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?

The Show Must Go On

Sitting here recapping the last few months’ events to a girlfriend of mine (hey Stacy!!), I basically told her about the last few months and then I said “But the show must go on.”   She then told me I needed to write a blog post about it…. The last few weeks have looked just like this:

No bullshit.  Sitting at the computer at work and at home.  Writing, creating, planning.  I haven’t stopped – working, writing, creating or crying – really.  Just when I think I’ll stop?   Yup – just like the scene.  But you know what?  I thank GOD for the work because it’s saved me in so many ways.

This isn’t how I’d normally handle things.

A few years ago, some of the stuff I’ve seen over the last year alone would have shut me down.  (I know y’all want details but seriously I have to save some of this for the book I’m working on.)  It hasn’t this time around.  In fact, I’ve been working through most of the mayhem.  You know, it’s that sudden realization that you don’t have the luxury or the time amidst what you may consider some major crisis.  In some ways some of the things that have taken place really are about a crisis.  Others seem to be first world problems and are more like annoyances or non-factors.  Others, well, others may not even hit the radar for most people – but I’m not most people.   I’m me.  I’m Rae.

I know there’s talk on the interwebs/nets whatever you want to call it about black women, the strength of black women and how we just keep pushing and we just keep going in the midst of crisis.  Well, I’ve tried to stop and in fact I have stopped a few times in my life.  Sometimes when you stop – it’s too long of a break.  That break that was supposed to be a month turns into six.  Six months turn into a year.  You understand what I mean right?  By the time I’m aware of the amount of time that’s passed, I’ve not only lost the time, but I’m pissed at myself even more.  Or at least this is what I’ve realized.  Me stopping for too long? No bueno.

So despite the fact that some really crazy shit has gone down, I’ve learned that the show must go on.

I’ll also say when something huge is on the horizon, things normally start going a bit haywire.  Ever noticed that?  When you’re right on the fucking brink of something large, something amazing –  a cog flies from the wheel or the tire blows out.  Never happened to you? Keep living.  Funny how it happens.  Just realize it’s not coincidence.  It’s in that moment I’ve realized I need to dig my heels in and figure it all out – find the strength to keep going.  If I don’t have the strength, I’ve learned (read ‘gotten better at’) picking up the phone and asking for help.  Or at least letting my loved ones know how I’m feeling so they can catch me if I start to fall.

Look, I can’t lie and say I didn’t take a day or two off here and there just to get myself together.  That’s fine.  But the proverbial I’m out and off the grid for weeks and months?  No one has heard from me?  Nope – can’t happen.  Then again, I do know, if the time ever needs to come, I can shut the ride down and get off if I have to.  I made a choice to do this (I think…lol).  Even though I want to just throw a match at things and go and serve drinks on an island in a fatkini – yes, I still hold fast to this vision.  Or maybe start my career as a burlesque artist and sing at night – yes, that’s on my bucket list as well but first of all, I have a life.  My family and friends aren’t having it – although they all seem to be gung ho about me moving to the islands or performing in burlesque shows.  What can I say? I have a supportive bunch.  We even have a stage name picked out for me and someone on costume design.  I digress.  Next, I have all of you, the blog and a book that needs to write itself be written.  In addition, I’ve started guest blogging and branching out working on fashion posts here and here.  So basically,

Ain-t-Nobody-Got-Time-Fo-Dat-sweet-brown-31241125-480-3301

I realized I’d come too far into things just to sit down and stop.  So – the show goes on and it doesn’t stop.

Before y’all jump me talmbout I need to take care of myself, etc – trust me – I do.  I’m the queen of taking care of myself.  I’m the queen of telling other people to take care of themselves.  When I really need to have an extended seat, I’m quite inclined to do so and I do.

How do you push through hard times?  How do you push through disappointment?  Have you noticed you’ve gotten better at it over the years (in a good way)?

Well, let me leave you with a little something – my first burlesque show may have to look something like this but with a tighter dress and more makeup.  Remember – the show must go on….

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

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

 

 

Competition In Love – Why I Don’t Compete

In the past couple of years I’ve watched friends, former lovers and exes alike choose people to boo up with and partner up with.  Some I’ve been surprised by, others made sense to me.  Real talk, it doesn’t matter what I think at the end of the day.  If you like it, I love it.

I could ask why someone chooses one person over another person but I don’t think there’s any real rhyme or reason.  It’s like asking why one person’s voice sounds like a warm and lovely lullaby while another person’s voice sounds like nails against a chalkboard.

I just don’t think we have a choice in the matter.

I’ve read recently you can change what you’re attracted to – or rather who.  I would beg to say the change of what or who you’re attracted to would mean I would have to change too.

*cue crickets, side-eyes and deep sighs

I also don’t think we can change or affect it when someone flat out doesn’t want us or chooses someone else over us.  So why is it that we try so damn hard?  Many of us work so hard to get people to notice us who could give a negative 75 fucks about us.  I’ve been guilty of it in years past.

I mean, I see sisters change up everything in order to attract a guy.  Not to say (r)evolution of self shouldn’t occur but it should be out of choice and not because we’re trying to attract someone specifically.  But I mean making all of these changes before he marries or even commits to us.  Is there a point?  I mean, is it helping?

Here’s the thing, if I changed for every single brother that said he wanted me thinner, thicker, darker, with straight hair, or with my hair curly or with it in an afro.  if I kept my mouth shut when I thought I needed to speak up, if I became the passive person some people would’ve had me to be – then I’m sure this blog wouldn’t exist.  I’m sure the Rae as my closest family and friends know me wouldn’t be who she is.  It’s one of the reasons I didn’t get married to a brother years ago.  I didn’t want to be trapped in a life that was too small for me.  Not that I think marriage traps us.  It’s our attempt to conform and fit into a small space of someone else’s desires while simultaneously ignoring our own that traps us.  I’ve done all the above over the years.

It suddenly came to me years ago, I don’t compete when it comes to love.  Either someone loves me or they don’t.  There will be no coercion from this end. 

By the way, in the choosing process, have you ever noticed there’s no rhyme or reason to it?  It may not have anything to do with how I look versus how she looks.  In fact I may think I look better – come on, you know we’ve all done that before when some dude chooses another chick over us.  We give her the once-over about 15 times looking for the flaws and why he chose her.  She could have three kids, no kids, a house, or be virtually homeless, her own hair or be a weave mistress.  Who knows?  Maybe you wear make-up and she doesn’t  Maybe she’s tall and thin and you’re petite and thick.  No one knows.  And I’m just talking about the characteristics we can see.  It has nothing to do with personality or how she relates to him.  She could be a banshee and screaming all the time.  Maybe the drama moves him? Chile if I haven’t see anything else in my time, I’ve seen what I think are mis-matched couples.  I’ve also noticed some people choose up to their level of comfort or drama or lack thereof.

In other words, it really doesn’t have anything to do with you.  I mean, it could be you – but when you’ve been all the you that you could be and the best version of yourself?  That’s all folks.  Game is over and it’s time to start a new season.  I’ve spent some nights and months over my years wondering why a man did something or other – or didn’t do it.  All I can say is to ask him.  Half the time, most people don’t even know where their choices come from.  I say respect whatever choice has been presented.  Don’t get too mad about it.  People choose what’s best for them.  Just because they didn’t choose you doesn’t mean you’re not the best.  It just means there’s possibly someone of a better fit for you elsewhere.  I’m hoping you don’t waste your time getting all caught up because you think the person is making some sort of statement about you.

Let that idea go.

There’s no need for competition. The only person I’m competing against is myself.  Possibly even the Rae who God designed and I fight against from day to day.  Compete against yourself – to be better than a few months ago, a few years ago.  That’s the only race we should be running.

Love,

Rae

Back to Basics : Learning to Find Your Way Home

This post is about being lost and what it means to find the way back home.

I have been lost more times in my life than I can count.  Maybe I should say I have felt lost.  Like I didn’t have a direction satisfactory to me.   I see people who are much older than me, many younger than me and it seems there is a sort of Kismet amongst the lost.

We tend to locate each other somehow.

At some point though, I realized I have this inner compass.  Call it the Spirit.  Call it instinct.  Call it intuition.  What I do know, is that it can only be a gift from God because it’s guided me through.  When I couldn’t figure it out I was fortunate enough to have friends who could at least call me in off the proverbial ledge of misguidedness.  They knew I was lost.  Many of them have covered me over the years.  And that’s nothing but God.  (You realize of course, God does work through people right?  I believe in outright miracles because I have seen them happen in my time.  Mostly though, God works through people.)

I’ve been in DC a little over twelve years now.  It’s become home.  It feels like home.  It smells like home.  I’m not fond of the wafts of sewage in the hotter months, but c’est la vie.  It was only today, looking out of my window, did I realize how I have grown to love the city.  The rain today, the way the sky looked, instantly took me back to Lagos and a few of the days there.  It wasn’t always that way.  When I first moved here, between Baltimore and DC, I had a hard way to go.   But it got better.  The relationship with the city has become an affair.  I may have been born in Detroit, raised between there and Birmingham, but DC fortified me into a bonified woman.  The city isn’t for the faint of heart.  It and all of the surrounding area can easily eat you alive and swallow you up and send you home in shame.  If you can make it here, everywhere else is a piece of cake.  Interestingly enough, I feel the same way about Birmingham and Detroit.  It’s all love, but it’s not easy.

I used to think the only place that was home was the little house in Detroit.  When I couldn’t go to that house anymore, my concept of home had to change quickly.  Home can mostly be where my things are, where I lay my head but it’s about so much more.

What I’ve learned,  it isn’t the location.  It’s the people.  It’s the friends and family.  It’s the family we create as we live.  It’s all the love that defines home.  Being the extraordinary genius child I am, I have created the most perfect family of the weirdest, most beautiful, kindest and talented individuals who love me and I love and adore them.  In this case, I was given the gift of choosing how to design my family.  And they are in extension to my parents and my close cousins.

I’ve also come to know there are just certain people who make your life feel like home.  I’ve been living for thirty seven  years and change and there are some people who just make you aware you’re living the right life.   Have you met anyone like that?  If not, I pray you do.

It’s the person you’re vying to spend time with, the person who after all of the dust clears and they’re there it makes you feel like everything will be ok.  It’s the person you want to see walk through the wings of the hospital doors when you’re sick.  Or to be there to comfort you when things are going wrong.  It’s someone you don’t mind spending long amounts of time with or waking up to.  It’s the person who occupies your thoughts the majority of the day.  The one who you can talk to and still not have enough.  It’s someone that as the days, months and years go by, being with them never gets old.  That if you need to know who you are, you can always go and talk with them and they remind you of your real, true self.

And guess what?  We don’t really get to choose who these people are….

But hopefully, when we do meet them we’re able to provide the same for them.  There will be those that come and go.  Prayerfully, we get to keep those we feel and love the most.

The best way to set our compass if we’re lost is to set it to those we love.  To put the beacon out.  Some days I feel like I’m a lost ship at sea and those I love are the lighthouse.  Other days, I am the lighthouse and they are the lost ships.  But as long as we are within a radius of each other, home is always just a visit or a call away.

Love,

Rae