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Archive for the tag “serious relationships”

Why Anyone Wanting a Serious Relationship Needs to REALLY Listen to Kindred the Family Soul

I had the pleasure of watching “Kindred The Family Soul” do their thing at the Summer Spirit Music Festival this weekend in Maryland. And while they weren’t the headliners like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott who closed the two day festival respectively, Aja Graydon and Fantin Dantzler’s performance really stuck with me long after they took their bows and floated off the stage together.

I was introduced to Kindred in college (early 2000s) and they came out around the same time Jill Scott and India Aire did. These artists were a breath of fresh air as I was growing and learning how to be more mature. Listening to these kinds of artists was a gateway to shaping my evolving taste in music. There was something old school about them, yet fresh and relatable to me. You couldn’t ass shake all the time, and you couldn’t scream out loud aggressive raps either. At that time, me and my friends were falling in and out of love and even wondering if the relationships we were building were among the ones that would lead to marriage. It was college after all.

I was immediately drawn to Kindred’s first album, which I think hands down is their best and untouchable, “Surrender to Love.” The classics on that joint still stand the test of time, as evidenced by the reaction from the crowd when they sang a good amount of those songs in their set some 16 years later.

After to Surrender to Love, I kept my eye out for some other songs, only really connecting with a single or two here and there over the last few years. They announced they are releasing their 6th studio album, and I’m just so stuck on their first. I’m sure they wouldn’t be happy with my steadfast devotion to only Surrender to Love and neglecting their other albums, because as artists they need to and have to grow.

I was standing still and my relationships weren’t really evolving to the level of the things they were talking about.

Which is why I’m revisiting Kindred now as a 30-something who has had a few relationships under her belt, including a broken engagement and six long years of being single and now entering something new and serious and very mature.

My ears are starting to perk up to some of the other songs on their other albums and I’m hearing them with completely new ears, because I’m eager to make this thing work, and I’m finding out that deciding to really open yourself up and join with someone else and not be long distance can reveal somethings about yourself in the process. How guarded you really are, and how it takes a lot of trust to undo those protective actions you’ve been crafting so carefully over the years to protect your feelings.

One of the things I appreciate about Aja and Fantin is the very obvious love, respect and genuine affection they have for one another. They are married with six children and that bond as artists, business partners, husband and wife and parents is strong and battle-tested, but their love is genuine and you can still feel them flirting with each other during songs, and even looking on with pride when the other person hits their solo part of the show.

Through their music they lay out the good, bad, ugly and mundane but always bring it back to not wanting to do the ups and downs of life with anyone else but each other.

There have been several times as a black woman, exasperated I’ve asked my friends over drinks and brunches and dinners and international vacations, “Where is black love? What happened to it?”

Aja and Fantin were holding up the banner last night and every night they perform. And their light attracts other couples who are holding on and holding on to each other, and I saw them last night in the audience dancing, singing along, or leading each other through the crowds and keeping each other cool in the heat.

Their lyrics are loving and honest. From day one in their classic hit “Far Away” they lamented working 9-5s and wanting to hold on to that loving feeling, but having to sneak in sexy time while their baby naps.

In other songs, they discuss doing the work to stay together and grow together and that deciding to stay with someone for decades and for the rest of your life is magical, but like a great magic trick– there’s a whole lot going on that the audience will never see, to create the illusion. They ask each other to hang in and to not give up, they remind each other that it’s worth it.

And boy do we need more music like that.
There is a validity that Aja and Fantin bring to their performances that only comes from having a front row seat to each other’s lives. I’m glad they share vulnerability in their songs and remind people of their own vulnerabilities and that loving another person is indeed a risk, but one worth taking each day. One that is necessary if we are to ever truly enjoy the sweetness of life.

It’s often impolite to ask probing questions of the couples we know in real life. Most couples won’t pull back the curtain on their relationship, because it’s not always what we are seeing when folks post those “couples’ challenge” social media posts. And while most couples would be afraid to be so transparent, at least we have Aja and Fantin giving us the real and sharing their journey with us so we can all grow. They are the type of couple who seem like they’d be at the BBQ giving the younger couples the truth about love, and reminding them that it’s worth fighting for and to above all choose wisely.

The gems in Kindred’s body of work aren’t hidden. They lay it all bare. But like love, it’s all about an individual’s willingness and readiness to accept all that comes with it.

And that BBQ advice session was exactly the vibe I felt with my larger “family” of music lovers all day yesterday. Aja and Fantin held court, while I hung on to every note, listening carefully to every word.

Yup, I’m going to take a closer listen to the subsequent albums after “Surrender to Love.” Because you can’t stay in one place. You have to grow, you have to be open, you have to listen and you have to learn.

And growth certainly looks good on Aja and Fantin, and that’s worth emulating.


RIP, Boo Thang. Good Riddance, Lying-Ass

Well folks, you’ve been reading.

You all saw this coming.

People move in and out of our lives all of the time.

Seriously, think about it.

New jobs, new cities, graduating from school, going back to school, your church, death, people rotate in and out.

That is the nature of this thing called life. We are in constant motion, traveling through it.

As I told you all in my last post, I was growing weary. Time was running out for Boo Thang.

And time ran all the way out Thursday night.

When he asked to stop by, I assumed he was feeling the vibe that things weren’t going well, especially since I sent him that text about confidence.


He was happy as a clam and even brought wine. I introduced him to Moscato D’Asti and now it’s like the best thing in the world.

So being oblivious, he want to hug me and kiss me and I kept squirming like Pepe Le Pew’s unfortunate feline girlfriend who keeps falling in the wrong can of paint to make her look like a skunk.

I was blocking shots like Mutumbo.

So after a great discussion about the state of the black community, politics, the sequestration and watching Awkward Black Girl, the finale (it’s awesome), he was getting ready to leave.

I told him I wanted to talk to him about something. I couldn’t let him leave. I couldn’t take another day of being phony or knowing that I wasn’t that into him.

So he sat down in the chair and he braced himself. He braced himself.

I started out with asking him what he wanted from this relationship and where he saw things going.

Brace yourselves for his answer.

“I don’t know, I want us to keep hanging out and getting to know each other and then it can go somewhere.”

My response:

“It’s been five months. We haven’t seen each other for two weeks and we haven’t really been talking a whole lot. Things seem to be going ok to you?”

“Well things haven’t been great, but I just thought we were both busy.”

Yeah, ok, pimp.

So I go on about me wanting a serious relationship and how I’m at the point where the direction I’m trying to head now is marriage. I spoke about how at 28, just getting out of grad school, he has just started his professional life, he has just started his grown up life.

I even realized that even though there was a few years between us, in life experience, I had a decade on him.

He’s never lived outside of Maryland.

I’ve lived and worked in a bunch of different places, I’ve had ups and downs in my relationships. I’ve had to speak up sometimes and fight for things, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve learned to love myself, I’ve learned to appreciate who I am.

I told him that I have high expectations of the man who is going to be my man. I told him I mentioned the confidence thing because I can’t be confident for him I want the man in my life to really know himself and be able to make decisions and I will stand by him and be his biggest supporter. I told him he’s not there yet.

I said there was nothing wrong with that, it’s just timing.

So with big puppy eyes, he asks, “Well is it where I’m at professionally?”

Wrong again, lad.

I told him not at all. He’s where he’s supposed to be.

“Does this mean you don’t want to talk anymore?”

I said, “I would actually love to still talk to you and hang out, but we got to stop the romantic stuff.”

At this point, he already had his baseball cap on low across his eyes. Before then, his brows stayed in a permanent knot on his forehead as he listened.

I told him, if I’m off base, to correct me, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. I told him he is in transition and that is ok, but the fact I have to explain why I want to be picked up and dated and wanting some consistency, it’s a problem. No one who is five months into something does not really see or make time for each other for two weeks and they live in the same area.

So he said he’d talk to me later, we hugged and he left.

He sent me a text later, saying that he was glad to see me and appreciated our talk.

I told him I agree.

But that’s not how this story ends folks, oh it gets better. I mean, it wouldn’t be a 29tolifeblog story if there wasn’t a ridiculous twist.

A homegirl of mine said she thought she saw old boy on a dating site.

Not the one where we met and where I thought we both closed our profiles…

This fool must believe in loopholes.

So this morning she’s like, I have a screen capture of the profile. I said, well what’s the name and what’s the city?

City, check.

Profile name.. was the name of homeboy’s favorite rapper and some number and I already know not many people would pick that name.

My friend sent the pic. And boom there his ass was.

Here I was, feeling sorry for him. Thinking I had broken his simple, little heart and this mo fo has been out there, probably still talking to other women.

So, that’s all folks.

Here we go again.

I’m open to suggestions. If you folks have great friends, cousins, uncles, third tier friends, send em my way.

Back to the drawing board. Again.

Tip the bartenders, God Bless and good night folks.

Here I am, in a tee-shirt, wrapped in a blanket chronicling my pitiful life for you all and having a Sex and the City marathon, because Carrie Bradshaw knows me like no one else.

I’ma keep hope alive.

Shit is real.

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