Open Enrollment Season

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For many of us it’s open enrollment season. Time for us to decide whether we want to keep what we have, drop what we have, need a better plan, or if we need more coverage. You may be getting unwanted notices in your mail, people trying to show you why you should choose their plan over someone else’s. Hell in the past you didn’t need a plan and now all of a sudden, or so it may seem, you think a plan may be best. Before, you couldn’t see the real benefits of having one because you’ve gotten along just fine in life for quite some time. But now, you’re having regrets over bypassing the plan every time it was presented to you. I’m experiencing open enrollment season myself, and no I’m not talking about an insurance plan. The open enrollment season I’m referring to is relationship season. Yep, I’ve finally entered that season and I must say I’m not really sure how I feel about it. The unwanted notices in my mail are the DMs on Instagram and the messages on Facebook of guys trying to entice me with their “plan”.

Do I give in to the need for a better plan, any plan at all? Do I keep the same plan I’ve had for the last 7 years, which was no coverage at all, or do I upgrade to take advantage of a better plan? One that will offer me more security and coverage in the event that something goes awry. Now I know all my independent, ‘I don’t need no man to complete me’ women are yelling, “You don’t need a man to feel secure!” And you’re right, I don’t need a man…I WANT ONE! I’m a big girl that can take care of herself, and has taken care of herself for quite some time now, but it would be nice to have someone to lean on sometimes…someone to share the load with when it gets too heavy or I just get worn out. Sometimes when I come home from work I just need to fall into some D&D. For all of my adults that’s a drink and some d***. I need it to be waiting for me when my foot crosses the threshold. Some of you are probably wondering where this sudden need to toss aside my singleness came from. Well, it may be out of the blue for my readers and my family and friends, but this change has been gradually taking place for a while. For years I’ve boasted about how much I enjoy the single life and not having a desire to get married. I’ve avoided relationships because of my past failure rate and just couldn’t find the energy to put into another relationship that was guaranteed to fail. You may be experiencing this change yourself and wondering if you’ve entered your open enrollment season. Well, let me help you and tell you how I recognized the signs of a shift happening in my life:

  1. I started thinking babies were cute. Not all babies…just the truly cute ones, not the ones who mama and grandmama think they’re cute and no one else. I began to love everything about them…there little noses, the way they smell, their adorable smile. I even started shopping for baby clothes. (your judgment is not welcomed at this time)
  2. I started reposting things on Instagram with #RelationshipGoals. WHAT?! Relationship goals? Who? Where? How Sway? Me, that’s who. I actually started wondering what it would be like to be in a relationship again. It’s been so long I almost forgot how to spell relateshunship.
  3. I created a secret board on Pinterest (did you know you could do that, and you’re the only one that can see it?). It’s filled with wedding stuff…from bridesmaid dresses to sample vows for my future husband.
  4. I started including ‘my future husband’ in conversations about my future plans. “I’ve been trying new recipes trying to improve my cooking skills. You know, so I can cook for my future husband.”
  5. I started sizing up my male friends to see which one of them would make the best candidate for a future husband and father of my kids. They say the best relationships start as friends first. Needless to say they stopped returning my phone calls.
  6. Every time I go into a store, I head straight for the baby section and home goods. I’m taking pictures of baby clothes and sending them to my friends like “Isn’t this cute!” Roaming around in the home section wondering how mine and my future husband’s style will mesh together.             

If you find yourself doing at least 4 out of these 6 things you may have entered your open enrollment season. If you’re like me, you’ve spent too much time running from relationships for fear of being hurt or whatever your hang-up may be. Stop robbing yourselves of having someone in your life that loves you and can hold you down when life tries to uproot you. I know you may have family and friends that love and support you, but we all know there is nothing like that ‘special love’ you receive from that one person that loves you and your dirty draws. If you’re still listing your parents as your emergency contact and you’re over the age of thirty, I think you should take advantage of this open enrollment season. It’s okay to admit that you need extra coverage.

Until next time,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is an Interviewer and Freelance Blogger/Writer from Jackson, TN. She can provide blogging services for your business or product and event coverage.

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I’m Coming Out…Of The Friend Zone

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As a single Black woman I can definitely feel the effects of the lack of good, single Black men. It may seem that all the good ones are taken, married, or they don’t meet our, often times, extensive list of qualifications. But many of us, especially women, tend to quickly categorize everyone we meet. There is the potential mate zone, the booty call zone, and the infamous friend zone. Why do we seem to put so many men in the friend zone so quickly and why do we often refuse to rezone them? When your kids are zoned to a particular school and you don’t think they are benefiting from the curriculum or maybe they are just advanced in their learning, beyond what they are getting from that school, you’ll figure out a way to get them in a different school in another zone correct? Because their education and growth is important to you. That’s exactly how we should treat these ‘friend zone’ situations. We often spend and waste so much time looking for love that we don’t see that love exists right under our noses. We may talk to and see our love on a daily or at least regular basis, but we call it friendship. But like the popular 90s R&B group Shai sang, “If I ever fall in love again, I’ll be sure the lady is a friend.” They say the best relationships start out as friends, but do we really live by that creed?

I was listening to online radio one day at work and the crew read a letter written by a woman that had a male friend of over 18 years. During the years he expressed many times that he wanted to be more than friends and finally after 18 years she decided to date him, but now she’s disappointed that he hasn’t made more of a commitment to her. Now for 18 years he watched you date other men, obviously unsuccessful because she’s still single, and after making him wait you want him to jump into a commitment with you? How sway? Is it fair to make him rush when you’ve made him wait for so long? So why do we friend zone people so quickly and why are we so hesitant to go beyond the friend zone? Speaking from personal experience, I never want to assume that every guy that approaches me wants to get with me. So I always consider their approach to just be of a friendly nature or him just being polite or just striking up a friendly conversation. Steve Harvey says that every guy has an agenda and no guy wants to just be your friend. He is always waiting on the right moment to slide in and take that friendship to the next level. I don’t think that’s always true. I have 2 really good guy friends that I trust and are very comfortable with and neither of them have ever tried anything. And recent events prove that we can’t rely on Steve’s advice, and the fact that he’s on his third marriage may prove that he’s not the expert that he has so confidently deemed himself.

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So let’s discuss why and how people get friend zoned and how to climb your way out of the abyss of friend zoneness, if you so choose. Most of us have a list of qualifications for our potential mate, a sometimes very unrealistic list. If the person we meet does not match the items on that list, but they still prove to be a good human and someone you could have fun with, they may immediately get dismissed and thrown into the friend zone basket. Sometimes we have these friendships that have lasted for years, someone you really care about and would be devastated if they left your life so you’re not willing to take the risk of ruining it by attempting a romantic relationship. We also friend zone people out fear of rejection or being hurt. When you are carrying baggage from your past it can be hard to trust, so you put everyone in the friend category to avoid the potential of being let down…again. Other reasons for putting someone in the friend zone is a lack of attraction for someone or simply being incompatible with a person. Or maybe that attraction was there and that person did something disgusting, immoral, or unethical that turns you off. Deciding to start a relationship with anyone is a risk because no one can predict the outcome. And if you decide to move a valuable friendship into relationship territory it can be even more of a risk. First, you need to establish how strong your feelings are and if you feel that your friendship is worth the risk of losing if this relationship doesn’t work or your friend doesn’t feel the same way you do. You can try to establish rules in the beginning like, the friendship won’t change or if it doesn’t work out you’ll work on just being friends again. But let’s face it, that’s a bunch of BULL! It’s damn near impossible to go from being friends, to lovers and seeing each other naked and, if y’all part ways, go back to being just friends. Someone’s feelings are bound to get hurt, things will be said, and people will move on to other relationships. After that, ain’t no mo friendship bih!

Now that you’ve decided that you actually want to use your graveling hook to climb out the friend zone hole, let’s talk about how to actually do that. Depending on how close you are with the individual that you’ve friend zoned, or that has friend zoned you, very few people will know them like you do. That’s your advantage…show them how much you know and understand them. Now don’t do this in a manipulative way, but what better person to have a relationship with than someone who already knows you and all your little funny and disgusting habits. With a stranger, you have to teach and show them who you are and what you like and dislike. When you’ve already established a friendship with someone, the rest should be fairly easy. I’m not saying you won’t experience the same hurdles that all relationships do, but the getting to know each other process shouldn’t be as hard as it would be with a stranger. The most important thing you can do is be patient. It may not be easy for your friend to go from friendship to relationship, especially if they had no idea you had feelings for them beyond friendship. Give them time to process it. If you sincerely care for this person and want to experience a future with them, respect their feelings and their space if they need it.

If you’re trying to get out of the friend zone I hope it works out for you. And if they reject you, F*** em…they weren’t that cute anyway.

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Kitta is an Interviewer and Freelance Blogger/Writer from Jackson, TN. She can provide blogging services for your business or product and event coverage.

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Losing My Religion

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

Judge not lest you be judged. Meaning do not judge unfairly or selfishly. That’s what the bible says right? Yeah, it’s right there in Matthew 7:1…I just read it. So why do so many Christians specialize in being judgmental? For example, on a Saturday outing with my mom and aunt, my aunt asked if she could ask me a question. My reply, “sure, if I can answer honestly.” Before we get into that question, let’s take a little trip down memory lane. I grew up as Baptist the first few years of my life and then as a Jehovah’s Witness from the age of 9 until I was 18. I never really accepted all of their beliefs, always having questions but never speaking my mind. For example, when someone makes a mistake [sins] they are shunned. Forget the fact that everyone sins daily, consciously and unconsciously, because we know bout YOUR sin…because YOUR sin is public knowledge, we’re painting the scarlet letter on your chest until WE think you have redeemed yourself. What happened to ‘come as you are’? Everyone makes mistakes?

Back to my aunt’s curiosity…her question, “Did you not like serving Jehovah?” My response, “I still serve God, why would you ask me that?” She looks me in the eyes and says, “No, I mean Jehovah.” “Wait…you mean the same God you serve?” She says, “People aren’t always referring to Jehovah when they say God.” “Well I’m talking about the SAME God you’re speaking of. The bible calls Him by many names so YES we’re talking about the same God. Did you think I was talking about this ice in my cup. You think I’m worshipping ice sculptures now?” I asked her why she thought I didn’t like serving God. She said because of the activities I partake in and the fact that I have separated myself from that particular religion. “Soooo you mean since I’m out here freestyle sinning, I must have put God on the back burner?” She pretty much said, “Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.” Ha…wow. Never mind the fact that she’s being extremely judgmental right now…I’m a SINNER in her eyes.

Am I a bad person because I’m not connected to a church? Why do I need to be affiliated with a church or a religion to prove that I believe in or serve God? People attend church for a number of reasons:

  • They feel the need to be connected to other like-minded people
  • It’s part of their faith
  • To get and stay close to God
  • For spiritual guidance
  • Or because they were brought up that way

For me, it started out because that’s how I was brought up. Living in the house with my grandmother and watching her go to church every time the doors opened, naturally I thought that’s what you were suppose to do. I mean, how else was I going to avoid going to hell? It became a habit, a part of this thing we call life on earth. It then became a means to stay close to God. How could I be close to and have a relationship with God without being in church? As I got older I attended church because that’s what my circle of friends did. I wanted to be around them and if they went to church, I went to church too…monkey see, monkey do.

Once I realized that I didn’t have to be in church to have a relationship with God, which is the most important thing, I actually started focusing on my relationship with Him more. Like me show you what that looks like if that doesn’t make since to you. When I attended church on Sundays and Tuesday, I often waited until then to fall into worship and talk to God. I depended on the preacher to guide me into prayer, to hype me up to give Him praise. Like I couldn’t do it on my own. The preacher had to tell me what I should be grateful for and motivate me to tell Him thank You.

I lost interest in attending church a long time ago. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t bring myself to get up every Sunday morning. I don’t party much so I wasn’t staying out late every Saturday night, so being too sleepy or tired wasn’t the issue. The last time I attended church was Easter…pretty cliché of those non-church going people. You know, the Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day attendees. While I resided in Memphis I was a regular Sunday morning worship, Tuesday night bible study, Thursday night singles ministry member. But I realized that it wasn’t church itself that I was drawn to. It was the company I kept at the church that drew me in. I made some pretty awesome, lifetime connections. If it weren’t for my ministry group, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been in attendance on a regular basis. Once I moved back home I searched and searched for the perfect church. I couldn’t find what I had in Memphis and that’s when I realized that my main reason for attending was because of my friends. I struggled to find that same connection. I was looking for friends, like-minded people…not religion. I wasn’t searching for God. I talk to God everyday, not just when I’m at church. It finally hit me that I was losing my religion, thank God. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Until next time Laughers,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

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The Highs and Lows of Being in Leadership

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

According to Forbes.com, leadership is defined as: a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. For me, leadership has many definitions, and comes with many responsibilities. There are many benefits to being in leadership, and sometimes it can really SUCK! From afar, being in a leadership position can look glamorous, some may think it comes with power, prestige, and privilege. Now I’m not here to give you a seminar on how to be a better leader. I’m going to give you a real inside look on what it’s like to be in leadership. I’m going to tell you about the sucky side and some of the things that makes me want to kick a hole in the nearest wall almost everyday.Whether you’re a leader on your job or you’re in organizational leadership, there are highs and lows of holding that position. How do I know anything about leadership? Well, I have 10+ years of organizational leadership and management experience.

I’m a retail manager by day, and blogger by night. I’m proud of my accomplishments in my current job, even though my degree has absolutely nothing to do with my current job. I started out as a sales lead, was promoted to assistant manger and 1 year ago this month was promoted to manager. It’s not my first choice for a job but it pays my bills, offers great benefits, and is helping me fund my future career. I’m grateful for the experiences and lessons I’ve learned…the good and the bad. I’ve also discovered that it takes a strong person to be in a leadership role. The highs can make you feel good about your position while the lows will make you want to run and hide under your desk…forever! Whether it’s in the retail industry, ministry, or organizational, leadership can be very emotionally, mentally, and physically draining.

Let’s talk about those lows first, so we can end on a positive note. 😉

Picture courtesy of LinkedIn.com

(picture courtesy of linkedin.com)

Lows

There is no such thing as working 9 – 5, eight hour days do not exist. I usually arrive to work between 7:30 – 8:00am and don’t make it home until about 6:00pm or 6:30pm everyday. That’s almost 11 hours of work, of which I’m only getting paid for 8. Whenever someone asks what time I get off work and I say 5:00pm, their response is, “Oh so I’ll see you around 7:00pm”, because anyone that knows me knows that I never leave work on time.

Being a leader can often feel like being a babysitter because you are, essentially, responsible for everyone that is under your supervision. I spend 75% of my time reminding my team to essentially do their job. I’m always telling them the same thing over and over again. I have to watch them to make sure they don’t stick their fingers in any sockets or put any foreign objects in their mouths, just like babies. Well, not literally, but you get the picture.

Even when you have a so-called off day, you’re still working. If something goes wrong, or they need help understanding something, the head person in charge is the first person they call. My phone rings almost everyday during a time when I’m not at work, with a question from an employee that is usually not important. Now I do have some that will take the time to figure it out themselves. Then there are those who act as if their heads will explode if they stop and take a minute to think and at least try to figure it out. Nope, call the boss because if no one else knows, the boss has the answer. Who cares if the boss is on vacation, surely he/she doesn’t mind taking a call from work.

Clearly you are the ONLY person that knows how to anything and resolve all issues, because they don’t ask anyone but YOU for help. If you’re the leader, you’re the go-to person for EVERYTHING! From fixing the computer when it freezes to unclogging the toilet, you’re the one person that is expected to know how to do it all…even if you don’t, the expectation is so high you’ll fake it (no pun intended). You are expected to make all the hard decisions.

Leaders are the protector of all things. At the end of the day, you are responsible for everything that does and doesn’t happen. When one of your employees or organization members messes up, a good leader will usually do whatever they can to cover for them. How well they do their job and the knowledge they have about the task at hand is a reflection of your leadership skills. And you often end of taking the blame for whatever mistakes have been made. For example, I had a customer to get upset with me, on my off day, because I didn’t solve her problem as fast as she thought I should. Instead of being upset with my employee that was actually at work, she wanted to submit a complain on me because my employee made a mistake. Never mind that I was helping resolve this issue on my own personal time.

Because you are the HPIC (Head Person In Charge) you are expected to be available at all times. It’s like you are expected to sit on phone and wait for someone to call so you can be of service to them. You sacrifice a lot of your personal time for your career, which may cause you to miss a lot functions and events with your family and friends. You never leave work on time, and unfortunately people get use to you rarely being available because of work.

People like to be rewarded like dogs love getting Scooby snacks. In the past, I’ve held friendly competitions between my employees to motivate them to work harder or achieve a company goal. But lately they actually expect me to reward them for doing what they were hired to do…WORK! One of my employees asked me to buy them cupcakes as a reward for being hard workers. Ummm excuse me?! You want me to reward you for doing what you were expected to always do every time you come to work? No ma’am! That’s crazy! Yes, your hard work will eventually pay off in one way or another. It is a leaders job to keep the morale and everyone’s spirit lifted in the workplace, to motivate and inspire their employees to perform at their best. What they shouldn’t expect is a reward or a pat on the back for simply showing up for work and doing their job.

Now let’s talk about the highs, the benefits of being in leadership. I promised you I’d end on a positive note, so here it is:

Highs

I make more money than everyone and I get to delegate to my team, most of the tasks I don’t want to do. J/K… My 10+ years of leadership experience has taught me many skills that I can use in every area of my life. No matter what career I choose, because this is not my last stop, I can carry all my skills and qualifications with me and apply them to help me do my job better. As stressful as it can be, I enjoy being in leadership. I believe my job puts me in the position to not only motivate my people to do a better job, but it also puts me in a position to uplift and empower them in other areas of their lives. Because all eyes are on me, I can set an example and inspire someone else to do better. Also, being chosen as a leader, and having others allow you to lead them, is an honor. It means that someone, well several people actually, think that you have what it takes to WIN! You have the ability to take that organization or business to the next level. You are seen as an ambitious, determined, trustworthy and dependable person. So to all my leaders out there that are about to run head first into that wall, STOP! Just remember that you’re in that position because people believe in you and your leadership abilities and that should make you feel pretty darn good…until tomorrow at least! 😉

As always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Things My Kids Don’t Need To Know: Father’s Day Edition

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

As people, in general, we make tons of mistakes throughout our lifetime. Those of us that do not have children and are not married tend to be a little more carefree because it’s just us. Those who have kids tend to be a little more careful with their choices because they have little eyes that are watching, and often times mimicking, their every move. And as a part of growing up, we also make many mistakes, mainly because we’re young and learning. Our parents try to tell what is and what’s not a good decision, but usually don’t listen. We think we know what’s best for us and we sometimes can’t rely on what our parents are trying to tell us because we don’t know that they have been there, done that, and they have the Polaroid to prove it. Polaroid because, you know, they’re old (don’t send your parents for me because I called them old). It’s a blessing when we do actually learn from our mistakes and make positive changes in our lives. It sucks when we keep making the same mistakes and never grow from the place of immaturity to mature adult. Well, I talked to a few fathers who have made the transition to mature adult despite the mistakes they’ve made.

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Is That A Gun In Your Backpack?

“I have several things that I regret now that I wouldn’t want my kids to find out. My senior year of high school I was expelled from school for having a gun at school. I brought shame to myself and my family. I don’t think that’s something I would tell my children unless I felt it was beneficial to them. The good news is that I later went to college and graduated.” ~A.J.

I Love Twix

As most good parents do, you teach your kids about right and wrong, including not taking things that don’t belong to you. Well I remember there being a warehouse not too far from where I lived when I was growing up. My friends and I made more than one trip stealing cases of candy bars from their trucks. I’m a fan of Twix so it wasn’t too hard to convince me to do the dirty deed. I knew it was wrong and looking back I can’t believe that I did that. I was always paranoid that my mom would be cleaning my room and find the boxes of candy under my bed…luckily she never did.” ~C.B. (SN: I grew up next door to these young men and I’m a little upset that they never shared any of those goodies they stole. I never knew anything about a candy warehouse. Not that I condone stealing, but they could have thrown a snicker my way.)

Skating Around With ‘Kesha’

“I went to jail trying to sell weed. I got busted at the skating rink when they decided to search us and I had a joint that I had in a little baggy that I actually forgot was in my pocket. As they were throwing me up against the wall my cousin was calling my mom. I was 20 and still living with my mom at the time. She went into my room and found my stash…she threw away a pound and a half of Marijuana. I was so sick, but I would never want my baby girl to know her daddy tried to be a drug dealer.” ~G.B.

A Crackhead Will Steal From Anyone

“When I was younger I once stole money from my girlfriends purse to buy drugs. Now what father would want their kids to know that they were so low at one point that they actually went into a woman’s purse and took her money?”~CH.B.

I Loved The Ladies…Too Much

“This really isn’t a secret to those who have known me for years, but in my single days I was addicted to women…literally. At one point in my life I managed 9 committed/labeled girlfriends at once. And the adrenaline rush of getting caught drove me to desire more. My daughters (and wife) will never know that part of my life, but my girls will learn the difference between lust and love and all the possible angles men can utilize to have relations with them.” ~D.C.

I Love Your Mom…Now

“I would be embarrassed for my son to know how I treated his mom before we got married. When we dated the first time I was not ready for a relationship. I remember once on her birthday, I picked her up, took her through the drive-thru at Long John Silvers and then dropped her off at home. I went to kick it with my boys on her birthday. Our relationship was pretty much over after that. We went our separate ways and pursued relationships with other people. But I’m happy to say that we found our way back to each other and are happily married. So glad God forgive me and so did she. No more Long John Silvers on her birthday.” ~S.K.

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers out there. Allow your past mistakes to make you a better parent and try to steer your children in the right direction. And remember no matter how hard you try to prevent your children from going down the wrong path, they will make their own mistakes. Just be there to help them up without judgement. You were once young and probably made some of the same mistakes. And if you’re a father that doesn’t have the greatest relationship with your children, take today to make it right. Someone has to make the first move.

As Always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Turning The Table

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

He who finds a wife finds a good thing.” Everyone knows that scripture, Proverbs 18:22, and has referred to it when talking about dating. Many interpret this scripture to mean that if a man seeks and finds a wife then that’s a good thing. But a woman should never be looking for a husband. Many people, women especially, take this meaning literally and believe it is the man’s job to find her. I was talking to an associate of mine and she said, and I quote, “Women didn’t have rights back then so having a wife would be the same as having a slave around the house. It makes the man’s life so much better.” That’s when I gave the infamous side eye and walked away silently. Others have stated that this scripture is largely misunderstood. They say that it doesn’t matter who does the ‘seeking’ as long as they meet and are equally yoked. I agree with that theory, to a certain extent.

I’m a big fan of Steve Harvey, who calls himself the CLO (Chief Love Officer). Mr. Harvey says that men are chasers and the woman should allow themselves to be chased. As much as most women want to be married, it is believed that we should just sit back and relax and our future husbands discover us. And I say most women because, if you’ve been following my blogs, you know that right now I have no desire to be married. Mr. Harvey says, “Ladies, Mr. Right is looking for you way harder than you are looking for him. Just let him know that you are available.” Now my question to Mr. Harvey is, how do we let ‘him’ know that we’re available without approaching him?

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I would never go against or question the word of God. What I do believe is that there nothing wrong with going for what you want. Now I mean that women should throw themselves at a man, but you should let him know you’re available like Mr. Harvey said. But how do we do that? Well, I’m a fan of having a middle man, meaning I’m not going to send my friend over to tell a man I’m interested. I might, however, use my friend, or someone that knows my ‘person of interest’, to get all the details I need before I make my move. But what should my move be? Do I just walk up to him and say, “Hey, I like you.” Or should I go old school and write him a letter, “I like you, do you like me? Check yes □ no □ or maybe □.” Since I hate rejection, like everyone else, I often don’t reveal when I like someone, unless I know he likes me too. That sounds so high school-ish right? Yeah, I know but it’s true. Most people live by the rule “it’s better to try and fail than fail to try.” I don’t live by that rule. And my flirting methods aren’t that effective. Most times guys just think I’m being nice, not flirting, by having a conversation with them. So what do I do and is it okay for me to make the first move. What better way to get the answers to those questions than to ask a few men how they feel about being approached by a woman and having her make the first move.

After listening to what Mr. Harvey has to say about relationships I was expecting completely different responses from my male friends. The question that I asked:

“How do you feel about a woman approaching you making it known that she’s feeling you? Would you rather her not make the first move and does that make her look thirsty if she does?”

“It wouldn’t bother me. I’m shy anyway so it would make it easier for me if she approached me first. Whether she comes off as thirsty or desperate depends on pursuit. If she’s overly aggressive that’s unattractive. She can express her interest in a subtle but clear way. We [men] don’t pick up on hints too well so the woman needs to make her intentions clear.” ~ EB

“It doesn’t bother me at all. It makes it hard if it’s someone I don’t like in return then that makes it hard. But men put themselves out there all the time and get rejected so I guess it’s no different. What I don’t want is for her to ask me out on a date. If I like her then I feel like it’s my job to ask her out and court her in the beginning. I’m old school I guess, but I definitely don’t have a problem with a woman expressing her interest.” ~ TW

“I would be flattered if someone expressed an interest in me. It’s like wow someone actually likes me, lol. It would be a nice change from me be the seeker all the time. Now I do believe in the chase. I don’t want a woman to just put everything on the table for me, leave something to the imagination. But there’s nothing wrong with making your interest known, male or female.” ~ CW

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I guess Mr. Harvey was right, you have to leave space for a guy to be a guy. So ladies the lesson of the day is, if a fellow catches your eye and holds your attention for more than just the initial first look, it’s okay for you to make your interest known. And how do you that without coming off too aggressive or looking thirsty? Well, you just say it. You don’t stalk him, or blow up his inbox on Facebook, or like ALL of his pics on Instagram (including pics from 20 weeks ago because them he will know you’ve been stalking him). Just like one of his pics once a week so he sees your name pop up in your notifications. And once you’ve put yourself out there, let him make the first move. If he’s interested he’ll bite, if not then take your cake to someone who will appreciate the flavor. Okay that didn’t sound right, but you know what I mean. Now I just have to apply this to my own life because I’ve had my eye on someone for a while now. I’ll be back with an update soon. 😉

As Always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

RnB/Soul Artist JL: Painting A New Picture of Music

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

R&B/Soul artist JL (Jawaskia Lake) is not just stepping on the stage and singing songs, he’s bringing back the true sound of  R&B and soul music, providing true entertainment for his fans. I first became acquainted with JL when I heard him sing at a First Friday event about 3 years ago. He describes his music as 90s style R&B and soul. Originally from Bolivar, TN, most of his fan base is located in Jackson, TN. Having opened for major artists like Keith Sweat, Brian McKnight, and Keisha Cole, he is definitely making his way to the front line in the music world.

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At the young age of 8 years old, like most musical artists, JL got his start in church. Coming from a musical family, his mom being a gospel artist and his older brother being a member of a musical group out of Memphis, TN called Perfection, it was only right the he also became involved in music. He soon found himself traveling with his brother’s group playing the drums and eventually filling in for other singers in the group. After about 7 years of singing gospel JL ventured into the world of secular music and started experimenting with R&B, wanting to try something new and different from what his family was doing. His new sound soon garnered him a new fan base and he knew he’d made the right move. That’s when he decided to start buying his own equipment and set up a studio in his home so he could write and produce more music.

He was determined to be heard and noticed for his style of music. When he debuted his song Paint A Picture, he did just that. Even though he had been recording for years, Paint A Picture was his breakout hit and what made people want to hear more of his music. His music was now being heard by more people, but this new-found popularity came with a few bumps in the road. People that he’d worked closely with no longer wanted to be in his shadows and decided to break away. When booking shows, he found that promoters didn’t want to pay him much. Although performing, for JL, is not all about the money, he also didn’t want to be taken advantage of. Which is one of the reasons he started hosting his own events, sponsoring several shows at Miss Ollie’s, a venue located in Jackson, TN. These events are made affordable to his fans and provides local, much-needed entertainment to those of us that enjoy great, live music. He also does a lot of charity events for free.

JL says that through his music, he wants to bring back that 90s style R&B sound. Because his music is relate-able, JL has built a huge fan base. He writes songs that are true to life…touching on things and situations that everyone can relate to. Most of his songs lyrics come from his own life experiences. His  sound is a blend of melodic, soulful music you can slow dance. Now when is the last time you slow danced? In the 90s right? I know, me too. And how many times have you said or heard people say that music just isn’t what it was 10 or 20 years ago? Music doesn’t give you that same ‘good feeling’ it once did because artists today aren’t true R&B singers. Most artists don’t do it for the true passion and love of music, rather for the love of money and fame. If you’re ever fortunate enough to have the JL experience you’ll hear the same feel good, classic R&B music that came from artists such as Joe and Donnell Jones. JL’s music has that soul sound that you aren’t likely to hear from many artists today. In 2011 JL started his own label, SouLink Music. Although he hasn’t signed any artist, other than himself, through SouLink JL is able to be an artist, producer and song writer. He’s already gotten calls to write songs for some major artists, so if singing doesn’t work out he has some eggs in other baskets. In one way or another JL’s name will soon be well-known in the music industry.

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JL’s Laugh Story

“I’m not a drinker or a smoker, but one time I was at a show in Nashville when one of my band members decided we should have some drinks before the show. This was my first time performing at this particular venue and it was a full house. Well I had TOO many drinks. Once I got on stage I forgot every song I was performing that night. I almost fell when I was going on the stage. Eventually I gathered myself and was able to get through the show successfully, but I will never drink before a show again. That was my worst show to date.” ~ JL

JL’s new album will be released August 2015. In the meantime you can go to iTunes and download his EP, The Appetizer, which features the single Paint A Picture.

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Follow JL on Facebook and Instagram

As always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy through reality, one laugh at a time.

Things You Don’t Need To Know: Mother’s Day Edition

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

Do you sometimes ask your mom questions about her past? Maybe about things that happened before you were born? Like, Have you ever smoked weed?, Did you ever sneak out of the house?, We’re you a virgin before you met my father? A lot of us wonder what our mothers were like before we came along. We like to think that our mothers are perfect but, ummm, that’s just not a realistic thought. Just like we’ve done things that we aren’t so proud of and mistakes, some more than others (I’m talking about myself), our mothers made some mistakes too. There are things that they would never want you to find out because maybe they’re embarrassed or they don’t want you to follow in their footsteps. But I think in a lot of cases, if parents were more open about SOME of their past mistakes, they could actually help their children through similar situations or maybe even prevent them from going through the same thing. So in honor of Mother’s Day I found a few mothers that were brave enough to share some of their past experiences with me. Not brave enough to let me share their names, but brave none the less. Check them out:

The Dentist Is My Friend ~ by T.

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“When I was younger I dated this guy whose dad had his own janitorial business, so he had keys to several offices in our town. My boyfriend would get his dad’s keys and we would go to different places and have sex. It really didn’t matter where because we would basically do it anywhere. But there was one place we seemed to visit often, the dentist office. One day when I was taking my son to his dental appointment with his new dentist, I thought I recognized the address but couldn’t figure out if I had been there before. Once we got inside I realized this was the same dentist office me and my ex use to visit to have sex. And my son and I actually sat in the same area that our little ‘adventures’ took place. I would die if he ever knew that his mom had sex in the same office where he gets his teeth cleaned.”

Mommy’s A Liar ~ by J.

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“When I was in high school I would go midnight bowling all the time. Well, at least that’s where my parents thought I was going. I was really out with my friends going to different bars. I thought I was getting away with it, but I later found out that my mom kind of suspected that I wasn’t really bowling. But my dad totally believed I was into bowling. So much so, that I later found out he was going to buy me my own bowling ball and bag. My mom later told me she was so close to letting him buy it for me just so I would have to drag that heavy thing with me every time I claimed to go bowling. I would never want my kids to know that I was lying about my whereabouts every time I left home. And it’s scary to think that they would ever lie about where they are when they start going out with their friends.”

THOT ~ by C.

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“I have dated a lot of men. Over the period of a few years I can count at least 34 men that I have dated. And I’m 34 years old now. Of course I did not have all of these men around my son, but for a while I was ‘out there.’ I wouldn’t want my son to know that I was a THOT…That Hoe Over There.”

I Maced Your Father ~ by S.

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“My relationship with my kids father has always been, for lack of a better word, rocky. We had an on and off again relationship. When he acted like a good human being we were together and happy, when he cheated with other women and even made a baby with someone else we would be broken up. Well one night my girls and I decided to hang out at a local club. Well, we hung out in the parking lot because, like most of the people hanging out in the parking lot, we weren’t old enough get in. What I didn’t know was that my boyfriend was also in the parking lot and he had another girl in his car. Of course I flipped out, although you would think I’d use to this behavior by now. We got into an argument and I ended up spraying him in the face with the mace I had attached to my key ring. We are not together today because I was finally smart enough to walk away. And I do not talk bad about him in front of my children because I never want them to know what kind relationship I had with their father. I don’t want to paint a bad picture of him and I definitely do not want them to think that I was stupid for putting up with his mess, LOL.”

Petty Theft ~ By M.

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“When I was younger I hung out with these two girls that were a really bad influence. We went to a store together one day and after we returned home one of them pulled out a pair of earrings she had stolen. I was shocked that she stole something and amazed that it was that easy to get away with it. We started going to various stores and shoplifting. We would take a shirt or a pair of pants. Well one day, unknown to us, store security was watching us. As we left the store security stopped us and we were escorted back into the store. Long story short we spent the night in jail. We were charged with misdemeanor theft and had to pay fines, given community service, and we were put on probation for one year. That’s why it’s so important for me to know my kid’s friends. I need to know who they are hanging around and where they are going when they leave the house. I don’t want them to have any bad influences that will lead to them making a stupid mistake that could follow them for years. I also don’t want them to be the bad influence on someone else, which is why I do my best to make sure they know right from wrong and the consequences of doing wrong.”

Taking The Back Roads ~ by K.

"Will it take you long to fix it ?.I have to be home in twenty minutes."

“One day after school I went to visit my boyfriend, one my parents didn’t know about. When I left I was rushing home because it was almost time for my mom to be home. On my way home my car stopped on a back road that I didn’t have any business being on because it was coming from my boyfriend’s house. Of course I had to call my mom. When she asked me why I was on that back road I told her that a police car was behind me so I turned onto another because I was nervous that he was going to give me a ticket. Well, my fuel pump had gone out on my car and I went like a month without a car because my mom made me save the money to have my car fixed. Something always goes wrong when you’re doing something that you’re not suppose to be doing. I wouldn’t want my son to know that I had relationships that my parents didn’t know about. I wouldn’t want him hiding anything like that from me. And my car stopping on that back road could have been a worse situation than it was if I didn’t have a way to call for help.”

WOW! You mothers are something else! But we’ve all done some things that we aren’t proud of. It’s called life! I know there are some things I would never want my kids to know but thankfully I’m never having kids so I won’t have to worry about that. But if I did have children, and they can read, ummmmm since mommy is a blogger that puts ALL of business out there for the world to read about…they will be able to read about all of my stupid mistakes. And I think I would be okay with that. If it helps them to know that mommy went through the same thing they may be currently going through, I’m fine with them knowing about the time I played the fool for a guy…several guys. Oh geez! Happy Mother’s Day Laughers!

As always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

It’s Been A Long Time Coming: G Billa of Jackson’s Hot 96.1

Markitta-1011ad

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

In 2010 Gary Bills went to one of the local radio stations in Jackson, TN in an effort to get his music played. Unsuccessful, he never gave up. He returned to that same station every week, determined to get his music played. His determination earned him an internship at the station. Not quite what he was expecting, but at least he now had his foot in the door. After learning how to work the ‘boards’, he eventually landed a position working with radio personality Mr. Richard Donnell Sr. during his Community Feedback show that aired on Sunday mornings on 96 KIX. While grateful for this opportunity, Gary was still very focused on getting music played.

For as long as I can remember, Jackson, TN has only had one R&B station that appealed to the younger generation, and the not so younger generation that enjoyed R&B and the sometimes hip hop music that this station played. We really had no other options, unless we popped in a CD or streamed music from an online outlet such as Pandora or iHeart Radio or had satellite radio. This particular station didn’t really play a lot of up-to-date music, but if you were into ‘old school’ music then this was definitely the station for you. However, in 2014 Jackson was introduced to a new Hip Hop station, Hot 96.1.  This created a lot of buzz and excitement, because Hip Hop fans now had another option for music. Well, at least that’s what we thought, until this station started to sound very similar to the old station that we were all accustomed to hearing. The same music and the same radio personalities came through the speakers. What the freak?! Back to my CDs and Pandora. Then one day I tuned in and a heard a new voice…Gary Bills, a.k.a. G Billa was now rocking the mic! No disrespect to any of the vets of the Jackson airwaves, but it was refreshing to hear new talent, which hopefully meant a whole new sound. So I had to have a one on one conversation with G Billa.

Now G Billa always had dreams of being on the radio, not just behind the scenes pushing the buttons on the tech board. Even as a kid, not fully recognizing this passion, he would record his own live radio broadcasts. After mistakenly taping over his mom’s Patti Labelle tape, she went out and bought him a stack of blank cassette tapes. He would record himself doing live commentaries to all of the San Francisco 49ers football games…his favorite team I’m guessing. After working at the radio station for about 3 years the program director finally gave him the opportunity to fill in for DJs when they were out or if they were at a remote location doing a live broadcast. He was a natural behind the mic. After only one time on the air, he knew that being behind the mic was where he was meant to be.

Recently the people of Jackson were shocked when one of the local radio personalities posted a video on Facebook announcing his departed from radio. Richard Dee of 96 KIX and Hot 96.1 was stepping away after being in radio for many years. His voice was very recognizable and the people of Jackson and surrounding counties had become accustomed to hearing his voice when they turned on their radios. I tip my hat to Richard Dee because he definitely made his mark in radio and left a lasting impression on all that listened to him. His departure now made room for new talent. G Billa finally got the call he’d be waiting on. He’s now the new midday, early afternoon voice of Hot 96.1. When asked about what he’s going to bring that makes him different from the rest, “You never know what to expect from me. I’m all about having fun, bringing the excitement and making people laugh. I have a lot of ideas It’s go time! Expect the unexpected!”

I admire the determination and passion that G Billa has displayed. His journey to radio hasn’t been an easy or fast one. For anyone who’s interested in being in radio or anyone who has dreams G Billa has a few words of advice: “Be persistent and don’t quit. Don’t ever stop chasing your dream. Don’t ever say, I’m done with this. You may feel like giving up but DON’T DO IT! One day it’s going to be your time. People are so impatient when it comes to getting their shot, their time to shine. I’m 35 years old, it’s been a long freakin time coming. Throughout my 20s I’ve just been cooking in restaurants. And don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I went to culinary school also, but I love the radio. I knew in my heart that’s where I belonged. I never gave up. I continued to work other jobs while still working in radio. And now it’s my time. I finally got my shot.”

You can catch G Billa on Jackson’s Hot 96.1, Monday – Friday from 12pm-6pm.

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Hot 96.1 is a division of Thomas Media, which also includes 96 KIX, STAR 107.7, WYN 106.9, and 102.3 THE ROCKET.

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As always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

When Your Broken Heart Becomes Your Fault

Markitta-1011ad

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

Girl meets boys. Girl and boy fall in love. Things are good for one or two years. Things suddenly start to change. Boy or girl is no longer in love. Boy and girl go their separate ways. Girl or boy is confused and blindsided…didn’t see this coming. Or did they? Let’s go back a few months and take a look at what may have transpired. Remember that one time her phone rang and she took the call in the other room? And how that started happening more regularly, when she normally has no problem taking calls in front of you no matter who it is? Or how you usually see him almost every day of the week and now you see him maybe three or four days out of the week…if he has time? Oh, or what about the first time you suspected he was lying to you about where he was and what he did the night before, but you dismissed it because you didn’t want to believe that he would actually lie to your face! Yep! There are always signs, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. The signs are sometimes subtle, but sometimes HUGE! They smack us in the face like the smell of your grandma cooking chitterlings in the summer time. We see the changes taking place but we hope that we can do something to bring things back to normal…the way it was when you both were in love with each other. We don’t realize that the longer we ignore the problems the worse those problems become. And sometimes we set ourselves up for a heartbreak. How is that possible you ask? Well, we put ourselves in situations that we KNOW will not have a happy ending.

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Take me for example, because y’all know I’ve put myself in some questionable situations. A few years ago I was in ‘like’ with this guy. We weren’t in a relationship or even dating. But we had a strong like for each other. We talked everyday, he came to visit me at work regularly, and I even stayed up all night texting him while he was at work. Yep, I sacrificed sleep just to talk to him! It felt like we were teenagers, neither of us wanting to be the first to hang up the phone. I thought that since we were taking the time to really get to know each, without being around each other all the time and not even being close to being intimate, that we were starting off on the right foot. We weren’t being distracted by lust because we weren’t spending time together alone. We were sharing a different type of intimacy. HA! Corny right? I know, I know. But just keep reading because there was a very good reason why we were never alone together or went out on dates or never even seen together in public. He wasn’t 100 percent available…he was engaged to be married…and not to me. And yes I knew this before I got ‘involved’ in this situation with him! But I continued to talk to him every day, staying up all night texting him while he was at work. I believed the things he told me about his current relationship, and then I got my heart broken. I logged on to Facebook one day and I saw wedding pictures…his wedding pictures…I talked to him the day before his wedding and he never mentioned the fact that he was getting married the next day. I was hurt and angry. I couldn’t believe that he was such a coward to not tell me he was about to walk down the aisle. I thought we meant more to each other and he had more respect for me to hurt me like that. LOL, yeah I know that’s funny right? I had to laugh at myself on that thought. But wait! Should he have given me the heads up that he was getting married? I mean, I knew he was engaged and marriage is what usually follows. Truth is he didn’t owe me anything. A warning about his upcoming wedding, an explanation, an apology…NOTHING! My broken heart was now my fault. So often we go through relationships with our love shades on. Just like our Ray Bans, Nine West, and for some of us Prada shades, blocks the sun, our love shades block the lies, excuses and infidelity. They block the lack of interest from our partner. They block the true personalities and characters of our significant other. We wear them inside and outside, making people look at us thinking that we are confused. You know those people who wear their shades inside or even when there is no sun out? Or people who take selfies with their shades on…or the dude that always wears a hat because he just doesn’t look the same without it.They refuse to remove these items because they seem to make everything look better. Some tend to think they can change a person if they stick by them, love them through their mess. Hmph! When a person shows you over and over again who they are, and you still don’t believe them…your broken heart becomes YOUR FAULT! pic3 So how do we stop breaking our own hearts? Simple..stop settling! Recognize that you deserve better and do not settle for less than what you want. You think that what you have now is the best you can do. No ma’am! God wants more for you in EVERY area of your life. Your career, your education, your family, your friends and your relationships. He does want us to settle for less, when He wants to give us the best. But we have to let go so we can grasp what He has waiting for us. We should NEVER let a man or woman have to tell us twice that they don’t want us!

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As always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.