Ever hear yourself talking and realize you need to take your own advice?
I was being interviewed by hosts Denise Cole Hill and Wilson Murkinson for Nuu Beats Radio on Saturday. I start saying something like, “you have to give yourself permission to go for what you really want, not for what you think you can get.” I heard the sentences as if they were coming from another person’s mouth. My vocals reverberated off the walls and landed back into my soul.
Was I truly going for what I want in life and not what was easily attainable?
Being raised with lack can cause you to believe any crumb is a blessing. Gratitude for what you have is necessary before you can truly appreciate more. A crumb is insufficient if you are truly hungry. It is a blessing in a sense but is it God’s best? The Bible says it like:
” . . . but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Proverbs 27:7b.
When i was unemployed back in 2010, I took the first job offer available. I was immensely grateful to be working; however, I recognized early on that this was not a holding place for me. I started inquiring about and applying for jobs that aligned with what I actually wanted to be doing. I got a new gig 11 months in.
Have you heard the term ‘Struggle Love’? It’s the idea that in a relationship a person has to remain loyal through someone else’s emotional, financial, and relational struggles. Your loyalty is rewarded with marriage after you have sufficiently suffered.
I saw an Instagram post about a reality star Kimbella who has been in a relationship with rapper Juelz Santana for nearly ten years. According to the post, Kimbella has endured birthing two children, infidelity, his drug addiction, and finally as he may be doing jail time, he proposes.
Granted, I do not know all of the details of their relationship, it is ‘reality’ TV of course, but on the surface this appears to be textbook ‘struggle love’.
A guy told me that if I don’t want to accept the breakups and makeups of a relationship then I am not really ready for one. I explained that we understand love different. I believe love is the action of sacrificially seeking the best for someone. I demonstrate love by caring for and taking care of the needs of my partner. I want him to be healthier, wealthier, wiser. I will assist in any way required. That’s how my soul is setup. Hurting someone to see how much they can withstand to test their loyalty/love is cruelty.
Putting me first is a challenge. Rejecting what I can get and going for what I truly want takes a level of faith that I am still developing. There is always someone or something demanding the attention/time that I have allotted to self-care or pursuing my calling. There is always a small doubt saying maybe this is as good as it gets. In my prayer time, I can hear the spirit saying ‘don’t settle’. My inner voice is calling out to me to take care of me, to put me first.
I am listening.
When I was a young girl, I wondered how my life would turn out when I became an adult. I grew up on Chicago's gritty west-side. I had seen many real life Unsung stars. Youth, beauty, talent derailed by drugs, violence and love gone wrong. I did not know how I would make it out but I knew that I would do my best not to end up a statistic. Drugs stole potential, violence ended lives, and love had the power to lift higher or drop you lower that the dirt.
I remember asking God to let me learn the lessons from the lives around me. I had no desire to live every experience. I owe my life not to my own strength but to God answering my prayer.
A cool thing started happening. People all around me started opening up to me. I was that friend who listened to everyone else's problems. I could offer advice from a biblical and sometime naive perspective. I listened and learned.
I have concluded that a lot of the heartache women experience come from a crucial misstep at the onset of a relationship. They agree to be the secret. They agree to ambiguity. I have heard it recounted to me a thousand times. He says something like, 'Let's be friends and see where this leads.' The relationship progresses as follow: The guy calls all of the time. You two go out on dates, watch movies, eat dinner. You are spending so much time together that you assume that it is on the path to somewhere.
If it does not come out of his mouth, NEVER assume.
Eventually, you become intimate. The relationship status has technically not changed but you and your emotions have. After you have given too much and can no longer take it, the conversation happens. What am I to you? He hedges – states that he is not ready for a relationship. He never meant to hurt you. Out of his back pocket he brings out the, 'We agreed to be friends.' line.
Sherlock Holmes Follow the Clues.
There were clues all around. He never introduced you as his girlfriend. Your quasi-dating was a secret. You put on the face of friendship around others while secretly being physically much more. This is the trick 'nice' guys use to sleep around and still consider themselves to be good people. Dogs do doggish things – lie, sleep around – without apology. 'Nice' sleep around with their friends purposely leaving the relationship ambiguous so that you are to blame for your own hurt feelings.
Almost Doesn't Count
I am writing in second person but I have witnessed this in real-life many times. I was so close to becoming a statistic until I remembered the lesson. I told him I cannot do ambiguity in relationships. I chose to remain celibate. It is my armour against such ruses. No 'nice' guy and/or dog will keep up the charade if there is no physical payout.
Living a godly life requires tough, heart-breaking decisions. It means going against what you feel for what the word of God says is right. Living this life has kept me from many pitfalls. I can see the results of making a different choice in the lives of others. I can see clearly where the 'let's be friends and see where this leads' thing goes. I saw it on the face of the women recounting their tales of heartbreak. The answer is nowhere. It leads to nowhere.
Today is a sunny, beautifully clear Friday. I am sitting at my cubicle doing what I love – writing.
Of course, I am at the j-o-b on my lunch break cranking out a post before time to start again. Is not the intro a better opening – more positive? It is all about perspective.
I was at the Kimbell Art Museum with a good friend during the Matisse and Picasso exhibit. I saw the painting below:
If you look at the photo. It may seem skewed or even crooked. That is, until you think of perspective. I relayed my own narrative of this painting to my companion. I explained that the image is from someone – possible a beau – reclining on the bed in the room. He is watching his lady sitting on the balcony. From his perspective, his world is in balance.
I think of this picture sometimes when I assess my view of people, things and situations in my life. My viewpoint is limited. Position, location, emotions, time – all limitations.
I was trying to understand the behavior of someone towards me. I was talking it out with a friend who stated, "God forbid, Felicia, that someone would have a life with priorities and you not be the center of them."
It took a moment for the initial shock to wear off. I took the statement to mean that someone ele's behavior (even when it concerns you) is about them – their perspective in that room. Of course the image looks out of place to me because I thought I was the focal point. In my relationships, I am actively trying to view the world from the other person's perspective. The image is getting clearer.
Someone I love dearly was treating me unkind. Let us call her Belle. I initially started interacting with Belle from a place of defense. This was getting me nowhere except into daily sparring matches. I started to really considered things from Belle's perspective. I realized the behavior was not about me at all. I was the object of her frustration due to proximity. I was not the cause of it. This epiphany changed my daily interactions. Belle and I started to actually have fun times together instead of the usual battle of wills. My world became balanced.
If you have been a reader of this blog, then you know how much of a sucker I am for a sincere compliment. I love to hear great things about myself. I love putting on a flattering dress and walking that I walk. lol
I am unabashed.
I have been told that I am vain. I will not cop to that. I have just learned how to love and appreciate myself. I know I am a godly woman kept by God's grace. If I am in Christ and he is in me, how can I view myself as less than anything.
I was not always so confident. I was teased as a child, sometimes, mercilessly. I was teased for being smart, being chubby (at times), being a 'church-girl', for not being sexually active. I was teased at school by some and teased at home by siblings. It was unrelenting at times. At home, I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry because my siblings would tease me so bad. I sometimes wished I could disappear. When I opened my eyes, I was still present. Instead of wilting away, I made a decision to be bigger. Bigger than the hateful, negative things that had been said.
God was merciful to that shy, scared girl and put people in my life who WOULD tell me great things about myself. I was told that I was smart, beautiful and that I could be anything that I wanted to be. Those words mattered so much to me then. Kind words matter so much to me now.
What was the truth?
Throughout all of that negativity, I came to know God through Christ. I learned through the bible that I am eternally loved, valued, forgiven and beautiful. I chose to believe the truth about me through the ultimate word – the WORD of God.
I do not simply receive compliments, I am also a giver. I am that friend who will always point out your best qualities. I will lift you up when you are down. I know first hand how sometimes you need to hear a good word. I remember my best friend told me that she waited to tell me that her grandmother had past because she knew I would make her feel better and she just needed to grieve a little. 😦
Some say women are not capable of giving a genuine compliment. It must always be something like, "Ok, well she's pretty but *insert negative comment*. I was in class and heard two girls talking about the girl in front of them. The girl in front had really, long wavy hair.
One girl says, "Her hair is so pretty.'
The other girl says, "Too bad SHE ain't pretty".
Oh the shade! Porqui, ma petit?
If you want love, give love freely. If you want positivity, be that positive influence. If you want a nice guy to tell you that you are beautiful, then BE BEAUTIFUL – inside and out.
What is hate? Thinking of the word makes me cringe.
According to Merriam-Webster online, hate is 'a very strong feeling of dislike.' The full definition:
"a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
b : extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing." Source
Hate is what causes people to hurt others. It has many expressions – racism, violence, war, terror. For the sake of this post, let us omit some of the more global derivatives of hate and focus on relationships.
Have you ever heard of someone being so in love proclaim unadulterated hate for that same person after a breakup? Have you been that person?
In truth, I do not believe that feeling, in this instance, is actually hate. I have another theory. Hate is a function of love.
Think about it.
It allows someone, whom you are no longer dating, to still be included in your life. If you hate them, they are still the object of your affection. It is just a different affection. You can justify to yourself allowing this person into your thoughts and into your heart. In essence, it is a way of holding on when you really need to let go.
Think of an ex, not just any ex, the worst ex that you have ever had. Ask yourself, do I hate him/her? If the answer is yes, then you have not gotten over this person. Barring some violent act against you or those you love, you may still even love that person.
*insert audible gasp* lol
Why am I writing about this you may ask? To help someone, to help myself. When someone exits your life, sweep the dust out of the front door. Leave no remnants – no letters, no bears and no hate.
The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.
Sooooooo, I am over at Brown Sista and there is a post entitled, "Why Are Women So Pressed to be Married?"
Talk about loaded words, ma. You have got marriage and pressed and why all in one sentence?? lol
I will summarize it for you, if you do not have time to read it. The author is at a social function when women start discussing men and their desire for marriage. The author seems rather annoyed at these women and points out how she is so not one of them -how she is so independent, fulfilled and happy. These women were by default – not.
What the what?
One upon a time, marriage was the rule not the exception. Is it now the figurative pariah? Does wanting to be married and have a lifetime partner someone make you weak, lonely, or that dreaded word – desperate? *insert audible gasp* Are you one of those backward, mentally oppressed women who has not realized her freedom to be single?
I am having a conversation with a guy about the same topic. He is also expressing reservations about marriage. He asks, is that why you are always discussing relationships? Do you want to be married or something?
What is so wrong with that? I have set many hard to reach goals in life – education, moving to a new city, my book, and my weight loss. I have many restarts and setbacks. I have decided to make marriage an actual goal. I am not ashamed to admit that.I am very independent, happy, fulfilled and all that good stuff. I will admit this; each and every single time I take out the garbage, I am like – This sucks! I need a husband!
You can draw any conclusion you like. It is your brain not mine. My mind tells me that I must conceive a thing first before it is birthed into reality.
I wrote a really thoughtful response on the post. I do behave myself on other people's blogs, BUT, what I really wanted to say was girl, boo. You ain't fooling nobody. You know you want to be married, too. Maybe not now but eventually. lol
Who wants to be 60 talking 'bout, me an my boyfriend about to go the movies? Chile, the devil is a liar!
Why is there pretense? This ever shielding wall that protects and keeps out the very thing you really want to let in.
Too deep? It's Sunday night. There is a cool breeze blowing through my open balcony as I type. Dang it, I'm just deep! lol
I am so guilty of this so I cannot point the finger but men are so much guiltier of it. Ego can be a stubborn roadblock. A man's ego, sheesh! Without it, I really do believe we would have world peace.
No one wants to be vulnerable, no one wants to get hurt. I get it, really I do. I earnestly believe that if two people first love God and are fundamentally good at heart, then no one should be out to willfully hurt the other. Right?
This hurt that no wants to receive is always present when pretense is allowed to mask true feelings. Withholding the truth from someone who you know cares about you is the hurt.
If you are not that into me, believe me, I would much rather know. If you really want my attention, pursue me like a man is supposed to. But if your intentions are not pure, the kindest thing that you can do is to keep it moving.
I have written it before, behavior never lies. Your actions show that you have been thinking of me. Although a little strong, my words here show that I have been thinking of you, too.
A weird thing happened at the grocery store last night. I am placing my things on the conveyor belt when I over hear this conversation between a young women and a slightly older guy.
They guy must have paied her a compliment and this girl start flirting. . .HARD. So, the guy is speaking in a barely audible voice and this girl is loud enough so that the coonversation gets my attention.
I look at the guy suspiciously because he was acting weird. He finally says, "Well, I'm not single. I'm married."
This should have been the end of the firtatious encounter, right? Right?
The girl says, "We can still hang. I mean, I just like to now what it is."
I should have been minding my own business but the virtuous woman in my gave him the ugliest look. I paid for my groceries and left. I am not sure how the encounter ended but I know how it affected me. I was saddened. This girl seemed really young, like 19 or something. This guy had to be in his early 40s. She was so brazen and shameless.
Is it really that hard out here? Really?
I was watching RNB Divas LA (don't judge me) and Chante Moore introduced an exercise to the ladies. She asked them if they would marry themselves and why or why not. Later on in the episode, the ladies flew to Vegas to get married to themselves. Part of this exercise was to write vows to yourself. Tears ensued. I love this version of RnB Divas. These women actually uplift one another.
First, I think this idea is pretty ingenious. We as women think that love is putting someone before yourself. The problem is not everyone feels this way and reciprocity never occurs. I have learned the hard way (still learning) that people will take and take until there is nothing left of you!
1. I vow to make me the priority!
I missed yesterday's abs workout. I was just so friggin' tired. I almost left work early, I felt so bad. I took some time to recuperate – and you know what? It is okay. I have to learn to put me first even when it comes to me.
2. I vow to forgive myself, learn from my missteps and start again.
I really think that I give more in relationships (of all kinds) than I receive.This always leaves me with the short end of the stick and my little feelings hurt.
3. I vow to make people earn my affection.
I have always been an absolute sucker for a compliment, fishing for them when not freely given. That need for validation was anchored in insecurity not vanity. I have evolved.
4. I vow to compliment myself daily.
To sum it all up.
5. I vow to love me without apologies.
So, to answer my own question, would I Marry Me? Heck Yeah!