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 Stopped Eating Meat…Kind of

Exactly 31 days ago I stopped eating meat…kind of. I must be honest. I had one meat dish a week and for the first three weeks those were some sort of fish dish. This week I had chicken for the first time. But other than that it has been 28 days without any meat at all and here are a few things I have learned/noticed and things no one tells you when I stop eating meat, just in case you were wondering.

1. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected in some ways. I figured I would have killed someone for a chicken nugget by now but I’ve been alright. There has not been any murder due to meat deprivation…yet. There have been times though that I have been really upset at vegetables.

2. A meatless diet makes you gassy. Like seriously flatulent. Not even silent but deadly just full on loud and disastrous! I had to google this to make sure I wasn’t dying. I wasn’t, I just smelt like it.

3. Probably common sense, but I did not realize how limited the non meat options are at fast food restaurants. Essentially you have French fries and salads and that’s not easy to eat driving down the highway.

4. Your family won’t immediately jump on board. I started this partially because my daughter said she wanted to but then she bailed on me until about 2 days ago. My parents are still very much judgmental carnivores.

5. Bread and cheese become the most logical substitute for meat. Which as we all know isn’t the most healthy of options. I have not seen any weight loss, which I’m not sure was actually a goal. If it was, this would definitely be the reason.

6. Family reunions are tough but under absolutely no circumstances should you bring black bean burgers or veggie dogs to a black family reunion as an alternative. Just lay low and only eat sides. Also, pretend you don’t see the ham hock in the greens.

7. Tofu is meh. It’s just a thing. It does the job. Black bean burgers are pretty good though but you can’t eat burgers every day, black bean or not.

8. I have been craving a roast beef sandwich for a few weeks. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I actually had a roast beef sandwich.

9. Meat makes your skin break out. Not eating meat clears it up. Or at least this might be true. My mom told me it was all in my head but I don’t normally get acne except for my monthly period pimple. Throughout this process I noticed an increase in acne. I then realized I was getting one or two, painful bumps once a week. I didn’t pay that much mind until this week. On Tuesday I had wings (not even going to lie, they were good) and then on Wednesday I had two new bumps. Coincidence…I think not. I also have weird blotchy skin on my back and was mildly hopeful it might clear up. I went to the dermatologist a while back and the antibiotic cream they prescribed didn’t work. The next step was two months of daily antibiotic pills which seemed like a yeast infection and pregnancy waiting to happen so I declined. Throughout the month I started to feel like things were clearing up but didn’t want to say anything. The other day my daughter randomly said “your back is clearing up” so I’m not crazy!

10. I am actually capable of doing something that is totally internally motivated without much pomp and circumstance to encourage me. I tried to only tell people when absolutely necessary and to not make a big deal out of it. Other then my daughter, I didn’t ask anyone to join in. I only didn’t really set a goal. I figured I’d give it a go, see what happens and reassess at the 30 day mark.

So here we are, 30 days in. I thought at this point I would probably decide to go back to some meat consumption while being mindful, but honestly number 9 is a huge motivator for me to at the very least keep up what I’ve been doing if not cut it out all together. Next stop, return to meal prep. Which should be a lot easier since…well…vegetables. Who knows…that roast beef sandwich still sounds really good.

Happy Thursday beautiful people!

I am tired…and it hurts

(You asked when I was going to write another blog post. I didn’t think it would be this one. But here we are)

I apologize in advance if this post seems random and all over the place. That’s where my mind and my soul are at today and I can only write what I feel and what I know in this moment.

It’s amazing how everything you know to be true and safe in this world can be turned up side down with a simple phone call.

I’ve had an intense last 10 hours and I’m still trying to figure out where I have landed amongst it all. I can say that the blog I was prepared to write at 9:30 this morning, is drastically different than the one I am writing now. I’m glad in a way, but that still would have probably been an epic blog. Maybe another day just for fun.

But today, in an effort to ground myself, calm myself, and find some peace amongst the chaos, I will instead write what I know to be true.

A list of things I must remind myself are true about myself and this world:

1. I am a good person. I deserve love. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to not be hurt. I deserve honesty. I deserve the truth. I deserve peace. I deserve a title. I deserve someone who wants to be with me and has nothing holding them back from doing so. I deserve this even if I show up in someone’s life randomly and unexpected. I deserve for that not to matter because even if it’s not the best time I deserve for it to be known that I’m an opportunity and a chance that should not be let go of lightly. I deserve to be wanted. To be wanted fiercely.

2. Even if no one in this world ever wants to give that to me, I still deserve it. Even if every man always feels there is something better. If they don’t feel a sense of urgency. If they are tied down or tied up with someone or something else. If they don’t see it. If they don’t feel it. If they don’t want it. If they are all scared. If they are all stupid. If they are all intimidated. Even if it never happens. I still deserve number one and all the amazing things about life and love that I did not list.

3. People are inherently good. Few people are evil. Some people suck. Most people are hurting and the things that they do are because of that pain. A lot of people do not know how to handle pain. The only way they know how to deal with it is to inflict it on others. It’s not an excuse. It just is what it is. Deep down, people are good. They probably want all the things I listed in number one and they deserve them too. When they don’t get them, that is when they become cruel.

4. I am loved by family and friends. They know me, they get me, they hear me, and they remind of who I am when I start to forget. They are the absolute best and I am blessed beyond measure to have them all.

5. Even though I have number four, it does not make number one any less valid. Wanting the love of another human being who is not required to love me due to being family and who is more than a friend, this is not a weakness. This is human. I am human. I am not weak. But…

6. I am tired. I am tired of not having number one. I am tired of having to be strong and pretend like being 30 and single is not hard. I am tired of catching glimpses of it only for it to be yanked away. I am tired of feeling stupid. I am tired of not knowing how these things work. I am tired of crying. I am tired of wondering what is wrong with me. I am tired of hearing “there is nothing wrong with you.” I am tired of not being wanted. I am tired of not being enough. I am tired of being too much. I am tired of being punished for some unknown crime or sin. I am tired of being given this same lesson and apparently not learning it. I am tired of this cruel joke. I am tired and…

7. It hurts. It hurts a lot. A physical, emotional, spiritual pain. It takes its toll. It makes me not want to try anymore. It makes me want to give up and close off my heart for good. It makes me want to scream. It makes me want to be someone who I am not because apparently being me is not working. It makes me want to cry. It hurts. If you’ve never experienced this pain I pray you never do. If you have, then I pray you would not purposefully cause others to feel it. It hurts. And I’m tired of feeling it.

A list of things that I’m not sure if they are true or not but that I hope they aren’t but with every day like this I struggle not to see it as proof that they are:

1. I am flawed, or broken, or inherently incapable of being loved or wanted or even liked in a way that leads to lasting commitment.

2. It’s just not meant for me. I’m not sure how people do it. I’m not sure how they date and get people to want them and want to be with them. I’m not sure how they get people to fall in love with them and want to treat them right. I’m not sure how they get someone, who may not be in a place where they were looking for a relationship, to see them or spend time with them and be like you know what forget that. This is what I want. So maybe it’s not meant for me. Maybe I will never be that for someone. Maybe letting go of that dream will cause these things to be less painful.

A list of things that I have learned:

1. To be a little more selfish. Not in a cruel and evil way but in a way that allows my happiness to be important as well. To say what I want without fear and to speak up when I am not pleased.

2. To say no without fear. That not wanting to do something will not always result in a massive argument. That it’s okay to be too tired or just not want to do something.

3. To be unapologetically myself. That everyone is not going to hate that. That everyone is not going to want to change that. That it’s ok.

4. That it is possible to know peace, and security in a potential relationship. That things don’t need to be rushed. To enjoy time spent with people for what it is and not always worry about why it is not something else. My only fear here is that it felt so good to feel this way and it was taken away so quickly that I will struggle if there is a next time. I hope there is a next time. I pray I won’t struggle.

5. That I am the skip bo queen.

And that’s what’s going on in my head and my heart. I am still tired and it still hurts, but, honestly, I don’t know. I was hoping something would come to me after I typed but, but it didn’t. Clearly.

Pinterest, however, didn’t fail me when my brain did. So I’ll leave you with this because despite it all…this is what I will continue to do…even if for now I need to rest.

I have become that person…but how?

I spent a lot of time with friends yesterday. A group of friends for brunch and then another friend stopped by to chat for a bit. That’s what adults do right? Eat brunch and chat? How did I get here?

Those two conversations were filled with lots of catching up and discussion of future plans as most conversations are. I’ve had similar conversations with all of these people multiple times because while I love them all dearly and am super close to them all I don’t see them frequently because of life and adulting. And that’s fine. We all are doing it and no one gets mad about it. I appreciate that about my friends.

At some point during both conversations though I realized, I have become that person. What person you ask? Well if your just a little patient I’ll tell!

In discussing some of my personal goals, the usual, weight loss, saving money, moving out (yep…I’m 30 years old and still live with my parents. That’s a blog for another day) came up. I’ve recently started to pick up on peoples responses to my saying I’m going to do these things. Let’s just say they aren’t good. Sometimes it’s met with laughter (thanks Dad), sometimes it’s met with harsh reminders (I thought you were on a diet) that only really serve to annoy me and trigger my stubbornness (thanks Mom), most times it’s met with slight side eye, sighs of “that’s great” with the undertone of “we’ve had this conversation plenty of times but yet here you still are” and encouragement with a hint of “there’s really no reason why you haven’t already done this you’re just lazy/content and used to this lifestyle” (thanks friends, family, coworkers, strangers). And I admit, since these are areas I am not happy with in my life, I probably read more into people’s slight shifts in tone, side eyes, eye rolls, and comments than they actually mean. And I put some of the stuff I’ve been already thinking into their comments too.

But, the realization that I have become that person, officially hit me after brunch, when my friend Michael stopped by and I told him my plan to move out and then my thoughts about potential life style changes for health purposes and both comments got a sarcastic slow clap with a “we’ll see.” A lot of people would be pissed at Michael for this response. I, however, have known Michael for going on 20 years (how did we get so old) and while he may be a self proclaimed ass hole, his intentions (towards me at least) are never to hurt or harm. We could all use a level headed, blunt, call it what it is friend…even if it bruises our ego a bit because on the flip side, Michael has always celebrated any of my successes with the fierceness of a loving brother.

So, what have my friends responses for several weeks/months/years and at brunch and Michael’s slow clap helped me to realize…I have become that person. Dear God lady what person?!?! I’ve become the person that no one actually takes serious when they set goals. The person that sets these goals and is super excited about them but somewhere down the line, and usually very quickly, falls off. It would not surprise me if my family secretly takes bets on how long I will keep up any dieting or healthy living practices. And I know for certain they do not believe me or even entertain my talks about moving out anymore. It’s as if everyone is just waiting to see if it happens but no one is holding their breath because they know the possibility of them dying in the process is high.

But how did I get here?

I’m not sure I’ve ever been a highly goal oriented person. I’ve always felt like most people have known since they were 6 what they wanted to do with their life. I literally decided I wanted to be a counselor one day while on campus my senior year of undergrad talking to a friend. I had about 3 months to get my application turned in take the necessary tests to apply. Then in grad school I felt everyone knew what population they wanted to work with. I have stumbled through the last five years finally finding a population that I absolutely love but even then had to step away from in order to be effective and not lose my own mind. Once a month, usually right before I start my period when I feel bloated and disgusting I go to bed and say “ok this is it. I’m going to get my life together.” Then I start my period, refuse to do anything that week because life is hard enough when your vagina is dying so I have all intentions of doing something when it’s over. My period ends, the bloating goes away, and while my body is far from perfect I usually catch a glimpse in the mirror before I shower one day and say “you know what, you good Ashley! If someone can’t love all of this then they don’t deserve you” and the cycle begins again. I can justify a lot of things and I ultimately refuse to shame myself for being human and doing things that humans need to do like eat, and rest, and enjoy life so as not to go crazy…but then I can justify doing these to excess which is where the problem begins.

It’s almost as if that slow clap Michael did made me connect all the dots and realize that while he’s the only person who did it outright, everyone else is probably doing it in their mind. My response to him was something along the lines of “don’t doubt me” to which he responded with something far less enlightening but similar too “I don’t doubt you can do it. I’m just waiting for it to happen.”

I know a few things about myself. One of which is that I can be really stubborn and strong willed and there is a certain level and type of negativity that I use as a driving force. It’s what caused me to give birth without an epidural, because everyone said I wouldn’t. It’s what caused me to go to college and grad school and find a career that I love, because I was afraid of becoming a teen mom statistic or being what I knew people were betting I would be…a failure.

But sometimes that backfires. And there is a moment where those negative comments become my way of fighting the system and my stubbornness becomes “oh I’ll show you that I absolutely do not have to do these things.” That’s usually surrounds any negative responses to my weight gain/loss or my still living at home.

So yes, I have become that person. I’m aware. I apologize to the people who are sick of hearing me talk about these things without seeing any action. I thank you for loving me all the same and not giving up. I’ve decided to make no promises and to also stop talking about it. Thank you Michael for that slow clap and gentle chuckle of supportive pessimism.

We shall see what happens!!

Dangerous Messages I Have Seen on Facebook

Sometime last week I started paying attention to random things people were posting and how subtle but dangerous the messages were. I started collecting them and then all of a sudden people stopped sharing them! Alas, however, I have gathered enough for a sufficient blog post. None of these messages are inherently bad (well one is). Most are just simple comments or posts that at first glance seem positive in some way but if you take a closer look, not so much. So please enjoy my random commentary as to why these messages should stop being shared…immediately.

The post:

The problem:

This post actually sparked the beginning of this blog post. I saw a few ladies that I love share it and quickly got on them about it! I know what it’s getting at. “Don’t let your feelings get the best of you. Don’t let things get you down.” There is, however, this terrible idea floating around that feelings are a bad thing. Feelings are feelings. They are neither good nor bad. They just are. We subscribe meaning and worth to them. And these posts almost always refer to feelings such as Love and connection to others. And no one can survive without connection with others. And there is almost always someone who cares. Even if it’s not someone you want to care. So posting things like this is like a slap in the face to those who do care. By all means be a boss! But don’t deny your feelings. It only leaves you bitter, lonely, sad, and angry which are surprisingly all feelings!

The post:

The problem:

First of all…what is a REAL woman?!?! I hate these posts because it usually implies that only a certain type of woman is “real.” Usually the hard working, hyper-focused, “on her shit” woman. And that’s all well and good. But the woman dealing with depression who hasn’t gotten out of bed in a week is also a real woman. The woman who doesn’t have time to exercise and meal prep and work a full time job and raise five kids under the age of three, is also a real woman. The homeless drug addicted woman having sex for money…is also a real woman. And trying to live up to people’s definition of a “real woman” usually causes way more stress and anxiety than any “real woman” should ever have to deal with. ALSO…all my friends are bad ass and they are my friends so clearly this is a lie. As mentioned earlier, no one can survive without connection, friends, a tribe of some sort. Humans naturally crave it. This message that we don’t need people is 100% false.

The post:

The problem:

This was a share by my fellow blogger (thanks Malcolm!). Here’s the thing…sometimes people just suck. Sometimes people are just terrible. Sometimes they are rude, nasty, conceited, full of them selves, evil, hateful, abusive, and dangerous. And while hate is a strong word, sometimes people hate you for those reasons. This post should have a fourth option…sometimes people hate you because you suck as a human being and have a lot of work to do!

The post:

The problem:

I have literally never done this. If I ask someone what they do it is because I actually want to know what they do. If you are someone who determines the level of respect you provide someone with based on their occupation… then you would fall into the fourth category that I mentioned in the previous section. Don’t be that person.

The post:

The problem:

Again, I get where this one was headed but it is just so dangerous a message for many reasons. What about people searching for a reason to live who are unable to have children but want them? Does God not care about them and their life? What about people who have children but don’t want them? What about people who have children but still feel suicidal? Posting things like this can be very harmful/hurtful for others who read them and may have a different experience. Just be careful.

The post:

The problem:

This is just stupid. Stop.

The post:

The problem:

This is one of those post that unknowingly shows support for terribly toxic relationships. Also, am I a basic bitch if I’m not “on your ass about everything”? At what point are you, as a grown adult human being, supposed to take responsibility for your own actions and goals in life. I am all for support and encouragement. I’m all for sticking through the tough times. What I’m not here for is raising someone who is already considered an adult. You need to be on your own ass about everything. I’m not your momma. I don’t even do that with my own kid!

The post:

The problem:

I really hope that I don’t have to explain why this post is a problem to anyone who reads this, but incase I do….RAPE IS NOT FUNNY. DO NOT PERPETUATE RAPE CULTURE!!! No means no means no. Don’t means don’t means don’t! Stop means stop means stop! The only time those words mean the opposite is when you put them all together and get “no don’t stop” at which point if you do stop you are a terrible human being and again belong in that fourth category I mentioned earlier. I know that all of this can be very confusing. This is why you should be able to openly and honestly communicate with your partner before, during, and after sex. If you aren’t sure…ask. If you still aren’t sure, err on the side of caution and let’s just say that if you aren’t sure if it’s rape or not…then it’s rape.

Well…that’s all I’ve got for now. Let’s hope people on my timeline stop posting dangerous messages. I’m sure what’s going to happen though is I’m going to hit publish and people are going to start posting the craziness again!!

Rain, Rain go Away…Or Stay. That’s Fine Too.

The weather out here in North Carolina has been all over the place the last week or two, but that’s pretty normal. I have literally experienced a tornado, sunshine, heat, and rain in the last two weeks. I also saw some left over snow while traveling for work. Currently we are on hour 10473729202840727 of steady rain. Ok that’s an exaggeration but we are approaching 48 hours. There is currently flooding in parts of the city.

I really enjoy a good storm. It’s soothing and I get some really good sleep. But after a while, I start to wonder if it’s ever going to stop and if I’ll survive. I also despise driving in the rain so there’s that reason why I get a little antsy when it just keeps raining

Today, while driving in the rain funnily enough, I started making a list of reasons why we need a good storm every now and then. Some literal. Some metaphorical. Most are both. Enjoy.

1. Growth. Everything needs water to grow. Part of me is really sad my garden isn’t planted yet because this would be the most amazing watering ever. I really hate dragging the hose across the yard and back again so I am always thankful for a good rain to water things for me. Every once in a while a good storm comes along and while it may be scary while your in the midst of it, afterwards you can definitely see how the downpour helped creat abundance, beauty and growth. (That’s the metaphor part if you didn’t catch it)

2. Cleansing: have you bathed lately? Not just your physical being but other areas as well. A good soul cleansing scrub is sometimes needed. A good soak in a tub is good for the soul and one of my favorite forms of self care. When was the last time you just stood in the rain? One day in grad school I was so stressed and overwhelmed and I had parked my car on the opposite side of campus and it was raining. I walked to my car with my umbrella but when I got there I closed it and put it in the car. I stayed outside and just let the rain wash over me a little bit. A tear or two may have mixed in with the rain drops. I don’t know. But I do know it was cathartic. If I hadn’t just spend $90 on my hair I would consider going outside right now for a few minutes.

3. Healing: A good storm can be therapeutic I think. Healing for the heart, mind and soul. And for one instance for me, the body. I used to have really bad TMJ issues. For 10 years my jaw popped out of place every time I opened my mouth wide. It hurt constantly and was made worse by a lot of talking or excessive smiling. I couldn’t chew gum. The only good thing that ever came out of my TMJ issues is that I learned the joys of medium cooked steaks as anything above that irritated my jaw. I went to the doctor, I took ibuprofen for pain, I had a $200 mouth guard made by the dentist, I had a $5 bite guard from Walmart. I even had a chiropractor punch me in the jaw repeatedly with some tool. Nothing helped. One day, after a few days of rain, and some pretty serious thunder and lightening, I came home in serious pain, took some ibuprofen and put in the $5 mouth guard. I went to sleep so as not to feel anything. I woke up the next day and immediately knew something was different. My jaw has only popped when I yawn unexpectedly or open my mouth funny since then. I WAS HEALED!! I will never be angry about rainy days ever again because one literally healed my body.

(In case you were wondering how your jaw works)

4. Rest: I think a good storm causes us all to slow down a little bit. Whether it’s slowing down while driving or just choosing to stay in for the day, rest is needed. Also, waterbeds weren’t all the rage back in the day for no reason! Water is soothing to the soul. No matter what anyone says, sleep is not the cousin of death. You have to sleep to live. If anything, if you don’t sleep you will die sooner! So if you too are experiencing a stormy day (of any kind) consider using it to take a good nap.

So there you have it. I know it’s a much shorter list than I normally make but I hope you have enjoyed it all the same. I also hope, if you are currently experiencing any sort of storm in your life, literal or otherwise, that you take a few moments to find and appreciate just a little of the beauty that there may be in the midst of it.

Tired and Overused Dating Advice None of Us Wants to Hear

You may not have noticed but us bloggers are single and have been for quite some time (some of us more single than others at various times, but for all intent and purposes, we’re all single as of this moment). And not to overstate things or brag on ourselves, but we are pretty good at being single. Like probably the best; we’re killing this shit.

So good in fact, that many people feel the need to share their fantastic dating advice to help us become better and more desirable partners. This would be great and all, but it is often unsolicited, doesn’t fit who we are all as people, assumes we aren’t good partners, is overused, unoriginal and tired AF, assumes we haven’t tried that already, ignores real issues of being single, especially as a gay, Black, single parent, woman, or busy professional person, contradictory the advice we got ten seconds ago, and did I mention UNSOLICITED – a.k.a. we didn’t ask you to solve our perceived dilemma of singlehood. And sometimes, this advice also has an underlying, and maybe even unintentional at times, undercurrent that we are not good enough as we are. And frankly, we’re kind of tired of that crap.

And so after hours of lamenting about this on our group chat (we group chat literally hours a day, like I feel like we go through our entire days together lol), we decided, you know what, we need a collaboration post, and we need one on this topic. So with no further ado, here is our first collaborative post written by all of us as a list of our “favorite (as in never say it again)” dating advice:


Just let him find you, also known as don’t look for him, he will fall in your lap, he will come when you stop looking and least expect it.

I’ve been single a long time. Never have I taken some time off from dating or working so much that a dateable man has fallen into my lap and we have began as a couple. Never have I been home, not leaving my house, engaging with anyone (which would be when I least expect it, and frankly, kind of annoyed if he showed up) and gotten married. Furthermore, I do not like the idea that I don’t get to be an active participant in my life. It’s not my style. I kinda like to be involved and it be more of a “we found each other” kind of thing. I get it, this is deeply rooted in biblical tradition – something about a man who finds a wife, finds a good thing. However, too many women I know have not found a good thing in a husband for me to not be an active participant. Perhaps “finds” is symbolic here too, like if you find a good lunch spot you’ve found a good thing. Those spots still advertise though. Also, the Bible is written in historical context and also patriarchy and also, not really my thing. Additionally, I know women who are happily married that have gone on single cruises, dating sites, speed dates, and were set up on blind dates. They did stuff. They looked for him. They found him. I have also known people who were “found” and are in terrible relationships. And what about same sex couples? Who finds who? It’s not like I’m on a safari of men anyway, looking for my right prey. But that sounds like a good idea. Where is that safari? How do I create one? Now that’s advice I could use. -Lee

I’ve been trying to be found for a year and a half now, and I’m still lost. I’ve always hated this stupid saying because even if you “let him find you” you have to put forth SOME type of effort. Like, sitting at home watching Netflix in your underwear while eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream is going to help a man “fall into your lap”. Miss me with that. -Malc

“Where he at though?!?!” I’m a living witness that this is a load of crap. Most of the men I have interacted with have shown up “when I least expected it” or I wasn’t looking. Even my mindless swiping on Tinder was typically for kicks and giggles and not because I thought I’d find “the one” or that he would find me. I’m not one to go up and talk to a guy first. I don’t regularly put myself out there and yet men tend to show up and it still doesn’t work. Usually what people say to me is “he’s not going to find you if you stay at home knitting.” And that’s awesome because when I’m at home knitting I’m in full bum mode. I wouldn’t want to find me then either. But then people also say “no one wants a woman whose out all the time.” Which one is it people? Go out and put myself out there so he can “find me” or don’t go out and let him deliver my pizza on a Friday night.-Ashley


You should meet people in real life instead of Dating Apps

Even though I’m highly considering this, I don’t need you to tell me what to do with my life! What if I have social anxiety and hate meeting people in real life initially? What if I want to vet out these guys by texting the hell out of them and make sure they aren’t psychopaths first? What if I just want to waste time and maybe trip over the love of my life that way instead of spending money at the bar every night trying to find bae? If you want to use an app to find love, do it. If you want to find love at the bar, do that. If you want to sit around on your couch watching Netflix in your underwear eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, waiting for your bae to magically fall into your lap somehow out of nowhere, do it! -Malc

I second this one. And people always say “well I guess I’m just old school.” Well I guess so, Susan and Tom. I work in a female dominated space and since I date men, that makes it hard to meet people. I’ve also met some really cool people online and I don’t have to worry if they’re hiding their wedding ring in their left pocket. Also, let’s just say, online dating isn’t failing me. 🙂 -Lee

I’m not a huge fan of online dating. Mainly because I’m not a huge fan of dating period. It’s weird. Especially when it’s someone I don’t know. But since I don’t go out a lot for a number of reasons (no one to go with, no where to go, too damn tired, Mom duties, etc.) at times online dating has been used as an attempt to meet people. I actually met my ex online. What I didn’t like was the judgment I felt when I told people how we met. Screw you Susan if you think that the fact that you met Tom your second year of undergrad makes you better than me because I met my imaginary boyfriend on Tinder.-Ashley


You need to love yourself before someone else can love you.

So where did this idea of me not loving myself come from all of a sudden? So every single person in the world hasn’t learned to love their self? I mean, I love myself so much I sit around in my underwear eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream doing my happy dance while watching Food Network and HGTV. -Malc

I call bullshit. Loving yourself is a lifelong process. Sure. You should have some basis of self worth so you don’t go out with abusive people because you feel that’s what you deserve, but if I wait until I conquer self-love, guess I’ll marry in the afterlife. -Lee

As my co-bloggers have already said…this is bullshit. Self-love is not a destination. It is a process. I will not wake up one day and say “this is it. I have arrived. I love myself the most I ever have and the most I ever will.” The reality is there are days I wake up and I feel like the spirits of Beyoncé and Maya Angelou have entered my body in the middle of the night and I am fearless and can conquer the world. There are other days that I wake up and nothing fits, my hair is a mess, I have zits, I don’t feel good and all my insecurities are standing in front of me the entire day. Am I less deserving of the love of other people on those days? I would venture to say the opposite. It is on those days that it would be nice to have a partner who can stand between me and my insecurities and remind me that I am loved by them and that I deserve the love of myself. And then on the good days they can be my biggest hype man and gas me up so I can take on the world. Hey. But maybe I just don’t love myself enough and I’m all wrong. I’m single. What the hell do I know. –Ashley

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You should work on yourself instead of worrying about dating

I like how people think that us single folk don’t have anything going for ourselves. Like, what would make you say “work on yourself”? Are you saying I’m undateble because I have no positive attributes going on for myself? Are you saying that I’m broken? Because that’s what it sounds like. Yes I know I’m not perfect, but when you tell someone to work on themselves as an alternative to dating, you’re ultimately telling them that they are not fit for the dating pool. Bitches *Eats Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in underwear* -Malc

Ugh. Disgusting. I have been working on myself for awhile now. So now what? -Lee

What the heck do you think I do all day?!?! Okay. Maybe not all day. But a lot of my time, life, existence has been spent on self-reflection. With every failed attempt at Love I try to figure out what I did wrong and make changes accordingly. And this is bullshit because half my Facebook timeline is full of hot mess men and women in hot mess relationships so there’s that.-Ashley


Your expectations are too high.

I’m sorry, Jane, but maybe that is why you’re bored AF in your marriage or unhappy or have so much time to give me advice I never wanted. My list includes kindness, gentleness, open minded, treats me well, intelligent, has a good head on his shoulder, easy on the eyes, you know, being a human I want to spend time with and occasionally rip his clothes off. Maybe my expectations are high. But you know what Jane, so are the ones for myself. And I’d be damned if my expectations for myself are higher than with someone I am too spend some of my life with. -Lee

I don’t understand how people can tell me that MY expectations are too high. Like breh/sis, it’s MY life so yes I want to have some sort of expectations if you’re going to want to “climb this tree” (as Ashley says). And I’m sorry, but if being a decent human being (plus a few other things) is having high expectations, then I guess I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life eating my Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in my underwear. -Malc

What I love about his one is that people usually say it without actually asking me what my expectations are. My bad Jane for thinking that I deserve to be respected, appreciated, not cheated on, and treated as an equal not a possession or piece of meat. Didn’t realize I was asking for so much!-Ashley

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You should Pray on it

Sometimes I have these thoughts that what if I pray for God to send me someone, and then I meet this random person that seems remotely interested in me. So then I think it’s a gift from God and decide to make them mine, but then they end up being crazy and almost kills me or something then I think to myself, “why in the hell would God send me a crazy person?” So then I just decide not to pray on it and go back to eating my Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in my underwear. -Malc

So essentially what Malcolm said above is exactly what happened to me (minus the trying to kill me). The day before I met my ex I literally prayed “God, you know I really want someone, but if it is your will that I be single forever or in this season then I am okay with that.” And then ta-da here came this man, who was interested in me, and took me out, and treated me right (at first) and all those good things. It was like God had been waiting for me to stop fighting my singleness and trust him (and follow all this terrible advice) and only then would I be prepared to receive this man he had for me. It helped that his tinder profile said he was a God fearing man. It was confirmation. And well if this is the first time reading anything I’ve written…long story short…it was a disaster! So yea. I’ve prayed on it. Jesus knows my heart. He knows I’m not perfect. But I’m almost certain he expects some action after the prayer. I don’t think saying the right words in my head is some magic spell to make a man appear. I would have figured that out a long time ago if it was. Also, people who don’t believe in God clearly still have relationships…so…there’s that.-Ashley

My mom and church made me start praying when I was 5 years old. Sister Jane was wrong. That didn’t do anything. Of course then, the reason it has happened is because my faith isn’t deep enough. By the way Sister Jane that is a logical fallacy. If something doesn’t work, you don’t get to just to say, well it does work, but you didn’t believe enough. Also, Sister Jane, isn’t kind of weird that I spend all my time praying for a husband when children are dying in refugee campus and war zones? Other iterations of this are “wait on the Lord” “He knows best.” I don’t know, y’all know I’m agnostic and God is a woman anyway. -Lee

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You should enjoy being single while you can!

Yes, yes. Because I’ve just been miserable eating Chunky Monkey Ice Cream in my underwear this whole time. And that may sound miserable to you, but the way my Introvertedness and Anti-Socialness is set up… -Malc

I know I write about being single a lot. And I’m sure it’s easy to confuse that with me being miserable that I’m single. But I’m not. I was, however, miserable in my last relationship so the next one will definitely be one that does not destroy the peace I have while single. So even though I’m not out partying every night and even though I don’t have a boyfriend, I do enjoy my life (and my late night texting 😉) so yea…there’s that!-Ashley

What does this even mean, Susan??? I am living my best life and I want to live my best life with someone else too. Is this a terrible, terrible thing? Trust me I’ve thought long and hard about sharing my bed with someone (he better like it cold) and having to share my cereal. I’m ok with it. Perhaps, you should have thought more about enjoying your singledom. I, on the other hand, will not subscribe to the fact that my life will be miserable after getting with someone, and so my only alternative is to be unhappy. Perhaps that is why marriages don’t work, because we make it sound like your life is ending. How about some advice like “enjoy your life while you have it, regardless if partnered or not,” because spoiler alert, we all die. -Lee


You need to put yourself out there…but not too much.

So I hinted at this earlier. People really like giving confusing advice. Just let him find you. You can’t stay in all the time. You need to go out more. But don’t go out to much because a man doesn’t want a woman whose in the club all the time. Don’t be such a prude but be modest. Then they suggest some really terrible ideas of where to meet someone. “You like to read go to the bookstore.” Okay I also like to sleep how do you suggest I find a man doing that?!?! And also, there are women who go out every weekend and they have a man. And there are women who never go out and they have a man. So I’m not sure what the secret going out to staying in ratio is. That would actually be helpful advice if you know it!-Ashley

So, I’m not supposed to try, but I am supposed to try? What the hell am I supposed to do? Can someone fucking tell me? I don’t understand. Is online dating putting myself out there or too out there? Where is “there?” Cause I’m with Ashley, the bookstore never works. Only in Hallmark movies. Everything works in Hallmark movies actually. Maybe Susan and Tom, you thought I lived in a Hallmark movie? -Lee

Contradictory statements are null and void… -Malc

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You need to try something different

This one kind of goes along with the your expectations are too high part. But with a slight twist. Usually it’s in reference to whatever my “type” is. You want to know why my type has been up until this point…wrong…that’s it. I just struggle to believe that all people who look a certain way, or like certain things, or believe certain things are all the same. Because people have all sorts of stereotypes about light skinned women and I don’t usually fit them. So I try not to judge people. And then there’s also this assumption that I’m only interested in someone because they look a certain way and that’s just annoying. –Ashley

I’ve tried all the different. That isn’t the solution. Stop telling me to do that. -LeAnna

Try something different? Why? What do you mean? What is “different” exactly? I’m attracted to personality, so I don’t think trying something “different” would work in this scenario. I think that would slightly be considered settling, right? I’ve dated all types of different people physically, so if you mean try something different in that aspect, I already have, and we’re still in Singleville. I refuse to try something different in regards to personality as those are my expectations. Sorry that I have a type and I would like to find someone who falls in line with that. -Malc


But you have your daughter that should be enough

So this one only fits me but I think my fellow bloggers may be able to fill in the daughter with something else (career, friends, family etc.) The frustration here is that 1. you’re assuming I’m not grateful for my child and 2. A parent-child relationship is vastly different from a romantic partner relationship. I shouldn’t have to explain the differences but I’ll make this point. I am my child’s main source of support (emotional, mental, financial, physical health, educational etc.). She 100% relies on me. She, however, is not mine. I can not collapse in to her at the end of a long stressful day. I can’t cry on her shoulder when I feel overwhelmed or like a failure. I can’t go out and have a drink or dance or Netflix and chill or any other date options there may be. These are things that a partner would provide. But I think it makes people uncomfortable when I am honest and say that sometimes I get lonely, even though I have a child and live with my parents.-Ashley

Ashley! You are so right I can fill in this in with something else. Common things people tell me are “but you have a career and degrees.” Anyone who knows me, knows me that my career is basically an extension of myself. And yet, somehow, it doesn’t manage to hold me while I’m crying at night, imagine that. My career is so important to me. I try to be the best version of myself and my identity is definitely wrapped up in it. But I know all too well, that on my deathbed, I won’t be asking for my career or thinking I should have spent more time there. I hope to be reaching or thinking of the one I love. Lee

Nothing will ever replace the tender touch of another human being that you are romantic with and understands you on an emotional level. Sorry, but no career, money, etc will ever be able to replace that, in my opinion. Chunky Monkey Ice Cream comes close, but apparently I’m not supposed to have that type of relationship with food. -Malc


You’re too *fill in the blank.*

Speaking of career, the other advice I often get is maybe you should be less career focused, passionate, intelligent, smart, as this is intimidating and doesn’t allow a man to be a man. I am usually stunned at this point. Sooooo, I spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to get where I am, give my heart and soul to my job, have spent all this time “working on myself” to “love myself more (see above advice)” and now, I’m supposed to play small for a potential mate?? I’m really confused here. Shouldn’t he want to see me as I am, and I him, and we both decide this is who I can spend my life with and choose? I am not dumbing or silencing myself for anyone. -Lee

Ahhhh yes. The dreaded too much….! Leanna and I have discussed this a lot. I think for me I’m usually too quiet, too reserved, to introverted, too obsessed with Harry Potter. I used to get too intimidating a lot. Not sure if that’s changed or people just don’t say it anymore. But whatever it is that people say I am too much of and should become less of to get a man to them I say…men should stop be too chicken shit if me being me is intimidating!! – Ashley

I’ve learned that I will always be too much of something to mostly everyone, and I just hope to find the one person who doesn’t mind my extraness in said something that they can look past it and love me for it. And if I’m too much for you, then you’re not enough for me.  That’s when I can walk around confidently and comfortably in my underwear, eating my Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, alone and “too much”. -Malc

Here’s a peom that sums up this issue perfectly.


BTW, here’s some Chunky Monkey for Malcolm.

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