Forgetting What’s Behind

This will probably be one of my most transparent posts to date. I write today for two reasons: first to fully express myself by journaling this moment in time but also in hopes that others, even if just one person, can relate and/or heal through a shared experience.

y In October of 2015, I broke up with my now ex-boyfriend. It was the worst relationship I had ever been in. He had a Master’s in manipulation and exhausted me in ways only an expert narcissist could. We initially met through an online dating site. Fast forward to today, nearly one year since our breakup. I was swiping from left to right on the same dating app with which we had met on. All of a sudden, his picture pops up on the screen. My stomach dropped. There was a flash flood of emotions: the good, the bad, the very bad and downright evil. Somehow I felt curious. I tapped on his picture to look further at his profile. In one of his pictures, he was wearing a shirt I had bought him for his birthday. He listed his height at 5’11” when I know full well he is two inches shorter. I exited the site/app.

I took a bathroom break. Sitting there in the stall I tried to reason with myself. Why did I look? Why did I want to say something? I knew the best thing was to leave him where he belonged, in the past, but my emotions were running wild.y2

I texted a trusted friend asking, “What does it mean when you don’t like someone but you still want them to like you back? Vanity? Conceit?”

He gave me sound advice about the situation, and I felt more calm about my decision to let well alone by doing nothing. Some call it the law of attraction or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the principle is clear in Proverbs 23:7. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Another scripture is of a similar tone in Matthew 9:29 where Jesus says, “According to your faith let it be done to you.”y1

I am a single woman with the desire to one day be married. I know what I have prayed for (and have written down) regarding the qualities and traits that are important to me in a potential mate. I know that I know that I know my ex meets none of those standards. I don’t know if today was meant to be a testing of my faith, but if it is, I feel I have passed. I’m not letting my curiosity tempt me into engaging with my past. I gave the best of myself during a relationship that failed. There is nothing beyond my best to give. Instead, I will wait. With no (qualified) suitors in sight I will wait trusting that God will one day give me my heart’s desire for a husband.y3

P.S. I have forgiven the wrongs he committed against me. The memes are #JustJokes #LaughALittle #SomeOfYallLaughedALot

Bone, Scrubs and Harmony

cockersThe first dog breed I can remember being introduced to as a child was a buff Cocker Spaniel. He was full of energy, and I thought his long ears and curly fur were so cute.  I am still a dog lover with Cockers being my favorite. I had one once, but he suffered from separation anxiety after we moved to a new state so that I could work full time. I gave him to someone who could give him the attention he needed but still wanted a pet. I told myself I’d wait until I had a yard before getting another pooch, but the itch wouldn’t go away. Almost daily, I’d look at Cockers listed on Petfinder.com and other local classifieds for months. I even had the app on my phone. I saw one I really wanted, but my boyfriend at the time didn’t share my enthusiasm for the breed. Once that relationship ended, I was back on the hunt for my perfect Cocker.

In December I saw a 5 year old, neutered, black Cocker Spaniel listed at a shelter 2 hours from my residence. I was planning to drive to my hometown for Christmas and would pass through the city where he was located. He was such a catch; I hoped no one would adopt him before I had a chance to. Christmas day fell on a Friday. I knew they would be closed, so I went the next day on Saturday. To my dismay, the sign on the front door alerted me that they had not resumed their normal business hours and were still closed. The following Monday, I called ahead of time to make sure they would be open. I left work early around 2 o’clock. According to my GPS, I would arrive by 4:30 p.m. Even with the 30 minute buffer I thought I had, traffic derailed my plans delaying me by an hour. Again, they were closed upon my arrival.

reallyI had had it. After driving to this location twice, I decided I was not going to make the trip for a third time. Instead I went shopping for essentials like dog food, a collar, a leash, and so on. I went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner, watched some of my favorite shows on Hulu via my phone, and slept in my car that night. By morning, I was ready to see about my dog.

He was a lot hairier in person than his photo but nothing a little grooming couldn’t fix. After filling out some paperwork and paying his adoption fee, the doggy formerly known as Pepper was mine! It’s been a month now, and I’m so happy things worked out. He’s mild-mannered, housebroken, gets along with my 9 year old, and has no signs of separation anxiety. We renamed him Hamilton. In fact, he has a full name: Hamilton Coley Gordon. Hamilton comes from my favorite soul singer, Anthony Hamilton. Coley comes from my favorite gospel singer, Daryl Coley. And Gordon comes from the Spanish word for fat which is gordo. (His weight is under control now.)

I don’t mean to ruin this touching story by being a Debbie Downer, but I cannot take some guys seriously. Please excuse the foul language, BUT

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Quality time, communication, and consistency have and always will be important to me in terms of relationships with the opposite sex. To have a guy I’m dating text or call me after days or even weeks of silence to say hello as if we can pick up where we left off is inconsiderate. When I think about all of the effort I put into making a dog my own, there’s no excuse for a suitor to be so aloof during courtship. So yes, I’m likely going to either ignore you or have an attitude in response to the annoying, “hey stranger,” text. I want to be married one day. The way I see it, whomever I’m dating is a candidate to become a boyfriend. Once a boyfriend, he is now a candidate to become a husband. Don’t spouses see and/or speak to each other every day? Therefore, frequent communication is both a prerequisite and a requirement when dating and beyond (assuming we have the same end goal). Pay attention fellas, or you’ll be in the doghouse. kanye

Lost in Translation: A Lovers’ Quarrel

Wouldn’t it be nice if people came with warning labels? Like cigarettes and cleaning products. Sure they have a purpose; but when used incorrectly or too frequently, can be hazardous. I need to stop playing and start this new business for the good of suckers hopeless romantics everywhere cause love will make you do some crazy things.

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Another one bites the dust. It was all good just a week ago. Not really, but enough with the lyrics. Who I thought was my next is now my ex. Hindsight 20/20 I knew this was coming, but we made the mistake so many of us fall prey to: we believed in what could be instead of seeing things for what they really were. If you ask couples who have stood the tests of time what are some of the key ingredients to lasting love, you’ll hear some of the same answers: put God first, communicate well, and learn to trust one another. (That’s not all of them, just some that I repeatedly hear.) Our relationship lacked all of those, so it’s no surprise we didn’t make it. I’m not angry, sad, bitter, or anywhere in between. The truth of the matter is we didn’t speak the same language.

I loved you. You loved me too. But love didn’t mean the same thing for the both of us. For you, love meant doing anything to make your significant other happy. Anyone who didn’t do the same was putting conditions on their love. I don’t speak “Anything Goes”. That kind of love is dangerous territory. For God so loved the world that he gave (John 3:16). But for what purpose did He give? It wasn’t so you could be happy. No, the purpose of his giving was much greater than that. To base what you do for a person solely on the fickle emotions he or she may have at the moment is precarious.

I talked to you. You talked to me too. But nothing ever sounded the same. For you, honesty meant keeping it real and never holding your tongue. It made you feel comfortable to speak freely and frank. Anyone who couldn’t handle the truth needed to grow a pair. I don’t speak “Rant and Rave”. Evil communication corrupts good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Our words have more power than we give them credit for. If God can speak things into existence, is it so far-fetched to think that what we say can either develop or degrade someone? A vast vocabulary is useless when it causes strife.

I wanted a lot. You wanted a lot too. But your ambition had no boundaries. It was all or nothing. Black or white. Always at one end of the spectrum but never a happy medium. I don’t speak “0 to 100 Real Quick”. I have learned to be content regardless of the circumstance (Philippians 4:11). It’s easier to find balance within your life when you work on the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t. I’m carefree but not careless. I felt and still feel that I will have my happily ever after. Whether it was with you or someone else wasn’t something I worried about. Sorry if that made me seem unattached.

You had warning labels. I guess I did too. Maybe we didn’t read the fine print.

Mr. Tacky McCreepster: 9 Side Eye Worthy Things Women Wish Men Wouldn’t Do

princeLast year was the first (and last) time I have ever lent a guy money. We had been dating for a short time; maybe 6 or 7 weeks. His request seemed simple and harmless. One day we were walking together in Wal-Mart. I was picking up a few items. The only thing he needed to purchase was a calling card for his cell phone’s pre-paid plan. We got to the checkout lane, he put his item next to mine, and asked me to buy it assuring me he’d pay me back. I didn’t want to make a scene or cut him with my eyes. I paid for it under the assumption that he would pay me back. He never did. That relationship was short-lived; mostly because he was a liar, not just worthless cheap.

Fast forward to current day. I met a guy about 5 weeks ago. We’ve hung out a few times, have good conversation on the phone as well as in person, and he’s even visited my church. Today he told me there’s a 3 day certification course he wants to take to enhance his business, but he doesn’t have sufficient cash to sign up for it. I’m like, “and?” Why is he asking for my help? Do people think I’m well off? Even so, we don’t know each other like that. He’s not my family, and that’s the only exception when it comes to a man asking for money in my view. I told him to kick rocks try a Go Fund Me page. I’m so turned off right now and feel it might be helpful to let the fellas know the tacky, tired, and annoying things men do that us ladies wish they wouldn’t. Some of these may apply to both sexes, smh.

  1. If the street harassment video has taught you nothing else, please stop commanding telling us to smile. No one walks around with a permanent smile on their face. That’s just creepy.
  2. 1Stop being a lazy dater with this, “let’s chill” or “hang out” nonsense. I understand you may have been taken advantage of in the past by thirsty (and hungry) broads, but don’t make the next chick pay for the past chick’s transgressions. If you’re truly interested in getting to know a woman, be willing to invest your time and attention into her via a date. Not all dates require you to shell out loads of cash. Be creative (which we appreciate also).2
  3. Chill on social media. I made the mistake of adding someone as a friend to my Facebook page too soon and he went stalker mode on me. He liked 80+ pics…in ONE night!3
  4. Learn to take rejection graciously. True story…I left a bar downtown when this guy standing about 20 yards away catcalled me. First of all, why are you yelling like a negro uncivilized brute? I ignored him and proceeded across the street to my car. He then says, “Oh you can’t talk to nobody? I hope you get hit (by a car).”4
  5. Stop lying. If your mother hasn’t taught you this by now, when a woman asks a question, she usually knows the answer but wants to hear your response. A woman’s intuition is real.5
  6. Don’t ask for my number if you’re not going to use it. I don’t know why this happens, but it’s very confusing.8
  7. Be assertive, not aggressive. Shy guys will likely finish last. The worst thing a guy can do when he’s out with his boys is to send his wingman to a woman (or a group of women) like a pre-qualification application. Women need to feel safe. If you’re too scared to approach me, what confidence could I ever have that you’re “man enough” to protect me?9
  8. Stop expecting a trophy when you aren’t the real MVP aka have realistic expectations (men and women). Don’t expect more than you’re willing to give. If you want a woman with an hourglass figure who can cook while balancing the checkbook, be sure you’re that hardworking man with a six-pack who can change the car’s oil after taking out the trash (without being told to). 6
  9. Stop going MIA. Consistency is key. I despise the “hey stranger” texts and phone calls months after no contact. Be hot or cold, in or out. *A side note about communication* One day I will be married. I will see and/or communicate with my spouse daily. The boyfriend/girlfriend stage is like a prerequisite for what is (hopefully) to come. If a man can willingly go a full 7 days without speaking to me, that’s a red flag. 7

Ladies, what else am I missing? And I know the guys have some rebuttals for me. That’s okay. Communication is like a coin. There are two sides. You can’t have one without the other, and together they have value.

Rules of Disengagement

Have you ever had a friend where it seems like every time you talk to him or her there’s a new boo in their life? I’m that girl…well, kind of. I hung out with an acquaintance recently, and she inquired about my love life. You know how it goes with questions like, “Hey, are you still talking to such-and-such?” “What’s new with you? Seeing anyone?” I laugh at myself internally when answering because I know the person she may be referencing is long gone given such a short time span. I’m not a serial dater. I just keeping it moving when I know things aren’t right. Here are the three questions I try to ask myself to decide if I should move forward with a budding relationship.

  1. Is it a win-win situation?

bendIn 2011, I had a boyfriend. For privacy’s sake, let’s pretend his name is Leon. After 3 or 4 months of dating I broke things off with him due to a misunderstanding. We reconnected about 2 months after our initial break-up. As much as I liked him (and he liked me), it still wasn’t working for me. I felt like I was getting the short end of the stick. Not to sound arrogant, but he was the one reaping the benefits of our relationship. Both parties need to be realistic and willing to give just as much as they expect to get out of the relationship. Compromise requires you to bend, not break. If I ever feel like someone is “mooching” off of me, I’ll be gone fast.

  1. Would I feel shame or embarrassment introducing this person to my family and friends?

or nah1About 5 years ago I dated a man who was 18 years older than me. I have never made it a habit to date older men and typically wouldn’t be attracted to someone that much older than me, but he was a complete sweet heart. If ever a woman wanted to be treated like a queen, he fit the bill. Although there was nothing wrong with him as a person, I still felt weird about introducing him to my family and never did. Their assured disapproval made me think twice about whether or not he was someone I should be with. I liked him but he was in love with me. We agreed we weren’t quite right for each other long-term and broke up.

  1. If my best friend were in the same situation, what advice would I give her/him?

girl byeSimilar to question #2, this helps me to be more objective about what’s really going on. Sometimes (but not always) people from the outside looking in have more clarity because they don’t have a multitude of emotions blocking what should be common sense.

I don’t know if it’s a woman’s intuition, the spirit of discernment, or high detecting BS sensors that are at work. Maybe it’s a combination of sorts. When it comes to love and relationships, I’ve never been afraid to let go of what (or who) I have because there’s an undying hope that I will have my happily-ever-after with a man God has purposed me to marry. Letting go can be simpler than people make it. If you have a $20 bill in your hand, would you be reluctant to give it away when you know you’ve got a winning lottery ticket in your back pocket? Put your faith into action and divorce your past so you can marry your future.

tao

You Can’t Command My Smile

Gentlemen, bruhs, dudes, fellas, homeboys, this one’s for you.

Last night I went out with two of my girlfriends. We went to thirsty Thursdays at the baseball stadium followed by some good eats at a local bar/pool hall. Prime people watching, drinks, and good company. It was a great night; however, I have to make this PSA because I went to sleep and woke up with a particular run-in on my mind.

Within the last 45 minutes of my night out, two guys took a seat next to our table. In a brief moment when I was not conversing and/or laughing with my girls (just gazing at the televisions above the bar), the guy sitting next to me says, “Why you lookin’ so mean?”

This ninja.

 

I usually respond to unwanted, unwarranted gestures in one of two ways. I either ignore you (which I’m very good at), or I’ll politely decline any impending offers and leave the scene of annoyance. Since his friend was sitting across from him, I decided not to ignore him. It’s bad enough being rejected, worst yet in front of your crew. Instead, I turned to him and in my sincerest effort shared some advice.

STOP saying that to women! We don’t like it and it’s off putting. When you approach a woman who you do not know, the first phrase(s) out of your mouth should not be, “Smile,” “Why are you looking so mean?”, “Why aren’t you dancing?”, etc. First of all, who walks around with a smile on their face 24/7? That would be creepy. Second of all, you telling me to smile isn’t going to make me smile or make me want to smile. Thirdly, when you’re flirting or trying to get to know someone, you should be complimenting the positive attributes of her. Don’t point out an alleged flaw or shortcoming and think you’re going to get the digits. If you’re really concerned with the state of my countenance, why not crack a joke that would yield the flashing of those pearly whites? Introducing yourself with a simple Hi, how are you? My name is… shouldn’t be that hard. It’s common sense, not a science. Be kind. Be real. Be considerate.

joker smile
I’m very comfortable with who I am as a woman. I would never be that chick to change herself on behalf of someone else. I’m not concerned with being attractive to every guy I meet. There are only a few persons with whom I would be compatible with and only one man who I will marry, God willing. Why a guy would think a woman would or should conform to his standard of beauty is beyond me. The gentleman I spoke to didn’t seem to understand where I was coming from, so I hope this message falls on fertile ground… just a little constructive criticism. These are my two cents. Whether my chump change inspires chumps to change is yet to be seen.

I dated a crazy person. Does that make me crazy too?

ImageIt wasn’t all bad. He was funny, intellectual, good-looking, and a great father to his children. We even had similar personalities. All 3 months were not bad, but I made the common mistake of putting too much hope into his potential throwing caution to the wind. There were so many red flags and I couldn’t help but feel my intuition, or the Holy Spirit, or my rational logic plead that something wasn’t right. He wasn’t right. Not for me, anyway.

ImageMy first pet peeve is having my time wasted. One Saturday I went to one of his flag football games. I watched him play for the first hour. He would usually sit with me to watch some of the other teams after his game had ended, but this Saturday he didn’t. He said he had to take one of his fellow teammates home but that he would be right back. I went to get something to eat and returned to the field. I waited and watched, waited and watched. He texted to say he was on his way back, but 30 minutes later I was still sitting by myself. After 2 hours I was done waiting and let him know I was leaving. He said ok and mentioned that he had stopped by his house to get his dog.

ImageMy second pet peeve is being lied to. Apparently, he had a German Shepherd named Luke. I have never seen Luke, not even a picture. One time while at his house, he said Luke was at the groomers. Another time he said he was in the back room. I never heard a bark or a scratch. Nothing. His apartment didn’t have an odor and there was no sight of dog hair on the couch or anywhere else in the apartment. No sign of a dog bowl, dog food, a crate, nothing. One day he said that Luke was sick. He took him to the vet and Luke’s stomach had turned. I was thoroughly confused. I didn’t know what that meant but gave him well wishes anyway. A few nights later I went out with some friends to a Zumba party. Once I had returned to my car, I checked my phone to see that he had called several times and texted that he had to put Luke down. I guess that was the death of that lie.

ImageMy third pet peeve is people talking with no actions to back up what is said. Not one, two, or even three times, but there were at least four occasions where he said he was going to come by my place but never came. He said he wanted to get another dog after Luke’s passing but never did. He said he wanted to go to the mountains to see the changing of the colors but never did. He said he wanted to go to a John Legend concert but never did. He said he would pay me back when I lent him money for his phone bill but never did. He said he bought me a pair of Jordans, a watch, and a purse but I never received anything; not even for Christmas. Don’t talk about it, be about it.

ImageMy fourth pet peeve is not getting enough quality time. He was a homebody, but that’s not an excuse to not go out on dates. He never took me anywhere. Hanging out at my house or yours is not sufficient quality time. The few times we went out it was because I asked him to go with me (for example wine tasting and game night at a friend’s house). The last straw came on New Year’s Eve. I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate. He said he wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to be out in a crowd. I asked him if he wanted to go to church, but he said no. Later that day he sends me a text explaining that he wanted to get his two children but their mother wanted them back the next day. They live an hour apart. Considering his family lives in the same area as his children he decided to be with his family and children that night. Seriously? Thanksgiving and Christmas should definitely be set aside for family time, but (if you’re booed up) you should spend New Year’s Eve with your significant other. He told me countless times that he loved me and wanted to make me his wife. If that were true, why would he not invite me to be with him?

Very little about our relationship made sense, so I broke up with him. I made my decision believing that in due time I would gain a much better relationship with someone else than what I was letting go of. He was upset with me of course. From his standpoint, he knew he wasn’t perfect but felt that I should have accepted him, flaws and all, because he accepted me. I’m in no way claiming to be perfect or flawless. I am neither of those, but I can’t be held responsible for our relationship’s demise. My only regret is not tackling our issues head on as they came up. You live and you learn, and I won’t fall for potential again.