The Question of Comparison… The Crooked Path to Healing

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“… I wanted to be his witness.  I think that’s what love is, being a witness for the one you love, their complete journey, defeats and victories.”

“Now women, their strength astonishes me, how they soften and wrap themselves around your bruised heart to heal you, how they damn your shortcomings to raise your level. I owe it all to them. I am spoiled by the women in my life. I stand because they stood up for me.”

I’ve recently become obsessed with watching, Love Is ______, a show on OWN. It’s a re-telling of Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil’s love story. It’s about a successful woman, Nuri, (established in her career and a new home owner) who meets the love of her life, Yasir, who turns out to be everything she wasn’t looking for (divorced father with no career prospects or home ownership in sight). I don’t know why it feeds my soul so much? Maybe it’s because instead of running away from the pain, the only way I see getting through any of my heartbreak is to bum rush into it? Or, perhaps it’s because I see so much of me and you that it scares me into believing that I was incapable of being patient enough for you. But, as I keep watching, I wonder if you ever were really secure enough in yourself as a human being or capable of really providing me the clarity and honesty I sought so desperately from the world. Maybe that’s the danger of comparisons… each love story is so unique no matter what brings them together on the surface?

The show is now 8 episodes in and we’re getting to the juicy drama where Nuri meets the baby mama and Yasir’s mother. After visiting them, at the end of a complete shit show, an older Nuri narrates and says in that moment she wanted to see him reunited with his son and in a better place in his life to provide for him. She then says the first quote above, “… I wanted to be his witness.  I think that’s what love is, being a witness for the one you love, their complete journey, defeats and victories.” The moment I heard that I had to pause the episode and write it down. She took the words out of my mouth. What no one could possibly fathom is that even though my ex and I were at different points in our lives, loving someone is being present and seeing them through their life. It is important for me to note here that she did not want to save him; she wanted to be there as he maneuvered this particular juncture in his life.  I think I just felt it in my bones; I thought it was going to be amazing to be a witness to you and your adventures in this life. If I could see you and be there to celebrate them with you or hold you when you failed to maintain some sense of the world’s necessity for masculinity then I would literally be in the best place on earth because I would still be near you. Granted, now looking back, I can imagine I overstepped the role of witness constantly. I’m sure my need to control and see the path and journey a particular way was overwhelming. As established as I may have seemed in any part of my life (professional or otherwise) I appreciated how you made me feel loved, and forced me to be so much more compassionate than I had imagined I could be. When I tell people that I don’t need a man to take care of me in some large very defined way society has pre-determined, I mean that. I want a man who can make space for me and hold me emotionally, and that’s what you provided. But comparisons are finicky things, because I believed that was sufficient, but it proved otherwise (as could be evidenced by my nagging / pushing of you)… and maybe I’m forgetting that Yasir cooked and prepared meals which provided a sense of home that I never received?

The second quote above comes from Yasir’s narration at the end of the episode, after the entire introduction to his mother and ex-wife has gone awry. “Now women, their strength astonishes me, how they soften and wrap themselves around your bruised heart to heal you, how they damn your shortcomings to raise your level. I owe it all to them. I am spoiled by the women in my life. I stand because they stood up for me.” There is nothing I think that better encapsulates what I hope you will say and feel one day.   You are made up of all the women who raised you, loved you, and made you. So yes, keep looking at the trinkets I gifted you, even though I can’t stare at the ones you gave me and I can’t have visual representations of you anywhere in my space. If those objects remind you of how you were made and loved, then do it, appreciate their presence in your life.

But, for me, I’m scared I’ll spend months, maybe even years, writing you love letters in this manner, just like the way I write random social media posts to see if you’ll notice the small signs triggering key moments in our relationship. My heart sits here hoping you’ll read and return but I know it’s a little slow on the uptake. My heart is taking its time in following what my mind knows definitively (and the questions of comparison so clearly reveal here). Sometimes I need to honor its needs and so for today I allow my heart to take control of my hands, the writing, the page; it needs space to breathe you out of me, my body, my home, my temple, my refuge. I need to fully grieve you everywhere so that when I look upon your face I no longer feel any tinge of sadness or anger, but rather a sense of satisfying joy at having experienced something I said I didn’t want to die without having had: romantic love.

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Healing Comes in Hues of Purple

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This is my blog post of gratitude. I’d like to take a moment to thank all the people in my life that have held space for me and my heart these past three months. I’ve been wanting to write this post for weeks because when I get too selfish, angry, or hopeless, I remind myself of what’s important and that my life is truly full. If I’ve learned anything through the past few months it is that love is vibrant throughout my life and each aspect of it is full of people who care about me, have cared for me, and continue to do so. I hope one day I have the ability to reciprocate what they have so easily given to me. I apologize in advance if I’ve forgotten anyone and I hope you can forgive me.

Mel Wel – Thank you for always grabbing me and forcing me out of my insistent need to self-isolate. Your presence and check-ins were essential to my survival. Thank you for holding my heart and providing the necessary human connection to keep it pumping, flowing forth hope for a magnificent future. Also, thank you so much for allowing me to fully be myself – angry, nasty, and utterly sad.

Danielle – Thank you for breathing air back into my lungs at moments the world just seemed too heavy to carry and for loving me despite my rather rough nature and anger. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of the phone and how a phone call can resuscitate you, over and over again.

My brothers who continually shape and remind me of the tremendous woman I am. Luisito, your powerful words still linger in the crevices of my mind and force me to stare at a reflection that reveals a woman who is still at tension with what the meaning of “success” is in this world and in my heart. To Eric and his wife who have given me the most amazing gift of being an aunt to some pretty sweet and kind nieces. Our time together, provided me so much joy during a time that my sadness was effervescent. Thank you both for being the men in my life who continue to show up and have always shown up.

My Mother – Thank you for following my wishes and not questioning me too much, too soon as well as providing comfort at key moments when you didn’t even know what you were doing.

The women in my family – Thank you to every aunt and cousin who didn’t hesitate in saying “his loss,” and just not engaging in conversation if I didn’t wish to.

Cinthia – Thank you for reminding me of the true meaning of soul mates and allowing me to fully embrace my healing process whatever that may look like; for encouraging me to love myself in whatever way that looks like and NOT to feel one bit of guilt for being a woman who longs for physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy.

My support group of women – Being with you and being held by you is what has allowed my recovery and healing to be full of so much support and love.

My students – I have so much appreciation for those I taught and continue to teach throughout this time. Thank you for providing me true joy and laughter at key moments it was / is so hard to show up for life. Your presence provided me the opportunity to keep exercising my heart and figuring out how to tap into my reservoir of love for something I have always been drawn to: teaching.

Thank you to all the mentors, peers, and various others who could see me struggling, but didn’t pry too much, and just gave me the wherewithal to complete the spring semester as intact as possible (especially my PhD mentors who make me feel safe, cared for, and inspired always).

Numerous others who I haven’t forgotten, but whose kind words and quality time, gave my heart a sense of relief in many moments of utter darkness (Mikey, Janine, Ashley, Megan, Sorority sisters, Lisa, Tina).

And finally, two people I want to thank whom it may be silly to thank but which I believe are absolutely necessary.

Thank you to him, the one who released me and did so in a manner that forced me to re-evaluate myself and the life I had curated. I’ve been recently obsessed with the word curate because it makes me feel like I have full agency over my life, my routine, and how I decide to build the life I have been given. You left quick and it was so painful, but the beauty of this experience is that it has made me so much more in touch with my emotions and it has also allowed me to reflect deeply and fully on how I have lived thus far. You know sometimes, they say, you meet a soul mate, but that s/he makes your life too chaotic to be able to stay for too long. I still know in my heart of hearts, I prayed for you, and God gifted me with you and He also gifted me with your departure. Our connection, and its dissolution has given me life, given me such a different perspective of me and the future years I have left on this earth. And although I’m still working through the resentment and anger of having been left by you, there is no doubt in my mind, that this is right, and I have never felt as full and alive as I do. I appreciate you providing the avenue for that and wish you have found just as much fulfillment as I have (or will one day).

Thank you to God and her, the one who pulled through and gathered the courage to ask so much more of life than she has ever before. The one before you now, who occasionally becomes brave in front of the mirror and stares deeply into her own eyes knowing she has so much more to give this world and the people around her. The one whose excitement for the next few chapters of her life leave her speechless but so motivated and full. Even though she continues to grieve the closing of one chapter, of a person who was not meant to stay, she is so excited to curate the life she knows she’s worthy of having and loving.

 

Coming to Terms with the Reality of Perception (or lack thereof?)

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I am coming upon 4 weeks since I have broken up with my significant other.  A full month of limited and only absolutely necessary contact (maybe it’s happened twice – once via text and once via email).  There are songs, poems, memes, and quotes about the most obvious parts of the journey after a break-up. There’s the incessant crying, sadness, and fear of being alone, blah, blah, blah.  There’s even the anger and resentment which come bubbling up above the surface of said incessant sadness (which I’m not convinced I’ve felt fully yet). But what no one really knows how to describe or discuss is how incredibly skewed one’s perception of oneself and one’s partner is or becomes through this process of being together and then eventually coming apart.  There are key moments I return to in the past and wonder if I compromised too much of myself? Or, I wonder, did what I think was happening, actually happening? I have impeccable instincts and can read situations well – where did all this go during my relationship? Did the feelings I held for him, the same he held for me? In what moments did I miss the message that this was just not meant to be?  What were the key moments that should have been very large sounding alarms? I go through my box of memories, pick out each instance I doubted myself, and wondered, maybe I should have ran with whatever gut instinct I had?

However, as a woman who runs from vulnerability, my gut is to always just fold over and keep pushing through any difficulties or conflict.  My gut is to reason, not to feel. My gut is to try to hash it out, try to resolve it, because I am a human being that believes anything can logically can be reasoned AND that almost anything can be resolved.  I can adjust a little, you can adjust a little, and ta da, we make it work. Nothing is impossible. Even when the odds are against me – I still have faith in the tiniest of possibilities. But, what no one explained (or I haven’t read as extensively as I should) is that other people aren’t built that way.  Although that seems ultimately quite obvious, it’s unlikely that in the partnership I sought to commit myself to, I chose someone who was my near opposite. He felt deeply but could communicate that only scarcely throughout the conflict. It was only much later in our trying to figure out what was going on that I splurged and brought on the water works.  Now, don’t get me wrong, as a woman who for the past two years in her relationship has also been getting her PhD, experimenting with different birth control pills, and figuring out how many part-time gigs allow her to bring home enough money to pay the bills, I have had my fair opportunities to cry and cry a lot on my partner’s chest. But, it’s at those moments of tension and conflict, where the tears could not often be found.  Maybe that’s because I believed we could get through hard shit. Maybe that’s how I knew we were coming apart, unraveling at the ends, because towards the end, all I did when we fought was cry and reach out for him. Maybe that was the point at which I knew I lost all reason, and was not following any sense of true reality. Or, perhaps, I hoped someone could see the pain I had been enduring and could thus then understand my response to life at those particular junctures as a result of that stress?  Or, perhaps, my hopes had made me temporarily delusional?

I was talking to someone the other day about me and my ex’s communication styles and how difficult it was to engage in conversation during conflict or issues of concern.  During that conversation, this person asked me what is one specific and important aspect of a partner I’m looking for that this partnership taught me I needed to have. I told him I couldn’t begin to answer this question because since leaving this relationship, I have just started a journey back to myself.  Since becoming single once again, I have begun to explore all those things I didn’t have time for (or didn’t make time for) and I feel like a really different woman. I have found a person willing to indulge her feelings at any point in the day and succumb to them. I refuse to put on a face when I feel so broken and that’s a new process for me.  Also, I have found time. Yes, time for whatever I want to do, whenever the fuck I want to do it, without having to inform anyone of anything or coordinate my schedule according to another. It has been especially freeing for me to see all my evenings returned to me. I know this is as a result of my particular juncture in my PhD program where I’ve taken a break from doing any academic work.  (I’m hoping to get back to it as soon as the semester comes to a close.)

As sad as some evenings may feel, as an introvert, I can’t express my happiness at being alone again, but like truly alone, no partner in my life is a different kind of alone than when I was alone and with partner.  My brain feels relinquished of a worry or concern – which makes me wonder, is that how bad it had gotten? Or, is it that that kind of commitment, requires the thought of another in such a way that deteriorates any semblance of sanity and focus (i.e. love makes us crazy)?  Almost everyday I write, sometimes it’s about my loss and others it’s just about my day. So, when this person asked this question of me, all I could say in response was, I think it’s hard for me to determine an answer when I’m trying to figure out what it is I need from myself.  I need time to decipher what it is that I need to give to myself in order to live a full life before I say what it is that someone else can provide me. I promise you, I tried to find an answer, but I think that’s where all this returns back to the beginning. I am again lost, trying to make sense of the world I inhabit and live.  My past perceptions of that world and myself have shifted greatly and I’m just hoping to gain some sense of grounding soon. But, I’m also going to be patient with myself, because “not all who wander are lost.” Some of us are very intentionally wandering and trying to enjoy that journey. I secretly believe the added Vitamin D and summer fun will find me a beautiful path to wherever…

The Crying List

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Sometimes I make lists because they’re succinct and communicate a lot with very little effort (or the need for horribly difficult transitions). Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how often I cry. I’m a PhD student and it can just get a tad bit overwhelming. Since going to therapy a few years ago, I’ve begun this crying bout. It’s hard to put into words, but there are moments I find myself crying because I am raw, so vulnerable with emotion, that I have no way to formulate or make sense of the world, me, or anything really. No, I don’t cry every day, but at key moments and below I provide you a glimpse into them.

  • When something really small hasn’t gone right (and it’s always usually gone right). Maybe it’s just that on top of everything else, this rather miniscule task must be attended to and I’m the only one who can do it. Honestly, it’ll require maybe an email, a quick phone call, or the submission of a form, and I am left crying as though everything in the world wants to work against me. Dramatics… I know, I bring on the dramatics.
  • When I wish I weren’t such an introvert and didn’t have to work myself up to make a phone call or have an in-person conversation. I can’t explain what exactly is so difficult for me. This goes for nearly anyone in my life, maybe except my mother. My social anxiety takes over and paralyzes me – sometimes on the phone and sometimes in person.
  • When I finally write something I have been thinking about and processing for months. There is a true sense of catharsis that takes over my body and mind when I can find the words (the moment and time) to formulate my emotions, my thoughts onto the blank page.
  • When I find myself in the car on a highway and a song comes on, grabs my make-up and me and tries to make me a mess before I ever arrive at my destination or officially begin my day.
  • Immediately after a very large project or a series of tasks have been accomplished. For a moment I can breathe again and my shoulders fall, no longer tense, and my heart finally catches up with me.
  • When my partner holds me and I try to communicate how I feel about him and describe what he means to me. I’m forced to take his face in my hands and repeat it so he never forgets.
  • When I miss my niece and nephew and imagine all the experiences I’d like to have with them but distance and time make it nearly impossible at the moment. I promise myself I’ll do research, I’ll plan, I’ll do more, and then I look at my bank account, my calendar, my to-do list, and I’m stopped in my tracks.
  • When someone probes just a little bit to try to reveal what is keeping me so stoic and essentially non-responsive. I’m trying to hold it together and when someone sees I’m not doing it too well or I’m carrying the load rather poorly, I break.
  • Almost every month, like clockwork, I double-guess all my life decisions and choosing to get a PhD. Anxiety takes over and I try to make sense of what brings me joy and why I decided to begin this journey nearly 2 years ago. I fear this won’t ever feel quite right, or maybe that the only place I do feel quite myself is right here, on my own page, creating art with words.
  • In a tender moment with my partner, when he can be present. He reminds me of how precious it is to find people who will hold your hand, stare into your eyes, and be present.
  • When someone pushes me away in a moment of need or pain. All I want to do is help or at least be present, especially for those close to my heart, so when they retaliate or say “no” you’re not allowed here, I’m at a loss. I’m in pain because of the rejection, but mostly because all I want to do is be there and care in whatever way I may be needed and I can’t be or worse, I’m not wanted there in that way. Maybe it’s most difficult too because I know that’s exactly what I do to others and so I must be ready to take a dose of my own medicine.
  • When I catch a rather funny episode of The Golden Girls during my nighttime ritual, and I laugh so hard just thinking about the women in my life who fill my life with so much joy, laughter, and love.

Evolution of the Self

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What do you do when you no longer recognize the person you love? I have asked myself this question so often, constantly remembering that I am also not the woman I once was either, or the girl I was. Love is a stronghold for only so long, when the person whom you love does nothing but continually pain you. And it’s not like an intentional pain, something they set out to do, but the person s/he is literally becoming in front of your eyes causes you pain. This is the not the person you shared moments with or whose tears you wiped when life’s heartaches got too hard. Ever since going to therapy like 3 years ago, the floodgates have opened, and I am just so soft; crying at a mere whim because I am no longer able to hold in the impact of pain imposed by another. I spent so much of my life holding everything in that I’m assuming God is letting me spend the next stage of my life crying, so I don’t cause myself more pain by stifling it even further, even deeper.

There are glimmers, moments in which I see this person come back to me. In the midst of a serious conversation about partners and love, s/he returns, reminding me that it’s O.K. to embrace and enjoy the happiness of the moments passing me by. When I see this person play and enjoy time with others I am reminded of a familiar soul. Even when this person gets upset or angry with life / world / people, I see the person planted squarely where I always thought s/he was standing.

However, I am left disillusioned when other decisions, choices, and ways of speaking are taken on as though this person were trying to mimic someone else. I wish I could tell you who that someone is, but I really have no clue. Whenever one of these moments arise, I imagine this person trying on a suit, a costume, that works in the present, but something we know is simply temporary and is certainly not suitable for the person living under it. When I get especially frustrated with not having the language to fathom what is occurring, I try to be forgiving, and the only way to do so is to consider my own evolution (if I could use such an odd way of viewing the development of the self).

I think about how I have changed (or maybe not so much) and how the people around me despite these changes (or not) have chosen to stick by me. They have seen some hope beyond the present moment of where I am situated. I just imagine myself as a clueless teenager in college, encountering new ideas and ways of being that were completely foreign to those closest to me. I imagine the woman nestled in a rather large closet of emotions, refusing to touch them, acknowledge them, or even hold herself. These are all me – I am them, but at the same time, I am no longer any of them. I wonder what has stayed consistent, what do I believe in that never falters? Do those closest to me know that those tenets are still very close to my heart? And so, instead of giving up, I try to find it within myself to stand at an adequate distance as this person continues on their journey, because I have to admit, one of the most important tenets I live by is loyalty. But, I won’t allow myself to be pained, and so I keep an adequate amount of space between us so I am not spending all the days of my life crying, but close enough to know that if I died tomorrow, I know I gave enough of myself to say I tried. Another important facet of my thinking, if my life somehow ended tomorrow, would I be happy with what I gave to others? Would it be sufficient or reciprocal to what I’ve seen given to me? Some days I go to sleep knowing I did my best and others, I pray God gives me more time so I can do all these special people justice.

La Reflexión de una Dominicana

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It’s best to actually listen to the song that’s responsible for the post as you read (if that’s feasible for you)… Click here for a good bachata oldie…

Hector Acosta’s “Sin Perdon” inspired this post. I heard this song twice today; once on my way to school as I began my day and again on my way home nearly 12 hours later. This is my attempt at trying to encapsulate for you the comfort and meaning this man’s voice provided. Because for as much as I had many successes this past week and especially today there have also been many a great struggle emotionally as I battle “imposter syndrome” while pursuing a doctorate degree in my 30s and manage the financial implications associated with taking that risk a little later in life. The tortured voice of this man and the iconic old school bachata beat grabs me by my sensitive heart attempting to make sense of the mountains and valleys of my progress in graduate school (and life for that matter). Amidst things that really aren’t as important as life’s basics, this song floods my mind with some of the tenderest memories of my upbringing and a deep connection to my Dominican culture.

The first memory that arrives is my baby brother (not so childlike but a teenager) dancing bachata so smoothly across the dance floor of the night sky keeping time carefully but swiftly moving his partner so she can catch and lasso the moon with her hips. My baby brother absolutely loves hearing the tortured Dominican men cry about how women just refuse to forgive them for their transgressions or who just down right reject them. Ironically, as a man who would never actually take part in these actions, he enjoys indulging in the sadness those voices emanate about life and it’s inevitable message: “I’m gonna screw you good enough and so its best you just dance through it.” The second image is of my mother enchantingly making her way around the house on Saturday mornings, cleaning, dancing, and sinuously making it seem as though those two things could never be separated. They were partners that helped make the special sweet agony of cleaning after others bearable. The other memories encompass the numerous family parties with sleeping babies behind closed bedroom doors, adults sweeping away the struggles and torment of working hard jobs, and small living rooms with bodies close, hips moving in time, music booming through the neighborhood or apartment building. Family parties full of food that the women spent toiling and providing for everyone, but especially la empanadas, or el pernil, or even my mom’s lasagna (evidence of the only woman in the family who mastered a dish that defines the mission of assimilation). Holidays full of cheer, Dominican rum, and sometimes specially-made mamajuana run through my mind as I imagine exactly where I’ve been during these parties.   The spotlight is on the sidelines, I sit on couches or linger in the kitchen far from the dance floor but within eyesight so I can observe and admire from a distance. I remember watching couples whose red cheeks finally revealed a love I often forgot actually existed. As an adult I continue on the sidelines. From a young age I knew I could never match my mom’s ability to live in a moment. Through the movement of feet on wooden floors, she managed to stomp away the bad bad things one has to sacrifice just to make a living. I know how to dance the stuff, don’t get me wrong, I’ve just always felt like an outsider unable to fully engage in and know that it was me and I was it. Hector Acosta’s voice reminds me of the creativity my heart longs to shape and bring forward into the world. His voice reminds me of Dominican (Latino) men and their sweet, kind words, and love. His voice reminds me of the many wrongs we all do and may continue to do, but no matter what, life is life, and maybe all we need is one moment, a dance floor, and to be surrounded by food, family, and loud loud voices and stories of a country that seems like paradise. A country that really situates itself in my skin color and the way the world identifies me, but I still don’t know how to represent. And so I guess until I figure out how and when that may happen, all I can do is sit amongst the tortured voices of my people (in this case Hector and in others La India) and know that my voice, my writing voice is like la güira that brings a song alive.

A LYRICAL INTERPRETATION (because I’ve been majoring in English for approximately 9 years and so how could I not flex the muscle?): A wonderful line which concludes the chorus is “Y uno no da la vida entera pa’ que lo engañen pa’ que lo engañen.” Besides the obvious Dominican drop of the “r” (which is quintessentially and wonderfully Dominican), what stands out to me is that even though this is what a woman says to her partner about his cheating, the use of the words in Spanish can have another meaning. The direct English translation is: “And someone doesn’t give his whole life to be deceived, to be deceived.” Although in the context of the song, “engañen” really means “to be cheated on” because they’re discussing a fractured relationship due to someone’s infidelity, the verb “engañar” when simply translated means “to deceive.” And isn’t that the beauty of life? We live being deceived by many things (even our own brutish and silly denial) and still we are left hunting down the truth, wondering what direction will reveal an even larger truth with better direction. But what if life is but a dance amidst these deceptions and the hope is that we can keep up with and stay in the right place, at the right time, with the right people?

 

What Happens When You Fall in Love (for what you believe is the first time in your life)

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  1.  It helps you be a better person. You find yourself wanting to hold, comfort, and support others naturally. You wonder, is this who you’ve always been? Seeking to connect, contact, and be with others – but too scared to do so?
  1. Past loves or connections with men are looked at like the dead deer or other animals found on the road in your several road trips through the United States. Except, unlike the car travels, you can’t just zoom by, now you’re infatuated with gaining a better understanding of that animal, of your connection and the version of you with that animal. Who could have possibly agreed to tend to dead carcasses who could barely find it within their beings to live, nevertheless give to you? This metaphor lingers, mostly because you become the agent of change, the one for creating head-on damage, and the shock, the shock of the crash, the person, you wanted so bad, and didn’t know you were killing, are still effervescent in you. You seek and seek more meaning among carcasses that at this point you just need to finish grieving, get to burying, and walk away from.
  1. You analyze people’s current relationships and wonder how they got where they are. Most importantly, you reflect upon what you remember most from your childhood. What does it mean to love someone?
  1. You try not to indulge crazy notions of running towards your love at random moments. You work really hard not to just drive to him and have him linger in your arms for hours. Because it doesn’t matter if you saw him yesterday or just minutes ago, you don’t want to be apart from him.
  1. You wonder where the time goes. You watch the clocks in your life, no matter if you’re sitting in a restaurant, movie theater, bowling alley, park, your apartment on a couch or in a bed. An hour becomes two, becomes, three, and often becomes four and five. But all that time doesn’t suffocate you – it leaves you wanting and begging God for more time. All you want is responsibilities to disappear and free time to arrive like the fairy Godmother in all those unrealistic fuckin’ Disney movies.
  1. Smells are touchy, finicky, scary things. When you go to bed and breathe in his scent – your life seems so empty and full for a moment.
  1. You ask constantly, “is this it?” Is this what everyone’s been writing songs, poems, and stories about? Could this be enough? How much more could I possibly get? What does it mean if I want more?
  1. Daily phone calls and text messages become routine, and occasionally you take deep breaths wondering what will happen if and when they disappear?
  1. People talk about the sex – but they don’t really talk about it. Or maybe they never talked about it with me? What does that say about me? What does that say about what I desire? What does it say about how I have been perceived by others?
  1. Sometimes you listen to Rihanna’s “Needed Me” and dedicate it to all those sore ass suckers you had to encounter on your path to love… and beg, hope you don’t have to return there… to the dating highway of wreckage.

“Another nigga on the hit list – didn’t they tell you I was a savage – fuck your white horse and carriage.”

  1. You get stupid. Yep, so stupid you have dreams of houses, and for me in particular, it’s all about the beauty of peace and quiet found on the wrap-around porch, sitting in matching rocking chairs, drinking tea.
  1. You get lost. It always seems like a whirlwind after encountering your love – you’re thrown back into the real world of work and it’s like a fucking tornado, no better yet, Taz, the tazmanian devil, took your hand, and now wants you to return to the still world of life. You’re all dizzy, full of energy, but so disoriented, you wonder are you where you’re supposed to be?
  1. You look at children differently and send a little prayer up to God for every couple that ever found it in their union and relationship the strength necessary to raise the next generation. You dote upon and enjoy your nieces and nephews more than ever, because these little people are like the embodiment of that love. As sickening as that shit sounded when everyone else brought it up – it all begins to make sense. This does NOT mean your mind has changed about having children, but rather you can begin to understand everyone else’s decision to bring them into the world. If the love you’ve encountered could possibly have anything top its existence – those damn kids, the creation of children would be a pretty interesting pinnacle to achieve with this person. You finally understand what really taunts people to even consider parenthood.
  1. You finally sorta understand the significance of those songs with tortured voices crying about the pain associated with loss. You say “sorta” because you don’t yet understand the loss per say, but secretly fear, every time may be your last, so that kind of sweet torture – you hope it disappears soon. Please.
  1. You understand the significance of flaws and how love always sees them – that shit ain’t blind like people have so vehemently argued previously.   Maybe you’re a different kind of gal because you fell in love way late in life, so you’re more of an “adult” with a semblance of “self-control.” But, love isn’t blind, that shit is deceiving, it teaches you to take all that shit together and love that person as you fully see them. And what’s even worse is encountering that that person sees you as plain as day, sun shining and stunnin’ on your naked body, in the crevices of your fat rolls, just well aware of the flawed, damaged person, standing in front of them, and still manages to love you fully.
  1. You wonder if it’s actually plausible to be annoyed as shit and still love someone all at once. Like legit, you want to kick him sometimes – is this level of annoyance allowable if it’s happening, you know, after just a few months of knowing each other?
  1. You get a much more clear picture of yourself. Yep – that reflection in the mirror is now full of what this other person has highlighted and observed about you. It’s not BAD, the toughest part is that much of it could be good, and your scared shitless as to what exactly you’re supposed to do with that?
  1. You’ll fight. It’s inevitable, especially if you’re me. But when you’re still in the starry-eyed phase, these fights seem like mere disagreements, because your love, well, he’s your love, and all the good, all the special stuff, super supersedes a random fight here or there.
  1. You refuse to share the news with people on social media – your fear of having to see the trajectory of a failed or lost relationship (most of all in front of others) is too heart-wrenching. Besides… you don’t want to share him yet. You’re scared it’s too good to be true and the love you’ve found is all made up in your mind and that you’ll be committed to some asylum, declared crazy, much like Britney Spears. Even when friends or family ask about him because they have met him and know he’s still ever-present in your life, you say “good.” You don’t expand your answer, you can’t begin to formulate the right words, the correct narrative to allow others into your heart and see the growth of a relationship you are still pinching yourself to prove it actually exists.
  1. You find yourself during pockets of downtime, driving, walking, staring out into the distance, with memories of your time together flashing, as though it were a movie, and you smile. You sometimes laugh too, but mostly you smile and reach for your phone.