A short while ago I read about some woman who gave advice to her younger Ivy League alums about trying to find a husband while they were in college so that they can secure a future they supposedly wanted. I laughed then and I laugh now because during those years as you are now learning, it's the beginning of the very journey to finding out what you want for yourself. So when I heard this silly woman try to convince these poor young people that what they wanted was society's definition of "making it" I shook my head sadly because I could imagine how many young people were now being led down a really bad path.
"IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL'S TOOLS" ~ Chaucer, 'Tale of Melibee' (c. 1386)
The idle have been busy at work TODAY! This letter is going to be a two-parter I can just feel it!
You know what I've always said about the quote. People with nothing better to do than cause trouble for others (so that they can feel important) will do exactly that because they are not interested in doing anything with true intrinsic value for others.
Love and marriage are an amazing thing boys and we talk about it a lot because your momma is a loving force of nature. I begin my outlook on everything and everyone from a position of love. I love my universe and I work my way to loving my neighbor (by showing mutual respect) and then I have you three, where all my energy and love is built around. You three are my "All And All".
(Okay, shout out to Joyce Sims, private joke) But at the end of the day I must place myself at my center, I must love and strive for me so that I can be of assistance to you and the ones I love.
This is where so many get it wrong until years and years have passed, including your mom. Love and Marriage isn't what makes your life, it's not the Holy Grail of Happiness, in fact if you set out to find love and marriage as the foundation for a happy life what you may end up with is a life filled with disappointment, distractions keeping you from fulfilling your amazing destinies and heart break with more than a few people whose lives you'll cross. You all know this and you know it firsthand by watching me live my life. I shared everything with you. (with great broad paint strokes and not in every detail as I was not going to rob you of your childhood} When my marriage to your father ended and everyone now (18 years later) sees that it was the healthiest thing for everyone, it seemed that all I was ever told was to find someone else to marry. Someone who could "properly" take care of me and my sons. Now, I knew your dad had a tough time helping out in the finance department, after all what does two twenty somethings really know about living a life in New York City, the most expensive place on earth it feels like, but he struggled just like we all did and that wasn't the root of why we needed to separate.
So many opinions on what to do and how to live from so many people who were having issues of their own! Sure I was skeptical and didn't believe them because if I wanted expert advice I'd have gone out and found me an expert! (Question everything and research what you want and need for yourself!) But these people, many who were older family members all meant well. (I think) The road to happiness (code word: SECURITY) was to remarry and to remarry someone whose income could pay for your way in life. Hmmm, sounds like slavery or prostitution to me. But what did I know, I grew up with Disney and you couldn't get the notion out of MY head that one marries for love and only love. (refer to at least a dozen letters before this one)
So, I'm having my morning coffee and reading this article about some Ivy League misguided (maybe), opportunistic (hmmm, ok, more power to her I suppose) woman who thinks that leading others down this slippery slope of Sugar Daddies and Mommas is the key to happiness. Well, you know the real deal and it's not anything of the kind. There are quite a few reasons why.
1. You become someone's property if they feel they are contributing to YOUR bottom line and that leads to a host of things no young person wants to be a part of (can I get an AMEN i.e. Mariah Carey)
a. trophy spouse, gets a few baubles but no real chance at self fulfillment because now their lives are solely to make the paying spouse happy. Newsflash, entitled people get bored A LOT and QUICKLY.
b. arm candy, is only as good as they fit the mold and their feelings become secondary because King Pin and Queen Pin are too busy getting accolades on their latest and greatest addition to their POSSESSIONS. (they think they own you if they are putting up the money)
c. baby's momma or baby's daddy, code word for "noose around the financial neck AND testicles if you piss them off". The children are their play things and depending on which direction the wind is blowing they are going to play canasta on your ass if there is a loving child in play. (YES, I said canasta. I could have said Candy Crusher but there are a few things from last Century we need to never lose sight of and KEEPING IT REAL is one of them, so look it up at the library or Google it, #whatever, #lastcenturyrocked, "Pinstagram" that kids!)
2. If the person you co-habitate, civil union with, or marry feels they are giving more to the relationship financially then they are going to expect more being given to their hopes and dreams. After all, if someone is going to pay your way, then you better BE GOING THEIR WAY. Boys, the key to happiness is simple yet not easy. You have to be true to yourself and your dreams and your needs first, so how can you do that if you are beholden to someone simply because they make or have more cash than you?
3. Locking yourself to someone because they can provide security means they can feel they can treat you any way they wish. If that means to be abusive verbally, emotionally or physically then they will feel justified. Ok then Ms. Smarty Marry Pants, you can go out and find your next "dominator" or "dominatrix" if you want but my sons and the people I know can master their own lives and destinies by themselves.
4. Most importantly, being with someone who revels in feeling as if they are the center of the universe sets you up for future failures as an individual. How many spouses lose their mate who was running the house or the finances and now find themselves with nothing and nowhere to turn? Of course they are going to try to find someone else because THEY have lived a life of giving over their power to control their lives to someone else. What they need is a dose of, 'this is your life and guess what - THIS IS A NEW LIFE NOW!'
So this person who is currently making money by making "mischief" is telling young people to subscribe to a life of servitude? Ok, go follow that chick and you'll end up in Divorce Court and on an Episode of Law and Order's SVU if you keep looking for people who want a slave, pet, trophy or doormat.
Boys, the story behind sugar daddies and sugar mommas all lies in the weaknesses of human nature. There are those who want to feel superior and look to surround themselves with people not as strong in their opinions about themselves. There are those who feel they deserve their spouses to be subservient, and to them I say, go hire a housekeeper or a cook or an escort. At least they know they are charging for their services and they know it's a job, not a life.
Boys, you know how you feel about allowance time right. Think for yourselves my dears. When I got paid, I gave out allowance and even though I tried to be consistent so that you could rely on that money for your needs there were times I could not always make it the same amount. You hated it because you HAD TO RELY on this one source of income and you all told me the same thing I told grandpa when I was a teenager. "I want to get a job so that I can work for my money and I can pay for my own things." That is right! Now you're keeping it real! Depend on yourselves for the fundamentals in life so that you will always know you can.
You know mom is doing all she can and you also know that mom doesn't gamble her life or the lives of her children on the men and woman in her life, friends or lover. So if it can be done then I will do it. Oh I've had help sure but I've never rested my heart on someone to co-opt my life and then become my lord and master. I am mistress of my journey. The love I've had was always founded on mutual respect, love, affection, admiration and in those instances when I sought help and found them trying to treat me as if I was their property because they held that card over me, then away I went.
I know what it's like to be with someone who made more than me and who knowingly or unknowingly flaunted something that I was struggling with. How asking them for help became torturous because they acted as if helping out was such a chore for them and then they'd insist that I had to show my devotion in kind as if I was bartering my body for a loan to pay my rent. Nevermore. That does not a 'loving relationship of two equals' make. How much money either makes should not be a pre-requisite for a long life of happiness because I guarantee you someone's feelings are going to get hurt and the most independent one is going to move on and leave the other feeling used, abused and like crap. Trying to rebuild a life when the person you thought loved and respected you goes out to find a younger or more exciting model is not a way to go either.
The power my dears is in making yourself your own center. Enjoy meeting so many like yourselves along your journey, especially in college but don't hinge a lifetime on the whim of a stranger out to make a few bucks and a splash on the internet. Especially when you have such amazing dreams and THIS is the time to go for it! You're young, free and independent! Sure you are meeting some amazing people in college right now but you're able to reach for all your stars without fear of too many obstacles that you can't work through! Heck, the most fun your father and I had when we were your age (before and during our dating years) was traveling and meeting new people - and I mean simply exploring and discovering all that the five boroughs of our city had to offer! We loved each other and so we fell for that idea that we should marry and THEN begin our lives but we realized, later on, our lives had already started and even when we divorced, our lives hadn't ended, they'd only changed. Of course we had to change too and we did. We made a real honest deal to parent you all TOGETHER (it's called Shared Parenting), we made a deal to try and help each other if we could, with no promises, no expectations, no illusions and then we set off to seek our own fortunes.
Ok, Shared Parenting and seeking our own fortunes after divorce are definitely in some of my other letters... Don't waste your time looking to lock yourself into a life of possible misery by tying it to someone else's destiny. I guarantee you, a lesson I've only begun to fathom and understand finally after turning 40 is, you will meet amazing, loving and wonderful people. Some who will be of wonderful help to your destiny because in some way you are a wonderful help in theirs. [Ok, insert reason or a season life lesson here]
Here's a sample:
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
Now that you all are working and going to school I wish you so many wonderful adventures and I know you'll meet many reasons and seasons and lifetimes along the way. Just don't drop anchor my darlings and worst off in someone else's harbor. Sail that ship into the unknown, your mom will always be here to hear your stories and give advice if it's asked for. You do have my email right because mom's on her own voyage and I'm telling you those choppy seas may knock your momma around a bit but dammit I'm a hell of a navigator when I'm at my own helm! (I'll send you a post card or write another letter so we can always be in touch for you three are definitely my 'lifetimes'.)
PS: Don't listen to people who want to help you navigate YOUR voyage. Don't fall for want of sugar mommas or sugar daddies, it's why I do my own thing ("I brew my own tea, no sugar please") and why rise or fall, it's all me.
PPS: The second part of this letter has to do with giving and getting. You give simply to give not to expect anything in return. That's a business arrangement (Quid Pro Quo) and not what "giving of yourself" is all about. Be on the lookout boys!
Carmen M. Colon is a mother, an engineer, an education and childrens advocate, an author and a workshop facilitator on the topics of leadership, womens empowerment, career advancement and parenting.
She is writing a set of "Dear Sons" letters to her three sons on a series of topics and issues.
Her website is http://carmenmcolon.info
Her ebooks, Out On A Limb, on self confidence and self esteem can be found online in English and Spanish: http://book.flipbuilder.com/CarmenMColon/ The soft cover can be found at: https://www.createspace.com/3853928
If you can show your support by gifting a copy of my Out On A Limb e-book (or two) to a young person, starting at age 7, we would be forever grateful. We want to pay our gratitude forward as much as we can. Thank you for reading. Carmen and the boys
Carmen M. Colon, Mother to three amazing self sufficient civic minded sons. Devin Christopher, 25, Fashion Designer, college student in NYC and youngest athletic director ever hired at a major sports complex in NYC. Antonio Fernandez, 21, choreographer, dancer, model, college student in NYC, has already performed with Cyndi Lauper at the Beacon Theatre and simply ready for his close-up. Taylor Aidan, 18, also college bound, is also an amazing singer who is studying to be the next greatest sign language interpreter the world's ever known. (DISCLAIMER: Ok, mom wrote that.)
 Titelman,Gregory, "Popular Proverbs and Sayings"