Harsh Truths From Gentle Friends

Tonight I am thankful for friends who say what needs to be said even when it is tough to hear.

I have been blessed beyond measure with three intelligent, amazing, beautiful, kind and ferocious female friends that make up the inner most circle of my tribe. They have laughed with me, cried with me, traveled with me, gotten drunk on nachos, margaritas and self-love with me, and when I have been completely broken and not had any idea how to put myself back together they have not tried to fix me. Instead, they have gently held my broken pieces and breathed words of life and loving reminders of why I deserve to be whole and complete in my own right. They kept my pieces safe until I was strong enough to put them back together. For this, I am eternally grateful.

But sometimes…a lot of the time…they are more than willing to say the not so nice things. The things that hurt. The things that knock a few pieces loose again and cause me to have to re-arrange and rebuild. It hurts. It sucks. But I know that it is done with the most love imaginable as they only want to see me thrive and be the best me I can be.

This happened Thursday night. So Tegan…this ones for you!

After a long day of work, a rough couple weeks (okay months) in the lack of love department and right before watching the much anticipated Black Panther premier, as I stuffed nachos in my mouth and had another discussion about why men suck, why I deleted tinder and why I refuse to settle. Tegan, my most gentle and kind friend and the last person on this planet who would purposefully hurt someone, after explaining to me what she feels is causing my frustration and patiently listening to my rebuttal uttered this statement…

“But you’re still single”

From a few tables down I legit heard the waitress say “Damn Tegan. Shots fired.” (We frequent this restaurant a lot but they know each other from high school just in case you were wondering).

Let me back up just a tiny bit to give some context to the statement. But trust me. It doesn’t make it any less harsh.

Here is a brief history of my dating life: I’m minding my business trying to live my best life. Random guy enters the picture in some random way (tinder, going out, sliding in my DM’s, someone saying hey I think you would like this guy. Normal 21st century dating stuff). I give said guy a chance. If I had a super power, it would be my ability to see the good in anyone, latch onto that, and fall in love with it. That happens. I’m amazing. Guy decides nope not what he wants. Guy exits in some usual dramatic way that involves either a very confusing argument or him explaining how amazing and wonderful I am but why he just can’t be with me because he is scared, has goals, doesn’t want to hurt me, or they try to convince me I’m crazy for having standards. I’m sad for a while (though the amount of time spent being sad is getting shorter and shorter). And I swear off all men. Until the cycle starts again. And scene.

It works like clockwork it’s almost scary. So after this happening about 13574893020193837920 times (actual number. Not an exaggeration). I guess the people closest to you get pretty sick of it and decide forget it…I’m just going to let her know it’s all her fault so she can fix the problem and finally find a man.

Just kidding. That’s not what she did. I gave her a really hard time and got really loud and dramatic and for the duration of the movie told everyone I was re-evaluating our friendship. But really I totally understood what she was saying.

So the discussion prior to the statement was that I tend to date the same type of guy. And clearly that’s not working. A lot of the discussion centered around looks and the type of guy I am attracted to and maybe that’s why it’s not working for me. Her thesis was that I need to date someone I’m not attracted to and that attraction will grow and that other things should be more important. That I need to try something different.

Let me pause right here. I’m not shallow. Of the list of qualities I am looking for in a man, drop dead gorgeous Michael B Jordan look alike is not one of them (though I wouldn’t be mad if it happened that way)

I have dated some ugly guys (sorry if you’re one of them) but according to Tegan, I even have an ugly guy type.

So her suggestion was try something different. Find a nerdy, ugly guy who I’m not attracted to who would worship the ground I walk on. Attraction will grow.

My concern is however, that to me that sounds a lot like settling. Not to say I would never date a “nerd.” I’m sure plenty of people would call me a nerd for my love of reading, knitting and all things Harry Potter related. But to me it felt like “don’t chase the spark” (explanation to come) and just find someone who is looking for a relationship and see if it works out. And my fear more than being single forever, is settling just to be with someone and waking up 20 years from now not knowing how I got there and wanting to run.

I don’t think it’s wrong to want a spark (see I told you it was coming). And not a lustful dang he’s beautiful I want to have his babies even though he is a butt hole spark. But a connection. One I’ve never been able to explain but have felt on several occasions leading me to no longer believe in the idea of a soul mate. But something that makes me interested from the beginning and wanting to spend time with them and get to know them. To endure bad days with them and be their safe space and to know each other.

and for that spark to grow into a beautiful, committed, connected relationship that is unbreakable by fight, or distance or some random thot.

But here’s the thing. Of all my friends. Tegan is the only one of us not single. Not only is she not single, she’s engaged!

So I would be stupid not to at least take a few minutes (or the remainder of dinner and the duration of Black Panther) to think about what she said.

While I watched all the amazing black women before me on the movie screen with a few glimpses of men in there too I got to thinking about what I admired most about Tegan. I know she hates being called strong but that’s exactly what it is. In particular, her ability to hear “advice” and opinions from all sorts of people, including myself, take it, process it and in the end come up and act on the decision that works best for her. It takes strength to go against almost everyone’s opinion of your relationship and say screw you, I’m sticking with it because it works for me. It might not make sense to you, but it’s my life, I see the vision, and I have faith that in the end it will all make sense for everyone else.

That’s purposefully vague because I’m not trying to put all of Tegan’s business out there but just know, that it worked out. Heck, she got the ring, but more than that she has a man she loves, who adores her and it works for them. I can’t be mad at that.

So, I said all that to say this. As I sat in a movie theater, watching one of the most amazing movies I’ve seen, with a cast full of beautiful and amazing black people, and strong and fierce black women, next to my best friend whom at the moment I was deciding wether I wanted her to remain my best friend, I came to the conclusion that maybe she’s right. She probably is right. But I also came to another conclusion…

Maybe I’m right too…

Maybe it is possible to find someone, and have that initial spark, and be attracted to them in all different areas, and for them to like me back and want to make things work. I don’t like operating from a mindset that assumes that all interesting, intriguing, goal oriented, employed, and slightly attractive men, especially black men, are ass holes. I have seen many a woman with this kind of man and it work. So I have chosen to hold out faith that it will happen for me. That I won’t have to settle. That there is someone out there who as Tegan put it “will appreciate all the awesomeness” that is me.

And maybe he’ll be gorgeous, or maybe he’ll be my kind of ugly. Maybe I’ll have to try something new and get out of my comfort zone, or actually leave the house, or maybe he’ll be at Salsa’s one night overhearing our ridiculous conversations and he’ll be intrigued. I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I know that for now I am tired and will allow myself to rest and in the future I will try again. And maybe one day I’ll tell this story at my wedding reception, or maybe one day we will be 60 years old and still meeting for Mexican and movie night and Tegan will say

“I told you so.”

Sometimes Answered Prayers Suck!

There’s this country song that says “sometimes God’s greatest gift is unanswered prayer.” It’s a kind of lovely notion. You pray for something, it doesn’t happen but in the end something better does.

But that’s not what this is about. Oh how I would be grateful for unanswered prayers after nights like last night.

Instead, last night was a friendly reminder that sometimes God’s most painful gift is a big fat “No.”

So here’s the thing. It may be hard to tell, and that’s probably a problem, but I do believe in God. I struggle with the God presented to me in church. Somehow a loving father figure who along the lines of history has conveniently hated and condemned large groups of people based on what the highly conservative Christian church has decided is unworthy (think black people, gay people, women and anyone else middle age white men have taken issue with). I believe in a God of love and compassion…for all. He’s working on me.

Anywho…

So, as a result of my beliefs I do pray. I pray for all sorts of things, help, strength, knowledge, discernment, a man. Y’all. God is probably so sick of me praying for a man that I’m pretty sure every time it happens he just looks like this 🤦🏽‍♂️. Like dear lord make it stop…oh wait…that’s me.

But here I am. 30 years old. Single and seriously beyond tired of attempting to mingle that I’m so ready to just wrap it up and give up for ever.

Because here’s what happens. Every time. Without fail.

I’m minding my own business. Trying to live my best life. I’ve got my amazing daughter, my beautiful and loving family, and the best friends a girl could ask for. I am not bothering anyone. I’m not looking. Being single is not the biggest concern of my life. But I get bored. I get the itch. “Man. It sure would be nice to have a relationship.” So, I throw it out there. People tell me all the time “you won’t meet anyone sitting in the House knitting Ashley.” So I go out. Or I get on Tinder. Usually Tinder because I don’t go out much. Sometimes I get on. Swipe for a few days. Get annoyed and get off. If I’m lucky this is what happens. Or I go out and don’t meet anyone and life goes back to normal. But sometimes, the stars align and I go out, and so does someone else, we meet, and seem to hit it off. Or I swipe right and they do too and conversation begins. Numbers are exchanged and things seem to go well.

Fun fact: I have a deep rooted fear of being wanted only for sex and also getting into “situationships.” You know, I like you, you like me, we do all the things couples do but never commit. Yea I have spent most of my adult life in situationships so I’m not trying to do that any longer.

Fun fact: I feel it in my soul that I am meant to be someone’s rib. Someone’s support. Someone’s calm and safe place at the end of a bad day. Someone’s cheerleader and support at the end of a good day. There is no way God put all this yearning for love inside of me for it to just sit there almost to the point of explosion.

So, long story short. Without fail here is what happens. My insecurities start to kick him. Probably triggered by some sort of yellow or red flag that I’m working on getting better at reading. Something isn’t sitting right with my soul.

I then pray, what I have come to realize, is the only prayer that without fail I get almost an immediate answer too. Like I pray for stuff and sometimes I wonder if it just gets lost in the clouds somewhere. But this prayer is my direct line to Jesus. It’s like before it leaves my lips I have sent it straight via email to his throne in heaven and it bypasses any other prayers he may be working on. What is it you may ask?

“Lord. If this man is not meant for me. Please let him slip through my fingers before I start to hold on too tight.”

That’s it. Short. Simple. To the point. And without fail. Within 24-48 hours. I receive confirmation that they are not meant for me. Usually just the conversation is had. A lot of times it’s not initiated by me. Or sometimes they do or say something that I have to acknowledge as a large red flag. But it happens. Every time.

Sometimes I fight it. I beg and plead with God to not let it be true. I cry. A lot. And sometimes I stick around only to be miserable and have to walk away later.

It always sucks. It always hurts. And like last night, if there really wasn’t anything wrong and it just really could have been the right person but not the right time, I can literally feel the piece of my heart break off as it chooses to kind of stick around with the other person as I have to walk away.

There’s probably way to many men walking around this world who don’t know they are carrying small pieces of my beautiful, loving, caring, supportive heart. While I sit back night after night fearful, and hurting, and struggling, and wondering “why me” “what’s wrong with me.” And praying I don’t give it all away and one day have nothing left.

So. I’ll end here. Part of me says, never pray that prayer again because the answer is too painful. But part of me knows, especially over the last year, each time it’s answered I learn something, and I grow. I think it’s coming. I hope it’ll happen for me. I doubt it. And sometimes like now I have restless nights where I cry and beg and plead and wonder if those prayers are just getting stuck in the land of lost prayers. I consider giving up. I do for a while. But then I’ll get the itch again and it’ll all start over.

But for now… sweet dreams.

If you’re going to shoot your shot…please actually shoot it!

Maybe I’m getting way too old for this shit.

Maybe my tolerance for bullshit has reached an all time low.

Maybe I hit 30 and just decided that life is too damn short to sit around waiting on some other person to decide I’m good enough.

I don’t know

What I do know is my attitude when it comes to potential relationships and someone not wanting me has gone from this

To this

(There was a Facebook video that had these two together but I couldn’t figure out how to get it here.)

There are two major reasons that this has taken place

First.

I have spent entirely too much time in my life upset that someone did not want me. Let’s say I’ve been interested in dating and relationships since I was about 12. That means I have spent 18 years…over half of my life…trying to figure out why “no one wants me.” This has legit been the dialogue I have been having in my head on a daily basis. Why does no one want me? Why am I so undateable? Why have I never been asked to a dance (I realized this one today as I took my daughter to buy an outfit for the dance and she talked about her and her friend going together. Shout out to best friends who go to dances with you when no one asks you to go with them!)? Why have I been asked on very few actual dates? Why do guys get mad when they ask for nudes and you say no and then they try to make you seem crazy? Why am I single? Why did I not forward that chain letter in 5th grade that clearly stated I would be single forever if I didn’t forward it? Why? Why? Why?

What’s wrong with me?

The truth is, this train wreck of a thought process had me in the shower looking just like this the other day:

But, even with this recent moment of frustration, I have realized something since then.

My bounce back ability has grown exponentially over the years. Back in the day I would spend days, if not weeks, miserable and sad because someone decided they didn’t want anything to do with me. Or I wasn’t worth it. Over these last 18 years that has changed.

That ugly shower sob lasted maybe 10 minutes. After a good night’s sleep, I’ve been pretty solid ever since. Do I still think about the situation? Yep. Have I wanted to blog about it and cuss all of the male population out? Yep. Have I considered just finding a girlfriend and telling men they lost their chance? Daily. But the miserable, constant dwelling on it, and blaming my self for it all has definitely not been as intense as it normally is. I’ve been proud of myself.

Y’all. Loving yourself is hard. Anyone who tells you different is a bold face liar.

Anywho. So yea. That’s reason number one why my attitude has changed. Growth, progress and channeling my inner Cardi B

Second, and the reason for the title of this random post.

I have zero time for people shooting half as shots then being salty later on when their shot didn’t make it in!!

So I know that’s kind of the exact opposite of my earlier negative self talk trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. Do guys attempt to talk to me? Occasionally. Do they try very hard? No. Do I usually respond when a guy does put in a moderate amount of effort? Yes. Do those guys usually end up being narcissistic ass holes ? Hell yes. Then do those other guys show up salty a few weeks later trying to tell me it’s my fault I keep getting hurt because I never gave them a chance but then again they don’t actually step up and shoot the damn shot?

I can’t count the number of times this happens. And by the same people over and over. Or by random people. Always me. And they tell me I’m still single because I’m too picky, or my standards are too high, or they hint and say “you never know. Maybe he’s right under your nose and you just keep over looking him.”

Anyways. Here’s my suggestion. If you are going to shoot your shot. SHOOT YOUR DAMN SHOT. I really wish I could make some really cool basketball references here but I can’t. But basically actually step up to the damn line, position your self accordingly and shoot the shot. Make it the best shot you have ever taken in your entire life.

And you know what. If you don’t make it, at least you know you gave it an actual try. And then you can tellme that I’m a terrible person, with standards that are too high, and a terribly misconstrued fairy tale idea of what love and life should be like. Then you can sit back and laugh the next time I’m heart broken and posting cryptic Facebook statuses about hating all people. But until then. Keep sitting on the bench and pouting. And leave me alone.

I don’t know how long this mindset will last. Next week I may be sad again. Or next month I may get swept away by another charming narcissist. Or this could very well be my new way of thinking for the next decade. We will all have to wait and see. But what I do know is I will continue to be way to old for this shit. And my tolerance for the bull shit will continue to be very very low.

And you will never have a chance if you don’t shoot your shot!

Sex is not sacred…

No…

Not “used to be”

Not “was”

Not “it depends”

The act of sex, itself, is not sacred.

The connections and emotions, and how you value the act of sex IS what’s sacred, but we’re not talking about that in particular, not today anyway.

What I want to talk about is why we should talk about sex more than we do currently. Especially in the black church community.  Please note that I’m speaking from a personal account, so my views may not match yours, but for the longest time, even as a college aged adult, I’ve felt weird about talking about sex.  I’m still not completely comfortable with it today; Even when talking with partners.  Up until some years back, it’s been something I just completely avoided.  And no, not because I’m gay, but because I thought that it was just something that was “sacred” and shouldn’t be discussed.  I mean, sure being gay probably had SOMEthing to do with it but you just lie and say it was with a girl and feel awkward for a bit.

In a sense, sex was just something that just, happened.  And lets get this clear, when I say talk about sex I don’t mean, “Beating that thang up”, or “Making her scream for daddy”, or  “I put it down” kind of talk.  What I mean is that I was never taught how to be comfortable with myself sexually. You know, figuring out what I liked, and how I liked it. Knowing my boundaries, and how to respect another persons body and boundaries.    Understanding what my partner wanted and making sure they were comfortable. You know, things like that.  The talk was just “don’t go out there and get anyone pregnant”.  Other than that, church taught me that sex should only happen between a married man and woman behind closed doors and if you had premarital sex then you are a terrible person and you’re going to Hell. (Most of my childhood I was scared to do most things because of my chances of going to Hell. Right now I couldn’t care less.  My “Hell Points” are probably over 9000 at this point.)

So, again; sex is not sacred.

Our intelligence has allowed us to evolve sex into thinking that it’s so.  And with my lack of knowledge about it, it took me years to even start becoming comfortable with it, in general.  Sex was supposed to involve Love. Feelings. Emotions! But no, sex is just sex; And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with understanding that and there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way.  But all throughout my christian teenage life, I was taught that to have casual sex was like an ultimate sin, so talking about sex OUT LOUD, wasn’t even a thought in my head.   And then I grow up and was put in this environment where people are doing the nasty with multiple partners, and all I could think in my head is “you’re a hoe” or “you’re going to Hell” or “You need to be saved and delivered from all of this”.  Now I sit back and look at past me like, dude YOU were the crazy one who needed to be “delivered” and “saved”.

sex is not sacred

Not one bit. Sex is not only a natural occurrence, but an enjoyable one as well.  I’m the number one fan of getting it how you live.  If you want to sleep around, by all means do so.  As long as you’re responsible and all parties involved are just as responsible and know about it upfront so that there are most likely no issues.  Obviously, you do put up the risk of catching “feels” and that’s normal. We’re all adults and should act as so.  We should learn to be more open about our sexuality, and just be more open in terms of talking about sex in general.  I feel that there was this thought while I was growing up that if we didn’t talk about it, it wouldn’t happen or exist, but there are a lot of kids out there who don’t know anything, and won’t for a very long time until they grow older.  That was the life I was living for a long time.  I wish that I was more comfortable with my own body and sexuality at an earlier age.

Why?

Because sex is not sacred…

 

My Christmas Wishlist

The following is an incomplete list of things I would like for Christmas.  If I were to get any one of these, I would consider it a Holiday Miracle.

  1. My bills paid
  2. Lottery scratch offs
  3. Women to get respeck
  4. Men to stop acting like every little interaction with a woman is considered sexual assault
  5. Toys for my puppy
  6. Reese’s cups (the BIG ones)
  7. Donald Trump to stop being president
  8. Donald Trump’s Twitter account to be suspended permanently
  9. To lose weight, easily
  10. Shoes
  11. A new car; Without the car payment, obviously
  12. Endless supply of coffee
  13. Police to stop shooting black people
  14. Chick-fil-a to stop putting crack in their chicken
  15. Black people to realize their worth
  16. Walmart to stop being so terrible at everything
  17. Net Neutrality
  18. Healthy food to stop being so damn expensive
  19. Equal pay for all
  20. Equal rights for all
  21. Donald Trump to stop being president.
  22. AND A MAN WITH A LOT OF MONEEEEEEEYYYY