I Knew You Were Trouble…

22 07 2013

“I knew you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me now… Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground.” – Trouble, Taylor Swift

Say what you want about Taylor, she knew what the hell she was talking about when she wrote this song.

Trouble.

For some folks this is synonymous with bad, but I’ve never been attracted to the typical definition of a bad boy. No, no I like clean cut guys who can rock a suit just as comfortably as some basketball shorts. And I’m not into the Stringer Bell kinda dude either. I’m corny, so I tend to like guys who don’t take themselves too seriously… and you know, who aren’t into committing crimes.

None of that sounds too bad, right?

Except that I have this horrible affinity for playboys. Charmers. Smooth operators. Whatever word you want to call them, if there’s a guy around who knows how to talk a good game (and I’m attracted to him), chances are there’s trouble in my future.

I know this. It’s not a mystery to me at all. And so, along my dating journey, I’ve tried to combat this desire of mine by occasionally dating the guy who’s not at all trouble — the one who can’t charm the pants off of me with one word, the guy who’s just perfectly fine and good… and you know what happens? Disaster.

One time I even went on a date with a guy and was so utterly disappointed in the guy and the date that I immediately went home and aim-ed my ex-whatever he was (clearly this was sometime ago by the AIM reference), because I knew at least he could put a smile on my face after that horrendous evening. Well, I was right. He did put a smile on my face. And then we proceeded to getting back to doing whatever it was we were doing previously for several more months… even though I initially ended things because I sensed how much trouble he was! The man’s nickname between my friends was “crack” after all. If that doesn’t sound like trouble, I don’t know what does.

But he’s certainly not my only trouble guy experience. Over the years, there have been plenty, including but not limited to Benny, Mr. Carter, JD, Comedy Central, Jake, Cosby, and others who’s nicknames won’t work on the blog.

Each time I know the guy is trouble (when he walks in)… and yet, each time I’m still drawn in. Each time I’m sure my guy friends roll their eyes and think, there she goes again. And each time, I’m all “but he’s different!”

He’s not, though. He’s trouble just like the one right before him.

Do you have a similar problem – guys/girls you know are trouble when you first meet them, but you can’t pull away? C’mon, don’t leave me here out on this island with just Taylor.





On the Difficulty of One Particular Snicker bar

8 04 2013
Photo Credit: Fpcyorktown.org

Photo Credit: Fpcyorktown.org

Just as my little child brings his broken toys for me to mend, I took my broken dreams to God because He was my friend. At last I snatched them back and cried, ‘How could you be so slow?” “What could I do, my child”, he said. “You never did let go.”

Wade’s precious little broken cars: Anabel’s precious dreams — broken beyond my ability to repair. Sobbing, I show them to my Father and He gently says, “Do you want Me to work on them?” “Yes, Lord.” “Well, then — you’re going to have to let Me have them in My hands.”

“But, Lord, that means I’ll have to give up control! I’ve got to keep trying….” “The choice is yours, Anabel. You may keep them or give them to Me.” “But Lord, You — You seem to move so slowly! I’ve given them to You before and nothing happens!”

“Anabel, dear — I never had them in My hands.”

~ excerpt from Lifetime Guarantee Ministries’ Broken Cars and Broken Dreams

So, in February, I mentioned to you guys that I was letting go of my snicker bars. And I’ve been doing pretty well on that end, not just in physically letting go – but like, really really handing that snicker bar over.

But there’s always that one special case, right? And for me there was one that took a little longer, but it’s also the one that I think is making me stronger as I go along.

You see, in January, I realized that despite the fact that I’ve dated and had relationships over the past 3 years, I still hadn’t let go of Jake. Of course this didn’t come as a surprise to my closest friends, but to me – it was a shocker of all shocks, okay! You should have seen me, all indignant, fighting with God and lying to myself. “What do you mean,” I asked. “There’s no way I still have feelings for this man! No way.”

And then a quiet response would say, “But you do.”

“No. I don’t. You know how I know I don’t? I don’t hate him anymore. He doesn’t have the ability to make me sad or angry with just one call anymore. I’m good. We’re good.”

“But you’re not.”

On and on this went, for weeks, for a couple months… until finally, at the end of January, I relented.

“Do I really, though?”

“You do.”

Of course, all of this was occurring right in the midst of us reconnecting and working on building a legit friendship between the two of us for the first time. He was the one I was talking to about God the most. He was the one I was leaning on when it looked like a good friend of mine might not make it. He helped keep me strong so I could be a support for her. And yet… I was also coming to grips with the fact that maybe the reason none of the guys over the past 3 years had a real chance with me was because my heart hadn’t really been open to any of them.

I could no longer fight the truth. And once I acknowledged it, so much started making sense – like the fact that I’d been lamenting how no one excited me anymore, and how I’d felt that I was just going through the dating motions. Well duh, right?! If your heart is still holding onto someone else, of course you’re just going through the dating motions. So, in January I did one of the hardest things I’ve done in a while – I told him that despite the fact that I’d just agreed to us trying to start a-new, get reacquainted with each other and re-learn each other as friends, I’d changed my mind. I told him that we could no longer be in each others’ lives.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I’ve made similar declarations before when it concerns him. But what made it so different this time was that on the surface, we really were good. All we were really doing was catching up on our lives from the past few years, spending a couple hours just laughing and talking, checking in on each other throughout the week, and like I said earlier, discussing our relationships with God (something I really only did with my mom, dad and closest girl friends). This was nothing to write home about. We weren’t fighting. We weren’t even flirting. I wasn’t hurt. I wasn’t calling my best friend crying so hard that she thought someone was dying. There wasn’t any of the same crap that had caused those conversations before – but the result was eventually still the same.

In that initial conversation, we talked about my reasons, and I was probably the most honest I’d been with him in a very long time. I said everything. I said things I didn’t even really acknowledge until that actual conversation. And I felt that we both came away from our talk with a clear understanding. Still, I would soon realize that I was acting just like Anabel above. I’d given the snicker bar to God, but I hadn’t actually taken my hands off of it yet. I was still holding on, and I would get a wake-up call just a few weeks later when he wanted to talk again. And this time, even though the result was still the same – it hurt so much more to do it. This time, we were not good.

This time, I cried every day for almost a week. It was so strange too, because I’d be good throughout the day and then the hurt of it all would just hit me out of nowhere, and I’d start crying. And I honestly can’t even say why it hurt more this time than the last, because nothing had happened in those few weeks to change anything… but it did. And so sensing that I needed reinforcement, I called MandyPants, and it was like God was speaking through her to me.

She told me that she was proud of me, and that I should be proud of myself because we both knew that even 2 years ago, I wouldn’t have given the same answer. She told me that I should be happy, and that I shouldn’t beat myself up or feel like I was abandoning him; that I should look in the mirror and see how much I’d grown. It helped to hear those things, but I still wasn’t quite there.

Next came the dreams – these dreams that I would have almost every day of some grand gesture from him after he’d realized he was making the biggest mistake of his life, and he knew he needed me. The dreams were great, but they were also pretty horrible, and I found myself waking up in the morning pissed that I remembered them and angry that I was having them. I even found myself praying the scripture when Paul asks God to remove the thorn from him, and relating to the fact that God tells him no (several times – ugh!!), but then also says, “But my grace is sufficient.”

I tried to use that to get through the fact that my subconscious was clearly not on my side. And the fact that he was still texting me. And the fact that while I wanted him to stop texting me, I still slightly smiled when I saw his name come up on my screen.

That was weeks ago, and while the dreams haven’t completely stopped, they’re not the same as they were before. I’m not banking on him making some grand gesture for me – even my subconscious has given up on that idea. I’m not crying anymore and the hurting isn’t as strong. I don’t wake up in the morning upset with myself, and I’m not frustrated (all the time, at least) that it’s taken me this long to get through it. I’m happy. I wake up with joy. I get frustrated sometimes, but I quickly snap back, because I’m really working on putting my burdens, my hopes, my desires, my fears, etc (or rather my snicker bars, my toys, etc…) in God’s hands – not mine. And I think it’s making all the difference.

This time, it’s different.





Running from Love

6 03 2013

Falling in love is one of the most vulnerable experiences that one can have in life. None of us know for sure what’s coming next, and that can be terrifying… To love is to risk. There is no way around it. If you are one to shy away from failure in life, if you are someone who plays only the games you believe you can win, then you are probably living a life that is way too small and far too boring, even for you. – Katherine Woodward Thomas

I’ve been in love 3 times, or at least that’s what I tell people when they ask. I can rattle off the guys pretty quickly, actually. The first was the guy I dated on and off my senior year of high school and into my freshman year of college. He was my first in a lot of things, but by no means my first in what many would consider THE thing. I found out freshman year that he didn’t take that relationship nearly as seriously as I did. The second was a really good friend who became a lover in college and also, eventually, was the man I decided to have sex with for the first time. Things ended a month later.  And the third? Well, the third was Jake.

And so even though I can quickly tell you who I’ve loved, the truth is I’ve lived what my girl S Curl calls an amor cauteloso (a cautious love) for most of my life. This cautious love has manifested in many ways, but mostly it’s resulted in me being scared that the bottom would fall out from me the moment I admitted my feelings, and thus I’ve run away from these feelings at every chance possible.

When I think about it, I realize that I’ve loved without risk. Often, my love has come reluctantly, after I’ve done all the avoiding I can possibly do, and finally resigned myself to the fact that despite all my efforts – damn it, I’ve fallen for this man. And usually, because I’ve been so focused on the bad that may come, it eventually does, not because that’s what happens – but because that’s what I put my focus and energy on.

Obviously, this is not the healthiest example of love. But it’s also just not a very good example either.

For what is love if it’s not opening yourself up to the possibility of pain? What’s love if it doesn’t include being vulnerable with someone to the point that they can hurt you, but knowing that they will do everything in their power not to? What’s love if it doesn’t include trusting that person with your heart; if it doesn’t make you happy; if it doesn’t grow you stronger? And how can you have this exciting, passionate, and yet healthy love if you’re constantly running away from the thought of being that open and that vulnerable with someone?

You can’t.

And so in my attempts to eliminate the chances of being hurt, all I’ve done so far is make those chances greater. I’ve hurt men who loved me. I’ve avoided my feelings for others and pushed them away before the risk became too great. And for what? The world doesn’t end when you tell someone you love them, even if that love is not reciprocated. No, it keeps going. And you keep going, but with the knowledge that you’ve done your part in being honest and open to your experiences.

For the longest time, I talked that talk. Just like with faith, I could quote scripture about love and talk about how it was a verb and not just a feeling, but I continuously ran from it. Always afraid. Always scared. Forever questioning the validity of those feelings. That fear also showed itself in other parts of my life, creeping into not just my relationships with men, but also with my friends and in my hopes and desires – because that’s what fear does. It doesn’t just stay in one part of your life. It grows and festers everywhere.

So, I continued to play it safe. I continued to take as little risk as possible. I continued to shy away from the possibility of failure, even with evidence showing that the times when I did take big chances, I was rewarded because of my leap of faith.  And the truth is I’ve been running from… well, a lot for a long time. And now, it’s time to stop. It’s time to let it all go and declare that I don’t want to run any longer.

That I’m no longer afraid.





OH, I Guess They Liked Me!

12 11 2012

PS: This title should be read as if you’re singing the song Oh I Think They Like Me by Dem Franchise Boys.

Just the other day, I made a pretty significant purchase. It wasn’t significant because of the price or anything like that, but it was more because it signified my beginning acceptances of change.

I bought a VHS to DVD converter.

Now that might not seem like a big deal for some folks, but for me – it’s a HUGE DEAL. I’m the girl who still owns a TV with a VCR included because I still watch VHS tapes. I also still own a Blackberry and enjoy my yahoo email account. Sue me. So anyway, after I purchased the converter, I hit up Mandy Pants, because she was the one who sent me the deal in the first place. We were chitchatting about how excited she was for me when the following interaction occurred:

“Now you can watch Thriller and New Edition on DVD,” she said.

“And the Motown 25th Anniversary Special, and my 8 hour Tupac compilation, and POLLY!”

“Wait, you still watch all of those?”

“Heck yeah! And in college, I used to make the guys I dated/wanted to date watch them too. I think Jake saw Polly and Motown more times than any man should admit to.”

“Wow, those guys must have really liked you.”

“You know what? I guess they did.”

Funny enough, I’d never thought of it like that. I guess they did like me because not only did they watch those tapes, but they also didn’t complain, and they sometimes watched them multiple times lol. Looking back with hindsight, I can see that this was probably torture – but at the time, I didn’t feel any sympathy. It was almost like I felt as if they should want to watch them because they were able to spend time with me!

Amazing how vain we can be and not realize it, right?

Anyway, that made me wonder about all the other times I’d doubted if someone liked me. Usually, if I bothered to talk to my guy friends about it, they’d say stuff like “no guy does such and such unless he’s interested in you,” as if all things were always black and white like that. But maybe they were onto something.

We always say judge a guy by his actions, but how often do we actually put that preaching into practice — either good or bad? I know I can admit I’ve doubted my judgment on it in the past and probably a bit in the present too lol. But, I’m trying to put it into action now.

So, note to self – if a guy willingly watches Polly and the Motown Anniversary special with you multiple times, he probably likes you. Duly noted. Now, all I need to do is get a DVD player for these DVDs I’ll be making. One step at a time, folks.





Forgiving Jake, Cosby, and Me

7 09 2012

Photo: paulcoelhonblog

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that that situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Do you ever have those moments in your life when it seems like one specific topic is coming up more often than others? I do. And when it happens, I usually try to step back and see why.

Well, recently, I’ve been receiving all kinds of messages about forgiveness. TdotB was the first one to bring the subject to me about a month ago when she and I were discussing forgiving people in our past. Well really, she was discussing it and I was commenting on the general topic, not necessarily saying that I had or that I should. Then, one day while checking my emails, I noticed that I’d gotten backed up on reading my emails from Joel Osteen.  So, I clicked on an old one, prepared to just read a bunch at one time, and I realized that the message was also about forgiveness. Then 2 weeks ago, I received an invite from Chasing Joy to participate in her weekly Flashback Friday posting, and the topic of that week was – you guessed it – forgiveness.

It was fair to say that the idea of forgiveness was all around me. But why? I don’t consider myself a bitter person by any means, and for the most part, I’ve been particularly happy and somewhat carefree this year. But when I read the topic of the Flashback post, (she’d asked her readers to submit an old blog post that centered around forgiveness), I realized that even though I’ve spent four + years of writing and discussing some pretty personal topics on here, I actually had none on that one. Really? None? Not even on Jake or Cosby, I wondered.

Nope, not a one. And that made me sad, because I then wondered if that meant I hadn’t actually gone through the process of forgiving them yet. And then also forgiving myself of the decisions I made while with both of them.

I have to admit that this all kind of hit me. Because by all accounts, I’m in a good place with Jake. And by good place, I mean – we work very well in groups and in business, but it doesn’t usually go beyond that. And I hadn’t talked to or cared to talk to Cosby since the beginning of this year, but it wasn’t something that bothered me. And so since I wasn’t bothered, I’d just assumed I was good to go. But the question remained – had I actually forgiven them?

If the personal journal posting I wrote in January that included a picture of a ripped up poster I made for Cosby was any indication, the answer was no. Or how about the shock I had when Jake wished me luck on my new job when the guy I was dating didn’t even care to do so (clearly he’s not around anymore folks, so no need to get up in arms over him lol)? I expressed this emotion to C-Murder and she replied kinda casually, ‘Well that’s because Jake is your friend.’

‘Is he,’ I asked.

‘Yes. I mean not in the traditional way, but y’all will always be there for each other and thus always be friends.’

‘Hmmm, I don’t know,’ I replied. I also made a face, but since we were on the phone she couldn’t see it.

And then I stepped back and thought about that face I’d just made. Probably another indicator that I hadn’t forgiven him like I thought I had. Our latest homecoming adventure might have been another.

But I still kept going back to the fact that usually if you haven’t forgiven someone of something, it weighs on you. It eats at you. You’re constantly upset and/or angry. And I was none of those things. Remember, I’m the girl who just wrote about the joys of dating. That woman couldn’t still be hurting and suffering from the fact that she hadn’t forgiven the people of her past (including herself) and thus also hadn’t let go of the pain.

And yet, when I finally stopped denying it, I realized that I was that same woman all in one. Sure, not forgiving them hadn’t consumed me consciously, but it’s possible that it had affected me subconsciously. Maybe it’s the reason I haven’t been excited about a guy in a couple years. I’ve dated, sure. I’ve been in relationships. I’ve had some fun times. But I haven’t made it past 5 months with anyone because truthfully, I haven’t cared if I do. And the one or two guys who managed to catch my attention more than the rest, even when those didn’t work out – it barely managed a shrug from me. That’s crazy, right?

I mean, It’s been 2 1/2 years since I finally let go of the idea of Jake one day being my husband in quite possibly one of my more dramatic outbursts ever. And it’s been 10 months since Cosby and I had one of our frequent “you don’t understand how much you mean to me” conversations (<– his words) that always ended with him also saying that he just wasn’t equipped to be with someone right now. The difference with this one was that less than a month later, he was equipped to be with someone because he apparently was with someone. Just not me. And he was expressing how much he loved her all over Facebook.

It’s also been two years since I wrote this post about learning from those experiences. And two years since I wrote this one about being over them both. But in the time that has passed since then, I’ve yet to really give my heart to someone else. I don’t think I’d noticed that until recently. Until all this forgiveness talk started coming up.

And I think, if I’m really really honest, there’s a part of me that still fumes when I think about them. And there’s definitely a part of me that hasn’t forgiven myself for dealing with so much less than what I deserved for so so long from both of them. And if that’s the case, like the quote above says, then that also means there’s a part of me that hasn’t moved forward.

And that’s just not acceptable.

So starting today, I’m making it my business to do so. I’m working towards forgiving Jake and Cosby, but more importantly I’m working towards forgiving myself. No longer will I allow myself to beat me up for the choices I made in those relationships. Those things are over and done with it, and they need to be in the past.





Silly Reasons Why (People Think) I’m Not Married

22 02 2012

There have been a lot of comments over the years about the apparent new wave of single-osity amongst late 20s and 30s women. I’ve stated on HERE before that they must not be surveying the people I know, but I will readily admit that it is probably more common for women (and men) to wait longer to get married in my generation than in my parents’ generation. And let me tell you, in everyone’s infinite wisdom – I’ve heard some cockamamie reasons for why. When it comes to me specifically, the reasons get even stranger.

Now let me be clear. My family, albeit extremely southern, has also been surprisingly supportive of my decision to be single for now. Sure, one of my grandfather’s called me on my 23rd birthday and explained that I was far too pretty to find myself as an old maid, so it was high time I started thinking about settling down. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was settled down at that point, just not with anyone I’d be getting married to anytime soon, and thus also not anyone who he need know about. Either way, he eventually wised up and got the hint and I haven’t heard a peep from him about that kind of stuff since then. Also my grandmother, his wife, finds ways to passive aggressively point out that she “sure would love to live to see the day” that I have children – but all in all, these comments aren’t that bad. And thankfully, they tend to be few and far in between. It’s the other folks that seem to think they know me that come up with the strangest theories. The church people back home. My parents’ friends. My sisters’ friends’ mothers. Those people, who couldn’t even tell you my middle name, are the ones that seem to think they have all the wisdom in the world.

Never mind that they assume I’m not married because no man has picked me (which is insulting on its own), they also assume that my singleness is not of my own choosing. I’ll talk about this in another post soon, but let’s just say that if I wanted to be married just for the sake of being married right now, I could be. And that’s not a guess – that’s fact. Anyway, here are a list of the craziest reasons I’ve been told as to why I’m not currently married by people who frankly, don’t know me as well as they think they do. And because I guess I need to do this – here’s my disclaimer: These theories are funny, so please laugh. I do. That’s why I wanted to share them with you all.

1: I don’t wear my hair straight. This lady told my sister that if I stopped wearing the pin-curled at night wavy look, I’d be married with kids by now. No lie.
2: I’m too nonchalant sometimes. No man wants a woman who’s NOT going to be all up in his face when he’s done something wrong.
3: I curse.
4: I go out too much.
5: I have my own apt and thus seem too independent.
6: I’m too open on my blog about my relationships. Guys don’t want to be the new Jake or Cosby.
7: I move too slow in relationships.
8: I’ve stayed ‘up north’ too long.
9: I didn’t move back to New Orleans.
10: I have my master’s degree.
11: I expect too much and only want to date suit guys. (Couldn’t be more inaccurate, by the way. I’ve dated suit guys before, but also teachers, a WalMart stocker, a waiter in a restaurant, a physical trainer – you name it.)
12: I’m too nice to people.
13: I’m crazy (my favorite reason of the bunch! Lol)
14: I’m too open about things dealing with sex.
15: I want THE FANTASY.
16: I’m short.
17: I cut my hair last year and have continued cutting it so that it remains above my shoulders.
18: I have several tattoos. (7 so far.)
19: One of those tats is the initial of a guy I was seeing who died tragically in 2007, and no man wants to be with a woman who has an M tatted on her foot unless that M is for him.
20: I’ve done too much on my own already. He won’t be able to ‘show me’ anything new.
21: I laugh too big.
22: I’m corny and goofy.
23: I didn’t continue waiting for Jake. He was going to come around eventually, you know?
and of course, 24: I’m a black woman.

As you can see, some of the reasons are inaccurate, some of them are just plain stupid, and some of them are a combination. And yet, I feel like most single women my age have been bombarded with their own set of foolish reasons as well. What are some of your greatest hits? Do share.





Mr. Know it All

2 11 2011

“Boy, you think that you know me… baby, you don’t know a thing about me… I’m living my truth without your lies. Let’s be clear baby, this is goodbye… You don’t know a thing about me.” – Kelly Clarkson, Mr. Know it All

I think there are several transitions you go through with a break-up or ending of a relationship (especially from a relationship or situation that signified a large part of your existence). First, you either experience the initial shock/anger/disappointment that comes with it, depending on whether you were the one who ended things. This can last for quite awhile, as you may actually go through all of the emotions I just listed in this one phase.

Once you’re done with that step, you begin to crawl your way out of the anger/hurt/disappointment. You realize life does go on, and you no longer find yourself crying in the shower or getting angry at the mention of his name. Because of these things, though – you might get a little cocky and assume you’re completely over the person. You tell your friends as such over and over again, until one night with too many drinks, all of a sudden you’re the drunk girl in the bar singing Since You’ve Been Gone, just a little too loudly. When you wake up the next day, you realize maybe there’s still more growth needed.

After that, you begin to actually start the process of healing. No longer do you scowl at the mention of his name. You go out. You work towards moving on with your life. There may be times when you miss him/her but largely you really are in a good place. And so you go out some more. Your friends convince you that you’re still not going out enough, so you go out even more. You may even, IDK, sign up to go on 11 dates in one year lol.

And then at some point, you wake up in the morning and don’t think about him. You go to sleep and somehow are not thinking about him. You go throughout your day and not once have you thought about him. And you feel good. This is the most dangerous time. You don’t miss him. You don’t even think about him. But he is still there. And if you have mutual friends, chances are that this person who you haven’t thought about will be right in your face at some point, daring you to prove how over him you are. (Note: the dare is not because of anything he does; it’s just his mere presence. Anyone who has ended something with someone can tell you that one of the hardest parts is seeing them again.)

The other weekend I had a similar experience with Jake. Everywhere I went, we kept running into each other. That’s nothing new and doesn’t shock me at this point. What stung me was his drunken attempts to woooo me. You would think by now I would be used to this. I thought I was used to this. We would both be clearly wrong in that assumption.

There I stood, pinned against the wall by a drunken version of the man I loved more than I ever wanted to admit, being put in the position where I had to continuously reject him. The good thing is that this brought no sense of nostalgia within me. It didn’t make me want him again. It didn’t produce any desire to kiss him, even as he attempted to kiss me… This wasn’t a return to what happened at the Valentine’s Wedding. All it did was show me that even though it’s been a year and 1/2 since I finally ended our roller coaster ride, he still thought I was that girl that would always come back to him.

He thought he knew me, but he didn’t – not anymore.

Have any of you ever gone through a similar experience? What did you do? And how did you feel when you realized you completed all the steps to moving on?