Friday, July 21

#DontDoThis- Unsolicited Health Advice

Hey, hi, yes, hello!
(Note: I'm considering changing the title of this blog to #DontDoThis cuz I say it DAILY)

I have been losing & gaining weight for years. And each time I get "advice" from someone that I ain't ask nothing. STOP THIS! I don't need your tips, testimonials, hints, or help. If I didn't ask you, I don't need to know.

I am capable of researching. I am capable of asking for help when I feel I need it. I am capable of losing weight when I am good and gosh darn ready. I don't always STICK to it because of who I am as a person (HA!) but you don't KNOW ME like I do. So please, locate your seat.

This is why I hate going to the gym!

I feel constantly scrutinized as a plus sized woman in the gym. Especially by dudes... As If I shouldn't be there. I have had more men "give me advice" than a lil bit. Sir, mind your task! I talk to ONE person & one person ONLY at the gym and SHE has given me the help I need. You, sir, can go THAT way.

I overheard a convo between two trainers at the gym and when I tell you I was DISGUSTED! They were casually laughing at people saying they want their bodies to look like theirs but weren't doing the work. DUDE, You WORK in the gym! You be on the treadmill when I get on the elliptical and you STILL on the treadmill 30 minutes later when I go to the weights and STILL on there sometimes when I leave. There's a 30 minute time limit... sooo how can anyone spend that much time? You don't know people's lives so you cannot and SHOULD not be laughing at someone that wants to look and feel better.

(let me just add how much I cannot stand male personal trainers. I have only had ONE I liked. He knew how to motivate me without making me not care anymore. Most of them motivational techniques they learn at the  Body Shamers R Us Personal Training School don't work on me & has gotten more than one cussed SLAM out!)

I've made several lifestyle changes!

I used to be able to hit the gym for a  few weeks and the pounds fall off. Not anymore, There are many OTHER things that this near-40 body requires. I don't know them all.... give me a break! I am cutting out things, adding things, doubling up on things. I've tried south beach, atkins, paleo, primal vegetarian and vegan. Good food is part of who I am and I HATE being the girl at the table asking "How is that prepared?" or "Can you substitute this for that?" So I am seeking my balance. Seek yours and BE BLESSED!

I am SO glad that you are able to carry all your meals and snacks around all day. I am SUPER happy that you can eat 3 twigs and a spoonful of dirt & meditate AND levitate. I am GREATLY impressed that you have the will power to go to Dunkin Donuts just to SMELL donuts every morning and be satisfied. GOOD FOR YOOOOOU! *sarcastic smile* But that ain't what works for me.


You don't know my life!
If these sounds like excuses, they ARE! and I know this, I don't need nobody pointing that out. So, ha!
I work 3 sedentary jobs. Two of which are mentally exhausting and require me to drive from place to place in the evenings. I was going to say more here, but my point is... Worry about yourself, ok? I got this... eventually.... so hush.

In conclusion to all those unsolicited health advisors out there: Unless someone ASKS you, let them LIVE! If you are not close enough to them to know them WELL, LET THEM LIVE!

Friday, July 14

Can You Hear Me Now?

One of the main things I have discovered in my newly framed womanist adventures is that some men just do NOT listen. Some of them it is willfully ignoring a woman's perspective and others it is just a demand to have THEIR opinion heard. I have witnessed exchanges the last few days on Twitter and on podcasts that have convinced me that dudes just do not LISTEN when a woman is talking about her lived experience with men.


I often have men inbox me on Tha Book and tell me my posts have given them a new perspective on some issues. And of t hat, I am proud.... of myself and them. Growth is a beautiful thing. But then thee are those that must constantly reduce anything said to an argument about women do it too thing. Not realizing this is the same thing that they hate about having a debate about race relations with a person refusing to acknowledge their white privilege.

Why do I have to flip women/men convos into black/white convos for you to realize that you are exercising your male "privilege" to derail and disregard my feelings?

HEARING someone means that you recognize that someone is talking and may have a general idea what they are saying. LISTENING is more active. It's processing what is being said and not simply waiting your turn to talk.

Not believing a woman's lived experience is equivalent to white people not believing black people have it THAT bad with the cops. Remember that...

Shout out to the men in my life who GET it... The men who hear me out... and the ones who laugh on the sidelines at those who don't get it as they are DRAGGED in the post replies by my lady friends. lol

Friday, July 7

Get the FUNK Up Out My Face!

This past weekend I was in a bar because the DJ is MY DJ... ALL HAIL, DJ SOYO!

I met some of my lady-friends out for music but no drinks because I wanted to be sober. At least one of them was a sheet and a half to the wind. She was engaged in some sort of playful tussle with a guy whose face I had seen there before. I stood by and observed and lightly chuckled. At some point, I moved to the corner because I was just there for the music!

The guy walks up to me in the corner minding my business and makes what I can only assume was supposed to be sexy eye contact. He smiled at me, I smiled back and then he comes over and kinda chucked me under the chin. Y'ALL KNOW I WAS HEATED!

I leaned back and looked at him like he had 12 heads. His smile faded. I said, "You don't put your hands on a stranger's face. I don't know you like that!" He had the nerve to be offended that I was offended. Sir, a- I don't know you; 2- I don't know where your hands have been. I don't understand how he thought it was ok to put his hands on my face! No words were exchanged, I didn't know his name, all I did was smile. That was not an invitation to touch.

Of course there are those that will say he didn't mean anything by it. That is the sort of thinking that has led to him thinking it was ok to touch a stranger's FACE. There is a level of familiarity with touching someone that I need men to understand. It's bad enough that you are putting your hands on a stranger but touching my face is way too intimate and doing so without permission with what may have been unwashed hands is downright disrespectful.

He hung around for a while and would make eye contact which I met with a Maxine Waters level "Chile, please!" expression.

He asked me, "You don't like me very much, do you?" I said to him, "I don't even know you. But since you want to put your hands all in people's face at least introduce yourself." He told me his name, I ain't care. He realized his je ne sais quois was doing nothing for me and he moved himself to the other end of the bar to another group of women that were less combative or challenging, I guess.

My mother (LAWD she is going to be embarrassed) used to tell my young male relatives, "Get your penis hands out of my face!" Dude is lucky I said it in a nicer way. But, seriously.... don't touch my face, stranger!

Sidenote: I am a church youth leader.... but all my posts not finna be about Jesus... FYI & BTW! Amen! Be blessed!

Monday, July 3

My Name is VICTORY!

It is DONE!

School has been kicking my CAN this year. I had TWO internships, a full time job, and at one point I was taking 4 classes as well. I wrote over 20 papers this year. 17 of which happened in 10 weeks! Through it all I maintained some sort of social life and even managed to entertain me a fella. It got REAL hectic for a while.... so much so that my THERAPIST was like how are you doing all of this? My answer: THE LORDT!

But I am here to say everything is completed and I am now a licensed counselor. Yes, a therapist! ME! Ain't that something!!?!?

I had a great team of supporters. They encouraged me, cracked the whip on me and gave me refuge when I just could NOT anymore. I definitely had a strong village!

In the few weeks after school: I lost a father-figure, traveled to England & Iceland, took a national exam, got bad news about a family member and still CARRIED ON!

After passing the exam, I interviewed for 4 positions and was offered all four! I took 2. One ended up not being a good fit. I went into the office in the humblest way possible and was basically told that in-home therapy life was not for everyone. The administration of the agency was my issue, but I did not say that. I thanked them for the opportunity and pressed on. I have been working as a therapist PT for about 2 months now. It has been INCREDIBLE already.

With that being said, I am back to blogging.... I hope! I have some things I want to get off my chest particularly with the misogynistic misanthropes running this whole shebang of a nation (see what I did there?) Soooo, while I will not be discussing my clients. I WILL be discussing EVERYTHING in between. EVERY Friday..... that is my promise... to me & to you!

"Bri Cooley", MA, MS, NCC, LGPC

Thursday, January 28

He Doesn't Mean Any Harm

Recently the issue of adult females being assaulted by adult males they have turned down has come up a LOT! It is a thing that many adult females I know have dealt with in some way. I have been discussing it on my FB page. MOST adult males I know have been silent. However, the ones who are not have said things that have caused me to look at them and me differently. There are some woman-hating, man-centered things that are so deeply ingrained in folks' everyday way of thinking that they cannot even accept ANYTHING else.

Many of these adult males have said some terrible things along the lines of: Do you know what assault is? Why can't you just tell a guy you don't feel like smiling? And my personal favorite- If you don't protect yourself with a taser, then you will be a victim. These are all paraphrases but speak to the character of these adult males. It has shocked and appalled many of my female and male friends alike. "Who are these people you know?" has been a resounding sentiment. And all I can think is who ARE these people?

People that believe it is more important to tell an adult female how to protect themselves from an adult male than to tell their adult male friends to chill out. Some of them, in fact, are probably the exact adult males that need to be told to chill out! But instead, they want to tell me how not to get killed by someone I have turned down. Be nicer, smile, carry a taser, don't stay out late, walk in pairs back to back, wear more clothes and less makeup. Okay, I exaggerated those last 2 to make a point... This is ridiculous. Instead of fixing the issue we as adult females must adapt to it? Because you can't control what another adult male does? (another paraphrase of the ridiculousness I have read this year alone). But somehow you think you can control what an adult female does and if she does not do what YOU think she should, she deserves what is coming to her. Because you as an adult male know best how to be an adult woman in this world. Or maybe you know best how to handle your type.

On the flipside, there are adult males that have liked my posts. Agreed. Changed their perspectives. And for that I am eternally grateful. There are even some that have debated adult males on the subject. And THAT is where it gets sad again. You can have 100 adult females say they have been assaulted by someone they knew and thought they could trust and NOT pressed charges. But you as an adult male come in and argue with these adult females until another adult male steps in.

Many more adult males need to tell their homeboys to chill. Until they see the problem as more than "that b**ch is trippin..." adult females will continue to be assaulted by men with fragile egos and unstable emotions and still be questioned as to why they were out so late without their children. Or why they didn't run faster than the bullet.

All of these conversations have led me to realize that I have witnessed my male friends do things to strangers that were not ok. If we are friends and you get a little frisky with ME, it's okay. I have strange boundaries with my friends, but they are my friends because they KNOW those boundaries. If they do not, we ain't friends and you need to move! THIS is MY prerogative to have who I want in my space. However, the next time I am out and one of my tipsy (or drunk) male friends pushes up on a woman I need to also step in and tell him that's not ok. Even if I know he doesn't mean any harm... he is in FACT being harmful. I will not allow friendship to make misogyny okay. And I urge you to do the same.

there will be more on this...

Thursday, November 19

Your Grandmother Can't Cook!

This SHOULD be brief, but here goes.

Let me start off by saying: Your Grandmother can't cook! Just face it, not everybody's grandmother was throwing down in the kitchen. It's statistically impossible. So all of this noise about your grandmother being a better cook than Patti LaBelle needs to cease & desist IMMEDIATELY! I thought after a week the #PattiPie phenomenon would die down & we could all go back to running our business. But noooooooo..... people still all over social media hating or praising the pie with people responding with the opposite reactions in the comments. Here's the thing: SHUT UP ALREADY!  It is time for an intervention.

Dear friends & followed on social media,
Your Patti Pie obsession has affected me in the following ways:

  1. You won't stop talking about putting money in Patti's pocket & then equating it to something dumb. First of all, Patti made her money before her face made it onto the box! You think she waiting on her five cents per pie royalty check? Stop equating it to taking money from Small business, or at home business, or MLM. Going into Walmart & buying a $3.50 pie while you're stocking up on batteries & socks & thumb tacks is NOT THE SAME THING as going to a wine tasting with ONE bottle of whine & 45 minutes of someone convincing you to take a look at their business. 
  2. You eat store bought, pre-made food ALL. OF. THE. TIME! We ALL do! I mean NOBODY doesn't like Sara Lee & nothing comes closer to home than Stouffers. So what is the issue with PATTI'S PIE? I think this one is pretty black and white. *ahem* The same reason you go to the  same carry-out and get talked to like you're crazy cuz the shrimp & broccoli is BOMB. But let the black or brown chick at the soul food spot not smile when she gives you your change and you won't ever go back again. *steps off soap box and kicks it down the street* I'm DONE here!
  3. You only eat whiting! Stop acting like your palette is so refined you know the difference between allspice & cloves. Most folks only know like 3 kinds of fish: Whiting, salmon (in the can usually) & whatever is in the filet-o-fish at McDonald's (it's pollock btw... you're welcome!). Half the folk talkin about it's too much nutmeg in the pie probably read it somewhere & only have Season-All, lemon pepper, and hot sauce in their seasoning cabinet. But since everyone is talkin about Patti pie, you're suddenly a discerning food critic. Please be quiet & go eat your Carl Buddig ham sammige on white bread.
  4. YOUR GRANDMOTHER CAN'T COOK! I have had some of your grandmother's food/recipes and that joint wasn't that great. I mean how is it possible that EVERYONE'S grandmother can cook. I guess everyone knows how to sing too? Stop pretending your grandmother is a better cook than ANYONE. She's not, don't front. Just don't say anything. It's ok NOT to talk when everyone else is. I promise. Some of those plates on Cooking for bae were likely some of y'alls grandma's Sunday dinners. Your granny does NOT throw down and that is OKAY. Patti can & does & you know it. Patti is better than your grandmother at a lot of things... that doesn't mean gram-gram isn't a GREAT person, ok? Patti is not here to take your grandmama's place, no matter how much you secretly wish she could. 

WHEW! I am so glad I got that off my chest! And before you think you are going to come for me. I can indeed bake a mean sweet potato pie! CHECK YOURSELF! If anything I said here hurt you, it's because it's true & it's time for you to do some introspection. 

**As a side note stop acting like you don't have a family member that passes store bought food off as their own. OR the one that you KNOW can't cook & brings store bought food to thanksgiving. It's not an insult, it's a reality. I need folks to be real or BE STILL!

Monday, August 10

Are You Walking in Your Gifting?

I received a call today from someone I respect and admire spiritually, so when they told me that God had placed something on their heart to say to me I LISTENED! Basically they asked me if I was walking in my gifting. I had NO answer and that bothered me.

Not to brag, but I'm pretty good at quite a few things. So which ONE is my gift? I have dabbled in a few things but nothing seemed to STICK. So here I am, wondering what am I supposed to stick with in order to be able to truly say I am walking in my gifting? There's no online quiz that you can take (maybe there is but would you trust it?) that can help you determine what GOD has called you to do.
You have to hear it from Him.

I have too many things crowding out His voice. So it is time to seriously step away from some things and some people. As I am typing this, I have tears in my eyes because, until today, I thought I was going to be able to keep certain things and still prosper. But so much of what I have been dealing with lately- the good and the bad- has been temporary fixes and issues for things that require more than just a Band-Aid. I have to stop rationalizing with myself and realize I may need stitches or even surgery. It will not be an easy journey. It is one I have taken time and again.

Sometimes I hold myself to a high standard in some areas and not in others. I don't know where that came from, but I am going to keep down this path because this blog is for you and for me. I want what I want but I also want to have the moral high ground. Sometimes these things do NOT match up and I convince myself that it is okay. But it is not okay. I say I am not perfect so making mistakes is okay, and it is. But being willfully ignorant, oblivious, and wrong is not. I always say things are not always black and white. There are not only gray areas, but also COLORS.... MILLIONS of colors! And it is in the choosing of those colors that you determine how your life will be viewed. Cool tones, warm tones, grayscale? I feel like I have not been choosing the best colors lately. But luckily, I still have a little time to paint it over. I have time to draw a different path. I have time to upgrade my standards in ALL areas. I have time to proceed in my gifting. But only if I start TODAY & trust the process.

When I was looking for an image to go with this blog, I came across another blog that was over a year old but spoke to this same thing. This blog says that when you are walking in your gift it will just flow... and right now few things are flowing for me which can only mean one thing: Something is clogging it up! Time for me to do some unclogging and uncluttering to get this flow going and hear from God.