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What’s LOVE Got to Do With It?

I was driving to meet my *thinking face* “friend” for lunch and turning on a certain street made me think of my “first”.

Not sure why, but my brain jumped to the day I told him I didn’t want to deal with him anymore. I don’t remember verbatim because that was nearly 5years ago, but I’m pretty sure I said something like “I deserve to be with someone who loves me.” And he replied “I DO love you”

I just realized I can’t tell when a guy really cares for me.

So my brain did what it does best & jumped to several of the tabs I had open based on the keyword love.

1st tab was me asking my mom advice on successfully ending a relationship a few weeks ago. I laughed because, all of my mom’s exes are still in love with her. *So again WRONG person for ADVICE*

Next tab was my own exes and how even after not seeing them for YEARS I can still see their hearts smile in my presence. (Saw paranoid Pete a few weeks ago).

Final tab was my cousin’s Facebook post I had seen before taking that drive. Her Dad & Buddha are brothers. Her post read “I just realized I can’t tell when a guy really cares for me.”

When I read that Facebook Post my immediate thought was “Well of course you can’t because the man that made you didn’t show you how.” But during that drive I thought “What’s Love got to do with it?”

It’s hard to realize when a guy really cares for me because I’ve constantly received mixed signals on what love looks like.

I like for people’s actions to match their words because Buddha’s never did. Unlike my mother, I don’t tend to dedicate much time to relationships past a certain point. I’ve always just attributed that to high emotional intelligence. *And also that I had my life played so thoroughly by my middle school boyfriend that I see no need to relive that experience.*

If you don’t stay, they can’t play you

But seriously, for more than two years, I’ve exposed how my trust issues are rooted in the fuck ups of the male “role models” in my life. A biological father that let me down so often everything feels like abandonment. A stepfather that seemed perfect as a child until he committed the ultimate betrayal. So now I don’t even know how to trust gestures because quality time don’t stop a cheater from cheating. Another stepfather who hadn’t dealt with his own Daddy Issues so he over compensated & under-communicated. Which brings me back to WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

All the love in the world can’t make you show up somewhere you don’t want to be.

All the love in the world ain’t gone stop a wandering eye from bringing the rest of the body to the bedroom.

All the love in the world can’t make a listening ear from a shouting mouth.

And ALL the love in the word cain’t clear a cluttered mind.

Nina Simone said “You must learn to leave the table if love is no longer being served.”

TRUST ME, I “Liked”, “Shared“ & “Pinned” every image of her and that quote but I’m not sure I truly understand love anymore.

Everybody who’s ever hurt me told me they loved me.

So again, I ask, “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?”

What’s Love got to do with happiness? ● What’s Love got to do with health? ● What’s Love got to do with intelligence? ● What’s Love got to do with discernment? ● What’s Love got to do with confidence?

E●V●E●R●Y●T●H●I●N●G!

Yesterday, my cousin who wrote that post turned 24. And because her father didn’t lay a concrete foundation of love for her to build on, she can’t tell when a guy truly cares for her.

I’m 26 still playing Russian Roulette with my time. Because I’ve never been scared to walk away, but the one thing all my Daddies failed to teach me was when it’s worth it to stay. What it looks like when you work it out with someone, not out of fear, not for the kids, not due to convenience, boredom or because they control your finances, not even for LOVE alone. What it looks like to build a solid foundation with someone because you love them, you trust them, you value them, you’re invested in their growth, and they’re invested in yours and you respect each other enough to show up when you say you’re going to show up. You communicate when you can’t and you’re disciplined enough to remain faithful no matter how tempting the fruit may look.

I want that. And despite what my Daddies never showed me I will have that. Because I LOVE myself enough to know I deserve more. Even if that means I have to cut folks off to create it.

“You’ve gotta love like you’ve never been hurt; to get the LOVE that you deserve.” -My Motha Best Friend Mary J. Blige

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Advice

 

Sunday was Mother’s Day and I fought back tears as I attempted to end my current situationship. He treats me well, doesn’t yell at me or hit me; because I don’t allow that shit; but there seems to be some break-down in communication that we’re having the ultimate struggle getting over.

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My mom; single parent with 2 children by men that she’ll “always love but doesn’t like”; told me I over analyze everything. I shared with her some of my communication frustrations and she said “You give up too easily. Relationships have hurdles sometimes.”

 

I wanna be married.

 

I’m not looking to get married today tomorrow or this time next year, but I know I want to be married to someone I can trust. Someone  who communicates well with me. Someone not only on the same page but also in the same book as me. My mother isn’t married. Her partners have all loved her; but they’ve never in my opinion been in the same book. And despite proposals & rings and 7 or 13 year relationships; she’s never made it to the altar or even the courthouse. My mother doesn’t have the life I want. I hear her advice anyway, because, my mother.

Me hearing, my mother’s advice

Sunday I listened as he expressed his love for me. His fear of losing me. His declaration that I’m his lady and his THIRD confession that he is not ready for a relationship. I don’t want to lose him either, but I’m not in the habit of staying at the table when I feel my flavor of love is no longer being served.

It’s been more than a year since we became physically intimate. Even longer that we’ve been entertaining each other’s company. He stayed when he learned I was depressed. When he realized, my apartment is a constant mess. I don’t always use kind words. He stayed.

One day I asked if we should have joint goals, since we support each other’s individual goals. I think it scared him.

After nearly six months (because the six months before October 29th are questionable) I hear him for the first time tell me he’s not ready for a relationship. It makes wonder *Well what the hell is this then?*

I don’t like uncertainty.

 

I say this to him, but I don’t DO anything with his confession. I let it marinate in my mind & fester into a fungus that tells me I deserve more. I examine myself. Am I giving the type of love I expect in return? Am I making my expectations clear? Am I refusing to accept less than his best? I fail this exam.

 

I ask myself is this worth walking away: List all the reasons I should stay. Call my mom. She taught me to list the pros and cons. She doesn’t answer. It’s ok, she doesn’t have the life I want. But do any of the women in my life?

 clair huxtable GIF

On Mother’s Day morning, I tried to end my current situationship. Even handwrote a letter of all the points I wanted to address. I told him I didn’t want to give up, but I didn’t want to fight to be with someone who didn’t want to be with me. He detailed all the ways he’s shown me that I’m who he wants. He isn’t ready to give in.

He’s been hurt before. His mother is also a single mother. His dad with a similar past as Buddha. We both have trust issues. We don’t want to be hurt again. But it hurts me to sit in uncertainty.

I tried to call my mother again. Sent to voicemail after it rang twice. If I don’t know any women with the life I want. Then who should I look to for advice?

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Feeling Unprotected in the Workplace & Why it triggered Me

A couple months ago I had a moment at work where I felt unprotected. Someone called, I transferred them; the person I transferred them to placed them on hold. She had attempted to transfer them to someone else, but that person’s line was busy. She asked me to take a message. I picked up and said in the professional way I get paid to say things “Thank you for holding. May I have your call back number please?”

That’s when things went LEFT and fast. “NO! I’m not giving you a call back number so you can continue to ignore me!” I tried to explain but he just yelled then called me ignorant when I asked him to calm down. I hung up. He called back, but because there’s no Caller ID, I answered. “Good afternoon Blah-Zé-Blah Health Center” He called me stupid. I hung up. I looked up at the woman who signs my checks; the woman who asked me to get this call back number, in disbelief. She shrugged and smirked.

The phone rang again. “Answer it” she said “You don’t want to miss an important call.” she added. So I did.

Same pleasant greeting I get paid for. It’s him. Yelling. I said “The person you need is still on another line, please hold. He screams “NO, I’M NOT GONNA HOLD.” I press hold anyway. She looks at me shocked, and offers to go tell the person he needs to hang up their other line and answer this man. Before she can move the phone rings again. He’s not on hold anymore.

“Answer it” she insists. “It might be important” she adds. But I know it’s not.

That blinking red line 5 tells me it’s him again, yet still, I answer; because she signs my checks and though we don’t have caller ID, she thinks it might be important. I answer.

Same pleasant greeting that I’m paid to give. It’s him again.  I was told to “SHUT UP!” Called “Incompetent” and every time I placed him on hold he would hang up and call again before I could tell the person he needed, to answer. And she continued to make me answer that phone. I had never in my life felt so unprotected! OR had I?

In that situation I grew frustrated because as an aspiring business owner, I know the key to great customer service is ensuring that my staff feels safe and valued. I was continuously verbally attacked, while my boss stood there and watched. When all we needed was Caller ID and he wouldn’t have been able to continue to verbally assault me without cause or consequence. I also would have hoped for her to grab the receiver and say “Don’t talk to my staff like that” but apparently, she was more afraid than I.

I knocked on my coworker’s door to let her know I NEEDED to take my lunch break. She took her time.

So I sat there, blood boiling, nerves rattling, in the lobby of a mental health clinic on the brink of a mental break down. I tried to compose myself and write down how that situation made me feel so I could share it along with suggested solutions (like WE NEED CALLER ID) with my supervisor.

Once I was relieved for my lunch break I sat in my car in the parking lot on the phone with my mom in tears; recounting my frustrations and the woman who made me answer got in the car parked next to me and rode away, seemingly unaffected.

I had to ask myself, of all the times people have called a phone and been nasty with me, why had this time in particular, struck a cord?

I realized that I had a history of having my sense of safety broken. I’ve shared before that witnessing my sister’s father have conversations with my mother where he had an abundance of bass in his tone, makes me despise people talking to me at certain levels.

How he and I had a physical altercation when I was 14 and my mother watched, paralyzed from the kitchen, not knowing who to defend. How she made me apologize for putting my hands on a grown man and hurting his feelings by telling him “He’s not my father” When he had in fact “Done more for me than my father ever had” And what she taught me whether she meant to or not is that it was ok for me to feel unprotected. It was acceptable for a man to talk to me with too much bass in my mother’s home and decide to strike me for disagreeing. But it was not ok for me to defend myself with my words or with my hands in her home. Because I was a child and I needed to stay in a child’s place, even if someone was attacking me; be it with words or brawn. She taught me what it felt like to be unprotected, so I had to learn to protect myself.