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?

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“I Was Expecting You” Part IV — The Conclusion

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

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

“I Was Expecting You” Part I

“I Was Expecting You” Part II

“I Was Expecting You” Part III

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

And without any further wait…

“I Was Expecting You” Part IV — The Conclusion

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

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

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

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

“What babe?”

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

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

“Sure, when you’re ready.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where?”

“There.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’ve missed you. How’ve you been?”

“Well.” Lana said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We won’t.”

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

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

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

“Girls!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

She stopped.  “What do you mean?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s Checkin’ For You?

To Check For (verb)

[tu chek fawr]

Definition: To keep up with someone, to check in on them, to act like you give a damn. To have their back when they need you.  To support them.  To love them when they act a fool.

So who’s checkin’ for you?

I use this term often on the blog because I love it.  It’s an old school term but it’s timely.  I’ve talked about it a few times.

Just thought I would ask to see if you know who’s on your team and gives a flying hippopotamus about you?  Who are you checkin’ for?  Are they showing you the same kind of love?

Fact is, the people who I care about – I try to make sure they know I am there for them and love them.  If any of them happen to be reading this – let me tell you first hand and publicly how much I love you and you mean to me.

Sometimes, I’m not able to be there for them as I would like to be.  Other days I fall short. But I give a damn.  They matter to me and I’m pretty sure they know it.  If I do, it’s impossible not to know.   Because if I’m not here tomorrow then what will happen?  I don’t want them to ever think for one minute I didn’t love them.

But really, I also know who’s checking for me.  I may be sweet and fluffy and whatnot (I am!) but it has nothing to do with my capacity to see when people are for me or not.  Not that they’re necessarily against me.  It’s just they’re not on my team.  I’m on theirs but they’re not on mine.  It’s like following someone you really like on Twitter, someone you really know or connect with – and they don’t follow you back.  Or they mute you.   Or people who are always asking you to support their events but then you throw a party and crickets come out after they promise to promote it for you.  These things…

*side-eye*

Get an abrupt stop and a side-eye.  An evaluation.  And possibly a disconnect.
Or maybe you always find yourself doing all of the helping, the caring, the advising, the assisting, the supporting,  the picking up, the paying, the protecting, the loving, the worrying – without any reciprocation?  I’ll tell you what, it’s not the business and I have been checking for myself lately.

Yeah, so these days, I’m not on that ship any more.  When it comes down to it, it doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be seasons where people need you.  There are.  Support and love them.  But you can’t look five years back and realize you’re the only person who’s checking for anybody.  It can’t work that way.

From one softy to another, stop being such a pushover.  Stand your ground –  equal rights my friend.

Special note:  asking for some shit things from someone who flat out isn’t capable of giving it to you will only upset you, give you high blood pressure and an appointment with your living room floor.  Demanding something from someone who WON’T give it to you might mean you have to break.  Sometimes, people just can’t give you what you’re looking for or won’t.  It’s ok.  Move forward my love.  Press onward.

*drops mic*

Love,

Rae

When Can’t It Be Repaired? To Cut or Untie…

Hey y’all! I tried to stay off the blog and not write, but I missed you. This was also tugging on me and it was too much to tweet. I’ve been thinking about repairing relationships lately.  I think about it a lot.  Anytime I have to sever ties with someone it bothers me.  It’s a rare occasion for me.  I feel blessed for that.  But I have the ability to do it.  Sometimes everyone is better for walking away.

So when can’t a relationship be repaired or salvaged from smouldering remains of bad decisions and words spoken in anger, hurt?  At what point are things too far gone?  When are things at a point of no return? How do we know who we should let go and who we should let stay?  How do we decide when it’s worth the effort? How do we know whether to untie or uncut?  Sophia A. Nelson, author of Black Woman Redefined and an incredible tweeter – shall I say “microblogger” tweeted about the difference between untying and cutting.  She has my attention.

If you know me and you’re reading, you’ll know I don’t like having to untie relationships, much less cut people off.  It’s upsetting. I prefer to untie rather than cut.  Maybe because I love hard.  Maybe because there are people who I just don’t want to let go.

Sometimes, that isn’t possible.  I have untied more than I have had to cut.  Neither feels good at the time.  I could lie and say it did sometimes. Maybe initially?  But when I’m really and truly alone, those nights when you wake up at 4am alone, thinking about the past days event, the real pain would set in.  That moment you have to lay there and remember why all of it had to be done.

On the other side of things, I am not the only person to have untied a relationship.  I have experienced people on the other side untying what we shared.  Whether associates, would be friends or a great love, I know what it feels like to have someone cut you off, not choose you, stop speaking to you and just plain walk away and let you go.

Neither side is ever fun.

I’ve had to walk away and didn’t explain.  I’ve had people walk away and not explain.  Let me add, if you plan to walk away, need to untie or cut a relatonship, the proper thing to do is tell the person.  It leaves room for reconciliation later.

Now for the real deal.  I don’t think there are many hard and fast rules to completely severing a relationship versus having to untie it.  I’ll say it’s not always your choice.  But if it is, it’s our job to decide how we can reconcile before we walk away.  It’s our job to decide if we can see the relationship being restored in the years to comeone difference whether to untie or uncut.  Sometimes we can’t see that far.

But tonight, if you’re reading and you’re thinking about cutting a relationship, think about untying it.  If it isn’t toxic, hasn’t resulted in complete ruin of your life and is more so just a difference of opinions, a difference in desires, a lack of desire, a change of heart, a growth in separate directions.  I believe things can be untied.  No harm, no foul.

I have only had to cut a few relationships in my time.  Even to this day, I think about each of them from time to time and pray they are well.  I miss their friendship.  I don’t miss how they hurt me and the dangerous positions and situations their choices exposed me to.  Hence how I knew I needed to be done – more than done.  Here’s another indicator – they are careless with your well-being. That serves as cut versus an untie.

But really, regardless, no matter what happens, I still think about those I’ve had to walk away from, even those who walked away from me.  It doesn’t make it any easier either way.  I just ask if you’re thinking about making changes this evening, trying to make decisions about your next steps, I pray you take a moment to decide soberly, carefully.

Never cut what you can untie.

Love,

Rae

My Statute of Limitations

Tonight I have so much I want to say, but I can’t.  It doesn’t mean I’m holding back.  I’m not.

But when I began to write, when I began this blog, I imposed a rule that my good friend, my brother and I had.  There were some stories we wouldn’t share in real time.  They were too fresh.  Too open.  Like having a wound, an injury where you’re “cut to the white meat,”as the old folks used to say.  The moments and the memories you want to keep to yourself.  You can’t really share them with anyone else.  Maybe because they think you’re crazy? But mostly because you just want to hold them close.  Hold them so they never really leave your arms.  Hold them because you want to protect the others on the opposite end of the story.

Mostly because I rarely write in real time.  As in I don’t think I should.  I could.  I have the capacity to do so.  I have amazing stories to tell – but such is my life.  I could say all that happens from day to day, but it doesn’t serve my life cause and path.   Maybe if my blog was anonymous? But there are people who live to figure out identities.  And rightfully, I wouldn’t have met some of the amazing people in my life now if I wrote this without a name or a face.

See there is a consequence to writing in real time.  There are real people involved.  People I love.  It’s not to say I never will.  I will probably have someone live blog/live tweet my wedding one day with real time photos of the preparation for the event. It’s just to say I have the desire to protect people I care for and although there is much to be said in real time, I cannot blog about things in real time.  Because I write, because I blog, I never want anyone to feel as if their story isn’t safe.  It is.  The love, the secrets, the stories, the time spent, the crying, the confessions… they are all safe.

Maybe one day, when my life mirrors the African-American DC version of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, I’ll blog about my children and my husband and his friends.  My friends and sisters.  My urban garden.  My real-time recipes.  Of course I want you to know I am fully aware my life doesn’t mirror Ree’s life but Lord knows, if I can end up on a farm and making it happen like she does…. y’all will have many stories to read.  Regardless, there are many stories to be told.  By the way, do you know who the Pioneer Woman is?  Get in to her!  I love and adore her!!

I could tell you about the dinners I cook. Someday I will.  I can tell you how much love I put into it.  Didn’t know I cooked?  I do.  And I LOVE to cook.  I make amazing meals.  Meals filled with love and care, with adoration and life.

But I won’t because that’s who I am.

But y’all know where this is going right?

Is there such a thing as a statute of limitations when it comes down to people and love?  < You of course knew I was going to bring all of this up right?

Can love expire?  Is there a time to admit it all and come clean?  Can there be a safe space to talk about it where it doesn’t hurt anyone? Is there a space and time when I can express all of it and it won’t turn a person away, he won’t run?  Is there a space to make sure all of it can be shared in real time?

I don’t have the answer.

But tonight, I have a series of songs playing in the playlist in my mind, with a series of thoughts.  I think about things that were shared, things that were spoken.  I think about all of the things that are felt but not said.  The things that go unsaid.  The things I know to be true but just can’t put to words.

The stories will come in time.  Some of them will never see the light of day.  They will only exist between God, me and the third party.  There will be other stories  I save for my memoir.

There are stories I still think about today, 15 years out, where I still think I cannot tell the entire story.  It’s like a good journalist, a good reporter never revealing his/her source.  I have to be content in knowing the story without ever telling it.  Having had the experience, but never sharing it with anyone.

But the point in writing is to share and that I do.  To teach or to evoke emotion and that happens every day.

The point is to protect who and what I love.  To be able to still connect with everyone who reads and still be real.
To be able to say there is a time to talk, there is a time to shut up, there is a time to love and protect.  A time to sit still, be still.  There is a time to question and a time to know.

In all things you do, do them for the sake of love.  It’s the only thing that will ever last.

Love,

Rae

A Sight for Sore Eyes – Thoughts on the Congruent Self

This post is about seeing the people in your life.  In the here and now.  Real time.

It’s also about meeting people where they are.

I was watching a movie with a friend the other evening.  Actually, he was watching and I was running out of the room because it was a movie I couldn’t sit through.  That in itself is another blog post.  Rae note: I don’t watch scary movies, things that I find too disturbing or anything that might upset me too much.  Should I choose to embark on a new adventure with a film, it will be in safe daylight hours after having fully been brought up to speed as to what I can or should expect.  A girl has to be careful what she watches these days.

At any rate, some scenes in the movie made me think about how as people we really don’t SEE each other.  We lack the perspective to really pass through all of the bullshit sometimes and see people as they are, where they are, for what they are.

I think of all of the people who are hiding something from everyone around them or near them.  That one secret (or ten) they hold to themselves.  Or the secret that is shared with others with the same vice or just as much to lose.   And truthfully, you can only see and understand as much as a person will allow you to see and understand.

We hide so much of ourselves.  I used to. I used to hide who I was and my life from my parents.  But seeing as how I am “good & grown” as they like to say, I decided somewhere in the last ten years it wasn’t needed any more.  Who has time to be someone different?  It’s not to say I was doing anything they hadn’t probably done or gone through, but I was afraid of what they would think of me.  Mostly, this is what it comes down to – fear of what others think of us or the threat of losing someone we care about if they really know the truth about us.

I was watching Tony Robbins on OWN.  If you’re throwing shade at Tony Robbins, stop.  I drink his kool aid and I think he’s profound so there’s not much you can tell me.  Anywho, his WIFE said something that really moved me.  She said, “Tony is the most congruent person I know.”  She was speaking that he can talk it because he lives it.  Isn’t that who we all want to be?  Isn’t that what makes so many of us create these false personas and personalities?

I want to be the same person online that I am offline.  The same person to my parents, friends, spouse/partner, loved ones and the strangers that meet me.   When people meet me, I want them to know who they’re dealing with.  I want them to find the words I’m writing match the woman they know and meet.  That I don’t have to hide all of my imperfections.

I know we all talk about being transparent, living honestly and being “true to oneself.”  But how many of us are really making it happen?  How many of us have come to terms with who we are as a person?  Can we marry all of our selves?  I mean the self that loves God, the self that watches crazy things on TV, the self that loves to curse, the self that wants to protect and take care of children, the self that loves to cook and drink cheap wine, the self that can appreciate the beauty of a fine man.  I have many selves ..many pieces of me as Ledisi has so put it.

A few years ago, in the depths of failed dating relationships and no progress, I took a long hard look at myself.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with the person I saw.  I had compromised myself in too many ways too many times.  It had taken a toll.  I had made too many allowances for people I shouldn’t have even allowed into my sphere.  When this happens, there are only a couple of choices:

  1. I carry on without any reservation and continue down the same path.
  2. I make changes towards being the person I want to become.

I chose No. 2.  And it’s a daily battle.  I’m sure anyone attempting to walk a halfway decent path will tell you it’s a battle.  Never for the faint of heart.  Not to be taken lightly.  But I can assure you it’s worth it.  I get to go to sleep at night in peace.  Knowing I’ve done what I could to be the best “me” I could be.

It would be a sight for sore eyes to be able to see people as they are.  Good. Bad. Ugly.  Beautiful.  Restless.  Fractured.  It would be a sight for sore eyes for people to be able to live as themselves without fear of being abandoned by those they love because of who they are.

Meet people where they are.  Choose to see them as they are.  Love them as they are.  Love yourself where you are.

Love,

Rae

Leaving things under the rocks….Some things are better left alone

I often have life epiphanies when I am in the middle of those solitary moments to include but not be limited to:

  1. Cleaning
  2. Washing dishes
  3. Taking a shower
  4. Driving
  5. Cooking
  6. Somewhere in the middle of twilight sleep
  7. Reading

Not that you needed any of the above information about me, but I’m throwing it in there as a bonus.  Added note: we need those quiet times to have those “aha” moments.  Moving on….

I was washing dishes today and for some reason I was thinking about calling an old friend I grew up with. Then for some reason, I decided not to make that phone call.  Mostly because some things are better left where they are.

I think back to all of the times when I think of people and look them up, only to be disappointed.  About how many “dead” relationships I attempted to resurrect in the name of being a good person, someone who has the spirit of reconciliation, etc etc.  But aren’t some things better left unturned?

When I was a little girl, a tomboy to be precise, we used to like looking for the large rocks that we could actually pick up. Mostly because they held a plethora of things that could be found underneath there that would scatter when the daylight would hit.  We’d lift the rock and then see what would run out from it and then try and collect the things in a jar – good times.   I used to love it!   Once we even found a nest of baby rabbits.  One decided to run away.  I promptly saved him from the boys and took him home to my mother.  She about lost her mind when she saw it but commended me for my heroic efforts.

Since then, I have unturned a lot of figurative rocks.  Some rocks  in my own life where the light needed to shine so to speak.  Other rocks where I should have left them right where they were.  Remember, things hide under rocks for a reason.

Not sure why this was on my mind today, but I was thinking about reconciliation.  What it means and how far I’m really supposed (read – willing) to go in the name of keeping the peace, in the name of restoring the peace.  And should I always be the one who initiates this? I wrote about giving people the gift of goodbye a while back.    However, it’s always so difficult to peace out on those people who you love the most especially when you still adore them.  Or is this just me who feels like this?

How many times do I reach out before I have to just call it a wrap and take it as a loss?  And why is it that our relationships and friendships just can’t go back to being simple and honorable anymore?

Sometimes I wish I could just walk away and not look back.  And maybe that’s really what it’s about – being able to finally walk away and not look back, not having to wonder if I did all I could do.  When I say good-bye I like to make sure it won’t be for the lack of trying on my part. I like to make sure I’m ready to walk away because when I do, I’m not planning to go back.  I may distance myself at times, but I do like to be slow to completely end a friendship.  It actually makes me upset to lose people I love.  The thing is though, if your friends and relationships aren’t serving you and you’re always serving them, then maybe it’s time to do something different.  Maybe it’s time to have a seat and stop the doing.

There is a limit to outreach.  It may hurt at first, but sometimes, it’s just the way it is.   And sometimes, it’s good not to reach out just because it’s nice to know that if I don’t come reconciling with you, that you’ll come and reconcile with me.  Relationships should be symbiotic, not parasitic.

Raenote :  I will say if it’s involving a parent, sibling, child, spouse, long-time friend or REALLY special someone then it’s appropriate to go the extra mile.  When it’s some random person who you spend only a few hours with at a time and gives you more foolishness than peace  – then peace that shit out.

I think some things are better left alone.  Some things are better left unsaid.  Some things are better left under the rock.

And some people things you should throw rocks at – just saying.

Love Y’all,

Rae