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Archive for the tag “being single”

Relationship Status Not A Reflection of Your Individual Value

If you survived your mid- to late-twenties without going to a lot of weddings, and you are in your 30’s, you better guard your loins and brace yourself like Braveheart and his crew.

I’m starting to get a bunch of save-the-dates, as some of my dear friends (mostly male though…but that’s a whole other post) are finally making their way to the altar.

I’m very happy for my friends. Most of the folks I know getting married over the next two years are folks who have been in very long-term relationships. They’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, they’ve been able to watch each other change and grow, they’ve had serious battles and challenges, and they’ve decided to keep on choosing each other for the rest of their lives. It’s really beautiful. I’ll probably shed a tear because I know the behind-the-scenes stories. These couples haven’t always had the fairy tale, and for that reason, them making the conscious effort to choose each other over and over again, every day for the rest of their lives, is what makes these new unions magical. They put real thought into the huge life decision they are making. And for that, I applaud them and can be confident in their futures and really relish the celebrations.

But I had a thought as I was talking to a friend. It’s nothing new that a lot of women place their value on being proposed to. Simply being asked elevates them.

And I’ve even had the thought that being asked was in direct correlation to my value.

I had even said on a number of occasions, the reason I’ve kept my engagement ring is because it was physical proof that “someone loved me that much, someone wanted me to be his wife.”

Well, I’ll have to tell myself now after about four years of healing that in the illustrious and oh so truthful words of Brandy, almost doesn’t count.

I understand now that simply getting “chose” as my southern friends would call it, isn’t a reflection of your value. There are so many amazing single people who are amazing, period. If they got married tomorrow, they’d be amazing. If they were single forever, they would still be amazing. There are people who are just really great at being a human. They do it well, regardless of being involved romantically. And I do believe in my heart, because they’ve been so excellent at being a human, they will attract an equally amazing human, decide to be together and save the world by creating more awesome humans.

In my biostats class, we talk about independent and dependent factors. If an independent variable changes, the dependent variables are studied to see how much the independent variable effects them.

I think of marriage, relationships etc., as independent variables. They can change the other dependent variables about you, but those dependent variables you always had, your intellect, your ability to care for other people… you get the picture.

So for people thinking getting selected by someone makes you better than all of the other “pitiful” single people (something must be wrong with them) out there, or if single people believe married people or people in a relationship are “better” you’ve got it completely wrong.

Maybe I need to do another post about something that’s taken me a long time to figure out. I kept wondering why some people never got married or why they are still single. I’m learning it’s a bunch of things.

You know yourself too well to settle, even if it means turning down people who seem to be really amazing (on paper, or physically).

You trust how you feel first, even if it makes no sense to other people.

You know that you can be selfish sometimes and you’re just not ready to share anything, your space, your food, your time, your life…

You still have big decisions that you want to make and only want to have yourself to consider. Do you want to move to another country? Do you want to change jobs? Do you want to buy a house or sell it? Do you want to take out $60,000 in student loans to go get a degree? Do you want to take a significant pay cut for a dream job?

Do you just want to opt out sometimes? Being single gives you the space and freedom to say fuck it and it doesn’t affect anyone else but you. Want to take a few days off and go away? Book the ticket, you’re gone. Want to call in sick? You aren’t squirreling away days just in case a kid gets strep, you can take your mental health day and not slave to make it up. Wanna stay in your sweatpants all day and eat pho? No one is going to tell you no in your own house. Compromise isn’t something you have to consider in the single life. Doing you is not only allowed, but encouraged.

Entering into a relationship can make you a better person, because that person can bring out the best in you or challenge you to be your best self, but you’re relationship status alone doesn’t make you better than anyone else, especially those who aren’t attached.

Entering into a relationship is just a mutual decision between two people. Let’s be together! Ok! Whooo hoo! So is getting engaged and getting married. Let’s make this thing legal! Ok! Whoo hoo!! It’s the decision to choose each other for an undetermined amount of time, based on if you want to continue the relationship or if one of the parties expires. (Singing Fantasia’s Free Yourself, or Mahalia Jackson’s Upper Room) That’s it.

So people in love, even though you feel like it, you didn’t cure cancer, or create wrinkle-free clothing or the cronut.

You were simply able to match hearts at the right time and right place, which is quite a feat, but not one to place you on a perch.

Single people wanting to be in a relationship. Take some inventory of the luxuries and freedoms you currently have in your season of single and be that excellent human. Because it will sustain you when it’s time to really dig in, compromise, love and give freely to your future love.

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Getting to Know Someone: Is Online Snooping Fair??

I can’t help it. Every guy I meet, I look him up online to see what morsels of information I can find about him, good, bad, and ugly. Sometimes, those Google (and Lexis Nexus thanks to my reporter days) searches, would leave me pleasantly surprised to find local newspaper articles about awards for community service or mentoring; would scare me half to death– divorce records, domestic violence, DWI’s, warrants for unpaid parking tickets or theft charges; or downright leave me incredulous– i.e. finding engagement websites. When it comes to crime, I give people passes depending on the severity of the crime, how much time has passed and how old they were when said event happened.

In this digital age, you can find out more than you really want to know and it can be a real let down if a guy you’ve been seeing and enjoying his company has some very real skeletons falling out of your Google search. And I understand there are two camps: The first believes if it’s in the public domain, you have every right to find out what you can so you know what you’re dealing with. The second says, get to know the person and let them tell you about themselves.

I tend to have a foot in both places. I’ll admit sometimes I’m honest about my Googling, but I’ll playfully say that I have an online presence too, with nothing to hide. And I don’t. You’ll find mostly things regarding my career and that’s certainly something to be proud of.

But sometimes, I won’t admit that I’ve done a deep dig into a person’s available digital life, because I’m curious to see how up front they will be about the things that aren’t so pleasant. I think it’s a two-way street and when someone is honest about something I had already seen, I usually come clean and say that I looked it up, but wanted to give the person a chance to explain their situation and with context.

So, am I wrong for digital snooping or as I prefer, amateur background checks?

I think in today’s time, women need to arm themselves with information but be strategic on how and when and why they’ll reveal they have that information.

Season of Single

There have been plenty of pastors and older, wise married folks who have said, “Don’t rush into marriage. Learn how to enjoy your season of single.”

Most of the time, women, myself included have plugged our ears and started singing “la, la, la” because we wanted to be in love so badly. And what’s the highest height of romantic love? Getting married or so we think.

At 32, being in school and working and really having to prioritize my time has made me kind of realize that I’m nearing the end of my season of single, so I need to make it count.

All of my resources, my time, my money, my energy, my fun time, vacations they belong to me!

This is going to be the only time in my life where that is the case. We all know that I’m still on the fence about children, but I’m very interested in being married someday. I’m going to be sharing resources with someone. Even if he makes more than me or equal or whatever, I’m going to be sharing my resources, I’m going to be accountable to someone else.

I was just talking to a friend about how hectic my schedule is and about to become. I’m going to the Art of Cool music festival in Durham, NC next weekend; I have my 10 year reunion at my university; I’m going to attend a wedding in a city and state I’ve never been to in June and oh yeah, I’m still doing school. A good friend of mine is itching to go to Greece in the fall, and honestly, I’m ready to pull the trigger and do it.

This stage in my life is for ME. Now all stages in your life should be about you, but no other stage than right now is about me or will ever allow me this much freedom, even though it feels like every moment is accounted for because of my school and work schedule. The strictness of my schedule has actually opened me up to LIVING in my free moments. Even making the decision to take out thousands in student loans to go back to school, that was a conscious decision I made for ME and no one else. There’s something special about saying, I’m worth this. It’s going to work out because this is a part of my purpose. This is necessary. I’m already appreciating the benefits and what being back in school is doing for my mind and my self-esteem. I keep telling people this was the time to do what I’m doing. I wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I do now, I wouldn’t have a razor-sharp focus on why this is so important and so worth it if I did it any sooner.

I’m taking deep breaths and in my spare moments when I’m relaxing, I’m truly doing so. I may actually go off to Spa World in Va. and veg out for a few hours over this weekend to recharge since I’ve given up my Massage Envy membership.

It’s about me now and I get it. I fully get and appreciate it and it doesn’t feel selfish or wrong. I don’t feel guilty about it and while thinking about love and a future with a great person does hang over my head from time to time, I can say I’m happy right now and I’m happy alone. DID YOU HEAR THAT UNIVERSE? IM HAPPY WITH WHERE I AM AND WHO I AM RIGHT NOW!! Everything belongs to me right now. My money, my time. It’s my world. I have full autonomy to do exactly what I please with it. I’m learning to value how liberating and powerful that is, because this too is a season. This won’t always be the case. And when my season does change, I want to know that I took full advantage of every resource and moment and spare time and extra dollar so I won’t walk into my new season with any regrets. I can accept the joys that come with the next.

 

My Facebook Newsfeed Is Nothing But Babies and Weddings

I can’t tell you how many of my friends–all from different circles– have dubbed themselves relationship retarded, relationship challenged… etc. over the last few weeks.

After how I’ve acted a fool over the weekend, I can ride the relationship short bus too. Actually, I can be the short bus monitor.

It’s been happening gradually, but as of late, my Facebook newsfeed is overflowing with folks getting married and having babies.

A few years ago, it was a lot of people going to parties, going on vacations and celebrating the completion of graduate programs.

Now.

It’s weddings, showers and babies. Weddings, showers and engagement photos and on and on.

I’ve mentioned in blogs past that there have been disproportionate weddings among my white high school classmates in comparison to black.

And disproportionate non-married births among my black high school classmates.

Some of my college educated black female friends are making slow gains in the marriage department, but it looks like they are getting married later, and most of them have had really, really long-term relationships prior to getting down the aisle.

I really could do a sociology project on marriage patterns among various racial, educational and socioeconomic groups because my Facebook friends run the gambit.

There are Facebook friends of mine who may have already been married for five or six years working on a third or fourth child.

I’m happy for all of these people taking these big major life steps. But it makes me want to celebrate something soon. Anything.

I may create an album called “My super single 30ish life” and start taking and posting more pics. My life is worth celebrating at every stage. Including this one, where I’m going to have the most flexibility EVER.

While me and my friends to yearn for companionship and a beautiful family to create and call our own, I’m trying to appreciate this season in my life for what it is. It belongs to me and only me and I can do with it whatever I please with no other pressures from anyone else who will have to depend on me. That is also worth celebrating.

Are we happy yet?

 

Birds Of A Feather: Me and My Crew Of Non-Married Folk

I don’t know if it’s the economy, I don’t know if it’s because of what Essence Magazine says, or Tyler Perry movies say and show about black love and the lack thereof, or sociologists saying we just won’t get married, or we’ll get married a lot later than our white counterparts.

Well, let’s look at the stats. If you look at Facebook, a large majority of my white friends have taken a trip down the aisle and have a brood of kids.

Then, there are the black folk.

They had kids, but eh, a hand full of em are married, and may not necessarily be even married to the person they had kids with. I’m not saying white folks have it together and make the best marriages, because people of every color have issues, but I worry about my people. For real.

All of these single mothers, looking haggard and tired with no sign of help or support just irks me. It enrages me.

All of these single, black men who seemingly don’t want to settle down, they confuse me too. Especially the ones over 35. I’m baffled.

No scratch that.

I’m attracted to these men. This is my fatal flaw. Their timing just never dovetails with mine.

Maybe I have my own fears in terms of settling down too. Long distance queen, and ending a potential relationship with someone who was really into me. Ugh.

I got to change the prescription on my love glasses.

I guess I’m going on this tangent because I’m a product of a two-parent home and I love the love my parents share. That’s right, 40 years of marriage. They are gangsta. I’ve also been watching a lot of old Cosby episodes, and there’s a reason people of all races swoon the way Cliff and Clair even look at one another. There’s love there, there’s an acceptance of each other, and well, in most of the episodes, you can tell they get it in, and they still enjoy doing it. LOL.

Sometimes, I do wonder how women with kids manage to beat me to the altar, but you know what? They probably think my life is awesome and filled with freedom and opportunity, so I’m going to tend to my own grass and keep it moving. One of my girls reminded me, that the men they are marrying, I wouldn’t want. And that’s probably true.

Besides, I’ve come to the conclusion, that I’d really rather be alone than in a jacked-up marriage or in a relationship with someone who I’m settling for because they look good on paper or they adore me and I don’t feel the same. That message has been pounding me over the head for the last two years for sure.

But as I look around, I’m not alone. I have educated, awesome friends, male and female, who happen to be black and happen to be single. Some of them are in long-term relationships, some in those long-term relationships really love their partners. They may even be living together for substantial amounts of time where it seems like marriage is the next logical step. But they are being super cautious about it.

Not sure what the apprehension is for those folks. Watching these people together, it seems like they have it down. Even if they get on each other’s nerves, they still manage to keep on swimming.

Some of the live-in couples just say the timing isn’t right, or they are saving money. Fair enough.

Last year, one of my good friends got married, but other than that, all of my people are 30 and older and single as the day is long.

I keep wondering if all of a sudden, it’s going to catch like chicken pox in a day care and I’ll look up next year begging God to slow down the wedding frenzy so I can afford to attend them all, look good and give the folks a decent gift.

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes when I go to bed at night, I have to put on the radio real low to help me sleep. I feel the loneliness, my heart starts to speed up a bit. I breathe, pray, eventually calm down and drift off to sleep. But those pre-sleep moments, I do wonder if I’ll be alone for the next ten years or so.

I wonder if I’ll be like the successful, beautiful and highly-interesting single 40 and older women who for the life of me I can’t understand why no man has snatched them up.

Like is it that bad? Is it them?

Is that my future? Geez. I’m trying to work out and eat right to look awesome and age well, and I got to go on vacation alone or with my other single home girls?

I want the real thing, but do I really have to wait until my 40s now?

(I’m a jerk. I just let go of a great guy and I’m back to complaining about being single. Yes. I know.)

It may be that way. With this suckie economy, meeting a man living at home with his parents is not uncommon, meeting a man who hates his job– totally possible. Folks are trying to get it together, but they just can’t and it really isn’t their fault.

And I want a stable, financially secure, self-assured man. I just do.

So for now, I don’t feel as much pressure because I hardly have any friends in my close circle that are actually married either.

I’m sure it will get worse when my close, close homies start tying the knot. I want all my people to be happy, but I won’t front, the walls may start to close in, and it may get harder to sleep in my bed alone.  Not sure if my alarm clock radio can only do so much to distract me from my beating heart.

 

Meet Estrogena, The Pink Incredible Hulkstress

On this blog, I celebrate the ups and downs of turning 30.

I tell myself and I tell you that this is an age of discovery and an age of the beginning of accepting yourself for who you are, for real.

I talk about trying not to make yourself crazy if you aren’t married yet. Or if you are married, it’s not a big deal if you haven’t cranked out kids yet, or if you haven’t cranked out a brother or sister for the kid you already have.

I keep this theme of you are enough, and it all is timing. It’s better to be where you are then where you think you are supposed to be and totally unhappy.

Well today, I don’t feel that way.

Today, I feel like I should be married to a great man who protects me and helps me pay my bills, like the huge, expensive car repairs I’m staring down the barrel of over the next several weeks, because well I don’t have nearly $2,000 just lying around.

I would have it if I didn’t pay an ever growing rent alone, or put gas in my car, or eat or survive.

I love my independence, but the shit is expensive.

While I say this, I know better. My married sister always tells me, that yes, financially your husband helps you out, but more often than not, your bills are bigger. You have two cars that break down, you have a much larger home, that requires more resources to operate. Your money is gone to handle business whether you are single or with someone, so there isn’t much of a difference, but having their support is what matters and makes you feel better.

I’m sure my married and divorced readers can attest to my sister’s wisdom.

It’s not just about the money.

Going through this time of separation from my local friends, it would be nice to have someone to hold me and say it’s ok, you’ve got me, or that they will come around, or whatever.

I cried myself to sleep last night, because I wanted to stop loving someone. It’s been a year, for crying out loud.

But why did he have to recently say he still loved me?

Why did those words keep ringing in my head?

Since he said those tragic, beautiful, hopeful, dreadful words, why did I shut myself off from men who were either just as good-looking as him, who definitely had more money and more assets and better careers?

Why do those exact words, coming from him, mean more to me than the combined incomes, good looks and success of all of those other men combined?

Because I guess I hate myself equally as much as I love him. I’d have to hate myself to go through such torture.

But what does him still loving me mean anyway? What would be different this time?

What set me off? Why am I so emotionally unstable today?

My car repairs, and being a stupid Pandora by doing what I said I wouldn’t do.

Go on Facebook to look at who wished him a happy birthday. (I already know. I should have de-friended him a long time ago. I couldn’t do it, and neither did he. If he did first, I would have been mad. So round and round we go.)

Not only did one bitch wish him a happy birthday, she went on about how glad she was to celebrate with him and how they would have to finish their conversation later. And ended with a damn smiley face.

Smiley face.

It mocked me.

It taunted me.

This chick probably still dots her i’s with hearts.

I need to stop. I use smiley faces too.

But see? See how ridiculous one can become because of stupid feelings?

Feelings  make normally very rational women, turn into her worst enemy…

A hormonal, estrogen rage-induced, emotional nut bag.

Think a pink incredible Hulk with a weave, skirt, painted fingernails and toenails, ripping an encyclopedia in half with just her kuckles.  I’ll name her, Estrogena. The Hulk is so scared of pissing her off, he’s not even on Facebook. He deleted his account when he still didn’t change his relationship status a day after they became official.

A year later, with all the progress, all the fasting and praying, and bad mistake making, and enlightenment and business-starting and promotions; all the feeling stronger in my faith, all the relearning to love me, all the going to Zumba, all went out the window in one moment.

None of these amazing things I accomplished by my own strength and intellect mattered.

Facebook. One wall post that could have meant absolutely nothing, or absolutely everything on top of  an enormous bill for car repairs, and having to acquiesce to another year of living in this apartment, paying more than I think it’s worth, having to put off said car repairs for two weeks, winging it, praying the wheels won’t literally fall off my car (as the repair man warned) between now and then.  Finally, contemplating having to give up one or both vacations I had been looking forward to in order to be fiscally responsible, pushed me to my breaking point.

I told a dear friend I’m at the point I may go back to trans fats, heavily drinking and mindless sex with worthless men.

Then, I said I’d write.

Then work out, then take a shower and pray and cry while I’m in it and let the water and my tears become one indistinguishable rush of liquid on my face.

So here I am, writing.

Today, being 30, independent, alone, momentarily emotionally unstable and being fully aware if it, ain’t shit.

Smiley face.

Staying In the Yellow

There’s a marvelous song by India.Arie simply titled, “Yellow.”

I was first drawn to this song when I was in a relationship, and it resonated with me even more when I got engaged.

In the song, she refers to different colors that represents the ups and downs of relationships: making her see red, being green with envy. Together,  she and her love are royal and purple.

Over and over in the chorus, she asks that they stay in the yellow.

I interpret staying in the yellow as, maintaining balance in love and life. Returning to center, even when you are shaken temporarily. Coming back to home base.

That was the hope and prayer for my future marriage. That despite the ups and downs, as long as we got back to yellow and kept coming back to yellow, we’d make it.

It didn’t work out.

I see certain things coming together in my life. I’m appreciative of the real friendships and I’m appreciative of the understanding that comes with letting folks go.

I’m thankful for this renewal of creative energy that’s been happening over the last several months and a surge of passion for myself and for my life and the things that mean something to me.

I’m single now, but the song takes on a new meaning.

I want to stay in the yellow.

I don’t need things to be perfect. That would be unrealistic and scary.

But I do know what life is like when you are so down, you can’t smile and you aren’t sure you’ll ever smile again.

I understand the paralyzing grip of depression, and what it is to feel so lost, everyday is like looking into one of those infinity mirrors. You see the same thing over and over, and there is no end. It confuses you, it scares you, you hurt your brain by trying to figure out how it works and you wear yourself out in hopes of being able to see something else if you squint and look just a little  harder.

Yellow is just fine. “Daisies in a meadow.”

Some people may think daisies are simple and not the most stunning flowers, but there is something beautiful and warm, genuine and subtle in its simplicity. It’s still pretty, it still gets the job done.

I’m happy today. Not crazy, super happy, but a subtle content happy. That’s yellow to me.

I’m going at my own pace, I’m doing things for me.

Yellow.

I want to lose weight. I’m going to keep going to Zumba at least twice a week, and try to eat better. Every time I jump on the scale I’m not going to lose 4 pounds. Some days I may even gain three, but I’m going to keep going and not beat myself up.

Yellow.

I’m moving forward with the business I’m launching, step by step. I’m not going to rush, I’m going to follow my gut, my heart and my standards and not settle. Even if it takes me longer. It’s not a race.

Yellow.

I don’t know what’s going to happen for me in the love department.

Sometimes I get lonely. I know I still love my ex and I can’t shake it and I can’t help it. I often hate myself for holding out hope, still. But it’s best I’m by myself right now.

Yellow.

I’m planning wonderful trips this summer. I’m going to go to places I’ve never been and see things I’ve never seen. I’m going to take it all in.

Financially, people try to get out of the red (debts and deficits), and get into the black (free and clear with a surplus).

All of that is cool.

But emotionally, for someone like me, who had been struggling in the grey all of last year, yellow is a fine fit.

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