Friday, October 17, 2014

It's My Anniversary!

Today is our anniversary!

Well. Wait. Not our anniversary like...well it' Maybe it'd be better to start from the beginning.

On October 16th, years ago, on a cold windy day somewhere in America, a young girl was jejely entering the worst relationship she could ever imagine. But for as wrong as it was, it was so, so right.

To get the full picture, you'd need to go back before it's inception (conception?). So let's go back. I was a ripe old 19. And when i say "ripe old", I really mean "ripe old." See, from childhood, I had this idea in my head of what I wanted my life to be. You know, that pressure you put on children to determine what their life trajectory will be before you allow them to decide what they want to wear to school in the morning? Yeah, that. So while other children were smartly proclaiming they wanted to be doctors or firemen or weave sellers or whatever else, me I decided I wanted to be a mother. 

Imagine. Classroom full of children. Firemen. Doctors. Dentists. Teachers. And me. A mother. 

And not just any mother o! Mother of all mothers. After all, I'm a Nigerian. I cannot carry last, if I'm going to be a mother, I must be the best. First in class. Eight children. Biological. Adopt at least three more. Household run like nothing you'd ever see again. Sweet mother tinz. Best of the best.

And I wanted it all by 30.

You know how kids think 20 is ancient? Like, ask a seven year old how old they think their grandparents are. I just spent a week in Texas. My nieces straightfaced told me they figured their grandparents were like...48. know, old. 

When I told them I was 23 the look that glazed over their faces ehn, it's enough to make you really doubt yourself. Twenty-three is really, really old to a five year old. But at the same time, you can't help but look over your many...many years on this earth and examine what exactly you've done for yourself in that time. I mean really. It took this kid like a month to learn to swim. In almost 24 years I still haven't managed to master not getting a run in my stockings.

ANYWAY. I wanted to be super mom by the time I reached old age. Also known as 30 years old. And instead of to grow with and hold on to the dream as I got a reasonable person would do, I held on the age. So by the time I reached 19, I was PANICKED

I mean seriously. That's no time at all! Nineteen and not even a husband to speak of. All the steps that needed to be completed! Study your books. Meet a man. Meet a nice man. Study your books. Meet a nice Black man. Meet a nice, straight Black Nigerian Igbo Catholic man from a good family. Date him. Study your books. Hide him from mummy and daddy until he's ready to marry you. Introduce him to the parents as a friend, Engagement. Planning a wedding in and of itself takes at least a year if you want your mother to survive it. (All that, "You didn't invite Auntie Nkechi that you haven't seen since birth but she's my friend that I'm super close with and essential to my life and also maybe a governor's wife but is that important, no! Please, you want to embarrass me? You don't want my friends to come? You want me to die? You know God does not promise tomorrow!" takes at LEAST eight months) Then, marriage. babies. Babies on babies on babies. 

I was losing a race I hadn't even started!


So...there's a bit of my mindset. A bit of what I carried into my relationship. Honestly, I...I can't for the life of me figure why out it didn't work.

Nineteen. And in he strolled. If I'm being honest and generationally/regionally correct...crip walked into my life. All of everything that I didn't need. And yet, I dropped my guard, ignored the warning signs and gave in to the sound of what I thought was the ticking of my biological clock but in reality was most likely the drum beat of  the College Hill intro. 


I went through hell and back, and then back...and then back. It took me almost two years to get out of that relationship, and another year and some change to fully get over it. All because of what I thought I was supposed to be, supposed to feel, supposed to live. I was "supposed" to be a lot of things. I'm not actually any of them.

What I am is happy. Whereas this day used to remind me of my failings a girlfriend, it now reminds me of how far I've actually come. A few years ago you would have found me cowering under my sheets, groaning over what I could have, should have, or would have done differently. What should have, could have, would have gone differently if such and such had happened and if the stars aligned right and the chakras were...chakra-ing better that week or whatever.

Now, I'm just happy I'm alive. I'm happy that I made it through in one (mostly?) sane piece, I'm happy I was able to leave it all behind while still growing from it. I'm happy I learned I learned what love is not. I'm happy I learned what I can and cannot tolerate. I'm happy I learned to lean on God when things seem rough. I'm happy I learned to go to Him even when times are good. I'm happy for all the sad ass breakup songs and delayed-onset teenage ass angst and weird fights. I learned so much about myself. 

I learned that in the heat of the heat of the heat of the moment, I'm not above a low blow. I learned that I am extremely slow to anger, but once that match is lit...I'm taking the whole house down with me. I learned that I have little to no capacity for PDA. I learned that I have no interest in pet names. I learned that communication is absolutely key.

So for all the bad, there was so much good. 

Yesterday, Anniversary by Tony! Toni! Tone! came on the radio on my way back from work, and I was jolted into the realization that today is a day that used to mean so much to me. But instead of crying or trying to find a way to sneakily picture message a shot of myself looking like a visual interpretation of Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" to my ex, I sat and laughed about how far I've come. And so I decided to take back my anniversary...and my happiness. For once and for all.


So today is my anniversary. Not "ours". Just mine. Because today is the day that started me on a journey to loving myself. On my own terms. At my own pace. And it's the best relationship I've ever been in.


Monday, September 8, 2014

I've Stopped Trying

I love trying. 

Such a beautiful word. Try. Say it, feel it fill up your mouth. Trrrrrrryyyy. Mmmm. Good, right? It’s like…your favorite flavor of doughnut, in word form. Delicious and yet, so, so empty.


Do you know what try means? According to Merriam-Webster, it can be either a verb or a noun, meaning an attempt to do something.

You know what that means in my life? Nothing. Zero. Like the hole in the middle of that your favorite doughnut (unless your favorite is like…jelly filled or something, in which case, leave this page immediately and never return. Savage.)


While it’s a lovely word, I find it all too easy to hide behind. I’m always trying. I try and get out of bed. I try and do my homework.  I try and write a post every week. I tried Kanye’s workout plan. I try not to speed. I try not to roll into my job’s parking lot blasting Wande Coal on a daily basis. I try not to be upset that Wizkid is really and truly stepping on each and every last nerve releasing cover art for this damn album and giving us a track list but NO. DAMN. ALBUM.


….I try a lot of things.

But I don’t seem to ever actually get around to doing them.

See, try is such a beautiful word, but like the word “sorry”, it doesn't hold a lot of weight. At least, not if there isn't any action behind it.

I often find that when I tell myself I’m going to try to do something, I never actually seem to end up doing it, most often because I get so caught up in the planning and the thinking behind it. I end up so overwhelmed by making an action plan that I never actually get around to the action. But dreams don’t work unless you do.

So I’m going to stop trying.

I have to start putting action behind my words.

I have to start doing.

So starting from today, I’m going to do. I’m going to eliminate the word “try” from my vocabulary. I’m going to stop making excuses, and start working. Less talking, more doing. I've found one way that helps me straighten my life out, is making lists. I'm a list freak. Everything in my life has a list. I find that when things are all up in the air, floating around in my head, that I can't concentrate. When I write them down and organize my thoughts, I can relax a bit. But I can't stop there. 

Now when I make my lists, I set a deadline for my items. If I want to clean my house, go to the gym and watch OITNB after work, I make sure they each have a time slot in my day. Each thing should be completed before I move on to the next. So far, I haven't been entirely successful, but the effort and the action were there. So it's a win in my book.

Quitting trying is probably the hardest thing I've done this year. Is there an AA for triers? Are there Triers Anonymous meetings somewhere close by? Is there a 12 step programs and TA sponsors available anywhere? I need help y'all.  Kicking this's not easy.

I will admit, I'm exhausted each and every day now. But I go to bed feeling a bit more fulfilled each night. I've quit trying, and it is so, so worth it.


What’s something you’re going to do today? Give yourself a task, set a deadline, and go for it! Let me know how it goes down below!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is Long-Term Love Still a Possibility?

First, I apologize deeply for my absence. Things have gotten a bit more hectic since my last post, and though I've wanted badly to come back and write, my timing and scheduling just always seemed to be off. *sigh* Pray for me y'all...between the craziness at my job (story for another day), school, family, friends, recovering from Boosie's release, Beyonce's concert and VMA performance, and waiting with bated breath on bended knee for that godforsaken Wizkid tape...I might don't make it. (#BringBackOurAlbum)


As for the actual subject of this post, it's something I've had on my mind for quite some time. I've had this post saved in bits and pieces in my Twitter drafts, my many composition books laying around the house, my notepad on my phone, napkins stashed in my purse...just...everywhere. After losing all my drafts a couple Twitter app updates back, I decided to go ahead and just put it all in one place, and publish it once and for all.

Over the past few months, as holidays flew by, and another cuffing season left many of us (read: me) un...cuffed, I've had the chance to have some very interesting conversations about love and relationships with family members and friends. You know, family reunions are prime time for those, "Nne, are you seeing anyone? ...No one? Surely there must be you want me to help you look?" type conversations.


Now, as much as I love being reminded that all my mates are getting married and most, if not all of my aunties were married or seriously involved by this time in my life and aren't I a bit behind and what of having children and yes, school is good but will books and degrees keep you warm at night and always #bridemaid never bride and woz d meaning of bae and...okay. Okay...let me chill. As much as I loathe those conversations, being around my family has actually allowed me the opportunity to talk out my feelings on a few issues. Mainly, as our biggest get-togethers centered around weddings, love.

Are we going to be able to find relationships like our parents? Do we even want that? Surprisingly, I was met with a lot of the same reactions. It dawned on me, maybe we're all facing the same reality.


Is long term, romantic love, the love we see in movies and in books, the love that's thrust into our faces when we turn on the television, is American/Western love a possibility for us, the children of immigrants?

Well...okay, I think that's actually a bunch of questions in one. Let me break it down into a few smaller pieces.

Are we capable of romantic love as we see it now? Can we build the type of relationships our parents have with the Disney/romantic-comedy ideologies we've been raised around?

Can we have our cake and eat it too? Can we be drunk in love off palm wine?


I don't think it's possible to achieve the same kind of long-standing relationships that past generations had with the mindset many of us have learned in modern times.

We can't have an "Ashton Kutcher meets Demi Lovato at the turn up function and first she friendzones him but then Demi meets Chris Brown she loves him, but he cheats on her with Karukacoo and she's sad and Ashton kisses her in the rain and tells her a funny joke and then they realize they were meant for each other all along and walk off screen and live long and prosper," type of relationship.

Or, if we do, it usually doesn't mesh well with the "Nkechi sat at home in her father's house and studied her books and learned all the best recipes from her mother and one day when she was in class with her head bent over a book, Emmanuel came and saw her and thought she was beautiful and had nice birthing hips so he called his elders and made an offer and then they got married and had you and that's why you must read your Bible so you can also marry" type of stories we were raised on.

There's a divide there that I just can't wrap my head all the way around.

And while the relationships our parents had/have are far from perfect, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of rom-com love is superficiality. Dizzying, dazzling, Hollywood ass superficiality.


Now, superficiality is all well and good. Everyone is entitled to a fantasy or two. (or ten, whose counting?). And standards are a given. But it seems we've come to think of our ideals as absolutes. We can't date men who are less than 6'9. We can't marry women who wear weave. We must marry Idris Elba, or at least his identical twin brother. We won't date big/skinny/dark/light girls. We can't be housewives, but we want to marry men who have no need for a working wife. We want career women but want to marry women who will stay at home with the children. We want, we won't, we want.


Now yes, we're (for the most part) young and able to be picky, but a lot of this superficial weeding out blocks us from getting to know people on a deeper level. And most times, when we find what we supposedly want, it really isn't what we need.

For example: when I was 12, I wanted Lil Fizz to be my husband and we were going to get matching back tattoos with Bible verses and love poems. Can you imagine what life would be like today as the (probably) ex-wife/baby mother of Jhene Aiko's fake play cousin?! My bridal colors were going to be baby blue and more baby blue. I....y'all remember going to dances/Asian photo studios where they would have the airbrushed graffiti backdrops? That was hot to me.


I was a trash ass kid, my God. My point being, the things we think we want now, aren't necessarily things we need. And a lot of the things we think we need now, are things we may eventually grow out of.

This post isn't to disparage or discourage anyone, simply to start a discussion. I think I'm stuck somewhere in the middle. I want it all, but none of it at the same time. I does that kind of love even work for a girl like me?

This notion of romantic, kissing in the rain type love really doesn't work well when your twist out is in danger of getting wet, and running your fingers through your girl's hair might leave her wig-less. Can a snapback brim shield two people from the elements or are my eyebrows going to wash away by the time I come back up for air?    (Side note. Have y'all ever seen a movie with a full black girl with non-permed hair who was getting segzual and a man ran his fingers through her hair? I always cackle whenever I see an actor try it, and then his fingers get so twisted in her new growth that he no longer knows if he's kissing her or sending gang signals through her scalp...but he still has to keep kissing her for sake of the scene so he just keeps his hand right behind her ear area. Cuz like....that would be me. That really would be me.)


I'd love to hear your thoughts/comments/concerns on this, and trust, I know I haven't spent much time discussing the merits/downfalls of a "traditional" relationship. That's because 1) I have no idea if this is something of interest to anyone else but me, and 2) I'm trying this new thing where I write things and actually publish them instead of leaving them in my drafts for 8 (eight!) months until nearly all my pop culture references are old, but then Beyonce saves you by giving you the performance of life and Jay Z tells you ( yes there were thousands of other people in that damn stadium but he was talking TO. ME. TO MY SPIRIT) to achieve your dreams and so you decided to go back to writing.

...As for me? Right now, I think I'll just continue to remix Beyonce lyrics until I forget that this woman gave me "Crazy in Love", "Dangerously in Love" and "Drunk in Love" and I woke up like this...***Baeless.