When It Has to End – A Requiem in Portishead

*the real name of the person who this story is based on has been changed

There comes a time when things come to an end.  There is a season right?

But what happens when you want someone to remain in your life and they can’t?  There’s no fallout, no hard feelings, you don’t hate the person – maybe it’s the direct opposite of all of the above.  You’re in love, you’re happy, you want things to progress – but they can’t – they won’t.  What do you do?  How does it happen that a person, while still loving you has to walk away?  Is it fair? Of course not.  Will it happen? Possibly.

Tonight is a wonderful night for me to release this post.  Mostly because two years ago I was in the throws of a wonderful romance.
A matching worthy of a short film.  I promised all of you I would tell some of the stories behind most of the messages in this blog and today, that’s what I’m going to do.  This relationship, even in the fading embers taught me so much about myself.  I continue to think about him.  I am thankful for the time because it gave me a glimpse of what can be. What’s possible.

Tony* and I met through mutual friends.   After becoming friends with one of my co-workers and her husband they both felt him and I would be a perfect match.  They didn’t want to make anything official but he knew about me and I knew about him – before we met.  Late summer of 2010, Tony walked into my life.  We found ourselves debating but kindred at the various house parties our [mutual] friends gave.

When we first met,  I was out back grilling burgers.  I was smoky and perfumed.  I knew he’d be there that night so I was casual but cute.  It was a BBQ.  I was cooking.  It was a good combination.  He opened the door as if he knew he’d find me out there.   The exchange, albeit short was already fiery.   That night, I had expected him to at least ask for my number.  Nothing.  Not one fucking question to a phone number.  It took us several parties and debates for him to ask my girlfriend for my number.  Even then, she asked, “Tony, are you serious? Because she’s special.  And if you’re not – just leave her alone.”  He replied, “Just give me the number.”

I don’t think he was serious.  Or at least he didn’t think we’d turn into anything serious.  I’m well aware he didn’t intend to have any feelings for me.  Our first night became a long night and then turned into four months.  Four months of dinners, cooking, listening to records, me listening to him create soundsets and mixing, me singing in his studio, watching him fix his car, riding to thrift stores and auctions, having dinners in random places – along with these sweet nights and fragrant mornings spent on the porch.  Jazz and cooking breakfast together.  Laughing at the same things.  Calls at work [on my office phone] and laughing.  Long calls and me trying to get off work early to get to his house.  His house …..

Him and his house were home to me.  Like I’d never experienced.  Before we met, before we ever went out, my girlfriend told me that our respective houses – that is Tony* and I’s houses, were replicas of one another.   Until I saw it (on hour 12 of our first date) I would have never believed her.   But his artwork and the collection he had built took me back to another era.  We loved all of the same things.

A few days into our first date, he helped me move.  Not because I asked him, but because he just showed up with the beautiful green lantern (that’s what I’ll call his car).  He loaded it up in the ice and snow and helped me move all of the small items we could into my new apartment.  Let me also add, my new apartment was (and still is) a third floor walk-up.  He hauled up load after load. On the first night I was there, he called me to ask if I was ok and felt safe.  I hadn’t seen that in so long.  Not like him.  The next night he was over my house putting the bed together and helping me rearrange the heavy items.  Again, where does this happen?

Even when I started this blog, I had a list of about 50 names written down.  There was one close to this name and instead he gave it the From that we see today.  I remembered him saying “Because you’re giving something to people Rae. It’s from you.  That’s what you do.”  And with that – it was From Rae with Love.   He paints, he mixes music, he sings, entrepreneurial, eclectic, could repair and create anything, could talk about anything and knew just how to touch me.  I don’t know if it gets any better than the space we shared.

I cooked in his kitchen.  We made the bed together.  We were at Sam’s together.  The junk yard.  Listen – on top of this man being fine as all get out, I found myself with him on a random Sunday at a junk yard pulling out seats – out of a BMW – and then I watched him pull the defective one from his car and replace it with the new one.

I was in love.

He told me stories of why and how he had landed where he was in DC.  Of a flourishing and then failed business.  Brilliant, talented, sexy and ambitious.  I was basically on top of the world.  Let me be honest – I have loved men in my time.  And it was good, but Tony* was just… different.  Like looking at myself in male form.  I’d never met a man like him.  And I loved him.

But in the midst of a misunderstanding of me leaving my bracelets at his home (he thought I left them on purpose – I didn’t and I am rarely if ever without them) everything began to unravel.  In one conversation, he was gone and I was left to try to put the pieces together as to what happened.  In some ways, I will never fully know.

I haven’t really been able to talk about this relationship on here because I held out hope for a while that things would reconcile, that they could reconcile.  That maybe he’d come to his senses and find his way back.  How is it that something is too perfect?  Until I met him, I hadn’t really experienced that sort of kindred love since I was in my early twenties.  In the blink of an eye, I found myself calling and calling more…. emailing and sending messages.  Trying to understand what happened after I had asked where are we going with this?

Mind you, I still think I shouldn’t have asked.  But I also learned in that instant that if I had to ask, I was already in trouble and doomed.   As much as I’m all about asking men out, etc and being ahead of the curve so speak, I’m traditional in many ways.  I found myself on a side of the coin I thought would never flip.

Losing him turned my world inside out.  The months that ensued after that were months of confusion.  My friends worried about me.  I worried about me.  I looked for him.  I still do some days.

We had a moment at the end of last summer and I sat on his porch behind the crepe myrtles.  There was this old church pew he’d managed to secure on the porch and it made for good sitting on warm nights.  I was at home.  I just wanted to stay.   But I knew it wouldn’t last but for a few minutes.  But in those minutes, the Universe aligned for me, sang and rocked me into a space of full contentment.  Of never wanting to leave.  But there wasn’t any choice.  It had been over – for more than a year.  Could we reconcile?   I mean anything was possible.  During a later conversation, I even offered to go to counseling with him.  You see, here’s one thing I’ve learned – if you love someone and you want something, you need to pull out all the stops. ALL OF THEM.  Do you hear me? Every.single.fucking.stop.  Like your life and your house and whatever that other thing is that you most value depends on it.  If you don’t?  You’ll never ever be able to rest and sleep with yourself.  Sometimes you have to fight for love.  Experiencing defeat isn’t actually defeat it’s just a temporary loss.  Even if you lose the person.  If nothing else, I’ve tried.

But the thing that gets me is every time I hear Portishead or Gil Scott Heron.   It never fails I’ll hear Portishead’s All Mine and all I can think of is him.  Mostly because we used to sit in his space and listen – to records upon records.  Laugh… watching movies and him teaching me about all of the things I had missed.

On a night like tonight, I think of him and I just want to call.  I want to run home.  I want to tell him what’s happened today because I know he’d understand if no one else did.  But I can’t.  And that’s the worst part of it all.  Not having a place to belong or to go home to.  Or realizing that you yourself may be the closest thing to home that you may ever see.   The thing is, I know there is more to everything that this…there is other love and there will be home.  In fact, tonight, I grieve at that fact – to get so close to something and not be able to have it (another blog post for later this year).  It’s just sometimes, you can’t help but remember that moment when something comes to an end.  You want to scream at yourself in that moment, before the moment that changes everything. Hindsight.  I didn’t want that relationship to end a few years ago.  But then we never do – do we?

I also realized that home is often a person and not a place.  I’ve know this fact for more than a decade now.  I often also realize it’s why so many of us wander around aimlessly.   We’re looking for a person, a great love – and not a place to settle.

Tonight, I’m wishing all of those who wander, in search of home (including myself) that you’ll find the place and the person where you truly belong.  I’ll be sure to let you know when I do.  My story is just beginning.

Love,

Rae

Confidence while Plus Size and 35 Plus: Guest Post for the Curvy Fashionista

Over the last year, my style has evolved.  It’s in a refining process.  Well into my thirties, I’ve become bolder and more subdued at the same time.  Bolder, simpler pieces.  An evolution of style.  The desire to take bigger risks but be confident and to embrace what it truly means to have a personal signature style.   I’ve been overhauling my closet.  Choosing better and more flattering pieces, tossing worn items and purchasing only the things I adore and flatter me the most.

The question of being plus size, as it inevitably comes up, often turns to what’s appropriate.  As I’ve reached my thirties, the conversation is heard more frequently – only this time age is also a factor.  In this case, there’s a battle to dress my body and age appropriately.

But what does that mean?

Continue reading at The Curvy Fashionista…..

Risk-Taking, Faith and Expansion for “Up for Discussion”

Proverbs 3125

I want to talk about taking risks and stepping out on faith.

It’s something we all need to do at one point or another in our lives.  But how many of us plan accordingly and step out? How many of us really reach our potential or at least come close to it?  If you’re shaking your head and saying not many, I’d like to start to change your thinking about it – even if it’s a slight shift.   Part of growing and evolving is risking.  We have to take risks.  While we as women are game changers, we’re not always as willing to take a risk in order to better our lives.  We tend to play it very safe.  While I can understand it, I also know we rarely move out of our own way if we don’t.  We’re all normally worried about stability, family, children, parents, spouses, ourselves – and normally we’re last on the list.  But here’s the thing – by sometimes taking a leap, it can benefit not just ourselves, but our loved ones.  By making Your own life better – it improves the life of everyone around you.  Most times – it involves taking a risk and stepping out on faith.

Check out the rest on Up for Discussion ….

If You Want to Quit….

I haven’t written anything since around the first part of the year.  Not because I don’t love writing, but well, because I seriously thought about quitting.

Hold on – stay with me…. this blog is about telling the truth right? So I’m going to tell it.

Yup, I thought about quitting the blog and leaving it up here as a testament and then moving on to something else – like writing an e-book and shit since everyone else is doing it.  Did you know I’ve basically written an entire book over the last year of tapping these keys on this blog? I also think that last sentence sent me into a tail spin a few weeks ago as well.   As a writer, as a creative, as an introvert (yes, I’m an introvert), we often retreat unto ourselves in order to be able to get things done.  Introverts need to be alone, or in my case just at home in peace with some alone time (doesn’t have to be spent fully alone).  Although it can be that thing the renews me, it’s also the time I have the most doubts.  In another post, Choosing Right in 2013 and Beyond, I talked about still quiet moments.

Those are the times the difficult decisions are made.  It’s those moments when no one can see you (or me for that matter) and we have to make decisions that may affect our lives for a long time to come.   The quiet times are also the ones when I  sit still and deal with how I feel about something that’s happened, or someone or myself.  It’s not always easy.

I let some things someone said and did affect me for a series of weeks.  And well, to the strongest and the best of us –  it happens.  The funny thing is it happens in waves.  One thing happens, then another – like there’s no break in it all.  That’s why I’m writing about it.  I want you to know, I think and have thought about quitting the blog – not all of us admit it.  Although I’m strong, I’m resilient,  I’m not immune to the things people say and do.

Then, I got trolled on twitter.  That’s when I finally realized that it’s only when you’re on the verge of something truly important, you get all of the naysayers, the doubters, the haters and the negative events.  It’s MEANT to be a distraction from what you’re (I’m) supposed to be doing.   If I stop writing and sharing, stop what I’m doing, there’s no one here to tell my story – there’s no one here to express the things  God means to do through me.  Why should I let anyone stop that?  That being said, I may have been slowed down, but it doesn’t mean I’m quitting.

Note: Slowing down doesn’t mean you’ve quit.

So, no – I’m not quitting.  I’m not going anywhere.  There’s value in what I do – even if it’s just for me.  Although I don’t have all of the answers, this blog and the things I present aren’t meant to have all the answers.  I write to record things.  I write to make sure I am sharing the things that have happened to me – so that maybe, just maybe you:  1) know you’re not alone 2) can learn from what’s happened to me 3) get a good laugh from time to time 4) know it’s ok to take a break from time to time 5) there’s value in being transparent and brave.

 

I am also in the process of deciding on changes to From Rae With Love.  I’ve been saying that for a year now and well, sometimes life gets in the way and other things take precedent but it will have been worth the wait when it finally gets done.

I say all of this to say, if you’re thinking about quitting something you’ve wanted to do all your life, dreamed about – because of your own doubt or someone else’s; because you’re faced with a lot of challenges; because it’s not currently popular;  if people are talking about you and your feelings are hurt?  Press on.  It’ll be worth it.   Give them more to talk about.  Make it worth their while.

If you’re thinking about quitting – don’t.

Get yourself together.  Slow down if you need to.  Let people walk away (just the ones that really want to go).  Walk away from those that are hurting you.  Surround yourself with people who you really love and adore.  Find new and important things you love and adore. Hide out like an ostrich for a while.  Drink bottles of wine.  Pray.  Clean.  Buy$200 worth of candles and incense and other home items and spend reckless amounts of money on decadent cheese and cheap wine and awesome brunches and crafts you don’t need and creating vision boards out of expensive paper and creating long ass run on sentences like this one.  Sleep in.  Talk aimless walks (not the kind where you don’t come back, just the kind where you don’t have a set destination). Retreat, plan, regroup, execute and then stunt on these muthas out here.  I’m just saying – that’s what it amounts to – or that’s what I did.  By the time you do all of that, you’ll find your mojo again and your way back.   Holla at me in the comments….

Love,

Rae

 

 

“I Was Expecting You” Part IV — The Conclusion

Hey Everyone!  How are you?  A while back I mentioned I have been working on a short story.  Fact is I’m working on about ten short stories right now – and counting.  I started flashtweeting a story a couple of months ago entitled “I Was Expecting You.”  I FINALLY finished Part IV today and although I could flashtweet it, I decided in the middle of writing it, I’d post it here on the blog.  It simply allows for longer dialogue, etc.

If you haven’t read parts I – III yet, check them out here:

“I Was Expecting You” Part I

“I Was Expecting You” Part II

“I Was Expecting You” Part III

I would love your feedback when you get done with the story.  I am sure in the future, as some authors have been known to do, I may continue the story and continue to tell it.  The plan this year was to publish more fiction on the blog.  If you happen to write as well, you know sometimes it’s not as easy to push things out (to our own satisfaction) as we’d like to think it is.  I’m no different.  In the process of all of this, I realize it’s not always about being perfect but getting the story written.  Sometimes I know what’s going to happen and other times I have no clue – unless I sit down at the keyboard.  Main thing is — I have to do the work.  It doesn’t write itself.  I am eager to hear your feedback and what you think June should have done.  Did she do the right thing?  Also, would you like to see more fiction on the blog?  Let me know!

And without any further wait…

“I Was Expecting You” Part IV — The Conclusion

June’s husband kissed her when he came back. Asleep on the floor, he was down there with her when she felt his kiss.

By now she was awake with the kiss and startled to see him, more startled to see where she was laying.

“Haven’t seen you like this since the girls’ first birthday. Are you thinking about him?”

June thought she must have clearly missed something or it was another man. The long pause didn’t help,

“What babe?”

“I mean, their party. The floor. I figured it was about him. Wasn’t about the girls. They were and are fine.”

“Is it ok if we talk about this later? I can’t right now.” June quipped.

“Sure, when you’re ready.”

June never thought she’d be ready.  She rolled back over to meet his face and kiss him.
They went to bed without another word about it and she was thankful.

June was up before everyone else the next morning.  He still had no clue. That regret began to eat away at her.

But poor Isaac – no questions. No info.  No worries. He liked projects. He liked saving women.

He saved June and and the girls and inadvertently saved himself.

He thought June was different.  June didn’t think anything of the sort.

At least temporarily. June looked at him sleeping, and wondered if her days as his wife were short-lived.

In penance and to cover the regret for the plans she was dreaming, she prepared pancakes, bacon, omelets. Fresh juice, coffee.  The table was laid out.

June’s husband had the girls in tow when he came downstairs.  They were all in awe.  Lana trailed not too long after.

He hadn’t seen a morning spread like that in months.

“What’s all this for babe? Good morning….” Kissing her on her lips.  The regret followed. She realized she’d miss that smile.

“I haven’t done this in a while. You and the girls deserve this. And Lana is here. The girl needs to put a few pounds on..”

Lana laughed.  It was no secret she was rail thin.  Just like her mother.  Tall and bird-like.

“Well, you won’t hear me complaining. I need to go into the office today.  Will you be here when I get back?”

“No.” June said flatly with a long pause.  “We’re headed out for a while today to see some friends.”

“Ok.” he said looking at June with a smile. No questions. June worried about him for a few minutes.

She thought he knew. But dismissed it. There wasn’t time to worry. Things needed to be settled. Later, after getting Isaac off to work, June and Lana packed up the girls and headed towards James’s place.

“Are you nervous?” Lana asked.  “No, but I used to be. I probably should be. He lost that privilege.” June said.

She had become brave in the last few years. Nights spent missing him had turned into nights where she didn’t need him.They drove for what seemed like three hours but had been a little over an hour.  The twins played for a while, sang along and then
were asleep in 40 minutes.

“We’re here, turn right at the next street” Lana said.

What looked like an open field paired off with a warehouse. “That’s Dad’s place.”

“Where?”

“There.”

“You’re fuc…you’re kidding me right?” June’s voice was shocked.

“No. Been there for a while now.” Lana said. “I’m not taking the girls in there. This was a mistake.”

But they were already there.  The girls were asleep by now.  They had already come this far.  June wondered if maybe it was better to just get it over with. Then she would know what she needed to do.  Problem is she already knew what she needed to do.  She was going to miss Isaac and the house. They pulled the car in front.  A rolling garage door, wide open on a nice day.  A garage of old cars and oldies music playing.  James always did like building things. June thought to herself.

The girls in protest, they were awake but not happy.  Lana led the way and walked in.  Not without grabbing the hand of one of the girls first. Lana presented a key but the door opened before she could use it.  James stood there.

Before she could even think about it, June had stopped in her tracks and her eyes welled up.  It was the first time James had seen the girls walking.  He stood there in awe.  She wondered how he could leave them so easily.  But she looked at James and a smile broke through the tears as she lunged forward to hug him. He caught her right one cue.   It was a long time before he let her go.  Lana stood back with the girls and ushered them off into the kitchen on the other side.

“I’ve been waiting to see all of you. My girls.  I always wanted to see all of you together.  God, you’re beautiful.” James said.

Lana smiled and said nothing. Breaking free from the embrace, she traced the warehouse, turned into a home and wondered if he had been there all those years.  James kept talking.  The endless chatter of a guilty man.

“I’ve missed you. How’ve you been?”

“Well.” Lana said.

“I can see that.  But that’s all you have to say?”

“All I have to say?  You got some damn nerve.  James, look, why did you ask me here? Why did you want to see the girls?  Why did you send Lana first? I mean, just tell me what you want from me at this point”

“I want you and the girls and me to be a family again.  I asked Lana to come because I wasn’t sure you’d talk to me.  I know you got married – Isaac – right? But I didn’t want anything to happen to you if I came by the house.”

“James, if you were so worried you would’ve never left us in the first place. We had become your family.  I know now I ain’t have no business with you then, but still, you left me when I needed you most.  In fact, if I really think about it – and I have – you’ve never been there for me.  At all.  Ever.   Every time I needed you, you were never there.  You just showed up when you needed to be put back together.  It’s never….”

You could see the words made James uncomfortable.  He interrupted her – “I know I was wrong.  But I didn’t bring you here to hear all of this.  You think I haven’t punished myself all of these years?  You think I haven’t thought about all of you?”

June started walking away and waved him off, “You haven’t. Let me go and check on the girls.”  She realized she had totally forgotten they were there for a few minutes.  She never liked the way James had such a hold on her.

She rounded the corner to the twins in a happy place with juice and snacks.  Lana looking as if she knew what the answers would be.  “We’re not staying much longer baby.  But before we leave, I’m going to say this to you” June looked at Lana focused on her high cheeks and berry skin and smiled. “You know if you ever need anything, I am here for you – that promise is still good no matter what happens between me and James.  You understand me?”  Lana nodded.  “Your mother means well, but I know she didn’t always have the right answers.  Not that I do, but it’s nice to have someone – another woman who’s been where you are, to talk to sometimes.  I mean it.”

June made a pivot and headed back around the corner.  James was sitting with his legs crossed.  “So when will you and the girls be here?”

“We won’t.”

James stood up and stepped towards her.  June stepped towards him. She wanted to close the distance to make sure there wasn’t a misunderstanding.

“James, there is a man at home for me.  He’s been there since the beginning with these girls.  You haven’t.  You haven’t ever been here for me.  Not one single fucking time.  So what makes you think I would trust you again?  I loved…still love you.  I always will.  Just for the girls.  And I won’t keep you from the girls.  If you want to see them, you can see them.  But I never thought you’d leave us.  I can’t bear to see it happen again. I’ll never give you the space for it to happen again.  I have a home already and I’m going home.”

James grabbed her and looked at her.  The look she returned forced him to release her.  He stood there in awe and tears welled in his eyes.

“Girls!”

June turned back to James, “There’s no time for that now honey.  I forgive you.  I am sure the girls will too one day.  But the fact remains they have a father.  I have a husband and we all have a home.  Here I thought I was going to leave my life for you.  I’m not the same woman you left.”

June was growing impatient.  The 20 minutes spent talking had seemed like an eternity.  She wanted to get home before Isaac.  She knew she was going to have some explaining to do.  Walking to the kitchen, the girls ran into her legs and she kissed and hugged them.

looking at the girls and holding their hands, she looked at him, “This is what you missed.  Good-bye James.”

He said nothing.  June’s last memory of James was him standing there with the same look he had the last day she had seen him years earlier.  She didn’t say good-bye to Lana.  She packed the girls in the car.  When they were asleep the tears began to flow.  Angry and remorseful she wondered how Isaac was doing.  She just couldn’t get it out of her mind.  The regret.  The feeling she had wronged him even by going and entertaining the idea of love lost years earlier.  Staring at the girls from the rear-view mirror she had to at least thank James for giving her those girls.  They were perfect in every way.

Pulling into the driveway, she noticed Isaac’s car.  She didn’t think he was going to beat her home.  It was still early.  He came out to the car to help her with the girls.  Asleep again, he pulled them out one at a time and carried them into the house.  Isaac had been dutiful like that since she let him in their life.

June trailed behind into the house about ten minutes later and Isaac came down the stairs.  “How did it go today June?”

She stopped.  “What do you mean?”

“With James.  How did it go?  What did you decide?”

In a moment’s time she knew he would leave her and she and the girls would be alone.  “How did you know?”

“June, I’ve always known.  I just never pried.  I didn’t see the point.  I figured the way you talked about him at first and then when you stopped talking about him.  I just figured it was something you didn’t want to bring up.  So I never forced you to.  But I’ve always known.  But you didn’t answer my question – what did you decide?”

Struck in both remorse and a respect words can’t measure, June all too suddenly knew she had underestimated Isaac. She couldn’t talk through her tears.  When she started to talk, the tears overtook her again.  Isaac coming closer to her didn’t help at all.  The shock of it all.  How could he have possibly understood? Why would he want to be here now?  Jesus, I need to leave – I’m not worthy of this man.

“June, I’ve been patient all these years.  Now I need an answer” as he looked at her.

“I am so very very sorry,” June’s voice barely audible “I need you.  I told him it had been a mistake to be there and that I was going home.  That he could see the girls if he wanted, but I was not leaving you.  Baby, I am so sor….”

Isaac stepped in to hug her.  “What’s done is done.  I just wanted to make sure I still had my family.  June, it’s nice to finally meet you.  I’ve been expecting you.”

Lessons in Life: The Importance of Brussel Sprouts in 2012

*raenote – this post is long as hell – get a drink, some coffee, tea and get ready.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston

Y’all have seen me use this quote many times.  I use it because it’s true.  The year of 2012, of all years was a year in life lessons. New lessons learned and many old ones that wanted to come and see me again.  It was a year of answers.  I had amalgamated answers – compounded lessons.  Of course a few additional questions have come up – those will be answered in other years I’m sure.   I’m not a woman who believes in New Year’s Resolutions – not of the formal kind.  I normally consider my reset year on my birthday (May 29 if you plan to send gifts).

Let me sum up 2012: love, conquering, getting cut, getting chose, getting cut again, the rising of a writer and a blog, finding my voice, discovering the limits of my love, discovering things I didn’t know about myself, healing, brussel sprouts and expansion

At any rate, without further adieu – let’s go over what I learned in 2012:

I am a writer.  I am a fabulous writer.  I used to question this years ago.  Mostly because well, I hadn’t gotten any feedback on my writing.  But I hadn’t shown anyone any of it!!  Well, my Dad and Gram believed I could write, but don’t they always support you?  I was so afraid to show anyone what I was writing – I wasn’t ready for the rejection.  But I think enough dating disasters can help a woman (or a man for that matter) realize getting turned down, or someone saying they don’t like something you’re working on – isn’t the end of the world.  Normally, they’re mad that you’re doing something you want to do and they aren’t, haven’t, can’t or won’t.  Special note: If the criticism isn’t constructive (read constructure in my Madea voice) then just let that shit slide.  Seriously.

People are going to do whatever the fuck they want to do and it has absolutely nothing to do with you, me or anyone else.  I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.  I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times if you’ve heard it once.  There is a hamster in their head telling them to do certain things – things that don’t have any consideration for you or your well-being.  It’s all about them.  So – just remember that.  But here’s the kicker if you’re married, attached or boo’d up to to someone exhibiting this behavior there will come a point when your own desire for life (and not just existence but a manner of flourishing and thriving) will have to take over and kick in. Don’t be upset – well, you can be upset, just try not to be too out of pocket about it for years and shit.  It won’t help you.

I used to think it isn’t personal but it is.  My Dad and I were having a conversation.  I was telling him about a situation I had to deal with and here’s how our conversation went:

Me: “I don’t take it personally Dad. I don’t think they meant it like that.”

Dad:  “It’s always personal. That’s the shit people feed you. But it’s always personal when it’s that close.”

So with that conversation, I had to really think about it for a minute – actually it sent me thinking for a few days.  And guess what, as usual, my Father is correct. (He has like a 95% success rate on advice).  As much as I want to believe the Four Agreements – great book by the way, and as much as I think people are looking out for themselves, there’s only so much that you can let slide and not take personally.  That’s not to say I have to walk around pissed off all the time or holding a grudge – I don’t.  What I do do is take note of it and then rearrange someone’s place in (or out of) my life. It gets simpler as the years go on, listen and watch people.  Some things are personal and at the same damn time, some of it isn’t – it just may still personally affect you.

There must be a plan in place at all times. Albeit a fluid plan with room to contract and expand – but there has to be a plan! (I didn’t try to make it rhyme but as I typed this I was reading in my Dr. Seuss voice).  So look – if you don’t have a plan for life, life will make a plan for you. Plan things out and make sure you’re actually doing things to get where you need to be.  In some respects, the blog is both and accidental and deliberate success.  I hoped it would do well – it has.  But I don’t know if I was planning and executing things as well I can. In fact I know I wasn’t. But there was still a plan.  I recommend also having a series of back up plans.  So if a blog fails, or you don’t get accepted to something you apply for? Well – start another blog, review and the re-apply.

There is no way around your fears. You just have to go through them.  In various times throughout 2012 I saw a few things that made me feel vulnerable (betrayal, illness of a loved one, financial issues, disagreements).  Honestly – some of it scared the shit out of me. I wanted to stay home, hide and pull the covers over my head many days (it does keep the monsters out).  It’s the remedy that sometimes works.  But that’s only good for about three or four days until you have to face things.  And I had to face things.  There wasn’t anyone else to handle it.  No one else that COULD handle it and was willing to jump in.  That’s when courage, faith and the reluctant willingness to get through something has to and MUST kick in.  All I can say is that it will.  Keep waking up and facing the day.  As Joyce Meyer puts it, “Do it afraid.”

Some gifts don’t come wrapped the way you expect.  Sometimes, the most precious gift can be wrapped in a situation or a circumstance you’re not exactly ready to handle.  Or at least you think you’re not ready to handle it.  You are.  Trust me.  On the flip side of things, it’s very possible someone who is going to be the most important person you’ll ever meet – maybe they don’t look the way you expected them to, they’re not in the position you imagined, they are younger or older – whatever.  In other words, they’re not your ideal “whatever it is you imagined.”  I know we put all of these parameters and things on people and say how we want things to look exactly a certain way but let me tell you how often I’ve been surprised at who has blessed me, helped me and taken care of me.  It’s not to say there aren’t wolves in sheep’s clothing – there are – but damn.  Additionally, some of the best gifts come wrapped in the most terrible of life’s lessons. Hold on to that last line.

Learn how to open your mouth and ask for help, ask people for what you want, say how you feel.   You don’t get paid for being silent.  Or at least I don’t.  Sure – people can walk off and run away when you tell them how you feel and what you want.  Trust that you’d rather have it that way than never saying anything.  On the flip side of that, so many of us suffer in silence and don’t ask for what we need (within reason). Especially in our closest relationships.  Let me tell you a story –  a couple of years ago, a man I loved dearly decided to just pull the great disappearing act that negroes pull when you ask questions about the direction of the relationship kind of magic trick.  I opened my mouth.  I wasn’t nagging, I wasn’t upset – but right after I asked? He was gone.  I can only convey maybe in voice or in real time how devastated I was.  I didn’t see it coming.  But guess what – I haven’t stopped asking for what I need either. This year was no different.  I had to express some things I didn’t want to, but when it came time – I was thankful I did.  Say this and clap your hands after every word: Open.Your.Mouth.

Take a damn chance. A calculated one. But just take that shit.  Seriously loves.  It’s really that serious.  It’s important that when you see new opportunities, that you take them.  Some opportunities only arrive every now and again.  Some only once.  If you see Falcor land outside your window and you didn’t pop a Molly, you may want to actually get on him and ride.  Take an adventure.   Do something different.  NO, I’m not completely off my rocker.  It’s just I know in order to make any sort of progress we all have to take chances.

Some people are seasonal, situational, semi-permanent and if you’re lucky permanent (with the right ones).  And it’s ok.  Every few years I lose a few people.  Maybe we grow apart, maybe they stop wanting to deal with me, maybe I don’t want to deal with them.  It’s OK!!!  It’s just the way life is.  There isn’t room for every single person on my road.  I’ll confess – it hurts like shit every time I’ve had to cut someone, untie a relationship or they’ve cut me off.  There will be people who are going to go hard in the paint with you for your lifetime.  In fact, don’t be averse to picking up a few more of these folks should you meet them in the coming years.  Real talk – most folks won’t be there but for a flash in the pan.  Get in, let them serve their purpose in your life and you serve the purpose in their life and then get out.  No need for nastiness or harsh words or foolishness.  Just let people walk when they are ready to go.

When people are ready to go – let them walk.  Of course there are caveats to this lesson. A husband, wife, mother, father, children, siblings, best friends of decades, etc. I suggest working it out.  Reconciliation. However, while dating, meeting new people, doing business, etc?  It only causes damage to hold on to some people.  They’re fighting to get free and you’re hanging on.  You end up getting your face in the dirt because you didn’t want your “good thing” to end. Let folks be and let them go.  Otherwise, you’re likely to be hurt.  Holding on to someone when they’re trying to leave – you’ll get your arm broken.

Be open for new and wonderous things.  Brussel sprouts. Let’s talk about those. I didn’t like them.  I went to a friend’s house and her and husband served brussel sprouts.  As I think to myself: I thought I told them I don’t eat brussel sprouts when they brought them out.  At any rate, because I’m the graceful and polite person that I am – I ate them.  GLORY BE!!! Jesus – lo and behold – I like brussel sprouts! (say that again in Sweet Brown’s voice)  Point being – some things you think you don’t like you may need to try and it and find out.  In 2013 it’s going to look like taking a huge chance on an opportunity outside of my comfort zone, being even MORE transparent, doing what feels good to me and doing what’s right for me.

Choose you.  It’s self-explanatory.  But so many of us choose what everyone else wants us to do over what we should do for ourselves.  I have been guilty of it for years.  I was delivered from that last year.  It doesn’t mean I don’t take others into consideration.  It doesn’t mean I don’t take others’ feelings and needs into consideration.  It just means I’m not on an altruistic sabbatical to sacrifice myself for someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.   Given that knowledge, it sometimes means the choices I make won’t be popular amongst people. It’s not the way things always happen.

Do the work it takes to be happy.  As much as all of us talk about how happy we want to be and the things we want to do, how many of us are actually doing those things to help us get there? I honestly can say about 50 percent.  I talked good game for years about the things I wanted for my life, things I wanted to do and I was STUCK.  You hear me?  I mean, I had some moxy to move and at least put myself in a position to do better.  During the time I’ve been here in DC I have grown.  Immensely.  From a young woman to a woman.  These last 24 months – some of the growth I’ve experienced was unintentional and then I became very specific about it.  I stopped dealing with certain people.  I decided to be honest with me about me.  I went through counseling and got through some hard spaces that had happened.   Some things you need to get over and go THROUGH.  We tend to get stuck in some high time in our life and don’t appreciate the now.  Get with it.  You have the ability to be happy now or tomorrow.  You can bah humbug me and all that, but I’m not feeling it.  So there. Don’t kill my vibe.

Which brings me to my final grand lesson …

Be able to be honest with you about you and about what you want for your life.  This is an answer or a series of answers that take courage.  For me, I’ve always known a few things about myself – I want to write, I want to be happily married, I want a family, I want to make a positive difference.  It doesn’t mean when I talk to friends or family that aren’t so keen on any of that that my dreams and wishes fall by the wayside.  In my Joel Osteen like voice …if God manages to plant that desire in your heart, then it’s possible.  But it takes courage to admit things to ourselves.  I know people who will say they came out the womb with all of this figured out (there are a few) but mostly they are great at hiding the fact they’re feeling around in the dark as much as anyone else. 

These were just a few of the lessons I learned in 2012.  I have more – but I’m saving those!

Note: I have to tell you – I am ridiculously happy! I had one of the most difficult years to date and thought I had lost, but I won. I gained.  I found missing pieces of me. I discovered more of who I am as a woman. I’m thankful. And 2013 is set to be a year of building, restoration and as me and Rodd Klever deemed – convalescing (healing).

Me and some other friends who blog will be on the Dr. Vibe show tomorrow night at 9pm discussing “Lessons Learned in 2012.”  So tune in and tweet me!  To listen live tomorrow night – just visit http://thedrvibeshow.com/ at 9pm.  All you have to do is visit the site and the show will automatically start at 9!

So, what lessons did you learn in 2012? What are your thoughts on the lessons I listed tonight?  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Love,

Rae

Choosing Right in 2013…and Beyond

Happy New Year 2013 Quotes Wallpaper 600x450 40 + Happy New Year Wallpapers 2013 (Updated   5 new wallpapers)

Happy New Year Everyone!! I pray the year is amazing so far for you.  I’ve been in a wonderful place lately.  Mostly because a lot of the work started last year.  I also know I love a New Year.  The passing of 2012 and seeing 2013 had me grinning all day on December 31st.  Mostly because I felt like I had won. I am winning.  I had made it. I am making it.  I hope and pray you find yourself in a place of renewal and restoration as you’re reading this.

On today I only want to stress two things – choose God and choose yourself.

Yeah, I just cut to the quick.

At the beginning of 2011 I didn’t have a clue as to many of the things to unfold in 24 months.  But do we ever?  I know for me, so many days, I pad along and mind my business.  The same happy in and out rhythm of life.  Thinking about, planning for all of the things I want, the things I want to do, the people I love and want to spend time with. How I want to create my life, what decisions are coming.

So today, this post is about a statement my bestie Donna (hey boo!) and I used to say – “Choose Right.”  We used to talk about it in terms of men who would walk up to the two of us and then not know who to choose.  Being that we were very different in some ways (in looks, personality) we are kindred.  It used to confuse men.  So the rule was once that if he chose one over the other, well then, the choice was made.

I think today, we’d both look at each other and we still wouldn’t care – we never did.  I also think we’d manage to say “hey – I met this guy and I’m not interested in him but he’d be a good fit for you.”  Then tell the poor guy that he had a better shot with someone else.   It bees like dat sumtahms.

I write all of this today to say we need to choose right. And this doesn’t mean all of our choices will be easy ones.  It’s the ones that count that we most struggle with.  Or is it?  It’s those choices we have to make when we’re alone, sometimes at night when there’s nothing else moving but us.  I mentioned it before, the most important choices come in the still and quiet moments when there is no one around to watch you struggle and cry.  I also think if you’re not careful, so many of the choices we make are the quiet, silent ones.  Sometimes, you have no idea deciding to go deliberately do something (or not), ignore a phone call (or not) or choosing not to make a decision (which is a decision) can change the course of things to come.  It seems like an unimportant decision – but so many of those add up to the way our life looks in five years. A decision to not participate in a project that you thought was worthless and a waste of time can be a million dollar idea.  The point is – you thought it was a small, insignificant decision.

But it’s ultimately up to us to make the best choices for ourselves and for our families. Sometimes those choices will be ones that break our hearts but are necessary.  Sometimes the choices will be cut clear.  Sometimes the choices will break someone else’s heart. but you have to learn to choose what’s right for you and run with it. Prayerfully, it doesn’t hurt anyone else. but the most important thing is – does it help you?

Our choices eventually define us.  Good, bad, indifferent, selfish, considerate, loving or hateful.  It’s those seemingly small decisions that add up day after day.  Like grains of sand in an hour glass.  Or drops of water over a rock. The water wears the rock down over time – one drop at a time.

I learned so much over the last 24 months.  A culmination of all of the lessons I have learned as a young woman until today.  Some things that managed to rock my foundation.  Some things – the lessons can’t even be unwrapped yet.  But the thing is, all of those events put me right where I am in this moment on January 3, 2013.  So I am thankful for these situations and even for the people – some of them that were seasonal – that taught me.

I really got to work on my vision board last week.  I listed what I wanted overall for the year.  I am still working on it and I plan to list everything I can think of in the next few days. Also, I was thinking about something a dear friend said to me about the vision board being static – as in fixed.  I told him that isn’t necessarily true, but I’m thinking I may have been wrong on that statement.   Those are things I really want and desire.  I don’t see them changing anytime soon.  You win on that one Sir.

I have a post coming up about the lessons learned in 2012.  I am also about to do a co-post with the bestie @RoddKlever on our theme for the year.  I’m trying to get Donna to do a guest blog – you think MY writing is good? She’s got stories for days. I’m also planning some wonderful projects and additions to the blog. I can’t wait to share them with you!! I’m really excited about this year, about life, about the blog, about my writing and about all of the things to come!

So remember – choose God, choose yourself.  You don’t go wrong making those decisions.

Can’t wait to share the remaining posts with you over the course of this month.

Let me know – how are you feeling in the new year? Did you make any resolutions?  A vision board?  Making any major changes or moves for yourself?

Love,

Rae