About Me

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Philadelphia, PA, United States
I suck at bios. Am horrible at telling interesting things about myself without embarassing myself at the same time. So I stick to the basics: My mind is forever active; always thinking and asking questions. I enjoy reading. Love writing. But if it were up to me, I'd love for a lifetime because love, is an animal that as untamed as it is, it's perfect.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The {every-year} Holiday Battle

Holidays with my family are always full of good times and the laughter of children. And of course, good great food. If you ask me, no one's cooking could ever rival my mother's. Which is why I was so excited this past New Year as we ushered in 2010 when I cooked cabbage for the first time and it tasted just like my mother's. Women, I believe, spend our lives trying to perfect our cooking to taste just like Mom's. My next task: the baked mac and cheese (my brother and I return home everytime she cooks it.)

But off of the topic of food.

As joyous and exciting as the holidays are, they're also secretly saddening. It's during these times we look back and reflect on the lives that we wish were present physically, and not just spiritually, or in memory. It's during this time of the year, that I get particularly sad about my grandfather, my Bay-Bay, no longer being with me. I can't speak his name, or think back to then, or what could have been for now, without becoming flustered and teary-eyed, voice crackling, and tears eventually falling. There's never been a man I've adored or loved as much as him. No man's memory has ever bought tears to my eyes but his so easily. His smile and laughter, his denim blue hat and staple white button up shirt, tucked into the waist of his pants and it sat snug over his protruding belly - are missed more than I could possibly express in words or in actions.

I was 9 when he passed. He died of a massive heart attack, and from what I'd been told, on the steps of a friend. He was and has always been my favorite man. And it's because of this, my mother, step-father, and the rest of the family, had chosen as a collective, not to tell me about his passing until after the service. Until after the logistics had been taken care of. I've always felt some type of way about that collective decision, because I'd never been given the chance, the opportunity to say good-bye. Granted I've said and say it in my dreams, whisper it to the skies above when I think about him, and when the tears fall so easily down my cheeks - it's just not the same.

It's due to his death that writing became my safe haven; the safest place on earth. But it's also due to his death in particular that holidays just aren't the same. Nor are birthdays. Or graduations. Or life-altering moments like the birth of my now 2-year-old sister or when my Grandma had to have brain surgery, my elementary or high school graduations, acceptance into college, or when I moved into my own place. Granted, he's everpresent because that's just how Bay-Bay is, it's never been the same.

As a child, I recall sitting on his back while we watched Star Trek or V (he loved Sci-fi flicks, and I've never been able to watch them since) while I dolled his hair up with barrettes and ballies. We'd take random trips to the ice cream parlor on Ridge Avenue. He'd let me help him clean out his white van with the burgandy interior. Or, he'd just sit, with me on his lap. It's because of him I fell in love with Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits and with Red Lobster in general. He was my Bay-Bay, and I was his Nurl-Nurl (and forever will be).

Courtesy of he and my Grandmother, I was spoiled, rotten, and there wasn't much of anything to do about it. The first grand, the first girl, I was lavished with gifts and candy, movies and late nights watching sci-fi flics with my favorite, main man. My squeaky cackle and his rolling, bellowing laughter always filled up whatever room we were in. My mother always says to me "Just imagine how much more spoiled you'd be if he were here". Unfortunately, just like we don't know how many licks it takes to get to the center of tootsie pop, the world may never know the full extent of my spoiled rotteness. From birth, when doctors deemed my life to be over before it had even began, this man, held and nurtured me from birth, daily. There was never a day that his love was not shown.

I was a little girl being shown what love was all about. What it felt and sound like. Was being taught as a child that when love is gone, however it departs, there's no replacing the void left behind.

It's been 14 years.
And holidays, life has never been the same.
That void, that hole in my heart has never scabbed over to heal.

As children, we're taught "I Love You" as a part of speech. But we don't understand the action, the feat, what it looks and feels like until later in life. And if we're lucky enough, someone pivotal enough, important enough, loving enough, like my Bay-Bay teaches it to us in simplistic ways that are easily digested for us as children. And as we age, it becomes clearer to us just what they were teaching us. And that's what hurts the most: we've known love since before our birth, but somewhere between that first breath and adulthood, we lose or have lost the language of love.

Lucky me, I had a man who as big, black, and chunky as he was, taught me just what love was and what love is so that as an adult, I could understand it, I could digest it just as easily as I had when he let me style his coily, soft black hair or say his nickname for me: Nurl Nurl. That, is love.

Lucky me, from birth to age 9, and even now at 23, that man to whom I hold so dearly and so tightly to my heart and my memories, loved and loves me the way love is supposed to be done.

So while you stuff your face this holiday season with turkey, stuffing, and baked mac and cheese, sweet potatoe pie, cheesecake, and egg nog, realize, that this is all about love and nothing else. While death is promised, life isn't guaranteed, LOVE, sits cradled somewhere between the two - and it's up to us, to recognize it, and be willing to share it with another.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Letter to a 2 Year Old Me

Little Girl, Little Brown Girl-

What to say to you, I have not a clue as I'm still figuring this thing called life out myself. What are the facts of life and how will they benefit or hinder you? Wish I could tell you. But, your life will be one that when you look back on it, you'll be satisfied with the strides you've made.

There's much for you to discover and anticipate in this life. The journey though, is and will be rough and rugged; it's parched and dry. But you will learn that nothing is given to anyone who doesn't want to earn it. Who doesn't want to work hard and effortlessly. Not to spill the beans, but you'll grow into a hard-working woman who's tone and demeanor is endearing and passionate. People will gravitate to you because your smile is soft and gentle, it glides across your face with ease, and comforts the troubled spirits of many.

You've been born into a situation that you have no control over, but you, being the little girl you are, and the woman you'll  grow into will make the best and better of it. You will use it not as a crutch, but as a stepping stone. Your current situation, are the bootstraps that you'll pull up tightly and hold onto as a woman.

You're mother, to many right now, is a little girl herself. But to you, she's the world. And she'll always be that to you. Like the relationships of most mothers and their daughters, the two of you will go through rough patches, but only because a mother's love has no limits and because a child has to figure out who they are. Your love for her, limitless. You'll inherit many of her traits and take on her personality. Her laugh will become your own. Her sarcasm, willingness to lend a hand to those in need, and "pull no punches" attitude, will all wrap themselves around you to become yours.

Your favorite color will be purple. Your truest and best friends will be girls named Ashley, Brittany, and Deahna. It's from these women you'll learn the meaning of friendship. With them, you'll go through life knowing you're not going through it alone. The four of you together, will learn to love and nurture what it means to be women.

You're an artist. A writer to be more specific. You're a Pisces too, so the arts is something that's ingrained in your identity.  This, will be one of your greatest accomplishments. This, is the outlet that you carve and make for yourself. It is the place you go to in order to escape. It is a trait, a practice that will allow for you to understand the complexities of life.

I don't have all of the answers for you. I can't tell you what things you should and shouldn't do, but, do what makes you happy. I know this is I'm sure years too late, but it's best to do what makes your heart content - I've watched you spend years trying, attempting to make others happy before taking yourself into consideration first. But, that's life: it's about nothing else but learning how to make it and yourself better.

I speak to you candidly now because I've been where you're going. But there are places that we'll visit and things we'll experience together.  Life you will learn, is full of roller coasters and when they come, my best advice to you is to buckle down and face them head on with eyes wide open because there's nothing in life that you ever want to say you've missed out on. Have fun, because you only have one time to do this. Life is no dress rehearsal, no do-overs, or repeats.

I feel like this is nothing but a collection of cliches and quotes from famous and unfamous people. But it's not. It's all original. And new. This, is for you and for all of the little girls who will come after you. This is to tell you that though you'll worry yourself crazy because life is going to stress you, there's nothing to stress about. As you get older, you'll garner a relationship with God and strengthen your faith that will allow for you to weather any storm. You'll learn and come to understand the power of prayer. The importance in patience. You'll learn that it is OK to put yourself first.

I apologize to you now for putting others before you. And for holding grudges that weren't worth holding onto. I apologize for learning what it means to forgive later than I probably should. I tell you these things now because things may have turn out differently for you, for me, had you been given these facts of life earlier. But you'll learn that life is about learning. Every waking moment is a chance to learn more and be better.

I'll tell you though, there's a little girl you'll meet in about 20 years who will teach you just how beautiful life is. And she, is the inspiration for this. She is the little girl who's made it easier for me to not only to look back to then, but to look forward to and anticipate what's to come.

Live your life because God gave it to you for a reason.

Love always,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

You're Not the Man

When we're young, we do crazy things.
And when we get older, those crazy young things become stupid old things.

This is the best way to describe he and I. Crazy young decisions that had not outgrown us (though they should have) with perhaps no regard for age, growth, or expansion. No recognition of what it means for old things (and older individuals) to remain where they lie. The possible consequences. The possibility to end what is or what was or what could have been to find out what temporary tastes like. Like waking a sleeping giant and expecting it to be gentle and calm. Expecting it to be humble and changed. Expecting its outlook to mirror your own.

These are possibly the best ways to describe he and I.He and I weren't even enough to become "us" or "we". That's how temporary it all was.

We were young when we first crossed paths; hadn't even hit our twenties. Still in transition from childhood to adulthood. And still naive. Still doing what satisified our individual selves and with no responsibility outside of school and work. We enjoyed the non-responsibility of our then lives. We simultaneously taught and learned much from one another. Fun and convienence are the best ways to describe our thinking. But eventually our paths split, familiarity became distance, and time well spent became distant memories. Phone numbers changed just as our ages and focuses on life had. We morphed into new individuals. But old young things followed us so that they would become new stupid old things.

It's a known fact that sometimes in life we have to test waters that we know are not safe for us. We feel the need to enter territories that we know we ought not to. Just to see what it's like as we knowingly toss common sense aside.

And that's what we did. And continued to do. Before I knew it, I realized none of it made any sense to me. And it made no sense just to keep him, it, the situation, or the madness in tact just for the fun of it. Because at the end of the day, if I can't call or reach out when I really need your full, undivided attention, then I don't really need you around. And that's what it came to. I came to realize that just like our pre-twenties, and pre-responsibilities, just like the prefaces to the many chapters that would follow, there's always an ending. And it didn't matter how many times or in how many ways we called ourselves rewinding the clock or attempting to relive then, it was already over, and was over long before it even began.

It didn't matter how many times I attempted to correlate my likeness of his swagger to the traits and qualities that I believe a man should have, he wasn't it. He was not and is not and will not ever be that man. And more importantly, not the man for me. He was not and is not and will not ever be the man willing to bleed for me, live for me, give his last breathe to save for me. He wasn't then, isn't now, and thus, will not ever be that man I somehow managed to misconstrue his image to make myself believe he was.

Sade - You're Not the Man by theresaclark1987

Monday, October 4, 2010

Something (more), Someone (changed), Somewhere (new)

This life, it's always changing. Does what it wants to, when it desires to, and in its own order. We're just players in this game - for a lack of a better description. But it's the truth.

These days, I find myself seeking and searching for opportunities to better myself. To make Theresa a better partner, educator, student, daughter, sister, friend, aunt, niece, lover, and partner (just to name a few of my roles in this life I lead). Whether better employment opportunities or a chance to get back in school to finish this good ol' bachelors. Something.

I'd put as a status recently that "When you  need a break thru, God is who you go to". The rhyming I love - haven't written in rhyme since high school poetry with Ms. Reissman. Since the days I fell in love with poetry, daily.  But the truth behind the statement has and continues to prove itself to be true in my life. For the first time in my adult life, I've learned what it means to place my faith and problems, issues and concerns, into the hands of the deity, the God I call unto, and leave them there. Grew up hearing Let go and let God. Walk away and never turn back. It's easier said than done, but peace has never been sweeter. Confidence has never been stronger. And faith, has never been surer.

And by no means is this about religion, faith, or spirituality. But instead about how much and how often life changes. How at the blink of an eye, the click of a tongue against teeth, the flinch of a chilly body, life changes - instantly. How who we were yesterday, and last week, let alone last year, by far, is not the same individual.

My days zoom past. Weeks quickly turn into months. And the months already are ending a year I highly anticipated and planned for, yet, was not prepared for what it held. Just last night I thought I was living in June. Yet tonight, already, it's a frigid October evening. Sirens play loudly in my background as if it's supposed to be a soft jazz melody. The engines of cars fly past my building and on the eleventh floor, I hear it all. Violent winds blow and tree limbs whistle. Through closed windows, I hear the world buzzing as if I'm on some major artery, witnessing it in first person.

Close my eyes for a moment, and it's as if I hear nothing. Silence. Peace.

There's power in being in the middle of chaos, and to have total control over what and how to which you're affected. To be in the midst of loudness, and not hear a single sound to shake, rattle, and roll your insides. To be somewhere, yet be no where at the same time. To be able to be unaffected by the turmoil of your surroundings. Peace. It's something new for me. It's a new place that is full of grandeur and supreme beauty. It, is overstated and misunderstood. Peace is the laughter my quickly growing two year old sister who knows nothing about heartache and disappointment; but instead of hugs and kisses, ABCs and 123s, and Sasha, the cat. Peace is having breasts and a shape of a woman. Peace is waking in the morning to live another day. Peace is being appreciative that things really could be a whole lot worst.

The older I get, the more I appreciate this life. The one that has taken away and given me things and individuals. The same life that just as quickly as it removes someone from my space, it quickly returns them. The more I anticipate what's to come from marriage and children, dreams that manifest its destiny into success. The less I look back and the more I look forward, the more I realize that though I'm not where I'd anticipated to be now, I'm where I'm supposed to be. And that's a noteworthy breath.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hanging in the Balance

I was at work when I’d gotten the call from my mother. Sitting at my desk, with a freshly made cup of raspberry green tea, I was counting down the hours as they passed and ushered me closer to signing out and taking my 40 minute train and bus ride home. My evening was somewhat planned: Aveeno stress relief foaming bath, dinner, write my nightly letter, and off to bed.

My mother was hysterical, frazzled and could barely get her words together. When it finally did come together, the news was that my cousin, to whom I carry her name as my middle name, was high off of wet, PCP, marijuana/weed/ganja/ooo-wee soaked in embalming fluid – whatever name you want to call it by, had jumped out of her sister’s third floor window and wasn’t responding. The words you just read don’t even look right in print, but it’s the truth. This, is currently my family’s reality as we pray that she makes it through without knowing how severe her injuries are or possibly, how difficult her life may become due to this horrific situation should she make it out. It’s that deep.

With a fractured skull, concussion, internal bleeding, bleeding in her head, partially collapsed lung, partially fractured spine, and broken top portion of her back, it’s a wonder she’s still here. It’s a blessing and a reason that she’s alive.

I come from a family of drug abusers and addicts. The list is long and the affects that it’s had on my family is saddening. But this situation, tops them all. Takes the cake. And truthfully, pisses me off. Some may question, why are you even dishing your family business out there for the world to know? Let me tell you why…

Aside from this blog, I also write for an online magazine, Urban Plateau. And I really wanted to save this piece for our October issue. But the issues in this “blog”, in this “piece”, this “work” are too important to hold off for a few weeks when maybe, just maybe, I may be able to save someone. Or help someone save someone. Or give someone the thought to be proactive instead of reactive. Urban Plateau is an online magazine that gives me a monthly opportunity to write from my soul. And that’s what I attempt to do each and every month. This online magazine, for those of us who contribute to it, we don’t do it for the glory or for the comments. But, because we have something to say and so long as our words reach at least one person, we’ve succeeded. We don’t do this to increase our friend requests or followers on Facebook or Twitter. We don’t do this for recognition or accolades either. But because there’s something to be said. I don’t know how many people read my work. I don’t know how many lives my work has, do, or will touch. I don’t even know if there’s a point to me writing. But I do it. And I’m faithful to it. All of the same aspects apply to this here blog. I do this to share. To write, to be an artist and not share your work, your God given gifts, to be selfish at all costs.

As I write this, my cousin’s life literally is hanging in the balance. Should it falter in any way, shape, or form, she could be gone – forever. But as her life depends on the steady hands and intelligence of hospital physicians, our family is split right down the middle. Separated and torn. Yes, we’re all devastated, but, not all devastation is the same. Not everyone can carry or handle life when life itself becomes fragile and tender like a nerve. And many of us in my family are proving we don’t know how to handle tragedy. That we don’t know how to conduct ourselves in public, or in the confines of our own homes.

In my family, in my community, drugs rule the world while they simultaneously destroy them too. I’ve watched aunts and uncles, cousins, my father, be destroyed by deadly chemical concoctions that are not meant for human consumption. Yet, they consume. They take in. The high takes them somewhere they’ve never been before. Some think they are invincible and won’t burn in a house fire. Some, think they can jump from windows and roofs, and fly. Some think and thought, they could puncture veins and no one would notice.

Yes, it’s just that deep!

Life is not a game to be played with. It’s not Spades where you get rewarded for having more books than you originally predicted. Or 2500 where the winner takes all. This life is not a game meant to be reckoned with. The fact of the matter is from the moment we come into this world, from our first breathe and first cry, we’re dying. And because of this, we ought to live life daily as if it’s our last.

There are so many things wrong with what’s going on right now not only in my own family, but in families and communities across this country and throughout the world. Mothers and fathers are abandoning their children to “do them”, and leaving these same children to grow into adults who don’t know how to be adults. Parents are being incarcerated at alarming rates while state department of corrections can’t build prisons fast enough. So bad that in Pennsylvania, men have been transferred to Michigan and Virginia, and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is building a new prison to which they’ve already named SCI Benner. Schools are failing, below average, with sub-par teachers who do it for a check – or do it and don’t know how to get the job done. The rich get tax breaks while the poor get taxed and are forced to work outside of their county in hopes of earning a better living to support their family or themselves.

Yes, it’s just that deep!

In black communities, we don’t take the addictions of our friends and family serious until the elephant in the room decides it’s tired of sitting still, quietly, not making a sound. It’s not until this fa├žade of one of the world’s most dangerous animals becomes a reality and comes to life to realize and admit that there’s some direly wrong with this picture. Same applies to my family, and hundreds, thousands, millions of families throughout.

Our survival hangs in the balance.
And something gots to give.
Something needs to be done.

I know I usually write about love and life as if I’m looking through rose colored glasses, where I fill it up with sweet words that we get drunk off of. But this is something like love. Matter of fact, it is love. It’s love enough to take off the rose colored glasses, sit them down, and look at what I’m surrounded by and admit that this life, is a mess. And something gots to give! Daily, I’m watching little girls bigger than me, switch and prance hips and breasts that they don’t know what to do with them. They lick their lips and talk slick without understanding the meaning of these innuendos. Yet, no one says anything. No one loves them enough in these rough streets, these war zones, to let them know they’re better than what people see. I’m a woman and I’ve been there. But someone loved me enough, a woman who knew me and my girlfriends only from seeing us huddled in the back corners of the 32 bus. She loved us enough to check us and pull our coattails because no one had done it with her. She loves us enough to guide us and protect us during a time when our mothers couldn’t. She was privy to our young girl mentalities and loves us enough to love us as if she were our kin. She showed us where we could end up should we not abide by life's rules where it gives us very little wiggle room to create our own rules. She showed us that being naughty can be a good thing - when done correctly and at the right time; then, wasn't the right now. She checked us. And because of her, to an extent, one of us is a married mother of three, we all take care of ourselves, and have grown into responsible, respectful and respectable women.

At the end of the day, something has to give. Something has to be done to promise our children and grandchildren, those here and those to be, a life worth living. A life worth fighting for and struggling on behalf of. Our todays are not guarantees to become memories. It's not promised to us that tomorrow and next week, month, or year, that we'll be given the chance, the opportunity to remember today.

And while my cousin fights for her life, and my family bickers worst than a gang of alley cats fighting for scraps, I write none of this for condolences, empathy, or conforting words. But instead, I hope that someone, at least one person, takes something from this because our lives don't have to hang in the balance. They don't have to waver or linger between days. They don't have to be meaningless. So I pray you, the reader, gets something from this. And if not now, someday.

Visit Urban Plateau @ http://www.urbanplateau.com/ It's a well-worth treat!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pursuit of Happiness

happiness: [hap-ee-nis]
1. the quality or state of being happy.
2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

The Declaration of Independence (1776) states and makes it clear "...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I by far am not a history buff. But the "founding fathers" made it clear as day, that to be happy, to be content and satisfied with our lives, we have to seek it. We have to chase, find and discover, and eventually, grasp what happiness is to us (or what we think it is), and hold onto it for dear life. It, like love, has to be sought and found; has to fit us snug and perfect.

Happiness, is a lifelong effort full of trial and error. Happiness, much like love, is one of the few words in the human language that can be and is an emotion and an action, that has a lifelong impact on our lives - whether good or bad.

I have the right to live. The right to liberty, to be independent, to be my own self as she exists. But, I have to fight for my happiness? Fight for the happiness of my unborn children? Fight for a future that I have no clue what it holds?

As a child, my mother fought for me not to be labeled or ostrasized as the "Learning Disabled" student simply because I couldn't enunciate words clearly, because I stuttered worst than a scratched CD skips in the stereo, and the "regular" first grade teacher and principal didn't have the patience necessary to educate me on my level - the way I learned at that time. My pursuit of happiness then was pursued and sought by my endearing mother whose fervent energy I've gladly inheirited. Because she sought and chased after my happiness then for now and later, none of the above apply to me any longer. I've daydreamed a countless number of times about what if any of the women who labeled and limited my possibilties had the oppurtunity or the chance to see me now, what would they think? How would they react? Or feel, knowing that the little girl they said couldn't, did?

Happiness, is not all about self-indulgence or self-satisfaction. It's not entirely about that blush pink on your nails and toes that makes you smile, or the series of sweet kisses he left on your lips before leaving home. It, at times is about achievement and taking that extra step so that somewhere down the line, what's to come is far better than now because of that extra step. This, my mother taught me at ages when no one understood a word coming out of my mouth but her. These things she taught me when she made it known to put a pretty cover page on my monthly book reports though it wasn't required. Extra steps make a difference later.

The pursuit of happiness is nothing but a culmination of a series of steps that have been previously taken and the big picture isn't seen until later. The pursuit of happiness is arduous and hard. It's sad and sometimes depressing. It, causes us to often question life like a journalist approaches a lead story: who? what? when? where? how? and most importantly, why?

It's made clear in the history books we study as children and later as adults. It's printed in the fancy ink of The Declaration of Independence the clear explaination that no one is responsible for our happiness, whatever it is or meant to be, but us. When we're in love, we like to think that our partner is responsible for making and keeping us happy. But what if they croak today or tomorrow? What if 6 months from now that love no longer exists? What if, that person doesn't know how to make us happy? Then what? Who then is responsible and is to be held accountable for making us smile? For making us appreciate and recognize the beauty in the ugliness of life's struggle?

The pursuit of happiness explains itself in a simple phrase and a few syllables. It makes itself clear that the action is to be sought. Chased. Found. Held onto. For dear life. It makes itself clear that the journey is our responsibility and no one elses. It makes itself clear that this journey will be nothing but a collection, a series of actions that should result in us knowing what satisfies and makes us happy. Children know and recognize happiness. It's, what makes them smile and giggle, chuckle and run carelessly through dirt and grass, in and out of doorways, and chase after what to adults is nothingness. Children are able to play with each other and alone, and be satisfied. They, know happiness because they know not the difficulties of this complex world to which they themselves dwell. Children at young ages know what makes them happy. Whether it's the bald-headed doll with no clothes on or their singing, dancing, joking, Elmo, or even, their favorite blanket that makes them secure and safe. They know what makes them happy more than the adults who raise them.

Our happiness should be childlike. It ought to be simple and sacred. Our happiness, should belong only to us. It should not be held at the mercy of others or another. Happiness is the age old trick question when a friend or an educator asks us randomly, what makes you happy? The trick is to already know the answer to the question.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Waiting (for)(me) to Exhale

Imagine: a boring "apple-sugar-spice" Saturday afternoon full of nothingness and empty of excitement. You're a 23 year old woman, with half of a job, mind full of dreams, wants, and desires, an unkempt apartment that's yours to which needs to be straightened up by the way - but you feel weak. You pray daily, throughout the day and wake up sometimes at night when the only thing lighting the skies are stars you can't see from your bedroom, just to speak and talk with your God. Feel like you're living day-to-day - waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the life you know you deserve to stop skipping and just play - smoothly.

Rewind 15 years - Waiting to Exhale, circa 1995. I remember my mom took me to see the movie when it first came out. It was a date. Andorra Shopping Center - the best movie theatre in all of Philadelphia! At least that's what my 8 year old self thought. Unbeknownst me, that film would be pivotal to me, as a young girl. Waiting to Exhale is the film that ushered me into the realization that "Damn, I'm a girl!"

Fast forward 15 years. To now. That 8 year old girl is a 23 year old woman who now, fully understands the innuendos and adult comments and content made throughout the film. That 8 year old who is now a 23 year old woman, not only understands, but has been in some of the shoes filled by the women who played these pivotal roles. These, classic characters.

I remember watching it in my 8 year old skin, during the part when Robin and Michael have (horrific) sex. He looked like a fish in dry land, dying, but then he came to life - in minutes. I remember Gloria being the overbearing mother. And Angela Bassett's unforgettable role as the wife who sets her husband's clothes, jewelry and car ablaze after he leaves her, for a white woman. The rest of the movie, the little things, I didn't remember. Until this Saturday. This boring "apple-sugar-spice" Saturday!

But I realized and learned some, well, a lot of things as I watched this crucial film, from beginning to end. From opening scene to rolling credits. I watched that film beginning as the 8 year old girl I originally viewed it in, and slowly, grew into the 23 year old woman I am now.

Bernadine wanted to call her husband's new woman - the white woman, his secretary, to "talk" to her. Robin, egged her on. Savannah (Whitney!), shook her head. And Gloria, protested and subsequently snatched the cord out the phone. Bernie broke down. And I noticed, no one, not even Gloria or Robin who was on her side, consoled her. No one took her hand and said sweet words that we want our girlfriends to say. No one cusped her face into their brown, worn palms, and whispered positive words to her. They all sat (or stood) in place and watched her break down. And question why.

I sat at the edge of my bed, pouring, drying, and peeling Elmer's school glue from off of my hands. I sat there, seeing myself with my sister and my best friends. Watching us talk about what's to come - our fears and excitements. We're all excited to become mothers and wives, to buy our first homes and take vacations that women only takes with her girls.

I sat, waiting for the play button to be pushed in my life. To hear the "on your mark, get set *gunshot!* GO!" I sat, and watched this movie, and noticed that none of these women took care of themselves. But they took damn good care of everyone else. To please, everyone else - whether spiritually, emotionally, or sexually. Took exceptional care of their children, homes, and careers. But, they failed at making sure that their self, their person, their beings, were their #1 priority.

So, after the credits rolled, and I peeled glue from my hands one last time for the day, I made myself a cup of herbal tea. Started a simple dinner for one. And began this piece. Googled the benefits of yoga. Vowed, to myself, that while I wait for life to stop skipping, the least I could do is take care of me. To put me first. To take care of myself whether it meant eating more vegetables or meditating before bed. Whether it meant not answering the phone when I know I don't want to be bothered, just to have or to get a peace of mind, or randomly texting a friend I Love You.

Adulthood and I have a love/hate relationship. We've had this devastating relationship since I started college. It isn't fair and surely does what it wants to - what it sees fit. Doesn't give me what I want, when I want or what I feel I rightfully deserve, and damn sure doesn't give a streak of good luck!

But, as I sat on my bed, watching a cast of actresses whose careers let alone their lives span and double my own, I realized the key to this game of adulthood isn't to wait for it to do you right. The key is to do yourself right. The key, is to find a space or moment in time to call your own. Find a some peace of mind even when you're sitting in the midst of chaos. Appreciate the glimpses of sunshine regardless of the category 7 hurricane that's ripping through your life. Find peace. And breathe. Exhale.

At 8, I thought it was all about love and being angry. At 23 and an adult, I realize the problems were and are deeper than sex, more passionate than making love, more severe and detrimental than holding on or not wanting hold on tight because you've convinced yourself you'll lose the battle anyway. It's about carving a niche in this superficial, self-centered and self-absorbed, narcissistic, emotionally drained and oversensualized society we call home.

Since re-watching this flick for the first time in its entirety in 15 years, each day, I carve a niche for me and my existence. Whether it's sitting at my computer and working on a blog or feature piece, or sitting cozy in the corner of my sofa with a cup of tea, or even, sitting on my bed, naked, and in my skin, eyes closed, heart beating steadily, I breathe. I take time back for myself, whether 5 minutes or for 10 minutes, and I take it for myself. And myself alone.

For some people, this lesson, is never learned, let alone taught. Lucky me, I learned it at 8 but understood and comprehended it at 23. The sooner we get this simple fact about life, quite possibly, the sooner we all can individually and drastically change our lives, for the better.

So, moral of the story is: take back your life and claim it. Re-name. Appreciate it. Make it yours and give yourself the life you deserve.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ol' School Married Kind of Love

I remember I'd said to him in a serious voice and an even more serious facial expression, Divorce is not an option for me. I'm not marrying nan soul just to get divorced. You marry me, and you're in this for good - til death do us part. Needless to say, he looked at me as if I'd called him every foul word and name known to man. So be it. I meant it then and to this day, still do.

Marriage, is not a joke. Yet it is and continues to be made fun of. Marriage is treated as if it's something to do before you die. Something to try out like a pair of red bottoms. Test it out and toss it if you don't like it.


There's a special woman whom has taken the place as my Great-Grandmother because mine passed when I was two. This god-fearing woman, with a sharp tongue and fabulous sense of humor was married to her husband, until his death, for 63 years. They'd gotten married in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the local court, said their vows, and walked around the corner to eat dinner at her parents home. Simple. Old school. Classic. But most importantly, everlasting.

I'm 23 and by the time I was born, they had been married for a good 40 plus years already. They took their position and role as husband and wife seriously. They realized and understood that
there's a reason that 'we' is spelled with no 'I'. There's a reason that couple is spelled with no 'I'. There's a reason that 'vows' are spelled with no 'I'.

I was reading and studying my Bible recently about marriage, and in it I found this passage: "...and that he said, 'That's why a man will leave his father and mother and will remain united with his wife, and the two will be one' So they are no longer two but one. Therefore, don't let anyone separate what God has joined together." Matthew 19:5-6 Perfect sense it made and makes. Oftentimes, we, both as individuals and couples, as items, allow for others and everyone else not only into our relationships but into our bedrooms, and subsequently, we allow for them to decide what does and doesn't happen in our relationships. We allow for them to curve our attitudes and emotions, how we feel about situations and about our partner. We, allow for them to be the third person in our relationships.

Some time ago, I had a conversation with one of my best friends about marriage. I'd made mention that I wasn't going to drop my last name - I'll just hyphenate. Calmly, she said to me, 'Why do that? Take your husband's last name and be happy, make it known you're married. Plus, you've been Clark your entire life and last time I checked, Clark wasn't married.' She made it clear to me that if marriage is supposed to and is designed and designated to be a union, it should be treated as such.

Marriage today is played with entirely too much. And society wonders, questions, why. Celebrities don marriage the same way they do purses and diamonds that cost more than what most of us make in a year. Statistics are spewed at us in heavy rotation of how marriage is failing and falling while divorce steadily increases, exponentially it seems. We hear friends talk about being single for life because there aren't enough good girls or bad boys; that they're tired of the same ol' love song. Tired of running the love gamut.

A friend of mine on Facebook whom my parents grew up with, also an on-air radio personality for Philadelphia's local WUSL Power 99FM, Uncle O, posted recently on his Facebook status that "Some of yall wonder why when u get married it dont seem like nothing has changed...one reason is you have to drop the maiden name[,] a hyphen in ur last name dont show ur new hubby that u are ONE[.] drop old habits and get new habits...Joint bank accounts same last name the whole nine...u guys become one but u still have separate lives. Just my opinion. I see a lot of hyphenated last names not good." Needless to say, a lot of women told him he was wrong, gave countless reasons as to why they've chosen or are choosing to hyphenate or not change their names when they do get married, and at the end of the day, made it clear that they didn't feel that changing last names was necessary. I for one, absolutely agree with him.

"Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die." Sounds like marriage to me. Everyone wants be loved unconditionally; wants their own piece of the pie, but doesn't want to take the necessary steps to get there. Doesn't want to do what's necessary on their part to make sure the entity remains intact.

No, I'm not married. Never been. But someday I will be. And I'm doing it once and one time only. And it will be til' death do us part, in sickness and in health, through good times and bad.

Marriage by far is not a two-way street that allows for us to be one, yet, walk in opposite directions - defeats the purpose. Instead, it's a one way street with two individuals from two different walks of life, walking, trekking, running, traveling, and experiencing this all together. At least it's supposed to be.

Many of us have become lazy and assume that once the engagement is agreed to, the ceremony and honeymoon take place, that no work is necessary. We feel that no work is needed and that things will just fall into place on its own accord. We assume that our partner knows we love them, and that there's no need to say I love you, I need you, I want you, I appreciate you. I admit, here and now, right here on this blog and in this piece, that's a mistake, a move, a decision, a habit, that's not worth making. It's not worth making assumptions that he knows you want and desire him. It's not worth thinking she knows you love her with every fiber of your body. Speak it into existence and let it be known. Speak it into existence and practice it, show it, prove it to be true. Love, as much as it is about itself and proving that it's real, it is also about knowing.

I remember freshman high school non-fiction with Ms. Litman and one of the first lessons was show, not tell. And for months, he asked, borderline begged me to show my love and not just tell it. Show it in simple kisses when I arrived home from work, or send a text message explaining just how much I not only loved, but missed and couldn't wait to see him, type of love. We'd been together for nearly three years at that point, and he was still asking me to do these simple, basic feats, but I, a fish as stubborn as a bull, silently refused. And I can say now with every womanly existence I have, it was an uneccessary refusal because love, is work. Point blank. No way around or away it. It's a 24/7, 7 days, 52 weeks, and 12 month job.

Love and relationships, including marriage is ongoing, nonstop work. And it seems to me, that we're either too afraid or too lazy to work for what we claim we want, need, and deserve - including our partners - whether married or not.

I vouch for old school married kind of loves. Trade in our platinum weddings for City Hall in Sunday's best and quaint celebrations with those who truly are happy for us. Trade in the contractual concept for the love contract, til' death do us part, for better or for worst. Trade in hyphenated names for family names, married names. Trade in 10 year relationships that turn into two year marriages and end in divorce, for everlasting togetherness. Trade in the girlfriend, homeboy, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, tweaker, hoochie, boyfriend and girlfriend #2, side jawn talk with husband and wife conversations in bed, together, late, and full of love. Let marriage be what it is supposed to be. Let marriage exemplify the best of love, and at times, the worst of it too.

I speak and write, I attempt to practice these very things, because love and marriage are one of a kind; they are simple and basic, they are fragile and easily break like 60 year bones. If it, whether the relationship, love, or marriage, is what you want, ladies and gents, men and women, lovers alike, I beg of you to work on it. Fix it. Struggle and hustle and bustle for it. No longer allow for irreconcilable differences to be the reason you end what at one point and time you wanted. No longer allow for your mother, father, sister, brother, aunt and uncle, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, co-workers, strangers, groupies and hoochies alike, man on the street, the cat, dog, or goldfish in the bowl, be why you don't make it.

Yes, it's that deep.

I'm Truly Yours
Phyllis Hyman

Special thanks to Uncle O for allowing for his status to be used. Listen to him and Mikey Dredd, The Hot Boyz on Power 99 FM (98.9 FM) in Philadelphia from 6-10pm Monday-Friday

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Point of It All

I've finally decided after writing for over ten years, going to school (high school and college) for it, and constantly perfecting and critiquing this skill, to host and run a blog. It's always been something that I've wanted to do. Writing is something that is in my blood; it's paternal, as my older sister does it too. Writing, it's my stress reliever, it's my psychiatrist when all else fails. It's my go-to person. It's who and what I'm able to be brutally honest with about what I sincerely want out of this life.

So, what's the point of this blog? What role does girllnexxdoor play in my life, and in your life, aside from a uber cute blog title? What's the mission? What's the purpose. What's the point of it all?

I didn't bother to consider this until I came across another blog, by a different author, who quite possibly without knowing, sparked something in me. Questioned me to question myself on why is it that I do this. What is this to me and more importantly, what do I want this to be everyone else? To whomever decides to follow or link or like or discuss or copy and paste passages into tweets and statuses.

Ironically, my mother asked me the same question yesterday: "So what is this blog thing you're doing now?" I couldn't answer her because I didn't know. So I thought of something quick, "Just to write. And let other people read it." But this simple response doesn't explain my sheer excitement or the excitement or comfort or inspiration that followers, likers, and readers get when they visit girllnexxdoor.

I don't like mission statements. They to me are too simple and oftentimes not pretty enough. They lack the flower and beauty of words.

This isn't your average mission statement - mission statement. girllnexxdoor is a kick-ass blog about love and relationships, life and it's downfalls, and triumphs. girllnexxdoor is a dream come true as it is fair and honest, it is sincere and gentle; it, is an outlet that is long overdue, but is right on time. I, hope and pray endlessly, that you find comfort and joy, and above all else, inspiration to keep moving when you feel that your feet have failed you, your thoughts go against you, and your heart is stuck in the middle.

This, is about love.

Friday, August 13, 2010

root of (most)(all) evil

I've come to believe, that love, not money green papered money, is the root of most, if not all evil. As children, after learning to say Mama and Dada, the first phrase to which we're taught is I love you. Not I'm hungry, I'm wet, or sleepy, or even the infamous 'leave me alone', but, I love you. It was one of the first phrases I tried my damnest to teach my now two year old sister. She only began to grasp and repeat it this year, but since her first utterances, I drilled this three word, three syllable phrase into her ever growing and expanding vocabulary.

Even as children, we correlate love with hugs and kisses, with holding of hands and grasping of calves. We understand and understood then, that there is something simplistically difficult about this word, this action, this phrase. We realize as children, with a very limited vocabulary, that my responsibility, is to comprehend exactly what love is.

The reasons we're taught and teach this phrase can only be one of two reasons; either to embrace it or avoid it - at all costs.

Most of my writing is about love and my mishaps with it. Most poets write about love and their desires for it. Most celebrity blogs dramatize it. We search for jobs that we love. Blushing brides search for that gown to which they love. Teachers take measly salaries for their love of the job. Women endure, whether out of stupidity or not, because of love. We make love and make babies out of this love. We open our eyes daily because some higher power loved us that much to keep us. And some of us, don't open our eyes and succumb to death because some higher power loved us enough to take us away.

Everything we do and everything we search for, is for and because of love.

At some point in our lives, love does us wrong, does us raw, and skins us alive. Love, as merciless as it feels, and at times it is, at particular and certain points in our lives, is like the summer's wasp. With sealed lids, it functions off and out of sheer emotion, and sometimes, blindly enters into realms and situations that are no good for it, places that could end its existence. But love, like the wasp, moves rapidly. It doesn't budge or shake like the bee when swat at; doesn't die immediately when hit either. Love, stands alone and by itself.

I remember being a young teenage girl, along with my best friends and school peers, sharing stories and tales about what we thought then was love. Love then, didn't require trial and error; love then, were mere experimentations, tests, to see if we, as girls, were ready. The irony in it all, is that even now as women, our emotions and reactions to the real thing tend to be as gentle and succulent as our then 16 years old girl hearts were.

Love, is the only emotion, that keeps trying. That is forever enduring and growing. Love, is the only emotion that transcends time and species. Love, is the only emotion that attempts to be all-knowing, but is also, the only emotion that is ever present.

And even though I personally believe, in my heart of hearts that love, not that money green papered money, is the root of most, if not all evil, I for one, will continue to conquer and perfect it. I, will continue to practice and critique it. I, have and will continue to evolve because of love.

It is an evil after all that is necessary.

"Love has no awareness of merit or demerit; it has no scale by which its portion may be weighed or measured. It does not seek to balance giving and receiving. Love loves; this is its nature".
Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart, 1953

Hear My Call
Jill Scott
performance from 41st Annual NAACP Awards

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

am's inspiration

I started this nearly 3 years ago and am JUST finishing. Nonetheless, it means more today than it did then. Hope you enjoy!

this reminds me of timeless novels named after the main character - simple titles. charlotte's web. selah's bed. song of Solomon. resurrecting mingus. sula. assata. you get the drift. but this isn't even about amity, more so for her and me and any other woman who may read this and understand the joys and pains. the frustrations of adulthood, livelihood, and trying to be and achieve something in life without much guidance. it's hard. and most days, it hurts.

the inspiration. the love. the passion. most of it has left me again so I can do me again and search and find me again. to look at me and change me again into a new me again. find a joyous me that has found a lot that I can say I love you in front of my mother type of again - again,

this is about the life of a girl turned lady who's still fighting to become the woman her mother so eagerly hopes shes trained and raised her to become. this is about the heart that has been through some things but keeps going. keeps searching. keeps trying. keeps praying humbly for change and honesty and consistent love.

I hope this inspires you to do more. to be more. to understand more. to want more and therefore, achieve more.

so am called my bluff without her even knowing it. I've been trying for a while to write something with the same umph my past writings had. something striking and poignant. but I failed to realize that words written with truth are poignant and prolific alone. they stand on their own like a persistent toddler who insists on learning to walk but to stand on its own. without help and guidance - only inspiration. even more so, I fought with myself to do this and still am because there's nothing I can find in the obvious, nothing that sits directly in front of me that screams pain and therefore begs for me to etch its existence and my memory of it on paper. It's said that writers write best when in pain. Or upset. Or angry. Yet, none of these apply to me.

when creativity takes a break, life happens because life has to go on and it has to get things done. accomplish a goal. teach lessons. change the lives of other people. it inspires. it sees and feels and tastes and hears and smells new things to inspire and build and create something new.

many, most, if not all of my writings have been mere exhibitions of what it was and felt like to be hurt and pained. to have been wronged and left to lick wounds that originally werent there - wounds that we tell ourselves shouldn't be there. but in all honesty, they need to exist and need to live in order for us to learn. I've learned this and still am learning that my body, heart included, is nothing less of an open, blank, plain picture, sitting silently and still, on an easel, waiting to be scribbled and written all over on, to be negated and loved, to be hurt and healed, to learn and be miseducated - to be painted on with blood stained hands and lips.

I know I'm a woman. I was born with a vagina. raised as a girl. grew breasts. learned about sex in-between my mother and I going to the movies to see Waiting to Exhale as a little girl and that night she sat me on her bed to have "the talk". as a woman now, but specifically as a girl then, and many of us, once as girls, we learned about our sexuality and sex organs in correlation with the difference from a "girls" privates and a "boys" privates. everything we know, we learned by accident. many of us, learned about sex far before our parents told us that god awful Birds & the Bees tale. many of us, learned that fire is hot and ice is cold not because someone repeatedly repeated it to us, but because we had to find out on our own.

for me, it's only recently, in the last few years that I've realized that I am a woman. that my struggles and pains, joys and triumphs, my dreams, are all shaped around and by the fact that I am a woman. I pray for my unborn children and their lives because I am a woman. I want to be loved by a man with the same mustard seed that and hopefulness that I have come to love my God and spirituality because I am a woman. I have experienced many and plenty of hardships and have been knocked down in life because I am a woman! a woman who loves herself. a woman who loves her femininity but doesn't lavish in it. Call is paralyzing if you'd like, but this is beauty and sensuality all wrapped in one.

with time and patience, I've learned and have come to understand that life is shaped by experiences. Experiences can happen to us and to those who we love forever and a day that shapes who we are and who we eventually become. I use to question the validity in such a thought, but with age comes a lot of things, more specifically wisdom and understanding; and there is truth in that thought. and this realization more times than not places uncertainty into my heart as I joyfully look forward to motherhood and a life as someones wife. joyfully look forward to a life of success and limitless possibilities. but to know that what I myself have and will continue to experience in this life will shape the lives of my children and my future generations, and even, may shape the ways to which they view me. that my pain and joy will mold the lens to which my husband and children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews will view me in this harsh world. so, I secretly pray away from others but publicly in the corners of my bedroom that the lens that I will someday be viewed with will be one of strength and respect. nothing more. or less.

there's something sacred I believe in realizing who an individual is to themselves. because, if I don't know or can't tell you who I am and what I mean to me, then I can't tell you anything else. if I can't tell you about self-love, self-understanding, self-empathy, self-compromise - SELF, ME, myself, and I, then I can't tell you anything else. if I can't tell you these simple things, if I can't tell you how much I love and adore myself, then I can't explain the depth of my love for another.

"But I ain't the world my love, I'm your woman"

There's a lot to be said and written about love and relationships; whether intimate ones, platonic ones, friendships, familal ones. There are those relationships that change and postively impact lives; destroy them too. Those that are endearing and compassionate, and of course, those that will suck every bit of energy out of your body.

But the love relationship, is an odd person. Its feelings are soft and gentle, and sometimes, unyeilding and stubborn. The twisted dichotomy of the love relationship is the attempt to find balance between the moments and times when the bed we sleep in is fractured and our joints tighten and backs ache all while our heart strings are pulled into a direction that it wants, and should be. Love, is like the sheer ugliness of a rose's genetic makeup: scarred with thorns, it too struggles to become who and what it is, to discover and realize its beauty in a world full of hostility and misunderstandings.

Yes, love in its natural state is fun and not serious at all; it is free flowing, and withstands all trials and tribulations of life. But the love relationship entwined with individuals and their emotions, thoughts, past, current, and future baggage, is not all fun and games, because people run it and people make mistakes. People do what they want, and not what love, naturally, requires them to do. People do what the world says they ought to, and not what they geniunely, in their heart of hearts, want to do - for themselves and for the survival of their love. People, tend to convince themselves that no one, not even their partner, understands their personal struggles; the struggles outside of us, outside of the here and now.

These facts are solidified and repeated in the words of a beautifully written and sung Jill Scott poem, Ain't A Ceiling. The words, are just as striking in print and to the eyes, as they are in sound and to the ears. She sings in an endearing tone, an understanding one:

So I want to step off with was, and start with right now.
You say, "the world just don't understand"
But I aint the world my love, I'm your woman
And I know how deep it really goes

trying to tread on a dream when the water feels low

And this, is what it's really all about. Reaching the point when the tears stop and for a moment in time, however short it may be, we're able to say I get you! I understand your emotional make-up and because of that, WE can do this.

It's ok and it's quite necessary to comfort and ease the spirits of our loves: whether they be intimate ones, platonic ones, friendships, or familal ones. But special caution has been taken for love relationships for they are forever gentle whether they've existed for 3 months or 68 years. Love, should not be taken for granted regardless of what facet it exists; whether it be a friend, brother, or the homeless woman on the street who simply needs a smile to let her know someone understands.

And by my being a woman who's experienced some things and have gone thru some things and felt and witnessed and wanted and needed, some things, all due to love, there's nothing better than being on the same page with your partner. There's nothing better than knowing when I wake in the morning, our love, will continue to be unyeilding. And this, will continue, so long as you understand that ...I ain't the world my love, I'm your woman"

Ain't A Ceiling, Jill Scott, Def Poetry Jam 2007

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Throwing Stones & Breaking Houses

..."The person who is sinless should be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7

Many, most, if not all of us have been reared on or have at least heard the saying let he without sin cast the first stone, at some point in our lives. We too at some point (or several), have found ourselves standing at both ends of the spectrum. We've played the stone thrower and the stone catcher. We have judged and been judged. And without it being said, many of us are more comfortable playing the stone thrower, than we are being the stone catcher. Obviously.

There's a particular uncomfortable stance that someone, that you or I, have to withstand in order to be the stone catcher. A certain body cast. A particular frame of mind and even, a certain outlook on both the situation and life. To be able to focus on and think about the right later instead of the right now; to be able to look past versus looking at. And I say all of this because just as it is easier to play one role, I too, have and sometimes cast stones I have no right or privy to do so.

Judgement, is a very dangerous turf. As permission, often has not been granted to us to do so.

I sat, listening to words being hurled at me and in a blink of an eye, I realized, however full of emotion these sentiments were, they were not being stated out of love or concern. They by far were not being said with careful consideration or with only an ounce of opinion or judgement. Words, are far more dangerous than actions or reactions. Words, can divide and conquer nations just as they can piece them back together again like Humpty Dumpty's shattered body. The tongue, is far more dangerous than the sword; and this, we often forget.

But I sat through these brash words and questioned, where the fuck is the love?! Where was the I respect your decision(s) regardless of how much I may disagree? In this one-sided conversation, none of this existed, nor mattered. Surprisingly, the forever swimming Pisces in me did not show her watercolors. She did not fill and then combust with tears. Nope. Not this time. Frustration and anger, hurt and a harsh realization is all that consumed her. It wasn't worth the tears nor argument, the bickering or expletives and namecalling that was being hurled from front to back, and back again. Nope. Not this time. It wasn't even worth calling a truce and calling it a day. It wasn't worth agreeing to disagree and shaking hands and air kissing cheeks to leave the battle done. Nope. Not this time.

At some point, the choosing, picking up, and hurling, tossing, throwing, of objects - whether words, stones, or fists, has to stop.

At some point, the self-made decisions to judge the choices and resolutions, the conclusions and denouements of others, has to stop.

At some point, to be humble and modest, however much it may cause us to clinch teeth, ball hands into tightly concealed knots, swallow complete words or half sentences, all has to began. To involve ourselves and consequently throw in our whole dollars, half dollars, twenty-five, or measly two cents, needs to come to an end.

So let these words, with no judgement, no opinions, no imaginary pennies, nickles, dimes, or quarters being thrown into your wishing well, let this all sink in. Because all glass houses eventually crack and crumble.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Still, Love

Several months ago, before our relationship turned trivial and began to plummet downhill, he gave me the three things he wanted to achieve in this life: 1) Get Married 2) Have children and 3) Own his own company. That's it and in that order he gave them to me. Didn't matter if he did or didn't travel the world. Didn't matter if he made hundreds of thousands of dollars first. Didn't matter if the precedent he wanted to set, was not the norm. He was ok with that.

So was I. Then.

But then, out of no where, I became frantic and nervous. Suddenly afraid of commitment and suddenly wanting to participate in the life of glitz and glam, fun and games that had never quite interested me before. An imaginary bucket list appeared and I'd convinced myself I needed to achieve and do these things before doing anything else - particularly, before marriage and the baby carriage. Visit somewhere out of the country. Take a road trip. Buy an expensive, high end bag. Blow an entire check on nothing. Become someone who I essential was not, am not, and will never be. But for a moment, I was ok with these ideas. I'd convinced myself that these ideas, these thoughts, were what I needed - when they essentially were wants that hadn't even made it to being desires. And stupidly, I'd allowed them to convince me that my relationship wasn't worth a wad of gum on the bottom of my ALDO ballet flats. Stupidly, I'd allowed them to convince me that there was a world outside of the one I ventured into daily to go to work, or visit my mother, or one outside of the one that he and I spent so many evenings and nights debating on what else was there for us to do. That world.

So, before I knew it, we were done and he was gone. And the long nights came knocking on my bedroom door. The waking up in the middle of the night and thinking someone else was in my bedroom, when it was instead, my stuffed moose my little sister gave me for Christmas years ago or my bra draped over the lamp. My subconscious was fighting to tell me early, though a sound decision, my reasons to do so weren't so sound. Weren't so put together. And that at the end of the story, it wasn't a good idea.

But I continued to convince myself I was right, this is what I needed, and that was the end of the story. I barhopped. Spent a few hundred dollars on summer sandals and bags (not the expensive high end one though). Cut my hair. Dabbled back into my makeup box. Bought a watch. Moved into a new, more spacious apartment.

And it hit me. I had no one standing behind me in the morning, totally amazed at me as I applied and paired my coppering MAC eye shadow with my charcoal CoverGirl eye shadow. I had no one asking me to sit on his back to crack it as he ventured off to sleep. I cooked dinner for one (dinner eventually went from a meal to a bowl of cereal). I began to yearn for the jingling keys in the door. Or the text saying Baby, I'll be home in 15.

There are things and people that our closest friends and family cannot be. There are things that they cannot do for us. There are times that not even they can comfort us or rub our backs or shoulders or hands or tummies, to let us know that everything will be ok. They, cannot give us the love of a lover.

And seven months later, I understand. I welcome this fact. I cloak my shoulders with this fact. This trueness. And willingly will battle any heart or mind who feels or thinks otherwise. Because the fact of the matter is that there are nights when in darkness with not even a star to flicker or twinkle in our eyes, love is our only company.

No love is worth it if you don't have to fight for it. If it doesn't beg of you to get in the ring with it. If it doesn't scream and shout and cry at you as it pleads for you to understand its sincerity and true dedication to you. And only you. Love is fickle. Love is fine. Love falls in and out, comes and goes, smiles and cries, but regardless of whatever facet it is donned in today, it, is, still, love.