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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No Strings Attached

Casual Dating... 

Without the Emotional Attachment



I am single, so I am trying to do the whole Sex in the City thing. Meet new people. Go out on dates. Weigh my options. Enjoy the ride. Sounds easy, right? Not really. It’s actually a bit harder than I anticipated and the dating scene is a bit sketchy. Before my last relationship I had to kiss a lot of frogs. Now, I am back in line kissing frogs, trying to find my prince once again. Usually it goes one of two ways. 1) He likes me but I don’t like him. 2) He doesn’t like me but I like him. With the latter being more disappointing, I wish I could avoid both scenarios all together. But we all know that it’s inevitable. Finding someone that likes you just as much as you like them is like Mission Impossible.

Currently, I am dating someone. I like him. So far. I am not sure about how much he likes me, but for the purposes of this blog, let’s assume our feelings are mutual. So, you may ask, what is my problem? Attachment... one of my humanly foibles.

I am trying to resist the urge to latch on to him like a spider-monkey.

While dating him has been revitalizing, I am in a bit of an awkward phase. Here is the thing… he seems pretty normal. He owns his own business. He owns multiple properties. He has a pretty decent sense of humor. He is attractive. And he is showing some interest in me. On paper, he looks dynamite! I can’t really say much more than that because we are just getting to know each other. So, here is the double edged sword in this process - We are taking things slow. I mean slow slow. We talk on the phone about three times a week. We see each other once a week and it has been the most casual dating experience I’ve ever had. In my past relationships, I would rush in head first but this time I want to do things differently. I want to gradually introduce someone into my life. I want to really get to know him for who he is versus the illusion of him that I make up in my mind. (You know… how we tend to romanticize a person... making him a knight in shining armor here to rescue me when he really may just be a jerk.) It is a bit confusing as to why he is allowing things to go so slowly. The thought has occurred that maybe he isn’t that in to me. But even if he isn’t that into me, I want to be okay with that. I want to be okay with dating just to have fun without expecting a long term relationship. 

Because he is so normal (meaning he has yet to show any sign of crazy) and I have a good time with him, I want to latch on to him. I haven’t dated someone in so long that I forgot how it felt to be admired. I forgot how it felt to feel special. But as I sit in my room writing this blog, I know one thing is clear… I need to fucking chill. I realized that if I like someone, and he appears to like me, I want to go for the goal. I feel myself becoming attached. And it’s apparent that I am not attached to the person but rather the idea of him. I want to know why he doesn’t call me more, and the thought that he could be dating someone else made me want to cut things off with him. But why? (This is a question that I keep asking myself.) Why am I upset if someone doesn’t show me the attention that I want right away? Why would I be upset if he is dating other people? We are not in a relationship. We are just trying to get to know each other.


Sex in the City didn’t prepare me for this… dating with no strings attached. Dating with no commitment. No obligations. We are just having fun. I can’t deny it, I am hungry for a deeper connection. But I guess it’s all in due time with the right person. Is he the right person? I don’t know. Probably not. But for right now, I enjoy his company. In the meantime, I’ll keep reminding myself that this need I have to be constantly adorned by him is something I need to work out with myself. No spider-monkey latching on. No limerence here on this end. I am trying to learn how to manage relationships and I guess this is a good start. One thing I do know for sure... there is no way in hell I plan on sleeping with this guy unless we decide to be mutually exclusive. Like Patti (from Millionaire Match Maker) says "No Sex Before Monogamy"... at least for now. 


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blind Spot

Blind Spot - The Illusion of Love

In my 28 years of life I've seen a lot of fucked up relationships. I, myself, have been in a few relationships that really should’ve never been. My mother separated from her husband and, although I wasn’t born yet to witness it, my grandmother separated from her husband too. So I didn’t necessarily have great relationship role models to look up to. However, my mother taught me one valuable lesson – if it isn’t working, leave.

After observing many relationships and being that I am much wiser now, I know so much more about what a good relationship should consist of. Right now, if a guy wanted to date me, there would have to be no games involved. Of course, the first few weeks may have a little bit of fuzz, because that is the time you initially spend getting to know each other. But after a couple months, if you want me, your actions should say it all. I don't plan on guessing about your feelings for me. I don't want to read between any lines. You shouldn't tell me how much you want to be with me... you should show me. Of course, there will be some guys that will only want to be casual friends, and I am fine with that too. As long as he is honest about it. But when it comes to playing games with my heart… Frankly, I don't have time for that shit! And ladies - neither should you!

I think most able-minded people know when they are not in a good relationship. Most people know when they are chasing a hopeless dream. Most people know when the person they are interested in is a bit shady. But what keeps them in these relationships? What keeps people pursuing someone that they know isn’t good for them? Someone that you know doesn't have your best interest in mind? Yes, some people are attracted to the "bad boy" type. The guys/girls that you know will ultimately break your heart. I was too… when I was like 16!!!! But for a fruitful, loving, long lasting relationship… why do we entertain those that we know will only cause havoc in our lifes?

I know there are always exceptions to the rule, but when I look at my friends and family members who I believe are in healthy relationships, I can see the compatibility. I can see the love. I look at them and I am left in awe of how the universe created these two people that are nearly perfect for one another. And then, there are my friends and family members who are going after men/women who they know deep down aren't good for them. And all I can do is grin and smile because when it comes to affairs of the heart people aren’t rationale and disregard outside advice. You can tell them over and over "look, we saw him at dinner with another woman making out in the back seat of his car… You should probably leave this guy!" and they still won't budge. They'll talk to him. Get mad. He'll make promises to change. And like clockwork... She is blinded again.

I've seen women, even from a young age, settle. Settle for the next best thing. Settle for the first man that pays them attention. Settle for the closest thing that resembles love. Deep down, they may know he isn't the right person for them. Deep down, they know that they deserve better. But they decided to stay. 

Desperation.

Desperation is a motherfucker. Most people won't admit they are desperate. Some people won't even realize it until they have the chance to look back on a situation. But why else would you settle for someone that treats you poorly? Why else will you accept mediocrity? Is it because you are afraid that you will probably never meet anyone else?

One thing I know for sure is that God, The Universe, The Higher Energy (or whatever you want to call it) is working with you. And I know that the Universe didn’t create you just to leave you stuck in a miserable relationship. What’s the point of that? I mean… think of the real reasons of a relationship – love, happiness, companionship, support, friendship, and stability. If a relationship is bringing you more pain than joy, you need to reevaluate things. A relationship shouldn’t be forced in order to fill some void. If it feels like the Universe is trying to pull you two apart, why fight it?

Self-esteem has a lot to do with it and unfortunately for women, men are hunters... They can smell your vulnerability from a mile away. They prey on it. When I first met my ex, he said everything that would help let my guard down. Guys will tell you whatever you want to hear in the first few weeks or months of dating. While some will actually mean what they say, a lot of them will not. So I encourage taking your time when dating. Approach it as if he or she is a friend that you are trying to get to know better. Try to really get to know the person. And if you are someone who attaches your vagina to your heart, try to wait a while before having sex.  With my ex, I wish I would have waited longer before jumping in head first. I wish I would have tried to know him for who he truly was versus what we wanted to represent. This probably would have prevented some heart break for me.

Why settle for someone who doesn’t love you when you can find someone that loves you unconditionally?

Why settle with someone who doesn’t call you when you can find someone who can’t go a single day without finding out how your day has been?

Why settle for someone who only wants to get to know you on the surface level when you can find someone that wants to know your deepest fears so that he can prevent these fears from happening?

Why settle for someone who only looks out for his best interest when you can find someone who considers you when he is making plans for his future?

The proof is in the pudding. I am a strong believer that if you have to question if its love, it’s not. There is nothing confusing about love. It should feel natural and unforced. As cliché as it sounds, it should truly fit in your life like a missing puzzle piece.

When it comes to love, or more so - the illusion of it, some people form a blind spot. They can’t see the person for who he/she truly is. Love often times is accompanied with denial. But the heart never lies. Sometimes you get that feeling that won’t go away… that feeling that something is not right. And as much as you try to ignore it, suppress it, prove that it wrong… IT WILL NOT BUDGE. Sometimes we are afraid of acknowledging this feeling due to a fear of being alone. But I believe the universe is telling you not to settle because they have something even better in store for you. Someone that is your true soul mate. The best is yet to come.

For my blog about Limerence, the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, please click here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Blue Christmas? Nah, I don't think so.


Oh baby, its cold outside. No, seriously. It’s cold. I guess that is to be expected during the Holiday Season. November and December seems to be the perfect months to fill with cold weather, holidays, love, happiness and economy stimulation. Just in time for the New Year, I guess. But this time of the year means different things for different people. When you hear ‘Holiday Season’ you may think about spending time with loved ones, eating whatever your heart desires, and gifting. The Holiday Season reminds so many of us that we are loved and allows us the opportunity to show our love (especially if you’re not the type of person that expresses your feelings on a normal basis). For some, however, the Holiday Season could bring uncharacteristic sentiments.

In 2005, my Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year was spent with my mother in the hospital. My memory of Christmas that year was filled with anxiety and uncertainty of what the next second would bring. My mother was at the Moffitt Cancer Treatment Center with my aunt, sister and grandmother in Tampa, FL, while me and the rest of the family were in Miramar, FL trying to have a ‘holly jolly Christmas’. That night, we got word that things weren’t looking good for my mother, so we had to take the Grey Hound to Tampa the next day early in the morning. Once we made it to Tampa, we spent the next few nights with family, a few nights at a hotel and even slept at the hospital in order to stay by her side. My mother died at 3:45 AM on January 2, 2006. I remember being at the hospital the night before she died and receiving ‘Happy New Year’ text messages when the clock stroke 12 AM on January 1st. In my mind, I thought these people didn’t even have the slightest clue about what I was going through but they are mindlessly texting me to have a Happy New Year'? (This is why I don't send mass text messages anymore.) And ‘til this day a lot of people will never know. 

My mother always tried to make the Holiday’s special for me and my siblings, and it was devastating to know that for 2 years, Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer placed her in the hospital during the Holidays instead of having her home with us.



After my mother’s death, I thought that I would hate the holiday season. I was actually very nervous when the end of 2006 approached because I didn’t want to experience the Holidays without my mother. I didn’t want any reminders of what we experienced the year before. So Thanksgiving after my mom passed, I didn’t go home. I stayed in Tallahassee (where I went to college) and had Thanksgiving with my mentor Mrs. Inge and her family. And while I was with Mrs. Inge and her beautiful family, I couldn’t help but think about my family. And I realized then that my family needs me and that I needed them. So when Christmas approached, I went home to be with my family. And ever since then, I try not to get sad around the Holiday season. I try to appreciate the people in my life while they are alive on this earth.

As I get older, I am starting to feel a new void. I am getting older (but your girl is still YOUNG, don’t get it twisted) and I one day hope to have my own family. I want to sprinkle powder on the floor to make my children think that Santa visited and dragged snow in, similar to what my mother did for me and my siblings when we were kids. I want to make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and see my family around the dinner table. I want to teach my kids about giving back and that giving is better than receiving. My mother made the Holiday season special and I want to be able to pass that on. I guess my experiences have only made me appreciate my family more. And in return, I do my best to bring my family together for the Holidays.



So while you are with your family, forget about the credit card bills you racked up during Black Friday. Forget about your drunk Uncle eating all the mac and cheese and spilling wine on your carpet. Forget about the fact that you were skipped over for a promotion at work. Forget that the iPhone 6 keeps causing you overages on your monthly bill because it uses too much damn data. Forget that FAMU waited until you graduated to finally get a Chick-fil-a on campus. Forget about the fact that Miley Cyrus ruined twerking, as we know it. Yes… forget about all that shit!



No matter what is going on in your life, try to enjoy the Holidays. We don’t get enough of them as it is. Celebrate the time you have with the people you love while you can. Make memories. Life is short.

For more information about Rhabdomyosarcoma Cancer, please visit: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/rhabdomyosarcoma/detailedguide/rhabdomyosarcoma-what-is-rhabdomyosarcoma

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness


“The way to find out about happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what is called following your bliss.” Joseph Campbell




I went to the doctor’s office last week because I was feeling ill. For a week I had a cough and sore throat and couldn’t seem to shake it off. My doctor, who reminds me of your typical brunette New York foreigner who speaks what’s on her mind, looked at me and told me ‘You don’t look happy.’ In my mind I said to myself ‘of course I don’t look happy, my body is a mucus factory. After talking a bit more she mentioned it again. ‘You don’t look happy. Do you think you could be dealing with depression?’ At this point I started to think maybe she was on to something. Am I ‘not happy’?

Have you ever meet a person that was always cheerful? Always smiling and laughing? Always positive and doesn’t seem to let many things bother them? That is not me. I am an emotional shit storm and I don’t have a poker face. I know I wear my emotions on my sleeve, so when she mentioned the fact that I didn’t look happy for a second time I began to evaluate myself. And it didn’t take me long to realize that she was right. I'm not happy.

I’ve experienced a few setbacks this year. 2014 has been a doozy for me, albeit things could be worse. But at this moment, I can truly say I am not happy. I am not unhappy either. I would prefer to describe myself as indifferent. (That makes sense, right?) I get happy about certain things but deep down, I am not happy. There is no joy in my soul. My life is filled with mundane tasks and stress thinking about my future. 

While my doctor was just probing, her statement made me think. I'm not sure if I realized that I wasn't happy. For a while now I've just been doing my daily routine, desperately searching for a new job, trying to manage my tight budget (in which I have not been successful), rebuilding broken friendships (because I realized that I wasn't as good of a friend as I thought I was) and spending time with my semi dysfunctional family. So, one simple statement from my doctor made me stop and think about what it means to be happy, how to obtain happiness, and how to retain it.

One thing I know for sure is that some people have to work harder to be happy compared to others. Some people are just naturally happy. They naturally have the ability to not sweat the small stuff. In my case, and I believe most Americans, being happy is literally a pursuit. We are constantly seeking the things to bring enjoyment to our lives. But we find ourselfs still not quite fullfilled. We run around in some sort of ungrateful and prilvilged mind set which causes us to sweat the small stuff and not appreciate the little things in life. Usually, It’s not until something devastating happens, like the loss of a loved one, when most people try to put things into perspective. But what if we worked daily to put things into perspective? What if every day we committed ourselves to happiness?




Joseph Campbell says that happiness requires self-analysis. In my case, I know what triggers me and my emotional swings. I have a tendency to react harshly and defensively. I tend to see the negative in most situations and create conflict within myself. I know that I have many fucked up aspects to me, but the good news is that I KNOW these things. And I know what it takes for me to be happy but sometimes it easier to just bitch and complain, dwell in the misery. 

Lately, I have been trying to let go of my pride. Why is it so hard to say ‘I am sorry’? Why is it so hard to be the bigger person? I look back and I realized that on those few occasions where I swallowed my pride and apologized or made a mends, those are the times I allowed myself peace within my heart. I sought after happiness in those moments of humbling myself. So, we have to think of those things that prevents us from being happy. Pride. Control. Arrogance. 

So, in a way I think love, humbleness and happiness go hand in hand. When you’re happy, your energy transfers. And I am not talking about being excited or thrilled (as Campbell mentioned) but deeply happy within. When you are truly happy, nothing can take that away from you because it is buried deep within.

So I am kicking of this Thanksgiving week on a pursuit for happiness and I want you to join me. Here is what we have to do.

1) Discover the things that prevents you from being happy and how can you remove these things from your life.

2) Determine what makes you happy and how to internalize this happiness.

It’s easy to look at all the bad in this world. It’s easy to get sucked into negativity. But this is where you dig deep and you remind yourself that the only thing/person that can make you happy is YOU! You have all the power. It takes work. It may be the hardest thing in life you will ever have to work towards (because our internal demons are the hardest to slay) but consider it a journey and at the end of the day, it will only enhance your life on this earth. Because at the end of the day, your mind is the only thing you have.

“Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”Joseph Campbell



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gut Feelings





*** Something I wrote after my break-up with my ex-boyfriend. I initially wrote it on 05/24/14. But I decided to post it now ***

My biggest fear use to be that I would die alone. It’s not my biggest fear anymore. I think I have accepted that this may be my future. There are no violins. This isn't a blog entry of me accepting the circumstances of my pity party, but a realization. A realization that I feel in the pit of my stomach.
When I was 12 years old, my mother became a live in nurse. She worked in Key Largo, which was about 2 hours from where we lived. She would only come home on the weekends. And she worked there until I was 18 years old. Since my brother was too young to take care of himself, my mother took him with her. When I was about 15 years old my sister moved out. There were plenty nights were I was home alone in a 4 bedroom house. I remember how scared I would get if I heard a noise, and I would just lay in my bed praying throughout the night.

During that time, I can’t remember feeling lonely. However, after college loneliness would be a feeling that I would be all too familiar with. It use to sit in my stomach, and grew as my anxiety intensified. After college, life became a mess of intensified religious practices, self-doubt and an unsatisfied desire to be accepted. Discovering. Learning. Lonely. I remember when I rented my first one bedroom apartment after moving to the DC area for my job. I would wake up in the middle of the night and have panic attacks. I was more than a thousand miles away from my family. My family that was used to growing and living life without me. And while the obvious resolution would be for me just to move back home... it’s not that simple. Distance does more than create loneliness. It also creates differences. And most of the time I am visiting I dread it. Why? That is another story all together. But after my mother died, the family fell apart.

I think back at all my relationships and wonder, will there ever be anyone that I can’t live without? Or that one person who needs me in their life? A part of me is happy for the strained relationships in my life because distance means you can’t hurt me. Distance means I am free from the burdens of socialization. I remember a conversation I had with my ex-boyfriend walking through a park. I told him that I don't feel as if any man can every truly love me. I know that sounds bad. I know how it sounds. But its how I feel. I don’t think a husband and children are in my future. I am not sure if I even want it anymore.

Some would say, your still young… you have time. Yeah, yeah. Ever since I was young I knew that I wouldn't be that girl. I wouldn't be that girl who would receive that kind of love. And all my adulthood attempts to imitate that love was forced. Because in the pit of my stomach that feeling would reemerge and it would remind me, what I am and what my life is supposed to be like. No one will ever love you. So I had to start loving myself.
There have been two good things that have come from this… I am stronger. I don’t hate myself anymore. I've accepted who I am. The second thing is that I don’t feel that fear in the pit of my stomach because I accepted that gut feeling.

Dependency is such a crippling thing. Losing yourself when you become close to someone. Someone that you can’t control. Someone that you can never truly understand.

I wish I could see the world from a surface level and have a more ingenuous outlook. But I am plagued. This may be a moment of insecurities overtaking me, but I need to be real. There are women who never get married and never have children. If this happens to me, I don't want to be miserable. I want it to liberate me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Are we egging his house or nah?




When I was younger, my mother use to tell me that I had too many friends. I couldn't understand how someone could have too many friends? At the time, the only thing you really expected from your friends were to eat lunch with you and talk all night on the phone about who you had a crush on. Albeit, I would find myself in weird transitions where I had a few rocky patches regarding making friends. Starting a new school, it took a while for me to meet friends. In college, it took me two tears to make solid, dependable friendships. After college, I realized that making friends became a lot harder. In the real world, people have so many other commitments that they cannot spend their time crying with you after your then-boyfriend broke your heart. Yes… I just made this about me!


Well, prime example. My then boyfriend, now known as THE WORSE, broke up with me… I balled for maybe five days straight. I cried so much that my cheeks started burning due to all the salt in my tears. I had my cousin hostage on the phone for over four hours a day. And while my cousin was definitely a rock for me, in the back of my mind all I could think about was “where the fuck are my friends?” Where was the mob to join me on an ice cream binge, or look at the pictures of all his ex-girlfriend’s only to tell me how much prettier I am compared to them? Where were my friends that would put a towel over their shoulder and say, “Hey, here, feel free to drool on me for a few hours as you sob”? As an adult, friendships require a bit more than just having someone to eat lunch with it. A friend is someone that you could talk to, someone who you feel comfortable with, someone you can trust and share your intimate secrets with, someone who would drive past your boyfriends house to spy on him with you, someone who would give you a place to hideout when the police are looking for you... you know?

At my age, in the real world, people have their own problems. And while I wanted so desperately to kick and scream ‘I HAVE NO FRIENDS’ followed by throwing myself down a flight of stairs, I resisted. I realized that as you age, friends start to serve different purposes and that not everyone is going to dedicate that time to you. While I was hurting, I realized that my friends had their own problems and that they would not be dropping everything to be at my side. Not that ‘having your own problems’ is any excuse to not be there for your friend… because trust me, during this time I realized truly, how many friends I had. Not including the "friends" who only called me to find out how the break-up happened versus calling me to see how I was doing.

I am learning that some struggles you will have to face alone. And luckily for me, while I did not have many friends in my corner, I had two or three good women by my side. I had two or three friends who would listen to me tell the same story incessantly of how he broke my heart. And I realized for the first time what my mother was telling me all along… I had too many friends. I had quantity and not quality. And while I enjoyed hanging out with many of my DC peeps… I realized that many of them were just that… someone to hang out with. Friends are hard to come by and I am realizing that you shouldn't label everyone you talk to as a friend. My mentor in college told me to call my classmate my classmate, call my coworker my coworker, call my roommate my roommate and only call your friends your friends.

I still have many friends, about 15 people who I would most definitely want to be bridesmaids (I know… that is tacky but so what) in my wedding. And most of these friends are people that I met before and during college. I cherish my friends and I realized that life has taken us on different journeys so while they may not be there for me during my darkest hour; I know that if they could – they would. And those who don’t have your best interest at heart, well… you can just drop them. You can’t pick your family but you determine whom you consider a friend.

And before I end this random entry, I want to suggest that next time a friend seems like they need some emotional support, pick up the phone and call them or invite them out to lunch. Texting is cool but sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes just saying 'I will pray for you' is not enough. Your friend is worth it.