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Lawrence

Into every single woman’s life, a Lawrence must fall.

We all know a Lawrence; Lawrence is the unassuming, loveable, smart, emotional, funny love interest from HBO’s Insecure. We have all met him, and if we’re lucky, we’ve dated him. If things are good, they’re really great. But like his former flame Issa, we may have met our Lawrence at the wrong time. Maybe we didn’t appreciate him; maybe we hurt him. Or maybe we met Lawrence after he’d been hurt and became a casualty.

I met a Lawrence. He was very smart, handsome, kind, interesting, funny, loving, affectionate, emotionally intelligent and all of the things that you hope your life partner will be. He was mature, honest and open about most things. He’d been married so he understood the importance of commitment and communication. He was someone I could learn from. I told friends and family that he was a Godsend. He was what I prayed for and I was grateful. I trusted him. I adored him. Lawrence made plans for me and our future. He was communicative and never short of a kind word, Lawrence was faithful… but, alas Lawrence was fucking damaged. Aren’t we all?

I had so much faith that this Lawrence was my forever. We were very forward with each other, there were no games. He made me so proud. He planted faith in my heart and I am admittedly pretty guarded. I am not likely to be vulnerable unless I am absolutely sure. I was sure. SO sure. I’d never felt so happy and secure. He spent the time and, he built the narrative. There was no bullshit, he was there. But like TV Lawrence, I think he would start down a path with a perfectly nice woman, things would be going great and then he would sabotage it.

It didn’t take long for things to kind of fall apart. We’d had a minor misunderstanding, but it was something that an “I am sorry” apparently couldn’t fix. It should have, but I realized that there was trauma beneath the surface that was bigger than me. I never felt that the disagreement was enough to warrant what ultimately happened, but people have triggers and things they cannot overcome.

I began to think that he was not able to fully heal from his failed marriage. I believe he’d beat his heart unconscious, occasionally entertaining the thought of relationships and his future with a woman, but he never really moved forward and made the commitment. Instead, he digressed and talked himself out of any real commitment the second things were any less than perfect. I am not sure if that’s what really happened between he and I but whatever the fucking case may be, he hurt me. He gradually pulled away at first, and then abruptly ended all communication, and he offered no explanation. None.

There is a scene in Insecure, season two. Tasha, the woman Lawrence is dating, has invited him to her family’s picnic. She’s so proud to show him off, but about half way through, Lawrence becomes uncomfortable and leaves. He winds up at a work function promising to return. Hours later, Tasha calls him, wondering why he disappeared.  She’s embarrassed and left to explain what happened to her family. He apologizes, but he’s not sorry. Hurt, she tells him “you a fuck nigga. No, you know what? You’re worse than a fuck nigga, you a fuck nigga who thinks he’s a good dude”. I feel that deeply.

I listened to Erykah Badu’s Green Eyes (3:49 mark) today. It unravels a story about a relationship told from a woman’s perspective. It was the perfect end to my relationship with the Lawrence. The song takes you through all of the emotions. First the denial of your feelings, the jealousy and envy. Then there is deep sadness, insecurity, stubbornness of the mind and the heart, and of course, the confusion. Then embarrassment,  frustration, realization that you’ve been deceived, and the pain. On to the regret, the deep, deep regret and shame that comes with loving someone that became unattainable  “I’m sorry, I love you. At first we were cool, you told me you loved me too.” The realization that you’ve been told an untruth and then  forgotten and abandoned to deal with your feelings alone. The rejection, but an unexplained reluctance to walk away. The desperation, the anxiety that you feel when someone is slipping away. Then, just as the song peaks, you find yourself harboring the anger that gets you through. The realization that this person cannot give you what you deserve.  That this person promised things that they can’t deliver on. The understanding that this person wasn’t honest with you or forthcoming. The reality of the other person’s fears and the understanding of their cowardliness. The clarity of where you stand. My favorite line in that song is “if you can’t be what I need you to, I don’t know why I fuck with you.” The song ends knowing that the damage is irreversible.

Things will never be the same.

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Finite.

Anything is possible, but not everything is probable.

There are some things in life that are meant to be enjoyed and celebrated by certain people and some things that aren’t. Some people are meant to experience life just as they planned, and some people are meant to have their plans eradicated. Like I always say, “everything isn’t for you”; that goes for me too.

For much of my life I’ve painted a picture, one tiny brush stroke at a time. Boyfriend. Marriage. Husband. Kids. It’s been tedious, painful, exhausting, and thankless. I was so busy trying to get every stroke right, I couldn’t see the masterpiece that was unfolding. When I stepped back, there was a whole picture coming together and it looked nothing like the picture in my mind. I have been so unkind to myself. So unforgiving. I finally had to excuse myself from the life that I thought I wanted and the person that I thought I needed to make me feel complete.

I’ve paid the emotional toll, time and again; the roadways are still under construction. No detour has brought me to my destination, and now, I’m out of change. I have to get off of the tollway and take the road less traveled. I don’t want to recalculate my route. I am getting off and finding another way home. I am done.

When the words ” I am done” left my brain and slipped out of my mouth, I felt a peace come over me like a warm blanket. I didn’t want to expose myself any longer, I wanted to protect a peace that I have disrupted within me. I am not angry, or frustrated, or even sad. I have not given up on myself. I finally have the quiet that I so desperately needed.

I felt like turning 38 would make or break me. If it didn’t happen this year, it wasn’t going to happen for me. Turning 38, was almost poetic the way my life came together, fell apart and came back together all at once. I spent my 38th birthday with a man I thought would be  the pay off to all of the lessons learned from the past. He turned out to be an invaluable lesson on the exquisite beauty of grieving what I thought my life would be, and emabracing what is yet to come. The final lesson.

I still see happiness in my future and I am happy now. I have plans and interests. I have family and friends. I have goals. I don’t want to anchor the most beautiful things that life has to offer me to an idea that those things have to be shared with a partner. Doing that makes all of the things I want to experience improbable if someone never comes along. All of the things I want are still attainable, even if it’s just me. I am still human. I am still whole.

I am working on Plan B; what Plan B looks like, I am unsure.  I never thought I’d actually have to consider some things I am considering, but thank God I am here and my mind is open now that my heart is closed. I still believe there is a divine plan for how it’ll all turn out. The future is more tangible than ever. My story isn’t over.

Swipe

Ugh. I’m app “dating” again. If you can even call it dating. I’m swiping right on people that I think look “normal” in their photos. I’m struggling.

Tonight, I swiped right on a decent looking dude. His name is Alejandro and he’s a marketing manager. Our conversation went exactly like this.

Me: Hi

Him: Hi. How are you?

Me: I’m ok. Sleepy.

Him: How can you start a conversation and then fall asleep? Now you have to make it up to me.

Me: *thinking about how much I hate when people imply that I owe them something*

Me: I’m still talking aren’t I?

Him: Lets make out.

See. It’s interactions like this that make me want to go rescue cats for companionship. Like, really? Does that work for you? If so, with whom?! No, tell me so I can put her on someone’s prayer list. Bruh. I hate dating so much. So, so much. It was cute in my early thirties when I was still brash and sassy, but now I’m over here like “young man, let me speak to your mother.”

I know people that do this and find their mate. I am not one of those people. I delete this app once a year, then after a break up, I lick my wounds and give it the old college try, “hello darkness my old friend”. I have forty seven open conversations right now. I’m entertaining none of them. I’m just passing time.

Met another interesting party. He suggested we have a lot in common. I love it when they get familiar.

Me: Oh do we now? How so?

Him: We both love podcasts.

Him: Let’s see if we have any in common!

Him: *sends 10 or more unsolicited screen grabs of his podcast library*

Me: *😈*

Me: *shares my screen grabs of my library full of true crime and murder podcasts*

Him: You’re an axe murderer!

Me: Probably.

Him: …

Why am I on here? I should leave this to the people who have marathon stamina. The people that can say “how was your day” a million and one times and never get tired of that approach. I come back and the same dudes are on there, not that I’m any better, but they have forgotten that we have matched before… these are my favorites.

Me: *swipes right on a oldie but goodie*

Him: Hello, how was your day?

Me: Tip top. Yours?

Me: *waits for him to ask me his favorite second question*

Him: What side of town do you work on?

Me: *ohhh look at him switching it up!*

Me: Near NRG

Him: Ok. What side of town do you live on?

Me: *Oh. It’s now his third question… I see you boy. Adding to your repertoire*

Me: Montrose

Him: Thats cool, an inner looper. I live downtown.

Me: *never fails*

Me: I know. I see you standing in your apartment.

Him: *unmatch*

Me: *I’m not done here. Sends text message of Fatal Attraction “I won’t be ignored” GIF knowing he hasn’t saved my number and ask “why’d you unmatch me?”*

I don’t know where this man lives. I don’t give a fuck. I’ve never even met this dick cheese. I’ll never stop doing this as long as I am on here.

A seemingly nice man asked me today “Are you ok?”. I don’t know what prompted that question, but sure. I’ll play.

Me: Yes. Why do you ask?

Him: It’s just something I sense about you, you don’t seem ok.

Me: *Uh oh. A soul searcher… an “empath”.*

Me: Really? What about my having a great day implies that I’m not doing ok?

Him: There’s a sadness in your eyes.

Me: *Looks through profile pictures puzzled.*

Me: In my photos?

Him: No. I just sense a sadness.

Me: Easy Miss Cleo. I just had Chipotle. My day couldn’t be better.

Boy, be quiet. Shut ALL the way up! Did you come here to tell me about my sadness?! I’m sad I have to be on this platform pretending to be interested in people I have nothing in common with.

How did I get here again? How long do I have to do this? Why do I have to do this? When will this part of my life be over? Why are there so many strange people in this world? Oh dear, have I become one of the strange people?

Me: *swipes right*

You’re Perfect

Sometimes you have to give yourself a temperature check.

Life can be so amusingly abusive sometimes and you have to take a look in the mirror and say “you aight?”. Your job is making you question your entire purpose, your family is all sorts of crazy, your love life is unraveling like a cassette tape, the only thing going down on you is your account balance and your body is looking more and more like a melted candle. You howl at the moon and constantly question the universe, storm after storm you shake your fist at the sky screaming “when is shit going to be cool?” Like, for real.

This morning my friend told me “get yourself a piece of pie.” She knows I’m having a pretty complex time and was checking in. Sometimes it’s that simple to pick yourself up. I thought about it, because it sounded delicious, but decided against it since I’m trying to make a go at keto for what seems like the 100th time. I get weary Lord, forgive me. But I went to Target anyways to buy mouthwash. Forty seven dollars later, I’m no closer to my piece of pie nor did I purchase any mouthwash. But I found myself in a state of complete clarity.

While at Target, I was looking for hemp seeds, because, it’s a thing apparently when you’re on keto. I saw a man looking at the boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese that I was standing in front of and began to move my cart. He reached over me and told me “you don’t have to move at all, you’re perfect.” And while I know he was just trying to get to his processed package of food, it resonated within me.

Like, I want to complain about shit, because shit gets shitty, you know? But I’m ok. I’m better than ok, I’m perfect in this fucked up place. I want to feel sorry for myself, but I don’t. I’m where I should be, which kind of sucks, but still. I’m here. Life’s irony continues to bring me back to this hilarious state of confusion and frustration so that I keep fighting, so that I don’t become complacent.

I stood in the second Target I visited today returning the twenty one dollars worth of cheese and nuts that I’d purchased impulsively just an hour or less ago, lying about my reason for the quick return, “my boyfriend (non-existent) saw my grocery list and purchased the same things”. I also entertained myself at Whole Foods this morning when I tried to convince a sales associate that my sixteen dollars worth of hemp seeds were really a two dollar per pound bag of quinoa. I’m full. I’m full and completely humored by my life and it’s ups and downs. I mean, I’m flawed, I can be immature, mischievous, spontaneous, insecure, serious, sensitive, unfocused, impatient, impulsive, and completely out of control. But I’m full.

All around me there are people with bigger, badder things happening. I just need to chiggidy check myself occasionally. Selfishly, I can make things about me when that’s not even the whole picture, but I’m aight. I don’t have to move at all, I’m perfect.

I really loved this Gawker piece. About 1/4 from the bottom, the author’s point of view showed that he is still working on gaining understanding within himself, but I think his purpose in writing this was a successful attempt to elevate thinking. What I feel the author was reluctant to say about himself was that he had preference; he prefers to date white women. The author asks if he is one of “those black men” who only date white women on purpose and even tries to reason that European features (light, soft hair, blond hair, blue eyes) are more beautiful. This shows specific preference and hey, that’s alright. I think it takes time to understand what motivates us. He makes some great points nonetheless.

My brother has NEVER in his 38 years brought home a black woman. I take that back, he did date a biracial girl, with light eyes and sandy hair. I remember my parents LOVING her, for no other reason than she was blacker than the rest. Sure, she was nice, but I knew the business. My parents were born in the 40’s. They lived and loved through the struggle, so I got it, they felt he wasn’t accepting of the beauty of his own race. My parents were still supportive of his choices and remain that way.

It never bothered me that my brother dated women who looked nothing like me. What bothered me was that he dated shitty people. Shitty HUMANS. Some of which, I think, were actually ashamed of him. My family was accepting of the people he dated, but their family wasn’t accepting of ours and they didn’t object to that fact. I didn’t want him to accept that. I don’t want anyone to accept their partner not supporting who they are by birthright.

I’ve had my moments when I resented interracial dating. When I first moved to Indianapolis, I was ready to see what the city had to offer me and that included dating. Indianapolis seemed to be a city where every professional man (black or otherwise) had or wanted a white woman. My first date there was a set up with a black anesthesiologist who had never dated a black woman, and wanted to take one out so he could tell his mom he tried. I felt sorry for him and about halfway through that date, I felt sorry for me.

I remember having a white friend in Indy who had a curvy body, like mine, and men would practically run me over to get to her. They would tell me how they loved her “black girl booty”. She was attractive, fun and nice, but my ego wouldn’t let me see it that way. I saw them as objectifying her and wanting her because her body presented something exotic. I’d left a black college where I was considered to be attractive and a diverse high school where I was popular and this was my first taste of rejection. I wasn’t willing to accept that I wasn’t attractive to some people. I needed someone to blame.

I’ve also been the victim of being someone else’s type many, MANY times. Men declared that “you just notice light skinned girls first” and “I like light skinned girls with long, good hair.” I hated that. I hated feeling like I had to prove my depth. I felt like I could be a shitty person as long as I fit the bill physically. I couldn’t change being light skinned, and at times, just appearance was enough.

I don’t object to women or men having a type per se. I don’t have a physical type but I think sometimes, maybe had I had one, I would have selected someone and be further along in life. Doesn’t mean I would be happy. Because I don’t, I’ve waited to be “chosen”. I relate to the author when he says he dated who gave him play. As a result I’ve ended up with people who weren’t compatible with my personality. I appreciate having a type in other people because I like the decisiveness, I just don’t like it when that type is me.

Still, this article makes some excellent points. First being, there are people who select a type and use it for status which is a thinking that needs to stop. Dating anyone because you think it makes you look good is so short sighted and it makes you a horrible person. The second being, it’s ignorant to judge someone upon first meeting. You cannot judge anyone because they’re dating someone who isn’t the same race. It’s stupid. If you see me with an Asian dude I’m not spitting on the graves of my ancestors nor am I rejecting you. I’m enjoying my date.

Lastly, you don’t have to defend who you decide to be with until you do. And while the author of this article says he doesn’t have to explain why he’s dated the way he’s dated, you can see him going through self- analysis, as I often do when I write. When someone chooses not to accept your choice and you have to stand by your decision to date a person or to cower to what someone else defines your limitations to be, questions arise within yourself. You owe it to yourself to understand what that means to you. To understand why you feel the way you feel is important. You don’t owe anyone explanation, but you owe it to you to understand where you stand.

Forward

While reading a slew of resolutions and reflections on social networking this morning, I came across one that stood out to me. A girl I follow on Instagram posted that in 2013 she’d vowed to live without fear. She went on to explain all of the things that she’s afraid of and how she’s overcome her fears in 2013. And while I don’t make resolutions, it’s something that I would like to take with me into 2014. I’d like to stop living in fear.

This realization brought me to my blog where I was overcome with sadness. When did I stop living with any sort of passion? I wrote one single piece in 2013. Two if you count this one. Writing has always been something that has been incredibly personal to me. I started this blog years ago so that I would have a place to journal and connect. And here it lies, dormant, unused and neglected.

Looking at my one entry, it felt like there was so much texture missing. Not from the piece, but from my year. Things I thought and felt are only memories now. And sure, I could try to purge piece after piece over the remaining hours of the year, but really, what good would it do? I’ve lived those moments, had those thoughts and feelings and while they are still in my heart and mind, they are not fresh. I’d be relying off of memory to tell a story and ultimately, those thoughts will never be as colorful as they once were.

What saddens me most is the fact that I’ve allowed myself to become “too busy”, or “too private” and “too sheltered”. In a sense I stopped feeding something that makes me feel better than anything else, something that feels natural to me. Focusing on context in day-to-day communication could be part of it, being less than inspired could be another. But the real problem is that I became afraid of my own voice.

In gaining love, trust and friendships, I became afraid of what it would mean if I felt one way or another about anything. How my voice would affect my friendships and relationships, my family… things I should and shouldn’t be thinking or feeling and certainly not documenting. I second guessed myself. And all the while, I could have written about these fears, instead my opinions, thoughts and feelings were secret. No one intimidated me. It’s my inner voice that is the most crippling.

I guess what I really want to change isn’t my living in fear, but having the courage to live my life as I see it and want to experience it. There’s a difference. Sometimes, having a fear of something can save you from yourself. Being afraid to hurt someone, or afraid to be thoughtless or careless or inconsiderate. A fear of losing my family, the fear of not fulfilling my dreams.Those are fears that I have and that I will always hold on to. A fear of not recognizing myself.

As I sit here and recount how I could be this far along in my life and still let an inner voice deter me, I am forced to take that faithful look back. I think of all the things that happened over the last year, and I am astounded by how fast this year is over. There’s no time left to clean up the messes that we’ve made, just a few hours left to move forward. Forward is my favorite direction. If ever I was to have a resolution, it would be this; I resolve to live my life courageously.

Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got? -The Cowardly Lion

Have you ever been inspired and you have no unearthly idea why? Something just reaches you, strikes a chord with you and makes you want to “do better” or “be better”. That’s what inspiration is. Something that makes you want to MOVE and DO.

 

I felt the need to preface this blog with that because I really tend to struggle with one thing and one thing only, exercise. I hate exercising…well, kinda, then again kinda not. We have this love hate thing going on. I am either really into it and turbo charged or I am throwing the stink eye at joggers on my way home while I scarf down a bag of Doritos. I haven’t found my middle ground just yet. Here’s a little back story…

 

In my 20’s I used to workout constantly. I’d spin 4 days a week, do Yoga for an hour after Spin, and strength train with weights in between on my “days off”. For much of 2008, I was a police officer trainee with the Dallas Police Department who used Cross Fit to train recruits. In the words of Men on Film (reference In Living Color) “Hated it!”. After being sidelined with an injury and the discovery of severe asthma, I decided not to return. I found myself wondering what I was going to do to stay in shape?

Cross Fit gyms hadn’t really taken off yet and I didn’t see maintaining my 4:00a wake up time for workouts. I also couldn’t do any running for 10 weeks because of loose knee caps and torn tendons. I tried the P90X DVDs because they closely resembled the strength training that had become such a huge part of my life, but eventually, the novelty wore off. I returned to the gym life, but didn’t like the gym nearby because it was too crowded. I wasn’t close enough to the gym that I was familiar with so for the most part, I stopped going. I’d walk for miles and miles at White Rock Lake, take my bike and go around a couple of times, even force myself to run sometimes (my least favorite exercise of all time).

 

Fast forward to today. I’m almost 33 years old and the only thing I’m running is my mouth. For a while, I was doing a variety of DVDs at home, which I never thought I’d enjoy, but I do because I don’t have to embarrass myself in front of anyone but my dog who perches on my couch, silently judging when he’s not being worrisome and standing just close enough that I trip and nearly sprain an ankle. My schedule got crazy and my work hours got long and I’d come home, walk my dog and it’d be 9:00p. Excuses, excuses. But that was and still is my life sometimes.

 

This past week, with the introduction of a Fit Club at work, and the climb in the temperature, I immediately started the wheels spinning in my mind about a.) whether or not I should sell all my shorts and tank tops to Buffalo Exchange and tell people I wear long sleeves and jeans all the time because I’m cold or b.) whether I should once and for all get my life together and work on it. And though the idea of working when I’m not working doesn’t appeal to me, being healthier does. Then I saw my friend Leticia Taylor.

 

Leticia is a fitness instructor and personal trainer and she makes Jillian Michaels look like an amateur. This weekend, I was asked to lend moral support at Leticia’s (or as she’s affectionately referred to around these parts as “LT”) fitness photo shoot and OH.MY.WORD.

 

Picture this… I walk into an apartment full of women and one tall man and they’re all fussing over someone in a room, it’s hot, I’m late as always and I’m hoping they’re not waiting on me. Then out she walks… This person I see every day in jeans and modest blouses, a goddess, and the room cools (queue the Isley Brothers “Who’s That Lady”). Hair flowing, back straight, lightening smile, beauty personified. But that’s not it… LT is RIPPED. No. You’re not hearing me. LT is quite literally modern day Jackie Joyner Kersee with her hair like Flo Jo. I’m not only impressed, I am shocked.

 

For anyone who knows LT, she’s relatively shy, and very humble, she’s a rare beauty and although I knew she worked out and trained on the side, I had no idea that the Black Widow was nesting three floors down in Project Management ready to kick someone’s ass into shape.

Leticia teaches Boot Camp. Saturday mornings. Can’t make it on the weekends? Fine, Thursday evening, meet LT and prepare for punishment. Be there or be square. She’s not playing around. I imagine her Boot Camp to be something like Saturday night when LT emerged from the car onto the city street. Medicine ball in hand, she looked absolutely stunning up until the moment she took an action shot and chest passed that medicine ball into her boyfriend’s hands so hard I heard him whimper. It was at that moment that I became inspired.

 

When LT stepped into the dimming light, in the midst of the urban grunge that frames Deep Ellum in Dallas, she was transformed into a swan, or a butterfly or The Incredible Hulk; whatever word you like to emphasize a dramatic metamorphosis.  Afront of a graffiti backdrop and wall murals, I saw dedication, I saw fearlessness, I saw ferocity, determination, confidence, and I saw fear (but only when my iPhone camera was accidentally turned to face me). I was scared of her! So I’ll ask again, have you ever been inspired and you don’t know why?

It was at that very moment that I wanted to take off running in my too tight jeans and cowboy boots, I wanted to drop and crank out push-ups, I was ready to do high knees, I was ready to punch a bag and do some jumping jacks. I was searching for my inhaler because I was wearing myself out just thinking of all of the possibilities. But what inspired me most was her tenacious appetite for fitness. She not only wants to keep herself in tip top condition, what excites her is when you kick into high gear.

I peered at her standing on a cement cylinder beneath an underpass of I-75 and realized, this is someone who could actually keep me from talking back to a trainer when they ask for another rep. I’ve seen people in great shape. Hell, my brother is a professional model who seemingly took all of the 6-pack genes and kept them for himself. I’ve been around athletes all of my life. But when in the presence of a gazelle, even a lion stops and takes notice.

There is nothing like looking at someone doing what they love to do, with confidence and pride. It kind of transcends any hope that you had for ever getting yourself together and makes you do something about it.  It was the push I needed to start working on me.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”- Maya Angelou

 

 

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