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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is That REALLY How You Feel?

Ok, I'm blogging again, I think that's enough of an intro, don't you, lol?

Ok, so there's this lady that does vlogs on relationships, mostly about how women should treat men, and the latest one that's gone viral is her talking about how it's ok for your man to cheat, it's in his nature, he'll always come back home because that's where he's being fed; then in the next breath she goes on about how the only reason he left in the first place was because he wasn't being fed; sexually, physically, emotionally, etc...blah blah blah. She goes on to say that monogamy was created by Europeans and that from the beginning of all time, men had multiple wives, and will therefore never be faithful...unless he's being fed at home. There's a metaphor about domesticating cats, and how if you let them out in the wild, they'll revert to their natural instincts, but always come home, so they can eat. She talks in a few different circles, some of it was good stuff, some of it didn't make any sense at all. She does all of this while cooking a meal in her kitchen, it was cute.

Whenever I see posts like this, it makes me wonder if this thought process is genuine, or is it born from a place where a woman constantly finds herself being cheated on, and rather than wait for a man who respects her and their relationship enough not to stick his thing in any hole that will open up to him, she's come up with this idea that it's not her, but it's in a male's human nature to want and pursue multiple sexual partners. OR it could be something completely different, the "Sports, Sex, and Food" concept, where a woman becomes well versed (at least on the surface and in public) in things that will garner attention from multitudes of men, and thereby making her the "ideal" woman. Kinda like the girls in high school and college that learned how to cornrow, just so that the boys would always want her around.

But, again, my question becomes, "is this REALLY" how you feel?!". I mean, don't get me wrong, if you can honestly allow your man to go out and have sex with other women, and be comforted in the fact that he doesn't love them, and will always come home to you, that's cool. If you like it, I love it. But I'd then like to know where this came from? What made you come to this conclusion? I would hope that it is not some form of settling because you think this is the only way that you can get someone to love you; or maybe not even love you, but to be with you. And do you get to do the same thing? If you see a hot one in the grocery store, is it ok for you to slip in the butcher's closet for a PURELY physical rendevous, as long as you still make it home to cook up the groceries you just bought?

Have things gotten so bad, that we have completely forgotten about AIDS and other STDs, and will throw all caution to the wind just to keep a man? And please don't talk to me about condoms, because half the time these men aren't using them...and then he comes home and sleeps with you, and doesn't use them then either. Have you forgotten the spiritual connection that comes along with sleeping with someone, whether you love them or not? There really is something to the saying that, when you sleep with someone, you're sleeping with everyone else they've ever slept with; and it's not just talking about the physical part of those partners either. I can't really go too far into that one without this becoming a whole different blog, so I'll digress.

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm a firm believer that it is important for a man to be cared for and nurtured on every level at home. I'm also a firm believer that in many, if not most cases, infidelity only becomes a possibility when a man isn't getting all of his needs satisfied at home. This could mean many different things though. You might not even be equipped to give this particular man all that he needs to be fulfilled. And don't fool yourself, if you can't, you will know this early on, and would be a complete idiot to even try.

There is a school of thought that asserts that people should strive to live in "circles of love", in which they get many different things from different partners, and everyone ends up fulfilled and totally happy. I can understand this manner of thinking, and while it's not for me, upon further investigation, in situations where it functions properly, I can see how it would work for some people. And how could you do anything but respect a lifestyle that promotes total and complete fulfillment. Again, if you like it, I love it.

I guess my real question is this...why would you want to completely give yourself to someone who won't do the same for you, if this is something that you require? I'm not talking about casual situations. I'm talking about a committed relationship, in which you have taken on the responsibility for the total well-being of another person. If this is what you require, why change your non-negotiables just because you're lonely? How low does your self-esteem have to be for you to sit at home waiting for your man to come in from the wild and enjoy the space that you've created for him? And how impossibly low is the number of your self worth, to think that this is best you can hope for?

My largest issue here, is how lop-sided the concept is. If your man can also understand that you too, may want to engage in the occasional tryst, and will always come back to him, then y'all go ahead and swing it up...and I can totally get with it. But if you feel this way, because you think it's the only way that you stand a chance at keeping a man, then darling, I'm afraid, you just aren't ready for a man at all, and need to take some serious time working on you.