Tagged: Love

Back in the Game: Beware of the Outlier

I was contemplating taking a happyhappyjoyjoy turn today and my man, Tyrone Mitchell, ruined it with this gem here:

Are you in love with me, or the idea of me?”

Somewhere, an ex of mine rolls her Eyes.

One of the things I realized as I grew into knowledge of myself after my first divorce was that I am not wired as the “typical” man is.

Oh, don’t get it twisted, a cursory glance will find the typical heterosexual male trappings –

  • a penchant for appreciating the female frame
  • affinity for following games played by other men as though they are life and death
  • a tendency towards laziness in regards to housework and indifference to the nuances of Interior Design

But if you hang around me long enough, it will occur to you that I don’t follow the traditional arc of mannish behavior.

I’ll spare you the details, as my blog isn’t a living breathing personal ad. (I see some of y’all) Just trust me on this. Or ask a friend of mine, one of the many female friends, or one of the few male friends I have…most of who are in a similar state.

Once I realized that I was different, I had to come to grips with the fact that I was always going to be different and that I needed to find a woman who would love me for me.

What I discovered, often WAYYY too late, is that I found women who loved the idea of me, but found the reality of loving me to be rather ponderous and counter-intuitive. Or frankly, too much damn hassle.

The problem with dating one of THOSE dudes, which is short hand for men who shrug off some of the effects male privilege and be…actual human beings who feel emotions and actually express them rather than slathering machismo all over those emotions in an effort to deny their existence… is that all those coping mechanisms you learned navigating the maze of Y chromosomes tend to be rather useless.

Playing the Food, Sex, and silence trump card will usually create an entirely different argument. And for GOD’s sake, please don’t ascribe a man’s immunity to The FSS card to some kind of diminished Masculinity. Ain’t really no coming back from that.

Sorry, always get a bit personal when I wander into that rabbit hole. *pauses and breathes…finds his Center…resumes*

When you live an existence outside what people assume, you tend to attract folks looking for a change of pace.

“Tired of typical dudes? Find you one of those Sensitive cats”

“You need to leave those stuck-up professional women alone and find you one of those Good hearted normal sistas”

(Yes these are actual quotes. You would be amazed what you can overhear dropping off a fried shrimp platter)

That Change of pace is needed and necessary. It can also be VERY misleading.

Let’s be honest, relationships tend to be very instinctive. You do what comes natural; what makes you comfortable.

If you have invested a significant amount of time in adjusting to the typical battle between men and women, you have a tendency to sink into that mode as a default setting. Encountering someone who flies in the face of such behavior can be rather off-putting and unsettling. At That point, you have a choice to make:

Learn how to walk all over again…or walk.

This post should serve as a cautionary tale for all people getting back into the game, particularly those who are exiting long term relationships or a series of men/women cut from the same cloth and created macros and shortcuts for handling conflict.

It’s a Whole New World, out there Folks. Be careful what you are wishing for when you rub the magic lamp.

Word to Iago.

Back in the Game: Don’t Fix Your relationship, Fix YOU

In yesterday’s thrilling episode post, we briefly touched on the importance of writing your personal owner’s manual.

Before getting all into that, I feel like I should back up a bit.

There is a point in every person’s life where they have to really laser in on their priorities and decide what exactly is important in their life.

This SOUNDS simple. Alas, it almost never is. My sense is that if it really was simple, then people wouldn’t continually trip up on this step.

Those of you children at home tend to have built in advantages when it comes to prioritizing, although many of you, bless your hearts over-indulge and create altars to your children at the expense of yourselves.

Those of us with children who do not live with us tend to create space for everything in their life EXCEPT their children. Something about the inevitable calling of Maaamaaa! Or DaaaDDyyy! From insistent little voices always seems to bump them up list.

But this isn’t THAT blog post. This is about YOU…or in my case, Me.

Among my critical failings is a tendency to get bogged down in details and minutiae. I will be working on a blog post/Paper/random assignment and I will get so caught up in trying to perfect a small detail that the overall project will tend to lag behind. But damn if the crown molding on the stairwell isn’t pristine and magnificent. Sorry about being 14 work days behind schedule, though.

The yearning to be with someone…to replace that which has been lost will push you to an obsessive focus on relationships and the role that those relationships play in your life.

But, Wait…

What if you’re missing the forest for the proverbial trees?

What if this new found obsession over who’s zooming and rooming with whom is coming at the detriment of YOU?

What if it wasn’t the relationship, it wasn’t HER/HIM, it wasn’t even YOU (in the context of that relationship?) but it was…YOU (in the context of EVERYTHING ELSE)

Let’s keep it real, shall we? Okay, maybe you’re not ready for that. So I will press on without you.

When I look back on my marriages (yes, plural) I realize that much of what made me difficult to love was never about me not being a good mate. For the most part, I was a pretty fabulous mate.

What failed me was what failed me in life. THOSE things led to me failing as a mate.

I have been accused of having some quit in me. This isn’t entirely false. This isn’t the whole story either.

Let us say you are on an assembly line and you’re supposed to screw in the bottom screws with a flat-tip screwdriver.

Thing is, you have two broken wrists and a Phillips Head screwdriver.

It isn’t an issue of commitment or work ethic that inhibits your production. You need the right tools and time to heal.

If you quit that job and go looking for another job with the same requirements without fixing the clear impediments to your goal, what are you REALLY accomplishing?

Basically, what today is about is a reinforcement of yesterday’s underlying point.

I’ll put my dollars to your donuts that if you are divorced, separated, de-booed sans legal impediments or even just plain singular and you are working HARD on a relationship that seems to be causing your more pain than pleasure (and not the kind of pain you like) then your focus is off a bit. Isolate what is wrong and address it.

Then watch the things that it was negatively impacting magically (but not so magically) improve.

Back in the Game: Avoiding Addiction in New Relationships

As the Calendar turns from One blatantly Commercial Holiday (Super Bowl Sunday) to another (Valentine’s Day), I find myself pondering what place love has in my life.  I have always had a particularly insightful POV on love, as I have been working in the restaurant business for the vast majority of the past twenty-two years.   I can tell Blind dates from silver anniversary dates from Dontbotheruswejustheretotalkcauseourspousesareontousandwereplottinganexitstrategybeforeslobbingeachotherdownintherestaurantparkinglot. dates within the first 20 minutes.

I’ve seen:

Love at first sight

Lust at first Sight

And by far, the most entertaining for the spectator and most confounding for the participants:

Luck at first Sight (this is when someone who would be COMPLETELY disregarded is the beneficiary of a completely random course of events)

The tragedy is that all that I saw and learned during this 22 year lab didn’t help me in the least.

As I find myself moving towards new beginnings in my own life, my mind turns toward the magic of the early days of relationships.  Over the next few days I will behold a larger number of relationships than usual as Valentine’s Day on a weekend tends to spread out the VD celebrations.  The newest relationships are always the most intriguing to watch.

It’s all so…new.

It’s all so fresh.

It feels.so.Good.

But…Is it healthy?

Stop. Pause. Wait.

Sit still and Look CAREFULLY at the situation that you find yourself in.  Is it REALLY healthy for you?  Are you edified by your relationship? Is your partner edified by your relationship?  Have you even contemplated if this relationship is healthy for THEM?  Do.You.Care?  Would you leave if it wasn’t?

Yeah. Contemplate those and come back.

My own experience has been that people, particularly those still healing from the ends of previous relationships can find themselves so anxious to reconnect that they inject themselves into circumstances that are less about the other party and more about the feeling that comes upon them when they are with that person.

If you said “hey, that sounds like chasing a high”, kindly pull out your smart phone and play Bejewelled Birds, your work here is done. Your fellow readers are catching up. Please sit still and wait for the class to catch up.  Thanks.

The hardest thing for me as a divorcee has been separating actual love from those feelings that feel like love, but actually are just “highs”.

Oh, now you don’t know what I’m talking about?

YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

  • Those faux trembles when you don’t hear from them.
  • That rush you feel when they come back, even though you were pissed at them literally SECONDS ago
  • Doing things you swore you would NEVER do because of how they made you feel with other folks but you do anyway in an effort to chase the feeling.

It is a dicey proposition, avoiding this kind of behavior when the nights get cold…and long…and solitary.

Hell, it’s a dicey proposition when the nights are warm, short, and Full of warm bodies (the same one over and over or a different one…same deal)

Those of you playing Angry Tetris or texting Brett Favre Pictures of your Junk Drawers can rejoin this blog post already in progress.

The obvious question is: How do you know?

Me, Myself, Personally?

My advice is to get some YOU time in. Understand yourself.  Learn what really makes you tick.  It is worth noting that the same behavior that people engage in the mundane parts of their life takes over in their relationships.  People are out here pressing buttons on their new smartphone to see what happens, learning through trial and error.

That’s cool and the gang, for your smart phone.

Learn yourself.  Read the owner’s manual.

You know, the owner’s manual.  Your owner’s manual is the guide to your physical, mental, and emotional self.

Oh…you don’t have one of those?  Then you need to get off Twittermatchfacebookplanetzoosk.com and get to writing it.  You’re wasting everyone’s time here.

Seriously. Get. On. It.

You’re playing with fire out here.  You can’t run to the SprintVerizonAT&T-mobileBoost store for help when you press buttons in your life in a funky sequence and you brick your life.

The Art of Owning Your Feelings

I am a man of many pet peeves. 

So many that I don’t even bother to rank them. 

They are deep, they are old, and they are enduring.

Today’s Pet peeve is the following. 

Them: Are you okay? You seem really bothered.

Me: Nah…Im a lil irritated but Im not all that Heated. 

Them: No, you’re definitely angry. 

^—This right here?  No. No, No, a thousand times no.

I don’t own much.  But My feelings?  I own every stitch.  I paid for a lifetime of feelings and they come already paid for.

I get to use them as much or as often as I like. 

If you ask me how I feel, I am going to tell you. 

It’s going to be complex and nuanced…because my feelings are complex and nuanced. 

NO, thats probably not how your daddy did it.

Or your Ex.

Or (insert whatever dude comes to mind)

I have suffered from being a little loose with the truth in my past, I am actively trying to overcome that. 

What I don’t do…is lie about my feelings. 

I don’t sugarcoat them or Bullshit you about them. 

And if we have any kind of real relationship, I divulged this little tidbit early on. 

When you openly question my emotions, or even worse, flat out call bullshit on them you basically tell me that my feelings are yours…not mine.

You don’t get to do that. 

Those are my feelings.  Fucked up though they may be.  They are mine…and I put them to you exactly as I felt them. 

When you make  a habit of trying to tell ME how I feel about shit, I make a habit of Not feeling too great when youre around…and telling you about that.

Is this to say This is how im supposed to do it?

No.

This is to say this IS how I do it.

Warts and all, folks…That’s what I’m asking.

ON: Men Tending to Their OWN Knitting

The incessant glare of the Blogosphere on the minds, hearts, and souls of Black women would be helpful if it wasn’t so not actually ABOUT Black women.  A careful review of the general narrative in these articles suggests that there is a concerted effort to push back against Black women’s self- determination.  If I was prone to Tin-Foil Fitteds I would almost suggest a conspiracy, but that requires a level of coordination and cooperation that Black men just can’t seem to manage.

Let me be honest for a second.  This post is very difficult for me to write. As a certified member of the male gender, my impulse is to let women fight their own battles.  That impulse takes a back seat to dealing with my brethren on how they treat my sisters.  My goal here is to address my issues without belaboring them purely for entertainment sake.  As tempting as it is to really go in on this stuff, the reality is that such behavior detracts from real debate.  and if we don’t actually HAVE This damn debate, then this kind of behavior is sure to continue.

For every post I read entitled: The Sad Clown:Four Reasons Why Funny Girls Finish Last or “Are 21st Century Women ready for a Marriage Partnership?”, I skip seven.  At a certain point, they all tend to read alike.

The first post came courtesy of the FreshXpress.  Idu Charles, who proclaims himself an educated man, thinker and unrestricted dreamer opens his piece innocently enough:

One thing is clear as crystal: Women have changed, and men have not.

It seems simple enough, right?  I’ve been suggesting as such for a long while, that as their economic viability and opportunity has increased women’s ambitions and hopes will change.

That wasn’t exactly where Mr. Charles was headed.  Mr. Charles goes on to pose a series of loaded questions that essentially chastise women for having the audacity to…evolve.  (Damn them; if only they had stayed in their place…)

In the case of the Fine Brothers at VSB, it’s simply Entertainment.  They are who they are; they do what they do.  I don’t read them often, but when I do, they are consistently well-written and funny.  Now mind you, it is entertaining to the point that you read it in a vacuum.  But since I don’t live in a vacuum, I tend not to always evaluate their posts in that fashion.

My problem with the post doesn’t necessarily lie at VSB’s doorstep.

Not. Necessarily.

One man’s entertainment is another man’s gospel truth, it seems.  What The Champ may have only meant for shits, giggles and page views, was used by armies of Y-chromosome-owners as some kind of Dead Sea Scroll, physical proof that these women are getting too big for their capris.

That, in fact, is what is constantly going on online. From the indirect and passive aggressive tone of Mr. Charles to the good natured but easily co-opted entertainment of VSB, The meme is being reinforced on a daily basis.

“Dear Woman, stop trying to progress, it only will get more difficult for you to work with us.  Kindly Stay in your lane so we  can stay in ours. You know, the one that dictates your ability to define yourself.”

If you think I’m going to be sitting around here a slapping around shaky arguments on TWiB, you’re mistaken.   I’ve got exactly ONE more post on this tired ass topic.  And I am going to take my sweet time getting around to that, cause clearly, by virtue of the umbrage circulating, men are amused and women are perturbed by this topic and it can be very easy to get bogged down.

I am already resisting the urge to make this any more entertaining.  Sure, I could do a point by point take down, but for what?  Okay…just this last one, I promise.

Mr. Charles suggests that somehow because a woman works hard and a man might have a more significant role in the at home responsibilities that the child would naturally cling towards the home-making parent.

Wait. You think I am lying, don’t you?

What if you met a man who will stay home with the children (even while bringing in some money) and you continue working long hours?  It sounds good, but keep in mind that when children are drawn to their mother, it is in large part due to the fact that the mother is perceived over time as the nurturing parent.  Are you ready to have a man who will literally encroach on your dreams about motherhood and help make decisions about the child’s dress, schools, toys, food, and everything else?

I cannot make this up.  Does this man know NOTHING of the power of the womb?  Does he even HAVE children? See?  The urge is great.  I must resist.

The Truth is, so must you.  If you see pieces of this nature today (and you will, because, hey…it IS Thursday, and it’s really the last chance to get major Page views before the holiday weekend) Just click the X and Roll out.

Don’t tell a soul.

Pretend you never saw it.

If you ignore them, they WILL go away.

Ink answers Chele Vol. 2

Thanks to an Inexplicable service outage in the middle of the work day I had to dust off the Dinosaur and Post up my response to BnB’s questions for the fellas

1.When a man is no longer interested in a woman, why can’t he be responsible enough to let that woman know he is no longer feeling her rather than pulling “disappearing acts” (i.e. stop the calling, texting, emailing) and hoping she figures it out on her own?

Firstly, are we SURE women didn’t invent this?  Okay, that’s projecting, let me stop. 

The reality is that ultimately, we run out of stuff to say. 

Being particularly sensitive to rejection, I tend to just stop communicating rather than issuing some sort of Dear Jane call/text/email/carrier pigeon. 

The “Fade to black” is a common tactic employed by men AND women. 

When you think  about it, its pretty cut and dry.  It says:

“I do not have anything else to say.  If I did, I would be contacting you.”

Is it possible they have been somehow inhibited from commucation? Sure.  Its POSSIBLE.  But I would then refer you to my favorite Razor

Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor[1]), is the meta-theoretical principle that “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem) and the conclusion thereof, that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.

Bear in mind, the alternative is someone calling you who doesn’t REALLY have anything to say.  Who wants that?

2. What does a man mean when he says “He’s not ready for a relationship right now” or “I’m not ready to be serious”?

It means moderate your expectations.  It means YES he wants to have sex, but NO he doesn’t wish to explore the complexities of a relationship. Reading more into that conversation is pointless.

3. Why do mean lie about stupid stuff? Why is everything a fact-finding expedition? Why do I have to dig it out of them like I’m mining for gold?

Truths hurts.  Some truths are avoided because we don’t wanna hurt YOU. Some because we don’t wanna hurt ourselves.  Mostly the latter.

Many times the art of telling the truth revolves around being who we WISH we were and being who we are. 

4. Why won’t a man just tell you what their thoughts are feelings are about your relationship?

Expressing emotionalism is the most vulnerable form of communication.  When boys are raised to express emotionalism they will be equipped to express that to their prospective spouses. 

Are you preparing the young men in your life to do that?  Surely you don’t think its going to come naturally…

5. Why even start a sentence with “Baby, just let me explain…”

What are we supposed to say?

“Hey…you know how that is. ” *kanyeshrug*  “What’s for dinner?”

15 Minutes on why Love conquers all

Part of the nature of being human is that  that attracts those who have been pushed down and had their lunch money taken by love is that you realize how much of a bully love is.

Love knows you need it.

Love knows that despite your superhuman feats in your career, you are predisposed to love another person, whether family or stranger.

At the very moment you believe yourself incapable of taking another step down the road that leads to love, you see something that inspires you.

You hear THAT song

You smell THAT cologne

You see THAT movie

You go to THAT restaurant

The Nostalgia rolls through like the Tide

You want that feeling again…and no memory of the pain you used to feel will overcome those instantaneous moments where it all just clicked.

You say to yourself, no.

I’m tired of losing.

I’m tired of being used and abused

I don’t NEED love to be happy.

Maybe you don’t.

But you want it…you know you do.

Because THAT feeling is singular.

You can’t fake it.

You can’t simulate it in an avalanche of sex and debauchery.

You can’t bury it under your work.

That desire will never go away.

It is what it is.

You are who you are.

Stop fighting it.  It’s as natural as breathing

Just be patient and don’t try to get love to be what it isn’t or do what it can’t.

Three the Hard Way: 9/11 didn’t change EVERYthing (interlude)

Previously on Inkognegro 2.0

After reading the Interlude, you can get a sense of the cauldron of conflict that 3.1 was conceived and nurtured in. The picture looked fine, but story behind the picture was Toxic.

(This is why the thousand words a picture tells is never enough)

The physical picture maintained a sheen suitable for framing, but the reality was infecting all those involved.

By Labor Day weekend, the situation had devolved into a war-of-the-roses type thing where folk had retreated into their respective foxholes and the boy wandered back and forth between us like some special envoy in the safe zone. I had clearly moved on, I just hadn’t moved out. To say it was ugly engages in a form of understatement that I am personally uncomfortable

As with the country, the events of 9/11 changed everything. On the surface that is.

While I am confident EVERYONE has a “where were you on 9/11 story” those of us who could see the smoke in the air and engaged in the cinematic exodus out of lower manhattan and Inner Washington, DC have our own peculiar stories. The day brought me face to face with how fleeting life can be, how easily angry spouses can be transformed to grieving widows. For the first time in months, we sat as a family and bonded over the tragedy and how our family had been spared. All was well.

For a week.

After that, you may have well said that the Terrorists had won in my house, because it was business as usual at my house