Saturday, September 26, 2015

The One Who Cares the Least

You've heard the saying. "The one who cares the least, holds the power in the relationship." 
It's inevitable. The less you give, the more you get from the other person. It's a total mystery, and it is heart-wrenching. 

So let's picture two people in a relationship. Person A gives it their all. Does the majority of the communicating, the bending, the sacrificing, the loving. Person B does not reciprocate. Person B drifts through the relationship, along for the ride, without a care in the world. Or maybe they do care. Maybe they care so much. Just not enough
Guess who gets the glory here?
Yeah, Person B. 

So my question is WHY?! Why are you being praised for caring least? Why do you have the pleasure of being able to run and brag to your friends about how "obsessed" this woman or man is with you? This other person.. this person who is giving it their all.. is made out to look like they are doing the wrong thing in a relationship.  And for what? For loving you with all they have? For diving in headfirst and falling for you like gravity has let go of the earth? I'm sorry, but what did you want in a relationship again? 

This subject hits close to home for me because I'm always the one who gives too much. I'm the person who tries too hard and cares more than the person I'm dating. Some of you reading this are just like me. You give it your all and get scraps in return. You are put second. You are the instigator of most hugs and kisses. You are the forgotten text message or phone call. You are the one who gets the "I love you too," but never the initial "I love you." You are the changed plan when something better comes along. You get nothing in return, but still, you give. So much more than they deserve. Some of you reading this are the opposite. You scoff and think "They are doing it all wrong. They should put in less effort and it'll work out better." Less effort. In my relationships. My potential marriage. You are saying I should give.. less? Seems pretty absurd to me. If you're this person, you shouldn't feel prideful. You should not feel like you have won. You should not feel like your significant other is a doormat and you are in full control. You should not be able to tell your friends that your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, or wife puts in too much effort, and make a joke out of it. The truth is, you're a coward. If you are not crazy, and I mean absolutely crazy about who you love, then I beg you, either find a way to be crazy about them or throw them away. That person you are withholding effort from is too full of life to be half loved, and they deserve better. 

If you are the person who cares the most, you are not the problem. My heart hurts for you because I am you. I have always been just like you, and I have been embarrassed by it. Do not hold back your capabilities in a relationship because the person you've chosen to be with thinks it's too much. Find a new relationship and a new person that doesn't make it feel like your effort is too much. The problem is not how intensely you love other people. The problem lies within the people you choose to love. They are unbending. They are selfish and ruthless. Stop trying to give more in hopes that it will break down their concrete walls. They will not miraculously wake up one morning and decide to appreciate you, and reciprocate your efforts. Or when they do, you'll be long gone by then, in the arms of someone who cares.. someone who really cares. Never be ashamed of yourself for giving it your all and loving someone beyond what is "reasonable." You should not have to care less to make someone care more. You need to feel like you're needed by the other human being you're dedicating your time to. Trust me. 
Remember that God loves you more in one moment than anyone else could in a lifetime. He puts in the majority of effort in your relationship, and it's not such a bad thing, is it? 

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." -John 15:12

"And if equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me" -W.H. Auden

-Hope Gabrielle

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Forever or Until I Get Bored

I feel like I need to apologize for this post ahead of time. First of all, because I'm extremely blunt, and second of all, because it's going to hit some of you right in the gut as you read it.
Yesterday I was driving home and passed a billboard advertising "cheap divorces starting at $199!"
I was totally baffled. Is this real?! I was in such an emotional rage over a sign on the side of the road that I had to come home and vent about it. 

In a country where the divorce rate has toppled over 50%, and websites specifically designed for cheating on your spouse actually exist, it's easy to look at divorce as something that "just happens" when two people can't figure it out. I'm 23 years old and i've never been married (cue the "you don't know what you're talking about" comments), but I have been in love to the point that I feel like I could spend the rest of my life with someone.  
So my question is, what happens to that? What changes so much in a marriage to where two people completely lose that longing for each other that they once had before (and after, to a point) they spoke those meaningful vows? Is it really that easy to just give up? I understand that certain situations are nearly impossible to overcome, because everyone copes with infidelity in their own way, but what about the other situations I hear about that are so ridiculous I almost laugh?

In a relationship, I was always one of those people who had to be entertained for me to stay interested. I always have been. If we got too comfortable, you know, if we got to know each other to the point that I felt like we had learned everything there is to know about each other, and someone else happened to pay more attention to me, I was ready to run. If I got bored, I would start looking elsewhere for something more intriguing, more fun, or more.. "new". One day I woke up and thought to myself, "there is always, always something else to learn about the person you're in love with." I realized that so many people end relationships and marriages simply because it has become boring or monotonous. Because your husband stopped hugging you at the sink while you did the dishes and you noticed. Because he hasn't brought home flowers in years. Because your wife occasionally skips a day or two of cooking dinner. Because she "let herself go" (God forbid the woman can't snap back to a size 0 after having three kids but okay). Because you had kids together and suddenly you weren't the center of his/her attention. Because you didn't have a long enough engagement (because hmm.. you should probably get to know each other VERY well first) and they are "different now." Because you haven't had a date night in over a month and neither of you have really cared to mention it. Because one of you noticed this attractive woman or man at work who gives you so much more attention than the one who "loves" you back at home, and you're thinking maybe, just maybe you married the wrong person. Because this other woman or man really catches your eye on social media, and seems so much better than your current significant other.

What's old and comfortable isn't broken.. and I think the divorce rate would drastically decrease if others realized the same thing.

In this day and time, relationships and marriage truly are a challenge. I honestly applaud everyone who can make it work. We're constantly having Christian Greys and playboy models and that hot person on our Facebook friends list thrown in our faces. The temptation is always there, just waiting for your one moment of weakness when you start to believe someone else could be more fun, more loving, more caring, or more intriguing than the person you have at home.

But you're wrong.. and eventually you're going to realize it's a never ending cycle. Being too comfortable with your significant other is not plausible for a breakup, infidelity, or divorce.
I'm constantly hearing the reason for  (insert name here)'s divorce being "We just grew separate ways and we're two totally different people now." Suck it up, and find a way to integrate your paths again. At some point, you signed up to be with this person for the rest of your life. Of course you're going to have different paths, different hobbies, and different aspirations. HELLO?! You are two totally different individuals. If you wanted to marry someone identical to yourself, being alone sounds like a better option for you. 

Stop marrying people with the thought that if it doesn't work out, the divorce option is always a fall back. Stop treating a marriage like something disposable. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31) Go home. Hug and kiss the other part to your one flesh, and remember why you chose them in the first place. Marriage is a unification of two sinners. Don't forget that. Neither of you are perfect. There will be times that you'll fail each other, mess up, or do something hurtful. During these times, remember God's definition of love, and remember that loving one another deeply will give you the ability to overcome and forgive those sins.

Here are a few more verses for you. Start turning to God (and your spouse, of course) during rough times in your marriage, rather than ranting on your Facebook status or to your family and friends (they don't know and love your spouse like you do, and won't forgive them as easily!). Give those of us who aren't married something to look forward to. 

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." Mark 10:9

"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." Hebrews 13:4

"Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3

and my favorite, from 1 Corinthians 13 

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Hope Gabrielle

Monday, January 12, 2015

Him or Your Happiness? Take your pick.

I've started to realize lately that there are far too many women staying stagnant in relationships they should've left a long time ago, whether it has been a week, a month, a year, or five years too long. I'm giving this advice because i've been there. More than once. I've said all of the most common lines..

"Maybe things will be better this time."
"Maybe he'll change."
"Maybe he'll start telling the truth now."
"Maybe he'll start to love and appreciate me more."
"Maybe he won't do (insert anything that hurt you) again."

Let me present you with this incredible wake up statement:
You should never have to talk yourself into staying in a relationship.
If it's true love, and effort is given equally on both sides, you should stay because you want to.
If the feelings are mutual, the effort should be equal.

The truth is, there is no better time than now to G E T  O U T.
Get out while you're upset. Don't wait for him to reel you back into his web of lies again.
Once you make up, the cupcake fairytale phase that comes afterwards is only temporary.
And your relationship is a never ending cycle of ups and downs.. basically a roller coaster ride.
But not an enjoyable one.
Stop talking yourself back into something that no longer serves you or makes you feel loved and wanted.
Stop making excuses for the man that God is showing you isn't right for you.
Stop sacrificing your own happiness.
Stop wasting precious time with the wrong one while the right one is out there praying for a woman like you.

I once had a friend that told me she wasn't happy, but didn't want to leave her long term boyfriend because everyone always told her how lucky she was to have him because he was "sooo hot".


If the only redeeming quality you can come up with for the man you're spending your time and energy on is that he's physically attractive, RUN.

It doesn't matter how many other girls are drooling over your shoulder waiting for him to be available again.

It doesn't matter how attractive a guy is.. some woman, somewhere is tired of his shit.

And that's you.

Even if he's nice to you "sometimes." Even if your family loves him. Even if he buys you nice things.
Even if he tells you he loves you. Even if he apologizes over and over again and his "I'll change, I promise" repeats like a broken record every time he betrays you or your trust. Even if you feel that you need him the way you need oxygen.

You don't.
And it's time you realize it.

You need to realize that healthy relationships shouldn't require you to abandon your values or happiness to keep them.
When you stumble upon the one that fits you, you'll look back and see how blind you were all along.

Take this example and ponder over it:
When you're shoe shopping, and a shoe doesn't fit, you don't change your foot to fit the shoe.
You change the shoe.

So, ladies, stop bending your feet to fit those shoes that aren't worth it in the first place.
Leave him, and don't look back.

Do it for you. Do it for your happiness.
Cry as hard as you want, but just promise yourself you'll never cry for the same reason again.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Six Reasons Why You Haven't Gotten the Man You Want

In a group of friends, you always have that one friend that you go to for all of the "boy advice." Much to my surprise, I ended up being that friend. Over time, i've watched my friends make all the right moves, (and all the wrong ones) and it wasn't until my junior year of college when I finally figured out what they (WE/YOU) are doing wrong.

1. You're too easy. 
I want you to stop and think about an analogy for a second. Let's say that you have this guy; let's name him John. John has this huge apple tree in his backyard. He goes outside to pick the best possible apple to have with his breakfast. The apples on the bottom are so easy to reach. In fact, there are a few already on the ground, so convenient! However, the apples that are easy to reach have been stepped on, rotted, or just don't look near as appetizing as the apples at the top of the tree. John knows that getting those delicious apples at the top of the tree will take some work (and maybe even a ladder!) but it'll be worth it when he picks it.

John is the guy. You are the apple.

The underlying message to my lame story is that no guy wants something that's easy to get. If he does, it's only for one night and he won't remember your name the next day unless it's to ask you for a grilled cheese sandwich before he walks out. The girls who give it up on the first date: you're the ground apples. Easy to get, but not quite worth the commitment or effort. However, if you hold off and play a little hard to get, you'll start seeing a change. Playing hard to get is a little difficult at times because you have to create a balance. If you play TOO hard to get, he's going to be like "mmkay this is impossible and i've tried everything.. next!" Don't be needy or too gushy, don't ba-zing his phone with a new text message every 5 minutes, and don't give in to last minute dates or late night booty calls. BUT, don't be too stand-offish either. You have to be interested but not too interested. Most of all: be mysterious! Don't show him your cup size on the first date. Less is more. Be the beautiful, red, ripe apple at the top of the tree. Make him put in some effort, but most of all be worth the effort. Be a lady! No guy is going to put in a ridiculous amount of effort, dates, and money for a girl who has slept with half of the city or parades her body parts around like she's for sale. He will buy you.. but only for a night. If you've seen the movie "Love and Other Drugs" and noticed how Anne Hathaway's character wanted nothing to do with Jake Gyllenhaal, which made him want her and chase her even more... it isn't just in the movies. It's real life, too.

One of my favorite quotes relating to modesty is by Emma Watson. She's such a doll and one of the most desired females in the United States. So, here's a little tip from Ms. Emma Watson:
 "I find the whole concept of being 'sexy' embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me- dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there's the choice of the clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that's not me. I feel uncomfortable. I'd never go out in a mini-skirt. Personally, I don't actually think it's even that sexy. What's sexy about saying, 'I'm here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything i've got?' My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal, the more people can wonder."

2. Your priorities are out of whack.
Before you even begin to date someone, you should have a plan. I date to marry. You should too. If this guy sees that you'd rather go out and get wasted at a club instead of study for a test or wake up on time for work the next day, he's going to be a little iffy about possibly spending his life with you. You need to get your priorities straight. Also, values are a huge thing when it comes to relationships. If he sees that yourself, material things, and what others think about you are the things that matter most to you, he's going to run in the opposite direction. Selfishness isn't pretty. It's actually super unattractive. Your religion, job, family, school, work, others' needs, and your relationship should be top priorities. There's no room to build a future with you when you're too busy being consumed in all of your material possessions.

3. You're dumbing yourself down.
I see this kind of thing on a daily basis. I'll never understand why females choose to act like ditzy idiots in front of guys. Do you think it makes him like you more? You know, you're exactly right. He's thinking: "Wow, this girl acts so stupid and I love it! I wonder where i'm going to bring her for date number two." Being smart does not make you too powerful for a guy. Intelligence is beautiful. Embrace the awesome, nerdy brain that you were blessed with and rock it! If you act dumb, you're going to attract guys that like dumb women because they're insecure themselves. Sometimes being an intelligent girl is hard, but that's okay. Some men may not be able to handle a smart and successful woman like you, but that's their problem, don't let it become yours by selling yourself short. Being powerful is one thing. Being TOO powerful is another. The modern day feminist movement is too obnoxious and annoying for most guys. If you need tips in this area, visit my other post Five Reasons Why Modern Day Feminism is No Good 

4. You gossip too much or have a mouth like a sailor.
If you haven't noticed already, guys aren't big into drama. When you get in the car for a date and the first thing you start spilling out to him is every detail of your conversation with some girl and how she said this about her and the other girl did this and that to her boyfriend and blah blah blah.. it's going to go in one of his ears and out the other. Guys hate drama queens, cattiness, and gossip. They love chill girls. The drama queens are usually the jealous and insecure women-which (surprise!) are both highly unattractive features to men. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. 

As for the cursing thing, the way you present yourself and speak when around others says a lot about you. Choose your words wisely. If the guy is into foul-mouthed ladies, go right ahead. My experience is that excessive swearing is a huge turn off.. for both sexes. 

5. He just isn't physically attracted to you.
No matter how many shades you dye your hair, how tan you become, or how much you whiten your teeth, his lack of attraction to you may never change. That's okay! It doesn't mean that you did something wrong or that you just aren't pretty enough. Some guys are only attracted to one type of girl and don't budge. I dated a guy once who told me he only liked short skinny blondes with blue eyes. I was like "woah.. that really narrows down your options don't you think?" In most guys, it's something that won't change. Don't try to! Find someone who loves you for you. Some guy is going to love your hair color and fair skin. This goes to the whole "changing yourself for a guy" section. Don't change everything about your appearance to try and attract someone's attention. Hygiene, however, is something that you can change. Guys aren't huge fans of bad breath, body odor, and greasy hair. Just my opinion, though. 

6. You're changing too much about yourself.
This is going to be a hard pill for some to swallow, but if you're having to change who you are in order to be with someone, you're going after the wrong person. If a guy loves football and you've never really watched it, it's okay to grow into it and learn to love it. However, going home and googling everything there is to know about the New Orleans Saints so that you can pretend you know everything about his favorite football team is just embarrassing. Just be yourself, and be honest. Tell him your hobbies, let him see your quirks, and let him feel the honesty that comes with your genuine laughter and your true personality. Fixing your quirks for someone just sucks, and it's so exhausting. Because guess what? He has quirks too. He's remaining the same person while you're trying to melt and mold to better fit with him. Stop it! I can't say this enough: be yourself! The person you're meant to be with will love all of you, every bit of you. Along with all of your insecurities, quirks, and weird habits.

Take me for example; I have to check every inch of my sheets, comforter, and pillows for spiders every night before I go to sleep. I do it every night. Every. Single. Night. Some people may think that's totally weird, and those aren't the types of people I want to date.. because I think it's perfectly okay to be paranoid of going to bed with an 8-legged miniature satan. I'm an arachnophobic, I bite my cheeks when i'm nervous or deep in thought, I don't understand football and half of the terms that go with it, and I laugh at some of the most inappropriate times, but i'm not ashamed to tell you that on the first date. Be open! Be you! Don't hide your true (lovable) self in the shadows behind this fake "cookie-cutter" girlfriend you're trying to create. You cannot convince people to love you. No one will ever give you love because you want them to give it. Real love moves freely. Don't waste your time trying to force it by changing who you are. Chances are, who you are naturally is so much more beautiful than you imagined.

Hope Rodriguez

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Five Reasons Why The United States Feminist Movement is Flawed

I am a 22 year old female. I can vote. I can run for office. I can receive equal pay. I can get an equal education. 

I do not feel oppressed. I'm not a victim. I carry a concealed weapon because it's my personal right and it makes me feel more safe. I do not feel as if i've been dealt an unfair hand in life in comparison to men. I'm confident in the fact that I can do anything a man can do in the job field that I have chosen. I do not feel like i'm objectified by men. I take responsibility for my own actions and do not blame the opposite sex for my own mistakes and insecurities. I'm not power hungry. I'm not a target for violence and there is no war against me. I respect men. I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my problems. Men are not the enemy. I'm not a modern day feminist. 

Five Reasons Why The United States Feminist Movement is Flawed

1. Feminism isn't about equality anymore. 
-the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

You see the dictionary definition, however, feminists have strayed so far from this simple concept. The "fem" in feminism means that it relates strictly to females. Feminists don't want to be equal with men, they want to overpower men. They constantly complain that women are oppressed in the educational system, yet this article shows that women outnumber men in the number of college degrees. Of course, you won't hear a single feminist complaining about the fact that men earn fewer college degrees. Feminists complain about men earning more money, but don't flinch when they are the ones earning a higher percentage for the same job, as cited here. Also, notice that feminists never encourage women to become construction workers or welders, but strictly CEO's, senators, or other high-powered jobs. Equality, huh? Feminism does not have a plan that includes men, and that is why equality will never come from it. We already have equal rights, so why is feminism still a thing in the United States?

I also feel the need to add in that my post is strictly related to the Feminist Movement in the United States. My heart hurts for women who live in countries that do not see it acceptable for them to vote or work outside the home. I feel sympathy for women who are beaten, stripped of their personal freedom, have acid thrown in their faces, and simply aren't as free as we are here. Women in the United States have it made, and have no right to complain. 

2. Feminism focuses on competing with men, rather than completing them.
Women were not created to have power battles with men. Men and women aren't equal. We were made this way on purpose. We are made for different things and different roles. Men and women were made FOR each other and to complement each other. Feminists: if you want "job equality," go to my dad's shipyard, put on long pants, a long shirt, steel toe boots, and welding gear. I want you to work an entire day without complaining about the heat or how bad your feet or back or boobs hurt. I want you to do just as much as any man can do out there, and if you can match his production, then you can get your equal pay. Let's see how long you last. You complain about men getting hired for certain jobs over women? Here is your perfect opportunity. Your welding job awaits you, and I can't wait to watch you thoroughly embarrass yourself. If you think you could weld, that's awesome. Congrats. But wait, you don't want to have the same job as this welder. No, you'd rather be above him and dictate his every move as CEO, because you're a power hungry, self righteous bitch. This isn't equality. If you can perform the exact same roles as a man in a particular job field, then you can get your equal pay and job opportunities. Until then, don't infantilize yourself and say you're being discriminated against. 

3. They degrade women who choose to stay home, raise children, or play the "housewife" role.
Men are stronger than women in terms of muscle mass and strength. Nature designed men and women for different roles. If we were living in the wild, for example, men would be the hunters; the providers; the "breadwinners." Women would be given the role of looking after the home and raising children, which, as most of you moms know, is a full time job in itself that is often undermined. Through a feminist's eyes, women who choose to stay at home are viewed as being victims of oppression. They believe women should be out campaigning for office while their kids are.... where? With their dad who is at home playing Mr. Mom? Most women are naturally repulsed by feminine men, so why are feminists trying to strip their masculinity? If feminists are all about "womanhood," why do they badmouth the things that feel natural to most women? Maybe some of us don't feel it necessary to walk around dominating every man into our submission. I'm not saying that women can't go to work while their husbands stay home with the children. Go for it. All i'm saying is to let them choose their lifestyle as a woman and leave them alone. I can't speak for anyone else, but i'll gladly do the dishes, laundry, cooking, and baby raising if you'll cut the grass, go to work, do the heavy lifting, put things together and hang things on the wall (because my idea of a screwdriver and a hammer is a butter knife and something heavy), and kill the spiders.

Also, random thought, but I saw a picture of feminists out protesting Robin Thicke's "blurred lines" song. Posters said things like "F*** you Robin Thicke!" "There are no blurred lines!" It's just a song that offended you, yet, you've found a way to play the victim again. This isn't oppression. It's a song. I'm offended by song lyrics all the time, but you won't see me on a street corner protesting Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, or Miley Cyrus. Turn the station and don't listen to it. It's that simple. 

4. They believe that the freedom of being able to have an abortion is "empowering."
If feminism is all about empowering women, why are they not focused on all of the amazing things surrounding childbirth? Look at the pain that women go through during pregnancy and childbirth. There is a strong belief that women withstand pain much better than men, and this is a huge example of that. Why do they not embrace pregnancy and labor and the amount of pain they must overcome to bring this new being into the world? Procreation is beautiful. The fact that I can carry a child for nine months, go through labor, and provide nutrition for it as an infant using my own body parts.. THAT is empowering. I don't need to have a baby scraped out of my uterus to feel empowered. Oh, and if you want "equality" with males, allow them to have an equal say in whether or not you abort the child that equally belongs to both of you.

5. They blame men for things that are actually their own responsibility.
Feminists are all about playing the victim. They believe that if a woman is drunk, she cannot "properly" consent to sex, and can claim she was raped afterwards (even if SHE initiated the sex). They also say that men objectify women (aka, see them as a piece of meat), but that a woman should be able to dress however she desires without being stared down or lusted after by men. If a woman is dressed slutty, she's going to be portrayed that way by men. That's just how a man's brain is wired. Telling them to stop objectifying a woman dressed in a skimpy skirt and low cut top is like telling a woman to stop PMSing. It won't happen because it's natural. Dress in a way that shows you respect yourself and your body, and this won't happen.

Feminists also say that a woman should be able to explore her sexuality and sleep with whoever she wants, whenever she wants, without being judged. Alright, fine. But don't complain when those men start "objectifying you" again because they know you sleep around. Feminists are good at being inconsistent. They treat the drunk woman as a helpless victim, but treat the drunk man as if he should "know better." Males are not invincible from the effects of alcohol. Feminists love to repeat that "one in four women are raped" during her lifetime. The actual statistic is that "one in four women claims sexual assault," which can mean anything a woman wants it to mean. It can be anything from rape, to kissing, touching, or even comments. But of course, feminists only select the most shocking aspect of the statistic and dramatize it as usual to get their way. I'm not downplaying rape. I'm simply pointing out the fact that feminist views and influences are based on manipulated statistics. Getting drunk at a party and having sex with a stranger is irresponsibility, not rape.

My parents have been married for almost 30 years, and in that time period, my dad has never stopped courting my mother. They are not weak. In fact, they are both two equally strong individuals. Their marriage has been successful not because my mother feels oppressed or forced to be the "stay at home mom," but because they fill in each other's missing pieces. They don't have to compete with each other. My mother doesn't want to take over my father's business and be the CEO of Rodriguez Ship Buiding. My family has a healthy balance. I was raised by a father who loved me, protected me, and showed me what true masculinity was. I was raised to be strong woman without feeling the need to compete with the opposite sex. Over my 22 years of life, i've learned to work for what I want. I do not feel entitled or demand special treatment in the workforce because I was born with a certain body part between my legs. I know that I am beneficial to this world and the man I decide to marry. Men and women were made to work together, not against each other. 

So, United States feminists, defend your ideas. The truth is, you can't. Anytime someone questions your theory, your response is that they "just don't understand feminism." Feminism is just your personal opinions and preferences dressed up and made to look like some huge movement. Feminism won us our rights a long time ago. We have equal rights. What are you still fighting for? Just because you have a certain body part does not make you superior. 

Women are so much stronger than you give us credit for. I don't need some feminist telling me how I should dress, act, shave, think, vote, educate myself, and work. I can speak for myself. Despite your beliefs, i'm not helpless. I'm not fragile. I'm a woman, and i'm not jealous of, bitter toward, or trying to overpower men. I know this post will be a hard one to swallow for some people, but the world is a land mine of opposing beliefs. Get used to it. It's time that someone stood up for the men. Females: sit down and be ladies so that males can rise up and be gentlemen. It's a little difficult to treat you like a lady when you're simultaneously trying to overpower them. Men, I know that you are not the enemy. I was raised to love you and respect you as long as you do the same for me.

Hope Rodriguez

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

7 Gentlemanly Behaviors That Seem Extinct

The other day I had just finished up a long day of studying at the library and I was riding the elevator down to the first floor. A guy probably a year or two older than me got on the elevator, and after we reached the first floor, he barged off, nearly knocking me over with his backpack. My first thought of course was "wow..who raised you?!" Throughout my entire drive home, I thought about all of the things that most men have apparently stopped doing when it comes to being a gentleman. 

1. Elevator etiquette
I don't care how big of a hurry you're in, or how slow she may walk, if there is a female or five on the elevator with you, you hold your arm in the door and let them off first.

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T (sing it to the tune of Aretha Franklin)
If a female walks past you, for God's sake, do not turn your head and stare at her behind. If she is talking to you, don't stare down her shirt. If you're driving down the road, don't honk or yell "hey sexy!!!!" Gross. Undressing a girl with your eyes is one of the most disgusting and degrading things you could possibly do to her. Don't worry about getting a date, you've already ruined it by being a pig.

3. Give up your seat.
I see a lack of this all the time. The other day I watched two guys get up and offer their seats to women, and one remained seating. I could tell which ones were raised correctly. Whether she is old, young, pregnant, active, fat, skinny, whatever; if the bus, classroom, etc. is full, get up from your chair and offer your seat to a female who is standing. If you chose to stay in your seat and force ladies to remain standing, make sure you remember to take off your maxi pad on the way out. (oops, did I just say that?!)

4. Pay attention to the fact that the world is more threatening for females
We are automatic targets everywhere we go, especially at night. I don't need to get into the subject of rape. Walk your female coworkers to their cars at night. Just watch out for the women around you, they'll definitely appreciate it.

5. Be polite.
Being polite covers a pretty wide range of things. For example, if you see someone struggling to reach something on the top shelf, grab it for her. If she's struggling while trying to carry a flat screen television through Best Buy, offer to help. Even if she declines, at least you've been polite. A smile and a "good morning" can go a long way. Trust me, after we've had a rough morning of waking up late, rushing to work/class, and forgetting things at home, we do appreciate a little bit of random kindness. About a month ago I was literally having the worst day possible. There was a guy in the elevator with me in the library (why am I always here?) and he asked how my day was going. Of course, I took this one minute opportunity to complain about nursing school and how much I had to study that day. He wished me good luck on my upcoming tests and to have a much better day. I didn't even know his name but it made my WEEK.. and I still remember it. Compliment a lady today. They aren't going to automatically assume that you want to have babies with them just because you said they look nice today. You would be surprised by what can make a woman smile. Little things, men. Little things. 

6. Hold the door.
This subject is really difficult for me because i've had super awkward experiences. I'm one of those girls who always ends up having to sprint to the door because I feel bad that this guy is having to stand there and hold it open for me while I sluggishly walk to the door carrying two books, a binder, and a laptop. If we are pretty far behind, we don't expect you to hold the door open for us. It makes us feel like we need to hurry to the door. However, if there is a woman walking behind you or relatively close behind you, do NOT let a door shut on her. 

7. Driveway etiquette
I can already tell that I'm going to be one of those moms who is a stickler to this with her children. My son will know that he will NOT drive up to a female's house and honk the horn or shoot her a text that says "i'm here, come get in the car." If a guy comes to pick my future daughter up for a date, and he honks the horn or texts her to pick her up, i'm going to walk outside and tell him to go home. Walk up to the door, knock on the door, and then walk her to your car. At the end of the night, walk her back to her door. I don't care if you're just friends or you're married. It's what you're supposed to do. 

Guys: man up. Bring back gentlemanly behaviors. It would definitely be appreciated. 

Hope Rodriguez

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I can't see our relationship, your phone is in the way.

I can't see our relationship, your phone is in the way.

Every single one of us is guilty of it. Whether you Facebook, tweet, Instagram, crush candy, flap birds, or water your farm. At some point, you've ignored someone much more important than your cell phone. This blog is serving as a rant/intervention for those who need it, including myself. Yes, technology is so awesome and so advanced, but at the same time it's jeopardizing relationships and most people don't realize it.

Your phone may be negatively influencing your relationship if:

You have to ask "what?" after someone just spoke to you while you were on your phone.
I don't know about you, but I absolutely hate repeating myself. It makes me feel like i'm not worth your time or attention. For the android users out there, my boyfriend is obsessed with "Reddit." If I say something while he's scrolling through looking at the latest news story or crazy picture, and he says "what did you say?" I don't repeat myself. It's bratty, I know, but it's a pretty good little process i've got going, and he does the same thing to me if I ignore him for my phone. So far, it's working. If someone is talking to you, pay attention. Make eye contact. These are the common courtesies of conversation that are as old as time.

Your phone improves your mood.
"A text message!" "My tweet just got 10 favorites!" "Oh my gosh look who retweeted me!" "I put 12 hashtags on this picture and it got 102 likes!" "Oh look, someone just re-pinned my blueberry muffin recipe on Pinterest!" "I got 52 likes on my status today!"
If any of the above things are sources of your daily happiness, repeat after me "I have a problem." If you have to seek validity or recognition from your 1,383 Facebook friends, it's just sad. Don't lose the important connections to the real world around you and real people.

Your child says "watch this mommy/daddy" and you have to say "hold on."
Your children are only that age once. Put your phone down and watch her twirl around the living room. Leave your phone in your purse during your son's tee ball game. They are so much more important than the latest Facebook drama or you Instagramming a picture of yet another sunset.

You have your phone out at the lunch/dinner table.
It doesn't matter if you're eating with your loved one, your family, your friends, or your co-workers. Put your phone in your purse or your pocket. It's so rude. If you're eating with someone and all they can see is the apple on the back of your iphone, they probably will not enjoy spending their lunch/dinner with you. Instagram can go without seeing your plate of pasta with a valencia filter applied to it.

You cling to your phone like it's a newborn baby.
It's a cell phone. A PHONE. If you carry it to the bathroom, to the kitchen, back to the bedroom, sleep with it right next to you, and freak out and think the world is ending when you can't find it (and God forbid if it's on silent.. what will you DO?!) you have a problem. Think about it this way: our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on survived without a cell phone glued to their palm at all times. Believe it or not, you can too.

Your significant other, friends, or family have told you "you're on your phone too much."
Self explanatory. If someone else has noticed how bad your addiction is, it's obvious that it needs to be fixed.

You broadcast all of your dirty laundry via social media.
Girls: If your boyfriend/husband/etc pisses you off, please, for all of our sakes who have to read it and watch you take it back tomorrow, do NOT post all of your boyfriend or baby daddy issues all over Facebook and Twitter. Not only does it look bad, but no one actually cares to read it. I usually just do a nice sassy eye roll, hide your posts, and keep scrolling. Keep your personal business between you and the guy. Plus, he's going to feel like crap when he sees that you told all 1,382 of your Facebook friends that he stood you up for dinner last night. Arguments should be kept private. If you make up minutes, hours, or days later.. that status still happened and it's embarrassing for both of you.
Guys, you're guilty of this too, but it usually involves posting pictures of your money stacks, talking about how much swag you have, or telling all of social media how many beers you funneled last night. So. Attractive.
*Also, studies show that people talk more about their relationships on Facebook than they do face to face with their significant other. So embarrassing.

You password protect everything 
There isn't much to say about this one. I'm huge on honesty. I want someone to know that they can go through my text messages, Facebook messages, phone calls, pictures, and not find anything unbecoming. If you password protect your phone, text messages, pictures, etc.. what message is that sending to your significant other? It says "there's something in here that I don't really want anyone to see."

You have almost hit a mailbox, a pedestrian, a car, or any other object because of your phone.
Since the first day I got my phone, my mom has always told me "your phone is there for YOUR convenience, not the person on the other line." The text can wait. If your phone has fallen on the floor or between the seats, leave it. Don't risk your life or someone else's for your cell phone. It's pathetic how many people have their lives taken due to one text message, phone call, or social media post. IT CAN WAIT. I'm sure your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, or best friend would much rather you be alive and well than to become paralyzed or dead from trying to respond. Yes, Facebook and Twitter can go without knowing how bad that car on Airport Blvd just pissed you off when they slammed on breaks in front of you, or what you just picked up at Target to cook for dinner tonight. I can't even tell you how many girls i've seen (while driving) trying to take pictures of their Starbucks cups.

Stop making your cell phone such a huge priority. Turn off your phone for a few hours and go outside. Play with your children. Read your bible. Have a nice evening with a loved one. Do your homework or study for your test. Do something other than tap on a touchscreen. Not only will everyone else thank you for it, you'll be thankful too.

And one of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein.. "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." I think this day is quickly approaching if it hasn't already.

From one smart phone addict to another,
Hope Rodriguez

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Letter to the Bullies

I hope that you're doing well, although I know that you don't wish the same for me. I wasn't your first victim, and i'm certain I won't be your last. I wanted to begin this letter by first saying thank you. You may be shocked to see those words written to you, but yes, that's what I said. Thank you. 

Thank you for every hateful word you said about me. Thank you for every hidden whisper that included my name. Thank you for the malice, the jealousy, the stares, and the laughter. I truly appreciate you for intentionally pointing out my every physical imperfection, and bringing to light every mistake i've ever made. Thank you for noticing and taking full advantage of every time I was mentally broken. Times like those gave you a better opportunity to beat me down with your words. You made most of my middle school, high school, and part of college a living hell, and I still thank you. I do not understand why you received pleasure from my pain, but I prayed for you. I still pray for you. Matthew 7:5 says to remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see more clearly to remove the speck from someone else's eye. I wondered if you had ever heard of this verse. I wondered if you realized you were imperfect like me. For all of those countless nights that I fell asleep with a wet pillowcase on my tired cheek, I thank you. I thank you for all of the false beliefs you drove into my head. For a while I wanted to have your emotions, your heart, your confidence. I wanted to be like you. I wanted to be strong just like you. But, over time i've realized that you really aren't strong at all. You're weak. Any person who receives gratification from hurting other people has a heart as black as they come. So, I began to feel sorry for you. That's why i'm thanking you now, because i'm the strong one. Thanks to you. 

It was you and your degrading words and hateful, selfish actions that pushed me further into the arms of my family, to the shoulder of a true friend, and to church. Out of everything in my life, I can honestly say that you've changed me the most. I hope that you can sleep well at night knowing that over the years you've been testing me. You've tested my patience, battered my self respect, and challenged my confidence. Little do you know, you've been polishing me. You've been perfecting me. You've made me feel more beautiful, strong, and happy than i've ever felt before, and for that I thank you. Life wouldn't have been quite the same without you. 

I hope you've realized by now that your work with me is complete. There's nothing else in me that you could possibly get your hands on. Maybe some day your heart will change, and you'll realize how wrong you've been all this time. Just know that I've always prayed for you. I still pray for you. And you'll never, ever break me again.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
he said to me "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Hope Rodriguez

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Cheaters and The Cheated

Before I even began to dive into this subject, I found several statistics related to cheating (infidelity) online. Keep in mind, these are percentages of only those who actually admitted to cheating. These stats don't include those who got away with it. 

Marriage Infidelity StatisticsData
Percent of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional41 %
Percent of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had57 %
Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had54 %
Percent of married men who have strayed at least once during their married lives22 %
Percent of married women who have strayed at least once during their married lives14 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to having an affair with a co-worker36 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity on business trips35%
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law17 %
Average length of an affair2 years
Percentage of marriages that last after an affair has been admitted to or discovered31 %
Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught74 %
Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught68 %
Percent of children who are the product of infidelity3 %

Wow! Right? I'm sure all of you reading this just decided to turn into overbearing psycho stalker spouses/significant others. Just kidding. Anyway, another crazy statistic that I found was that around 60% of people will be cheated on at least once in their lifetime. Awful, isn't it? So the two big things I want to focus on in this touchy blog are the cheaters and the cheated-on in relationships. If a section doesn't apply to you, simply don't read it.

The Cheaters

Even if you think this doesn't apply to you because you've never physically cheated, you may be wrong. In my mind, cheating isn't just physical, it's emotional. Emotional cheating is also pointed out in the bible. Matthew 5:28 says that if you look at a woman with a lustful intent, you've already committed adultery with her in your heart. If you're emotionally attached or thinking about someone else other than the one you're with, you aren't being faithful. Emotions are HUGE in a relationship, and trust me, people aren't stupid. They know when you're looking straight through them or wishing they were someone else. The human heart isn't a toy to be tinkered with. So, don't let someone allow you to consume their heart and mind if you don't plan on being there.. ALL there.

 One of the huge problems, in my opinion, are people who move from person to person after the current relationship gets boring. This type of person is someone who dates one person during the "googley eyed" stage, and moves onto the next relationship's googley-eyed stage when the current relationship starts getting too monotonous. Psychologists and other specialists are linking this incident to the multiple loves/sexual partners that people are getting used to before their first real commitment. This made sense to me, but I don't believe it applies in every case. However, I do believe people with multiple partners have a huge shock when they realize they've now committed to be with one person (sexually and emotionally) for the rest of their lives. 

Another excuse people use is that their significant other "changed" or "just isn't the same anymore." Uh, hello, of course they aren't the same. You're out of the giggly, interesting, super exciting beginning stage and you're needing something else to keep your attention. You feel as if you've gotten to know everything about them and there's nothing else to learn.. and you're bored. Trust me, there is ALWAYS more to learn about the love of your life. Always. I'm one of those people that notices and memorizes the stupid little details. If you date me, I'll know the exact toppings you prefer on your cheeseburger. I'll decide what type of driver you are the very first time I ride in your vehicle with you. I'll pay extremely close attention to how you treat your mother and your sisters, and if it isn't something I approve of, i'll run in the opposite direction. I pay attention to the cleanliness of your car, your room, and your body. I'll ask you your favorite books, songs, and movies. Most of all, I pay attention to what inspires you. I made a commitment to myself when I was 18, after the most disastrous relationship i've endured, that i'd never date someone I couldn't picture myself marrying. Make yourself this promise and your relationships will be more valuable to you.

 I'm one of those people who loves a chase. I eat it up. If you tell me I can't have something, I'm going to show you I can, in fact, have it. It isn't just me, it's human nature. This is another problem in relationships. You chase someone, get them, the relationship gets boring once again, and you notice someone else who seems unattainable. Annndddd there goes your attention. It's that easy. Train your mind. Love isn't about finding the perfect person, it's about learning to love and devote your life to the person you've found.

Not everyone is going to love you the exact way you want them to, but if they seem right for you, and you love them, don't hurt them. Just because someone doesn't love you the exact way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have. Cherish this. Protect their heart like it's the most valuable possession you've ever held in your hands. Don't shatter their heart and mind because you can't control yours.

Proverbs 6:32
"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself."

Hebrews 13:4
"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."

The Cheated

I have to be extremely careful while touching on this subject. First of all, whether or not you choose to stay with your partner after an occurrence of infidelity is no one's business but your own. It all depends on the situation and what kind of person you are. According to surveys, most people say they leave after being cheated on because "they could never look at their spouse the same way again" or "couldn't forget that it happened." Completely understandable. Those who have stayed with their significant other after infidelity often report that their spouse exhibits feelings of remorse and promises to change and never do it again. Once again, this choice is entirely up to you, and shouldn't involve the input of anyone else. Keep in mind that those outside of your relationship may tell you things that are easier said than done. It's easy for us to tell someone to leave their significant other after infidelity, but who are we to say such things? YOU are the one who married them. YOU are the one who loves them. It's no one's choice but YOURS to make. So, choosing to stay or choosing to leave is the first part of the process. Leaving may seem quick and easy because you can pretend you're okay, mask the pain with hobbies and nights out with your friends, and it seems as if the problem has disappeared. However, if you leave your relationship, you'll be stuck with your pain and sorrow without the person you loved and depended on to help you sort it out. 

I've been cheated on several times. One verse that always helped ease my feelings of hopelessness and betrayal was Romans 5:3-5. "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."Rejoice in our sufferings.. much easier said than done. During hard times like these, it's easy to lose all self-confidence and self-worth, but you have to remember that you didn't cause this person to hurt you. There is something wrong with them, not you. There is no excuse for cheating. It is a selfish act caused by something in that person, not in you. I can't stress that enough.

When someone hurts me, betrays me, or cheats on me, I like to think of it as an opportunity to make myself stronger than i've ever been before. Remember when you were in middle school and those girls or guys would pick on you or leave you out.. and your mom would tell you to get a "thicker skin?" I never understood that phrase until I was cheated on for the first time. Each time someone hurt me, I rejoiced. I'm not going to lie, my first reaction was anger and hatred. I hated them with every part of me. I spent minutes, hours, days, weeks, and even months wondering how they could do such a thing. I mostly thought about how I could retaliate, because I wanted them to hurt. I wanted them to feel the pain and suffering that they caused me (awful, isn't it?!). However, over time (A LOT of time), i've learned to thank them for making me stronger in the end. If you rejoice in your sufferings, you'll gain endurance, character, and hope. So, the next time you want to slash your ex's tires or throw all of their belongings into the middle of I-10, choose to thank them for giving you endurance, character, and hope. You WILL make it through this, and you'll come out stronger than you've ever been before. Pray. Pray for the person who hurt you, and pray for yourself. 

Psalm 34:18
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Hope Gabrielle

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How I'll Prevent My Divorce

I've had a few long term relationships. Some people would call me a "serial dater". But, if there's something that bothers me about that person that I don't believe I'll ever get over, I break up with them. Why? Because you don't want to marry someone when you aren't compatible as a couple in the first place. If you try on a pair of pants at the store and you like how it fits on your legs but hate the way it makes your butt look.. You aren't going to take them home with you anyway and just hope you can squeeze yourself into them after you've lost those two pounds. Why? Because you aren't compatible. Compatibility is so important to realize before the rings, not after. Pay attention to how he treats his mother. Is he clean? Does he drink a lot? Are you too blind to see any flaws beyond his good looks? And for the guys: is she sketchy with her phone? Does she act totally different around her friends? Have people warned you about her? People are making marriages look like a complete joke these days. "Let's just get married and if we can't figure it out in 9 months well get a divorce, no big deal!" A divorce should be the Last resort. After you've tried counseling and literally everything else possible. At one point in time you thought this person was who you wanted to spend your lifetime with. That doesn't just change over a course of months, or it never was real to begin with (which you should've realized before the day you said "I do"). If you've read anything about marriage in the Bible, you'd understand just how sacred marriage is in the eyes of God. Here are a few examples:

Genesis 2:24
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Hebrews 13:4 
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Proverbs 18:22
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

Ephesians 5:25-33 
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. (Such a powerful verse!)

If everyone looked at marriage as the sacred gift that it is, I think my timeline would be filled with less divorce drama. I'm 22 years old. Several people who are my age (some younger, some slightly older)  have already had two husbands and more than one child. Just a little tip here: marrying someone just because you have a child together usually won't work. You actually need love to make a successful marriage. The majority of these girls are getting married after less than a year of knowing someone. I'm not going to lie, that freaks me out. You don't truly know someone in a year. I know this is frowned upon by some people but in my opinion, you should live with someone before committing your life to them and saying those vows. My mother tells me all the time that you don't know someone's true quirks and bad habits or even really know until you're living under the same roof...  And I believe it. EDIT: "Let me simply clarify that not everyone that lives together has sex. That wasn't mentioned anywhere in the blog. Fornication and cohabitation are two totally different subjects. The living together part was only added because of the vast number of couples who choose divorce after realizing their significant other is impossible to live with. 
I for one do not need to live with the man I'm with now before marrying him. I'm huge into details. I know the toppings he prefers on his sandwiches and I know that no matter how many times you tell him to put the toilet seat back down or not splatter water on the bathroom mirror, it'll still happen. I know these things because I know the person that I'm in love with. The living together part was mainly for those who marry someone without knowing their quirks and bad habits. Thank you all so much for the feedback! It's very valuable to me. 
Xoxo, Hope Rodriguez"

Most people begin to argue with their significant other (which eventually gets so awful that it leads to separation or divorce) after the end of the "cupcake phase". The cupcake phase is within the first few months to a year. It is when you get excited over their phone calls, you can text for hours, you want to hug for ten minutes and not let go, and you're flirting with each other nonstop. Once the cupcake phase is over, calls seem inconvenient. You forget to respond to most text messages. Hugs tend to last too long and flirting begins to seem more like a job and not something you enjoy. I've dated guys that would open my doors for me, carry my bags, walk me to my door.. and it was lovely (for the first few months until they stopped). This is when you have to start working on your relationship, or you're going to watch it slowly fail right before your eyes. Despite the fact that you've gotten to know someone intimately, your relationship is steadily falling apart and you don't realize it. The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you'll see their flaws. That's just the way it is. This is why marriages fail. You might think you know someone until you see the way they act when they're out of money or under pressure from work or school or they're hungry, for goodness sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their moody days or the fact that they leave toothpaste in the sink. Love is patient and kind. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice. Love is seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship and move on to someone else. "For God so loved the world that he gave.." Love is giving. Love means giving up your own preferences and comfort for the sake of someone else's happiness and wellbeing. 

Guys: never stop courting your girl. 
Girls: never stop flirting with your guy.

Don't become a statistic. 

Hope Gabrielle