A Break Up Letter to NYC

Dear New York City,

The time has come for us to say our good byes. I think we both knew we were never destined to be long term lovers, but we gave it our best shot, and year is nothing to frown upon. You have taught me so much and I wanted to make sure you understood the value you had in my life. So many times we do not get to properly have closure to the most important relationships in our life. Moving gives us that gift. I want to share it with you .

1) You taught me how to be tough. You taught me how to not give into men and their advances, put on a hard shell when necessary, and be strong. You taught me that nothing is too scary for me. That subways at night are absolutely conquerable, streets are meant for crossing at all times, and gave me a bit of NYC sass and arrogance to go along with it. I like that part of me you’ve helped me develop. I feel tough.

2) You taught me the value of a dollar and resilience. You took me back to my roots and reminded how easily you can lose it all, struggle, and be back at the bottom. This was not a fun lesson, but necessary for humility.

3) You taught me Black and Brown comes in 500 different shades and languages and reinforced my sense of pride of belonging to a diverse group of people across the African diaspora. I desperately needed to see that after many years without that validation. When people ask me about my favorite thing about NYC, Harlem, and the Black and Brown people are always my top answer. I can feel the spirits of my ancestors here and see the seeds of their labor.

4) You reminded me that I can ride a bike. I got on my first bike in years when I moved here and it reminded me to always play and that some things are as easy and simple as remembering. Those were some of my favorite moments.

5) You taught me all that glimmers isn’t gold and isn’t for me. NYC glitters and glimmers; NYC is far from gold. It is a hard place to live and be yourself. You showed me that although I may aspire or think something is wonderful, I must really look carefully and consider all parts. I’m so appreciative of this lesson.

6) You allowed me to live a childhood dream of living in the Big Apple. It felt nice to say I’ve done it. My inner child appreciates the adventure.

7) You tested my patience, which I suppose begets patience. From lines, to delayed trains, to spending hours searching for a parking space, to jobs not for me, and a terrible dating scene, you really tried me. I hope I learned patience and not irritation. ūüôā

8) Bodegas make the best sandwiches. There is nothing else to say.

9) You rescued me. I have so many mixed feelings as I leave here. This wasn’t a place of warmth, love, or friendship for me, which was foreign. But I cannot forget that you rescued me from despair and a low place. You were a wonderful oasis at a time that I needed it. I’m sorry that I dont always thank you for it, but I’m grateful.

10) You made me remember what is important to me. That I don’t need a fancy city, expensive apartment, or hectic lifestyle. That family, friendship, passion, and a career that lights me on fire are what I value most. We weren’t good matches because of these things, but thank you for showing me what I really need.

11) That in spite of everything, I can do anything. BUT that doesn’t mean I should. Thank you for that valuable lesson.

I think today, as I walked my last walk home from the one place I could feel comfort, I felt you offering peace as our relationship closes tomorrow. You gave me a gift of a breezy evening, a lovely sunset, children laughing, no slow people in front of me, and the ability to help one last lost tourist find their way to Central Park. This was certainly not a lot of our evenings spent together, but I’m sure you wanted to end this on high note. I wanted that as well, and gave a gift of kindness to a stranger in the subway. I hope you take that as an offering of my gratitude.

I want to thank you. Thank you for making me a tough, bodega loving, fast walking, and incredibly humble woman one year later. I’ll be back as a familiar and indebted visitor, but the depth of our relationship ends here. I’m not sorry to say good bye. It’s the right thing to do. Instead, I’m glad we got the time to influence one another. Thank you for letting me call you home for this short time.

With all the love in my heart,

LeAnna

Say it Loud!…I’m Black and I’m Proud!

I’m rooting for everybody Black.
-Issa Rae

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Despite popular belief, I’m black, and I love being black, and I would not trade that in for the world.

Watching Black Panther in theaters opening weekend was just such an amazing experience. An experience I have not been able to see at a mainstream level in such a long time, if ever. In its first weekend, Black Panther made $218 million. 218!!!!!! To put this in perspective, the Jordan Peele written and directed “Get Out”, which is another great movie, opened up with $33 million and “Girls Trip”, another movie for the culture, opened up with $31 million. Like, can your mind even process this right now? Black people have been WINNING for the past year and some months. However, even though “Get Out” and “Girls Trip” didn’t break the top ten grossing movies of 2017, they did place 15th and 26th respectively. Which isn’t an easy feat. We showed up! We did it y’all. But I can’t help but think we can do better. I can’t wait for when this doesn’t come as a surprise to us, because I can’t wait until other people outside of our race will finally recognize and know our worth.

Black Panther is leading in box office sales for 2018 right now and it’s not even close! Thanks to us for showing up and showing out! Additionally, I wnat to shout out the Marvel fanboys as well, but let me put this in perspective. Black Panther opened up their box office weekend outdoing Thor: Ragnarok, Spiderman: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Logan, AND Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 last year. Only being beat by Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017.

THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE! WE! SHOWED! UP!

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And what’s so much better about this, is that THEY. SHOWED. UP. The Director/Writer, the Actors, every single person who was a part of this project. Black Panther was more than just a superhero movie. It oozed of culture. It celebrated our culture! Even though Wakanda is very advanced, you see women wearing their hair beautifully, naturally, dressed in ensembles that oozed of African prints that seemed to be influenced by Kenyan cloth (I’m sure I’m wrong on the country here, don’t kill me). Even when you see T’challa and crew walking through the city, you see shops with Wakandans selling goods and merchandise, as it being the normal way of living. These people of Wakanda were showing their beauty. Taking Pride in their culture. The dances seen when the “battle” for King went on. The fact that the fate of Wakanda almost SOLELY depended on the women. When you think of advanced civilizations, you don’t think of markets, you don’t think of unpermed natural hair, you don’t think of African print clothing.. I LOVED IT. EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND.

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I’m so glad that Black Panther embodies this, because for the people that are not of color and do not know much about African culture, they were able to see a part of our history in a positive light. Usually, black people are portrayed as dumb, drug addicts, weed smoking, criminals of some sort and we are so tired of being represented this way in the mainstream. This is why we love ourselves. This is why we love to celebrate were we come from, because in most instances it has been stripped away from us. We barely see or know our history. We were taken away from our roots and forced to work as slaves for hundreds of years. This leads us to yearn and celebrate where we come from. From being descendants of Kings and Queens, to being knocked down to virtually nothing during slavery, only to come back out on top hundreds of years later gives me hope and promise and just joy that my black is beautiful and that I am worth it.

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The release of Black Panther is an event! It’s own “comic-con” of sorts. I encourage all of us to embrace our blackness and continue to show the world how amazing we are. I’ve only decided to focus on Black Panther for this post, but we are doing amazing things in music, TV, and movies. Continue to be proud and continue to support us, as we are worth every single ounce of our existence. And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

#wakandaForever

What is Intimacy?

I am plagued by a deep desire for intimacy and connection within all of my relationships and friendships. I call this a plague because often people are not taught to be intimate and vulnerable with one other, and particularly in heterosexual romantic partnerships and so it feels like a curse most of the time.** While I’ve had success with intimacy with my female friends, men, on the other hand, continue to be a challenge.

When I say intimacy, I am not describing something that necessarily is sexual. I am describing the gentle way in which we lean into one another for support, care, and safety. I am describing the desire to know someone beyond their outer shell and take the time to understand someone from their perspective. I am describing curiosity, and genuine love for another human being, because you can see their light that connects them to you. I am describing empathy, placing yourself in their shoes and relaying to them, that you too are human. I am talking about soft kisses on foreheads and lips, arm caresses with no expectation, and soothing hugs. I suppose this is an emotional type of intimacy.

It seems to me, at least in my experiences, intimacy is often a second hand thought or something expected to be a by-product of everything except vulnerability, and often, derived from sex. My experience has been that sex alone rarely leads to intimacy; that intimacy is intentional, requires more work, and requires a certain aspect of emotional availability and maturity than sex. This quote speaks to me about that.

“It’s easy to take your clothes off and have sex; people do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them in your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, and dreams – that’s being naked.”

We aren’t truly naked enough with each other and yet, we want and expect others to be physically naked with us. We do this often with false promises of true nakedness that never comes; “Let’s see where this goes” or “go with the flow.” Sex itself is just sex, and perhaps in some circumstances, a gateway to intimacy, but it has never been that for me. Perhaps it is the way my brain has been wired – part genetics, partly influenced by trauma – but to trust someone who has only seen me physically, but does not make an effort to know my spiritually and mentally (and I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about my inner being), is near impossible for me.

I have never had sex with someone that I felt intimately connected to in my adult life. Sure, I’ve loved them. But I did not feel the intimate connection that allows sex to transcend the physical and become something supernatural. I have never had a man try to get know me, understand my intricacies and apply that to how he loved and cared for me, both in practice and in sex. In turn, I have never felt 100% safe with a partner. I am admitting this now, but it is painful and weird to say that out loud and to the world. And I know that the key to this is a deeper level of intimacy. But how do we even go about building this? Does this even exist?

I wrote a post recently about the love I crave and I think within that are many metaphors describing what my ideal relationship; freedom, independence, interdependence, passion, and also intimacy. I once had a garden and although a lot of work, it never felt that way, because I loved the work it took to tend to it. I felt connected to it. I spent time looking at it, admiring it, learning about it, and trying to listen to what it was that it was saying that it needed. I gave it quite a bit of my attention and enjoyed sitting with it quietly. It also made me laugh and we had hiccups here and there, and we recovered together. Growing a garden is a very intimate affair, whether you know it or not. And truly committing to a relationship also requires this (and likely more) great deal of intimacy – at least for someone like me.

I wish that we could learn more about what it means to be intimate with one another and not to shy away from it. I wish we could see that some of us need safety and intimacy to thrive, and understand how that contributes to an invaluable amount of love. And for some of us, that fertile ground of intimacy and safety, can lead to the best sex, and even more worthwhile, love of your life. That every time you say, we can’t be more emotionally intimate because we just met, and yet expect someone to disrobe for you and be fully present for sex, in some ways you diminish the ways that sex can be intimate, that each time I try to tell you something about me or is core to my life, and you quickly switch to asking me about the color of my panties or sexual fantasy, to every time you kiss or touch me with only an intention to have sexual relations, that you create more distance, that you get further from your goal, that I mentally dismiss you, and for some of us, you may even make us feel used or detached.

I am not sure I can convince many of you of this. We live in hook up and fast paced culture that seems to often place higher value on pace and quantity, and well, sex feels good. I am not saying that every encounter should or ought to be intimate, that there is no place for hookups and one night stands (trust me, there are places and reasons for this), but rather, I am offering that should we ever want anything more substantial, we have to become more substantial. I’m saying connection still matters. I’m also offering to those who feel like me, that they are too deep, too introspective, too intimate, that you are not alone. I’m offering to all my many clients who have struggled with meaningless encounter after another, that I understand.

I do not know if I will find this intimacy in a romantic relationship. If not, I don’t know if I can ever fully commit to a person romantically. I may have to be content in my close friend circle that provides me emotional intimacy without any conditions. I consider myself lucky to have that. I cannot imagine how some people go through life without it. To me, it seems like a zombie or a shell of a life, not fully realized. I hope for you all, that you find intimacy.

**I have a hunch from discussions with my friends that this may be true in other types of partnerships as well, but I can only authentically speak from my experience, which romantically have been heterosexual. I’m interested in how this differs for others though!.

An incomplete list of my life at 30 and proof that I definitely don’t have it all together

While writing my other blog “30 and wandering‚Ķ“, I came across this idea to list out pretty much every little detail about how imperfect my life is, and after going through the list, I can truly say that for the amount of things on this list, I’m doing pretty well for myself, I think. Enjoy!

I didn’t own a pair of boots as an adult until January of 2018. MAYBE a pair of Timbs during high school.

No…Lugz…they were definitely Lugz

I go grocery shopping to save money and eat better, but still end up getting fast food because most times I’m too tired to cook.

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I choose what wine I want to drink according to the alcohol to price ratio.

Actually, that goes for any alcoholic drink.

Speaking of alcohol, I buy the cheapest because it’s just going to get mixed with something else anyway. Don’t let these brand whores steer you wrong.

My car has been overheating while idling for months now and I still haven’t gotten it fixed.

I’m still paying for my old car I had before my current one. Negative equity is a bitch yall.

I owe State taxes for both SC and NC and even though I have a big refund that will cover them both, I’ll probably spend my refund on something silly then freak out when April 17th comes around and I’ll have to scrounge up money to pay the IRS.

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I buy things that I don’t use, but will refuse to get rid of them.

My home that I’ve lived in for three years still hasn’t necessarily been decorated in any form or fashion.

I’d rather fall asleep hungry than spend money on fast food because I’m too lazy to cook.

I tell myself I’m going to work out, but I don’t. Week after week.

I tend to not have complete thoughts a lot…if ever…

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I have clothes in my closet I know that I will never wear again, but will complain about not having space in my dresser.

I think those light up shoes are terrible, but I secretly want a pair

I’m in so much debt…

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I don’t know how to date

I don’t know if I want to date

I don’t know if I’m date-able

I go on hookup apps looking for love.

I go on dates with people who clearly don’t want anything from me other than sex even though that’s not what I’m looking for.

A healthy meal to me is something not fried.

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My tub probably has like 5 layers of dirt in it.

I like naps

Like seriously, LOVE naps.

Sometimes, I have clean clothes and dirty clothes strewn all over the floor and don’t know the difference between the two until I smell test them.

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If I had to choose between Reese’s or having gas for my car to go places. I’d probably choose the Reese’s every time, no question.

Instead of planning out my day and taking advantage of the time I have, I procrastinate and then rush through everything when time starts getting slim.

I pay to have my groceries delivered because I’m terrible at grocery shopping.


These are only a few things that make me terrible. Hopefully some of you out there deal with the same terribleness I do, and if not then maybe there isn’t any hope for me.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are…

When I say I’m fat, I’m not saying it just for kicks. I’m not saying it to hear someone reply back to me “no you’re not”, just so I can feel better about myself . I’m not saying it because it makes me feel better in certain situations.

I’m saying it because it’s true!

Sure, “fat” is a harsh word, but it’s the truth. Overweight, of course, is the better choice of word here, but in any case, it’s a problem that I need to deal with. I just love the fact that when I say I shouldn’t be eating something because I need to lose weight, I get so many interesting, perplexed even, looks. Looks from people who may be bigger than me that says “You are not fat, I’M fat”. Looks from people who are smaller than me saying “I wish I was your size, I can’t gain any weight”. Looks from people that literally say “You’ll be fine”. Looks from people who’ve said “Well, it’s because you’re tall!”.

And yes, while some of these things are true, this still doesn’t negate the fact that I am overweight; Height considered and all. But, of course, I give into the idea of being perfectly fine because I have no willpower. Invite me to go fast food, I’ll go along with all the dinner plans. Mostly because 1, it’s convenient and 2, I can’t eat healthier foods when I see friends are going out and ordering terrible foods. All in all, I’m glad that my weight isn’t a problem for you, but my weight IS a problem for me, and I intend to address it.

I had a enlightening moment the other morning, attempting to put on a pair of pants that I probably have worn no more than a year prior with ease, and I could no longer button them. All of my favorite shirts are starting to “shrink” and I have to buy things in 2XL out of necessity, and not choice (like we used to do back in the college, over-sized shirt, days). It was an eye opener.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are, is that you’re surrounded by well-intentioned enablers. Even if it’s on purpose or by accident. This is my reality, plain and simple. No I may not be your definition of overweight, and that’s part of the problem. People around me don’t truly understand that I need to do something about my health before it gets too late. And the “you’re fine the way you are” comments make it seem like people are disregarding my feelings about my self, my health or my general happiness. Being close to being pre-diabetic will have you thinking about these things.

But you know, I can’t blame my environment. I can only blame myself. I should have the willpower and wherewithal to be a healthier person, but in certain situations, that’s easier said than done.

Temptation is a bitch…

I should definitely have more self control…

My appetite laughs hysterically at both of those statements. I can’t control it (how many people are rolling their eyes at this); And I feel that it’s getting worse as time goes along. So when I make these statements, it’s because I’m trying to train my brain into wanting to be better. Trying to tell myself that hey, you might want to catch this before you get too crazy. Before it’s too late. So yeah, I might not be your definition of fat, but my physical from the doctor is saying I’m headed on the wrong path.

And yeah, for the people who knew me when I was in the gym 5 times a week, working out regularly and keeping up with it pretty consistently. I enjoyed that I was getting stronger, but still not dropping most of my fatty weight. It was kind of the trade off muscle for fat thing going on, but the reason for this happening was because I was still eating like a pig. So then i got to a point where I stopped working out, and lost track of my progress, never to find it again. I stopped working out, but kept eating like I was still working out. A recipe for disaster.

This started due to the fact of going through a mild case of depression during the end and after my last serious relationship, which kind of led me to just not really being into ANYTHING other than food. Eating was a comfort zone for me, instead of hitting the gym harder. It’s known to be a common coping method for many people, and I ended up gaining about 20 or some odd pounds (after already being like 30 pounds overweight). I wouldn’t say that I am addicted to food, but more so addicted to unhealthy food. And even though I’d like to think that I’m technically out of that depression phase, the eating continued and I just started not caring. Then when I got back to the point where I wasn’t happy with my weight and vocalized it, the majority of people I’ve hung out with or around has always asked me why I was so worried about it. Well, because I am, in a word, fat. I’m owning it and will continue to until I do something about it. Hopefully the path I’m taking now will lead me back to the track that I once wandered off of, but I can’t say for sure at this point.

It will be a process.

Life is tough. No sugarcoating it. You will be beat up by it time after time. I don’t think I was ever taught that officially until college. I had to learn on my own, and this is just another battle I’m trying to take head on. And if I’m being honest to myself, I haven’t been trying hard enough, I know that. So if I say I’m fat around you, it’s because I am; And I need to do something about it. I might be annoying…sure. Just ignore me. I know that just saying it does nothing about it, but just know that I’m working on it. This is just me trying to get my mind back to the point where I NEED to force myself to be better. Hopefully this is the beginning of another era of working towards health.

“Today, I got time…”

There’s this saying from a YouTube video (that I’m kind of ashamed to even share here) that I’ve just really been embracing recently.  It’s kind of been my mantra.  “Usually I don’t have time but today, I got time”.  And the funny thing about this is that I thought I didn’t have time before, and that I just gave no f*cks, but come to find out, I do give a f*ck and I INDEED, got a lot of time.

Most people tend to say “I don’t have time for ______ today”.  But recently it has come to my attention that if you don’t have time for someone and their BS at that moment, you better find time soon because whomever you didn’t have time for then, WILL be back with that BS later.

So yeah today, I got time, and will considerably have A LOT of time moving forward.  I’m over ignoring ignorance and childish behavior, and I will no longer participate in it because honestly, some things just need to be nipped in the bud there and then.

So when you want to say some racist shit to me, I got time.  If I’ve told you “No” on multiple occasions and you’re still in my face, I got time.  If you defend Donald Trump and sincerely think he’s a good president, I got time. If you say some LGBTQ-phobic shit, I got time.  If you feel like you are going to disrespect me or anyone else I care about, I got time. If you’re on some anti-feminism, misogynist BS, I got time. If you come for me and I ain’t even send for you, I got time.  If you text me some off the wall mess, I got time.  If you lied to me and I find out, I got time.  

And sure, sometimes people just need to be ignored, but there are some people who just don’t understand. So for the ones that don’t get the silent treatment, I will, for sure, have time for them today. 

And for the friends who you got time for, but seem to still not get it, it may be time to cut them out completely… 

Because ain’t nobody got time for that…

Dating is the worst…Confirmed

I’ve been pondering on if I should post this.¬† I wrote it about a month ago.¬† I just felt like if I stopped talking about Dating, then I’d get over it. HA! This is a follow up to the blog post¬†Dating is the worst‚Ķ.Kind of‚Ķ ¬†(No this isn’t a solicitation to be hooked up with anyone. You know who you are! LOL) This will most likely be my last post like this about dating. Mostly because it’s a new year, and I’m trying to be a better me.

At the time that I wrote “Dating is the worst…Kind of…” I was just kind of in the middle of this in-and-out thing with someone and wasn’t really sure what things were between me and that person.¬† It was a great time, and I had fun, but after a while I starting thinking “hey, this is a good thing!” (You already know where this is going).¬† At the time I was “going with the flow”, like everyone always suggests. “If something is there then let it happen naturally” they say.¬† Sure, but how long do you have to wait before something starts to “happen naturally”?¬† At what certain point do you get tired of “going with the flow” after flowing for months and for some people, years?¬† It should go without saying that when feelings start to be involved, then that’s where things need to be looked at closer. And someone is always going to catch feelings…

I guess that’s where I fucked up.

As a pretty emotional person, I tend to let my feels get the best of me at times (a lot of times). And that’s not necessarily a bad thing but I do end up in bad situations a lot due to it.¬† In most cases, it’s when I feel like I need to throw caution to the wind due to being an over-thinker (Which is a terrible method and I’m trying to get back to my “fuck it all” ways; Even though I’ve officially embraced my “I got time” nature…I’m a little confused on things currently in this department).

*Sigh*

I probably should have posted this sooner…

But I didn’t.¬† I thought I was over it.¬† And at the time I wrote this, I was still holding on for some dumb reason. We all know that not letting go only turns you into a angry, bitter, stalker.¬† And for some time, I was that person.¬† Angry at the fact that I let myself get into this position again.¬† Bitter at the fact that they continued to live life as if I barely even existed, and stalker because social media just makes it so easy; So I’m hoping for this to be my ultimate “let go” moment of this situation.

Dating is such a difficult process.¬† Without even realizing it, it’s something that can determine the trajectory of the rest of your life.¬† Just think, all it takes is one day to meet your future spouse. One person, a stranger even, could be the one you end up spending the rest of your life with.¬† Just one day.¬† I recently started thinking this way, and it let me to date a little more critically.¬† I used to date carelessly; Ok, lets be honest.¬† I used to hook up and then decide if they were viable candidates to spend the rest of my life with (a terrible business model).¬† It’s a trap I’ve been setting myself up for for YEARS and now I’m finally realizing it.¬† In my aforementioned post, this was literally my example of how I dated, and why I thought it was the worst.¬† But dating that way is cake compared to actually DATING someone.¬† It was easy back then but now, you get too involved and your emotions are all fucked afterwards.

Ever since starting “The Tinder Experiment”,¬† I’ve worked on changing my whole philosophy on dating because, to be frank; Just because the sex is good doesn’t mean that’s who I should be laying beside for the rest of my life.

So back then, dating was¬†only the worst… “Kind of…” because I would feel like crap, but then pick myself back up by the bootstraps, download a hookup app and start searching for the next adventure and I would be fine.¬† But in my current situation, where I’ve actually started investing time in getting to know people on a more intimate level, dating actually gets difficult.¬† Yeah, sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s normal, but I’m talking about the times where you’re genuinely getting to know someone. You start getting to know them and enjoying time with that person and then it ends abruptly. And it just hurts like hell.¬† Because instead of just looking for your next fuck, you feel drained, hopeless at times because you’ve showed so much of yourself to this person for nothing.¬† It’s disheartening, and really damaging, honestly.

I blame the hook up apps…

But, actually, I blame myself.  I blame myself for a lot of different reasons that are too lengthy to list here, but I do.

I haven’t seriously talked to many people since. Well, I did, but things fell off.¬† I guess at this point it’s obvious that things fell off because of my previous experience.¬† I’m slightly scared, sure.¬† And it might sound like I’m complaining or whining, and maybe I am.¬† It’s just a part of the process.

So again, no, I’m not looking for encouraging words, or for you to hook me up with anyone (Tina! lol).¬† Reason being is because after going through so many dating situations, you start the think that you are the problem, and then you feel a little hopeless for a while, and then you don’t want to let anyone in, and you always think in your head that Karma is a bitch, and ultimately, you’re just tired.¬† Because who’s ready to exert that much time and energy into someone again already?¬†¬† So to the guys I’ve talked to recently; I’m working on it, but…now you know.

So yeah, Dating is the worst…for now…