Thoughts on Being Single: Be Gentle with Your Single Friends and Family

I am a soon-to-be 38 year old woman.  I’m not married.  I don’t have children.beingsinglequotes

Newsflash: I want to be married and I still hope for children.   I shouldn’t necessarily have to explain all of this, but in today’s times I find myself in what I call “In defense of being alone.”

I am certain many of my married friends, the friends of friends and family members either think I LOVE being single and ergo don’t want to be married with all of the “trappings” or that  something is horribly wrong with me which is why no one has married me.

Seriously.

I don’t deny there are some things wrong with me – stop laughing – lol.   I tend to be moody although I manage better these days.  I’m somewhat set in my ways – but amenable most days.  I like things done a certain way.  I’m not fond of people who snore (although I do) and I like being able to have to have time alone.  I write.  Writers need time alone and time to create.  Time to stare out the window.  Of course this is the short list of what’s wrong with me.  There is the more exhaustive list I’m sure my exes would be all-too-happy to post and discuss.

I’m also weird sometimes.    Very sensitive, highly intuitive, a lover of ‘me’ time and not fond of loud background noise if I cannot control it.  I’m not a neat freak, but my kitchen and bathrooms all have to be really clean (thankfully you can’t see what they look like right now or you’d call me a damn liar).  I will turn around and go back home if I think I’ve left the stove or oven on.  I spend money on cheap wine and good food. There are a whole host of really weird things I love I won’t even go into today.

Some days I don’t want to be married because I understand the work it takes to make things work.  Being single has it’s benefits in I don’t have to be accountable to someone for where I am and what’s going on.  On the contrary, I am the single friend who wants her married and boo’d up friends’ relationships to survive.  I have sat for countless hours (maybe into the 10,000 hour level) of talking with people and counseling on relationships.  My advice is sound, it works and most days I’m on the money and right.  I tell them it’s difficult out here in singledom and unless there’s a gee-golly good reason of misery, abuse and generally irreconcilable differences then my motto is stay and work it out….

Please note, I am not making a case for marriage or singleness.  For having children versus choosing to remain without children.  Depending who I talk to, there are as many drawback as there are benefits to either.  Each of us has to decide what’s really right for our own life.

However, the questions and the looks from friends and family sometimes, when marriage and children come up is difficult and awkward – at best.  I’m also being extremely nice here.   I’ve been cornered, questioned, speculated at and preached to.  Funny thing is it hasn’t come directly from my Mother or Father – thank God.  Although I’m pretty sure they worry about me, especially my Dad (Hi Dad!), there’s been a whole host of people who feel the need to have input on this.   While I’m thankful for the concern, it hasn’t helped me not one damn bit.

I’m an only child.  I’m fiercely independent.  It’s not because I want to be.  It’s because I’ve had to be.  I would love more than anything to hand over these reigns of household management to a trusted man who would be my partner/spouse/lifemate or [insert your word of boo’d up choice].  I am fine with allowing him the ability to make decisions for us and for me to add my input.  I’d like to have a #Him to bounce ideas off of.  Someone who I could depend on when I was tired or call in case of an emergency.  I have surely built a wonderful network of friends over the years who are there.  But the intimacy of this sort of partnership is what I crave.   I don’t like having to show up for events, wedding, vacations, cook outs and house parties alone all of the time.

In the general scheme of things, I want to be with someone who is available to me when I need him, can support me when I push him away, will take over when I keep my mouth shut and generally help me.

No, I’m not broken.  There is nothing wrong with me (mostly).  I’m just single.

And that can be for any host of reasons.  Choice.  Timing.  Poor choice of who I chose to date over the years.  Spending too much time in dead-end relationships.   Trying to revive already dead situations.   I’m not new to this, not new to dating and not new to consideration of things.

I can talk about all of the bad relationship choices I’ve made over the years.  I will take ownership of them.  I made the decision to date these men.  Maybe the time spent has resulted in me being on the second half of life yearning for a family and a spouse.  But it doesn’t mean anything is actually wrong with me.    This time last year I was in the midst of a relationship that makes me thankful to come home to an empty house.  If you’ve ever had one of these kinds of a relationship, then there’s an understanding of what I feel.

The point here is many of us who are single (men and women) don’t often want to be that way.  Despite whatever our dating and prior marital history may have been, I believe many of us have settled into being alone because we don’t want to settle into the wrong relationship.   We’d rather be alone than be miserable with someone just for the sake of saying ‘Yeah, I got a (wo)man.’  Maybe our hearts are too big (in my case) and we can’t bear the idea of having to endure another heartache.  Maybe I don’t want to have to discuss another failed relationship or being publicly embarrassed by the actions of my significant other.  Maybe, just maybe, I want a place where I can go and still find love, comfort and peace.  And maybe there’s no one that’s provided that for me in years on a consistent and committed basis – despite the fact I’ve dated.

I won’t even begin to talk about how many dates I’ve been on and the mayhem and foolishness that’s ensued.  [Note to self: book material].   There are the stories those who read my blog know about.  There are stories I’ve only told my friends and there are stories  I’ve never told anyone and may never share.   There are the stories behind the stories.

The issue is many people feel as if it’s because I wanted it this way.  That’s far from the truth.  I’ve found myself on more than one occasion having to listen to the concerns of others.  I’m thankful for the concern but it seems all of the owness gets placed on me and why I’m not married.  I mean, I could have been – several times over and realized the person wasn’t right for me.  There was once or twice I met someone and I thought they were right – they didn’t think I was right.  Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

But here’s the thing – what if I didn’t want to be married or committed?  Would that make me a bad person?  No, not at all.  For those that fit under that umbrella I support them as well.  The fact remains I DO want to be married or at least in a successful long-term relationship.

I wrote this a while back and have been anxious to post it.  I just ask if you’re in a committed relationship and have a friend or a family member who is single and childless, be nice to them about their situation.  Please stop assuming things.  If you want to know and are close enough with them, then ask – the right way.  The following WRONG statements have been said to me in some form or fashion:

“oh, you like being single.”

“You love your freedom huh?”

“You like doing things alone all the time?”

“I know you don’t want to be tied down or else you’d be married by now.”

“Aren’t you dating?  Why not?”

“Why don’t you have any children yet? Have you considered finding a donor?”

“You know you can just have kids and don’t need to be married/in a relationship right?”

DONT’ say anything that even remotely looks like any of the statements above.  I have plenty of other examples.  I managed to wiggle out of each of these with grace.  I didn’t want to destroy the fabric of the relationship or turn out the family event.  Just be mindful of what you say.  No trapping them at family functions and private events where their singleness or lack of suitable suitors and dates becomes the main topic.  I’ve managed to handle it with grace but the snide remarks need to see their way out of these discussions.

Have you ever thought the person could be going through something they need to handle?  A financial situation?  A health complication?  Maybe they aren’t able to have children or are now having to debate if it’s the right thing to do?

I’m just saying there are countless reasons people remain single and childless.  Please don’t make assumptions.  Even when you love us.  It’s not fair.   Many people only tell you what they are comfortable telling you.  They may not share everything that happens in their life that’s led them to be where they are at the moment you’re speaking to them.

If you have single family members or friends and you’re married, please be nice to them.  Don’t assume they are fully content.  Don’t assume they are miserable either.  If you want to know how they are, then ask.  If you want to know if they’re dating, ask.   If there are more details, then if you know them well enough, find a considerate way to approach the topic.

I’ve come to a point of acceptance that when it happens it happens.   It can’t be forced.  It can’t be planned.   I need others to get on this page too.

Just be gentle with us.  When the time is right, it’s right.
Have you ever been cornered by your family or extended family about your relationship status?  How did you handle it?

Thoughts on Solitude and Being Alone….

I am an only child. I am captivated by solitude.  I am equally captivated by people.

Although I am a lover of people, solitude is where I get the most done.  The most figured out.  It also makes sense at this stage of the game why I love to read and write so much.  Both are mostly solitary activities.

I’ve also discovered in the throes of relationship bliss, I need time alone. I need my own space.  In other words, I need a few hours a day and collectively a few times a week, where I can just be alone.  That time looks like time to just sit in front of the tv, walk, or just have time alone in the house without any interruption. It’s easy to get that when you live alone though.

I prefer quiet. Ok, wait. I need quiet.  I can spend time in the house where there’s no music and no TV and just clean or cook or both.  I live in the city where quiet is a premium feature. I defend it fiercely.

I like the house kept a certain way.

I don’t like people moving all of my things.  Yes, there are papers in piles but I’m a genius and I know exactly where everything is. By moving it one can disrupt the process of the genius.  This doesn’t end well.

Most days I’m fine with this routine. And well, I’d be lying if I said I don’t appreciate the solitude.  Every now and again, when the house is clean and I’m alone and happy, that loneliness creeps up.  Out of nowhere.  The solitude is deafening at times.

It’s the  drunk dial/text loneliness.   It’s the loneliness that will make me start to go over in my head all the errors and mistakes, asking too many what ifs.  How I should have maybe tried harder or did something better – that maybe I should not have said something or maybe I should have opened my mouth more.  It’s the loneliness that creeps in and makes me want someone to cook for and laugh with and curl up with.

Or just how I miss….

Or how I miss THE him, the proverbial ONE we wish for…or I haven’t met yet. Or have I? And I just don’t and he doesn’t know.

When it’s quiet like this it would be nice to know that I have someone waiting for me or coming home to me.  Happy to see me.  Someone who would be true to me.  Someone who is on MY team – not just me on his.  That he would be concerned about my life and happiness as much as I am concerned about his.

And then I think about how all of this has pushed me into these faux timelines with an unnecessary sense of urgency.

I think a lot.  Solitude allows for that.

In the end, it’s the solitude and the peace allowing me to sit and write.  The solace to collect my thoughts and discover the pieces of me.  The freedom to come and go as I please.  To do whatever I want to do.  To be free to meet new people and mingle.  To accept any invitation.  To rearrange the house or not.  To clean the house or not.  To travel and to plan and to create my life as I want it.

But freedom is never free.  There is always a price.

In the moments of peace, I wonder if it will be hard to relinquish some of this when the day comes that I meet him.  What will happen then?  That is the price.  The cost of desire.  What it costs to want something you have very little control over.

Until then, I have the blessing of listening to the crickets tonight and the music of my neighbors downstairs.  Of knowing the spaces in the marshes of the Anacostia river when I ride over it on the train. I will be able to point those out to him one day, I think.  To tell him about those cranes I look for every morning as the train careens across the river.

I have the option to have whatever I want for dinner.  I have the option to stay up and pace at all hours of the night.  I have the option to consider only myself this evening, writing well into the night  without anyone to answer to.

But there is that price, the cost.  A burden I will gladly trade when the time and the man are right.   A man who will enjoy the solitude of our togetherness in our carved out space in the world.  Who will protect our space together in the world.

Tonight, in the solitude there is the thought of him, wherever and whoever he may be. I think of the book I have to publish.  I think of all of the dreams I have.  I think of my friends and family and how I love and adore my life.  In the solitude, all of these things are safe and sacred.

Tonight there’s this recognition I’m not lonely.  I am only alone and for tonight and the night is perfect as it is.

Love,

Rae

Shaken & Stirred: A Post on Trust & Being Marvin Gayed

(taps mic)

I am going to be open and shame the devil. I have been working on this post for a while now.  Jotting notes down.  Crying.  Getting my caloric intake via sangria and dry white wines.  More notes & writing.  More sangria.  Typing and erasing.  Saving.  More crying.  Then re-reading.  Then the tears dried up.  Pausing.  Enter anger.  Wondering.  Worried.  Worried about me, what happens after betrayal.  Worried about how people will view this, me.  What kind of things could be said.  What people will think of me.  In fact, some days, I think I think about these things too much – what others will say, what people will think of me if I share the things that have really happened, are happening….

It took me a long time to hit the publish button and the fact you’re reading this…well…

I decided I didn’t really care about what would be said.  It needed to be written for many reasons. Mostly because, everything that just happened to me is a teachable moment for both me and maybe for whomever visits this blog. And that’s what me writing is about.  Sharing.  Teaching,  Being open.  Not that I haven’t before, but …do you feel where I’m going with this? The fabulous Rian on the Truth and Cake blog talked about vulnerability, sharing and truth in social media here.  And anywhere I start in this story, I will feel like you’re being jumped in.  But that’s life.  That not knowing how to say it all has also kept me from telling the story.  How do I tell it? Who is this really going to help?  Then some people the other night told me not to tell it, not to tweet about it – that’s when I knew I needed to tell it.  I think that’s the very reason it needs to be told.

I got Marvin Gayed.

That’s the term I coined because well, the man I loved has the same spirit of Marvin Gaye.  A level of outer beauty and magnetism.  The same ability to snake charm women (me and obvious others).   A flair that makes a woman overlook all of the bullshit that’s really happening around her or to really see what’s going on.  This fool man glamored me, reeled me in and then pulled a gaslight.

Marvin Gayed \mahr-vin geid\, verb:

  1. To be lured in willingly, swooned over and then dismissed.
  2. The opposite of being in love.
  3. To fall for someone, knowing damn well you don’t have any business with the person.
  4. When desire for someone outweighs your discernment and reason.

Then again, that’s where the problem really comes in: I saw it all coming.  Or at least glimpses of it.  I should have walked much much earlier and left him exactly where I found him.  In my time, I’ve said & sang “Good Morning Heartbreak” many times.  Too many.  This last one, I am going to talk about today.

What did I see?  Lies, deceit and dishonesty.   In September, in October, in December.  Then in March, April and June.  So I guess there were a few months of peace? Thought: a few months of peace is not enough to make [it] a good relationship.  But there were some good times, good moments, beautiful spaces within the mayhem. It was THOSE moments I was chasing.   The ones that left me feeling I had made the right decision to allow someone back into my life, to try things again, to start anew.  The times I could look over at him and be happy knowing we were in the same space.  When I would cook for him and watch his face light up at a new dish I had made.  The laughter.  The photos I took – he was a great subject to take pictures of.  The hugs.  The walks.  The trips to the museums.  In fact, mostly whenever I gave it made me happy.  Then it has a funny way of sucking the life from you if you’re not being given to…It was all about a level of intimacy displayed in the beginning.  For instance, the first time he came over my house, it was this look of awe and astonishment at the artwork and the books.  The photos.  The way it was put together.  The questions he asked.  He was genuinely IN TO ME. I couldn’t see, rather didn’t want to see it was only for a moment and then the attention would turn elsewhere.

I liken it to people who chase a high.  Those first highs are so powerful, they keep chasing that inaugural high in hopes to get the same feeling back.  [Hence why there are so many of us who are in love with love, serial monogamists, etc – chasing that high  ‘new’ love brings us].  When things weren’t going right I was just trying to get through to that next moment.  That’s how a healthy relationship CAN work – getting through the rough patches.  Here’s the thing – those patches weren’t just rough – they were like minefields.  Think of that moment in a movie when the character realizes where they are.  Where their feet are planted.  How far they are from a possible landmine.  Shiiiiiidddddd.  The problem is you’re already in the middle of it by the time you realize you can’t turn back.  Turning back blows will certainly blow it all up – moving forward – well if it’s in the right direction with careful guidance, there’s a possibility you’ll get through it in one piece with all of your parts in tact.  Again, this is what I mean when I’m talking about desire and how it overrides our sensibility.

There is much too much to go into detail about every warning sign, red flag.  I am making a conscious choice to protect the guilty here.  Not to mention, I have to save the full story for my book right?  Right.

Brass tax: He didn’t respect me, my boundaries, my(our) home or our relationship.  Talking to and pursuing other women while living with someone in a committed relationship doesn’t equate to respect.  Attempting to date & ‘smash’ other chicks doesn’t equate to respect.  Not wanting to share in the duties of the household doesn’t equate to respect.  Having another woman in the home we share?

I will give you a minute to catch up.  Or seven minutes and a drink and some choice “sentence enhancers” aka curse words.

________________________________________________ <<< That flat line represents me laid out in the floor, needing air and almost flat-lining when I found out.

Needless to say,  my life imploded.

But here’s the piece, if I think back to last year, based upon his actions while we were getting to know each other, it was clear I didn’t have any business dealing with him.  He was showing his true colors.  And truth be known, after having a difficult year I shouldn’t have dealt with anyone.  My judgment was already thrown off.  I should have had a seat and took the time to heal.   I am healing and recovering from it all.

Since my blog really is about me and my life, I might as well just lay it bare for you and let you see my process.  So now the questions are,  how did I let him get past all of my gates?  Why would I trust him?  What did he do to earn my trust? Why would I give him a second chance?  What was so attractive about him?  Why did I choose to ignore and dismiss all the red flags?  Why was it so important to make it work?

So where I could say it’s all about him – it’s more about me and the whys, the answers to these questions.

I am working on the answers.

And I had room for improvement in the relationship too – I guess we all do in any relationship.   But this…??  Was never what crossed my mind.  This level or style of betrayal.  I even had to ask him what he was thinking.  Truthfully, all he could do was shrug his shoulders.  There wasn’t much he could say.  I guess what do you say?

On the other side of things, I would have never betrayed & lied to him or anyone else in that way.  My policy is that if I have to cheat, I have to confess and leave.  Or if it’s even coming to that then it’s time to have a serious discussion.

Note to self: It’s important for me to figure this out so I don’t repeat the same mistake twice.

I can’t afford to make the same mistake over and over.

So today, I want to discuss the issue of trust.

There’s a book called The Secret Things of God by Dr. Henry Cloud. There is a chapter about misplaced trust.  I highly recommend you get this book.  It’s fabulous!

Misplaced trust.

In the chapter “Misplaced Trust Opens the Door to Misery” he lays out a crucial foundation:

You know people who have been hurt by trusting the wrong kind of person.  Maybe you are one of those people.  The signs were there, and they were ignored.

But the wish for something more, better, or different was stronger than the screaming reality.  I have seen people believe the unbelievable and go forward with a relationship or business deal when the signs or the track record was just so clearly speaking to them and telling them to stop!

So ask yourself a question: what do you trust?

Do you trust what people tell you?  Do you trust their charm? Do you trust their personalities? Do you trust how much you are attracted to them? Do you trust their credentials?  Their power or status?  What is it that makes you open yourself up to them …?

How you answer that question is one of the most revealing things about you.

…. Here is a secret that the Bible and any good psychologist would tell you about trust: trust a person’s character, as evidenced by their behavior.

I have both the book and the audiobook.  I was driving on a long distance trip and when he asked the question, I had to replay it about five times.  Then I had to turn it off while I drove  in silence to think about it.  Thing is, once the answers started bubbling up – well, some weren’t as pretty and feel-good as I would have liked.  So in an effort to salvage my sanity at the time, I think I must have put the answers away.  Then today, I picked up this book again.  Flipped open to this chapter.  I read the question again.
Then the answers began to roll in.  The whole chapter was yelling at me – in a good way.  It’s about paying attention to HOW people are able to gain your trust.  At the time this man came into my life, the 90 days earlier and the 90 days post meeting were and would be some of the most challenging I had seen.  Sometimes, it’s nice to have someone who you ‘think’ sees you in a way and acknowledges you in a way that makes you  feel the way you always wanted to feel.  The words, his availability, his ability to maintain his dates with me, the fact he seemed to genuinely appreciate me as is.  Of course I have friends that do all of this, but it’s different in the confines of a romantic connection isn’t it?   And he was different from the men I would normally date.  He looked different, lead the proverbial ‘carefree’ artists lifestyle and it didn’t hurt that over the last two years he had asked me out a few times and each time I turned him down.  So there was persistence right?  Hmm, beautiful, says all of the right things, shows up, seems to appreciate me and is persistent…maybe I should give him a second look.  Maybe there’s more there than I saw before.

That’s what I was thinking.  And you know, it’s who I am.  I tend to see the best in people.  I see their potential.  Even when their teeth are baring and they’re looking at me like a piece of hot fried chicken on a Sunday after church.  I still tend to want to see them at their best even if they’re on some bullsh**.

Let me offer a thought here, a revelation: Woody Allen once said that “80% of success is just showing up.”  Figure it out.  If someone is always showing up, on time, with the right words – things can seem in order can’t they?  It doesn’t mean they’ve come with the right intention towards us or even for us.  Maybe it’s because we keep feeding them?  We’re giving them that soft place to land?  Who wouldn’t show up for that?  Take away all of that and see what happens.  Them showing up should not be the only indicator they’re about you.  Stray cats show up all the time when you feed them.  So it’s also a lesson in “taking the sign down” so to speak.  Stop feeding the strays.

Stop providing for and funding mayhem and foolishness.  <<< Note to self.

Here’s the reality.  I was in a vulnerable place.  I wanted to see the best and for a while I did.  I ignored the signs.  I chose to be vulnerable with the wrong person.  My trust was misplaced.  And now, guess what the best part about it is?

You can only teach what you know.  And I know.

I can say I am vigilant of my discernment and what God’s trying to  tell me.  I can say I am thankful my former love decided to pull this stunt in the relative beginning of the relationship.  I am thankful that with great betrayal comes a sense of freedom and out if flows many blessings – if you allow for it.

I will say this is a key lesson when someone has cheated on you, betrayed you – that was a decision they made.  You can be a raging bitch  or you can be Mary Poppins.  You can hold a person down! You be the best you that you can be.  You can give them everything on their ‘list’ but there comes a time when they have to make the decision of what they want, if they want to do right and honor their commitment.  <<< You are not in control of any of that.  Only yourself.

I have become fearless in a good way.  In another way, it was a clear wake up call that I need to get back on my vigilance – on the games being played and ran.  I mean, in this case, when it comes down to romantic relationships, it’s freeing.  It’s reaffirming that I can, in fact SHOULD trust the still small voice before it has to scream at me to get me to see what’s going on.

I am clear on my boundaries.

I often wonder what he’s REALLY told people.  About what happened.  About how the other women see him.  They probably see the same things of wonderment I saw when I first met him.  But, it’s really none of my business what others think of me is it?

It’s a great lesson on the perils of flattery, on tone, on intention – both mine and his.  That it’s important when someone approaches, to gain an understanding of what they want.  Only fools rush in.  Take the time to get to know the animal you’re dealing with because you may find you have more on your hands than you can or are willing to put up with.

The thing is, this imploded my life.  It could have been avoided.

I’ll answer the questions everyone has asked me as they come to knowledge about this :

  1. How are you? Healing.
  2. Do I still love him?  Yes.  Love doesn’t stop.  Like is another matter. Being IN LOVE is another matter.
  3. Do I miss him? I miss who I thought he was and those relative good times.  But I’ve been grieving those for a while so it’s become easier.
  4. What now? Stay tuned – that’s another blog post.

However, I cannot allow people like that in my life. (Psalm 101: 3-7) so in the meantime, I will forgive myself and then I will work towards forgiving him.

Glean what you can from it.  Gleaning = wisdom.

Godspeed my loves.  It’s a cold world out here.  Stay woke.

(drops mic, walks off stage)

Wishing you love,

Rae

Who Will Marry a Woman Like Me? The Single’s Challenge to Get Whole

Honestly, I have been asking myself this question for a while now.

I’ve reached the adult threshold where everyone is getting married, having children.  I mean EVERYONE.  Not just a few people, but most of the people around me and around everyone else for that matter.  Maybe it’s the recession?  Maybe it’s true love.  Fact is they are all boo’d up.  It’s a tad unnerving at times.

I’m a lover of love.  I enjoy seeing people happy and together.  I support each and every one of my friends in their unions. I laugh and cry with them.  I tell them to hold it together when it’s going poorly.  I want them to be together.

The fact remains I am still single and some days you feel some kind of way about it.

No marriage prospects in sight.  It had been this way.  You meet a guy, you think he’s the one, and then for whatever reason or number of reasons, he turns out NOT the one.  In fact, you should have never even been dealing with this joker in the first damn place.  Right?

Right.

I am on a no dating challenge currently.  It was just time.

I realized all the time that’s passed and found myself a little nervous.  Clocks are ticking.  I can hear the bells ringing – and not wedding bells.  I mean the kitchen timer, times up kinda bell.  Or rather a buzzer.   Waking up another morning asking, “What’s wrong with me?”

For the men reading this – yes, women think this and well, we’ll never admit it to you in your face if you confront us.  However, there a few who could care less.  This really isn’t about them (no h8).  It’s for the women, who like myself are looking for the life they thought they’d have at this point and are grappling with the life we currently have.   So it’s what is versus what I want (or expect).

Or rather, I’ve asked myself what’s wrong with me?  I’ve had this talk many times with myself and wondered what I am doing wrong.  Fact is, there were a number of things I was doing wrong.  Those are for another post.

The most important thing I had to realize is that I had to BE the prototype I was looking for.  That’s the number one thing I was doing wrong.  I wasn’t living up to the best version of myself.  The best woman.  The best Rae.

What does this mean?  It means you better be willing to give all of the things you’re asking for from your mate.  It means being long-suffering.  It means knowing what the I Corinthians verse 14: 4-7 really means & to be willing to honor it and get yourself to living as close to all of it as you can.  Practice – and not on dates!!  But on your loved ones.  For those who don’t know what it says:

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

It means I better get to work.  I mean, there is some serious overhaul to be done.  And here I thought I was in good shape.  But then over the last year or so, and after my Lemony Snicket aka the series of unfortunate (dating) events, it brought me to a point where I realized there was a lot of work to be done – on myself.  While I could blame others, at the end of the day, the position I’m in is my responsibility.

I have some issues and they better well be resolved, or well on their way to being worked on before I even think about taking on someone else’s issues.  You realize of course when you get married, you’re taking on all of the other persons issues.  If you think you’re ready for a husband, the better question is to ask if you’re ready to be a wife.  Am I ready to be a wife?  Lord have mercy.

The gut feeling I listened to managed to serve me well.  I knew better all this time than to get married too early.  The truth is, years ago, up until very recently I probably would have made a terrible wife.  So, those brothers are probably as thankful they didn’t marry me as I am that I didn’t marry them.  Do we as women ever think about that? SMH….

Then my mind starts to wander.   I get to thinking: I’m cute; I have many “intangible” talents;  I’m stylish; I have good taste; I’ve been sensible (sometimes – let’s say enough to count me in as not crazy).  Oooooh!  Eccentric.  Okay, maybe I’m a little crazy.  I know right from wrong.  I can recite the days of the week, my address, I usually know what day it is (although I had an episode with that this past weekend – EPIC fail).  I can cook.  I can make a mean Sunday or whatever other day dinner you need.  I’m eclectic.  I’m giving to a fault.  I can empathize with you & share in your pain.  I can love hard.  I tend to be hilarious without trying.  I’m agreeable – on most days.  I’m kinda surly at times though – but some men like that so it’s really an asset.  By the way, I also have assets. (wink)

And so does every other woman.

So why am I NOT married?  Damn.

Mainly because none of the above really matters.

It does matter, then again, it doesn’t.  How beautiful I am, how well I can cook, how well I can maintain things and hold them together – that doesn’t make a relationship stick.  Men have left for more or for less.

What matters is my character.

Ouch.

Yes. Character.

When I started to dissect all of the things I need to resolve, I realized I have my work cut out for me:

  • Deal with past  pains and hurts of exes.  No bitterness please!  No cold witchery is allowed.  No holding a man hostage for the faults of others before him.
  • Master being a Proverbs 31 woman and a woman who embodies the “Love is patient, love is kind…”
  • Pay off some, if not all of this damned debt.
  • Learn to honor my commitments.
  • Learn to be on time.
  • Learn to set boundaries.
  • Discern who I should let go and who I should let stay.
  • Learn what to reveal and what not to.
  • Learn a measure of self-control.
  • Work on all of those things on my to do list : writing, publishing, house, travel, countless other things….
  • Cultivate myself into the best version of myself as I can while I’m single.
  • Maybe learn how to dance burlesque.  Just saying.  It’s helpful.  LOL….

And when you start going through that list, that’s when you get to the answers, you make the progress, the husband shows up.  Here’s the truth, we can look on to others lives as much as we want, but if we’re not making any progress in our own while watching others, we’re failing ourselves and setting ourselves up for future failure.

Fact : you’ll never have as much time as a married person to work on yourself as you do when you’re single.

Same message : I need to BE the prototype I am seeking.

What am I doing to better myself?  Am I taking classes?  Working smarter to pay off this debt?  Trying to fulfill my dreams?  Out here blogging and working on this book like I keep TALKING about?  Taking care of the obligations I am responsible for?  How’s my relationship with God?  Am I actively seeking my purpose?

Fact is, I wasn’t ready.  And if the right man had shown up these years, he wouldn’t have been looking for a girl like me.  I don’t know if I could have even recognized him.

I think when I realized this, I had to lay down in the bed for a day – okay, it was two.  Really.   I got out of bed to shower, make a snack and get a glass of wine.  I stayed in bed to drink, eat and watch those damned four-hour Lifetime love movies and Weddings on E! and all of the other girly movies.

It was deep.  I cried – a lot.  (Girl models do this…)

I didn’t like the woman I saw when I got raw and real with it.  I mean, I loved her, but there were some things she was going to have to get past before she could even consider being someone’s wife or think about even a relationship.

All of this isn’t even really about being a wife, or getting married, or having a committed relationship, or getting the man/woman we want.  It really boils down to being the best person you can be.  Being able to be your authentic self and live your life to its fullest.  Being able to get past your own bullshit, and then really get on with your own life’s business.  Not being stuck in a rut.  Not having to relive every day as if it’s the same day of mediocrity.

This whole realization was difficult.  As mentioned in previous posts, this year has visited me with some seriously difficult days.  They haven’t been as merciful as I had hoped, but then again, maybe they were all too necessary to bring me to a point where I was ready to “get it.”

So who do I see when I’m getting myself together in the morning?  Do I like her?  Do I love her?  Can I depend on her?  Can I call on her when I need her?  Do I find her worthy of a good life?  Is she valuable?

The answer to all of these questions today is a YES.

However, she still falls short.  To put it mildly, I have fallen consistently short of my expectations for myself over the years.  And well, there’s still hope at the beginning and the end of the day.  I still have it.

The main thing is progress is being made.  I’m becoming a better woman each day.

Progress.

Progress.

Pro-gress.

This issue is so close to my heart because it’s so important for us to know our worth, for us to propel ourselves to all God would have us to be.  It looks different for everyone.  What yours looks like is very likely different from mine.  It doesn’t make either any less important or more important for that matter.  It doesn’t have anything to do with who you marry or being married.  It’s dealing with you.  Your character, your attitude, your spirit.

I promise, if you’re not already whole when you end up in a relationship, the holes are going to surely cause a wind of serious change in your relationship.  You’ll lose the very thing, the very person which and who was most precious to you.

I love you enough to tell you to get whole: to work on yourself in the process of waiting.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

So don’t get the title of the post twisted.  I believe in love.  I believe there is a man out there for me.  I believe I am worthy of this man.  There is a man out there who is designed for me, fashioned for me – or shall I say, who I’m fashioned from.  He will be able to handle all of me.  All the multitudes that I contain.  He will be ready for me and I’ll be ready for him.

He will love a woman like me.  He will have been searching for a woman like me.

The point is, I need to be ready to receive him.  I need to be the best person so that when he meets me, I’ve developed or am at least in route to developing into that woman.  It’s also crucial because without this development, I just may never be able to see him and appreciate him.  I may never recognize him.

I am taking the time to work on all of those issues I see within myself that need to be squashed.  I’m meeting my demons face to face. I’m inviting God to meet me where I am and work through me, on me, with me.  I’m working to attract that which I want. To BE attractive to that which I want.   I’m working on being the best version of Rae that’s humanly possible.

I just want to offer hope for you.  I have this little blue flame of hope knowing all things work for the good in our lives.  The Word says it.  Please know if you’ve been putting it off, begin the process and all of the doors begin to open for you.  Revive your life and yourself.

What say you?  Are you working on being the prototype?  Are you working towards being as whole as possible?

I am.  I’m sure you’ll hold me accountable to it.  Please do.

Love,

Rae

Volume I : Things My Exes Have Taught Me…I Am the Prototype

The last calendar 12 months have really been a series of bangers in terms of love, having a broken heart, of being able to rise above it all.  Then working to get past some of my own, ahem,  bullshit and foolishness issues.

Thinking of the lessons I have learned from the men in my life over the years, I wanted to post a list of those lessons.

  1. You should ALWAYS follow that gut feeling, that little voice.  If it tells you to stay, call, kiss, run, yell, shut up, duck, stand still, call, have a seat, ask, hug, walk away, be ready, sniff, pour a glass of wine.  Listen.  It will set you free.
  2. If a man (person) tells you something about him – particularly if it’s a warning, you should listen to him.  It sounds like this: Why are you dealing with me?  You don’t wanna mess with a man like me girl.  Don’t think too hard about this, maybe you should walk away.  Remember I told you this.
    …any of these statements or any variation…give serious consideration to walking away. Actually, just walk away.
  3. If he is a No Call/No Show (aka the NCNS) – leave him alone.  He’s not interested.  Unless he ended up in the hospital, works for the executive office of the POTUS or got arrested then there are few other excuses allowing for this behavior.
  4. Changing/rearranging dates constantly is a no no.  See No. 3 above.
  5. You cannot change anyone – don’t try.  Be able to accept them at face value.
  6. Love is an action verb.  Seen, shown and proved.
  7. When a person is ready to commit – they do it.  No foolishness.  No fuckery.  No mayhem.  It happens.  They are clear about it. Any uncertainty, you’re likely in the wrong place.
  8. As a woman, if you have to ask a man where you stand – you’re already in trouble.  Walk away.
  9. Second chances and Mulligans – might NOT be worth the effort.  If they are, then it’s only with one or two people.  No more.  There’s a reason he became your EX.
  10. A woman pursuing a man – bad idea.  Men really are meant to hunt.  This doesn’t mean you should be an ice queen or on the other hand a pushover.  But let him pursue you, make the dates. You may disagree, but I have proof this doesn’t work.
  11. Disrespect comes in many shades of fine.  Don’t be fooled.
  12. Be slow to marry.  Slow to divorce. Slow to be offended.  It will help you.
  13. If a man isn’t patient with you, or rushes you to any decision, deal breaker.
  14. Fight bitterness.  If someone breaks your heart, forgive them.  It will help you.
  15. There is nothing wrong with a dating break.  You’re not going to miss anything.  Take the time to work on yourself.  Your future version of yourself and your future mate will thank and bless you for it.
  16. Be interesting.  Have interests.  Do some things.   Have a life.  Know what’s going on in the world.  A real man will appreciate this.
  17. Know your limits and boundaries.
  18. There will be things you cannot see coming.  There’s no way to prepare for them.  People will change their mind, leave you, lie to you, betray you and all of the other crazy things humans do to other humans.  Be surprised.  Be devastated if you need to be.  Then be healed and be fabulous.  Be  moving on with your life.  Treat this incident as a lesson.  Learn and don’t repeat.  Learn and teach.
  19. At a certain point in our life (it varies for all women), we should be well aware of what we’re willing to accept.
  20. Never compromise yourself.  You’ll regret it.
  21. Make sure you become his friend first.  Jumping into being his “boo” doesn’t teach you much. Being his friend, you’ll learn a lot more.
  22. This should be self-explanatory but if he’s not calling & not showing up, he’s not interested.  Stop, drop and roll.
  23. Proverbs 19:19  A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
  24. Sex is vital, but intimacy is more valuable.
  25. Never settle.
  26. If his attention can only be maintained by your beauty, your money and your tail, then well, he’s not much of a keeper.
  27. Date variety = dates at the park, the house, road trips, wine festivals, walks and quiet nights at home. Find out if you two can spend quality time together.
  28. The ability to sit in silence together, reading, loving and just sharing is under-rated.
  29. Be able to spend three days solid with him.
  30. Know what you’re bringing to the table.
  31. Mean & unkind do not improve, they escalate.
  32. Never allow someone to judge you solely on your past.  If they continue to remind you of “who you used to be” then he’s not the person for you.
  33. Allow room for him to give to you.
  34. Get real tight with yourself.  You will spend more time with you more than anyone else.  Grow to love who you are.  If you don’t love or like what you’re seeing, start making changes.  Be The Prototype.
  35. Love yourself first.  Cliché yes.  True yes.   No need to look for it.  Love attracts loves.

What else would you add?  Send me your thoughts and I’ll add it to the follow up posts!

Love,
Rae

Giving Up to Get Up Part II aka What’s Out the Window for 2011…Dating

“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And babe, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soul mate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”  ~ Marilyn Monroe

I wrote about giving things up a couple of weeks…ergo…months, here.  Leave it to me to be right back here to have to talk about just that.  Kinda funny how that works out right?

Le sorry for the length of time. It’s been a rough time. I don’t post in the midst of crises or very difficult periods or else I may find myself amongst those who are apologizing and trying to explain themselves on CNN days later. (Shout out to CNN!!!!)

Actually, explaining myself on CNN probably wouldn’t be bad, and I subscribe to the theory that I would rather ask forgiveness than permission.  However, being a publicity nightmare isn’t on my list of things to do.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind being a guest on CNN – hey Anderson and Piers! I’m not trying to end up on there for mayhem and foolishness.  But I can show up on there all day and dish! I mean, Anderson loves Nene.  I’m not boss like Nene (yet) but I will take my yellow arse right on up and through there and dish nonetheless.  My Mom would be proud.  She’d say that she always knew I had IT in me (not sure exactly what she’d also add) and she thought she had raised me right and wasn’t sure where she had went wrong.

I digress.  I always digress.  What else is new?

I’m here to discuss the shit things that we often have to give up (or not) to move ahead (or not).

Here’s the skinny (or the fatty depending on your preference) :

I am giving up dating for six months.

You read it right.

Yes…six months.

Clutch the pearls! Stop the presses!  Heavens to Mergatroid!  Oh hell naw! (hears cars screeching and record players scratching stop everywhere).  And yes, I am perfectly in my right mind.  As right for me as I’m going to be anyway.

Correct – yes, me, Rae, the one who absolutely without any shadow of a doubt would give up the Park Place real estate on her ring finger for The One.

Not dating.

Not going out with anyone.

Not accepting offers.

I am having a seat.

Not even a date with my dream guy ….

I am on lay-a-way for six months.

Yup.  This is an official sabbatical.

I’m not bitter.  Maybe a little bruised up but that tends to make the fruit sweeter right?  I’m still sweet.  I’m still excited about the possibility of love.  I still love seeing two people in love.  I support all of the people who are in love, loving, happy and all boo’d up, all of my newlyweds, those newly engaged.  I’m a lover of love.  Love didn’t put me in this place where I need a break.  Making bad choices, allowing the wrong people into my “Circle of Trust” – that’s what put me here.

I always remember:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.I Corinthians 13: 4-8

I’ve always appreciated that verse.  It tells the truth right?  I just need to make sure I’m in a place where I can receive what’s in this verse as well as provide what’s in this verse.  I find I’m not there anymore.

I am handing off the torch on this relay.

After what I like to refer to as a Lemony Snicket aka “a series of unfortunate events” in my life over the last two years, I absolutely decided and needed take a break.  I had been tossing the idea around in my head when I was reading The District Diva’s website and a challenge for a Six-Month-No-Dating Pledge.  It spoke to me.  Directly.  The sort of direct where you know the message is meant for you.

As my friends will remind me, I have mentioned doing this before.  But this year’s events alone have been enough for me to challenge myself and honor this commitment.  It may not be easy.  When is something worthwhile easy?

Sacrifice + discipline + hard work + prayer + miracles = the recipe for success.

I’m a self-proclaimed nerd and bibliophile so of course I ended up reading the book, Knight in Shining Armor by PB Wilson and the deal was sealed for me.  You can laugh at that title if you want to, but the book means business.  I mean, the sister talks about even putting a wedding on hold if you’re engaged in this book to make sure you’re in the right space and have made the right decision.  So, you know she’s speaking tough love in this book.  There were many “ouches” and “damns” while reading the book. Things I wish I’d have grasped years ago.  All of the things she speaks about in the book – well, I learned them and have the lessons to be able to teach an entire course.  I have an honorary PhD on the course.

I will also confess, I remember seeing the book some years ago, thinking it was going to be really Jesus-y – I know that’s not a word, just saying.  Now, I am a follower of Jesus and I adore Him.  I do.  Sometimes though, when you’re trying to get a breakthrough you need to know HOW and WHY these spiritual things apply things when all you think these are just rules to hold you back.  You’re not trying to hear all of these don’ts without any principal behind them.  Years ago, I was afraid the book would be “you can’t do this, you can’t do that.”  In some ways – it is.  I just wasn’t ready to give in – being the hard-headed and stubborn cuss that I am.  But honestly, from a Christian perspective, the book is breaking things down in a way I had never paid attention to before.  Lights were coming on and alarms were sounding.  Of course this means war.

When I thought about it, being alone for six months sounded amazing!  I never in a million years thought I’d feel this way, but well, the idea has grown on me.  It was time.  Given the serious nature of what it means to be married and to make a decision to spend your life with someone – what’s the rush?  It should be done in such a way where you know to the best of your ability what and who you’re getting yourself into.  You need to know yourself, what the commitment really means and the other person as much as possible.

I think I can take six months to do think things over.

The fact of the matter is when you’re finally ready to move to another level there are things you’re going to have to do, not do, give up, speak up about and get to business on.  There’s no in-between. Like Yoda said, “Try not. Do or do not.  There is no try.”

I am stepping down and officially having a seat.  Getting closer to God and having a series of conversations with Him.  Getting closer with myself.   Getting a fresh perspective.  Healing.  This is a win-win situation for everyone involved!  God gets the time He wants.  I get the time, the space and the respite I desperately need.

There comes a point when you have to realize you’re missing the mark.  Not hitting the target.  Sometimes I think God sets it up so we get to come right home to Him.  So that’s one thing I realized I needed to give up.  Get to the things I’m supposed to be focused on and should have been doing in the first place.

June Carter Cash had this to say about the relationship between her and Johnny Cash:     I chose to be Mrs. Johnny Cash in my life. I decided I’d allow him to be Moses and I’d be Moses’ brother Aaron, picking his arms up and padding along behind him.

Shouldn’t it be this way?

(has a seat)

I’m going to write about my six-month hiatus over the next few months.  I’m a few weeks in.  Already, there have been some serious changes and challenges.

I’m not sure where all of this will lead and what will happen,  but I will offer this quote by Joseph Campbell that gave me comfort I was on the right path:

If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.

Which must mean I’m on the right track.

Are you ready to move to the next level?  Is there anything you need to give up or take a break from?

*Hint: from experience, it’s normally the very thing you don’t want to give up

I’m excited about hearing your comments and thoughts!

Love you!

Rae