No Guarantees

Now burgeoning on the age of thirty-nine I have to ask myself why I’m still a single, unmarried woman. Over the course of my adult life I have had ample opportunities to connect with men in an effort to progress the relationship to a more permanent status–marriage. Nevertheless, not one of my previous relationships has yielded the outcome I’ve desired for countless years. My “current situation” has left me perplexed, a little bitter, and somewhat reluctant to try again.

After each failed attempt at a lasting love I take the time to reflect over my actions with the hopes of finally achieving the “eureka” moment where the light bulb comes on and my life is forever changed because I now know the malaise that has kept me from obtaining what I so longingly desire—a permanent love connection with a man. But that hasn’t been my truth because I keep finding myself pacing around the same tree.

Just recently the man that I had been dating (with the intent of progressing the relationship to something permanent) broke up with me. No, this wasn’t the first time a man had dumped me, but that certainly didn’t make the loss any less traumatic. You see, when I met him I had plans to leave the country. I was on my way to Dubai because there was nothing and no one (male counterpart) keeping me here. And while I will admit that I didn’t expect to catch feelings for him, I didn’t stop myself from doing so. With each passing day and the interactions that ensued, I soon found myself falling for him—something I hadn’t done in nearly four years. My lack of falling for a man wasn’t so much about my lack of desire, as it was about my lack of connectivity with the men with which I had been interacting. At any rate, after falling for this man I made the decision that the possibility of love with him here was more enticing than the opportunity to live and work abroad. I soon contacted the director of the institution for which I planned to work and was subsequently released from my contract. Later that day I sent the following email to the man for whom I had recently fallen.

In just a short time you have captivated my heart. You awoke something inside me—the possibility of love. I have been in search of love all my life and it has always seemed to elude me. And when I had all but given up on the possibility, you walked into my life. You’ve ignited a passion inside me—a passion to love fully, completely and without condition. I am not asking anything of you, but that you are invested in building a future. I’m not interested in just “dating”; I want to try and build something permanent. I am aware that there are no guarantees when it comes to love, but I can guarantee that if I stay, you have my heart and my full attention. I want to stay because my heart is with you. I want to stay because the possibility of love is much more enticing than leaving this country. I want to stay…because I want you.

Now, before you cast judgment, let’s consider a thing or three. Some people might think that my decision to stay was rash and foolish.   To some degree I would concur with those individuals. Still others might consider my decision to be nostalgically romantic. And to those individuals I too would agree to an extent. Nevertheless, at the end of the day I have to embrace the decision that was made and move forward without regret(s). After all, I did state in the email to my beloved that “I am aware that there are no guarantees when it comes to love…I want to stay because the possibility of love is much more enticing than leaving this country.” Like the lyrics in the Chico Debarge song “No Guarantee”, I was essentially saying, “But I know exactly what I wanna do/I wanna make this work with you, yeah…[but] Nothing in life is guaranteed”. I knew what I was getting myself into; I knew that the relationship (which was relatively new) wasn’t destined to last. But I took the chance on him, and I took a chance on love because I wanted love more than I wanted the job opportunity.  And maybe the idea of taking a chance at love, instead of closing my heart, wasn’t such a bad decision to make after all. In the end every experience (blissful and/or sorrowful) teaches us something.

While the sting of the loss is new, there is a sense of peace that I currently feel because I am respecting his wishes and I have left him alone. I will not lie to you, or myself, and say that I don’t want him back; I do. But I refuse to be one of those women who won’t let go. I will not be one of those women who makes every attempt to insert herself into a man’s life because the idea of living without him is greater than the idea of once again being alone. Besides I’ve already tried to convince him otherwise and that failed attempt didn’t dissuade him to change his mind. Yeah, that’s right. I shed tears; I begged and pleaded for him to reconsider, and at the end of the day (yesterday in fact) he didn’t budge, so I walked out of his residence licking my wounds. After I had finally calmed down, I resolved in my spirit to seek God’s face and to give the man that I love space to determine if a life without me is better than a life with me.

Again, here is what I’ve chosen to do. I’ve chosen to dry my eyes and seek the face of God. The irony in all this is that I’ve been on the run from God because I couldn’t understand how the last man I’d fallen for could end an eighteen-month relationship with me, and just three weeks later propose to another woman. Crazy right? Yes, that’s my “ish”. Anywho, here I am (ironically) running to the face of God for solace–once again because of yet another disappointing attempt at lasting love.

However, here is the conclusion I have drawn from this last disappointing outcome. I know; wait for it! Yes, I have finally reached a point where an epiphany of sorts has entered my cranium. The light bulb is vibrant and brilliant. And the crowd collectively sighs! Nearly every time a man has shown interest in me I lose my head. I never stop to consult God about the man’s intentions or whether he would be good for me and not just good to me. Never have I stopped and prayed for discernment before I got wrapped up in the moment, in the man. Yep, that’s right. History has shown that I lose all sense of control when a man expresses interest and I reciprocate his interest. Worse still, I fold into a nice little napkin that he can trample over. I get so caught up in the idea of love and a lasting relationship that I become the proverbial doormat. Instead of maintaining my rough exterior, I melt and turn into this woman who will do whatever it takes to make the relationship profitable. I stop being inherently who I am—the fiercely outspoken and independent woman because I want to cast aside the stain of being a super-single (thirty-eight year old woman who has never been engaged or married).

Despite my formal education, I have been stuck on stupid (SOS). I recognize that relationships are work. I get the fact that nothing is promised to last forever. But I want to embark upon a relationship that defies the mundane. Perhaps I am delusional about the prospect of a lasting love where two people respect each other and make a conscious decision, each day, to work together instead of separately. I thought I had been doing that with each relationship, but maybe I wasn’t. Perhaps I was deluding myself into believing that I was making conscious attempts at working in tandem with each man for whom I had fallen. The last man I fell for said that the decisions I made lacked the consideration of his feelings. I countered that his decisions and plans rarely, if ever, did the same.

I’ve tried to rationalize my actions as well as his. But nothing seems to matter because one of us got fed up to the point that it seemed best to walk away. I want to believe that he’ll come to his senses and realize that despite the bad we experienced there was more good to latch onto, and he’ll come back to me. I am not going to hold my breath waiting. I am going to get myself together so that the next time a man shows interest I don’t lose sight of God. I will use discernment and wisdom to determine if he is for me or for someone else.

Undoubtedly, I’ve been charged to “…not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind [to God’s word]—Romans 12:2

Advertisements

Don’t Quit!

I had a wonderful conversation with a small cadre of ladies yesterday that has left me pontificating about men, love, life, and relationships—the subjects of our engaging chat. There is hardly a conversation that I’ve been engaged in where the topic of men, love, life, and/or relationships didn’t surface at some point. It doesn’t matter if you are at work, school (and for some of us those two are one in the same), church, at the park, or on the beach, these topics will at some point be in rotation. Does that mean that women have little else to expound upon? I daresay that is true. But I will confess that I never tire of talking about any of the aforementioned topics. Does that make me predictable and/or boring? Perhaps. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with being a woman and never tiring of “girl talk”.

What has stayed with me from yesterday’s conversation is a matter of character. One of the ladies spoke of a rift that had recently come between her and her boyfriend. The two have been in a relationship for the past fifteen months, and as of late, a couple of incidents have forged a gulf between the two of them. This woman, whom I had just met, wasn’t necessarily seeking advice from any of us, and none of us sought to provide her with any relational “pearls of wisdom” to be quite honest. It was more about lending an ear to a sister who was going through an experience (and for a couple of us, a relatable experience). I’ll be the first to admit to never trying to give anyone relationship advice given my history of unsuccessful ventures with men. And quite frankly, that’s what I shared with the woman I met yesterday. I hardly ever feel confident telling another woman what she should (or shouldn’t) do when my relationship report card is full of failures. Nevertheless, we were analyzing the circumstances and at some point I said something to the effect of actions saying a lot about a man’s character. To put this into context, the woman had mentioned that her boyfriend hadn’t really been speaking to her and their living arrangement had begun to be awkward. However, he admitted to struggling with some things internally, but wasn’t comfortable and/or willing to talk about these issues with her. So the woman suggested that her boyfriend talk with her pastor. After some reflection he accepted the offer. And that’s when I made the point about his openness to speaking with her pastor as a positive sign and being a reflection of his character as a man. The fact that he was responsive to talking to her pastor, and had maintained an open line of communication with her, says something about his character—in my humble opinion. And when it comes to finding a mate, character is without a doubt an essential quality (a deal maker or breaker).

And as I left the beach I began to think about my series of unfortunate events with the male species. I mulled over one failed relationship after another. I thought about the role I played in those failures. And I came to one conclusion: I want a man who is brave enough (or crazy enough—given one’s point of view) to stick around when the “ish” hits the fan. I think most of us want someone by our side who won’t run at the first sight of turmoil. Personally, I know I give men (friends and lovers) grief because I’ve been trying to find that one man who can handle the heat in the kitchen. I know that I’m far from perfect and will never reach such a state, but I do admit my shortcomings and try not to allow them to rule me. But I am adamant about acknowledging my vices. I am convinced that relationships are work, hard work. Perhaps they are even more work that our jobs/careers. That being the case, I’m okay with that. But I can’t be okay with someone who doesn’t recognize this truism in life and isn’t willing and/or able to buckle down when the storms of life come. All that being said, I’m in search of the man whose character proves that he has staying power—the power and desire to stay around when I get ugly (physically, spiritually, and emotionally—just naming a few here). I’m holding out for the man who realizes that life is about change, and neither one of us will be the same people we are (were) when we first met, but he’s a man who is interested and invested in knowing who I’ll become in a year, a decade, or even longer. I’m waiting on that man whose motto is “I ‘Don’t Quit’!” I don’t know if they make them like that anymore, but there remains a glimmer of hope that he’s somewhere out there, and one day our paths will cross.

No woman (and I would presume the same may perhaps be true for men, but I don’t dare assume anything) whose invested time and emotions into a relationship for any extended period of time wants to throw in the towel at the first sign of struggle. If anything, we (the tenacious) tend hold on never wanting to let go even when we know in our heart of hearts when we’ve lost the battle (and perhaps the war). So many of us hope beyond hope that there is chance for redemption—be it our own or our mate’s. We remain hopeful that even when the terrain on the road of life has become treacherous. We don’t want to give up, to throw in the towel. We strive to make it work in the face of imminent failure. But that’s what tenacious men and women do—we try as we might, but we just don’t quit.

In closing, I am reminded of a well-known poem I fell in love with as a young girl. While the author remains anonymous, the spirit and message of the poem have become familiar friends of mine. I leave with you the words of one of my all-time favorite poems, “Don’t Quit”.

Poem, "Don't Quit"

I Lost God; He Didn’t Lose Me

People lose all sorts of things: keys, money, books, track of time, socks, memories, games (contests), their minds, etc. Funny thing (in an ironic sort of way)—I seemed to have lost God somewhere over the past year. I know it sounds like an extremely strange statement, but it’s my truth. I’ve never spoken with someone who claims to have lost God, but I’ve had countless conversations with people who have lost one or more of the aforementioned items. Nevertheless, over the course of a year I have lost God—lost my ability to talk to God, to feel His presence in my life, to believe in/have faith in God, to pray to/speak to God, to meditate on His inspired word, to commune with other believers, to trust His word(s)—in short, I’ve simply lost Him.

 

And yet here I am wondering: is it even possible to lose God? Seriously, if we take God’s inspired word, The Bible, as Truth, then perhaps I’m delusional in thinking that I’ve lost God. But bear with me as I attempt to rationalize my current situation. In The Message translation of the bible, Deuteronomy 31:6 states:

 

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them [doubts, circumstances, setbacks, shortcomings] a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”

 

If God, my God (because at one point in time I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior), is striding ahead of me, is right there (here) with me, how can I have lost Him? But I’m being real here, being completely honest and transparent.

 

I have lost God.

 

If I accept Deuteronomy 31:6 as Truth, then God hasn’t left me, hasn’t lost me—I’m the one in this relationship who has lost Him. And yes, it is a relationship. Despite the fact that I cannot touch God like I touch/feel other human beings, cannot have a conversation with Him as I do other human beings, cannot see Him like I see other human beings (or can I?), that doesn’t necessarily negate His presence, nor his being real. Yet and still, therein lies my dilemma. I want to believe God’s word. I want to believe that the words of the “Good Book” are true, but much of what I have seen and/or experienced over the course of my existence on this planet has left me questioning the truth of His word.

 

Let’s get back to business. If God is all and in all, then God is everywhere. And if God is everywhere, how can it be that I have lost Him? Again, let’s look at what His word says. Colossians 1:16-17 in the King James Version (KJV) reads:

 

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

 

Again, let’s break this down. If God is the creator of all things (present in heaven and earth, visible and invisible), then He exists in all things and that means that God is more than a “presence” one feels in a church (house of worship) and there is more than one way to feel him, see him, commune with him, to know Him.

 

But I have lost God.

 

Seemingly out of nowhere, I broke down in tears this afternoon in the midst of a conversation I was having with a close friend (in her car of all places—I guess where shouldn’t matter, but it was just odd how it all happened). She was sharing her walk with me when the flood of tears escaped my eyes. We were reflecting on life, being raw, being honest about our feelings when I simply allowed my truth to come out. I said:

 

“I’ve lost my way; I’ve lost my peace and I don’t know how to get it back.”

 

My friend looked me in the eye and said something that touched my heart more than she may ever know. She said . . .

 

“We all have to find our own way to God.”

 

Such simple words, but words with such a great impact. She went on to say that she has found God in nature and in a fiction book. She told me about this book that she had once read. The book, The Shack, by William Paul Young, had forever changed her relationship with God, had changed her life. And it was then that something inside me “broke”. All my life I had been trying to find the magic formula to make situations and circumstances in my life bend to my will. I would look at a person and try to figure out why things had seemingly come together for them and pattern my attempts at life after theirs. Still yet, I would gaze upon another and try to emulate their formula and all to no avail. My friend was right; we all have to find our own way to God. We all have to find our own path to peace and perhaps that peace doesn’t come instantaneously, or after a confession to a priest, or after our first, second, or ninety-fifth prayer to God. Perhaps our path to peace, our path to God happens after a lengthy uphill trudge full of stops and tasks along the way.

 

So here’s my truth: I’ve lost God. But I’ve heard that it only takes one step to once again find him.

 

Maybe I’ll find him in the midst of meditation (another suggestion from my great friend), maybe I’ll find him in His word, maybe I’ll find him in nature, maybe I’ll find him in a work of fiction, maybe I’ll find him in the spirit of another human being. Right now it matters more that I find Him and not so much where it is that I find him. Today, I’ve made the decision to seek Him; won’t you do the same? Isaiah 55:6 (The Message) urges us to:

 

“Seek God while he’s here to be found, pray to him while he’s close at hand.”

 

So despite the fact that I’ve lost God, I am going to do everything possible to find him.

 

One last thing. Before my friend drove off today she said that we (she and I) were going to commit to verbalizing His word even when we don’t completely feel it with our whole heart. Though I seemed to have lost God, I’m going to try and find my way back to him through His word. And if that doesn’t lead me to him, I will try another route. Truth is, I’m determined to find my way back to him and I won’t give up until I’ve found the peace that is associated with knowing Him.

 

I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but I’m trusting that:

 

“. . . the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your [my] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (KJV).

Hear My Call

On Jill Scott’s Light of the Sun CD is a track titled “Hear My Call”. It spoke to my spirit during a recent morning jog. It begins:

Here I am again asking questions,

 

A few Saturdays ago I awoke around 6:20 a.m.  No, it’s not exactly normal for a Saturday. But then again, I’m not exactly “normal”. Still dark outside, I attempted to go back to sleep for at least another hour or so. But something kept me up. So I began talking to God, praying for those near and dear to my heart, and asking God questions: Lord, why do I keep compromising? Why is it that I seem to be unable to stay the course? How is it that I find myself backpedaling? Why do I keep settling for men whose intentions are temporal and not directed towards permanence? Why do I move so quickly? Why can’t I hold out? When God, when?

Once again I wondered how I had found myself in a situation that I had sworn I’d never return. It’s amazing how life provides us with exactly what we need despite our best efforts at fleeing and evading the lesson(s).    

Waiting to be moved.
I am so unsure of my perception,
What I thought I knew I don’t seem to

 

There seem to be too many instances when I thought I knew what I wanted or needed. I thought I knew better than God who and what was right or wrong for my life. And then a revelation would come and I would once again realize that I was deluding myself, or worse, delaying the inevitable—and perhaps delaying my destiny.

 

 

Where is the turn so I can get back to what I believe in?
Back to the old me and

 

I am yearning to get back to the old me. I long to be that woman who wasn’t afraid to ask for exactly what she wanted. I want to once again be that woman who was bold enough to stand alone—confident and secure in my womanhood—with or without a man in my life. I yearn to be that woman who didn’t allow life’s circumstances to callous and harden her spirit. I want to get back to the old me who smiled more than frowned—the old me who laughed so robustly and without regard. I want to get back . . .

 

[Chorus]
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, please.

[Verse 2]
I am such a fool
How did I get here?

 

There have been too many instances when I’ve played the fool—by my own hands mostly. I cannot in good consciousness blame others for my shortcomings. Sure enough, they played a role in the “experience”, but inevitably, I have to own up to my own actions. I, like Jill Scott am asking, “How did I get here?” Yes, here! Here as in–a place where I complain more than count my blessings. Here as in—a place where I allow life’s setbacks to disrupt my mood.   Here as in—a place where I stopped believing in my dreams and my ability to actualize them. Here . . .

 

Played by all the rules
Then they changed
I am but a child to your vision

 

It seems that I too “Played by all the rules [or at least what I thought were the rules]/Then they changed”. The dynamics between men and women have drastically changed. One minute I question whether I’m too aggressive; the next minute I can’t decide if I’m not aggressive enough. And here I am though. Here I am persevering. Here I am fighting against adversity. Here I am–desiring more than the life I’ve been living. Here I am God. Here I am . . .  

 

Standing in the cold and the rain
Lost here in the dark
I can’t see my foot to take a step,
What is happening?
Oh, this hurts so bad. I can hardly breathe.
I just want to leave so…

 

When it comes to this “dating” thing I am standing in the cold and the rain—wondering.   And then sometimes it seems like I’m lost in the dark and I’m questioning what is happening. What aren’t things working out despite my best efforts and intentions? And again God, “What is happening?” The sting of disappointment hurts so bad I want to leave the pain behind. The result: I’ve lost my ability to breathe. And again . . .

 

[Chorus]
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please,
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, oh, please, please.

 

God, if you’re there, please hear my call . . . I need to feel your presence; I need your healing.  Please . . .

A Thin Line Between Submissive and Dominant: The Plight of the Independent Woman

“Men seem to be intimidated by me.”

 

“I feel you girl.”

 

“They see my car, where I live and they get in their mind that I’m some kind of way.”

 

“Yes, they say they want a woman who isn’t draining their pockets, but at the same time they don’t know how to vibe with a woman who’s got her own.”

 

The conversation fades to black and suddenly I hear Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Fabulous in the background singing “She Got Her Own (Miss Independent Remix)” . . .

 

“I love her cause she got her own/She don’t need mine, she said leave mine alone/There ain’t nothing that’s more sexy/Than a girl that want, but don’t need me/Young independent, yes she work hard/ . . . She don’t expect nothin’ from no guy/She plays aggressive but she’s still shy/But you’ll never know her softer side, by lookin’ in her eyes . . .”

 

There is an obvious paradox to what these three men were expressing as they sang the song and what we, Independent Women, have experienced, are experiencing, and may continue to experience presently and in the future. Me personally, I will be the first to spout out that I don’t need a man, but I certainly want a reliable, honest, devoted, and caring man in my life (just a few of the stellar qualities I desire in a mate). I don’t mind paying for dinner; I don’t have a problem spending my own money in the presence of a man. For me it doesn’t negate his manhood or his being a “gentleman”; it just means that I recognize the shift in cultural norms and I’m not above being fiscally responsible in a dating scenario. Much like the lyrics note, I don’t expect nothing from a man, I got my own, I work hard, but . . . many a man has missed out on my softer side because I tend to be aggressive—or at least come across as aggressive.

 

And that’s a problematic paradox. It’s as if independence and docility cannot possibly inhabit a woman’s personality concurrently. If there is some measure of truth to the aforementioned lyrics, where are the men who agree with Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx? Where are the men who desire an independent woman with a softer side that she reserves only for her man, girlfriends, and family?

 

The day of the above-paraphrased conversation, I was hanging out with a couple girlfriends, and as usual, the topic of men surfaced in our conversation. We talked about how we kept happening upon men who weren’t aggressive in their pursuits to “woo” us. With voices laden with frustration at many a failed effort in experiencing a bliss-filled future with a man whose interest and devotion to us matches that of our own, we soon dropped the topic and made a day of enjoying the sights and sounds of a local festival—just us girls. Nevertheless, what stayed with me after our conversation and the festivities was that our independence—while oftentimes is received as virtuous—has also been internalized (by the opposite sex) as a vice. I’m not sure who made the exact comment that followed me home and has been pestering me the past couple of weeks, but this I do know: this world is overflowing with absolutely beautiful, intelligent, captivating, and loving Independent (and single) Women.

 

A few years back a similar conversation surfaced amongst a different circle of friends and I remember penning the following words, “I will ‘submit’ for the right man.” I place the word submit in quotation marks because I mean to say that I will let the right man lead. Yes, the right man. I know how to take charge of a situation; yes, I know how to take care of myself; yes, I too can be aggressive, but there comes a time in an independent woman’s life when she wants to rest assured that she doesn’t have to be the one holding it down all the time. I recognize that I am a bit rough around the edges, but like a Caramel Hershey Kiss—I am gooey on the inside (don’t misconstrue that analogy). But don’t get it twisted; I’m no doormat.

 

Oftentimes it feels as if we (independent women) are misunderstood. We come across as brash, but in reality, we are powerfully loving creatures who have much to offer to a man who proves to be loyal, dependable, and loving—to name a few.

 

“Where are all the good men hiding?”

 

“That’s a great question. I can tell you that it ain’t in church.”

 

“They are the worst.”

 

“Girl, don’t I know.”

 

We scan the crowd. Suddenly, my mind drifts and I hear Katy Perry in my ear . . .

 

“I knew you were/You were gonna come to me/And here you are/But you better choose carefully/’Cause I, I’m capable of anything/Of anything and everything/Make me your Aphrodite/Make me your one and only/But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy/So you wanna play with magic/Boy, you should know what you’re falling for/Baby do you dare to do this/Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse/Are you ready for, ready for/A perfect storm, perfect storm/Cause once your mine, once you’re mine/There’s no going back . . .”

Much like Katy Perry has pointed out–we, Independent Women, are capable of anything and everything.

  • We are capable of loving a deserving man without condition—we all have limitations, but they don’t define us, or our man.
  • We are capable of holding down a job and still coming home to fulfill the domestic needs of the household.
  • We are capable of raising our children alone, but prefer to take on that responsibility with our man.
  • We are capable of speaking our mind when the situation calls for it, but we are also capable of being quiet when no words need be spoken.
  • We are capable of taking care of our man’s needs because we want to, not because we feel obligated.
  • We are capable of honoring our commitments regardless of life’s circumstances.
  • We are capable of this and so much more; we’re just waiting on the right man to recognize ALL the good that we are capable, and desirous, of extending.

Man—don’t sleep on the Dark Horse!

A Woman’s Worth

Mental Toiling:

Today, a girlfriend of mine sent me a link to a recent blog post titled, “Why BEAUTIFUL WOMEN who want COMMITment will NEVER be ASKED on a REAL DATE, but a stripper will”.  I was immediately intrigued by the title and could hardly wait to get off work so that I could figure out what the brother, Ebrahim Aseem, had to say.

I must admit; the brother posed some great points that I wholeheartedly agree with.

·       Loyal women are old-fashioned; they love to be pursued.

·       Inconsistency is a turn off to a loyal woman.

·       Once you get a woman’s number, don’t use it exclusively to text her; use it primarily to call her.

·       The sign of a mentally mature man is one who can commit to something, commit to a major, commit to a career, commit to a creative discipline and commit to a loyal woman, respectively.

Aseem’s statements are valid. I will admit to being old-fashioned—to a degree.  I’m old-fashioned in the sense that I want to be pursued.  I don’t believe I should be calling a man on the regular trying to get his attention or attempt to steal his attention away from another woman. If a man isn’t calling me then I take it as I sign that he isn’t all that interested in me.  And no, texting me on the regular doesn’t count. Likewise, consistency will get you everything and everywhere.  Inconsistency will get you nowhere.  And that’s a two-way street.  My loyalties run deep when I know that I’ve captured a man’s heart, but there is nothing worse than not being consistent and not being a man of your word.  I’m sure is true for women on the part of men.

Yes, texting is a form of communication. However, texting should not be a man’s primary means for communicating with a woman he is interested in—that’s the old-fashioned coming out.  I want to have conversations—not textversations.  Talking allows for both parties to capture tone and mood. I prefer to not have to read between the lines when communicating.  Besides, there is something alive in talking.  Texting is so flat.

Then, there is this business of commitment. I made a comment yesterday that I’m constantly being stereotyped as the “Angry Black Woman” and all I keep running into is the “Commitment-Phobic Black Man”.  I don’t like being angry; I actually do like smiling and being jovial. And I want more than anything to believe that there are still single men out there who aren’t afraid to commit.

Epiphany #1

And then there was the intriguing post a friend posted the following on a popular social media platform last week.

“Interesting conversation on the Kane Show this morning. At what age/time does a woman stop dating bad boys/jerks and start giving the nice guys a chance? And at what age/time does a bad boy/jerk grow up and start acting more mature and considerate?”

My response was, “That is a great question . . . I think we (men and women) finally come to the realization that we deserve more than what we’ve been settling for and at that point we see the inherent goodness a person (man/woman) brings to the table . . . Let’s be confident old(er) women who know their worth!”

Epiphany #2

And then there was the recent expression of “interest” from a man I would normally never give the time of day.  Out of nowhere a gentleman complimented me on my energy and then asked if it would be possible to contact me sometime.

Normally I wouldn’t give my number to a man that I’m not in some way physically attracted to, but something inside me decided that perhaps it’s time to invest in male-female friendships that are purely platonic. While I’m not exactly sure what this man’s intentions are, I do plan to find out soon enough.

Recent epiphanies and mental toiling have led me into a different headspace—to Alicia Keye’s “A Woman’s Worth”.

She starts . . .

You could buy me diamonds
You could buy me pearls
Take me on a cruise around the world
Baby, you know I’m worth it

Personally, I don’t need, nor have I ever, requested diamonds or pearls.  But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t graciously accept either or both as a gift. And a man could most assuredly take me on a cruise around the world, but again, I am not a woman who would expect such a kind offering.  And perhaps that’s why I’ve never been offered the diamonds, pearls, or cruise around the world. Truth be told, I wouldn’t know how to act in response given the fact that a man has never been so generous. But again, that doesn’t mean I would be averse to the idea.  At this point in my life I think I have finally come to the realization that I am deserving of much more than what I’ve been accepting.  Alicia Keye’s was on to something back in the day and I’ve finally seen the light.

She adds . . .

Dinner lit by candles
Run my bubble bath
Make love tenderly to last and last
Baby, you know I’m worth it

The thought of a candle-lit dinner sounds romantic and long overdue.  I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a bubble bath drawn by the man I love on only two occasions. And those two occasions bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.  My heart yearns to be romanced again—to be pursued, to be desired for more than the treasure betwixt my thighs.  And yes, I’m beginning to believe I’m worth it—worth being appreciated, adored, pursued, and/or called instead of being sent texts.

And then . . .

Wanna please, wanna keep
Wanna treat your woman right
Not just dough, better show
That you know she is worth your time

You will lose if you choose
To refuse to put her first
She will and she can
Find a man who knows her worth

There is so much truth to these last two verses. I am a woman who is not afraid to please her man.  My problem has been that I’ve been pleasing men who haven’t been my man. And yes, I want to be treated right; I want to be treated with respect and honesty.  A man can throw around all the money he has, but if he isn’t throwing around his personal time—his quality time, there really isn’t much there between the two of us.  I thrive on quality time and physical touch—a touch that is more sensual than sexual in nature.  I long to be held–to be cradled in a man’s arms.

A number of men have truly lost out on this good woman because they’ve refused to put me first. I’m not saying I have to be at the top of your list every day of the week, but I need to be on your list every day if you want the best of me and from me.  And I’ve not been, nor will I ever be, afraid to walk away from a man who’s clueless about my worth.  Yes, we’ve all heard the adage that “I can do bad all by myself.” The statement is very true.  Personally, I prefer to do good with a good man by my side.  And I’m determined that I will be found by a man who knows my worth.

And . . .

‘Cuz a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always come first
And a real man just can’t deny a woman’s worth

Yes!  A real man knows a real woman when he sees her.  And when he sees this real woman he won’t be afraid of me—won’t run from the possibilities of us. And when that real man presents himself I will know that I can please him without fear of him being a “Samsonite Man”.

What’s more . . .

If you treat me fairly
I’ll give you all my goods
Treat you like a real woman should
Baby, I know you’re worth it

If you never play me
Promise not to bluff
I’ll hold it down when shit gets rough
‘Cuz baby, I know you’re worth it

I just want to say that I have no problem giving what I have to a deserving man.  When I’ve been treated with respect and adoration I’ve showered my man with love and devotion.  And yes, I can, and will, hold it down if need be, but that only comes for a man knowing my worth.

Finally . . .

She walks the mile, makes you smile
All the while being true
Don’t take for granted
The passion that she has for you

You will lose if you choose
To refuse to put her first

She will and she can
Find a man who knows her worth, ooh

‘Cuz a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can’t deny a woman’s worth

No need to read between the lines spelled out for you
Just hear this song ‘cuz you can’t go wrong when you value
A woman’s worth
(Woman’s, woman’s, woman’s)

I look forward to the day when a real man recognizes this woman’s worth. But that won’t happen until I’ve fully recognized my own worth.  Recent epiphanies and mental toiling have led me into a different headspace. For far too long I’ve been selling myself short—I’ve been taking what’s been given without expecting more. It’s pretty simple actually. Every woman, including myself, needs to recognize her individual value and worth.  Yes, there may be men out there who would rather play than stay. Yes, there may be men out there who are no more interested in a committing to a woman than they are to scheduling annual preventative doctor’s visits.  But the pool of men will be what it will be regardless of who we are. The players and non-committers will continue to walk the earth, but they shouldn’t negate a woman, this woman, from recognizing her worth. Today, I’m going to “woman up” and have some honest conversations with men from here on out.
‘Cuz a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can’t deny a woman’s worth

“Let’s Do Brunch” from The Misadventures of Sister Girl

Really?

Joker, don’t act like you don’t know what you’re working with.

 

What time are you having me over for lunch/brunch?

Excuse me?

 

I’ll be over around 1:30 unless you have any objections.

Sure I had objections.  Your Honor, I have objections.  Hell, I had a variety of objections.  But I was unable to express any of them.  For reasons unbeknownst to me I didn’t curtail what I knew in my gut to be disastrous.  I was flirting with the devil and it excited me, ignited me, and invigorated me.  Hell, it turned me on.  That, and the little (mad bad, wrong choice of words) stunt he pulled with the picture. Why couldn’t I be honest enough to stop him from coming over?  Why wasn’t my rational mind resisting what it knew to be danger (danger Will Robinson)? 

Address please

14382 Cypress View Lane

Apartment 107

 

Hit me up if there is something you need me to pick up. 

K

 

I put down my phone and ran around my apartment like a mad woman.  My apartment looked like the aftermath of a tsunami disaster area.  A ridiculously busy week at work had left me with little time to tidy up my place.  I couldn’t let Davis see my spot looking like this.  I had three hours to cook, clean, and appear presentable.  Hold up!  Why am I worried about impressing a man that I’ve known for years?  Why am I getting bent out of shape when I know him—well, know/knew of him?  At any rate, I spent the next two hours cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, dusting furniture, mopping, and picking up a week’s worth of clothes from nearly every square inch of my apartment.  With only an hour to go I rushed to the store for fresh fruit, a couple bottles of wine (my stash was low), a bottle of champagne, and orange juice.  I needed something to calm my nerves and a date with one of my battery-operated toys wasn’t going to fit into my already tight schedule.   Nevertheless, I somehow managed to get things together just before Davis arrived—late (thank goodness). 

A strong rap on the door pulled me from the nearby kitchen.  I stood on my tippy-toes to catch a glimpse of him through the peephole.  If he was looking raggedy I could pretend not to be home and hopefully dodge a bullet.  Fat chance.  Did he look that good in high school? 

“Hello sir,” I said as I pulled the door toward me.  No, he definitely didn’t look that good in high school.  He stepped into the small foyer and enveloped me in a hug—no, an embrace.  The warmth of his body ignited a small fire down below.  He stepped back and sized me up and down.

“The years have been kind to you.  You look good.”

“Thank you.  You seem to be aging like a fine wine,” I said with the back end of my statement drawing a smile on my face.  With that, he turned around taking in the atmosphere.  Was his butt that tight back in the day?  “Please have a seat on the sofa.  Help yourself to the fruit.  Would you like a mimosa?” 

“Yes, please.  Let me guess–your goal is to get me tipsy so that you can take advantage of me.  Right?”  He asked with a laugh. 

“You got jokes.  I’m not sure how to take advantage of the willing,” I counted as I walked back into the kitchen. 

“Let’s get this straight right now,” he began. 

I looked at him sitting there.  As he opened his mouth to deposit a strawberry I noticed that the goatee on his dark-chocolate face was newly trimmed.  Time had been on his side.  He had assuredly aged, but it was a mature look that fit him well.  And the muscles I detected (from our recent embrace) under his shirt were certainly saying my name as he then lifted his wine glass from the coffee table.  Yep, he’s going to get it.  

Home Training

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

This weekend I spent thirty hours in the presence of girls ranging in age from 5-14.  While being around kids isn’t anything new to me, what was new was being around children who seemingly had no “home training.”  For the most part, many of the girls were well behaved.  However, there were instances where I wanted to literally haul off and give one of the teenagers a piece of my mind.

Yes, I said “home training”.  I am old school in certain respects (pun intended), and this is one of them.  I firmly believe that children need to stay in their place.  No, you shouldn’t blindly accept everything you hear, and no, you shouldn’t trust just anyone.  But when it comes to adults and people in positions of authority, I believe that children should show some respect.

Maybe it’s me.  But it seems that a portion of today’s youth have lost their sense of respect for their elders and for authority figures.  Take this scenario for instance.  If a rule is given that you shouldn’t bring your electronic device to camp and you not only have it out in the presence of an adult, but go so far as to use it in their presence, should you not expect to be reprimanded for breaking a rule?  Nope.  One child had the never to roll her eyes, suck her teeth and continue her phone conversation.  I was not only appalled; I was ready to give her a piece of my mind.  But I held my tongue because of two reasons.  One, I just met the child that day and had no rapport with her.  Two, I didn’t want to make a bad impression on my superiors given the fact that I am brand new to the organization.

Seriously.  What are parents teaching their children?  Are parents teaching their children?  Or are they expecting “teaching” to only take place at school?  I know I may get some negative feedback because I’m not a parent, but seriously though, is there any instruction being given at home with regards on how to speak to, and interact with adults, because some of the girls I was around this weekend seemed to think we were on the same level.  Granted, we may have been on the same height level, but don’t let my youthful look and petit frame fool you into believing you can disrespect me.

I’m curious.  What happened to the respect?  How and when did we get to a place in our lives where we stopped saying “please” and “thank you”?  When did it become acceptable to refer to your parents by their first names?  At what point did it become “normal” to openly violate rules and challenge authority in response to possible consequences?

I am in no way faultless; I was far from being a perfect child.  However, I knew to respect the elders in my family and community.  I wouldn’t dare respond to an adult’s request with “Who you think you talking to?”  But that is what I see and hear all too often these days.  If we think about the message in Proverbs 22:6, we (collectively—parents and adults who regularly interact with children) are training our children to act, behave, and react in specific ways in their adult lives based upon what we teach them (or the lack thereof) in their youth.

So here are my questions: How do we get it back?  Yes, how do we get back to the days and times when children showed respect and reverence to adults and authority figures?  What have we lost along the way?  And can we find it again and bring it back?

What say you?

Disillusioned? Disenchanted? Or Both?

This is not the life I envisioned for myself.  This is not where I thought I would be at thirty-seven.  This is not who I imagined I would be.

When I was a kid I would spend an exuberant amount of time daydreaming about my adult life (young and dumb).  I dreamed up: kids, a husband, a house . . . an entire life (silly musing).  But what’s strange and eerily unfair is that none of those dreams have become my present reality—not even remotely (hard slap in the face).  There are no kids (blessing and a curse).  There is no husband—not even a committed boyfriend (perhaps the result of my sharp tongue).  The house was foreclosed on in 2008 (bad money management).  Some of you are probably tired of hearing about my still being single after all these years (it’s okay to be honest).  Heck.  I’m tired of talking about it (really, I am).  I’d much rather write about something else, but for some strange and demented reason I am stuck on stupid—in more ways than one (pray for me).  This is my reality and it is far from the dreams of my youth.

Here is my problem—here is why I am stuck on stupid.  I have always been one of those girls who would rather be in a committed relationship, but most of my life I’ve found myself settling for the “table scraps” extended to me from any man who showed me a modicum of attention (daddy issues).  I think it’s time that I stopped believing in fairy tales (my name is not Snow White, Cinderella, or Belle).  There is no such thing as a prince charming—at least not for this girl (do they even make those in the African-American variety?).  I think it’s time that I realized that my life isn’t going to turn out the way I dreamed it up as a child.  Perhaps I am destined to be one of those women who never gets married and never has children (I will not turn into an old cat lady).  Maybe God and the universe have been sending me smoke signals all these years and I’ve been too dense to see them and to accept the reality of my present, my future (I’m thick headed).

When love has evaded you and disappointed you as much as it has for me, your hope begins to diminish and your light begins to fade (if you had any to start out with).  I’m getting to a point in my life where I have accepted that this is as good as it gets (damn!).  I have accepted that I am the perpetual cheerleader for my married friends and family members (I think I still have an old uniform from high school).  It will be my responsibility to remind them to cherish the love and their companions.  As for me, I’m going to have to continue to do for myself because it doesn’t look like any knight in shinning, or dull armor, is coming to rescue me from the castle tower (damn to being independent).  This is my life:  intelligent, attractive, educated, gainfully employed, funny, hard working, sarcastic, dedicated . . . and single.  You may have thought that those first eight adjectives would give a sista a chance—but nope, not this girl (somebody has to end up with the short stick—and I’m short so that seems to make sense).

Disillusioned.  Adjective.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary denotes the following about the word disillusioned (it sounds so dramatic).  Having lost faith or trust in something; disappointed that something is not as good, valuable, true, etc., as it had seemed.  Love has been a series of disappointing moments (my bad—years).  I have discovered that it— a relationship, a commitment, love—is less good than I believed it to be in my childhood.  A man finds me attractive, he pursues me for a time, he loses interest in me, and then he finds another muse or object of attraction (no lie, it’s happened several times over).  The process is repeated and the disillusionment persists and grows.

DisenchantedAdjective.  No longer happy or satisfied with something (according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary).  I am no longer satisfied with my present reality—hoping for a blissful future.  Being repeatedly dismissed no longer makes me happy (it makes me slightly bitter, but dark chocolate is slightly bitter and I love it!  Does that make me a metaphoric piece of dark chocolate?).

I suppose (actually I guarantee) that I am disillusioned and disenchanted.  Disillusioned with love and disenchanted with my reality.  My solution to moving beyond the disillusionment and disenchantment is to live without expectations—for a blissful future filled with the never-ending love of one man (unrelated to me) and kids (besides the ones I teach).  I know it’s a dismal way to live, but it’s safe and hurts less.  At this point in my life I need as little collateral damage as possible (my tender heart has been through hell—literally and figuratively).  No more making plans, no more hoping for a future that will never be (daydreams are for little girls and I haven’t been one of those in a few decades).

This is about living in the moment of each day.  This is about finding satisfaction in being—just as I am.  This is my life!

Alone—All one

There is nothing like a Rom-Com to bring clarity to your life.  Just today I had the pleasure of watching Baggage Claim starring Paula Patton and host of handsome male co-stars.  Much like Patton’s character Montana Moore, I proudly proclaim the title: romantic.  Despite the fact that I have yet to light upon the man who takes my breathe away while also encouraging me to be the best version of me that I can be, I haven’t given up complete hope that he exists and will someday find his way to my heart.  I may be delusional to think that mutual love and commitment can coexist in a “happily ever after” scenario, but I’m okay with that.  I’m okay with it because I refuse to settle for just any man.  I want the man who will fight for me—not literally, but figuratively speaking—fight for my heart, my attention, my affection.  I want the man whose face lights up when he sees me, the man who smiles at the thought of something funny I said and/or did.  I want the man who will love me when I look and feel my worst.  I want the man who isn’t afraid of my strength, the man who will see it as an asset and not a deficit.  I am holding out for the man who is a gentleman—holding upon doors and pulling out my chair.  I am willing to wait for the man who recognizes that I am perfectly imperfect and that is perfectly fine with him.  If such a man exists in human form, I will wait—hope-filled, not hopeless–for him to materialize.  And the following are quotes from the movie that moved me.

“It’s the 21st century; you don’t need a man to define you.” 

–Gail (played by Jill Scott)

Montana’s co-star and on-screen gal-pal Gail, played by Jill Scott, expressed these words in a scene where the two ladies reflect over the thirty-day plan to find Montana a husband (or at least a date to her sister’s wedding).  While Gail’s words are true, many a good woman, myself included, have yet to completely escape the scrutiny of being unmarried and single well into her thirties.  It is as if the unmarried after thirty have been stamped, or worse yet, branded “defective” in the eyes of society.  I will be the first to admit that I have been trying everything humanly possible—just shy of crazy–to keep from remaining single.  But in the last week or so something inside me shifted.  I’m not sure what, why or how it happened, but I started looking at my current circumstance: single, unmarried, and childless from an entirely different set of eyes.  I’ve reached a peace-filled place emotionally and mentally.  Before, I seemed to be on a mission to rid myself of the label: single, unmarried woman.  Now however, I have come to see it as a new start.  Think about it.  How many people can say that they’ve had countless opportunities to start over—again and again?  Starting over used to carry with it a heavy negative stigma, but lately I have come to appreciate the ability to start back at one once more.  This fresh start has given me a chance to reinvent myself, to appreciate me just as I am.  No, I refuse to be defined by having, or in my case, not having a man.  I am my own person.  I am a quirky, fun-loving, animated, passionate, devoted woman.  Yes, I would love to find a mate with which to share my life and love.  But if it never happens I am at peace with being alone—all one—that is, complete and lacking nothing.

“The magic isn’t in getting married; it’s in staying married.”

–William Wright (played by Derek Luke)

Derek Luke who plays William Wright, Montana’s on-screen long-term best friend, and eventual fiancé, shared these words of wisdom with Montana (Patton) on the way to the airport in her first of many failed attempts at reigniting fires with previous love interests.  What I love most about Wright’s words is the staying power that he connotes with the institution of marriage.  Being the romantic individual that I am, I strongly believe in lasting love.  If there is one thing that my failed attempts at love have taught me, it is that I am gritty—I don’t give up easily.  I have fought tooth and nail for the men I have loved.  I have never walked away easily.  It seems that many people get married because of timing: they think it’s the right time or they think their time is running out.  I’ve contemplated both scenarios over the last decade.  In my mid-to-late twenties I thought it was time to get married.  After all, nearly everyone around me was doing it—getting married that is.  And as my early-to-mid thirties came and went, I thought time was running out.  And when one relationship after another failed to develop into marriage I began to feel a sense of desperation take over me.  But life has a way of bringing clarity to you.  I do not take marriage lightly.  To me it is sacred and should be cherished.  If I should marry, and truly I do hope that I do.  It is my hope and prayer that it happens only once and that it lasts a lifetime.  I take my commitments very seriously and marriage is about commitment—a life-long commitment.

“You give me hope that there’s still some good men out there.”

–Montana Moore (played by Paula Patton)

There was a time in my life when I thought the available pool of “good men” had dried up.  Only recently have I changed my thinking.  While I have known a few good men, I do hope that there are at least a few more out there.  No, I’m not greedy.  I just want one for myself and a few for some really great women whom I happen to be friends with.  I know I’m not the last of the thirty-something single, unmarried, and childless clan.  There are many of us out there.  Many of us, despite being intelligent, independent, and attractive, have yet to happen upon the right man, for us that is.  We’ve kissed many a frog over the years, but we haven’t lost hope.  Like Montana’s character, we still believe that our day will come.  We hope against our previous and current circumstances that there is at least one man willing to appreciate us just as we are.  We may not have a thirty-day turn around like the character Montana Moore, but that hasn’t kept us from hoping he will eventually arrive on his noble steed.

“Marriage doesn’t make you a lady anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.”

–Montana Moore

Even though this is an odd analogy to make, you cannot deny the truth of Montana’s words.  We—the lot of unmarried women—are no less a lady than the rest of the female population because we happen not to have a husband, a fiancé, a committed boyfriend, or even a prospect or two.  Does it take being married to make one a lady?  Does motherhood require giving birth?  I say no to both.  I may not be married, and I may not have birthed any children, but each day that I wake I present myself as a lady and I oftentimes find myself taking on the role of mother at work.

“I did meet somebody that I’ve really been needing to meet, me.”

–Montana Moore

Starting over allows us the privilege of getting to know ourselves again.  When there isn’t anyone else vying for our time, attention, and affection we have the opportunity to love ourselves without condition.  The time alone that we give ourselves is rejuvenating.  When we finally learn to appreciate us, we make way for a refreshing wave of freedom.  When we meet ourselves just as we are, we can appreciate our strengths and limitations.  Etymologically speaking, the word alone is Old English for “al one” or all one—wholly.  Being alone–all one–whole–frees us from buying into the lie that we are less than.  The truth remains that we are complete, whole and lacking nothing.

“I want a lifetime.”

–Montana Moore

Call it greedy; call it whatever you like.  I want a lifetime and I won’t settle for anything less.  I believe that a love can last a lifetime if both individuals maintain the same level of commitment.  All too often however, it seems that one or both individuals opts out—physically and/or emotionally when the going gets tough.  I am not a quitter.  I am a fighter and a lover.  The hope-filled romantic in me won’t settle for anything less than a lifetime.  Truth be told, it may take a lifetime to get what I earnestly desire, and if that’s the case, then I am okay with that.  The bottom line is that we should never settle for less than what our hearts truly desire.   And when we choose not to settle, one day we may have the pleasure of hearing our significant other say . . .

“You could stay awake the rest of your life and you’d still be beautiful to me.”

—Damon Diesel played by Trey Songz

How’s that for romantic?

If you haven’t seen Baggage Claim, you should.  And then we can banter about the quotes that moved you.

Never settle!