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Be Yourself, Demand Love Unconditionally

Folks have said all the time to “be yourself.”

For a large part of your life, you swear they are lying.

You do what you deem is necessary to fit in at work, or to make friends, or to be in a relationship.

But those words are the truest words you’ll hear.

You just have to be brave enough to actually do it.

Why is it that something that should be as natural as being yourself so damn hard to do?

Well, it’s because we are acutely aware of our faults more than everyone else is, hence we have the power to alter it, mask it and pretend. But that only works but for so long. Folks who truly know you, know when you are genuine and when you are not and thank God.

The lies we tell ourselves are the worst and most potent and hardest to break and reverse.

The reason I’m on this kick today is because this morning I woke up with about 30 epiphanies. I had to text them to myself so I wouldn’t forget.

I went to a beautiful wedding this week of a fantastic college friend who I hadn’t seen in years.

She was absolutely stunning, but what made her glow all the more enchanting was she was truly happy. She loved that man and he clearly loved her. It was in the little things, the way she picked an eyelash off his face, and the way she still made silly faces with exaggerated eyes and smirks even in her formal photos. Every inch of that venue had her mark– from the songs she selected to the party favors. Individual, unique, simple, understated but not buttoned up.

The moment of the wedding that stopped my heart and hit me like a freight train was during her written vows.

She thanked her husband profusely for loving her for who she is. And I believed her. Those weren’t empty words. Even as she said it, she began to cry, and my eyes began to well. Because I know the impact of those words. And yet, I can’t think of a relationship where I completely felt like was loved exactly for who I was. I didn’t feel like I was enough in every last one and it was frustrating because I truly did my best in all. But it wasn’t on me, that was the thing I couldn’t control, even though I tried to. Either someone is going to love you for you completely, or they just won’t.

They will love you when your house is dirty or when it’s clean. They will love you if you gained some weight or if you stayed the same weight. They will love you and your child if that’s what you came to the table with. They will love you when you are sick and take care of you, as they will love you when you are healthy. They will think you are amazing if you are at the top of your career, and encourage you if you got laid off and can’t find work for a year.

I guess I’m afraid of that kind of love.

Because it’s actually real.

Because I can’t make excuses for it or why it didn’t work. To lose that kind of love would seem devastating, worse than the devastation I felt when the person didn’t love me that much, but I loved them that much.

I’ve said before that love is negotiable. And we have to keep coming to the table and reminding our loved ones what the terms are if they are slipping, and they should require that of us too.

I recently accepted a job. Go me!

I did something different this time.

I asked for what I wanted, what I felt I deserved in compensation and I was willing to keep it moving if they didn’t offer me the job or the salary I asked for. I had already made up my mind what I was willing to accept, and my friends asked well what if it’s this number but not that number? And I said, no. Something in my spirit said, no. This time you won’t take less than what you deserve, you’ve been doing it you’re whole professional life. You can get what you deserve even if it’s not this particular opportunity, this time around.

So it made me think, if I can have the courage to say no to a job if they aren’t coming correct with money, why am I so flexible when it comes to my most valuable possession? Me. My heart.

I had to laugh at myself.

I started thinking about all of the relationships where I broke my neck to be the perfect girlfriend, the cool girlfriend, the compassionate and understanding girlfriend who accepted men as they were, as broken and complicated… but I had to be the one that was whole, for the both of us.

I was broken and complicated too, in many ways. I needed just as much nurturing and care and occasional eggshell two stepping for my feelings too. I didn’t stand in my truth, I pretended that I was so strong that I could live without that, but still provide it.

I kept choosing men I felt I could make better and in some cases I helped in their progression. But I didn’t get the benefit. They’d go on to marry other women and blatantly give them the things they said they couldn’t give me. But I didn’t demand more of them, I didn’t threaten to leave if they didn’t. I don’t believe in holding anyone hostage in love, but I’m learning not expressing clearly what you need and what you want in a relationship is the worst thing you can do. Because if that person really wants to love you, you aren’t giving them the tools to do so properly. And if they don’t want to love you, and you don’t tell them, you can’t be mad that they disagree with the way you desire to be loved.

I was too afraid to say what I wanted. I thought that love was sacrifice and if they saw how much I gave, then clearly they’d return my love in a tangible, fulfilling way.

They didn’t.

And those words the bride said tearfully have rattled around my head since I’ve returned home.

By George, that was it, stupid. Be who you are completely and let him love you completely. Let him decide and if he doesn’t choose you, it’s not your fault, it’s not something you necessarily did wrong. Be strong enough and be fearless enough to be you. Say what you don’t like. Say what you want and what makes you happy. Say when you are upset and hurt.

I’ve often turned my nose up at the women who lash out and raise all kinds of hell when they are mad at their men, but the men do react. And of course they do, those women made it very clear that they were upset, and if the man really loved them, they were going to be about the business of correction.

I confused my silence for class, while being complicit in the demise of my own relationships and my own self esteem. I won’t let air out of tires, or burn clothes, but I have a mouth. My fear of rocking the boat should not be placed above my own happiness. There’s a balance. You don’t have to be a jerk, but you don’t have to be a pushover either. And I always had difficulty balancing that. I hated arguments because I had a fear that there would forever be a strike against me that I couldn’t come back from. But that’s not love.

I wrote in Facebook yesterday, that my father loves me unconditionally and has been ridiculously patient with me over the years. I was a curious, head-strong child who preferred learning the hard way. And he let me. But I always knew he was proud of me and that he thinks the world of me. In that post, I said my dad taught me that I deserve a man willing to fight for me, one who won’t take a day off or who will think the task of loving me is so daunting and intimidating and overwhelming, that he’d prefer to not even take a stab at it.

And these are the men I picked. They always went out with a whimper. And that always upset me. Why didn’t they fight for me? Why didn’t they try harder? But maybe I was the one who set the tone, don’t argue, don’t fight, be classy, move on.

But I got that wrong. Life is indeed a fight in itself, messy and tangled. There are tears and ugly cries, there are yells and screams that are not the end of the world, and that don’t mean you aren’t classy. Life leaves you with far more bruises and scars that fade with time, but don’t necessarily disappear, but it doesn’t subtract from the overall beauty of life. Those scars don’t negate our inner beauty, our true selves.

I was classy and crying alone in the dark. I was classy and falling apart on the inside or filling with rage on the inside.

There is catharsis is speaking your mind and your truth be it loudly or quietly. There is a time and place for everything.

I don’t place the blame entirely on me, because that’s what I would tend to do. But I did pick men who I allowed to have red flags and flaws up the wazoo and think it was healthy to love them despite of, but not give myself the same privilege.

And now, I know to do things differently.

He will love all of me, because I’m a rare and wonderful being to love. Even on my worst days.

Star Search Loser Moments

People love to talk about the 80s talent show, “Star Search” and how today’s biggest stars often lost the contest when they were much younger. I loved and wanted to be on so bad besides “Showtime At the Apollo.”

Even if you aren’t an entertainer, you have Star Search Loser Moments, the moment where you worked really hard for something and you felt you should have won/succeeded and you came up short. The stars didn’t align, and maybe your talent didn’t come up short, but the person judging you are serving as the referee thought your performance was good, but just not as good as the person who won…AT THAT MOMENT.

It’s a super tough pill to swallow. It’s the stuff parent and coach pep talks are made of. You go to the porch Laura Winslow and let grandma drop knowledge so you can live to over achieve another day. ABC shows did a fantastic job of showing these moments set to really sappy background music.

At any rate, when we lose, we get mad, we think about how hard we’ve worked and we do the mental debate of what we deserved, and if the winner was really that much better than us.

And you know what? Most of the time, especially when it comes to going out for a job or being selected for a program or a scholarship, you don’t even get to see who your competition was so you can dissect all of those things. You just didn’t win.

I think about missed opportunities and wondered what was the difference that kept me from it. The further away I am from those losses, I see that they weren’t losses after all and that I still ended up where I needed to be. Everything depends on the moment, but will that one moment bring you to where you are supposed to be at the right time?

I have noticed one thing about opportunities I didn’t get. The next opportunity that came along was always bigger, better and frighteningly close to what my heart really wanted.

So if you tried really hard at something and you didn’t get picked and it was something that was really, really awesome, keep trying hard. Keep getting better because the next thing, that thing that was made just for you and your purpose will top anything else you originally hoped for.

Just ask Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguillera. Just ask Michael Jordan who was cut from his middle school high school team. You may not be on top right now, but you can’t stop working at it because once you get there, you won’t just be great, you’ll be setting a new bar for greatness.

Watch Beyonce discuss the Star Search Loss here. I hope the Beygency doesn’t block it. Eek! But she really breaks it down in the first two minutes, so nicely!!

Silencing the Noise

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have already heard that I quit Plenty Of Fish.

Like, I quit for real, for real. I didn’t just hide my profile and take a little break from it, I took myself out of the game completely.

There were a few times before where I thought about deleting the profile, but I’d get pulled in by another message from a new guy showing interest. Even if I wasn’t interested in them, it still made me feel wanted. So for that reason alone, even though I was getting pinged all day and all night because I had the app on my phone, it was a form of validation that I had been wanting that I, was indeed desirable.

The trouble with Plenty Of Fish is I’m not the only one.

If I don’t respond, the person on the other end really isn’t going to be heartbroken, he’s just going to click on another profile and try again. A catchy profile and some cute pics didn’t make me special. Inboxes full of faux admiration didn’t either.

I actually hated when dudes off the bat would call me sweetie, or love or gorgeous. It felt so… ugh. It felt so phony.

This weekend, I had a bunch of crazy revelations.

Somehow my good ex hit me up again on Friday night when I was doing absolutely nothing. So I started talking about dating and how difficult it’s become. I complained that it’s at a point where everyone is dating like robots, following a script.

Simply he just said, “You ain’t gotta. Do you.”

I don’t know why what he said seemed to just shoot through me like lightning, but it was so simple. It made so much sense. I don’t have to keep going on date after date. Introducing and reintroducing myself to men I’m really not that interested in, but trying to be “open-minded” too.

That message kept ringing true at not one, but two church services this weekend. The focus was on women in both. Both talked about loving yourself and giving things up so you can receive God’s blessings which may or may not include a man.

I had a thought today about Idols. I posted on twitter that “One way or the other, God will remove your idols. You determine how drastic He has to be in order to get your attention.”

Plenty Of Fish was becoming an idol. It was consuming a lot of my brain space. It was causing me to either be excited about people I knew nothing about or completely aggravated with people I knew nothing about. I was expecting people to be accountable and ready-made after one date. I’d be surprised if I didn’t hear anything from certain guys with whom I had great conversations. I’d replay what I’d done or if I wasn’t attractive enough.

But it all boils down to this, we are all out here doing the same thing. We are evaluating people on highly superficial levels and not taking the time to build. The possibility of the next, better person that you may be missing out on always seemed on the horizon and one click away. But that’s not real life.

I’m about to devote two years of my life to a master’s degree. I devoted four to college and 10+ to being a writer and reporter and editor. Cultivating anything takes time and effort. I have friends of 20 years. I know everything about them and they know me. It’s scary, but look at all the time it took to get to that level of mastery in my friendships, and I’m still working on them and giving to them and nurturing them.

One year of online dating and the revolving door of men wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be. It was a great social experiment in what’s out there, but I realize right now, it’s not where I need to place my focus or my energy.

So I deleted my page.

My mind instantly got quiet again. I wasn’t turning over in the middle of my sleep when my phone started to buzz, or checking messages at a stop light. I wasn’t spending time “man shopping” when I was bored, looking at profiles hoping that there was some coded language my Mr. Right used so he could find me.

I didn’t have to be disappointed anymore.

I could focus.

Even today, I’m realizing the dating site was taking a lot of my good energy and brain space.

My good ex did remind me of how confident I used to be. He told me things like putting on weight or how I wear hair was not going to matter. And I was confident. I just have to get back to that again. I knew the first place to start was silencing the POF noise.

I’m not knocking the site at all. I think it does open the door to help you meet people you may have never otherwise met. But as I review the last year of online dating, people are either not quite serious at all, or they are so serious, they come of desperate and scary. Online dating pushes you to the extremes of non-committal or super clingy. You can’t even truly be you. You are always on, you are always auditioning for someone’s affections.

And nope. I don’t want to do that. Not anymore.

So I said a prayer. I said I wanted to give this up and not look back and whoever is for me, he’s already out there. It’s time to stop worrying about it and it’s time to let it go. It’s time to let go of my insecurities and shut up the NOISE, most of which I’ve created in my own head that has been limiting me.

Noise was making me settle and noise convinced me I was widening my net and not being picky or stuck up. But noise was causing me to entertain folks I really didn’t see any kind of future with at all. I tricked myself into thinking it was a numbers game and that it was science. The right guy would have to come around if I kept putting myself out there.

Well, putting myself out there made me lose valuable energy. Putting myself out there led me to making rash decisions.

I need my head space. I need it for things like work, and school and my family and friends. So right now, I honestly don’t feel like I took a loss, deleting my profile. I reclaimed space in my mind and soul.

I decided that if there were men in my phone who managed to have my number and we still keep in touch, I will be nice. I won’t press them to ask me out, I’ll let them ask me. If I feel like sending a text or saying hello, I’ll send one.

Sometimes you have to lose to win, as Fantasia said in one of her songs. I’ve never found myself leaning so much on God and my faith, or praying as often or looking at the little things to help me see other things more clearly. God is in the details.

When I was at EssenceFest and heard Iyanla Van Zant speak, she kept saying, “Do the work.” “You’ve got to do the work, beloveds.”

She is right. God didn’t let me marry the wrong person for a reason.

I’m single right now for a reason, not just to work on myself or take on bigger goals I would have never considered if I was someone’s wife right now. I’m made for a purpose and I’m working all of that out. The pain I’ve felt makes me more compassionate to others and it makes me qualified to love folks in a more real, mature, honest and even non-judgemental way. In the way a grown woman has to decide to love HER man. The one.

I used to pride myself on loving people through stuff even if it took all of my energy.

I was doing it wrong.

I had to learn that I had to put on my life-preserver first before I started helping others and that it is perfectly ok to do so. You aren’t supposed to deplete your entire energy loving somebody. Giving and receiving love in itself should energize you. The person you’re loving should love you enough not to allow you to do that. And they won’t allow you to do it. People who love themselves for real can recognize love in a number of forms. And they can recognize when and if they aren’t pulling their load and they want to pull their load. People who love themselves want to pull their load because that means they are living up to their own expectations of themselves and how they want to treat important people in their lives.

Maturity. Self love. Wisdom. Discernment. I want all of these. I continue to pray that the man I’m supposed to be with, God give me the vision to see him clearly and not get bogged down in the noise. I want to hear God in my choices. This is no exception.

 

 

 

 

One Artist Pays Homage to Exes Though Shoes, My Exes Make Great Sandwiches

It’s no secret that I love creative pursuits.

I also love shoes.

I also love love and have tried to become a student of relationships.

So when an artist made shoes based on his exes, I totally perked up. I had to see it and it’s so freaking awesome.

Check the link: http://shine.yahoo.com/photos/12-shoes-for-12-lovers-1386699601-slideshow/the-jet-setter-photo-1386704733985.html

So that made me think of my exes. Then I wondered what could I make that would represent our relationship or qualities each man had?

Then my mind wandered to sandwiches.

So here we go. I’m going to describe my exes/relationships through sandwiches.

The high school ex. PB and J with potato chips. It was simplistic and childish, and you can grow tired of eating it.

College ex #1 Bacon, lettuce and tomato. This relationship managed to be light, but still gave me everything I needed. It wasn’t excessive and when it was over, it didn’t leave a mess.

College ex #2 Tuna tar tar sandwich. This guy was pretentious and unnecessarily complicated. It’s tuna folks. Nothing more. If you got to do so much to it to make it taste good, it ain’t right. When it came down to it this dude was fishy from start to finish and started to stink after awhile.

Ex #3 Philly Cheesesteak. This guy was like your favorite college sweater. You could burp and fart and exchange rude jokes, he got along with everybody and was fun to be around. Not the most sophisticated person in the room, but the realest person in the room. Hard worker, manly, crazy about sports, big on family. All American guy.

Ex #4 Sloppy Joe with ground chicken. A hot mess. A hastily thrown together meal with basic ingredients. No one gets out without getting dirty. One false move, your outfit is ruined. And you can’t avoid it. But think you want it so bad you accept the consequences. It’s not the best choice, but when you’re really hungry it looks really, really good. And I chose chicken for obvious reasons. Punk ass. It seems sensible and safe, but if you have a more sophisticated pallate it won’t satisfy you. It takes longer to get the stain out of your favorite shirt than it did to eat it. And your favorite shirt may have a faint mark no matter how many times you spot cleaned and washed it. Yeah. Yeah I said it. LOL. 🙂

Cheating, Open Relationships, Polygamy and Double Standards Oh MY

Disappointment is an understatement.

The past few weeks I was nearly smitten by a tall, handsome, smart guy. We were clicking. It was awesome. So awesome that I didn’t and would not blog about him for fear I’d jinx the whole thing. Let’s be honest. I haven’t written about anyone yet, who successfully became my man and stuck around for like more than two months.

So I had high hopes and I wasn’t going to let anything–even this blog– spoil my chances.

Well, as a good friend said years ago, “A N***a will always cancel himself out.”

Coarse words, but true indeed unfortunately.

I made my banging gumbo the other day and promised to bring some by before he left out of town on business. As on other occasions we sat by the fire talking and hanging out.

To get the convo going I asked him about what I discussed with you guys in my last post about TI and Tiny and was it appropriate to “call her out.” So he shared his feelings about respect between a man and a woman in the confines of marriage and that was straight.

Then we were looking at a gossip site online and started talking about celebrity relationships and the Kardashian women came up. I said, yeah black men can’t seem to resist them.

So, he, being a black man said it’s not for obvious reasons one would assume. He said black, celebrity men love Kardashians because 1. “They have their own money. They don’t need his. So he doesn’t have to worry about them having their hands out always wanting something. Black women are stingy, they aren’t giving.”

Oh. That felt like a gut punch to my stomach.

“You really don’t believe that do you?”

“It’s true.”

So yall know me. Yall know I’m mad. Clearly this man came from black cootchie and can attest to his mother raising him single-handedly. If that’s not giving, I don’t know what the hell it is. He has a sister!

So I’m confused. He has a straight face, he never says he’s playing.

2. Kardashian women are desirable because of their ability to adjust to the “lifestyle” ie. turn a blind eye to cheating and still roll with it. Now I’m not a Kardashian, and maybe they are cool with open relationships, but I feel like that’s quite a limb to go on. So I ask. “A woman’s ability to turn a blind eye to cheating is a desirable trait?”

He says, with a straight face, yes. Especially for celebrities and wealthy men. They can cheat.

So I say, “Monogamy is for broke folks? Is that what you are saying?”

“Basically.”

My jaw has dropped again.

3. Kardashians are down for anything in the sack. He said, “Well do you do threesomes or do anal? So if you man likes that, he can’t get that from someplace else if he can’t get it from you? Monogamy is a fantasy. Something created by Americans and Christianity.”

He goes on this whole dissertation about how in African culture polygamy is the way, and just as America allows religious freedom, why are people against polygamy if that is someone’s culture in Africa.

I said, “If you want multiple wives, then live in Africa. I said that’s not peachy either, you have to first be able to afford all of your wives and their kids. And the women will say there is rampant jealousy and worry about favoritism of wives or children. It’s drama. Men really want to sign up for that because they can have multiple vaginas to hit?”

So he said the women agree to it. They sign up for it. I said, most women regardless of culture want to feel loved and feel like a man’s one and only. He said well men are in control and the dominant ones so it’s set up that way. And I said exactly… these women don’t have any political or economic power. In a lot of cases there would often be shortages of men, and this is what villages would resort to, to keep the village going. They have to be involved in this system in order to survive and to live, but they aren’t necessarily saying this is the best situation ever. There are some exceptions, but I don’t think that’s what people want.

So I said, ok, if we allow polygamy in America, it has to be equal. Women should have multiple husbands.

This fool says no, it wouldn’t work. Men won’t sign up for it and women have babies.

Huh? Sure women have babies, oh but men don’t want to live in a communal environment where they know other men have children with them and they are all taking care of other men’s kids and sharing a woman.

So I said in relationships, can the woman also step out and have multiple partners? He paused and said yes, if that’s what’s agreed upon. I said what if she only wants that man, so it’s still okay for him to step out because she agreed? He said yes.

I said, so why is it so hard to believe women aren’t too keen on this arrangement either? He said, “It’s just different.”

I said, “It’s just bullshit and a double standard.”

“I know it’s a double standard, we all know it’s a double standard, but that’s just the way it is.”

This dude was basically more in favor of polygamy than gay marriage.

I was stunned.

Heart broken. I’d been dreaming of this man, fantasizing about him it work, remembering what his kisses felt like and cuddling with him watching T.V. All of this stuff got shot straight to hell, thanks to Media Take Out.

My friends say it’s good I learned this early. I can agree, but it doesn’t take away the fact that I’m highly disappointed. I really liked this one. I really did. One of my girls suggested that I clarify with him if he was joking or playing devils advocate. But I told her, no, he looked serious and not once did he use the term “Let’s play devil’s advocate here.”

I did ask him you are talking about celebrities and athletes but what about you?

His answer was political and in my opinion telling. “I think people need to do what works for them.”

Welp, sir. Monogamy ‘WORKS’ for me. I need that. I need to trust my partner.

He pointed out divorce statistics and how marriage isn’t working in America anyway.

So when he kissed me good night, I felt dejected. I already felt the impending doom set in. Things were forever changed. He wasn’t the man I hoped he was.

Back out to the darkness, yall.

 

 

 

 

‘I’d love to get out of the game. Be wonderful and take me out of the game, please.”

I told him, “I’d love to be out of the game. In fact, be wonderful and take me out of the game.”

Basically, I kept dancing around his question of what I was doing later, because I had a date. Or at least, I thought I had a date.

I got stood up. And I wouldn’t dare treat this dude like sloppy seconds and ask him out after the fact. He’d totally call me out for it. But he figured I had something else lined up and called me out anyway.

He said it was no big deal and that he expected that I had options. That I could at least appreciate.

The irony of the fact that this guy grew up in the same tiny hick town from which my dad’s entire family started on this earth was beyond fascinating. We did the initial check to make sure our blood lines didn’t cross. I’m still not completely convinced, but the last name wasn’t among most of the names tossed around, so I was willing to proceed.

Our conversations had been solid. He wanted to solidify a date in the coming days, and thankfully he wants to go out tonight.

I also happened upon a neighbor through my POF travels. He was the one who had the nerve to stand me up, which is absurd, because I can stand on my balcony and basically look into his.

After our successful dinner at an Indian restaurant Friday night, we both watched each other as we drove into the complex, curious as to just how close we actually was. I pulled into a space, he pulled into a space, I walked towards my building, he walked towards his, then we met in the middle of the lot.

If both of us stand on our balconies, we can literally wave at each other. He’s lived in the complex for nearly as long as I have and I’ve never met this dude ever. It was crazy.

I will say this… and as I type, he’s apologizing via text. I like his smile. I was smiling all through dinner because I already felt it in my bones, that if the opportunity was right, I’d give him some.

You can imagine my disappointment when he totally with no warning stood me up for a movie. Radio silence. Um you check the movie times, “Ok.”  Then nothing for hours. I refuse to keep following up. So I stayed inside, poured the wine and watched the Golden Globes, giving occasional Twitter commentary.

But that doesn’t even take the cake. Me and the mad scientist went at it. I’ve noticed he is an insecure man. I’ll try to break this down as quickly as possible.

He was having a horrible week, so I offered to cook him dinner Thursday night. Thursday afternoon he informed me he wouldn’t be able to make it, but we should get together on Friday. Well, I was working late so I told him I wouldn’t feel like cooking, but I really wanted some Indian food.

Because he had major flooding in his basement, he had to reallocate funds to home repairs and said he was low on cash. I told him that I’d have no trouble treating especially since he was having such a rough week.

So even in trying to go over the logistics of getting together, we were both becoming increasingly frustrated with one another. I tried in my sweetest voice to ask him what would be the most ideal situation for him and I’d do it, and he complained about finding parking in my neighborhood. So I was through. I was over it. And I rescinded my offer.

Before rescinding my offer I told him, “You see that I tried, I asked you 50 different ways how to make this work.”

So I went to dinner with my neighbor and had a great time.

The next day mad scientist texts me while I’m out with my friends and I don’t answer. So by sunday he sends me a message saying, “I guess you have nothing else to say to me, if so let me know.”

I respond. “I don’t have anything else to say.”

Then he says, “So you’re done, correct.”

“I’m done. I don’t think I can ever make you happy.”

“Make me happy, what is that supposed to mean?”

So this went on and I was getting further annoyed. I told him that truth be told he was acting like my ex and I didn’t like how that was making me feel dealing with a moody person and trying to do nice things for them and they still complain. I wasn’t going to do it.

So he latched on to me comparing him to my ex, called me “ludicrous” because he was having a tough time and he wanted to confirm again that I was indeed finished with him. I was getting more upset that he needed to ask me three times, when the previous two I had already said I was done.

Last night, I really went to bed thinking that I hate dating. That I want it to be over.

I wondered if something was wrong with me. I really did. There’s no lack of men. Fine, they are easy to find. But geez. The meshing has been the trouble. I wonder how much I changed. I wondered if I was losing my ability to go along and get along and I was just being difficult. But, I don’t think I am.

I am impatient. I do want something wonderful to happen and I want to be in the bubble. The happy bubble o love… not even love but intense like where the person is all about you and wants to make you happy and you want to do the same.

I guess I do want it too badly. I guess as the mad scientist pointed out, I have let dating in DC get to me and it’s stinking up my aura.

Breakthrough or Breakup?

For some reason, I have been blessed and cursed with the ability to feel absolutely tortured when something in my life is not working right.

I guess that mechanism forces me to change my lot in life and get something better. It forces me not to settle.

This holiday season was a good one for me. I purchased a brand new car that I really love, I got to spend a lot of time with family and friends and it was a very good feeling. This year, I didn’t concentrate so much on the giving and receiving of gifts, it was just simple.

Actually life back home seemed super simple. It was nice to be off and still get paid, do things like go with my dad to get his eyes checked after seven dang years and get new glasses. It was nice to wake up to hot tea on my nightstand, lovingly prepared by my mom.

Having some of my closest friends less than five minutes away and running out for lunch or dinner or to go shopping was just fantastic.

So as I knew it would happen, coming back to my single life was going to be an adjustment.

I have friends here, and they are great. There’s work. And that’s another ball of wax. There’s my horrible love life, which may or may not have taken a turn for the better after having it out with old boy yesterday.

We had a discussion that wore me out. There’s a strange part of me that enjoyed the fact that he was taking the time to think and argue. There was another part of me that said, why do I keep wanting to deal with men who do this? They tend to make me question myself but usually it ends up making me feel insecure.

But let me back it up.

My vacation brain is so bad, I can’t remember the nick name I gave him. But this was the mad scientist.

Over the weekend, I sent him a text we chatted back and forth. I asked him what he was up to, he said he was chillin and barely getting out of bed. I asked him if he wanted to do something that day. Hours later he gets back to me, but wants to hang out at Friday’s by my house at 11 p.m.

Back to this late night crap. I was reluctant, but since I had already been accused of being inflexible by another jerk, I said I’d let it go.

When I sent a text to confirm around 1040, he said he was still wrapping things up and needed another hour.

I was heated. I wasn’t about to go to Friday’s at midnight. I was already feeling some kind of way about us never hanging out in daylight hours. So I told him no thanks. I was staying home.

He asked me why and I told him that I don’t like feeling like he only wants to hang out with me late at night. And that already asking me to go out at 11, when he had all day to do something with me was wrong. It was even more inconsiderate to ask me to wait another hour after I agreed to 11.

Then he sends me a screenshot from a relative from much earlier in the day saying that his great uncle died.

I told him that I was sorry to hear about the uncle and that I didn’t know.

He says nevermind. Cool and enjoy your night.

At that point I went off. I felt like I shouldn’t have been just shut down, regardless of the dead great uncle.

And then I heard nothing.

The next day I got a phone call and on the other end he said he had a prepared statement.

I was already not up for hearing a “prepared statement.” He said before he shared his statement, he did want me to clarify the things in my texts so his statement would still be accurate. But he said I could speak on anything I said besides the always wanting to hang out late thing.

I protested that it was all linked together.

I told him that aside from his constant joking around I know nothing about him. And maybe I didn’t ask enough questions. But I feel like I know nothing and am not allowed to know anything.

That is the nutshell.

He first goes on to say that all of this is really, really simple and I’m making it complicated. He says he doesn’t just let anyone in his home.

He said he would answer any question I’d ask him, I’d just have to ask. If I want to know more about him, ask.

He said that dating in DC has gotten to me, and that he won’t follow some script that people have been making up in this dating world. It’s not that complicated.

He asked me why I was single. I mentioned timing.  I mentioned not settling. I mentioned feeling like I don’t fit into how other people think in the dating world right now and I feel like a complete outcast for it. How I’m accused of being a prude because I don’t want to send naked photos of myself, or if I tell a man it’s not cool to send me photos or videos of his junk. It’s exhausting, I said. I was nearly in tears. And when I finished, he told me my answer was four minutes long.

I was starting to get mad again that he timed my response. “You timed my response? Wow. Thanks.”

Then he said, “Ask me why I’m single.”

I said, “Why are you single?”

“Because the people I like don’t like me and the people who like me I don’t like.”

I said, “That’s it.”

He said, “That’s it.”

I said, “Did it ever occur to you that the people who don’t like you are wack or shallow or stupid?”

“That’s not my problem.”

“Well, what’s wrong with the people you don’t like?”

“They don’t have a degree, they have kids, they have a flat butt, they have bad breath, I don’t like their hair.”

“Well damn. I mean I guess if I laid out my list of what I don’t like it would sound that bad too.”

“Why do you think it’s a bad thing that you don’t think like everyone else? Why can’t that be an advantage? From the way you are talking, it doesn’t even seem like you see it as an advantage.”

“I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, I just feel like I’m outnumbered.”

More discussion was had. He brought up interesting points that I didn’t disagree with. But when it was my turn to answer, I stumbled. I said, “It’s hard to even say how I feel about something because after you’ve given a full prepared statement and dissertation about why what you are saying is right, it’s like I stumble through my words, I sound stupid.”

“It’s not that complicated. Why are you afraid to sound stupid? Why do you think what you have to say is stupid in comparison to what I’m saying? The problem with people especially in this area is pride. You keep talking about wanting to figure me out. I’m a scientist, once I’ve figured something out, I’ve assigned a use for it and I’m done, I’m on to the next thing. Why do you want to be figured out? Why would you want someone to just figure you out? You can’t have possibly figured out your family and your friends and you’ve known them for a really long time. We are flawed, you have great traits and bad traits. It’s a good thing to still be intriguing. If I can figure you out, I have no use for you. You will bore me. That’s a bad thing.”

So I’m stuck. I’m not sure how to feel right now. Was that a compliment?

 

 

 

 

Gulp. Two for Nas, Please

The original post I was working on today vanished in thin air, so maybe it was God’s way of telling me it wasn’t really that good or important or useful to whomever decides to read my blog today.

So this brings me to what I’m thinking about right now. We are only a few weeks away from Christmas, and then, well 2014.

Yes, 2014! Ain’t that crazy? I mean here we are, staring down the barrel of 2014. We’ve got more hopes and dreams to take with us into the new year and probably even more stuff we want to leave behind in 2013 and let stay there.

The crazy part is the upcoming holidays didn’t make me think about 2014 and the future, but a decision to buy tickets to see rapper Nas collaborate with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops at the Kennedy Center in March, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hip Hop classic, “Illmatic.”

It’s no secret, faithful 29tolifers know how much I love the Kennedy Center and try to make a trek there at least once, if not twice a year. And usually it’s almost always to check out the Alvin Ailey annual engagement around my birthday in February.

Welp, Nas mashing it up with an orchestra at one of my favorite venues on the planet was too good and too historic and too epic to pass up. While my attendance was a no-brainer, one thing kind of bugged me.

I wanted to bring a date.

I have no problems with attending shows alone, but I’m looking at 2014 and while I’m trying to feel my way in the dark with Wild Card, and have a first date scheduled with a nice guy I’ve been talking to here and there but never met in person… I was trying to see who I could see myself with, there at the show.

Truth be told, I wanted a man to be with me at the show. I love hip hop and I talk about hip hop mostly with men, not women. Me and my boys have spirited discussions and it’s so much fun. Plus, I wanted to be decked out to the nines with an equally decked out, good-smelling male companion to this groundbreaking, genre-shattering experience. I had to listen to the album on spotify to start preparing. My mind is spinning with how an orchestra is going to interpret this music. But Nas has always had an ear for music and musicality, and he gives nods to different kinds of music and instrumentation in his songs if you listen carefully.  So this collaboration may not be as awkward as it appears on the surface. The result is going to be insanely dope and I sincerely hope it ends up on Great Performances on PBS. I really have to give the Kennedy Center props for its programming. They push the boundaries. After all, I got introduced to bounce queen Big Freedia in all her twerking glory, prior to Miley, right there. Me and my cousin still talk about that night. But I’ve enjoyed gospel, spoken word, all sorts of events at the Kennedy Center and the folks there are doing an amazing job. That place is among my dream places to work.

But back to me.

Will anyone, especially Wild Card be around to even accompany me to this event all the way in March??

We all know time flies and March will be here before you know it, but it still feels like a long way off. I peered at the seating chart, trying to decide if I wanted to buy one or two tickets and then I sent a text to wild card. I asked him if he liked Nas, he said yes. (I knew he liked Nas).

Then I told him about the show and my dilemma. Then I asked him if he would be interested in going. He said he was. I half joked that I wasn’t sure if he’d be tired of me by March. He laughed and said he doubted it.

The response did give me a sense of relief that he could see us still hanging out in March, so there was no reason for me not to see it either.

But let us remember, I got burned just last month with the Tweet tickets. So here I am again. Buying tickets to a show, hoping the person I go with will appreciate it and me and it will lead to other great moments. Steadily building into… Something.

I made a joke with friends comparing my latest suitors to the tributes from “The Hunger Games.” Wondering if they would make it until March.

Let’s face it. My latest dating endeavors haven’t lasted beyond a couple of months. Either boredom on my part has set in, or I noticed that it wasn’t going to work, or it wasn’t going anywhere, or the guy wasn’t being consistent enough. No one could really stick. There was no one who I really wanted to stick. It was as if I wasn’t surprised that they exited on their own or were cut loose by me. Le sigh. I’ve started to wonder is it me? Is it the things I’ve been through? Is it me getting older?

And the answer is yes. Yes to all of that. So it’s just a matter of meeting someone who can deal with all of that who I actually like and can deal with all of their baggage and quirks and biases.

So, I took a gulp. Clicked on a second seat and bought two for Nas, please.

This is the closest thing I can find to what may happen. The Roots teamed up with the Dakah Hip-Hop Orchestra (an orchestra devoted to blending hip-hop, blues, world sounds and collaborating with various artists) “The love of my life”

Bad Mood Bears

I felt very nervous when I woke up, opened my phone and saw that my GRE scores were available online.

I already felt like I didn’t do the best job, but I held out hope that the essays would have pulled me through.

Welp, long story short, they didn’t.

I have to take the test again. I have to plunk down more money that I didn’t want to. I contacted the admissions person today to see how far this would put me back. Even though I prepared myself for the possibility of having to take the test again, I had a bit of that hope that maybe just maybe I’ll sneak through. It will be just enough.

To make myself feel better, I scoured the internet for inspiration. And I looked for online programs that didn’t have a GRE requirement in case I take the test again and bomb again. I can’t do it more than three times.

So, the feeling of being stuck and suffocated started to take over. It’s a setback, sure. I’m a grown up, I’ve dealt with worse. But, truth be told, I wanted this to be my triumph, the start of a new season of greatness.

I’ve been in a rut going on three years now. Recovering from a terrible heartbreak, the stress of work, being bought out by a new company, floods of coworkers jumping ship, pay cuts, to an eventual upswing which led to a promotion.

I vacillate between being immensely grateful for my life having really fantastic moments where I got to spend time with family and friends or travel someplace new, but to having moments like I’m spinning my wheels.

I’ve been questioning so much, sometimes I don’t recognize myself. Some days I’m super optimistic and I cheer on others around me, other days, I feel like I’m lower than the dirt.

So here I am. I have to take the test again. I have to keep studying, and keep trying and get more questions right, especially on the math section. Period. Those are the facts. That’s real. It’s not the end of the world. I have to keep repeating that to myself. I just hate the feeling of not doing as well as I’d hoped.

So I read this from the Huffington Post. And I liked it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rana-florida/what-did-you-fail-at-toda_b_3817414.html

Successful people fail all of the time. Blah, blah.

But adding injury to insult, I saw Kyle Barker yesterday. He was flirting by phone and asked to come over. I basically told him flat-out that I was in no mood to be fucked. That I feel vulnerable and tired and I am in need of tenderness. If he couldn’t do it, or if he didn’t mean it, there was no point in a visit.

Not sure if he was taken aback by my brutal honesty, but he responded that he really just wanted to see me and hadn’t seen me in a really long time. So I agreed. We sat on my couch and watched a Kanye interview and he went on his merry way.

I was further frustrated by Wild Card. Around 9:20 p.m. he was sending me text messages, but it wasn’t even like general conversation. He wanted to know if I wanted to come over, in the rain, using a twisty, dangerousish road notoriously horrible under regular conditions.

I politely declined. He said nothing else for the rest of the night. My dearest male friend was coaching me along the way. “Yeah, homie, if he doesn’t respond, he just wanted you to come over and smash. Sorry.”

It was a gut punch. I wanted this guy to like me and respect me and see all of the awesomeness that I’m made of. We’ve hung out three times. Once out for a meal and drinks. The last two times, within the last week at his home.

The first house visit was cut and dry and sweet. We watched an indie flick, had a good time shared a blanket on the couch. He offered that I could stay, I didn’t. The second visit, we decided to have a game night and have drinks.

I over imbibed, and eventually got sick. That night, he did kiss me. And he also spent a part of the night laying with me on the bathroom floor. When we retreated to his super luxurious bed, he held me close as we slept.

I thought that these actions had to mean that he was kind of interested and thought somewhat highly of me. But I can’t peg it. I just can’t. I’m not a repository for penis. I have a brain, I have feelings. Why do I always want to impress men who could care less? It’s infuriating because I know I’m better than this bullshit. I’m told over and over by my older, wiser and amazing cousin that I’m impatient. That is probably my problem. But still. Dating these days is terrible and hard and frustrating.

You are trying to read between the lines of text messages because people don’t call anymore, and when you hang out you are trying to read body language or get a feeling… ugh. We are all just fumbling around in the dark. It’s depressing.

Your girl is in serious need of a break from everything. So Thanksgiving being tomorrow and the five-hour drive ahead is probably what I need, although, I don’t like having that much time to be stuck in a car with my thoughts. I may feel worse by the time I hit my parent’s driveway.

So yep, I’m a bad mood bear today. I feel like an unloveable failure, doomed to a life of mediocrity and loneliness, who peaked too soon in her early to mid twenties. Boo. The struggle is real. But it is what it is.

I do want all the 29 to lifers to have a fantastic holiday weekend! Don’t eat too much, but enjoy every bite and every moment with the folks you love the most. If you can’t be with your loved ones reach out to them, tell them you are thankful for them, and send up a prayer of thanks for those you’ve lost. Hugs!

Knowing What You Want Simplifies Your Life, The End?

After having a conversation with a dear friend recently, who I had to catch up on my ex-fiance’s visit (I know that was a million years ago (August) she was overseas), exasperated, I told her, while I had the butterflies and feelings were flying from the both of us hither and yon, the dream was over.

Reality set in that he was not serious about even trying to repair our friendship out of whatever fears and issues and excuses he has. “He is unable.”

She burst out into uncontrollable laughter. I had to wait a good five minutes for her to stop cackling and snorting. I guess I sounded just tired of it all. And I was. Over two and a half years of healing is exhausting.

“What did I say? I mean it’s true. He is incapable of giving me what it is I know I need. He just can’t do it. He is unable, therefore, I can’t.”

So, when a dreamy guy I went out on a date with recently and I had a wonderful text conversation about men and women, I found myself stating very clearly what I expect from a man.

I kind of surprised myself with how clear, and honestly simple it was.

Ah, yes. He kicked off the convo by saying that he, like most men are simple.

And I said, eh. I don’t know about that.

So he clarified that most men want simple things from women, like the innate things that women do well.

Once again, I needed him to clarify. Because some things that may be considered traditionally female are not innate in all women. Some things are learned.

But I knew at the root of it all he meant nurturing. I quickly asked another male friend what his answer was, and he also said nurturing.

And by the time I looked at my phone again, dreamboat aka Renniassance (I think that will be his name since he is well versed in the arts and intellectual things) said he was referring to the nurturing nature of women.

Then he turned the question to me about men and women.

I basically said that women do have an innate ability to provide comfort and create safe emotional spaces for their loved ones to enter and be vulnerable and that I found it ridiculously sexy when a man and woman get to a certain point in their relationship where the man can privately be vulnerable with his woman and go back out and face the world.

As for men, I said that men SHOULD have an innate DESIRE to work hard, to be responsible and to do whatever it takes to take care of himself and his family. And he SHOULD follow up with that desire with action, because wanting to do something and doing it are two totally different things. There are a lot of men sitting around, unemployed and wanting to work, but they may have stipulations on where they will work and for what amount of money. There may be men who WANT to support and take care of their children, but they loose steam due to whatever circumstances.

So what separates penis owners from the real men, in my opinion is the desire that is so strong, action is not optional, it’s the law. It’s life. It’s breathing. The kind of man who does what he has to do, even if it’s something he doesn’t want to or feel like doing, because he knows the result of his actions for himself and his family is worth far more than his pride.

He knows the cost of selfishness or laziness is something he and his family cannot afford.

But what sent me into overdrive in the conversation was a point that he made. He agrees men and women should share responsibilities and should be hard workers and that’s not just for men alone.

However, he pointed out that men and women are built physically different to serve certain purposes and it’s a good thing.

“If neither of us lift weights, I’ll still be stronger than you. No matter which wants to feed a child, your body will be more efficient in providing that.”

And in that moment, while I consider myself to align with feminist values, I wasn’t mad at his argument at all.

Earlier in the conversation he asked me if I was simple or complicated.

So approached the answer by saying this.

“If you are lazy and you don’t take the time to really get to know me, I’ll appear complicated. The more you learn, the more eager you are to learn, it will gradually get easier.”

The problem with deciding what we want is winning the war within ourselves between what we know we want and what we think we should want or when it comes to partners adjusting what we know we want because we know that person isn’t it, but trying to make it fit anyway.

Is my ex fine?

Yes.

If he showed up now, I’d let him hit. I just would.

Is he smart and funny? Sure.

Does he know how to let go and love me properly?

Nope.

It’s just that simple. The end.

I created the scenarios that IF he did this, or changed that, I could live with it and that it would be enough. People do this all the time to justify the presence of certain people in their lives.

Even saying the words “He is UNABLE” a few times that night gave me more strength and resolve to let it go, the more I said it. Each time the reality of the situation was raining down on me, but I wasn’t crying, I didn’t feel a hole in my heart. I didn’t die and it actually felt good.

So, “He is UNABLE, therefore I CAN’T” has become a mantra for me, an affirmation.

I deserved to be loved the way I need to be loved and that can’t be compromised or changed. I’m built to be loved a certain way, I’m already wired. And as much as I wanted to adjust it depending upon looks, education and money and charm, my wiring requires a certain kind of love whether or not the man has all of my preferences.

I’m not saying be immovable and impossible to date.

But there should be general things that the love of your life should believe in and then actually do, that aligns with what you want and need. Period.

Simple, right?

 

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