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Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Updates, On Being Ill and Lancelot

Hey folks.

I’ve been down and out for the last three days with what a cute doctor at urgent care this morning diagnosed as an upper respiratory infection.

Thursday I started feeling bad at work. But there was no way I was going to miss out on my dinner with Lancelot.

The dinner was fabulous. I really enjoyed it. He’s a fantastic person. And I had to ask him a question I’ve been asking people lately.

At what point did you know who you were and not to apologize for it? Or are you not there yet?

Well he answered my question and I was sucked in. The way he answered it, the passion with which he answered it, the honesty, the humor. It made me understand his previous pursuit of me and his aggressiveness wasn’t just his way of dealing with women, this man attacks opportunity.

No one has to force him to wake up in the morning and work hard, or try his best or set goals and move heaven and earth to meet them. He just does.

I was impressed.

But as I figured before, I’m going to have to be the one to get the ball rolling. He is playing it cool, understandably so.

So I’ve invited him to a comedy show in two weeks. But I hope he’d like to see me before then.

Back to me being sick. It’s sucked. It’s sucked a great deal. Close friends in the medical community basically declared I had the flu, and the kind that would kill me if I didn’t seek medical attention.

I really don’t like people throwing death around. So when I found out, that I did not have the flu, I was quite excited.

My boss is out all of this week, and now I have two new people under me, so I think I shall work from home tomorrow, but call them regularly. I’m not quite ready to go into work, nor do I want to spread germs.

That is the update.

I’m still recovering. This is all you get.

Hugs.

Workers And “Lunch Breaks”

I had an epiphany.

I don’t really take lunch breaks.

I mean when I do, it’s to run an errand, or get outside to go get some food to ultimately bring back to my desk.

I never just sit and read a book. Or sit and do nothing.

When the weather is fair, and I’m exhausted, I will take short naps in my car.

Sometimes, I’ll go get my eyebrows done, or do a little shopping. But in my mind, those are productive tasks.

There’s no break. No real relaxation or giving my mind and body a much-needed rest to regroup for the rest of my work day.

This work, work, work culture in America has brainwashed me into feeling like, if I leave the office for my lunch break, I better be doing something productive like going to the Post Office, or dropping off dry cleaning or shoes that need to be repaired, or getting more gas, so I don’t have to stop on my way home.

It just occurred to me that I’m a single woman with no kids. Yet, I feel like my lunch break has to be as productive as possible.

It’s friggin nuts.

I keep thinking about the genesis of this eating at your desk business. There’s a part of me that feels like a woman started it. Because men in business do what they want. There are no expectations or assumptions of what they can’t do, so they do what they please and those who work hard and are honest are awesome. Those who are deceitful and get ahead by blaming others and collecting success off of the mistakes and shortcomings of others, well, either man will find their way, still get a check and rise– whether they take lunch for an hour or three or go play golf.

I envision this corporate Eve as was the only woman among men at a particular job (she was so lucky to break the glass ceiling), and to stay one step ahead of her peers and show how dedicated and worthy she was, she declined taking a full hour of lunch, and even going out for lunch, she began eating her lunch at her desk.

Well thanks, corporate Eve.

You ruined a generation.

We eat lunch at our desks, we eat dinner in our cars.

We put faith in companies that give us 2-4 weeks of vacation for an entire year, and can lay us off, cut our pay, or not pay us at all a few times a year, and increasingly make us pay more for health insurance.

Something has got to give.

No wonder we are obese, socially inept, and shooting people en masse in this country.

We are stressed out, not well-rested, unhealthy and crazy.

As a nation we go on and on about our work ethic, yet our moral ethics and economic ethics are deplorable.

Sometimes, I marvel at the government employees who work in my building.

Now those folks, oh, they take breaks. They take extended breaks and they even walk slowly, relaxed, smiling and chatting with co-workers on their way back in the building.

They are easy like Sunday morning.

They get it. And they hardly give a half of a damn.

So what’s our problem in the private sector? We live under the same labor laws and regulations that say, hey you get an hour to do whatever the heck you please, your companies work-a-holic culture be dammned.

But that’s another blog post completely.

So my question to you, are you breakin for real?

If so, give me some tips.

Real or Romanticized? Dinner With Lancelot Is On

Lancelot has returned from his vacation.

From his text last night, I have reason to believe he hit me up just shortly after landing to book a dinner date this week.

We set up the day, and honestly, I’m a bit nervous and/or anxious.

I’m actually looking forward to it.

I take this nervous/anxious reaction as a sign that this time, I actually care what he thinks of me, and the outcome of this entire situation.

Honestly, from our history, I have more to prove than from the first go round.

This time, I’ve challenged myself to be more open. This time, I’m much clearer on who I am, my faults and generally what I want in my life.

Basically, I want to show this person the happier, lighter, less messy me.

The version he truly deserved to wine and dine and treat so nicely.

I’m nervous because the truth of who he’s always seemed to be exposed to me what I was not and couldn’t be when we first tried to start dating.

I knew I didn’t deserve such a great person, at that time. And as I told him, I would have tanked the whole thing if we went at the speed he wanted to go.

There was a part of me that felt like even though I talked this talk about wanting an intelligent man, who was financially stable, who traveled and had it together and was grounded and family oriented and had faith.

I met one during one of the most difficult times in my life and I just couldn’t handle it.

I was used to being the most accomplished in my relationships.

I was used to having to expose the man I’m dating to art and wine and food. I secretly took pleasure in making my men better. It’s quite arrogant.

His confidence in himself, his ability to be so secure in it and not needing me to tell him about a book, or give him professional advice left me without a makeover project.

The script was flipped and I was left scrambling and wondering if I was good enough.

That was the root of my problem.

So, I used the superficial excuses of his weight, and him being too pushy, because that’s all I could use instead of saying the problem was me. He still was pushy.

The real problem was the left over hurt I had from my last relationship, my insecurities and my fears of handing over my true self, this time with a few more scars and sharing it with someone. Then, sharing it with someone who wasn’t running from it or making excuses, but encouraging me to face it and find some beauty in it anyway. Huh? It didn’t compute.

This was not how I normally did relationships or how men did relationships with me. I was always fixing someone and grooming them, whether they liked it or not, because I thought it was in their best interest. Most of them complied because my argument was compelling enough, and they saw for themselves improvements in their lives. But the more they improved, the more I demanded, because I knew they could do better. And for some, they didn’t think I’d ever be satisfied.

Maybe they were right.

Much more than anything, I want to pick Lancelot’s brain. I’m curious about his interest in me and what’s behind it, particularly during times when I was far from my best.

You expect established people in your life to accept you as you are during tough times. When new ones seem to do it naturally, it is scary and strange. We should be skeptical of new people. They should prove themselves. But we shouldn’t be so rigid, we deny ourselves the potential for something new and something beyond the familiar. We intellectualize love. I intellectualize love, trying my hardest to make it fit neatly, and make sense.

To some degree, I do believe love should not be as complicated as we make it. It is a feeling first, and then something that has to grow, evolve and be nurtured and tailored to and upgraded as time goes on. It is an unending work, that lives on in our children and friends and family we leave behind, if we did it correctly.

So here I am.

Humble, vulnerable. Aware of my value.

The awareness of my value allowed me to end ridiculous relationships with ridiculous people.

Now I’m hoping that same awareness will allow me to detect the right relationships and the right people who have an interest in enhancing my life.

I need this dinner to find out if these conclusions I’ve come to over all of this time are true.  I want to know that I didn’t romanticize him over time especially after dealing with men who didn’t come close.

It’s just a dinner…right?

Texting Snobs

sippakorn/freedigitalphotos.net

sippakorn/freedigitalphotos.net

Welp. We all know I’m back out there trying to date. Trying to see what’s what.

I was texting one gentleman caller and he seems to be a nice guy, but a recent text messed me up completely.

He used the word “presents” instead of “presence.”

Being a writer, I try not to be jerky about texts and emails from non-writers.

I’ll let it slide when people misuse your and you’re, or there, their and they’re. It picks at my nerves, but I let it go.

But when people do it regularly, it does make me slowly lose ounces of respect for them.

Presents and presence are two totally different words that mean two totally different things.

Santa gives out presents.

Folks request your presence at their fancy tea or brunch and the honor of your presence at their wedding. Now you can go to a registry and buy them presents, but that’s all you can do with that.

Your presence at this meeting is mandatory, says your boss.

When teachers take attendance and the proper kids don’t want to just simply say, “here” (or in this dude’s case, “hear”), they don’t say, “presence” they say, “present.”

I’m a snob.

In my account of the situation to my bestie, via text, I did say that my vagina instantly becomes dry when men abuse the English language. Fine men suddenly grow warts on their chin that only I can see because they used the word mines in a sentence. Not mines, like a place of work for miners…(and they are of age to work in a mine because they are not minors). He meant as the possessive, mine but I guess, his logic is if the item in his possession is plural, then add the -s. Mines.

Ok. The English language is kinda tricky…

I’m not surprised things didn’t work out with my ex. He always misused worse and worst. Whatever should have been worst, he used worse and vice versa. IT MADE ME CRAZY.

I would try to repeat what he said by using the proper word to show him an example– without being mean– but he never took the hint. And he was college-educated. Ugh.

So this does make me a snob?

Meanwhile, Lancelot will be returning from his mini vacay in Vegas, where he casually mentioned winning $4,000 (wonder how much he lost though) and I’m sure, I’ll be connecting with him soon.

His texts were grammatically correct and he’s coming home with $4,000.

Moisture is returning to my nether regions…

I am a snob and a gold digger.

Me:6.0

So, around these parts, I’m always talking about my goal to empower women.

I got to walk the walk and talk the talk this weekend, by going back to my hood and speaking to some young ladies at the new, spectacular, ballerific Boys and Girls club facility. This place is beautiful and breeds creativity.

This place is gorge.

There were about just over a dozen girls there ranging in ages from 10-20 and we talked to them about going to college, career opportunities, trying new things, bullying, popularity, etc.

I was over the moon.

I was in my element. I really enjoyed sharing my experiences and giving advice.

But there was one girl. Who stood out.

She wasn’t afraid to ask questions, and she was the first to shoot up her hand.

And what did she want to be when she grew up?

An investigative journalist! Ding, ding, ding.

It was like Jesus himself shone a light on this girl and said, “My child. Mentor this child.”

My best friend was in attendance to support me and she kept saying over and over, “Oh my God. This is scary. I thought the Universe was supposed to implode if you ever met a younger version of yourself. Like, you just aren’t supposed to.”

I played it off, but I knew she was right.

This little girl talked about loving to be in the poetry club, and how her friends think sometimes she’s too intense and too deep. She was encouraging to the other girls in the group and talked about even if you aren’t popular you should join different kinds of clubs to meet other people who like the things you like and make more friends that way.

I pulled the old mentor trick to see how for real she was…

Here’s my email. Please contact me if you are really interested in getting more information or you need help with your goals to become a journalist.

Little me had the nerve to hit me with an email first thing the following day. Then she said, she was sorry she didn’t email me the same day we met. Oh, I laughed a good laugh. This little girl is for real.

I see a young hustler beast in the making. She started asking me questions about summer internships and how she can get started. She asked about what major and minor should she look into.

Was she a high school senior, prepping for college?

Hell naw. She’s 14. This is why I call her Me:6.0. I knew I wanted to be a journalist when I was that young, but I wasn’t thinking about majors and minors at that time. Her reason for interest in investigative reporting? She wants to write stories about the government and expose evils and such. Oh, God bless her little heart.

She really doesn’t know what large media companies have been reduced to and that she needs to investigate and expose them too!

But we’ll get to that later. I wouldn’t dare squash her dream. She can write in-depth, investigative stories, but she will have to find other mediums and they are out there.

I give her props, because at her age, I would have been too nervous to contact a speaker from a program, even if that person did seem really interesting.

I told her she was already a natural and I’d be delighted to help.

I have already started to devise a plan to see if we can get her a little job at our tiny, super-local community paper. I feel like they are so small, they’d be nuts to turn down any kind of help. I’ve offered to write a recommendation letter and talk to their editor to see what we can do. I told her I can’t promise anything, but we are going to try.

I also told her to make sure she tells her mother we are speaking by email, to discuss our emails and call my cell phone to talk to me personally, to learn more about me and decide if she feels comfortable with me mentoring her daughter.

The funny thing is, as cliché as it is, going to talk to these girls did more for me and my esteem and helped pump me up probably more than me helping them.

I’m beyond thrilled I met a young lady interested in my field and maybe just maybe, I can help her achieve her goals.

I’m floating on air! Can’t wait to really help this girl. I’m going to go nuts if we can land her a little job at the newspaper.

Bow Down Bitches: On Ratchet Alter Egos

Oh, Beyonce.

She released a new track that has created a lot of buzz, but not in a good way.

The song tells her haters and those who want to be her to simply, “bow down bitches.”

A number of bloggers and angry folks are saying she’s at the top of her game and doesn’t even need to tell her haters to bow down. Too boot, she has won the public admiration of First Lady Michelle Obama as well as the Obama girls, sang at both inaugurations and she’s just squandered that relationship by putting out such a ratchet track.

Let us keep in mind, that Beyonce may have fleeting moments of ego and cusses from time-to-time, but for some reason she went all out in this new song. But folks, let us not forget the line, “Fuck you, pay me” (Girls run the world).

We loved her alter ego Sasha Fierce, the muse she calls upon when performing such high-energy, sexy shows, who seems to be directly opposite from her seemingly more quiet, private demeanor. But that’s just it.

She seems to be quiet and private.

Folks were also outraged because now she’s a mom, to a little baby girl. Why should she be calling people bitches and tricks now?

Thing is, celebrities we put in boxes or up on pedestals often want to break out, try something different and be themselves or show other versions of themselves. Folks who are saying this isn’t her, eh, I beg to differ. I think that side is a part of her. It may not be a prominent side to who she is, and Bey has never truly been “hood,” but neither have I. I’ve always been “hood adjacent” and can mingle in a variety of worlds. I actually pride myself on my ability to do just that.

So let’s talk about me.

I think I’m a classy, educated, conscious person.

But I can be crass, vulgar and absurd.

I can drop it like it’s hot, I can make it clap. I can drink grown men under the table. I love whiskey. I love hip hop and can recite the nastiest lyrics by Lil Kim at the top of my lungs. Ghostface Killah is my favorite member of the Wu Tang Clan. In the privacy of my home, or on a beach, I love booty shorts. I own a pair of Timberland boots, and I have a few wifebeaters I wear with no bra around my house, left behind from old lovers. That part of myself is just as real as the part that loves PBS, books, documentaries and arguing about politics.

I was just listening to an amazing podcast out of Stanford University, led by the amazing Joan Morgan, about black women, sexuality, hip hop and how we are viewed and how black women really aren’t free sexually. It’s called “Pleasure Principle.” It’s on itunes for free. An enlightening hour of awesome. So serious. We were sexual objects in slavery, and because of our African roots and the shape of our bodies, we were seen as exotic, but we were also seen as primitive. The thought was we’d do any and everything sexually and that it was ok because hey, we were made that way. We would be the yang to the elevated, pure, white woman’s yin.

Unfortunately, music videos or reality t.v. do not help the cause in terms of changing the sexual reputation of women of color. And a lot of young women don’t have the historical context to stop themselves from the allure of money and fame and attention from rich athletes or music stars to just not participate in these types of activities. Some of them argue they are sexually liberated. And wield this public display and the ability to profit off of it as sexual power.

Meanwhile, on the flip side, to make up for all of that, a number of black women have been told to cover up even more, to be more sexually conservative because of the influence of religion and to be “good girls.” I know I was one of them.

We have all of these clashing views to tip-toe in between and meanwhile, as the lovely scholars pointed out in the podcast, while the music demeans us, we still feel compelled to dance to it, to sing along to it. There is a pleasure in it. The question is should we be ashamed of our bodies? The way we move our bodies? All of that.

So which woman is truly free? That’s the question modern feminists are asking. It’s a great question and one that is worth deep discussion.

I’m not saying Beyonce is the latest and greatest black feminist. She is an artist, she is a grown woman and has the right to experiment with her art, but she is also a role model to a lot of people. If you’ve ever gone to one of her shows, you see a cross-section of ages and races. In my opinion, she’s allowed to have a ratchet side, however she has to be responsible. So maybe she should leave her ratchet side at home and in a safe, non-judgemental place among her closest friends.

That’s what me and all of my well-educated, proper girlfriends do…

Connecting Others to Their Purpose Seems to Be Becoming My Purpose

It is no secret that I am a cheerleader for my friends and loved ones.

If there is something you want to do, I generally believe you can do it, even when I’m lacking confidence in my own life.

One of my closest friends has been struggling to find a job, as a lot of people are in these times.

I’ve always said what she has needed most is a great, well-connected mentor.

I’ve been looking and looking, and I think I found her the perfect person. I reached out to this person a few days ago. We hadn’t talked in years, but this woman had an impact on my early in my career. I sent her a very humble, yet passionate email describing how much I love my friend, and how I think that her mentorship will do my friend a great deal of good and point her in the right direction of entering a related field.

This well-connected woman reached back out to me, said she totally remembered me and appreciated the fact that I wanted so badly for my friend to succeed and was so ready to advocate on her behalf. She said she’d be delighted to contact my friend and help her in any way possible.

I have been over the moon about that this morning, because I do believe this interaction– which is now up to my best friend to knock out of the park, can set in motion just what she needs to get her to where she’s been wanting to go.

That moment inspired me greatly.

Right after that email, I saw another from a company I applied with over a year ago and went on an interview for.

They said according to my qualifications in their system, they suggested a position. Normally, these suggestions are way off, and well below my pay requirements.

I’ve been comparing salaries in this area, and this job could potentially make me happy. So I’m going to apply.

I was talking to my other friend I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a lot about purpose and wondering if as a writer, professionally, I’ve been drifting further and further from what I originally wanted when I set out to be a world-class journalist.

Maybe I did drift, and maybe being a writer for newspapers may no longer be a desire of mine, but I will always be a writer.

But something else has been happening with me. Writing this blog, gives me the opportunity to still do what I love and I love writing this blog and I love the positive feedback people give me.

The other piece of my heart and purpose now really is advocacy. I think this job I’ve come across has the potential to do that. I said several posts ago, I’ve accepted my lot at my current job, and would only apply to jobs that really move me, instead of applying to jobs for more money or to get the hell out.

I’m learning to listen to myself. And I’m listening.

So let’s give it a go.

I took this a step further and decided to write myself a mission statement. If companies and organizations can write them to establish goals and organizational culture for groups of people, why can’t we do this personally? Individually?

I will use my talents and experience as a professional communicator to be an advocate and cheerleader for health, education, the arts, women and girls, and the disenfranchised.

 

I will connect people to resources that will lead them to achieve optimum mental and physical health, and identify and utilize their own creativity, skills and talents in positive and powerful ways.

 

I will use my gifts to empower others.

 

Creativity is my guiding force and inspiration, I will continue to seek inspiration and challenge myself in my creative pursuits– through literature, music, visual arts, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors.

 

Today, I challenge you to really think about the things you love, the things that inspire you and make you feel good and think about your talents used and unused, and the skills you use every day as well as the skills people are always asking you to use. Create your own mission statement and post it someplace to remind you of who you are and what REALLY drives you.

Posting this in my cube has already given me a new feeling and a sense of greater purpose. I’m saying it out loud and whoever comes by my desk will see it too. I’m giving my thoughts real power and standing behind it and challenging myself to live up to it.

Inspiration, Inspiration, Inspiration. PLAY!

This image is one of the most popular for Nina Simone on Pinterest. I do not know where the photo came from to give it proper credit....This image is what I recreated this weekend.

This image is one of the most popular for Nina Simone on Pinterest. I do not know where the photo came from to give it proper credit….This image is what I recreated this weekend.

I’m a little tired, but I’m on an inspiration high.

One of my super talented, awesome, amazing friends came to visit me for like 24-hours and it was the shot, boost everything I needed as of late.

Our time was short, but we managed to pack in some serious chats about life, our past, our mistakes, hurts and what’s ahead.

My friend is a brilliant photographer who I’ve talked about in previous blogs, who was the creative force behind the insane tee-shirt photo shoot I had in New York for my company.

She asked me if I was down for sitting for some photographs and I was.

Our travels led us to an abandoned bus sitting in the back of a parking lot of a random Dominican restaurant… all the way to an old Maryland textile Mill.

We shared a meal at one of my favorite restaurants and then she photographed me channeling Nina Simone– wearing a little black dress, head wrap and heels, burning incense instead of a cigarette and drinking my wine from a Mason Jar.

Then I threw on a wig and shiny shirt and transformed in to a rocker girl from the early 90s who seemed to be having a ball at someone’s house party.

I just felt super creative in the presence of this friend, who was kind enough to bring me a massive amount of prints from the amazing tee-shirt shoot.

In return, I supplied the wine and some sweet potato pie.

I’m always telling you folks how much I love my friends. The lift me up.

If you don’t have any friends who lift you up, who you can be absolutely silly with in one moment, and can cry with the next, inspire you to be a better person and point out when you are being an ass, you need to fire the friends who don’t do this, or put them on probation until they improve.

I’m serious.

The people in our circle matter.

Period, point-blank. They can push us to greatness, and they can provide a safe, safe place for us to truly be ourselves.

In this world, you have to have a safe place you can go. It’s too hectic, it’s too filled with madness and ridiculous things that will induce migraines and anxiety attacks not to.

Take the time to be silly.

Please. I didn’t realize how much that reduces my stress. I was playing dress up in my own house and running around with my friend climbing on things and posing for my dear life and at one point she said, “You are not playing, you are not getting eliminated tonight!”

She broke my serious model face with that. And I said, “I sure won’t, Tyra. I sure won’t. I will not be packing my belongings! I am still in the running to be America’s Next Top Model.”

We should never be too cool, or too grown, or too sophisticated to let ourselves go and be our silly, corny, uncool selves in the presence of our dearest friends and family. It is one of life’s simple joys.

During Christmas I had so much fun playing in wrapping paper with my best friend and posting the pics on Facebook, people cheered us on. Then we took it even further and built an old school fort out of furniture, pillows and blankets!

We are 31.

It was awesome and I had so much fun. I mean, we got serious about this fort. It was hilarious. We ended up bringing joy to other people on Facebook that night, because they saw the love, they saw we didn’t take ourselves so seriously, and they saw our friendship and how we love and honor and support each other.

Please do me a favor.

Do something silly and uncool.

Start out just doing it alone, in your house and laugh at yourself.

Then add in a friend, who you trust. Do something seemingly silly together and you will feel lighter. You will feel joy.

And it will be a lasting feeling and you will have created a wonderful memory and will have opened the door to keep having those kinds of memories.

I’ve realized, the closer I am to people, the more silly I can become.

It is a form of intimacy for me, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

Play.

Take Two: Giving Lancelot A Real Chance

I’ve been thinking a lot about love.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to select a partner.

I’ve been thinking about how I approach love and falling in love about three years after being destroyed by the man I was set to marry.

For me, the prospect of love is exciting, it’s comforting…it’s a new goal to reach. But it is also terribly terrifying for me.

I thought I was in the deepest love possible before, and it ripped me apart. It took me a very long time to heal.

There was a feeling. There was an attraction. There was this unwavering feeling that I wanted to be there for this person, I wanted to help them grow and become better.

That person, I thought made me feel beautiful until he felt I should lose weight. This person made me feel at first secure, until he made me feel unsecure. I enjoyed the sex, until I felt pressure to be a thinner porn star toward the end of the relationship. I enjoyed it until he thought it was an insult to him if I didn’t come every time. I had dreams he was cheating. I’d wake up in a rage. And when he wouldn’t call for days, or rush me off the phone, I already knew we were circling the drain.

I felt like something was wrong with me. So I couldn’t even enjoy it.

There was a reason it didn’t work out. As much as I loved this person, I can say now, he was not my husband. He wasn’t the one I was meant to be with.

Ironically, what I thought I knew to be love, or the feeling, or the things I wanted of a partner, those things started to unravel. Because of what I thought I knew then, and actually didn’t know, it gives me a very clear picture of what I should be looking for now.

And this is why I’ve decided to reach out to someone who I didn’t give a real chance.

After thinking about how much I just want to have sex with “Kyle Barker,” I never liked how he made me feel. He didn’t really challenge me to be better. He enlightened me, and he was the one who put me onto the book the “Four Agreements,” but he wasn’t truly invested in me or my development. He may have given me a few tips about business, but once again, it was all superficial. He said he missed me and could be himself around me and that he liked that I was just as silly and intellectual as he. But he’s never done anything to prove it.

Come to think of it, I don’t think he’s ever just done anything kind, or to go out of his way for me. Ever.

In praying for the right man to come into my life, I feel like I’ve been thinking more clearly.

But in the thinking more clearly, and being more discriminating in who I even spend my time with, it’s awfully frightening. Because my thoughts are leading to this person. I’m going to call him Lancelot.

I’ve mentioned him before in this blog. He was the “good-guy” I was in no emotional state to deal with when we did start talking.

Lancelot literally met me at Don Pablo’s downing margarita’s after work like nobody’s business. It may have been only four months after my breakup with my ex. I was particularly peeved by work and I even called one of my friends to share how rock bottom I was at that point that I was stuffing my face and getting twisted off margarita’s by 7 p.m. on a weeknight.

He was at the bar. He was engaged in a conversation with another man and woman. The man and woman worked together. I originally thought all three knew one another because of how easily they interacted. The other man was totally older than me, but I thought he was fairly attractive. Lancelot, was a chipper man of stocky build.

I tried my best to ignore the happy bunch, but sometimes they said something funny, which prompted me to laugh.

Lancelot caught me and announced, “See, we even made her laugh and she’s been looking upset all night. Come sit with us, we’ll have shots. Please, come sit.”

I tried to protest, but the rowdy bunch insisted.

As the night wore on, I smiled more. I laughed. I even told Lancelot that I really didn’t want to smile and that I was upset that he and his party made me do so.

I wanted to be mad. I wanted to be angry. After all, I was heartbroken. The “worst thing” that could happen to a woman in love did. I was so close to being married. And it was gone. Done. Had a pretty ring just sitting in a box now and not on my finger. I had problems!

With an easygoing nature, he said to me what he continued to say to me long after that night. “You can’t let anyone mold your ball of clay.”

“What?”

Taking a sip from his beer, he smiled, exposing his dimples and a gap-tooth, shook his head. “It means don’t let other people dictate how you feel and get you all wound up and crazy.”

He was a former military man who traveled extensively. He went to school when he was done and built himself up as an IT genius, securing crazy contracts all over the world. He built up a lovely life for himself. The only thing missing was someone special.

When we shut down the bar talking, mostly me bemoaning my circumstances, he wanted to exchange numbers. He wanted to take me out to dinner.

We did, but when we went to dinner the first time, I didn’t really put forth a lot of effort.

He kissed me at the end, but I felt like it was too forward. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t like how that felt.

I continued to see him, he invited me to his home. A beautiful, beautiful one at that. I was very impressed. Yet, he was humble.

He casually mentioned that he bought his mother a home in the south, but it really wasn’t bragging. He was a loving son, who really understood the difficulty of his situation, not knowing his father, and his mother being a young teen. He wanted to make her proud and nurture her.  He was raised by his loving grandparents, who he cited as his example and blueprint of a real relationship. He said they loved each other so much, when one died, the other died just months later from a broken heart. He called it forevership. And he wanted forevership.

He cooked for me. Sent me home with loads of food. He always kept my wine glass full and I’d call him out on it.

“You just want to get me drunk so I can’t drive home.”

Then he’d smile that smile.

“I just want you to be happy, to enjoy yourself. This is your home.”

Those words scared the crap out of me.

He would speak as if he knew I’d be his.

I’ve thought of him often, but I’ve been stubborn, because I didn’t want him to be right.

He seemed so sure about me, even when I felt like he didn’t even know me yet.

He’s brought me food when I was sick. And he’d bring me dessert from a fine restaurant after a business dinner he had with clients.

He was thinking of me, when I wasn’t thinking of him.

The first time I came to his house, he made jokes about my clothes in his massive closets, and taking long baths after a long day of work in the ridiculous ginormous tub in the master bedroom bathroom.

This was too much.

Any man this quick to want to include me in his life, in his home to that degree… it was not to be trusted.

He had to be a nut job.

I told him so.

It was too much.

His response was that he tends to be a little too pushy when he wants something and a little too honest. But he trusted his gut and his feelings. He said he believed that he was for me, “the guy.”

The crazy thing is whenever I told him to back off, he said he’d try. And he would. But then he’d do something pushy again a week later and I’d pull further away.

He understood when I told him that I needed space and didn’t want to talk to him for a while. He took it in stride and would send me a text every few months to check on me.

I reached out yesterday and he seemed very happy to hear from me. After exchanging a few niceties, he asked if I had time to have dinner with him.

I told him that my week was hectic, but maybe the end of the month would work. He would be traveling next week himself, but he’d arrange something as soon as he got back.

So why am I giving this a go?

I’ve never felt disrespected by him. (I stayed over and stubbornly slept on his couch, despite his offer of the upstairs guest room. I woke up in the middle of the night, and found him sleeping next to the couch, on the floor so I wouldn’t be alone.)

When he’s not pushy, I enjoyed his company.

He has a positive, upbeat attitude. He does not place blame on people or have a chip on his shoulder, but he is not a pushover.

He is romantic and affectionate.

He is generous.

He’s funny.

He can cook.

Has a career.

Has a beautiful home.

He’s building his own business.

He seems loyal.

He seems trustworthy.

Loves to travel. “I don’t fly anything lower than business class internationally, and if you’re with me, you won’t either. You should  be comfortable if you are in the air for that long.” Well damn. (He said if I went to visit my friend in South Korea, he wanted to take me because he lived there. And sure enough he had a massive award on his shelf in English and Korean from the people of Korea).

If you’ve managed to keep reading, most of you are saying I’m a nutbag for letting him go and entertaining the older gentleman, boo thang and Kyle Barker over probably the last two years.

I think I am a nutbag. Therefore, I’ve decided to give it a serious try. I don’t have the same baggage holding me back. I want to be loved and treated well from someone sincere.

One of the things that has scared me most is, I could not understand for the life of me what he kept seeing in me. Why was he being so intense and persistent? Why would he keep reaching out? What on earth did he see that first night, down the bar, in a sad, drunken girl, barely touching her tacos, who was so broken, who admitted she had no desire to laugh or smile?

What did he know?

How could he be so comfortable envisioning me sharing his home one day? Or traveling the world with me?

A week ago, I was annoyed with a man who didn’t know what he wanted or where he was going especially with me.

This week, I realized I was in the company of a man who knew where he’d been, where he is, where he’s going and who he wants there with him and I was that person. As trifling, as confused and crazy as I was. I didn’t know what I wanted then. At all.

I told him that. And I told him I could not give him back what he was offering me, because I was so all over the place.

And he said he understood.

I’ve decided to go with my feeling on this one. When I’ve mentioned the prospect of seeing him again to a few friends, they warned me not to play with his affections. So I’d been laying low.

But in my prayers, I’ve asked to be able to see people with new eyes. To see them accurately and clearly. And I’ve given people who didn’t have nearly the same amount of class, respect and status my time and energy.

I’m not so awesome to say I shorted him.

But I certainly shorted myself. And my heart can’t afford to not give someone like that a real chance.

More references to Lancelot: https://29tolife.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/heart-head-gut-do-all-three-have-an-equal-vote/

Inspiring Transformations, Thanks Chrisette Michele

I get inspired by people, music, books, art, fashion, like all the time.

It’s one of the things that reminds me that life is beautiful. Like really, really beautiful. And being different, and weird and smart and funny is awesome. It’s just fantastic.

So, in today’s post, I want to give a shout out to the supremely talented Chrisette Michele. I’ve seen her numerous times live, and there’s a part of me that feels very compelled to be proud of her because she is basically from the next town over from mine in Long Island. So to see someone so close to home make it, similar in age, etc. it’s already encouraging.

Anyway, Chrisette is my muse today. I’m listening to her latest mixtape inspired by Audrey Hepburn. Chrisette, has gone through some changes yall. You can see that she’s moving in a different direction, and you can hear it in her music. It’s pretty refreshing.

I love contemporary artists who have studied music. They bring something else to the table and they are always trying to elevate the craft, and if you love music too, you can pick out certain nuances, or see where they made a nod to something in their work. To me being able to see and hear those things is exciting and a testament to my own growing knowledge.

She’s lost some weight (I believe 30 pounds she said in a video she posted), she spent extensive time traveling, and she’s rocking a range of hair styles and has a number of tats and a nose ring.

A total departure from the sugary sweet girl image from her first, heavily Jazz-influenced, “I Am.”

In a video interview, she said she didn’t want to sing sad songs anymore because she wasn’t in that place any more. She’s opened herself to love, and she’s just generally happy.

She’s clearly a woman on a journey and she’s enjoying the ride.

For some reason, we give celebrities the pass to go and change their hair, or take a break and travel and change up their style.

I’m a firm believer, regular folks can do the same.

I’m tickled that one day I’ll rock a bun, or a curly wig, or my fro, or twists. My co-workers seem to be waiting to see what I’ll do next.

I’m strongly considering some braids in the summer. Why not?

I realized I have a busy weekend. Tonight I’m going to a Wizards basketball game with my homeboy.

Friday, going to see one of my favorite musicians, Bilal. Saturday, I’m going to check out an art exhibit on graffiti art with a new meetup I’m joining. And then one of my dearest friends is popping in on Sunday.

We have to keep striving for new in our very contrived, average days.

That’s why I need to read books and seek out independent movies, or see shows and take in live music.

I need this stuff like air.

I must have intellectual and ridiculous conversations with people who stoke those interests.

I need to meet new people.

These things make you feel alive.

These things inspire me to create. Maybe I’ll finally finish writing my damn book or come up with a new t-shirt concept.

It’s all out there.

The old, the new.

Old movies, movie stars, music, books. Rediscover them. Then marvel at how human nature never changes. Examine how old writers complained of the same things we complain of today.

What struck me most was when Miss Chrisette said plainly in the interview, “I didn’t want to be an angry, black woman anymore.”

It was so simple, and it was a thought I had the other day.

Believe it or not, it’s easy as hell to fall into that dreadful stereotype. But can we be honest, for a moment? There are a lot of angry women of all colors, not just black.

There are a lot of just angry people out there.

But for some reason, black women tend to hold up the banner and wear our anger and our ability to live with and accept anger as a lifestyle so effortlessly, like badges.

And that, I believe is what Miss Chrisette, and myself are trying to escape.

I’m going to work on smiling more. Just smile.

Even when I force myself to smile during a workout, it actually helps me get through it. I think I look stupid, but it doesn’t matter, because it actually helps.

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