I'm Here


Just a post saying I'm not dead. This whole going home for the holidays thing has kept me way busier than I expected (and not to mention tired) so I've got a post coming, I just have to find the time to do it justice.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this (the song that's stuck in my head):

I do HIGHLY recommend Brandy's new album, Human. It's really worth it.


The Boy Is Mine

I had a GREAT post in mind, but so much stuff runs through my mind on a regular basis that it's temporarily lost. Until I recall what that post was, enjoy this little gem.

Brandy and Monica recently performed a bit of their 1998 hit "The Boy is Mine"

And the original video (for all of those of you like me who now need to hear the whole thing)


Random (Invasive) Questions

Today, I got this text message:

"Hey just curious... And not to be offensive but, Do you like women? Ppl ask me do i all the time"

I'm not an easily offended person. And it's hard to be mad at this question because at least she had the (proverbial) balls to ask me instead of asking someone else. Few people these days do stuff like that. I guess I'm not upset (and really, I'm not upset) so much at the question as I am in a)the way it was asked and b)who asked it.

This girl and I went to high school together. We were friends in the way that when you go to a small private school, everyone is friends, especially the outnumbered black folks. She and I never would've been friends in the "real world" at best we might've been good aquaintances. I think we both know this. At this point, high school was 4 years ago. I've since graduated from college. And though we have kept in touch, it's been very random. It wasn't at first, but as we all grew up and realized we didn't actually have to talk to people we didn't like, anymore, people started to fall to the side.

I suppose the straw was when she (N) called me upset that two mutual friends of ours (A and W) were going to Atlanta to celebrate A's birthday. A and N are not really friends, more like frenemies and A has decided that she doesn't have to be around N, so she doesn't want to. It was her b-day, and I understand N was upset, but she took it out on me when I didn't have any say-so in the guest list. I wasn't even mad then (I'm hard to piss off) but I felt like that was a sign that I needed to cut ties.

She's tried to repair that, a little, I think. I'm a nice person -- and there's no reason for me to be a bitch, but I haven't reached out to her as I have in the past.

Anyway, I set all that up to explain how we don't communicate regularly enough for that question to be appropriate. I mean, I'm not gay, but if I were -- how's that any of her business. I try to hit on you, you ask me that. We're good friends, ask me that. You think one of my relationships is "odd" ask me... but you don't just wake up one day when we haven't spoken in at least 9 months and ask me that -- that's random and inappropriate.

I'm not upset with the question, I'm upset with the fact that she asked a personal question and she isn't... well... a personal friend.

I did answer her question because the girl is also a big-mouth. And while I really don't care what people think, I don't want to deal with all that madness.

On another note, I know for a fact she's not the first person to wonder that about me. I used to be really insecure about that. Not so much because of how homosexuality/bisexuality is perceived in our society, but more because if I am heterosexual but people still wonder, what's that say about me (I used to think). I've since grown the hell up and decided it doesn't matter. However, I think one big reason some people in my life wonder this is because I don't put my business in the street. Very few people know anything about my romantic life -- and that's on purpose. I don't need a whole lot of people in my business, I'm a private person, really. But it's interesting that people expect to know all about your relationships and who you're interested in and so forth, otherwise, they figure you're "hiding" something...

Yeah, I'm hiding my own damn business...

When Being Likeable Is Bad

I think I'm a pretty awesome person. One of my friends says that's a sign of narcissim -- but I think it's a fair assessment. I'm pretty darn cool. I find that when I try, I make friends pretty easily -- often more easily than I'd like. I'm not exactly looking to amass a large number of friends and so I try to keep boundaries clear.

Anyway, it has come to my attention that, most likely because of said infectious personality, I've been getting preferential treatment in our office. Now this has been on mundane things like, when work I do comes up for edit (my job is not easy to explain, but one thing I do is write letters that are later edited by a senior member of the office) the "top" guy will come talk or e-mail me about it directly. Even going so far as to re-write what he thinks is best and sending it to me in an e-mail. I thought he did this for everyone but I just learned that most everyone else only has contact with our direct supervisor in this matter and that he'll usually write edits on the paper and send it back through our supervisor. I raise one eyebrow at that.

I realize that example sounds lame -- but when you couple that with the fact that he also will often come to my area of the office and joke around with me... I leave my eyebrow raised.

It never hurts to have people who can help you in your career paying attention (except when you're effin' up) but I don't want my treatment to be seen as anything other than that I work hard. He's not the only senior member in our office who pays specific attention to me and it has come to my attention that people are noticing... and we all know the tale of the haters... I'm just waiting. I mean, I don't want to make this into something if it's not, BUT I also don't like ignoring what's right in front of my face....

We'll see where this goes...



I have a twitter account:

If you have a twitter account, I always follow people who are following me, and even some who aren't, so let's get to twitting.

Unrelatedly, I wanted to post some TLC videos because I love TLC and... really, that's all. So here we go:

Hat 2 Da Back -- 'nuff said

Somethin' Wicked This Way Comes -- no video, but THIS song made me LOVE music... when I was 9. :)

No Scrubs -- by far NOT my favorite TLC song, but it made them relevant in 1999 AND started a new trend of music topics for girl groups.


Don't You Have a Man

First off, I don't do too many plugs, but if you aren't up on Drake, PLEASE get up on him. I don't do hip-hop these days... unless it's 1:30am and I'm drunk in a club somewhere (which RARELY happens... the club part I mean) and I don't know any better. Anyway, I love this dude because he's reminding me that popular hip-hop is not real hip-hop and real hip-hop still exists. Check out the end of the post for a random factoid about him.

Anyway, the idea for this post came up because me and a friend were talking about how one of her close friends got mad at her last night because she (the friend) thinks that my friend is neglecting her for other friends. My friend said to me, "these chicks in my life be wanting me to be their man and I can't be that, by any means..." and I really had to agree with her. The girl who was upset with her felt that my friend was sharing intimate details with someone else that she used to share directly with her. It's like she felt my friend was cheating. So many people create a void when they're not in a relationship and then fill that void with another person, unbeknownst to that person. I said before:
While I think that there really is something pretty deep that separates a
romantic relationship from a deep friendship, I think that line is being blurred
more and more in our society. We have the types of relationships with friends
that was once saved for only romantic and committed relationships. We use
friends to support us in ways that was once something done only by a significant

So when we blur those lines of what is a friend and what's a romantic relationship (and, my boy JT did a GREAT job on discussing how those two things are very much related, even interrelated) we start to create problems.

I can reflect on quite a few friendships where, in hindsight, I was a surrogate significant other. It's not sexual (clearly) but all that other stuff -- constant companionship, expectations, etc... were there. And because I'm the comethrough kid, I get caught up and don't realize. When my friend said that to me, I immediately thought of another friend who, since she got in a relationship, has not been on my jock like normal. Let it be known, I haven't been upset because being "that" person is rough when 5 people want you to be "that person" so I guess I was far too relieved to really notice how her sudden relationship meant she wasn't calling me as much.

I do want to point out that I say people who do this are filling a void that they created. In my opinion, being single does not mean there is a void in your life. The person with whom you are in a relationship is not making you whole. He or she should simply be complementing you and making you better. Without him or her, you should be fine. If this isn't the case, you have a whole new set of problems you need to deal with and believe you me, no relationship created in such a way will work. I mean think about it, if you're having to be in a relationship and carry your share of the weight AND make someone a complete person, you're doing a lot of work compared to the other person who is just... well... lying there.

Like my friend said, I'm all about being a good friend to you, through the ups and downs and good times and bad times -- but I'm not your man. I'm not trying to be your man (for many reasons) and I can't fill whatever void you've created. the only thing I can do is just be a good friend. And just because my attention is sometimes focused elsewhere (whether it be on myself, another friend or nothing at all) that doesn't make me a bad friend and doesn't mean I care any less.

It is YOUR #1 priority to take care of yourself. Not mine. I'm just here, as a friend, to help you with that -- and even if I were your man, that's really still all I'd be responsible for.

Drake factoid:

Don't know how many of you ever heard of Degrassi: The Next Generation, but Drake (real name Aubrey Graham) was a key character (Jimmy Brooks) on the show for its first 6 seasons (it's now on it's 8th season). Here's a clip:

I promise, he raps much better as Drake. :)

Is You Gay or Is You Ain't

Siditty over at Siditty: Angry & Black Since 1976 posted the video below and has a dialogue going on about whether or not sleeping with members of the same sex makes you gay.

First the video:

He might have a point about not knowing whether or not the person performing oral sex on you is male or female, but that doesn't support his argument. If you knowingly have sexual interaction with people of the same sex you're not heterosexual.

But, as I've discussed before, are we boiling sexual orientation down to who's in your bed at night? In other words, is it as simple as who you have sex with? On that youtube video, someone asks "what about the people who've never had sex with someone of the same sex, but consider themselves gay?" and I ask the sister question: "How did the 40-yr old virgin know he was straight?" If it's only about who you have sex with, then how does anyone know their orientation until their first sexual experience?

So the answer/counter argument is, it's about who you're sexually attracted to. And I buy that on most levels, but I know plenty of people (I'm not one of them, since I think sex is kinda a big deal) who will "stick [their] thing in any thing" (click the link if you don't know where that quote comes from) regardless of attraction and that's fine -- to each his own, but if that's the case, doesn't it poke a hole in the idea that it's only about who you're attracted to? Maybe one could argue that those people are factions and don't represent the whole, but in our day and age, I don't know if we can be sure about that.

These aren't easy questions. Ultimately, your sexuality is your business (less'n you're sleeping with everybody and telling nobody because DISEASE IS REAL) and if you want to claim to be straight while sleeping with people of the same sex, as long as you also cop to your extracurricular sex activities, that's fine with me. I won't be sleeping with you, but I think honesty is important and it's fair to do what you want with whom you please. At the end of the day, these are just labels meant to put everyone in a box, because people like boxes.


Take Care and Next

I hate when people say "take care..." it sounds so insincere; but maybe that's because the people in my life who say it are insincere with most stuff anyway...

I've been playing this song over and over. Not sure why, but Next was underrated.


STFU and have a coke and a smile

In an e-mail, a guy I know, laid out the following scenario:
He and his family were invited to a friend's party where, it turns out, the husband had invited most of the males and his wife most, if not all, of the females. Many of the men there (but not my friend, not that it matters, just a point of clarification) were black men who brought their non-black girlfriends. Many of the black women there made their disapproval very much known and made many of the interracial couples uncomfortable -- this became very obvious when one couple left early. My friend pulled the host to the side and asked him about it, at which point the host revealed that the women were his wife's friends and that he was upset with their attitude as well.

Three things get me heated about this story.

1) Check your friends at the door. We all know our friends temperaments (and if you don't, reconsider that friend status). I know which of my friends would be like these women and if I invited them to my place (which, let me say, their invitation would not be guaranteed) where I knew interracial couples would be there, they would most definitely get that little kid in the car conversation. We all know it, the one where your mom shuts the car off and turns around very slowly and says "If you embarrass me when we get inside this house/store/church, etc... I will wear your behind out when we get home..." and my friends know how I am about stuff like that so they would know to check all that madness quickly. And if they didn't, best believe I would embarrass the SHIT out of them for being so ignorant. There is a place and time for ignorance and best believe I expect folks to know it.

2) Where was the husband? If my boyfriend and I threw a party together and his guests were disrespecting my guests, if I didn't feel it was my place to call them out, I would go straight to him and PLEASE believe that if he didn't do anything, I surely would call them out myself.

3) If I go to an event with my boyfriend that he was invited to, and he is the only person I know, and other guests start making rude comments about the two of us together, I do expect him to say something to somebody and if he doesn't, understand the type of REAL issue we'll have as soon as I get him in the car. I'm really not one to make a scene, because there is a way to say everything to everybody -- but I would make my opinions known to somebody.

I don't want to be disrespected, I don't want my friends disrespected, I don't want folks I've welcomed into my house disrespected -- whatever I have to do to keep that level, that's what needs to be done, in my opinion...

Now, the fact that these women were upset about a black man with a non-black woman in 2008, damn near 2009 is a WHOLE other issue, that I'm not sure I even want to address because I think that's dumb. Why can't people just say "it's your thing, it's not my thing, and that's fine..." I think it's fine if as an individual you don't approve of interracial dating, but last I checked, that was nobody's issue but your own and your issues need to stay with you in your world. The end on that.


Returns on Investments

Return on investment or ROI is a figure of merit used to help make capital investment decisions.

Or, in my case, ROI is used to help make relationship decisions. In fact, ROI being used as such has come up a few times for me, recently. When asked what my issue with being in a relationship is (and, let it be known that it has yet to be proven that I have an "issue", but that's another post) I said, among other things, ROI. That is, I'm not putting in 100% only to get -100% back. Been there, done that, not feeling it.

Then today, a friend said to me, "you know I recently got called out, for lack of a better term, for being all about ROI in every aspect of life... from social, to family, to work..." and I got to thinking... ROI is important in every aspect of life. What is the point of giving yourself to something that doesn't give back? You wouldn't do it with your money, so why do it with yourself? Further, how could anyone call you out on that? If you don't go into something at least somewhat cognizant of what you might get back, then what are you doing?

And just like with your money, the ROI from a relationship is a risk you take. You might give a lot and get a lot, but you might give a lot and get nothing -- it just depends and you won't know until it's over. This doesn't mean you don't take the risk, it means you do your homework, you know what the signs of a good potential for ROI (aka deal breakers) and you base your decision on that. Doesn't mean you'll get all you were hoping for, but it surely puts you in a better place.

On a lot of levels, if we treated our emotional well-being and relationships like we treat our money, we might come out a little better. I guess that's hard to do because emotions are involved and emotions make EVERYTHING harder to do.


Deal Breakers

In the last post I mentioned having deal breakers. In the last year I realized the important part they play in adding the right kind of people to your life.

Deal Breakers are the things that either with or without, you have to leave a relationship. Be that a romantic one or friendship or even business relationship. When you know what your deal breakers are and can effectively communicate them, it helps people know what you want but most importantly, they help you know what you want. I'm not sure my personal deal breaker list is exhaustive, but it's a far cry from where I was. My deal breakers apply (except where obvious) to any kind of relationship.

  1. I don't deal with liars. That's pretty self explanatory
  2. You must have ambition, be going somewhere, have an and goal, and you MUST be doing things every day to get you to that place. We all know people with master plans but they've had the same master plan for 7 years.
  3. Must be able to handle my sarcasm. I just am sarcastic and whether that's a fatal character flaw or not, I am and you have to be able to handle that.
It's not a lot, but those are some of the important things to me. The deal breakers...

If you have some of your own deal breakers, post 'em!


Cheating in Long Distance Relationships

I've discussed cheating before. But on a long road trip, the following two-part question was posed:
If you're in a long distance relationship that looks like it's going the
distance, is it really wrong to cheat as long as you do it purely for physical
reasons and not because your relationship is difficult? And is cheating only
wrong when you get caught?
Ok. First up: as I've said before, cheating is wrong and there's just no two-ways about it. If you're in a relationship with someone who believes it to be monogamous and you take advantage of that (cheating) you're wrong and a bad person. If you feel like it should be ok for the two of you to see and/or sleep with other people then that's a conversation to be had with your significant other. If they agree, great. If not, then you need to decide if that's a deal breaker (and we should all know what our deal breakers are in a relationship...). If it is, end the relationship, if not, keep your pants zipped up until you're with your boo. No. That's not simple, ideal or easy. It's complicated, but that's the nature of LDRs and why I caution anyone on being in one. Some people make it look easy, but believe me -- they have problems. So I don't care why you step outside your relationship, if the other person doesn't know and doesn't approve then you're wrong for abusing their trust.

As for cheating being wrong... yes... it's wrong before you get caught and definitely wrong when you get caught. But here's where I bring up an interesting point: I have a friend who has cheated on her boyfriend and has decided to keep it to herself. Why? Well what's the point in telling him? She didn't do it because she's upset with him, or even with their relationship. She found herself in a situation where she could have some needs met and she took that opportunity. Per my last paragraph, she was in the wrong every which way but Sunday, BUT telling him would only hurt him and what's that do?

I had another friend who wanted to reveal to her boyfriend of 1.5 yrs that she'd cheated on him with over 10 different guys. Why? Because she wanted to break up and he didn't. Also because she wanted to purge her soul. "I feel like God isn't going to bless me in my next relationship," she said. "Well, whatever punishment God has for you or karma is coming your way, is on it's way because you did the deed and 'purging your soul' won't change that," I responded. There are MANY things my ex- did behind my back that he later revealed that I so strongly wish he hadn't. It tarnished many of memories that didn't need to be tarnished and did NOTHING in the way of helping me get over what happened.

Cheating is one of those things I think should only be revealed in the most dire of situations. Should you tell your friend you slept with her boyfriend? Depends on the intention. If you're trying to hurt her and steal her man, that's messed up. If you just want to purge your soul, that's messed up... but if you feel bad, have no intentions of getting with him and want your friend to know what a low-down dude she's dealing with, well then... that's different. But RARELY is that the case. Ultimately when we tell on ourselves, it's for our own gain. People don't just decide the right thing to do is to tell the truth and do that. Even those of us who will let the cashier know she gave us $5 too much back do it because we'd feel guilty otherwise. Not because we think it's important that her register be balanced at the end of the day. We're selfish by nature. Always looking out for that *star* player.

So there's no good answer to any of this, except be careful or have a damn good case to present for why you and your significant other should explore the land of "doing our own thing" :)

Family, Friends and Enemies

We know the old adage. Keep your friends closer and your enemies closer. And at different times in my life, I've supported that and disagreed with it. I guess it depends on what kind of enemies and friends you got and whether or not you can tell 'em apart. In any case, what do you do with family? I firmly believe that your choice of friends is a reflection on yourself. I've said:
some of us, based on the friends we choose, don't like ourselves...
I think it's very important that the type of people we surround ourselves with are only on the up and up. Like Katt Williams said "we keep it pushin' 'round here..." But, you don't get to pick your family. It's the luck of the draw. Some of us are blessed to have loving, caring families and others of us have been slapped with the worst of the worst. Most of us, though, fall somewhere in the middle... functionally dysfunctional and in my case, that has turned out to be the best thing. I love my family and feel blessed. It's because of that, that I have such a hard time really understanding families that are horrid.

I have a friend in an interracial relationship. Her grandfather isn't speaking to her. Not because of her boyfriend but because her roommate is a gay black male. She's scared to death to tell her grandmother about her boyfriend for fear that she'll cut her off as well. My cousins and I and other family members have made not great decisions in our lives, but never has anyone been cut off. Even when they've tried to desert us, when they decided they needed family, we were still there. Functionally dysfunctional and all.

Then there's another friend whose brother has been screwing her over for a long time. Most recently, she paid to bring him to where she is after his girlfriend put him out and to help him get back on his feet. To repay her for all she's done for him, he first stole a credit card and now he's stolen hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars worth of stuff from her and pawned it. And then when busted, refused to help her get it out of the pawn shop (just for future reference, if someone steals your crap and pawns it, be prepared to take the legal route to get it back). So clearly she's put him out, but still... I don't care how criminal you are, when your family tries to help you out when no one else will the least you can do is STFU and leave them out of your illegal crap. And aside from her anger at the fact that her stuff was stolen from her, I'm sure there's some sadness. Because even when your family is effin up, you think they won't do it to you.

On a different, yet equally as depressing, note, I found out a co-worker of mine was let go today. She will continue to work through the end of the year, but it was a shock for her and for us as well. I know nothing of the details, but I know she didn't see it coming. I work for the government, so you can't chalk this up to the economy... which kinda makes it worse... so far, my Holiday season is NOT getting off to the best start, but I know it'll get better...



I'm walking irony. There are plenty of things that are true about me that directly conflict with other things that are also true about me.

Case in point: I don't take a whole lot of shit off people, but for those I care about, I'm a MAJOR sucker. I referenced this in a previous post.
I just don't know any other way. I don't know how to not be consistent. Being
there for the people I care about is important to me

What I've discovered and am slowly coming to accept is that this attitude towards friendship, for whatever reason, consistently lends itself to opening up to "users"

And by user, I simply mean someone whose sole intent in pursuing a relationship (of whatever sort) is to gain what they can and immediately walk away when they have gotten all they can. OR (and this type is harder to spot) one who maintains a relationship, doing the least amount of work, for the greatest gain.

Now, people will only do what you require them to do. That's just the rule, per human nature. Also, I've discussed and pondered what role I play in how it is I find myself in these frustrating situations and I admit that by not demanding that people treat me better, they will continue to treat me in whatever way is "easiest for them." But I'm slowly reaching my breaking point.

I don't have many friends in my life that I speak to everyday. The reason is, I'd get frustrated and bored with them. So when I say "so-and-so never calls" I don't mean they do call, just not as often as I'd like, I mean they never call, don't text, can't be bothered to send an e-mail won't return my attempts at contact, etc... and honestly, that in and of itself doesn't bother me. We all need breaks, relationships go through ebbs and flows and you have to be prepared for that (as I've mentioned before). But you don't get to do all of that, and then only have time to contact me when you need something.

You know, I can even deal with the types who right before or right after will feign interest in your life so as not to reveal what this is really about. Though, I do hate when people treat me like I'm stupid, at least the attempt to cover their tracks should be noted. It's when they don't care enough to pretend to care, that it gets me.

I hate a lot of things about how people act, one of them is people treating me like I'm stupid, more than that though is when people take others for granted and that's what I'm watching happen to me, right now. I'm seeing the very act of someone taking me for granted and not being concerned.

I suppose the question is really to me. What am I going to do about it? I have a lot of options, including cutting them off -- but I can't do that. I should do that, but I can't. Right now, it seems like I'll just be venting here on the ol' blog and stewing while I come up with a proper response...

Meanwhile, I'm also wondering, WHY do people do that? What life lesson did I learn that makes me not use people that others didn't get? Or maybe what life lesson did they learn that I didn't that makes using others ok? Is this some larger commentary on our society? If I have kids, I want to instill in them that they will do many important things in their lifetime, and one of the most important will be to make quality, lasting friendships with people. And that those friendships will be a testament to them as a person, long after they're gone. It will be like the air that follows you when you walk. The relationships they form will contribute to their lasting legacy and so they should treat them like the important things they are. Taking the time to choose people who are worthy of their effort and then putting forth the greatest effort they can. Unlike their mother who seems to understand this, but not well enough to put it into action...


Being Open

Last night a friend of mine and I had a pretty interesting conversation.

I think that everyone has one or two events or situations in their lives that if, as an outsider, you can fully understand, then you can come very close to understanding that individual. For me, it was my last relationship. And as I spoke with this friend, about a third friend (who doesn't know anything about my last relationship) it became clear to me that a lot of what this friend thinks to be true about me would change if she understood what I went through in that last relationship.

We also talked about our relationships with our mother as it relates to sex. That is, neither one of us is comfortable talking to our mothers about sex. This is the norm for many people, I think, but for me, it goes past just sex. My mother doesn't know a whole lot about my personal life. We are both very defensive with each other. She's afraid to ask, and I'm afraid to tell because I don't like being judged and my decisions critiqued without being asked (there are FEW people who can critique stuff I do, specifically and especially as it related to my personal life, that I can accept). In turn, as I just alluded to, I don't open up very well to people. This was an ironic conclusion I came to, not too long ago. I'd always felt that I was the type of person to tell you anything. I don't volunteer information, I thought, but if you ask, I'll answer.

Yeah -- I answer -- but I don't always answer concisely or completely. Why? Cause I don't want to be judged or critiqued. When parents are open with their kids, they provide a safe space. My mother, not wanting me to fall into the same potholes she did, always pointed out everything I did wrong in a situation. Some people take well to that, I did not. In turn, anything I could hide from her I did. I also never became comfortable with criticism. Critcism is unavoidable so I break my back to avoid it. We have yearly performance reviews coming up and I'm dreading them.We can always work on ourselves -- there are always things we can and should do better, and knowing that has helped me to grasp that it's important for me to take well-intended criticism as well as I can.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I care what people think about me. I don't care anymore than the average person does, but I do care what those around me think of me and I have a problem with personal decisions being criticized and critiqued. I don't blame my mother but I do think that our relationship and lack of communication has contributed heavily to why I am that way.


I have finally found a mentor. I don't think he knows he's my newly-elected mentor, but he is.

In finding him, and confirming it, I also realize why having mentors is important.

I like this man. I like how he thinks, I like the way he operates. But what I really appreciate about him is a little harder to explain, but I'll try:

He is a VERY influential man, but if I put his name here (which I won't) you wouldn't have any idea who he is. You would google him (as I just did to make sure I wasn't sticking my foot in the mouth) and find a lot of hits, but only a handful (if that) would be about the guy I'm talking about. In the influential world that I work in, his name can get you reservations and make people pay attention to you. People CARE what this man has to say and if they have the good sense God gave them, they listen and they heed.

He isn't God, he isn't the second-coming, he's just smart. He understands how to talk to people, he understands relationships are the most important things you ever get to influence and make and he makes the most of those. He has a boss and his boss respects his opinion above everyone else. His quiet influence is where I'm trying to be. I don't need groupies, people who follow just because of what they think I have. I want people who listen to me BECAUSE they know I know what I'm talking about. But first, I gotta know what I'm talking about.

Everyday I work with this guy I'm more aware of who I want to be as a leader. I'm more aware of the type of leader I want to be. I can honestly say I don't know anyone who leads like he does... except me. I LOVE it!



I'm confused.

I could pretty much end my post right there, but then what would be the point?

Problem 1:
It has been my plan for almost a year now, to attend grad school in the Fall of '09 to get my Master's degree in School Counseling. The plan was to get my life together and get re-amped to be in school (I so needed a break from class). I also needed to work -- cause a sista got school loans. Since I was little I've wanted to be a Senator. This was always my goal. Then I got older, learned more about myself and our political system and realized that I wouldn't make a good politician. I speak my mind too much -- I think there is right and wrong and rarely middle ground on that. The political world is ALL about the gray areas. I'm not good with the gray areas. We need to talk yes or not, black and white, 1 or 2. I decided to take a job offer in a Senator's office to finally decide if the political scene was really not for me. In the last month, I had begun to wonder if I didn't enjoy the legislative end of politics and if I couldn't stay on the job a little longer than another year.
Then I asked my mom, who I was most afraid of disappointing by not going to grad school next fall what she would say if I told her I was considering staying in politics. Her response? "I always knew you would..." Nobody knows me (as much as I HATE to admit this) as well as my mom. And for her to tell me she felt all along I'd end up in politics has only made me think harder about something I had been trying not to consider.
If I want to go anywhere in politics, have any real future and make any real connections, I need to stay. And though I wouldn't start grad school classes for another year and wouldn't have to quit my job for another two years, these are decisions I can't make until the first quarter of 2009, and by then any hopes I would have to get an application in in time to get in to a school for the Fall '09 will be shot. So I have to decide now...

Problem 2:
Ok... I don't actually think I'm even ready to talk about my other problem. But I guess I can boil it down to one question...
Is it always the better choice to speak your mind? Even when not asked what your thoughts are?



I recently came across a website called PostSecret. A guy by the name of Frank started encouraging people to write their secrets on a postcard and sending them to him. They could choose to be completely anonymous. Over time, this has grown into a small movement, where Frank has been invited to speak at various places, especially colleges (including my alma mater, though it has been since I graduated). He talks about how he his always amazed at how many people will be willing to get up in front of a crowd of strangers and share their innermost secrets. There's also an online community where people post their cell phone numbers and invite others to text them a secret, to which they will respond with one of their own. Those who have participated often describe the experience as freeing. Frank says, "share your secrets and free yourself to be yourself..."

I'm not the type to be too emotionally touchy-feely. I often reference my self-constructed "emotional wall" that prohibits me from expressing any emotion too severely. It's not fun and there are many times where I wish I knew how to get rid of it. In any case, this idea of sharing dark secrets with people who just hear them and accept them and then share their own is slightly refreshing to me.

I have my fair share of secrets. I suppose we all do. I also think we all think we each have the worst secrets ever. I believe the only thing that gives a secret power is silence. Once a secret has been revealed, whatever power it held dissapates. It is no longer a secret, it no longer has an identity. The other thing is that whether revealed or not, the secret stays true. I suppose keeping a secret quiet is one way for us to pretend it isn't true, and I guess that's what really fuels secret keeping. If we don't talk about it, then it's not really true or not really bad.

But I'm pondering Frank's call to reveal secrets so that we can be our true selves. I struggle with this idea that because I have secrets that I don't share, somehow I'm not authentic. I gather that what he probably really means is that when you don't have the burden of holding on to a secret, you can just... relax. My other question is, do you really have to share a secret to free yourself? Is holding on to secrets really the worst thing? Some secrets have to be told -- many of the secrets I read on PostSecret reference childhood losses of innocence. Those types of secrets have to be shared, but don't some secrets actually strengthen bonds? Like the secrets little girls share with each other about boys they like, or even women who share secrets about how much they hate their relationships.

Secrets can serve greater purposes and sometimes, letting the cat out of the bag may do more harm than good. I think only secrets that start to weigh you down and make your heart heavy need to be told. We all need our secrets... it's what makes us worth getting to know.


Dynamics of Relationships

I have always been able to remember that one definition of dynamic is to stretch, or give because of dynamic climbing ropes. Without a whole lot of background extra (that no one cares about) I used to do a fair share of outdoors stuff, including climbing and rappelling. When you're climbing you want to use a rope that will give a little when you hang from it. There's nothing like falling and being caught by a static rope that doesn't give at all. It hurts.

Same with relationships. They've gotta be dynamic, and we have got to allow them to be that way. Nothing hurts worse, ironically, than expecting static and getting dynamic in a relationship. I don't mean to suggest that we should sit back and take whatever we get in any relationship. Rather, I mean that we have to be open to the changes that relationships naturally go through. They have their ups and downs and in betweens. It's never easy to be comfortable in a situation and then have that situation change on you, but, being aware that change happens, and can be healthy, can help you deal with that.

I thought of this topic while I was perusing some OLD blog entries from a friend of mine. 4 years ago, she and I were getting ready to start college (actually, by this time 4 years ago, we were both knee-deep in our first year...). And in one of her blog entries nearer to when we were all heading off our separate ways, she mentioned that it had begun to dawn on her that things were about to massively change. I also recall the last night my best friend (at the time) and I hung out before I headed off to college (she followed a week later). We hugged each other and in a way that only we could, acknowledged that things most likely wouldn't be the same between us.

It's ironic now because she (the BFF) and I remained close and may have gotten closer in our first two years in college. Now, we're both on completely separate paths in life and I think it shows. On some levels, it's been sad to watch our relationship dwindle a little, but I've had to remind myself that it's important to let relationships go their natural ways. I fought to stay in a relationship that wasn't working (because it was changing and I didn't want to accept that). The result was that for 2 of the 5 years, I was miserable. As much as letting the relationship go it's own course would have been, looking back now, I can say that it most likely was far more painful fighting what happened anyway.

Some of my relationships change on a daily basis and I choose not to focus my time and energy in places where it won't matter. But there are those that are static for a few months or years and then either out of necessity or happenstance, begin to change. I'm trying to learn how to stay sane when sometimes it can feel like nothing is as it was. I look around at who I confide in, these days. Who I call my inner circle and it is so drastically different from just a few months ago. There was a time where that would have freaked me out, but a)I know that there are some people who may have to fade into the background for a myriad of reasons, but they will return to the foreground in due time and b)Change is good and learning how to deal with that change can be an invaluable lesson.


Stop! In the name of love

In a previous post, I talked about whether or not you should tell your friend about his/her significant other cheating. I came to the conclusion that the risk you run in doing that is too great, when you know your friend won't hear you out. Essentially I boiled it down to keeping your friendship vs being right.

I hate one of my friend's boyfriends. We'll call her Liz and him Brad. And ok. I don't hate him, but I do hate the relationship. I won't bore you with details of why, but let's just say they are great for each other in ALL the wrong ways.

So I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I tell her how much I don't like him, and that I can already see where their relationship is headed, or do I shut the heck up, since no one asked me and grin and bear it as she puts up with his crap.

This morning, after dealing with yet another situation yesterday, I had decided to keep quiet. But the longer I think about this, the more I don't know. See, I'm not afraid that she won't believe me. In fact, I know she will. What's important to me, though is that she see what I'm talking about for herself. It's not enough for me to tell her -- she'll never learn the lesson life is trying to teach her -- but I don't want her to get hurt cause this guy is a jerk.

The other thing I realized as I talked to another friend about this and sought her ideas and advice is that some of this for me is about being selfish. When he messes up bad enough that she finally says "ok. I can't do this," it'll be me she calls crying. It'll be me left to pick up the pieces and all that jazz. It might be tomorrow (doubtful) next month (doubtful) or next year (most likely) but that day WILL come (unless this dude shapes up QUICK) and I'll be left holding the bag.

How do you stay quiet and patient with your friend standing in the way of a speeding train?


It's Like This; It's Not Like That

Have you ever known someone who sees the world one way and never moves from that view. They want something and they want it this way and so they won't rest until they have it?

Like the girl who's been hanging out with a guy for a while and she wants this to turn into something serious even though he's repeated time and time again "I'm not interested in a relationship..." Or the guy who thinks if he just waits, his hoodrat girl will one day turn out to be Miss America. These people who can't see a situation for exactly what it is.

I had two seperate conversations with two different people about individuals in their lives who essentially represented this. And in both scenarios, my opinion was that the only real option was to back out.

Take the girl who think she can wait long enough for ol' dude to change his mind and get into a real relationship.

I'ma tell you like my grandfather told my mother, and like she told me: "I can show you better than I can tell you..." I say you're LUCKY if you can find someone who will admit they're only in this for whatever temporary gratification they can get out of it. Most times people say what they think they have to in order for you to agree to it. If you're telling someone the honest truth, whatever that is, then you have to keep it pushing. Otherwise, you'll wake up one day in a pit of drama you don't need and were trying to avoid.

People who can't see the forest for the trees on the regular have their own issues that they need to work out. You can explain it to 'em in every way you know, but one thing is true: "People hear the truth when they're ready for it, and only when they're ready for it..."


Brain vs Heart: Two sides of the same coin

Thoughts of a Southern Gal over at "One Good Reason for Doing the Right Thing Today, is Tomorrow." just put up a post asking how to deal with matters of the heart.

Our mind and our heart... what we want vs. what we need. An age old issue, especially in the realm of life and love. That internal struggle, I think, is a universal one and definitely the hardest. How do we balance our emotions with being realistic and practical.

You love someone and you know they're bad for you in every way. How do you deal with that?

One thing's for sure, no one way is any more correct than another. I finally learned what was good for me. In a past post, I said
And I do miss the good times, but having been through so many bad times, I realize this was inevitable and I'm proud of myself for finally saying enough is enough. I'm okay with missing it. I'm okay with wishing I had it back.
I came to a point in my situation where I decided I had to accept what was happening. I also had to accept that I had done all I could do and that if I tried to do anything else I was putting my own emotional well-being at an even greater risk. In short, I realized I needed to do what was best for me. But in doing what was best for me, I had to muddle around in my feelings and I also realized that ignoring being upset, being sad, missing him and the good times, hating the situation, etc... wasn't working. Not only was it an immature way to deal with those feelings but it was completely stopping me from moving on.

A guy I know, raps in one of his songs, "looking back on the past will keep me at a stand still and that's exactly why the rearview is smaller than the windshield." A very on-point thought, but I can't help but ponder that when you're driving, there's a point where things aren't in your windshield's view, nor in your rearview mirror. They're right beside you. It's the present. It's the here and now. And unless you deal with today, today, you'll be dealing with it in your windshield forever.

But once you've accepted it. Accepted that it happened, accepted how you feel about that and moved on -- then let it be in the rearview mirror. Let it be the past. We learn from the past and it's good to review sometimes, but you can't dwell on what you can't change and we all know that the past is absolutely something we can't change.

One more thing...

I firmly believe that we go through things for a reason and I also believe that life tests us before it teaches the lesson. So if you don't learn your lesson the first time, you'll keep finding yourself in the same situations over and over. So deal with the present today so that you don't have to dwell on the past, tomorrow.



I've been talking to a lot of people about risk.

Risk is absolutely scary. That's just an inherent part to it. You don't know the outcome, can't know the end result... risk is scary.

But we've all heard the adage: "The greatest risk yields the greatest result..." the trick is risking things responsibly. Take the stock market. Go all in on any one stock and you could reap greatly or lose greatly and so smart players put a little here and a little there to try to even out the risk and make it manageable.

But the funny thing about life is that it's not in the business of risk management. And so, when various friends have been faced with a big decision. A big risk, I've encouraged them all to take it.

Ranging from quitting school, to quitting a (well-paying) job. I've encouraged it. I've always said "I know it's easy for me to tell you to quit, because I don't have to deal with the end result, but I believe what I'm saying."

Life is too short to be unhappy doing something you hate doing, or are unsure about because it's what you're "supposed" to do. Why waste time you could be using to be your best and "life your best life" (as Oprah would say)?

No. It's not easy to take a risk. Especially not a risk that could backfire on you faster than an old Chevy. But if it can yield some great results, if it can put you closer to your ideal life, if it can enhance who you are in any way, then isn't it worth it?



...just a thought that ran across my mind...

I think, without a doubt, that one of the best things you can do for another person is be encouraging whenever possible. Even when they don't want to hear it, be encouraging. In fact, it's when a person doesn't want to hear it that they need it the most.



I have got to get this off my chest or I'm going to have a problem.

Here's the backstory:

About 2-3 wks ago I had a little issue with my living situation. Actually, I was put out. But it really was ok, I had somewhere to go and a long-term plan, so everything was fine. BUT, I had been through a whole lot so I was still a little down about how everything had played out with the lady who put me out. To top everything off, my infamous ex called me. His message said something like "I just wanted to call and catch up with you, since we haven't talked in a while."

Now let me add this: the reason we haven't talked in a while (and I've outlined this before) is because his boyfriend (yes, his boyfriend) didn't want him talking to me and I refused to talk to him if he had to sneak around to do it. Now, of course, it should be said that my ex is the KING of acting like things are ok when they're not, avoiding the white elephant in the room and flat out lying about things to make situations easier for him. SO, while all of that is true, he wanted to act like we hadn't talked because we'd both just been busy. Whatever. I can support that delusion. It's not that serious.

I'm not stupid. I'm not stupid, and I know him. I'm not stupid, I know him and I'm a student of people. He called me on a Friday night. We haven't spoken on a Friday night since we were together. Why? Because we both now have lives that are completely independent and irrespective of each other, not to mention that most people in relationships spend Friday nights with that special someone... so if he was calling me on a Friday night that HAD to mean him and his boyfriend were having some problems so that ol' boy wasn't around, which made me skeptical to call back... cause your ex calling when they have problems with the new relationship is NEVER good.

But curiousity killed the cat, and so the next day I did break down and call him back. And, just as I had suspected he and his boyfriend were having major issues and it seemed a break-up was coming. I didn't offer any opinions, though based on what he told me was going on, I was shocked that he had put up with it for so long. The guy I knew never would've stood for that, but, it did serve as a great reminder that the two of us have grown up a lot since "then."

I digress...

I told him about my situation, we talked about his and then 15-20 mins later the conversation was over, and of course he offered to call me back and of course (which is why I agreed) he didn't. A week after the fact, he sent me a text asking if everything in my world had gotten better. I figured that since he didn't call me back him and the b/f had gotten back together so I told thim that my world had gotten much better just as I was sure his had as well and he responded in agreeance.

Then, two nights ago, he called me and left a message saying that he was calling to check up on me since the last time we talked I "didn't sound so good..."

Umm... WHAT?

I automatically know that a)this is bullshit and b)he really just wants to talk to me, which is fine, but please, don't talk to me like I'm stupid.

I call him back, but we don't talk.

Then last night he calls me again. He can't talk, again, but he just wants to know if I'm ok.

Back in the day, my ex prided himself on being able to tell when something was bothering me but I wasn't being honest about it, and most times he was right on the money. But like I said -- we've changed. And I've been happier in the last 12 months than I have in the last 24 - 36.... so for him to fall right back into that "place" with me... saying "are you really?" in response to my "I'm ok..." pissed me off.

How dare he, I thought, call me a year later acting like he really gives a shit about me and my life.

Bottom line, it upsets me that STILL he's acting like nothing between us has changed when EVERYTHING has changed. I don't trust him, don't really like talking to him for too long, don't really care too much about his personal life... and aside from all that, I'm just no longer the person he used to know and instead of coming at me, trying to get to know me again, he's coming at me like I've been waiting for him to come back. As if when he broke my heart, I pushed pause...

Dude, quit joking.

Whether this is about a romance or not... him in my life would be a MAJOR step, and I've thought long and hard about how I would handle this time if it ever came (and, it may not yet be here) and I decided that if he tried to come back in a way that acknowledged that this means starting over, I could be receptive... but I see he's going to need one of my infamous "too frank for public consumption" talks. One where I say "Look. I don't know you, you don't know me and there is no way I'm going any further than where we are right now until you acknowledge that..."
I haven't said that yet because I keep hoping that either he'll go away again or he'll realize it on his own, but I'm remembering, now, one of the many reasons our relationship had to end. He took my loyalty for granted, and even now -- even when he knows that he's hurt me over and over and lied again and again, he still thinks the same ol' A.Smith will be right here waiting...

That chick had to take a nap for a little while, so she ain't available, right now...


The Single Life

I had dinner a few nights ago with an old roommate. We both just recently graduated and moved to the same area. We hadn't connected, really, since we lived together about 3 years ago, though we did have class together in our last semester. I noticed when we did talk in class that she had changed. I attributed it to her breaking up with her loser-boyfriend and joining a popular dance group on campus whose members were notorious partiers. Nothing bad, really, but all the girls really liked to have a good time. This was in complete stark contrast to the girl I had known before, but she seemed to be happy, so I never really commented. Not to mention, it's not my place to comment on something like that to someone who isn't a close friend, in my opinion.

At dinner, she told me about her new boyfriend. I had been told she was in a new relationship, and the guy came as a shock to me. But she went on and on about how happy she was after the clusterfuck that had been her last relationship. And then she said it. Five words that made me miss a breath.
I could never be single
Just like that. And she kept right on talking like what she had just said was anything short of ridiculous.

I make it a point not to show surprise at what people tell me. I think it's important that when people tell you something shocking like "I'm pregnant" or "I'm engaged" or "I'm gay" or even "I could never be single" you respect the courage it took to say that, and not embarrass them with "shock." I'm sure a few people go for shock value, but I'm the wrong one for that. So, I never commented on what she said. In fact, I was far more intrigued with the idea that she even said that. I had to listen to her rationale.

She never gave one. The best I can surmise is that the roughly 12 month period where she was single was so hard for her that she could never go back to it.


Then last night I had a conversation with another friend who has been on a quest for a boyfriend since about 2006. In her opinion, the last relationship she was really in, ended in 2004 when her then boyfriend was caught cheating, but I'd argue that she's been in at least 3 relationships since then. None of them worth much, but they were relationships all the same. Anyway, her M.O. is the same. In her moments of desparation, she meets guys and immediately sets her sights. Case and point:

My BFF, as I've mentioned before, is male. I brought him home with me one weekend to show him my hometown and introduce him to a few friends. This friend met him and instantly set her eyes on him. The next day she called to tell me she thought she had a crush on him. I had to try not to laugh. It's easy to see, just in spending a few moments with each of them, that neither of them would make a good partner for the other. He's sarcastic, rough around the edges and he's got a mean streak, in contrast, she's very sensitive and not witty or sarcastic at all. Eventually she came to realize that her crush on him was false and that it had come from desparation, but this is the cycle with her.

Most recently, she set her sights on an Asian chef at her favorite sushi bar. Last night was, as is always the eventual case in this cycle, when she let me know she realized she'd done it again. While she most likely was legitimately attracted to this guy, she also pushed really hard and basically had the door slam back in her face... and that led her to this question:

"What do I have to do to get noticed?" She went on to say that it seemed like all of the nice people she knew weren't in relationships, while all the "b*tches" were... "Why do the guys always go after them?" she asked. I could hear the frustration in her voice. The fear that she'd be single "forever," the concern that her weight played a larger role in her inability to find that "someone."

Having just recently, myself, figured out that I'm still not ready, nor at this point, interested, in a new relationship, I felt bad for her. Just like I felt bad for the other friend.

Being single isn't easy at all when you hate it. Just like being in a relationship isn't easy when you hate it. I don't think any situation proves the "grass is always greener..." cliche than this. At anytime I think about how things might be better if I were in a relationship, I don't have to look far to find a relationship in peril. I'm not saying either side of the fence is better than the other, but I think it is important to be content with where you are.

They always say it comes when you quit looking, which I guess is hard to do when you don't want to be where you are. But when you quit looking, you have time for yourself and to focus on you and I think there's something about a person who is focused on being the best "them" they can be, that becomes attractive to almost anyone they cross paths with (whether platonic or romantic). I reminded my friend of this ideal, though I know that in her mindframe -- questioning herself and her own qualities -- my comments didn't do much to support her.

I think the hardest thing to do is learn to be comfortable where you are and with what you have. People, it seems, are always driven to want more and bigger, no matter what they currently have, and that's not good for the soul....



I haven't been happy for a while. I've had moments of happiness, but I haven't been happy in the last few months. It's pretty much all because of my living situation. In short, because I'm not going to give this hellish situation any more due than it deserves, I moved in with an older woman who was a sister of a friend of my mom's. This was always going to be a temporary situation, but she led me to believe I could stay as long as I needed to. Anyway, her controlling ways and general neurotic-tendencies have pushed me over the edge. I sat on that edge for about three months, but a couple of nights ago she pushed me right on over and all my plans to be financially stable before I moved out when right out the window with my last straw of patience and I immediately set forth to find a place to live. Prayerfully the place I'm going to check out this weekend will be somewhere I feel comfortable and I can move in in the next couple of weeks.

I was in a situation that, for the most part, made me unhappy about three years ago. I didn't realize how miserable I was until I was no longer miserable. Here I am, again, realizing just how stressed, unhappy and sad I've been for the past three months. Here I am, starting a brand new chapter in my life, when I should be living it up and being the young adult that I am in a big city... and I spend most of my time hiding, plotting to be away, or generally depressed.

All this unhappiness has made me realize even more how important being truly and honestly HAPPY is. To be content with your life is rare in this day and age. Our society puts material wealth over everything else and to attain that wealth, many people just have to sacrifice happiness. Those who don't, tend to make it onto talk shows and into magazines for their "extraordinary way of living.." Couples who choose to give up an income so that someone can stay home with the children are celebrated. Not that they shouldn't be, but they are celebrated because it is such a rare choice.

I think I read somewhere that you should write down the things that make you happy and do one of those every day. I think you should write down the things that can make you happy for a lifetime. Happiness can be so elusive so whenever you do find it, hold on to it as if your life depended on it... in many ways, it does.


Too Much Loyalty?

Soo... this post over at Pass No Judgment (shouts out to D.Riz) got me thinking about loyalty.

I just want to put this out there: I'm a loyal person. I've discussed this at length already, but... yeah.. I just am. That's it. But I do draw the line somewhere -- you don't get unlimited loyalty minutes from me.

The point of the post over at PNJ is basically: no matter what, support those close to you. If your friend is in a situation and needs support, do that. Chastise them later, in private, if they were wrong, but put up a face of support and loyalty in public, first. And I agree with that. Wholeheartedly. I have supported, explained away, and even encouraged some DUMB things my friends have done, but because that's what they wanted to do, or because they were in a sticky situation, I did it. I had a friend in high school who was just crazy. I mean, looking back on it, she was crazy on a level our young high school minds weren't ready to understand. And the things she did took real manipulation, time and effort. But I backed her up to the outsiders. I would co-sign on stupid stuff all the time because that's how I am. Behind the scenes, though, I was giving her the "what for" but to the public, what she said, was what I said... and that can get you into a little trouble.

Where I drew the line then and draw the line now is at how I feel about a person. I'm more than happy to avoid discussing a person you may have issues with or may not like, with you, but I'm not going to end our relationship SIMPLY because you don't like them. Now, if they wrong you in a way that makes me feel like I need to take some action, I will -- but just a "I don't like that chick..." isn't gonna cut it and sometimes I feel like that's the type of loyalty points people want to have. Sorry. Not gonna do it. I can respect your opinions, but your opinions, are not my opinions, period. I also don't think it makes me a bad friend because all of your enemies aren't mine. Like I said, major infractions are different (she stole your man, is different from she called you out on some mess in public. The former will get you harmed, the latter might get a laugh out of me if it was funny enough)...

I make my own decisions about who I like and dislike. Sometimes I can explain it, sometimes I can't. I don't expect anyone to dislike anyone else simply because of me. That would be ridiculous.


When the Past Comes Back to Haunt You

Ok. The picture might be extra, but... sometimes you gotta exaggerate to make a point, no?

I was trying to switch this blog from being all about my sad, dark and depressed feelings about what's going on in my life to a place to talk about the awkward turtle moments/situations we all find ourselves in because we're human and we like human interaction. However, I suppose that sometimes, it's best to go back to your roots, right?

My ex called me last night. My phone is retarded, so he was sent straight to voicemail (although, perhaps my phone was really looking out for my best interest) and I innocently checked it. As soon as I heard his voice, I got sick to my stomach and really thought I might throw up, I exaggerate, not. There was absolutely a point where the sound of his voice was beautiful. These days, it makes me sick.

The sad part is, when he does call, he does seem to be genuinely interested in talking to me. Which I hadn't felt to be true about him during the last parts of our "relationship." But as I told someone else: in order for him to be a part of my life, I have to be a part of his life and I just am not interested in that.

Here's where I'm honest:
I don't want to be a part of his life because he's in a new relationship. I hate talking to him about his boyfriend (yes, his boyfriend...) because I feel like it's always a reminder that my worst fear came true (no, not that my boyfriend would leave me for another guy... that thought never crossed my mind). I had a fear that I would go through all the growing pains and bullshit with him that I did, only for him to go off and be a great person in someone else's life. I shared that with him once and he promised me it wouldn't happen like that. It did. I can hear it in his voice. His relationship now is exactly what I always hoped ours would be and it wasn't and to know that I gave 1000% just to have what he has and got nothing in return pisses me off.

I tried to be that person. I tried to pretend like it didn't bother me, but it did. I even pseudo-jokingly mentioned it to him and he tried to make me feel better by saying that this new guy would never understand him like I do because I saw him at his worst and was there with him through it. (I'll tell ya, my ex is a charmer). Unfortunately, I'm too well-versed in his bullshit and that comment only served to REMIND me of the bs I put up with, which pissed me off even more.

The straw, though, was when he basically told me he was sneaking around to talk to me. He was purposefully only talking to me in the early part of the day on his days off or during his breaks because he didn't want his boyfriend to know he was still talking to me. "Well, if he (his boyfriend) was talking to one of his exes like I talk to you, I'd be jealous, too." he said. I was hurt, PISSED and disappointed. Here I am, pretending like it doesn't kill me to talk to you about your new and functioning relationship and you're hiding from your boyfriend?? Dude. Please.

So I decided I didn't need to talk to him anymore. I didn't need to make myself uncomfortable for the sake of our "long-standing" history. I thought about whether or not to let him know my decision and also decided he didn't deserve to know and the ensuing argument/discussion wouldn't be worth it. I also wanted to see how long it would take him to call me.

He did call me after he knew I re-located to find out how my new job/life was going. The 5 minute conversation we had was PAINFUL. It was like I was frozen. I couldn't really contribute purposefully to the conversation, because I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and eventually it did. He mentioned something about him and his boyfriend and that was all it took for me to break, emotionally. I decided then and there that I was not going to call him or make any attempts to keep up as hard as I knew that would be. I needed to move on and be done and at the time I thought to myself "perhaps this is something I can come back to, but right now, I need to not..."

And I was successful. Unlike previous times, his call was not prompted by a text from me, it was of his own accord. And I'm sure that if he called me yesterday, he'd been thinking about doing it for the past couple of days. Which is fine. I don't think he has dealt with us being over the way he should have. I suffered through it (not that my suffering means I did anything spectacular) while he jumped right into another relationship. In my opinion all he's doing is postponing the inevitable because one day he'll have to deal with the loss -- some loss.

I do want to be honest/clear something up here:
The time period between when we were together and now has allowed me to understand a lot about myself and him and what happened between us (this relationship definitely proved to be one of those "can't see the forest for the trees" types of things) and in those realizations I came to understand that while I might miss what we had, I don't really miss HIM. Because to be honest, I no longer know him and the more we speak, the more I see we've both changed so much since we were once together. That's not to say that we've become two people who are incompatible, but rather I can't honestly say I miss a person I don't know. So when we talk and I'm reminded that we don't have what we once had (as messed up as it may have been) it's like opening a sore that hasn't had time to fully heal yet.

So, am I going to call him back? Probably... but hopefully I'll be able to genuinely have a conversation (even if it's only 3 minutes that I can make it through) with him... we'll see...


Being the Smartest? Friend You Can Be

Most of my blogs, as anyone who has read a few of them will see, come from things going on in my life. So I use this space as an area to ask the tough questions and maybe someone out there who reads it will have a different way of looking at it and share that with me (hey, that sounds like a better "about this blog" than my current one...) On to the post!

Recent (VERY RECENT) events got me thinking about the TYPE of friend I am. I've already delved into the "What About Your Friends" thing. What kind of friends we pick, what it means to lose a friend, all that... but what happened to me had me contemplating the SORT of friend I am. How do I, A.Smith go about being the type of friend that I choose to be.

Without too much detail on what happened (cause, really, it's not important) I had a moment (make that many moments) where I felt played, emotionally. I don't think this fact about me comes through via my blog, but I go hard. I go hard for people I love. So in these moments where I was basically questioning everything I believe to be true about friendship, I came to some brief conclusions:

1) I am the best person I know at being a good friend.

2) I have good friends, but none of them are as good a friend to me, as I am to them... they've all had their shining moments, but none of them are thorough like me.

3) I'm consistent. I "come through" all the time. Call me, need me and no matter what, I got you.
I've always been told and I really believe(d) that you get the type of friends that you are. It's why, over the years, I've grown to be what I think is an awesome friend. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not 100%... I speak before I think, I'm impulsive, I act now and ask questions later and those things (plus a host of other things) have led me to some of my worst moments as a friend. So I've definitely messed up in the past and envision messing up in the future, but when you take the fact that I'm CONSISTENT into account... I'm just a damn good friend.

So having an event in life make me re-think not only my view on friendships, but also my role as a friend was sort of an existential crisis. I don't know how to not "go hard" for my friends. It's how I show I care... so is it my responsibility to dial it back because it turns out that a)You don't always get the type of friends that you are and b)Our society clearly doesn't value friendship like I do? Or, do I just keep doing what I know how to do and hope that a)Eventually I find a friend like me and b)My friends start to appreciate me?

...Cause that's my other problem. My friends totally take me for granted. If ever they need me and I don't show, it's like hell opened up and the world is ending. I never hear the end of it. I'm made to feel guilty. But I don't do that to them when they, inevitably, aren't there when I need them. I've become the "go-to" person for almost everyone in my life and to have no go-to person of my own is STRESSFUL.

I've been told I do it to myself and this is possible, even probable, but I just don't know any other way. I don't know how to not be consistent. Being there for the people I care about is important to me and is, in some twisted way (that I should probably get worked out by a psychologist or something) the way I validate my place in this world. Unfortunately, giving of yourself and having no one to give back to you is hard. I have reached, in the past, my emotional "bottom" and it's an ugly, ugly place. I don't like how I feel in that place so I don't want to go back.

I have to figure out how to reconcile being a good friend with killing myself (cause, essentially, that's what I'm doing when I let my friends do as they please without concern for me). don't get me wrong, my friends aren't bad people. In fact, most of them are good (yeah, I said most) people but they just don't return to me all that I give. Is that my fault? Partially. People only do what they have to, and I've never demanded more, but I feel like I shouldn't have to. None of my friends ever had to sit me down and request that when they need me to sit up on the phone with them late into the night, or comfort them when they feel poorly or any of the other host of things I do for them and that's the way it should be. I do these things for them because I love them. Genuinely. So when do I get this back? Never? And if so, does that mean I need to stop?

My rambling is only indicative of how fresh this is for me and how I'm really no closer to answering any of this than I was a week ago before those "incidents."

The other thing (I just realized) that all this swirling around in my head has also made me realize is that I'm skeptical of a few people in my life that are supposed to be my good and close friends. I'm almost waiting for the other shoe to drop... I'm waiting on them to screw me over and leave me hanging and I don't want to be that way because I genuinely like seeing the good in people... but my history has me here... and I gotta get away from that, too...

More than likely, there'll be way more thoughts on this, soon.


Answering My Own Questions (or, Blurry Lines and Confusing Space II)

If you haven't read my post on "when's a friend more than a friend?" you should, so that this one can make sense: Blurry Lines and Confusing Space

So in said blog I posed a question: Is the only difference between the relationship one has with a best friend and the relationship one has with a significant other, sex?

Thanks to some new adventures (read: people) in my life, I've been pondering that question. For me, it takes on an interesting twist because my best friend is a male. A heterosexual male. And as I go on in life, I'm finding that heterosexual female - heterosexual male "friendships" just don't happen. I'm becoming more and more concerned with my own friendship because he really is an awesome presence in my life and to think that something could come through and mess that up scares me. SO, that along with another major issue got me to wondering... and I posed the question here as well as talked to a few friends.

This morning, however, as I was getting ready for work, it hit me... the answer to my question is no. But allow me to briefly show you the journey that brought me to that conclusion (of course names are changed to protect the "innocent," lol)

I have a friend, Cindy. Cindy has, in the past, had romantic relationships with women and for the most part considered herself bi-sexual. In a conversation Cindy and I were having about men, she said something along the lines of, "There's nothing about what I do that's any different from what most women do. Most women have their girlfriends. The ones they call up and b*tch and moan to about how their boyfriends are messing up. The ones they go out with. The ones they trust. I just take it a step further."

Cindy never defined what "a step further" meant. But I would think that's because it's pretty obvious. Sex. Her argument is that the only thing different between what she's doing and what women across the globe do is that with her girlfriends, she engages in sex. And that's how I felt... or at least that's what I thought...

Cindy and I actually speak a lot. In fact, we talk everyday and she is, quite often, the last person I talk to before I go to sleep. What are we talking about? Everything. We just met, so there's a lot to talk about. Does this sound familiar? Like maybe the process one goes through when they meet a potential significant other. These days people call it "talking." Of course this might bring you to think... wait... is Cindy trying to get with me? No. Cindy actually recently decided that women aren't for her, not romantically. So I know she's straight. I know I'm straight... so what is this?

This morning, it occurred to me (as I sleepily searched for something to wear) that the last time I was up late on the phone like this, on a consistent basis, was when I was in a relationship (that ended, not so fun) about a year and a half ago. But there was a giddy feeling I had (well, during the conversations where we didn't fight) that I absolutely don't have when I talk to Cindy. Talking to her is like talking to an old friend, which is interesting since we're new friends, but there's not giddy-ness, no butterflies in my stomach, no unexplained smile on my face... none of that... because there IS more to what differentiates a romantic relationship from a platonic friendship. There definitely is. The problem is that we struggle to articulate it. I mean, sure I just tried to with "giddy-ness" and "butterflies..." but if you've ever been there, you know my words are close but not complete.

So the difference between a romantic relationship and a dating relationship is sex, and a whole lot of other stuff that people just have a hard time articulating. It feels good to be done mulling over that.


To Tell or not to Tell. This is the question.

A post by One Man's Opinion got me to thinking....

Allow me to set up the scenario (a completely made-up scenario):
Jennifer and Alice have been friends for about three years. They consider themselves to be very close, if not best, friends. Alice starts dating a nice guy named Kevin. Kevin and Jennifer get along fine until Jennifer starts to feel like Kevin is hitting on her. It's never anything overt, just subtle things, like the way he looks at her sometimes, or passing remarks he may make about what she's wearing. There's nothing concrete to it, it's just a weird feeling she gets. Jennifer doesn't feel like she should say anything to Alice because she can't prove that he's hitting on her and so she dismisses it as her being too sensitive. Not to mention, Alice had been with them on a few of these occasions and Jennifer felt that if Alice didn't see anything wrong, there just must not have been any problems.

About two months after Jennifer first started feeling like Kevin was hitting on her, she noticed he had almost stopped speaking to her altogether. This wasn't too terribly big of a deal since she did not spend very much time with him and Alice anymore. Then one day, Jennifer was out at a restaurant with a few co-workers when she spotted a guy who looked like Kevin, through the window. She dismissed him at first noting his arm linked with another girl who was clearly not Alice. The couple were very much into each other; however, as the couple walked closer and closer, Jennifer could tell that it was indeed Kevin. Kevin noticed Jennifer as he got closer to the window and quickly turned on his heels, mystery girl in tow.

So the question is: should Jennifer tell Alice what she saw, or not? Clearly, Kevin will deny that it was him and none of the other people with Jennifer that day knew Kevin. So it would be Jennifer's word against his. Clearly Kevin is a flirt and has flirted with Jennifer and apparently is now cheating on Alice. So what's a friend to do?

I personally always play the cost/benefit analysis game in situations like this. Really, I make it simple and ask one, two-part question: "What is the worst case scenario and can I deal with that if it happens?" If the answer to the latter portion is "yes" then go for it. If it is "no" then you gotta find a new route.

I'd say worst case scenario here is that Alice doesn't believe Jennifer and subsequently ends their friendship. If Jennifer can deal with that, then I say she go for it. Otherwise, she might want to search for a more subtle route.

Notice I didn't mention, in the worst case scenario, anything about Alice getting hurt. What you must realize is that cheaters always get busted. Always. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but when you cheat, you get found out. Whether or not there are immediate consequences and repercussions are up for debate, but they always get busted. So to be primarily concerned with hurting your friend (though no one wants to hurt a friend) is to be, in this case, concerned with the inevitable.

What would I do if I were Jennifer? Probably not tell. The worst case scenario is a large price to pay to bust a dude that's probably gonna get busted anyway. Is it wrong of me to withhold that information? Maybe, but I feel like it's the better of two evils. I can just be the good friend when she finally realizes what she most likely suspects anyway (cause girls always know) and be the shoulder for her to cry on. That, I can do with no qualms.


The Last time was the Last Time

Day 26 has a new video out for their song Since You've Been Gone. (Diddy can go ahead and forward me a check since I totally just big-upped Day 26... website, youtube video and lyrics respectively).

I'm not a fan of the new song, personally, but I did listen to it (while watching the video) and one line in particular caught my ear:

I know that last time
You said it was the last time
But baby all I need
Is one more last time
How... well... bold? If I told you that this time was the last time then what makes you think you can ask for another chance? Oh... I know... probably because the time before I said this was the last time.

I think everybody knows that when you're dealing with kids, it's important to keep that old hood adage "word iz bond" in the back of your mind. In other words, if you tell a child that the next time they do "x" they will be punished, whenever they do "x" (and they will, 'cause kids like to push the boundaries and test the limits) then you must punish them. Otherwise, they come to understand that they don't have to always do what you tell them to. Likewise, if you take a person back after they have wronged you in a relationship and you say "this is the last time" and then they "eff" up again (as they will probably do) and it's not the end of the relationship... well, they then come to understand that as long as they're really sorry, it's all good.

Been there. Done that. If you say it's the last time, let it be the last time. For real. And I KNOW that's easier said than done, but as I look back if I had only stuck by my word maybe things would be different...

From a personal place, I know that it was a lot of times easier to just believe him when he said that he was going to try harder. And I think I can now look back on it and really believe that he meant it when he said it, but it's hard to do right when all you've ever done is wrong. That requires a lot of selflessness, which he didn't possess, and a lot of self-motivation and drive which he also didn't have. In any case, he meant it when he said it but he never followed through and I also think that at a certain point, it was just easier to do what he wanted, let me be mad and call him everything but a son of God, apologize and wait for (the inevitable) me to take him back.

But how can a relationship grow when it's stuck in a rut like that. That's all that is... a rut. And when you tell your significant other that you'll give them another chance but it'll be their last chance, the only way to get out of that rut is to stick by your guns. Everytime you let them back, it makes it easier for them to decide to do wrong and for you to decide to do it again.

I'm all about happy relationships. I've even supported a few relationships (my own included) because in that present time, the two people involved were happy, even when I knew it just wasn't a good fit. I'm all about the happiness. However, what good is happiness is only fleeting and is oftentimes replaced with something so ugly it makes you wonder if the happiness was even worth it?

Ok, all that babble is to say: The last time should always truly be the last time, no matter what type of asshole or b*tch you think that makes you look like, it's important to stick by your word. And I bet that if that person is really truly ready to change and do right, they'll do that without you and if they are really truly ready for a committed relationship, they'll come back at which point you can make a new decision...