The Steve Urkel Factor (Why Nice Guys Don't Always Get the Girl) by Shanelle Gabriel

After watching several reruns on cable, I see that nice guys have some lessons they can learn from the high-water pants and suspenders wearing, overly nasal character from the long running ABC/CBS American sitcom.
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For my fellas... Here's some reading for you... by Shanelle Gabriel


"Before you fuck up and call her anything less than her name, before you grab her by the arm you need to know the trigger that you are pulling at. You need to know that the safety is never on. You need to know her history before you tell me that this isn’t my business. You need to know that her history is my history.

See, she and I, we come from the tribe of raw knuckled little girls who call our father by their first names and wear their mothers like bruise coloured war paint under eye. We grew thick skin before we grew permanent teeth. We learned to piece together our own families in the backyards of rented duplexes where we promised plastic faced babies better things in soothing tones that we mimicked from TV. We do not have daddy issues even though our daddy’s have issues. We have piercing eyes and promises to keep. We grew up to be nomads surveying domestic war zones with black eyeliner binoculars, always refusing to camouflage. We threw our heads back and laughed at oncoming explosions, never flinched, absorbing shrapnel, never let them see us cry.

We do not dream of boys who will save us from towers. We dream of boys with courage caked under their fingernails. Boys with hands rough enough to wipe metal tears from our faces but warm enough to mold them into stars. Boys with vertebrae strong enough to lock with ours so they can sleep sitting back to back with us and keep watch. And these are the boys, these are the boys who will find love under our armor. These are the boys who will find that we love selectively but we love fiercely. These are the boys who will learn that we love in ways that leave claw marks down the baseboard before we ever let go.

So do not think she doesn’t know how you fear her absence - you should. Your cage is not stronger than her will or her smile. Do not think you are good enough to tame her. You aren’t. And do not think you are the first to try because i have already closed your eyes and crossed your arms before your body hit the floor. And you think she deserves better than you. You are right. So be better than you.

Be thankful that she knows your name and be careful never to forget hers."

— Rachel Wiley


The Official Rules of Dating While "Dating" Your Chronic Illness by Shanelle Gabriel

With doctor visits, prescription pick-ups, bed rest, and flares, who has time for dating??? While the idea of "searching for the one" seems to have been replaced by searching for the right rheumatologist or specialist, you and I both know that there's a part of us that would like a special someone in our lives. But how do we date when we seem to have baggage from our relationship with our chronic illness?
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Podcast of My Interview on "In Sickness & In Health- Dating Someone With a Chronic Illness" on The Naked Radio Show by Shanelle Gabriel

In this podcast, we explore how far someone will go for love when their partner gets sick or is dealing with a serious medical condition. Singer/poet/actress Shanelle Gabriel steps into the hot seat to share her struggles with lupus and how the disease has not only impacted her health but her dating life since being diagnosed.
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Biological Stopwatch (Blog) by Shanelle Gabriel

My boy Karsten likes my rants on Twitter but won't comment on there, so I figured I'd blog about this subject.

I recently discovered that I may be an undercover feminist.

Not in the "man-hating, women are always right, men can't get it right" way. I just believe in fairness and equality for each gender's pursuit of happiness. As a woman in her mid-20s, I'm beginning to see that this belief goes against the societal norm. What led me to enlightenment? Look at your watch.

When women age, especially when we begin creeping to the "dreaded" 30, folk start talking about biological clock. Once I hit 23, my cousin (who's 2 years younger than me) made it her duty every birthday to remind me that I'm "losing eggs and need to start fertilizing them." Is she joking? I tell myself she is and ignore her.

In the last few years, I've done some pretty cool things: released an album, traveled to the majority of the US states, performed internationally, and made great friends. It's always bugged to hear someone say at the end of that conversation, " you're too busy for love" or "So when are you gonna settle down?" It's as if my entire life has been built up to me ending it all for a husband and 3.5 kids.

I can't say that I don't desire these things. I do look forward to the day I can share my love and laughs with someone who loves me and my corny jokes. Contrary to popular belief, I am pretty domestic: cooking and cleaning are stress relievers for me, and I've been taking care of kids since I was a kid. One day I realized how many baby showers and weddings I had to go to, and I started listening to the people asking me "where my man/husband was" and reminding me (whether I asked them or not) that "he's coming." I had a period where my biological clock was deafening. Then recently, I babysat my 3 year old goddaughter. She woke me up early every morning, and I remembered that when you have a child, they become your life. It revolves around shaping his or her future and tending to their needs. The thought of not sleeping in on Sundays and looking for a babysitter when I want to take a spa day made me look at my watch again. That day my biological clock became a stopwatch. I stopped it.

As women, we are socialized to one day become mothers, not to become humans. Our first toys are baby dolls to be fed and rocked to sleep. Boys play with work toys like trucks, tools, and action figures. We're taught to love hard. Guys are taught to be strong. Guys aren't saying to each other, "Yo, brotha, when you gonna settle down, get married & have some kids?" (Unless the guy is married himself.) Instead you hear "So you still messin with that chick, the one with the Double Ds?"

Women are pressured to settle down, but men are pressured to stay on their grind, which usually means 'Don't settle down.' My friend Gia Linelle said, "Times have changed. Men used to be pressured to make money in order to provide. Now its just money." Striving for self-actualization is not a sin- for either gender. The right person will want the best for their partner and will love them for it. They'll want the other to have their own life and their own happiness both with them and outside of them.

So I'm keeping my finger on the stopwatch's pause button. As the Bible says "Occupy till I come," I'll enjoy my life and work toward my goals whether a man is in the picture or not. I know what I'm like when I'm in love, what I'm like when I'm settled & how I am with kids. I'm fine waiting for the right person to bring those elements together. Till then, I'm not waiting for a man on a horse to save me from my present life. I'm making my life one he would be happy to be a part of.

Tick tock, homies...

When Spring Becomes Mating Season... by Shanelle Gabriel

Tis the season...It's Spring, and birds are chirping, pollen is flying, and exes are a'calling. Spring seems to be mating season for humans as well as our animal kingdom subjects. If your number has stayed the same, trust that old flames and even old sparks will be looking to re-ignite. Why? Beats the heck out of me! Maybe the warm(er) weather makes people remember good old times, or maybe folk want to make sure they have a boo to take to the annual 4th of July BBQ. So what do you do? Jump back into their arms or raise your arms?

1) Consider WHY they're calling

You two haven't spoken since '94. Where'd this sudden interest come from? Loneliness? Boredom? An excerpt from the season finale of "Scrubs" that reminded them of you? Did you two have a really good time before, and they were just reminiscing? Or are they realizing that they're getting older, need to settle down with SOMEONE, and you're the best candidate from their past? Be cautious when old flames call around the time of their birthdays; they may be going through their little black book looking for someone to wife up since they just turned 30 and have no new prospects for marriage. Or they may be getting pressure from their parents (and/or church congregation) to "find a nice girl/boy" and settle down. "What about ___? She/he was such a sweetheart." Don't let yourself end up just another part of someone's 3 year plan.

2) What was the reason you two lost touch in the first place?

Was there an earnest connection that may have come at the wrong time? Were you seeing someone back then who's now no longer in the picture? Or did he or she have some severe issues (throwing your phone out the window, hemming you up, or offering a wedding ring after the first date)? If there was a reason back then, will it happen again? People change, but some basic things stay the same. Make sure you're not walking right back into the same drama you ran from before.

3) Use Your Present Judgement
You may not be the same person you were 5-10 years ago. What made you compatible then may not work now. For many, dating in high school only really required good conversation and the newest pair of Jordans on your feet. Now, does he still only wear Jordans? Or can he put on a shirt and tie every now and then? Is she employed or still waiting on Prince Charming to take her out the hood? The thing that super-glued you two together may be the rubber that keeps you both apart. Treat this like a new dating prospect. Get to know them NOW without clinging to memories from BACK THEN. Hold them to the same standards you'd put on someone you met a few days ago who's trying to be a part of your life.

4) If You're Going to Proceed, Keep the Past in the Past
If you decide that that old flame could be your Olympic Torch, you are promising that any bad feelings or negative thoughts from your previous encounter will NOT show up in the present. You are forfeiting your right to throwing the reason you separated before in his/her face, making qualitative statements like "you always do that, remember back in 2001...", and you are not allowed to hold the past against them in any way. You are dating them for who they are now. I suggest you clear the air before you start to get serious, and throw all that out the window once and for all.

5) Don't Be Afraid to Say, "Hell Nah!"
I recently received a phone call from an ex who I hadn't spoken to in ages who asked if I ever thought about us. I told him no, and realized once he said he thought Andre 3000 was whack, that we could NEVER EVER be together. Realize that if you don't want to go there, you don't have to. You are allowed to have a nice conversation, get all nostalgic and misty-eyed, clear up past misunderstandings, and catch-up a bit. You can even do it over a bite to eat. Why not? It's all in the past. But if the other person wants to try again, feel free to say, "Hell nah!" You are not obligated to try again because of the history you two have. That ship may have sailed its course. The saying goes "Forward ever, backward never." Be honest and upfront. If that's not what you want, don't lead them on into thinking they've got their childhood sweetheart back. Have a good time and keep it moving.

6) If you really, really don't want to deal with this, you can always change your number.
Verizon always welcomes new customers. :)

Stay Blessed!