Passat out of the way, and for the first time all day, broke into hysterical tears in the 7 Eleven parking lot on Glade and 121. I had escaped into mental numbness, and in giving the day’s earlier events an ounce of thought, brought forth full emotion to feeling less loved than a stray dog. Tomorrow’s event couldn’t handle such feelings. I needed to be on and confident, with freshly-applied, trend-setting makeup, and a pocket full of feel-good tricks. As reliable as the back seat leathers were, they were no match for the rest I needed for an “A-game ready” arrival. It was now 6:11PM and the sun was quickly fading. Evening was turning into night and I was running out of options.

I wrestled between calling Tough Man, and playing off the events, by asking if he wanted his favorite dipped cone. In the moment it seemed easier to suck it up, find a way back in, so that I could take my best shot at gaining my beauty sleep. The fact that I had walked out without being kicked out kept running through my mind. Was He going to be more mad? Was he going to rage when I got home? Would I be hurt or bruised in a way that would keep me from being able to show up to the most important work event of the year? Tough Man never beat me as many experience. One push, grip, or hit from “The Hulk” was effective enough. I never had bruises in noticeable places. On one occasion a “simple punch” to my side enabled me from the ability to squat to pee for a week. The unknown of how he would respond to my leaving was my biggest fear, yet I desperately needed to rest up for the day of beauty exhortation.

I pulled out my Blackberry, stared at the number, and hit call…

To be continued…

I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life.

Broken Not Destroyed: Exposed

November 10, 2014

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Pastor Robert’s message was really powerful that particular Sunday. He had been teaching on a series about The End: What comes next? Tough Man had made his prejudgements about Gateway Church long before this message, so I was already walking on egg shells in asking him to come with. You see we had already joined and left two churches in almost three years of marriage. We stayed until people started suspecting problems, and Tough Man found every reason not to return. The fact his mother was with us that morning, gave some bit of comfort, as she was never going to deny her youngest, but she was, thankfully, very protective and fond of me. She had heard much over the years, and helped pack my car many a nights that Tough Man made it clear to get the _____ out before he got home. His mood was seldom predictable, and as unhealthy as it was, I appreciated, more times than not, his mother being just across the parking lot. I often referred to her as Mams, and she was the one person that had seen the signs of what Christian girls don’t speak of. Honestly and tragically, she had become my best friend.

On the drive home, I was sandwiched between Tough Man and Mams in his black Dodge pickup truck. The stride in his step to the truck, locked jaw, and single hand grip on the steering wheel was full evidence he was heated. Mams and I knew that anything could set him off so we opted to remain awkwardly silent until the ticking in the air conditioner came. It wasn’t the type of tick that anyone would notice, but it was one I had become obsessively aware of, as it was the sound that would send Tough Man over the edge into a raging war. In an effort to drown out the tick, I resorted to the message from Pastor Robert. As much as I hate to admit this, I knew that Tough Man was already angered by Pastor Robert and his “mega church productions.” I knew that mentioning the service would take his anger off of those “responsible” for “allowing” the noise to continue and place it on someone that couldn’t presently be effected by his escalating rage. I knew wrong. As I mentioned previously, the mood was completely unpredictable. Just as I shared the confirmation the message brought to my salvation, my sunnies were knocked to the floorboard, and blood rushed to the surface of my left check to meet the heat of a fresh slap telling me, “Shut the ____ up!” Mams gasped in shock and began pleading for him to stop. He felt encouraged and affirmed in his adrenaline rush and began driving as if he were under the influence of a spirited bottle and tonic. He had lost complete control to the anger rush and nearly flipped the Dodge on the over pass bridge of 121 and Bedford Road. Tough Man pulled into the covered parking spot that belonged to our 800 sq. ft. apartment, shut the door calmly, and walked up the stairs as if nothing had happened. Mams stood there with me as gigantic tears burned my cheeks; my lips quivered; my body trembled; and I sobbed silently. I was embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, and terrified all at the same time. I had learned to mask the physical abuse well, thanks to the training I gained from previous years of interview pageant prep and successful work as a makeup artist, whose job was to make others look and feel amazing. I understood “game on!”

What I had failed to prepare for was the abusers need to increase the adrenaline rush which often comes from “new” levels of abuse. He had done what I hadn’t prepared for- actually physically harmed me in front of another person, least of which I would ever have assumed to be his mother. I always felt like Tough Man was way too prideful to ever hit me in public, so I was ill prepared on how I would respond.

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Mams stood there with tears in her own eyes, having no idea whether to stay or go. The ever lingering question posed to keep Tough Man contained so to speak. Regardless if the abused want to admit it or not, we fall prisoner to the daily cycle of whatever, whenever, why ever, and however. Anything not to be the target of harmful hands and hurtful words. I encouraged Mams to head on home. I had Tough Man and his cycles calculated near flawlessly. I assured her the fit of rage was over, and now for the enduring of hateful words or days of silence. I would know once I saw the way he was positioned on the couch, and if the TV was on or not. Although the less accepted by society, I would have rather taken another hit, than the acceptable form of emotional, metal, and silent abuse that often comes with being the Christian girl that deeply desires to refrain from carrying one more mark of failure or un acceptance. I hugged Mams, and we parted ways in tears. I walked up the stairs, striving with everything in me to contain myself, because we already established what unwanted noises produce. I walked in to Sunday pre game and Tough Man comfortably couched on the middle cushion of the sofa, nursing a Dr. Pepper. I was about to get it, and it was going to be long and painful. I was in for an unknown number of days, maybe weeks, of silence. The type of silence that never acknowledges your existence. The type of silence that refuses to see you or hear you. The type of silence lonelier than any place of alone. It was routine for me to respond in one of two ways depending on my ability to endure Tough Man’s conditional therapy. I would walk to the bedroom and sob myself to sleep on the bed, or I would very casually and calmly grab the keys, and say I’m going for a drive. Neither one ever broke the silent therapy. It was simply my way of giving him the whatever, however space to let the punishment therapy for whatever I did, run its course.

Still in a state of shock, I think, I walked straight to the closet, packed my leather, electric turquoise weekender, gifted to me by Trish McEvoy, and prepared to do my own attempt at the unthinkable. I set the bag out of view as I opened the door wide enough to leave for my “drive.” I was awkward, and the bag was obvious. He arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes.

To Be Continued…

I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life.

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We will be sharing with you Chelsie’s courageous story in several parts. Thank you, Cheslie for allowing us to help share your story.

Have You Been Catfished?

October 24, 2014

online-dating-e1405898035178-600x300With new dating apps like Tinder, it is becoming more and more common to meet first online. Whenever I have had conversations about online dating with my guy friends, they confess of a having a fear of being “catfished.”

According to the ever-so reliable source, Urban Dictionary, it states, “A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”

Now, I’m not about to go into detail of how I’ve gotten “catfished.” No offense, but who spends months or years speaking to someone they’ve never seen or at least have sure proof this person exist? And God forbid, plan a life with a stranger. It’s beyond me!

I have a hard enough time getting to know a real guy who is sitting right in front of me, much less some weirdo in another state or better yet, a con-artist in an internet cafe in Africa.

But I’ll be honest. I think I’ve been catfished (just not via Facebook or some other site). I’m pretty sure I’ve been the victim of others creating a false identity. Thank God, I’ve never found out some man I was dating was married with five children.

I often find it extremely difficult to meet men and women alike who are transparent, honest people. Those who know me know that I am very honest and upfront. This is a blessing and a curse. I often ask people sincere questions. Sometimes I get an answer but often times, the answers are vague and elusive like a child inquiring why Zebras have stripes.

False identities can be created in many different ways. I’ve dated guys who claim to be religious because they know my spirituality means a great deal to me. I’ve met people who hide bad habits like smoking or drinking, to later find out it was an issue. I’ve also met others who claim to have the same values as I do in order to get a so called “good girl.” Thankfully, I’m pretty intuitive. But only because I’ve been fooled before.

When it comes to cultivating relationships, honesty is the only way success can be achieved. Sometimes honesty hurts. Sometimes it means an end to a relationship. Sometimes it means taking a risk, and it scaring you senseless.

Thankfully, I still have time and am not remotely worried about meeting my match. I know it will happen. But as I continue with the exhausting dating process, I find myself weary with facades, lack of transparency and the ability in others to be honest.

I see it all the time, especially with men who will not be honest with their feelings or intentions. If you’re a guy reading this, I’m sure you have experienced this with women.

I was thinking today, “Why is it that often times when I ask a straight forward question, I cannot get a straightforward response?” It dawned on me.

If a person cannot be honest with me, then he probably is not being honest with himself.

I wonder how many catfish are swimming around?

Article by Brittany Windle

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Tinder Love

September 19, 2014

1370041886_nutella“Can I lick Nuttela off your body?” a blue bubble appeared. My initial thought: “I don’t even like Nutella.” This is how our love story began…

I’m kidding. But that really did happen upon my first and last trial of Tinder. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Tinder is a dating app. You login through Facebook and view the “available” men or women in your surrounding area. Swipe right if you find that person attractive or interesting. And swipe left if not. “Nope” appears across their face when you swipe left: classy!

Many times a bio is left empty, so it becomes a game of “do I find you attractive or not?” It’s not shallow at all.

So I tried it out, naturally… but not in my own city initially. When I visited a girl friend who lives a few states away, I logged in. I wanted to see what it was about.

Several swipes, a few chats and many clever pick-up lines later, I discovered a few truths about men and Tinder:

- They love to fish and show off their big catch.
- All men skydive or climb big rocks.
- Guys, too, take duck selfies- ya know, not with a duck but the ones with the strange pucker face
- It’s weird when you see a gym selfie
- It’s creepy when you see a guy lying in bed with his kitten
- 99% of them do Crossfit
- There are a lot of lonely military men

I logged in to my city when I arrived back from my trip. After a few swipes of “nope,” seeing a guy I once dated, and seeing a few I know who are married or in relationships, I decided that the app would be deleted immediately. I don’t have time to filter through cheesy pick-up lines or questions alluding to sex in order to discover someone who actually wants to get to know me.

I asked a guy friend of mine if he had ever tried it out. He said that he went on three dates. “One brought a backpack on the date in hopes of staying over at my place.” He told her it wasn’t going to happen.

While he says, he’s met several interesting people and has made new friends, I think I am going to stick to the traditional way of meeting people.

As far as Nutella being licked off my body, maybe he should have suggested a less messier option like whipped cream (kidding, of course).

What do you think about Tinder? Do you think it’s a good way to meet people? Is it just a hook-up app?

Article by Brittany Windle