Winter Storm Octavia (pt I)

So I took a few days off. Actually, several weeks. I had a huge weight on my heart. No, maybe weight is the wrong word. Weight sounds too negative. More like a burden. Wait, that sounds negative too, but burden is more appropriate than weight. So burden as in duty; a job you know you need to do but you kind of put it off. Kinda like laundry. But more earth-shattering and time-bending.

(Disclaimer: all this rambling is a glimpse into my churning thoughts. I obviously haven’t weeded through all the overgrowth yet, but believe it or not, this is clearer than the weight had been back in January.)

Ok, so back to this non-negative burden: it was like a balloon that was filled too full. It is like a balloon. A growing storm inside. Yeah that’s right. And it materialized.

winter storm octavia

(No, really. There is a winter storm named Octavia that is shaking up the nation. And yes, I feel like Elsa from Frozen. [commence possibly obnoxious “Let it Go” references])

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside. Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried.

I’m just finally facing it. Embracing it. Going into it, fearful, but yes, willing to face it.

What is it?

It is a story. Yes, another one. But not a fantasy novel where I am the superhero I always wanted to be. It is a real story. The story of a girl that was – dare I say it—emotionally warped. A girl that never felt her own value or worth and continued to cling to people that fed the self-depreciation. My own truth is incredibly terrifying for me to own.

While I received very clear instructions from God-Universe-Energy-of-the-World that this story needs to be told, I retreated. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to expose myself.

Conceal, don’t feel. Don’t let them know.

I didn’t want to feel the wrath of people that will undoubtedly be offended. I needed silence. I continued to pray, meditate and ask for clarity.

A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I’m the queen.

Why? Because I was certain the story wasn’t the answer. I knew I was just hearing it wrong. I ignored the calling. I asked for even more clarity.

“Dear Universe, please clarify…because I know you don’t really want me to do what I know you just told me to do, so I must have misunderstood you. Try again.”

That was stupid.

Because I got the reality check of a lifetime. I made a bad decision. One giant awful life-smacking decision. I once again let another person into my circle that would not treat me the way I should have been treated.

Sigh. Sometimes I feel like I need logical, commonsensical outside-me to tell me-me when we-we are being stupid. But hindsight is 20/20 and this is the last time I accept the role of The Fool.

So my life got temporarily wrecked. Again.

As I was stubbornly ignoring the nagging on my heart, (which I’ve been ignoring for several years… I’ll get to that part later. Don’t let me forget about The Ladies Sent By God) I decided to reconnect with friend from my past.

This guy – we’ll call him The Wreck (he’s a professional musician and while I’d like to call him The Singer, I don’t want to confuse him with the other singers I’ve gone on dates with that might appear on this Road, –what I have a thing for musicians! ((swoon)) — so for disambiguation, this musician shall be known as The Wreck) – is NEVER free on weekends. But the one weekend he was free happened to be the weekend of a very big party that I badly wanted a date for.

Sidebar – I LOVE parties. I LOVE having dates to parties. I’m sure this is another lingering symptom of being a wallflower all my life, so when I have a chance to bring a date and not go stag to anything, I jump on it. I thought marriage would have solved that, but I went stag to as many events during my marriage as I did single – again, another nother story.

So I say, great! – I’ll bring my long-lost friend to this party, and we shall reconnect and it shall be grand. Well there were numerous red flags along the way that I chose to ignore. Why? DENIAL. With a hint of naivety.

While I’m expecting a fun weekend with an old friend, The Wreck had other plans. I will spare the details for both his dignity and my own. Nothing criminal happened, but long story short, it was the closest I’ve ever felt to being violated in many ways. One violation is more than enough. But this was jarring on many planes of energy.

Yes, I kicked him out. No, I haven’t spoken to him since. And no I haven’t slept in my bedroom since I sang “To the Left, to the Left.” There is an aftertaste in my room that I will deal with…later… until then, I’m blessed to have a very comfortable couch.

But!

I can name my illness now. Denial.

I have been in denial about myself for…ever… Denial about my intelligence. Denial about my strength. Denial about my dancing ability. Denial about my musical talent. Denial about my worth. Denial about my beauty. Denial about my purpose. Denial that a guy from my past really wants to visit to “catch up.”

Denial about my everything. I never felt worthy. I always settled. Not only have I never felt successful, I never felt success was for me. I felt goosepimply fairytale love was not for me. So made exceptions. I felt like I should just take whatever I can get because why should I want or expect better. I’m black. I’m ugly. I have a fat ass. I’m short. I’m not the smartest. Or the prettiest. Or the funniest. Or the most artistic. Or the most disciplined. And I have weird name.  A name that is now, so fittingly, a storm.

Black Elsa

…to be continued…

~OR

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so, what, then, is a serious relationship?

Yes, I finally heard from Sir Crickets… the one that left me high and dry after I confessed my readiness to take the next step.

Now in all truth, I didn’t confess like a normal adult. This is my first big step since my divorce and I turned into a Disney princes as soon as I realized we needed to DTR. I pulled away from him and said, “OMIGODILIKEYOUSOMUCHANDICANTDOTHISANYMOREWHATAREWEDOINGGGGGG?” and I literally ran away.

Quite literally. Had I been in glass slippers, I would have left one right in the middle of Chicago Ave.

And I haven’t seen him since.

((please feel free to laugh))

I sent him an email and several texts the next day apologizing for acting like a teenager, and ultimately asked to just talk like normal people.

*Cue the weeks of silence.

I exposed my heart. I made myself emotionally vulnerable. And it backfired. I don’t do it often. And man does it sting when I do…

Here’s the deal with me. I keep most people on the superficial level. I’m fantastic with first impressions. I impress people. And then I sneak away alone at the end of the night. On purpose.

I’m very selective about who gets in. Into the real me. Mostly because I’ve been the token, I’ve been excluded, I’ve been rejected for a significant part of my life.

The majority of my relationship with my father was the recurring empty promise of him visiting for birthdays, concerts, recitals. Never showed.

Crushed expectations.

In fourth grade I had a birthday party at a roller rink. I invited my class. I invited the third graders. And I invited the fifth graders. And I sat there for an hour on my birthday in an empty party room, waiting for everyone to show up. And no one did. Not one. I was in denial until I overheard the event planner tell my mom she could have a full refund. The woman walked over to me and gave me a pathetic poor puppy look and a balloon. I just stared at her.

Crushed expectations.

From that moment, I maintained my outward bubbly personality. I kept face. But on the inside I gave a big EFFYOU to the world. I like being busy. I deliberately spread myself thin. I join as many groups as possible. That way, if there’s a party I don’t get invited to, I’m not hurt. Hey, it’s cool – I didn’t know them like that anyway.

I’m slow to trust. Very slow. But once you’re in, you’re in. And when I love, I love hard. You can’t make me not love you anymore. I’m a beast like that.

In fact, I think it’s incredibly curious that Urban Dictionary has me figured out so well…

Octavia

Female, sexual appeal that may be difficult for her to embrace, leaving her with an awkward approach. Likes stability and feeling safe. Loyal and committed to the ones she loves. Passive aggressive. Loner at times. Tendency to be a hermit. Loves to be acknowledged. Curious about her purpose. Religious at heart, stubborn. Slow to trust but quick to love.

Octavia will stay with the one she loves even though she questions her choice and trust for him. She is the type to break up or stop a fight before it takes flight. Her insecurities may lead her to come across as awkward because she’s self-conscious

 

It actually is kinda creepy.

But I digress. Sir Crickets.

He says, “I had stopped considering you would be interested in something serious quite a while ago and my brain doesn’t really move backwards.”

Interesting.

So two months of a pattern that would suggest we were leaning towards something serious turns out to be a complete farce.

“I thought we were just having fun,” he said.

I was so confused, I actually had to write a poem about it. I normally don’t like poetry. Yet somehow, when I’m really aching, poetry just does it for me. Very cathartic. Check it out:

 

You said I was amazing.

You said I could have a key.

You said you wanted me for my errrrythang.

You said you didn’t want to share me.

You said I felt like heaven.

You said I looked like an angel.

You said it was cute when we randomly matched.

You said I was the only one that orders steak properly.

You said your bed was too big without me.

You said we were kindred spirits.

You said we were the same person.

You said I made your heart grow two sizes bigger.

You said.

You said.

And when I said I’m ready…

You said nothing.

So then, what is a relationship?

Now, for the rest of this story, I leave Sir Crickets alone. In all honesty, I’m not here to bash him. I’m not now and never have been mad at him. Not my style. I think he’s a marvelous person and would love to see him again some day.

But what, then, is a serious adult relationship?

A relationship is a thing.

It is a seed.

Aight yall im boutta preach. PRAYCH! (Matthew 13)

#takemetochurch

This is also partially inspired by the sermon I heard at church Sunday: Whaddup Soul City Chicago!

The soil cannot sow its own seed. The seed must be carefully placed by a loving hand.

 

Yeah. Heard?

 

The seed is not the attraction, chemistry, passion, likes, dislikes, similarities, experiences, jokes, scars, memories—this is the soil. Two people that can’t keep their hands off each other and can’t stop giggling when in the same room: the soil.

But the seed…The seed is the deliberate decision to turn all those fantastic emotions into something strong, healthy and lasting. You can have good soil with hundreds of people. But that seed. That seed is special. It’s not a feeling. It’s not an emotion. It’s not sex. It’s not a child. It’s a decision.

When do relationships fail? When there is no decision. When two people are just kind of letting things happen. Or when someone stops cultivating it.

I know, I hate those DTR talks just as much as the next dude. But are we really just each other’s’ play things? Is that what all this is? Are we all just toys here for each other’s physical and emotional pleasure? Or is the physical pleasure one of the perks to searching out that one person you want to invest in? What makes someone worth the try?

For me, dating is like an audition. Or a sales call. Or a job interview. It’s not just about having directionless fun with a person over the course of several weeks or months just because you need someone to hook up with.

((To be honest, this is probably why some arranged marriages work; they decide to make them work.))

If you already know you’re not going to plant the seed, move on. Plenty of fish. I can get good soil anywhere. Mmmhmmm dat good dirt, baby.

And if I know I don’t want to make a decision with you, I’ll go find the next soil. Simple.

Now, back to Sir Crickets. Where did we fail? For me, I was slowly advancing him to the last interview, whereas I had lost the job a month or more beforehand and I never got the memo.
I got straight up played yall.

*Cue Taylor Swift – Blank Space

And The Good Pastor? Well, let’s just say we planted the seed…but as it grew, what I thought would be a pumpkin, turned out to be an apple. We were growing two different things. Talk about crushed expectations.

Before this horticultural metaphor gets too out of control, here’s, the moral of the story:

A serious relationship is a decision. Not a feeling. It’s not something you lose. It’s not something that fades. It’s a deliberate decision to give each other a shot at something more.

~OR

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