Joi-Marie McKenzie, Author of ‘The Engagement Game’, Is A Writing Ass Chick We Love » VSB

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Joi-Marie McKenzie, Author of ‘The Engagement Game’, Is A Writing Ass Chick We Love

Courtesy of Joi-Marie McKenzie

 

If you don’t know, you gon’ learn today. Joi-Marie McKenzie is the homie. Her website, TheFabEmpire.com is integral to anybody trying to navigate the goings on of Washington, DC, Baltimore, NYC, Atlanta, etc., especially during Washington, DC’s annual Black prom, the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. Joi-Marie let’s you know the low down on it all. On top of being a person in the absolute know, she’s added author to her resume! Today marks the release of her debut book, The Engagement Game, a book I’ve had the pleasure of previewing in advance. And I love it. And I’ll even go out on a limb and say that you will too. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Joi-Marie a bit about her book.

So without further ado, here’s a chit-chat with a writing ass chick we love, Joi-Marie McKenzie.

P: So, Joi-Marie McKenzie, as a writing ass chick we love around VSB, we know who you are, and lots of folks (especially in DC) know who you are, but for those that might not have the pleasure of being so acquainted (yet), tells us a bit about yourself.

JMM: Well, I’m from Baltimore — born and raised. I eventually graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and was introduced and fell in love with D.C. nightlife. That led me to create a blog, The Fab Empire (which is how we met!). And I can’t believe that The Fab Empire is almost 10 years old. But anyway, I eventually moved to New York thanks in part to the success of my blog and attaining a degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. That led me to my job as an entertainment and lifestyle writer at ABC News. And now I can add author to my resume, which is a dream come true.

P: Well since you mentioned it, let’s go on ahead and jump right into it. You authored the book, The Engagement Game, a period memoir of sorts about your dating life and the quest for “the ring.” First things first, let me say how much I’m enjoying this book. And I mean that from the heart. You wrote a book that name-checks SO many aspects of my twenties and thirties that I feel like I was in many of those places with you. For that, I thank you. It made it that much more of an interesting, and fun, read for me. So let’s start at the beginning; why did you write this book? And for whom did you write this book?

JMM: I honestly didn’t know I was writing a book when I started. I’ve always kept a diary since I was 8 years old and it’s been a way for me to vent my frustrations or celebrate my joys. So I was literally watching “Say Yes to the Dress” on another Friday night — frustrated in my five year relationship that seemed to be stalling — and I just got up to write at my desk. What came out was 20 pages. I ended up sending those pages to my mom for feedback, as I often do because she’s a writer as well, and she’s like,

‘You’re right, this could be a book.’ She sent it to one editor for feedback and that editor ended up wanting to buy it and publish it. So God is super good.

I wrote this book for me, and for women like me who feel like they’re living in stuck spaces. So often we can always point to our man, or our family, or our friends, or the dog — and blame them for why we’re not getting what we want out of life. This book reminds me, and I hope it reminds women (and men for that matter) that oftentimes if we switch the lens around, we’ll find that the only person to remove us from that stuck space is ourselves.

P: That is definitely an “ain’t God good” story! So let’s talk about the actual book. We’ve got engagement chicken, which I ALSO googled and found the Glamour article. We’ve got reflections. We’ve got Adam and Cody and Chinedu, etc. did you ever worry about including some of those relationships in the book? Even if you did change the names?

JMM: Right! I find that the men who’ve read this book are fascinated with Engagement Chicken! So that’s hilarious. But no, I was very intentional about only telling my story — and not the stories of these men whose lives have intertwined with mine. And I tried really hard not to write it like a typical memoir, where often people paint themselves as the angel and their ex is the villain. Or paint myself as the victim. So basically I told on myself. People who’ve read it said at times they don’t know who to root for, and that excites me because relationships are messy. And it’s usually not just one persons fault that it didn’t work out.

IMG_8704P: You know, that’s a good point. I didn’t find myself looking at any of the men with aggressive side-eyes at all. It was the story of young Black folks who typically go through very similar things at this point in their lives. And yes, engagement chicken is GOING to set off all the alarms for every man who comes across it.

In telling your story and sharing your own truth, did you learn anything about yourself or come to any epiphanies about who you are in relationships? Or even more deeply, who you are when not in a relationship?

*mind blown*

JMM: I had several epiphanies, but I think the main one for me is that I realized that I didn’t love myself as much as I thought I did. Because if I did I wouldn’t have changed and shape-shifted so easily for a person that I loved (you know, play The Engagement Game). I changed willingly and gladly; I didn’t even fight for myself to exist. And so I learned that despite my faults, I am enough. And I had a problem with seeing myself through the lens of men so I placed my value in if they deemed me worthy, or girlfriend material, or wife material.  That’s dangerous. So now, even if no one else tells me I’m worthy, I don’t really need them to, because I know it in my bones.

And what an amazing question — if I learned more about myself when I’m single. Absolutely! And it goes back to, again, not needing that “person” to tell myself or tell others that I’m good. I am good whether they come or if they go. It’s powerful to know that not one person has the ability to shake my core happiness — and it took me 29 years to get that.

P: Alright, let’s get a fun question in here. There’s a lot of humor in this book, probably intentionally and unintentionally. What was the most fun part about writing it?

JMM: Reliving experiences like my girls trip to Istanbul, Turkey. To actually vacation there was one thing, but then to sort of trace my steps again in the book-writing process was fun. Because that trip was so surreal. We got to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences like meeting the owner of Suada, which is essentially an island in the middle of the Bosphorus River, and take his private boat to another nightclub he owned, Reina. Like, stuff like that doesn’t happen to girls from Baltimore. And it’s so funny because someone recently asked me, ‘Did that really happen?’ I’m like yessss. It’s a memoir. It happened. And I’m especially glad I wrote about that experience because Reina has been in the news recently after a gunman opened fire inside. That was really heartbreaking to hear, especially when the owner was so lovely and so hospitable to us.

P: That actually sounds dope. I’ve always felt like one of the dope parts about being the writer of the crew was that I was documenting the shared history of all my friends. Alright, let’s start to wind this up; I can really go on for days. What do you want people to take away from your story?

JMM: A lot of the book plays with the idea of shame and how it will make you hide parts of yourself and shape-shift to get people to like you, and it will tell women to be ashamed because you’re still single or because you want to be married and so that means you’re desperate. And so I hope this book helps people identify how shame is affecting their own lives, and then free themselves of it. Remember, if you have to change who you are to get it, it’s not really yours.

Ultimately I want to remind people, especially women, with this book that they are the authority of their own lives. If they’re frustrated, if they feel stuck in their relationships, on their jobs, with their dreams and their goals that they have the power to get exactly what they want. Turn inward, clarify what it is that you want and then have courage to act.

P: You better preach, sister girl! I really like that direction. We all need a reminder about personal agency on occasion. And if it’s wrapped into a great story about, well, all the better. Consider how well this book and story are put together, I’m sure people will get at least that much, plus some. I’ve held you here long enough, so let’s wrap this up and let people know where they can pre-order the book, find you, etc. Tell everybody what they need to know so they can go out and get, get, get it! Also, is there anything else you want people to know about you, your book, or, I don’t know, about anything? The floor is yours.

JMM: You can buy the memoir wherever books are sold, or go to my website JoiMarie.com. Also, follow me on TwitterInstagram, and on Facebook. I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts — well, only the good ones. (I’m a writer and I’m sensitive about my shhh!)

Yes, one more thing about the book: It also includes some of my celebrity interviews from my time at ABC News. So I take readers behind the scenes on my interviews with Spike Lee, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Hudson and Jill Scott, which is my favorite.

That’s it! Thanks so much for this.

P: No problem! Thank you for being a writing ass chick that we love, and thanks for sharing your story with us here at VSB! Good luck with the book. I look forward to hearing and reading all the good things!

 

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Well I’m sold. I need to know more about his Engagement Chicken.

  • Question though: Do men ever feel like their relationships are stuck/stalling? Or at the very least, not progressing in ways they’d like to see them progressing? If so, do y’all see the writing on the wall and cut all ties or do you press on hoping for a change of heart?

    • The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that we can be unhappy with relationships as well as anyone else. The difference is that men are encouraged to channel their frustrations more. At worse, that’s how you get dudes with outside kids. Even at best, that’s how you get workaholics and couples where they’re glorified roommates and take a lot of separate vacations. And as for myself, well…I didn’t divorce my ex-wife because of fun. LOL

      • Real life relationships sound like far more work than I’m willing to put in at this point and time. Thank you for your response!

        An aside: I’m far too selfish for romance, and love, and what not. Y’all are some good ones.

      • BlackMamba

        Damn Todd. Dropping truth bombs.

      • Digital_Underground

        I agree with where you are going here. I don’t know if its socialization or what. But as men we usually pick up the message that we aren’t to ask more of the relationship. We are to look outside of it to make up the difference. That can be good in some ways. But it can be an absolute disaster in other ways.

        • Look outside to make up the difference? What does this mean exactly? Cheating? Overcompensating?

          • SoonToBeMrs

            Giiiiiiiirl.

          • Yes! LOL It definitely can be cheating. It can be working too much. It can be focusing on hobbies, particularly male specific ones. It can be as basic as just focusing on having a good a$$ career, and just asking the Mrs. to show up for company events looking well dressed and not starting drama. It varies.

            • Why would you stay with someone you have to instruct to “not start drama”?

              • I’m only one dude. That said, from what I’ve seen talking to other men, it’s easier to say “her pu$$y is better than yours, bih!” than to say “I don’t like it when you ask me about the friends I work with and tell me how to do my job.”

                • Sadly this is true. The first part ends it all. The second leads to more conversation and feelings and whatnot.

              • Rewind4ThatBehind

                Who knows.

                Ask army vets. Or businessmen. People who travel alot and leave their wives lonely, hoping she’d ride it out like they are.

                A lot of people don’t really know how to make compatibility work, they just naturally assume once the relationship begins, you’re in there like swim wear.

            • Hugh Akston

              But then she’ll cheat and she’s like “you work tew much you’re never here” and then bob will call the Todd lmao

          • Digital_Underground

            That the thing. Looking outside could simply be finding some way to channel your energy. That could be something positive like playing in a local rec league. It could be doing constructive things in your community. Or it could be something negative like an affair. Depends on the man and the issues he’s working through.

        • I’ll put it to you like this. In the year immediately after my divorce, I would say at LEAST 30 different people asked me “why didn’t I just cheat?” It’s not that they were being cruel, but there’s the general assumption in American society that it’s acceptable for a dude to step out if he can prove that his woman is doing him wrong.

          • SoonToBeMrs

            It’s not an American thing. It’s an everywhere assumption. African men oo.

      • SoonToBeMrs

        Hold up. Dudes channel out their ‘frustrations’ by having outside babies. That’s how frustrations are being channelled now? Yeah, ok.

        Brassy. I don’t play.

        • Yeah! I mean, that was a pretty big part of the plot of Fences. Dude was unhappy with how his marriage was working and his career, so he found some new thing, and blessed her with a bundle of joy. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s real.

          • SoonToBeMrs

            But if we were to do that, ya’ll would loose your shid.

            Women stop accepting phakkbois. Throw them out. Just get the ? on the side without your emotions being submerged in his nonsense.

            • I’m just following up AP’s question about men feeling stuck in relationships. Don’t take my commentary as endorsing any behavior.

            • Freebird

              She don’t want to be saved. Phakkbois out here being chosen and having lots of babies.

              Some of us lose our sh it cause women often pretend to be above the dirt. And above the frey. Thats why rappers talk about smashing other dudes women more than their own. The take down can be fun…so I hear. So when women do play in it the disappointment can feel magnified.

              • Hugh Akston

                preach!!!

              • To me that’s structurally $exist. A lot of men and women seem to believe that women are above such shenanigans, and if she does go there, it’s because a man made her or pushed her there. We deny women agency when we do that AND we deny my their own grief.

                • This is the plot of ‘insecure.’

                • Freebird

                  I agree. It’s in part why men often have no clue.

                • Hugh Akston

                  Lol many times talking to female associates it goes like “I hate x type of dude”

                  Me:” but why do you date them?”

                  Them almost unanimously “I don’t know”

                  Me”just say you like them and that’s what you wanted at the time ”

                  Them “but but”

                  I’m of the mind of free will and having your own agency…in many conversations it seems many individuals want to remove the free will of those people to provide some rationale for some decisions that they make

                  Eh bien donc c’est la vie?

                  • Freebird

                    It’s easier on the soul if you can blame the man, men, and the dog.

                  • Rewind4ThatBehind

                    That’s usually because the support for women comes from managing pain, not fixing it. They get all their friends to co-sign all of their bad decisions, but nobody is just as loud when telling them to get their sh*t together and find out why they keep doing the same dirt repeatedly.

                    The rationale is always there: people are weak but need to project strength.

                    • esa

                      that’s a powerful form of sabotage.

                    • Rewind4ThatBehind

                      Indeed it its, and it’s criminally overlooked.

                    • esa

                      i’m unnerved by how coddling is used to infantilize people that that they become dysfunctional, irrational, and co-dependent.

                    • Rewind4ThatBehind

                      It shouldn’t be surprising. If you control someone’s movements, you control their allegiance in life. They will need you and not have any means of establishing themselves.

                    • esa

                      not surprising, agreed. but deeply disconcerting how prevalent and fiercely defended it is.

                    • Freebird

                      This right here

                  • esa

                    it’s possible that when people say “i don’t know,” what they really mean is “i don’t want to know.”

                    • Hugh Akston

                      i can understand “I don’t know ” when I was 10…but at 20 year old? I was fully conscious of what I was doing and why I was doing it

                      “I don’t know” is a way for people to not reveal themselves to you..but they know exactly why they did x action…

                      But if people want to believe that grown people’s actions cannot be explained by said person they are free to do…i on the other hand am free to dismiss as a simple lie

                    • esa

                      undoubtedly there are people who do not want to reveal themselves to you, but there are also people who do not want to know their truth—especially if it’s ugly and they don’t have a clue how to fix it. some folks out here are dealing with trauma and neglect, and one of the most common coping techniques is denial. relationships have a way of pointing to the closets where skeletons are dancing.

                      i dont think self-deception is exclusively a simple lie. i think it can very often be a complex lie. i give people the benefit of the doubt in their journey to rational thought. not all of us are starting in the same place.

                    • Hugh Akston

                      I think your first paragraph stray from what I was referring to in a way…

                      I can understand someone saying “I did drugs because I wanted to forget about something” rather than “I don’t know” I can accept “I was with those kind of of people because I didn’t value myself, and that’s what i needed at the time” than “I don’t know”

                      I can reflect on my mistakes and state them openly and I can state why I did them…but to say I don’t know..would be a lie..there is always a reason

                      And your last paragraph is why I tend to stay away from people and why I usually tried to have an open discussion about our past early on in relationships…the end result is the same I always say if I ask you a question and you don’t want to answer either say nothing or say you don’t want to talk about it…and that’s fine…but folks consciously lie to me..and when I find out later they can’t understand my reaction…which is let’s stop here and not continue there is no need…and now at this point to get in any kind of relationship is a scary thought…especially thinking “what lies in that persons closet?” Don’t know don’t care to find out…so I continue my life in my cave :)

                • esa

                  some people find comfort in illusions when reality cuts too deep.

          • Digital_Underground

            My grandfather did that. And its not just the outside kids. A lot of old school guys were heavy drinkers and smokers. It all connected.

        • DG

          I think what he means by channelling out frustrations is that rather than addressing issues directly with a woman (I.e., expressing that your needs aren’t being met, admitting that you’re not happy/satisfied with the relationship, etc.), many of us tend to turn our focus outside of the relationship to avoid having that discussion. As Todd suggested, a man may start working longer hours, hanging out more with friends, and yes (in some situations) having relationships other women. It’s prob a poor way to go about avoiding that discussion, but it is what it is.

        • Rewind4ThatBehind

          You’d be surprised at how many men complain the women in their lives do not listen to their complaints.

          So if you aren’t used to speaking out against things that bother you, and you muster the courage to do it and get ignored repeatidly, it’s not surprising he’s going to draw within and go do him some other way.

          There were days I dreaded going home because I didn’t want a fight to start. Or times I looked at my phone and got scared about how long I stayed out.

          Walking on eggshells.

          • Hugh Akston

            I hear you

            We’ve all been there at some point

            • Rewind4ThatBehind

              That’s a thing men have to fix. Stop thinking your woman lives by stereotypes. Need to understand her individually, put her gender to the side, and really investigate who she is.

              • Hugh Akston

                Easier said than done lol

                I go to the other side…#noengagementmenogobroke lol

                • Rewind4ThatBehind

                  It is but I’m never repeating that mistake again.

              • Blueberry01

                …you mean, like, get to know her as a person?

                • Rewind4ThatBehind

                  It’s the craziest idea, I know but just trust me on this…I might be on to something.

                  • Blueberry01

                    I hate you…lol.

                    • Rewind4ThatBehind

                      Gimme a hug, you know I deserve it.

                    • Blueberry01

                      :HUGS:

          • SoonToBeMrs

            Mmmmmmhhh. No reason to cheat.

            • Hugh Akston

              I agree…

              A good friend of the family had some trouble with his wife not because he was cheating at first but because he was working too much

              He owned a business and wouldn’t come home until 11-12 at night…but at times she’d lock him outside and he would go to other friends places and one of them happened to be a lady he was cool with…he ended up having a kid with her…after he had three with his former wife…they’re still but she hates the fact that he’s trying to take care of that child

              All in all despite everything that happened he didn’t have to cheat…he could have divorced her and moved on..

              • SoonToBeMrs

                We can’t be together. I’d be too spiteful, disrespectful and hateful. So bye.

            • Rewind4ThatBehind

              No reason for her to ignore her partner’s feelings and continue a harmful relationship but aye…people do what they do.

              Not condoning it. But clearly it’s happened.

              • SoonToBeMrs

                We get ignored too, most often times we don’t resort to making ‘frustration babies’.

                • Rewind4ThatBehind

                  And that’s not necessarily true. There are plenty of affairs and mystery children to prove that theory wrong.

          • Freebird

            “You’d be surprised at how many men complain the women in their lives do not listen to their complaints.”

            A majority of my male friends are happily married to wonderful women. But they will tell you that their wives don’t listen to them.

            • Rewind4ThatBehind

              Which means they aren’t happily married, they just got used to being ignored like they do in other areas of life.

              • Freebird

                They are happily married. They just accept that this is the way it is supposed to be….which is a shame.

                • Rewind4ThatBehind

                  Well then I hope it doesn’t breed resentment because that’s usually the rabbit hole it goes towards.

    • BlackMamba

      Lol. I just cheat. Lol. Jk.

      Personally, I ask for everything I want including in relationships, then I make decisions.

    • Hugh Akston

      Hmm I’d say based on statistics in the us I’d say most men in marriages probably do try to keep going and hope for change

      I’m basing this on the fact that most divorces are filed by women…so there is that…

      but folks still trying to get married and wondering what’s on the other side…lol

    • I used to try to keep it going until the bumping ugly stopped.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        Ugh..that’s the worse.

        Especially if you’re the one that stops it.

        It’s all downhill from there.

        • It’s like you know the cliff is coming but you’re trying to enjoy the ride for what it’s worth. It’s a terrible idea but youth, ya know?

          • Rewind4ThatBehind

            Indeed. A really horrible ride, trying to stick with it because you really talk yourself out of the idea that the cliff is really there but nope…that drop is real.

        • #factsonly

          I know I was the one that pulled the plug on the whole ugly bumping situation, and while I don’t regret it, it definitely didn’t help matters.

          • Rewind4ThatBehind

            I did it unintentionally. I just couldn’t figure out where my head was at and I know I made things worse that way. I didn’t have the words to explain why I felt how I felt and that definitely affected her in more ways than one.

    • Rewind4ThatBehind

      We can.

      Once the small intimate details start fading away, and the basic things like spending time together and bed time become effective chores, you’re pretty much dead in the water. But if you speak your part, and your partner just isn’t listening, you’re out of options.

      Some men stay honor bound. That old addage “happy wife, happy life” is horrible on so many levels but some men just assume “I guess this is what it is from here on out”. They don’t really know it doesn’t have to be dry and dreary. Weirdly enough, the responsibility for ending a relationships that’s going to be bad seems to play out worse than ending a relationship after something really bad has happened.

      • Real talk, that’s what my dad did with my mom. He did the typical Island ish with the side chicks and all that and tried his level best to make it work. If it wasn’t for assimilation, my dad would probably still be married. But yes, pulling the plug when there’s nothing obviously wrong is difficult.

        • Rewind4ThatBehind

          Same. I think my dad had an issue with not being able to control my mother, and her being more career-focused/driven than him. So he did him on the side. He thought he was slick but we all found the bread crumbs bit by bit. Classic West Indian man BS.

          If he knew how to vocalize what he didn’t like from the get go, I imagine things would have been extremely different.

          • Hugh Akston

            Isn’t that one of the main issues in a lot of relationships? You can’t voice your discontent or you can be ostracized or be ignored…simply put romantic relationships tend to fail because folks can’t voice their real opinions for fear the relationship will not last…but by not stating their concerns the relationship failed lol

            • Digital_Underground

              This is too real.

            • Rewind4ThatBehind

              It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

              Trying to prevent one outcome, you act in a manner that will allow it to occur anyway, sometimes with worse consequences.

            • esa

              is there any human relationship where you can speak 100% truth about the relationship ?

              • Freebird

                According to the romantics no. Love is truth all the time.

                • esa

                  ~ Love is truth all the time.

                  may i ask, what does this mean ?

                  • Freebird

                    The idea that when you love some one you make the truth available to them 100 percent of the time even if it hurts.

                    • esa

                      that’s not love. that’s ego. opinion=/= truth.

                    • Freebird

                      I agree about the 19th century romantics. Grand indeed. The last hundred years though….not as much.

                    • esa

                      but their ideals have come to us under the guise of “romance” and “love” .. thus the supposition that “love is truth all the time.”

                      if anything, i think the conflation of Romanticism and love into this thing called “romance” is sooo grandiose—and i say this as a romantic.

              • Hugh Akston

                Of course…why wouldn’t there be?

                Is it true or not that humans have the capacity to be truthful 100% of the time?

                • esa

                  it occurs as an act of self sabotage to be spouting unfiltered opinions simply because you think your opinion is truth.

                  truth is a whole nother level that requires the highest level of care to communicate, at least, if you’re looking to use it to elevate those involved.

                  i dont know about human capacity, only my own. i wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to think i could be attuned to truth 100% of the time. i know my mind better than that (giggle)

                  • Hugh Akston

                    Unsure if you’re referring to me about your first paragraph or just broadly

                    unfiltered? Be specific

                    You are human not an android by that I mean:

                    You may not like the truth and prefer not to say but that in itself does not negate the fact that you have the capacity to say said truth..

                    • esa

                      you = general you.

                      successful communication is the harmony of content and style. to negate one is an act of self sabotage. unfiltered means not being conscientious of the impact that a specific words have upon the listener.

                      it takes a great deal of patience, practice, nuance, and finesse to choose your words wisely but it consistently proves to have the best quality results for both speaker and listener.

          • In my parent’s case, it’s a Black twist on the common assimilation drama seen among White folks. My mom had a real issue with dark skinned people and West Indians, but married my dad because he was relatively successful. My mom was bitter about not getting her birthright as a dark skinned child in a light skinned middle-class African-American family, and took it out on my dad. From there, my dad just went back to what he knew.

            My dad and I had to talk it out on some real man stuff, and while I wouldn’t have handled things like he did (and unfortunately, got the papers to back it up), I understand where he was coming from.

            • Rewind4ThatBehind

              Funny thing is, I definitely understand what you’re saying. Until 2 years ago, I had no idea what my dad’s immigration story was like. If it was up to him, he would have never told his children at all, because he doesn’t really talk to us about much. It just so happened my ex started a conversation and he just fell into speaking for 2 hours (which is 1 hour & 53 minutes more than all 3 of his kids are used to).

              I see the skin politics, the diaspora politics, and the money politics involved in many of the decisions now that I know where he’s coming from. But I just wish he would have been a part of this era, where you question everything, instead of just enduring it and causing mayhem as tradition normally supports.

              • Heck, my dad was born here, but he was so isolated in his immigrant community that he learned American English as effectively a second language. The upshot is that he’s the only West Indian in his current social circles, so while he’s happy, there’s a lot of stuff that the people in his church don’t really know or chalk up to him being a New Yorker that goes back to his roots.

                • Rewind4ThatBehind

                  Wow. That’s quite interesting. I can actually see how that would happen. I didn’t realize how ingrained the West Indian communities were back in the day compared to when you & I were growing p. There’s so much they had to endure, so I can see how it was all insulated.

                  • Ms.Moon

                    West Indians like other ethnic groups ended up in the same place because they knew people/had family in the area. Parts of Brooklyn and Queens are very West Indian to this day.

                    • Rewind4ThatBehind

                      Indeed, but someone always had to be first, and those are usually the cases that intrigue me the most. When my grandparents came to Brooklyn, they saved up until they bought a home in Crown Heights, which was predominately Jewish. Within 10 years, the West Indian community came in droves. But the racism they endured from the Jewish community as my mother put it was all the more reason so many West Indians stuck together to insulate themselves against the constant threats.

                    • Ms.Moon

                      I’m pretty sure they came to areas where it was cheap to live and other people were not really going to move to. It is a process that is going in in certain places in Staten Island right now because Jewish people who cannot afford Brooklyn are moving in there and setting up communities in a new area.

      • cakes_and_pies

        “”I guess this is what it is from here on out”.”

        That sounds like every woman who has married a man who loves her, more than she loves him.

        • Rewind4ThatBehind

          The eternal struggle.

          I fear that the most. Finding out I’m like #5.

        • LeeLee

          Sigh. But older women swear by marrying a man that loves you just a little bit more than you love him. I understand what they mean that means in theory.

          • cakes_and_pies

            The older I got the more I realized women from the older generations (in the South) meant he isn’t beating and abusing you and he had a decent job so marry him. That’s some bull.

            • Jacked up as it sounds, for that era, marrying that dude was some realpolitik ish. As recently as 1960, women made 16 cents to every dollar a man made. You can be independent all you want, but in an era where there wasn’t many economic opportunities, virtually no child care for all but the wealthy and women often couldn’t open bank accounts in their own name, I ain’t mad at them.

        • esa

          i wonder .. is love quantifiable like that ? and if it is, is it love ..

          • cakes_and_pies

            There are different types of love that work out for people. That’s not the type of love I desire, but whatever floats your boat.

  • Nortey

    YASS. Getting hold of this book.
    also engagement chicken sounds delicious.

  • Mika

    I think I need to read this book. It sounds interesting. Also, because, I hate dating and all that comes with the pressure of it all.

    • panamajackson

      It is legit an interesting and fun read. I enjoyed it. I don’t say that often.

    • SoonToBeMrs

      I don’t like the pretense part of it…. Trying to impress, embellishing.
      Nuccaa, it’s okay if you still work at Wendy’s, I can get a bacon cheeseburger on you, no?

      • It took me until I was like 35 to figure this out, but I’ve realized that people can and will get down with anything if they like you enough. So long as you have basic hygiene and are a somewhat decent human, you can find someone willing to roll with it.

        • SoonToBeMrs

          Just live your truth. The end.

        • Mika

          Getting to that part is the problem.

        • MsCee

          Exactly. I feel like this needs to be on a billboard somewhere. I dated a dude once who initially said he had two kids…come to find out it was actually four (set of twins). He came clean after the second date, realizing that we had real chemistry. The crazy part it, I could have accepted the kids (he was a really great father) it was the lie I couldn’t get over.

          • Mika

            I feel like when people lie they don’t give you the opportunity to make a decision. See how you probably could have kept talking to him but he lied about something (well I hate men who lie about their kids), that he could have just told the truth about? Yea, that’s dating in 2017.

            • MsCee

              My motto is “if you’ll lie about the kids you’ll lie about anything.”

              • Mika

                Exactly.

            • Eyendasky

              My sentiments exactly i recently went through a phase dealing wit lier. What i couldnt figure out is, are the lies about shame embarrassment or any other emotion associated with negativity. Or is it the childhood thrill of “hide n seek”?

          • DG

            “…come to find out…”

            I legit chuckled reading this…
            #southernfolk

            • MsCee

              Lol, is that a southern thing?

          • NonyaB?

            LAWDT. Who lies with arithmetic division about the # of kids they have?! And I thought those that answered “rather not say” to the kids question on dating sites were bad enough. Good move on ditching him fast.

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

            He meant to say two childbirths. Innocent mistake.

            • MsCee

              Bye, Kas! Bye! Even then it would have been three childbirths. Two individual kids and one set of twins.

              • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                Oh, I thought he had two sets of twins. He don’t want to be saved.

      • grownandsexy2

        Yep. Everyone initially on their party manners.

      • Mika

        Annoying. Just don’t lie. I will find it out anyway.

  • NoDramaCiCi

    *searches amazon.com*

  • Mr. Quojo .

    Man she preaching Gold here! Being ashamed of who you are and changing to be liked by someone. Half the people you change for don’t even know what they like, it’s an exercise in futility.

    Side Note: Can Engagement Chicken be Fried? “Might be more effective in the community”. Hint Hint Hint…..

    #hotepout

  • I might just buy the book for the engagement chicken part. It seems hilarious. But yes, you are ultimately responsible for anything that isn’t the product of a single dramatic event. Now that my divorce is far enough in the distance that I can look at my marriage as a discrete event in my life, I realize my part in the foolishness. A lot of it had to do with not dealing with stuff from my past, whether my relationship with my mom or how my relationships went in my 20s. (Before I went full savage, I was on George Steinbrenner manager status with my girlfriends.)

    Also, a big deal after the marriage was having to deal with the ego hit of finally not immediately chucking someone to the curb at the first sign of trouble, yet still not being able to work things out. Having to mourn that L took a minute, though ironically struggling financially helped because you can only move so fast with low cash. The only common denominator in our relationships is us, and we always have to own our part of the equation.

    • Val

      “The only common denominator in our relationships is us…”

      Yep.

    • Rewind4ThatBehind

      True words.

      It’s like alien probe. You tell yourself no such thing is real, but if it were to happen, it would be the most invasive thing ever.

      Having to review your life after the fact when you spent such a significant time giving someone your heart is eye opening in ways that are hard to describe.

  • Val

    Cocaine chicken, engagement chicken, flats vs drums…I see a VSB chicken cookbook in our future. Lol Sounds like a best seller.

    • I wanna contribute!

      • Val

        That would be cool if VSB regulars contributed.

        • So new faces can’t contribute Val lol rude

          • Val

            We don’t know them. Lol Can’t truss it, AP!

            • VSB Bully

              • Val

                Standards. Got to have them.

                • So who does this list include exactly? Who makes the cut?

                  • Val

                    You, Malik and 3xh can compile the list of recipes. It will be a fun project.

                    • Why you trying to get me to collab with my old flames???

                    • Val

                      Sometimes I like to instigate. I got it from Tambra and Kas. :-)

                    • I like empanadas

                    • Val

                      Make them chicken empanadas and you’re in.

                  • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                    No question I make the cut, but I will stand in solidarity with those who didn’t.

    • I have a recipe for Pepsi chicken.

    • everythingpink

      I made a crockpot variation of the engagement chicken recipe and I was so surprised by how my then boyfriend responded to it! lol. He said it was the best meal I have ever made! And I cook a lot of nice meals and this recipe was so basic. We ended up getting engaged later in the year. Obviously it wasn’t the chicken that did it, but I think it helped. lol.

    • Siante?

      I’ve got a crispy grilled chicken recipe for us health conscious vss’s & vsb’s

      • SoonToBeMrs

        So go ahead and tell us.

        • Siante?

          It’s so simple: cayenne, Thyme, organic balsamic vinagrette, a tablespoon of organic butter & last but not least:organic chicken breast fillets(cleaned).

          I usually just throw it all in a bowl right when I get home from work & let it marinate while I handle other business & then when it’s dinner time I just throw it in the skillet. I’ll share my
          secret for getting it flavorful all the way through, moist on the inside & crispy on the outside if this chicken book ever drops for real ;-)

          • SoonToBeMrs

            Can I substitute butter with olive oil. I hate butter

            • Siante?

              sure! Sometimes I just use the balsamic vinaigrette if I don’t have butter in the house.

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

            “handle other business” – is that what we are calling it now?

            • Siante?

              haha! Nah, I meant straightening up the house, returning phone calls & msgs, watching Youtube, you know- the important stuff we all do when we get home from work lol

    • kingpinenut

      bacon bacon bacon

      • Val

        Bacon chicken?

        • kingpinenut

          what the what is that devilment?!?!!!

          b a y k u n is all life needs

    • DorisMorris111

      <<I was paid 104000 bucks previous year by doing an internet based work as well as I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r quite a few hours on a daily basis. I applied job opportunity I came across online and so I am delighted that I was manage to make such decent earnings. It’s really newbie-friendly and I am so grateful that I discovered out regarding it. Look out for what I do. ????????http://2link.me/1Nldn

  • Aye Bee

    As a fellow AME/YPDer I am excited about this book! Genuinely excited for all Joi-Marie has in store for her future, bc I am sure this memoir is just the tip of the iceberg in books we will get from her. She was born for this. This will most def be my “go-to” gift for a minute. Self reflection is important in all aspects of life.

  • cyanic

    @panamajackson:disqus Today is World Poetry Day. Could you acknowledge it since you still write it?

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