Friday, October 26, 2012

Soft Living

I'm falling in love. Poetry is speaking to me once again.  The way that only a lover can. In loud whispers and subtle shouts, of which make my heart soften one more time.

I'm digging Warsan Shire and Iain Thomas as of late. Their words feel like kin to me. They inspire me to feel, to taste, to breathe deeper, to know more. And to sink deeper into my own skin as a writer.

So tonight, I made a photo in honor of one of my current favorite Iain Thomas lines. I couldn't seem to find a photo with this quote circulating the interweb anywhere, which was shocking to me. So I decided to make one of my own:

Photo Credit: Patrice Patrick

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hey Gigi, "He's Just Not That Into You"

Alex & Gigi

     It felt like a little bit of a throwback. I mean, once a movie plays on TV, it's officially a throwback, right?

     And especially since "Myspace" is the main social media talked about in the movie. I mean, once seen as the social media Promised Land, Myspace is now the Reno 911 of the internets. It's still functioning, it's just a few beats off and feels a little bit dirty.

     I had this sense that I somehow just saw the 2009 film, "He's Just Not that Into You", and at the same time, it felt like decades have gone by since I last saw this movie.

     I think I know why. There's something about this movie that often hits a little too close to home. Which causes me to want to distance myself from it. Like..."Yep. That's what we do as females." We read every little minuscule inflection and glance that you guys give us as some sort of build up to..."I love you and I can't live my life without you."

    But I also love this movie, because it tells the truth. And by looking at the movie's current IMDb rating, not many folks appreciated that half-happy ending. But life is like that. Love mixed with pain, mixed with truth.

     If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, here's the long and short of it (Don't worry, there aren't any spoilers):

     "Ten people in Baltimore deal with their respective romantic problems, usually thwarted by the differing ideals and desires of their chosen partner. At the center of this is Gigi , a young woman who repeatedly misinterprets the behavior of her romantic partners...Gigi is a single woman who repeatedly misreads mundane actions and comments from her dates as indications they are romantically interested in her. She then frets when the guy doesn't call."

     Let's repeat: "...Who repeatedly misreads mundane actions and comments from her [guy friends] as indications they are romantically interested in her." For the rest of this blog post, you can just call me Gigi.

     I think we all feel like Gigi at some point in our lives. Whether you're a guy or a girl. We're always trying to interpret signals. Trying to understand one another, trying to find a connection.

     But I love what Alex says in the movie:

     "If a guy wants to be with a girl, he will make it happen, no matter what."

     Simple and true. I cannot tell you how many guys I've seen trip over themselves to get a girl's number. Especially if they think they'll never see that girl again. Doesn't matter if they're at a bar, at church, at work, at the game, at your mama's house. The Hunter gene kicks in, and all of a sudden, they become incredibly intentional.

     I tried exercising the Huntress gene. That use to be my M.O. And I know some guys like that. But if I already feel like I can dominate and control you in some way, you as a guy, have already failed me. You're probably the kindest and most handsome guy on the planet, but if you need me to approach you before you'll pursue me, sorry guy, you're not gonna be strong enough for me in the end. So let's just cut our losses now and be........friends.

     So needless to say, I'll be intentional....about letting my guy pursue me.

    I know. It's a fine balance between not making me feel hunted, but hunting me. Making me feel safe, but still promising me adventure. But not impossible. And the guy's reward for working so hard? If the chemistry is there between us. I'll match his efforts with my passion, my time and my attention...

So these are some of my favorite lines from the movie:

Mary: I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn't. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting.
Beth: I just need you to stop being nice to me unless you're gonna marry me.
Gigi: We are all programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you.   
Gigi: Maybe his grandma died or maybe he lost my number or is out of town or got hit by a cab...
Alex: Or maybe he is not interested in seeing you again.
Alex: So trust me when I say if a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a sh*t, he genuinely doesn't give a sh*t. No exceptions.
Gigi: So what now I'm just supposed to turn from every guy who doesn't like me?
Alex: Uh. Yeah!
Gigi: There's not gonna be anybody left.

Alex: If a guy doesn't call you, he doesn't want to call you.
Gigi: I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. Oh! You've think you won because women are expendable to you. You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don't fall in love that way either. You have not won. You're alone. I may do a lot of stupid sh*t but I'm still a lot closer to love than you are.


Gigi: ...But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope.


     In short, I literally cried my eyes out at the end of this movie. For a variety of reasons.

     Let that sink in. I cried.

     Sometimes it feels good to realize the truth. And sometimes it's a bit painful to realize the truth. And I cried.

     I'm pretty good at it. Crying. For those of you that don't know me very well, don't worry, I laugh a great deal.

     So what do you think of the tagline for this movie: "Are you the exception...or the rule?" Ooooo. I know. A bit intriguing, like a proper tagline should be.

     But seriously. Are you the exception, or the rule? Am I the exception or the rule?

     I think we both know the answer to that.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"You are terrifying and strange and beautiful,
Something not everyone knows how to love."

-Warsan Shire

Credit: Wikipedia, IMDb
Photo Credit: Darren Michaels

Friday, October 12, 2012

"She's Pretty for a Black Girl"

     Photo Credit: Tiffany Johnson

     I've heard some ignorant comments in my day, but this comment just irked me. It got under my skin and under my heart in an uncomfortable way.

     It wasn't even a comment directed towards me, but towards another young lady. And no, this comment wasn't made in jest, or to make a case for satire. It was just said, "matter-a-fact-ly" as I was walking next to this person that I know...

     I looked at this person in unbelief.
Wait. Do you realize that I'm Black? 
Do you realize that your comment would inherently have an affect on me and any insecurities that I may be dealing with on that day?
     Mind you, I know this person as an acquaintance and for the most part, I know this person is not  mean-spirited.  But nevertheless, I couldn't help but think, why would such a comment flow so freely from their lips?

     And when did the definition of beauty become so narrow?

     I know. I know. I'm not trying to be dumb. I know that certain elements equate to "Beauty": symmetry, a person's taste, etc. But the closer I've gotten to God in these past 10 years, the more I see beauty all around me. Including seeing the beauty in all types of people. It's like I can't help myself. Everyone looks gorgeous to me in so many different ways.

     So then, when I hear a comment like, "She pretty for a Black girl." It snaps me back to reality.

     So that's what the rest of the world thinks like...But truth be told,  I use to think that way as well. History shows us that even in the Black community, we've often skewed our own definition of beauty. Meaning, if you have lighter skin, you are often deemed more beautiful than someone with darker skin. Why must that be? Honestly.

     I almost bought into the hype when I was younger, which would have given me a bit of an advantage, considering my lighter skin tone as a Black girl. But then I would look at the face of my mother, her deep chocolate skin and face is synonymous with beauty, joy and kindness to me. And that's when I refused to believe the "world's" hype about what is considered beautiful.

     But it's often not just the "big bad world" that we have to filter opinions and information from. It's also those that are the closest to us. Whether family, best of friends, or the culture of our cities and communities. Do you simply sound like their echo, or do you have your own voice. And have you weighed your own speech lately? The motive and intent of our hearts can usually be masked by slick language. But are you just saying words, or do you really mean them?

     I know we all have our private language. How we talk to family and close, close friends. And then we usually have our public language. But both languages are influenced by one another. And very much express what you ultimately believe as true.

     Which got me thinking. What are we really saying with our words? And how is our tone when we speak to friends, bosses, teachers, sisters, mothers, bank tellers?... Have we listened to ourselves speak, lately? You should try it, it's quite enlightening and a bit exposing. Seriously.

     Because, when you speak, when I speak, when we speak, we change things. For either good or bad.  We have the ability to cause someone (including ourselves) to be brave, to soar, to see their own beauty and worth, or we have the ability to tear them down, crush them and destroy dreams and identity. All of this power, just with the simple words that we speak.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." 
-Proverbs 18:21

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

To the Man I Love

Date: Sometime in the Future...

     It's been a long journey.

     A woman doesn't just give her true heart to just anyone.

     I was ready. And I just knew.

     Some people believe that true love stories are only relegated to perfect love songs and movie screens. But I knew better...

     In the summer of 2012, I had a conversation with a guy friend of mine. He asked me when was the last time, I had been in a relationship and I sheepishly answered...10 years ago. Shock filled his eyes.

     He asked how long that relationship had been, and I was embarrassed to say...but I admitted the truth nonetheless... The relationship had lasted only 6 months. He looked stunned and full of pity; and a bit of disapproval crossed his face.

     He then went on to ask me why the relationship ended. I stated, "Because he cheated."

     My friend stated, "Was that all?.."

     I looked perplexed.

     Had the rules of love changed?

     In my experience, true Love often produces a moral compass that is beyond our own common way of doing things. In essence, you want to do better, be better, love better. Love makes you want to be the best version of yourself.

     But when the cancer of cheating (subtle or blatant) enters a relationship, it breeds distrust. And without trust in a relationship...well...Love is no longer at the forefront...instead, it's ugly adversary, Fear begins to take over.

     And for us as women, often being the nurturers of a relationship, we thrive off of connection. But when a man severs that connection, a part of our heart...the one we showed and gave to you, doesn't quite know how to function. And we die a little bit inside. Irrational actions soon occur on our part, but that's mostly our pain and our hurt talking.

     Until the real healing begins... and "I'm sorry's" are not just scripted dialogue, but truly heartfelt. Seeing that both words and actions line up, making way for forgiveness to be shared lavishly.  Having vision again, and knowing that we both are wanting to head in the same direction. Then and only then can the digging begin, a rediscovery of sorts, a newfound love, a love that is just as authentic if not more than it was in the beginning, because this love has now been tried through the fire, like gold, a love blazing more intensely than ever before.

     But "Was that all?" Was my ex's cheating the only reason why that old relationship ended. Probably not. We weren't madly in love, more like madly in like. Among many other things, we didn't share the same vision for our future, and that just wasn't enough to sustain either of us in the end.

     However, in that moment, I wanted to express to my male counterpart, that receiving a woman's heart is an absolute gift...a woman doesn't just give her true heart to just anyone. There are mysteries in a woman's heart that only a handful of people on the entire planet will ever get to see. And if you are blessed to be one of 6 billion people to be given the gift of her heart, just know that it is worth far more than rubies and diamonds.

     And anything done to crush that woman's heart, is no light's like crushing the heart of some one's daughter. Because she is some one's daughter. She holds the hopes and dreams of her family's legacy. And all of that mystery and beauty of who she is...amidst the 6 billion people on the planet, by the hand of God, somehow made it to you....and was entrusted to you and you alone.

     But my guy friend had no grid or understanding of this yet. Perhaps, because he too, was reeling from his own pain, being hurt by a woman in his past relationship, and could not yet see or understand that his true love story was still waiting for him, just on the other side of his own healing.

     And yes, I'm very aware that men love deeply as well. And when men are hurt and heartbroken in relationships, it is just as devastating to them as well, even if they don't fully express the pain. Their irrational actions may result in quick and repeated rebounds and anything else that would fill the time, in order for them not to face themselves and the healing that needs to occur.


     We've all been taught to suppress our emotions, and to become more like a "man" in a man's world. Buck up and just move forward. But there's something to be said for releasing and expressing emotion amidst the journey--allowing yourself time to grieve, to heal, and then of course--to expect again.


     I wasn't looking for Lust when I met you, I was craving Love. I didn't want to just give you my body, I wanted to freely give you my heart.

     I could have easily slept with many, to ease the pain of not having a body pressed against mine. Of not being held. But I would have been giving a piece of my heart away--I'd be giving my peace away as well. I'm not meant for a "Hit-it-and-quit-it" lifestyle. Sometimes I wish I were... But I'm just not that girl.


     But you, my Field of Dreams, never gave me pause. I never had to wonder if it was really me that you wanted. You let me unfold my life into your arms. Your strong arms. Your tender arms. And I want to start a family with you. I want our kids to have our love and your eyes.

     I adore you above all.

     And I will never expect perfection from you. Jesus is all the perfection I'll ever need in this life.

     Your presence is a reminder of the good gifts that God so freely gives.

     I'm the girl that loves deeply. My scars and my vulnerability exposed for you to see. I'll cry at sappy commercials, act aggressive and push you away when I just want you to hold me,  and I'll laugh at the most inappropriate times.


     And you are my redemption story.

     I waited and believed for you, even when I lost hope. I waited for you amidst the mockery of my own thoughts, my peers, and my circumstances. But I somehow knew this day would come.

     Our choices matter. And I've chosen you, even before I met you, I chose you.

     And when I don't feel like loving you, I'm going to choose to love you more, to love you well. Because you are the man that I have chosen to love. The man that I have chosen to give my true heart to, wholly and completely.

     My delight will be in seeing you smile and in doing my best to love you well.


Happy Wedding Day.


Wisdom's Knocking:

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." 
-Proverbs 13:12

To subscribe to this blog, Puerility Vol. 1, Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner