My Dirty Little Secret

I’m going to share a terrible secret with you all that I’ve tried to share in 3-5 different draft posts and have not gotten far. When I try to write it, it never seems worded right and I can’t tell where I am going with it. So, it’s possible this post makes zero sense and I guess that’s ok.

I’m a really jealous person. And especially around love, but it shows up in other areas too. But when people close to me are going on dates, getting laid regularly, meeting nice men, getting flirted with – I feel devastated. Like a complete failure and I dont understand. I just don’t.

I know. This isnt what good people do. You support your friends unconditionally, you are happy for their successes, and you wait your turn, but never enviously. Thing is, I’m so tired of waiting my turn. The jealousy thing I’m sure is a by- product of being utterly tired of it. I wasn’t always this terrible of a human.

I decided to examine my jealousy, get to know her, and understand why she is present. When I get close enough to her, she tells me we are very wounded by the world and universe. Y’all. I try hard. I might be a terrible, jealous human, but I really try to be the best human I can be despite my flaws. I try to give selflessly, for many years I’ve been the supporter and cheerleader (without jealousy), I’ve worked on myself, I try to be the kind of woman someone would want to date and marry that isn’t absolutely crazy, I am extremely self aware, I put myself out there, I’ve endured being cheated on, I’ve helped exes get better, I have forgiven, I’ve made no excuses from my past and each day, I renew a commitment to myself and the world to thrive despite any trauma or abuse that has happened to me. And you know what, I still lose sometimes. Life is like that. But there are those that only of the half work, or do the same work, or no work, and they win. Every time.

They barely work out and don’t exercise – no or minimal health issues. Put in a reasonable amount of work or minimal – either way, get promotions. Treat significant others like crap – get into relationships with the most amazing people and are happy. Lie, cheat, and are wholly awful people – get rich and run an entire country. Do half the work, put themselves out one time, make stupid choices, exist – find relationships, get laid, and/or find people who aren’t insane who want to share their time. There is a meme floating around the internet that asks, “what is the hardest lesson you learned as an adult?” One answer was something to the effect that you can be a good person and do all the right things, and life still not treat you well. I cried the first I read that.

I am sure at times that my jealousy now keeps me from being or getting certain things. Part of me truly believes that… it motivates me to want to change that and then just die from the fact that it is still there. I keep doing the work though. I know I’m incredibly lucky in some ways. When I think about how unfair life is to some people, I think about those who can’t climb out of poverty, who’s governments are murdering their family & friends, who can’t catch a break, and that many of them likely have purer hearts than mine. Trust me when I say, I know my life is so charmed at times, although by no means has it been an easy life. I feel a bit ashamed, but later, I’ll see a smiling friend engaged, on a date, with their s/o, and I know I’ll be crushed. I know how stupid this sounds. This is my dirty little (not so much now) secret. I know how it sounds.

I am continuing to sit with my jealousy. Trying to figure out what she wants me to learn. It’s hard because she brings me back to the pain and I’m not exactly sure how she wants me to address that yet. The pain is connected to an underlying feeling of being inadequate, not as good as everyone else, and that I am broken in some way. I’ve been working on that – it’s tied to some deep shit. As I write that, it makes me think – maybe I just have to go through these feelings. Endure them. Check them. Try not let them ruin me, but instead build me. I don’t know.

But what I do know, is now you all know, my dirty little secret. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but I hope someone else doesn’t feel so alone. I think we can figure this out. We can be better and ok.

Change is the only constant…

Change is inevitable.  It’s something we all go through in life whether we want it to happen or not.  In most cases, our idea of change is an unwanted variable that comes along, ruining good things and making things worse over time.  But change can happen for the better, and most often does.  We don’t like to openly invite change to make things better, but it’s only because it’s unfamiliar; And everyone tends to be a little scared about unfamiliarity.

So, as I go through one of the biggest changes of my life, I have to remind myself that change is a good thing.  To want change is to know that you desire more from life, and that where you are has become to stagnant and complacent.  Sometimes, change is desired, and sometimes it’s needed.  In this case, I think it was a little bit of both. I can only hope that it will bring good and positive things to me in the future.  So with that said, here are a few reasons why I think change is good and something we should all embrace and strive for:

Change gets you out of your comfort zone

I’m some sort of an introvert, so I know all about comfort zones and being in them.   But, doing things that are unfamiliar to you builds confidence.  Without confidence, you won’t get too far in life. With confidence, you are more willing to put yourself out there and take chances.  I’ve had to learn this and still am trying to get used to being confident in/with change.  Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to spread your wings and show the world what you can really do outside of your normal comfort box.  And no, you don’t ALWAYS have to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s good to go back and chill, but don’t stay there.

Change allows you to grow

Change is life.  It’s how this whole ‘life’ thing works.  Getting you out of your comfort zone is the basis of change, and allows for you to grow, and as you grow, you learn.  And as you learn more, the better off you are in life.  Growth from change allows you to experience so much more than you ever would staying in your comfort zones.

Change and being adaptable are seen as positives

We all know that things at work never goes as planned.  As a bag-boy at the local grocery store I learned that being open to change is how you get recognized.  Work itself, is just one big ball of Murphy’s law ready to explode on your hour after hour. And being susceptible to change allows you to handle these situations like a BOSS.  Adaptability and change go hand in hand.  If you allow your resistance to change to keep you from taking charge or handling a situation accordingly, this is definitely seen as a negative.  Change allows you to be creative in solving a problem. A plus in many employer’s eyes.

Change can help spice up your life

In more ways than one…lol.  I am very accepting of change for this reason alone.  Doing the same things over and over for an extended amount of time got me into semi depressive moods many times, because it felt like I wasn’t doing anything or going anywhere in my life.  The same routines of my day to day allowed me to focus on why I felt like I wasn’t successful, or why my life was “boring”, and contributed to a negative aura and thought process.  Change, just in your daily routine, can help with these types of thoughts and maybe a big change could help as well.

Change allows you to experience new things

As we all know, change presents opportunities.  Without being open to change, I wouldn’t be making the biggest move of my life in 31 days. Simple as that.

You have to put yourself out there.  We as humans get to the point where we’re just really comfortable and complacent and just refuse to embrace change because we’re so familiar with the constant. Be open to change and all of the good impact that it may have on you.  Who knows, it could lead to great opportunities that you would have never imagined.  It could change your life.  To fear change, is to fear the unknown, and that totally understandable, but how long are you going to let the fear of change dictate how you live your life?

It’s Official…

746 Elders Story

Why do I feel like I’m about to throw up? The room is spinning, I can’t have a concentrated thought to last more than a minute and I think I’m becoming a big ball of emotions.

I saw it… The MLS listing for my home, and it may be the first real sign of “wow, this is actually happening”.

I’m on the verge of picking up everything and making the biggest change of my life that I don’t even know I’m ready for.

I know that when I wrote my other blog A First-Time Home Buyer’s Confession…, I mentioned that my house never really felt like a home.  While that is still true, I can’t forget about all of the memories I’ve had there.  Too many to go through, but I’ll share my first one.

I have this thing about when I move somewhere new,  I go in, open the door, blast the Air Conditioner, turn on the fan (if there is one) and then lay down in the middle of the floor.  Alternating between having my eyes closed, feeling the aura of the room, and then having them open, staring into the void of the ceiling fixture. I’ve always done this, ever since I’ve owned my first apartment back in 2009, but this time, it was different.

This was mine…

As I laid there, I thought about what I would do with my own space.  How I would treat it. My first housewarming party for my first home.  Where I was going to put all of the furniture. Buying all of the furniture to be put in there.  My mind was just racing to have this opportunity given to me.  No, it wasn’t given, it was earned.  Then, my mind goes blank, and I just lay there.  I just am.  I feel the air from the AC and ceiling fan blow on me, and I’m just happy to call this new place my home.  After all the time and effort spent on buying a home, I was relieved.

It was a culmination of hard work and an awesome bank that would basically give a loan to a dog as long as it had good credit and made enough money, lol.  No, buying a home isn’t easy, you definitely have to be vetted and go through a long ass process before anything happens, BUT I survived. That was good enough for me to be proud and feel that I’ve beaten a negative statistic about people who look like me in society.

3 years ago, I moved into a place that I could call my own.  Again, hindsight has let me know that right now this isn’t what I want in life, but back then it was a great feeling.  I truly felt like an adult.  Like, I did something amazing.  To own a home at 27?  Especially since I felt like I was sort of failing at adulting at that point in my life. Everything just started going well for me, and I feel like owning a home at that time in my life was a great decision.  However, people and things change, but what won’t change is how grateful I am to have been in a position to buy a home (as little as it is) and also grateful that I have the opportunity to sell my first home to be a part of something better, in my professional career.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.  Life is hard.  It comes with good and bad, happy and sad, clear-mindedness and confusion/uncertainty, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Now, I’m off to DC tomorrow to go apartment hunting…I hope I don’t cry.

Heartbreak is a Universal Language (my review of the Sam Smith concert)

I had the pleasure of seeing Sam Smith in concert on Friday thanks to my fellow blogger Malcolm. It was bittersweet as I’ve been his honorary last minute concert buddy a few times and now he’s moving so that will come to an end. I will have to actually plan in advance to attend a concert in DC and hope he lets me stay with him if it ever happens again!! But back to Sam Smith.

This was definitely one of my most favorite concerts I’ve ever attended. I will be honest and say I haven’t attended many. The few I have attended have been pretty varied though. County music, Christian music, hip hop, pop, Beyoncé and Daley and Sam Smith whom I’m really not sure what to classify them as. I saw someone post on Malcolm’s status the other day that “blue eyed R&B” is a thing. Part of me was offended by that but that’s another post. Back to Sam Smith.

Starting with the pretend final song and into the definitely planned encore of the show, I started having this surreal moment and also began writing this blog.

He pretended to end the show with “Too Good at Goodbyes.” This is my ultimate Sam Smith jam. When I first heard that song I could have sworn he sat down and talked to me one day and was like “hey Ashley, I want to write a song about you. How should it go?” It is no secret to anyone that I’ve had my fair share of failed relationships, heartbreak, almost relationships and things just not working out for one reason or another. After this last one and the few mini encounters with people since then, I’ve realized that my ability to pick up the pieces and move on has gotten better each time. Not only is my fallback game strong but my comeback game is pretty good too. So this song definitely speaks to me on a spiritual level.

I stood in a stadium with several hundred people who apparently felt the same way. (One of those people kept farting and I just feel the need to call them out publicly again because they were a terrible person.) We all sang our hearts out. Old, young, Black, White, LGBTQ+, heterosexual and everything in between. Every last one of us sang that song as if it was written for us. Sam even told us to sing it to our ex and we sang a little louder and with a little more passion.

That’s when it hit me. Heartbreak is a universal language. In that moment, everyone in that stadium was taken to a place where we remembered a time where we were mistreated, misused, hurt, and felt that dreaded feeling of “well damn, here we go again.” I stood there singing, and wondering, why? Why does everyone go through this? Why do we mistreat each other? Why do we hurt each other? Why do you pretend to love people then walk away so quickly? Why do we try to force things that clearly aren’t working? Why is it an absolute in life that you will be hurt by love? While I don’t know why I do know that music has a way of bringing us all together to heal from those experiences even if just for a moment.

So we all sang that song. Saying screw you and screw Love.

I’m never gonna let you close to me. Even though you mean the most to me. Cause every time I open up, it hurts. So I’m never gonna get to close to you. Even when I mean the most to you. In case you go and leave me in the dirt.

But every time you hurt me, the less that I cry. And every time you leave me the quicker these tears dry. And every time you walk out, the less I love you. Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but it’s true…

I’m way to good at goodbyes

But it didn’t stop there. Sam pretended like the concert was over, waved goodbye and walked off stage. I thought to myself “that was a very crappy way to leave what was a pretty intimate concert. I’m not buying it.” Some people started to leave as well. I would like to point out that one of those people was the smelly culprit because there was no more farting during the final part of the show. And that’s what their stank behind gets because they missed an awesome ending.

After tons of screaming, yelling and clapping, the band returned and Sam ascended some stairs. Clearly this was a planned encore and I’m not mad at him.

In a very Romeo and Juliette-ish manner, Sam at the top of the stairs and one of his amazing background singers at the bottom of the stage sang “Palace” to each other. And my theory continued. We all sang together of the pain of heartbreak and trying but this time we were all reminded that while it may suck sometimes, the real thing is worth it even if it doesn’t last. We sang this song about fighting for love, with just as much passion as we did when we said screw love. Because we’ve all known a love that helped us grow and become who we are today, even if they aren’t around to see it.

Yeah I know just what you’re saying and I regret ever complaining about this heart and all it’s breaking. It was beauty we were making.

And I know we’ll both move on. You’ll forgive what I did wrong. They will love the better you but I still own the ghost of you.

I’m gonna miss you. I’m still there. Sometimes I wish we never built this palace but real love is never a waste of time.

At this point I was about done with Sam and his mess. I’ve heard these songs a thousand times before including multiple times that day as I prepared for the concert. For some reason though, in this order, in this arena, with these people (minus the fart master) it was having an effect on my and my eyes were getting irritated.

And then he hit me with the icing on the cake and I wanted to cry, and scream, and laugh, and have a full on moment in the middle of the aisle.

Why am I so emotional? No it’s not a good look, gain some self control. And deep down I know this never works, but you can lay with me so it doesn’t hurt.

Oh won’t you you stay with me? Cause you’re all I need. This ain’t love, it’s clear to see but darling, stay with me.

Maybe it’s my own personal stuff coming out. Maybe it’s where my life has wound up. Maybe it’s being single, and thirty, with an achey womb and a ticking biological clock. Maybe it was because I was about to start my period and would have probably gotten emotional at a Plies concert. I don’t know. All I know is, at this point, maybe that’s all we are looking for. Someone to stick around. Preferably because they love you and want to be with you and want a commitment and long term relationship with rings, and dogs, and kids, and happiness and all those things that we are told we are supposed to have by now. But when it doesn’t happen. When it feels like it may never happen. When you start to question if there is just something so wrong with you that no one will ever want to do those things with you or at least not for a long time…sometimes it’s nice to just have someone who stays. Someone to lay with so it doesn’t hurt. If it turns into something more fantastic.

If it doesn’t…well…we can appreciate it for what it was and then turn up the Sam Smith really loud and wallow in our heartbreak with the millions of people around the world doing the same.

I… Am… Tired…

I’m tired of black people getting the cops called on them for no reason.

I’m tired of black people dying from scared ass police

I’m tired of innocent people, let alone kids, dying

I’m tired of school shootings

I’m tired of people not understanding why people want to change gun laws

I’m tired of hearing about this on the news

I’m tired of being looked at as a threat to White people

I’m also tired of being the “cool” black guy to other White people

I’m tired of being seen as not enough

I’m tired of bullies

I am tired of fat shamers

I’m tired of the internet

I’m tired of Facebook

I’m tired of Twitter

I’m tired of my lgbtq+ community being treated unfairly

I am tired of people not standing up for what’s right

I’m tired of you thinking everything is ok

I’m tired of racists

I’m tired of Donald Trump

I’m tired of Sarah Sanders

I’m tired of seeing my people systematically being pushed out of their neighborhoods they’ve lived in for generations

I’m tired of you not caring

I am tired of overly Christian people who refuse to live outside of their Christian beliefs.

I am tired of being judged

I am tired of people saying “no offense but…”

I’m tired of you saying “stop making this about race”

I am tired if you not realizing that this is ALL about race

I am tired of you not talking about it.

I’m tired of you not acknowledging that this is reality

I am tired of you…

I… Am… Tired…

A First-Time Home Buyer’s Confession…

house-for-sale1

Owning a home is pretty easy.  It’s down right smart, honestly.  It’s like putting an investment into yourself, you know?  Making sure that you have something to show for your hard earned money. AND, it’s relatively cheap, I mean, when you compare it to renting.  You can do anything your little HGTV inspired mind will let you.  You own it! Live it up!

So why do I feel like owning a home isn’t for me?

Being a homeowner for the past 3+ years has had it’s ups and downs.  More ups than downs honestly, but over the past year or two I’ve had this feeling that I was ready for something different (I get like this a lot).  Earlier this year, I was in the process of trying to figure out my next career move.  Along with this came the thought of if this career move would include an actual MOVE move.  It was basically because I didn’t know if I wanted to live in Charlotte anymore.  I’ve gotten into a mood that it was time for me to spread my wings and be a part of another experience.  As much as I love it here (I mean, I have a tattoo of the skyline), I felt like my time was up.  It’s a part of my personality where I tend to get bored and I start to feel complacent.  It affects my mood, and eventually starts to effect my life socially and professionally.  So as I contemplated about the next stage of my life, I could only ask myself, would I end up staying in this same area and grow my professional career in a city I’ve grown to love but essentially have outgrown, or do I make a change now.

There is also this other thing…

Over the past 3+years of owning a home, I’ve yet to feel like I was “home”.  Is this something I’ve done subconsciously to ensure that I don’t get too comfortable and keep myself constantly on the go? Who knows.  My home was OK though.  It was somewhere I slept and chilled out, but never really felt homey.  I don’t know if “homey” is even a feeling that I’ve ever really felt in my home.  My house first felt more like a home thanks to my old roommate who helped rid the extra bedroom of silence.  I mean, my house is pretty bland.  No colored paint on the walls, no pictures up anywhere that actually mean anything.  I didn’t do many projects to make the place look better.  It’s just a dwelling that I decided to buy because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do.

Not owning a home isn’t bad…

I’ve come to realize that my personality and buying a home, isn’t really a match made in heaven. For someone who tends to get a new car every 3 to 4 years,  switch jobs about that often as well (not companies, jobs).  I like to think that I’m an ambitious fellow, and that this type of ambition, shouldn’t be tied down. Or maybe I just don’t want to be in the same spot for too long, who knows?  And for the longest, living here in Charlotte, in my wonderful 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath townhome next to the nicest neighbors I’ve ever had in life, was a great experience. But I think that this experience was only for a season, because something was missing.  Maybe it’s the fact that I lived out in the surburbs of Charlotte, without a family, and that living closer to the city is probably what I really needed.  But I did live in the city right before moving to the suburbs, so maybe moving was a mistake, or maybe I just needed a change of pace at that time, and now I need a change of pace again.  Luckily, my company, that I LOVE to work for had an opportunity I could not let slide by me and I am ever grateful that I am able to start my next journey in life because of them.

Adulting is hard folks.  You never know if you’ve made the right decision for yourself until you go and do it.  Listen to your friends, take in their advice but you won’t know how to deal with life until that hurdle comes rushing towards you in that moment.  Then and only then will you realize what you have to do.

So yeah, while I have enjoyed owning a home, and having a place to call my own, I don’t think a traditional home is made for me.  Maybe a condo in a city built like a big community is what I need.  Maybe we’ll find out when I move to DC in two months.  Only time will tell, and I’m so ready for this next adventure. Maybe a little hesitant at first, but I’ll eventually get going at my own pace.

 

 

Things Not to Do When Online Dating

*** Disclaimer: There is so much wrong going on in the world and my heart aches. I debated not writing a lighter post, because with children being torn from their parents’ arms, political disaster and silliness on all sides, and people dying, it seemed trivial. However, in times like this, it is sometimes good to remember that isn’t all of life. I also think there are plenty of folks who comment on these things better than I can. What I’ve learned is that as these things happen, we still eat, laugh, have heartbreak, go to work, and continue to live. And so today, I’m writing about dating. I just want you to know, we here at “A Tale…” are not oblivious and our hearts go out to the world.***

Dating is hard. Dating is hard when you live in a rural area. Online dating is also hard. Dating is extra hard when apparently no one has given you dos and don’ts of your dating profile and responding to people (in this case hetereosexual men responding to women). But never fear – I’m here to help you. So now you can’t say you were never warned.

1. Please stop taking pictures with your money fanned out on your bed or held literally as a fan. Also, taking the picture with your daughter or son having money fanned out is equally a “no.” I thought we left that on Black Planet in 2001? I can’t believe I have to say this.

2. Stop writing a long list of things you hate. This makes you seem like a terrible person.

3. Proofread. It doesn’t have to be perfect but if I’m scratching my head trying to piece a sentence into something vaguely resembling a complete thought, it’s not slang. It’s just mumble jumble.

4. Dick imprint profile pics are a “no.” Also, yes, it was me. I reported your picture.

5. When you respond, do not talk about lips or any other part of the other’s body touching yours in the first 5 messages. Actually, not in the first few days unless we mutually agreed upon that is happening/happened. But definitely not in the first 5 messages. No, I do not want to envision myself kissing you.

6. Don’t go from “hey” directly to “when am I going to meet you?” The answer is likely never at that point.

7. You should probably not have all 50 pictures in the same pose in different shirts. It’s just weird.

8. Don’t ask someone to immediately send you more pics. You legit have a whole damn catalog of pics. You’ve only said hello, I dont owe you shit.

9. If you spend the first 5 messages describing all of a person’s physical features, they begin to wonder what are your intentions. I’m just saying. Also, creepy.

10. If it is stated someone is looking for something long term, stop pretending you didn’t know that. And if you didn’t, read the profile.

11. If someone doesn’t answer you immediately, it is not ok to go off on them and how they’re ignoring you for a pretty boy, and that they’re missing out because you have a job, car, house, and you go on vacations. You obviously also have high levels of. insecurity, a temper, and crazy. *unmatch*

12. While asking questions is a great way to get to know someone, asking someone back to back to back questions, unrelated to the previous answer, and not following up, commenting, and finding common ground with answers (aka having a conversation) is jarring and feels like I’m under interrogation until you feel you’ve done enough to ask for my number.

13. Which brings me to if you ask for my number or to continue the conversation off the site and I say I’m not yet ready, you dont have the right to angrily rant at me and that doesn’t mean to do #12 in an attempt to appease me.

14. Say “hi” and then ask me “truth or dare.” I hate this with all of my soul and it causes me anxiety. Just ask me how I’m doing, what I do for work, etc.

15. Respond to all of my questions with something about meeting me today. It gets annoying. For example, Me: what was the most exciting thing today?

You: Matching with you.

Me: So sweet of you. What are you doing this holiday?

You: hopefully you are coming to see me

Me: Lol. Hmmm… idk I’d like to get to know you better first, plus I have plans.

You: You wouldn’t drop your plans for me?

Me: No. Hell no. Fuck no. I don’t know you!!!!

Ok, ok, I never say that. I usually unmatch, but you get my drift.

16. Similarly please don’t respond to my statements with completely unrelated statements.

Me: So, that about sums up what I do at work. I told you it was a little complicated.

You: I’m just thinking about how it would be to see those lips in person.

WTF?

17. Send me emojis over and over as responses. Especially looking eyes. 👀 THOSE. I love a good emoji but it is annoying when you use it in this way.

18. “Good morning/evening beautiful” has become synonymous with fuck boy when you barely know me. I didn’t write the rule. It just happened. Usually to follow is violation of several of the above.

To end on a positive note, I thought I’d end with a list of “do’s.”

1. Do put up a wide range of pics and look like you enjoy life. I love smiling pics. You’re still a man if you smile, I promise. And you’re sexier immediately to me.

2. Do fill in a bio area. I read every single one. Make it about you and what you like and not what you hate (see above).

3. I am definitely ok with a “hey, how are you?” I don’t need creative pick up lines. I don’t know when it became a crime to just say that.

4. Ask questions about things I wrote in my bio, follow up on common threads, and share info about you.

5. Write more than one word messages.

6. Compliment other parts of me that aren’t physical, i.e. “I can tell you’re really bright or caring.”

7. Talk about a passion of yours. Passion is the key to opening my heart.

8. Make appropriately placed references about Wakanda. I’ll love that.

9. If we have been going back and forth for awhile, we are both sharing info and it doesn’t seem antagonistic, whether for 20 min or 2 days, ask for my number then.

10. Ask me if it’s too late and should we continue in the morning.

11. Continue in the morning if I say yes.

12. Tell me you’re smiling as we’re talking about something non sexual, but interesting. That will make me think you really are into what I’m saying.

13. Use humor, not sarcasm.

What about you all? Have you encountered these things? Agree or disagree? Love to hear from you!