Monday, September 10, 2012

Three Strikes and You're Out...

I hope all is well with everyone...I'm getting serious about my bloggin' again...I know we've all heard this before, but I'm trying to do better. I'm going to commit to one/week to start, and maybe a few freebies here and there. Please feel free to distribute throughout the land as you see fit. For those who are new to the blog, it's more of a stream of consciousness type of thing. No real theme, other than stuff that happens to me, and things that I think about...which, by the way is some funny stuff...believe you me, lol. So, now that we're all reacquainted, lets jump right back into the swing of things.

I started this blog entry over a year ago, and just decided to finish it.  The underlying theme is one that I've been talking to folks about lately, so, I thought it would be a cool way to keep the conversation going.  The good thing about this is that I have an update on the relationship with the fella below, so I guess that's a little nugget that you all wouldn't have gotten if I didn't put it down and pick it back up a year and a half later...enjoy...

As we get a bit older, the conversation amongst many groups of female friends, surrounds the shallow dating pool in the DC area. I'm not naiive enough to think that women in other areas of the country and world don't also have this problem, but I'm gonna talk about the folks I know the best. While I see what they're saying, I've considered myself to be pretty "lucky in love", so to speak. I have fun dating, end up in relatively fulfilling relationships, and when they're over, I'm able to learn the lesson and move on.

I generally operate on a three strikes and you're out system.  This is the easiest way I've been able to find, to keep myself from wasting my time on a perfectly nice guy, who just can't seem to get it together. There are, however, different things that can benefit or work against a man in these instances. If we go a long period of time without you using a strike, then your first strike may not actually be counted against you...or say for instance, you have a couple strikes, but have been on your best behavior, you might be granted a mulligan for the next strike...and so forth and so on. On the flip side, finding out that you're married; live with someone; have undisclosed children; a drug problem; or look like a woman when you drop your pants, etc. will get you a good three strikes for the price of one and discharged from the game.

I recently started dating this guy...very handsome, attentive (read: octopus), great personality, great job, well travelled, worldly...blah blah blah...all of the things that make us give a man the right phone number. I was very pleased with his communication style, everything was going great. For all intents and purposes, he should've been a front runner in the race for...I don't know...whatever "the roster" is racing for...y'all know what it is, lol.  Things were cool, but there was just something about him that didn't totally sit well with me.  At first, I thought it was because he was a hard blinker; and then I definitely didn't like the fact that he didn't have a presence on any social networking medium.

Strike #1...On our first date (lunch...ok), he left his wallet in his office...I had to pay. This might be a big no no for most folks, and believe me, it was an eyebrow raiser for me, but it's not that big of a deal. I don't mind paying, and he was adament about paying me back (which he did within two hours), but wild stuff has happened to all of us, and one must wonder...just a bit. While the situation was quickly rectified, he still got his first strike because it happened so doggone early. Strike #2 Weird and not easily explained living situation (no details necessary, I just didn't like it, lol). Strike #3 After date #5million in ten days, I finally let him drive me to my house...As I walk up the path to my building, I turn, and this fool is through the light and turning the corner.  SIR, I could've been raped, pillaged, murdered, kidnapped by martians, or any other manner of death and distruction and you would never know, because you were already home in bed, by the time I got to my front door!!

His strike #3 is the perfect example of a "three for one" type of deal.  When I'm dropping off my 6'4' 285lb brother, I wait until he gets in the door before driving off.  It's a TOTAL deal breaker for me.  At any rate, I got a text from him when he made it home (as I was walking down the hall to my apartment door, lol).  I didn't respond.  He called the next day, I sent him to voicemail.  After about a week or so of him calling and texting, I assume he got the picture, and stopped trying. 

I don't by any means claim to have the blueprint on dating and relationships, but I think I've had enough experiences to have learned some valuable lessons.  I've also been blessed to not only have learned those lessons, but to also have the intelligence to take heed.  How many times have we seen the warning signs that a dude is just not the one for us?  I would venture to say, that every relationship that ends, does so, for a reason that we identified and ignored, very early on.  What makes us ignore them?  I'm not just talking about women, because I woul venture to say that men do the same things.

I'm sure there are a bunch of different reasons that people ignore or settle in to live with, these red flags.  Some of them are deep seeded, others, not so much.  My approach may be a little on the unforgiving side, but I have no reason to modify it at present.  I implore the victims of shallow dating pools everywhere to evaluate your dating history.  The things that you put up with, the reasons why, and your results.  Most importantly, study your contribution to these situations.  Before even the first strike, there was something that I couldn't put my finger on, about this man, but I kept moving with it, because he was "perfect".  Turns out, he would leave me in the desert as dinner for hyenas, that is, unless I invited him upstairs (which I never did, btw).

I had lunch with this guy a couple of months ago, about a year after the third strike.  It seems that his living situation is a little less tricky and his wallet was on his person this time.  I never did tell him the real reasons why I stopped answering his calls, he thinks it was a combination of me moving to LA and getting caught up in the remnants of a previous relationship...I really can't remember what I told him.  As we were leaving the restaurant, he pulled me into an embrace and tried to kiss me in the mouth, and with sphinx-like reflexes I dodged the smooch, and planted one on his cheek.  He stepped back, smiled, hailed a cab, got in, and waved as it drove off...and there I was, in the desert (of Logan Circle), with the hyenas...but not at all surprised, lol. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Why Did I Get Married?

I know this title may have raised a few eyebrows but clearly it isn't about me, because I'm not married. But it's a question that I've been wondering if some of my friends have been asking themselves.

I've learned in my adult life that I am in no position to judge people who are in situations that I know nothing about. I'm not married nor have I ever been married. I've played house a few times, and that didn't even work out so I think that puts me in an even lower position to speak on married life, and what happens in it. I do sometimes wonder, if people who are married, and more importantly married with children, ever ask themselves "Why did I get married?".

The subject of married men making advances toward women other than their wives, is something that comes up quite often in conversations with my girlfriends. It's not something that I encountered at all, really, until some of my male "friends" started getting married. And I'll be honest, I was quite naiive, thinking that maybe it isn't something that happens as often as most people think, until I realized that I just hadn't encountered that demographic.

This sounds like a good place for a disclaimer, lol. I am not "outing" anyone in this post, male or female. So don't read with baited breath, expecting for a scandal to be uncovered because that just isn't the point, and it isn't goin to happen.

Now that we have that out of the way....

It seems to me, that many of the people who I know that are married, aren't happy. The reason I know this is either because I'm close enough to them that they just come out and tell me, or their behavior eludes to it. Let me classify this...

Many of the people, who I know, that were married before the age of 30, aren't happy. And when I say they aren't happy, I mean, they dread going home; are constantly testing the waters for opportunities for "release"; have full on relationships with other people; I could go on and on...but I won't, lest I nullify the disclaimer ;-)

How does a person end up in this place? How does one commit to spend the rest of their life with someone who, within two years of making that commitment, they can no longer stand the sight of?

In many of my blogs, I have answers to the question I ask. Unfortunately, this time I don't. I wrote this one, to get the dialogue started. We have, for too long, violated the sanctity of marriage. So much so, that it has been reduced to likes of "Will you go with me? Check the box...", and can be eliminated just as easily as another note that says "I quit you."

Time for another disclaimer: some people actually try to make it work. I've seen it happen. Sometimes it works...many times it doesn't. Kudos to those who have taken their marriages seriously, but something else ended up prevailing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bi-Coastal Barbie...

Please forgive me for the cheesy title, I just couldn't help myself, lol. It does serve it's purpose though, so I think we can learn to live with it. It's just my first post after moving to the left coast, lol.

I want to take a minute to talk about healing. Not physical healing, although, I guess I could use symptoms of physical healing to illustrate the types I'm talking about today. But, to be clear, I'm talking about emotional healing.

Since moving to LA, I've been having some very serious conversations with friends and family members. There's something about moving 3,000 miles away that makes people want to have "death-bed" conversations, lol. No, moving across the country is not death, but I understand the urgency in which these conversations were initiated, because you just don't know the impact that a move of this magnitude will have on a relationship, and there are just some things that you want to get off of your chest.

In having these conversations, there was an overwhelming undercurrent (is that even possible?) across the board. Everyone wanted to explain just how much they were over this thing or that thing. I got a lot of "I don't even THINK about that nigga anymore", and "Girl PLEASE, I upgraded HER", and "Jealous? of what?! the husband that cheats on her constantly?!". I'll be honest, I was a good girlfriend in many of these cases in the beginning, giving the mandatory nods, "you're right girl", and other signs of active listening. Then, I began to get fidgety, and then down right irritated by the conversations, and found myself wanting to scream "SHUT UP!!" at the top of my lungs.

I initially thought that I might be PMS'ing and that was why I didn't want to hear it anymore. But then I realized that I was just sick of being apart of the bandage parties. Bandage parties are a lot like pity parties, except there are a lot more people invited. At a bandage party, you invite your most vocal and loyal girlfriends; who know the gorey details of every failed relationship (yours and hers) and is preferably, fresh out of a relationship on her own, and actively sending invitations to her own bandage party, or in the midst of a failing relationship, that will give her even further insight (read: bitterness) to contribute to the conversation. The good thing about these pow-wows, is that it's a great opportunity for girlfriends to get together and bond (wine, great snacks, and good company...what can beat that?!); the bad part about these parties is that they cover up wounds that should be left open to get air, develop a scab, and heal properly; the wound of a broken heart (whether from a romantic relationship, or friendship, or family member) is one of those wounds that needs to be kept clean, covered/bandaged for a day or two, and needs air to get to it, in order to heal properly.

I think everyone that knows me, knows that I'm a relatively reasonable person. However, the way that I choose to deal with a broken heart can seem kind of cold, or even mechanical. I take the time to tell the story to the ones that I think need to hear it (that usually includes a conference call with Jam and Chow, and then a mass email/text msg convo/conference call w/the "next best" girlfriends), deal with the person directly involved, and then I refuse to talk about it anymore. It has taken years of break-ups and disagreements, heartache, and lingering feelings for people who don't mean me any good, to come up with this strategy.

What most people don't understand is that by taking this approach, I am treating my wounded heart like a physical wound. It seems cut and dry, but when I explain in it emotional terms, you'll see how closely the healing processes resemble one another.

When your heart is broken, it is imperative that you share the experience with someone. The only thing worse that suffering a blow the first time (physical or emotional) is having to live through it again in the initial stages of the healing process. Physically, this is cleaning the wound with peroxide or alcohol; emotionally, this is telling your best friends about the heart wrenching experience you've just endured. Because the wound is so fresh and vulnerable, this is when you need a bandage. Physically, to stop the bleeding; emotionally, to draw on the strength of the people you love, and love you, to snap back from this blow. After a couple of days, the bleeding (physically and emotionally) has stopped, and it's time to take off the bandage to let the real healing begin.

This is not the time to fake it 'til you make it. Be honest with yourself, and live with those REAL feelings, otherwise you don't stand a chance. Do I miss him? Yes, I do...more than I ever thought I would. Does it hurt? Like a b*tch with sharp teeth. But everyday, the wound is cleaned, and left uncovered by bandages of denial, and a scab slowly begins to form. Before you know it, there will be a scab over the whole thing. The thicker the scab gets, eventually it will just be a patch of hard skin, with no pain. And one morning, you'll wake up and the scab will have rubbed off in your sleep to reveal brand new skin, with no remnants of the previous wound.

There are a bunch of other metaphors I can use to further my point, like...if you pick a scab, eventually it will heal, but you'll have a scar, etc. However the most hopeful is that the new, unscarred skin that forms under a scab doesn't appear to be any different than the rest of your skin, but there's something underneath it, that makes it stronger, and much less susceptible to injury. Isn't that awesome?!!

I hope this wasn't too deep, lol...and of course I hope it helped someone. The moral of the story is to take the time to mourn losses, but learn your lessons, and move on to proper owe it to yourself.