Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Letter to an Unknown Love

I've kind of been waiting on you my whole life, but I'm probably not going to tell you that. Instead I'm going to show you, in very minute, subtle but big ways. I'm going to hold your hand a lot, but not enough to crowd you, and I'm going to look at you sometimes with curious eyes, wondering what I did to deserve someone who fits me like you do.

I spent so much time wondering about where you are, and what I was doing wrong to make it so that you wouldn't see me, or notice me. I was always so down and hard on myself not realizing that if I didn't think I was important, nobody would think I was. I'd been treating potential dates up until you like I had to win them over, I had to make them like me, not realizing that it was me who was holding all the cards, that I was the prize.

I'm not sure how I'll meet you; maybe out at a bookstore or a video game expo. Maybe at a poetry meeting or simply by bumping into each other. I'm not sure if I'll impress you immediately, or if I'll be that slow burn that eases into your life and warms you from the inside out. I do know that if it's you that I've been waiting on, I'll definitely know it. And maybe deny it.

You see, I'm afraid of myself. Afraid of letting myself go and afraid of the power with which my heart and soul rule my life. I know if you somehow find a home in either of those places then I'll fear you too, or rather who I'll be because of you. I lost myself once in a guy and it took me so long to trust myself after him that I found myself chasing unattainable and ultimately uninterested (and uninteresting) men and I never want to go back. There's no GPS to the soul, and I'd hate to have to build myself all over from ashes into a woman.

I don't know you, but I know you'll be kind. I need kindness in my life because more often than not I'm unkind to myself and rarely believe in my own good. I know you'll be intelligent, cause Lord knows I don't find i'g'nant men attractive. I know you'll have depth to you, some of which you'll let me swim in, the rest which you'll hold for yourself and God.

I have to warn you, I'll be insecure. I'll be worried. I won't see me the way you do, and won't think I'm as ______ as you think I am. I'll worry about other girls and what they say to you and what you feel about what they say. It'll drive you, I know, but just find patience with me; I've never had someone like you before who wanted all of me, not just the fleshy, sensual parts, and my base mind will always take it there with you and other women. It's me, and before you get to me, I'm already working on it so try and just walk with me there.

I worry about finding you. I think about how my life would be different, but at the same time I know to find you, I've got to find me first. And as I'm slowly clearing away the trees that are keeping me from seeing the forest, I know somewhere along the path you'll be waiting. And this time, I think I'll be ready.


I'm learning to live for me. It's exhilarating. Terrifying. And about damn time.

I have been in this funk, this sinking into my own life and mind, for a few weeks. It happened suddenly; my best friend got a new man, my father moved countries and I moved up stations at my job and then depression sank in. I couldn't find happiness any where. I couldn't find peace or stability anywhere. I was lost in my own life and couldn't find a way out.

So I withdrew into myself, deeper and deeper. Thought through, felt through my maze of misunderstanding. I kept feeling misunderstood by others, by God, by myself, and it was time that I took a moment to clear it all out.

I was jealous of W; she finds love and relationships like preteen girls find a Claire's at a mall - easily. I was jealous of my Soul Brotha, as I feel he's got this drive, this inner passion in life that he just knows he's meant for, and I don't have that. I was envious of people with better jobs, people with fitter, firmer bodies. I was not happy with myself.

I broke down all those things: why am I jealous of this and that, when I have me? I have me, and I'm amazing. I'm smart. I'm funny. I'm honest and open. I'm willing to admit I'm wrong, not braggadocios when I'm right. I'm curvy and soft. I'm whimsical and cool. I'm me. Why was I trying to live my life like them? Because they were my constants, my things outside of myself that I judged my life on.

Talking with W, she tossed out casually that her man had asked her to move to Florida and my whole plan shifted; everything I thought I was going to do, we were going to do, was just shot to hell. She didn't say she was going, she said she was considering it, and to think or feel that she would give this new person as much consideration as she would me, tilted my axis and brought it all in to focus: I can't live on other people being my constants, I have to be my own. Why wasn't I my own constant to begin with?

I think I was afraid; that the implications of being my own constant meant I'd be alone and it's not that at all. Being my own constant means being secure in what I can do, but understanding my limitations and working with them. Being my own constant means being independent from other people's perceptions, rules and lives; it means I get to make and mold myself further into who I'm mean to be with no pressure. Being my own constant simply means accepting myself, trusting myself, and moving forward with the knowledge that I'm capable.

And it's about damn time.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If There Was a Timer...

If there was a timer that told you exactly when you would meet your soul mate, would you get it?

That's the question posed by the sci-fi romantic drama "TiMER" that I just finished watching and I've been going back and forth with it in my mind ever since. Would I? Wouldn't I?

The main character Oona, has a timer and it's blank, meaning the one she's meant to be with hasn't gotten his yet. In the meantime she frets, and worries, and stays pretty much to herself except for her family and best friend/step-sister Steph (who's timer says she won't meet her true love until she's in her forties). After her latest potential love interest's timer says he's due to find love in two years (and not with her), Oona finds Mikey, a timerless guy who lives his life by the seat of his pants and Steph meets a timerless guy who she finally opens up to. By the end of the movie though, Steph's man gets a timer and finds he is meant for Oona; Oona and Mikey break up, Steph accepts their union and the two vow to get to know each other.

In the end, Oona got what she wanted; she fell in love with Mikey in the process and got her heart broken but yeah, she found true love...supposedly. After she meets the guy at a track and field, the movie ends ambiguously. Does she or doesn't she? Was it the timer, or was it just fate? If you could, would you want to?

Since watching it I've been going back and forth with the idea. If the spontaneity, the mystery and anticipation of not knowing is taken out of it, would we really know when we'd found love? If the guess work and excitement were taken out of it, would we enjoy finding love with another person?

Instantly I related with Oona, as admittedly I'm concerned with my lack of dating experience and could see her point; was wasting time with men who weren't her soul mate really worth it in the end? Steph personified W in a way, not caring about love or time but still finding a lot of it wherever she went, her love life the antagonist of her sister's even though they were both essentially still looking for the same thing.

When looking for love becomes a job in itself, is finding it as sweet? If you knew when and where and how with who, would the journey be any better?

And that's when it hit me: The point isn't the destination, it's the journey. If I knew when all the exciting and special things were going to happen in my life, it wouldn't be as sweet, and it wouldn't be as fulfilling as it would had I just happened up on it. And that's why I wouldn't want a timer... But I won't kid you, it'd be nice to know that there is someone (or a couple people) out there looking for a girl like me; the cost of the journey vs. the knowledge of the end is a hard decision for someone (like me) who likes to know everything in advance.

Needless to say, I'm buying the movie.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Letter to a Heartbreak

You are the reason I don't think I'm beautiful. Okay, that was melodramatic. You are the reason I refuse to see beauty in myself.

Before you, I was confident. I was secure. I was that small firecracker with the big boom and glow at the end; small in stature, big in impact. I was outgoing, and sweet and never afraid to be myself. I knew that anything I ever did, I could put my full heart into it because I was a great person; nobody would intentionally hurt me.

And then you broke my heart. I knew someone would have to be the first, but I was expecting someone who wasn't you, my friend. I was expecting some thuggin it and lovin it type dude who I'd fall for stupidly to ruin my little engine that could, not you. You, with your clean cut exterior and gentlemanly ways. I suppose it had to be someone like you, as I don't think I'd have fallen for someone else.

I don't want you to think it's all about you, because it really isn't. You were a catalyst. I had to learn, woefully the hard way, that I couldn't trust everyone, but in learning that lesson I thought that I could no longer trust myself. If I could let myself fall in love with you, through all those red, albeit delayed, flags, I wasn't to be trusted because oh, that heartbreak my brotha...

That heartbreak had me behind a gazebo, in the snow, bawling my eyes out before class. That heartbreak had me second guessing every move I made from then on. That heartbreak had me believing, has me believing that something is wrong with me; that maybe if I were prettier, smarter, faster, better I wouldn't have fallen for it, and I wouldn't have gotten hurt. That heartbreak makes it so hard to just talk to dudes I'm interested in without worrying that they'll f*ck me over in the end.

So in a way, you ruined me. But at the same time, I still pity you. You can't find love either; you're so self-sabotaging that even I, with all the love I know I have to give, couldn't break your obvious self-loathing. All I wanted was for you to let yourself go, let yourself feel free enough to fall in love with me, and even though you could see it, you could feel it and hear it in my every word, you still couldn't believe that you deserved any of it. And a retrograde effect of that was me not believing that I was worth your love.

I know better now, I feel better now, but I'm not that confident girl anymore. No, I'm a bit jaded and so gun-shy. I have a fear of bothering the dudes I try to talk to; I fear that if I get on their nerves with all my curiosity, my wanting to know them, they'll pull a you and put a stop to it, or worse yet, run. I have had to learn myself all over again. I've had to start trusting myself from the very beginning. I forgave you almost instantly. It took me almost two years to forgive myself.

I don't hate you. I'm no longer mad at you. I'm no longer mad at myself. I just wish you could've been better about it; wish you could've broken my heart like a man instead of a boy. A man wouldn't have let it get so far and thus I wouldn't be so distrusting of others. A man would've looked me in the eyes, so I wouldn't be so sure that when men talk to me, compliment me, they must be lying. A man would've. You didn't. That's my only regret about loving you.

Is it hard? Terribly. Will it always be? I know it won't.

I know I am beautiful. I know I am smart. I know all men are not like you. I know that somebody is going to love me better than you ever could. So the hard part is over; now all I have to do is convince myself, will myself to believe it.

A Letter to a Friend

I'm sorry.

I rarely ever say that, but feel the need to start off with that. I think the last thing I said to you a few months back when we last talked was to grow up...and then I hung up. That was childish, and wrong. I was frustrated and upset with not only you but with my whole life and just took it out on you. I was supposed to be there for you, like you'd been there for me so many times when I thought the world was against me and where was I? Wrapped up in my own world.

You were frustrated. You felt stagnate. I'd just been to that place and instead of coming at you in empathy, I got annoyed with you. You, who had so much to give in life, so much direction, felt stuck? Why? What for when you had the world in the palm of your hands?

I remember work that day was crazy. I'd gotten in trouble for some minor sh*t, this dude I was digging blew me off, and then here you go...not recognizing your potential and sh*t...

I haven't heard from you since, but I know you're well. I guess this letter is more for me than for you; it's me learning to let not only you go, but that guilt that I carry with me for not being the friend I should've been to you.

It's funny, but with every friend I get now, the males anyway, I search for your characteristics. I want to learn them to see if they walk like you, or talk like you, if they see me the way you do, so clearly and easily despite all the opaque glass I have up around my true self. Nobody's come close. I don't think anyone ever will.

I love you. I miss you. And if I see you one day in the street, I'm kicking your ass on sight for not calling me.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

My First Classic Movie (And What My Succession of Classic Movies Taught Me)

It all started with "My Fair Lady," when Eliza Doolittle walked down the grand staircase in that breath-taking, glittering gown, her hair piled high, her back straight and her eyes clear and determined. The music swelled behind her and the photography, though grainy and dull on the tv screen was still vibrant, the colors nearly palpable. I'd never seen a woman look so regal and so in command of a screen before. It was then that I discovered my love for classic movies.

When talking movies with people I often feel left in the cold. On the one hand you have the movie dictators; these are the people who are the self-described experts on all things film who tell you what to watch, why to watch it and why not watching it makes you less intellectual than they are. You have the "you're not black if you don't watch/you're not a woman if you don't enjoy," movie people who think that because I'm black I must know every "Friday," "Menace II Society" and "Set It Off" reference, or I must feel some kind of way about Bella and Edward in "Twilight," or know the depths of love felt in "The Notebook" and cry during the final scene in "Titanic." No, I don't watch movies because the cast and I share a race, and no, I'm not a romantic/drama movie sort of girl (plus Titanic was overly long. Seriously, it took the ship how long to sink? Not the three hours I had to sit through the movie, I'll tell you that...).

I've come to realize and accept that some people's perception of "classic" and my own will never ever match up. And I'm completely okay with that...we're just not going to be seeing movies together that often.

Over the years, I've been asked what movies I love, which are my favorites. "My Fair Lady," "The Sound of Music," and Lord knows, "Gone With The Wind," are at the very top because those are the ones I saw early on in life, but I still love others like "All About Eve," "Imitation of Life," and "The King and I." It's not just the attention to detail placed in every frame, every line of script and swell of strings, but the depictions of women as capable, smart, witty and different, and the fact that despite all that, some wonderful, albeit flawed man loves them anyway. The idea that these women were different for their times, Eliza Doolittle, the street urchin turned lady, Maria Von Trapp, the mischievous ex-nun turned wife, mother and singer, or Scarlett, an oddly attractive, bratty, abrasive woman who made the South bend to her will, but still were able to find love, in themselves as well as with others, was astounding to me.

As I got older my collection has expanded. I recently watched "Gigi" starring Leslie Caron for the first time and got the same breathless, exciting feeling as the first time I watched "The King and I," or even "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Gigi, a young girl being taught the ways of a courtesan falls in love with a childhood friend a few years her senior and a few social rungs up the ladder. Instead of becoming his mistress however, by speaking her mind and being herself, clumsy, crass and sassy as she was, she became his wife. The message with this one, as with the rest, remains true: being yourself is a beautiful treasure that you should love and appreciate.

I think that's why I have more movies made prior to the 1960s than any other type. Maybe that's why I watch them on days when I feel down. Maybe, these beautiful, timeless movies remind me of those same characteristics in myself that I feel aren't diluted with time and aren't easily or readily acceptable or accessible. Maybe I love them because they remind me to persevere, always as myself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Musing 6

My friends and I like to joke that, as a Virgo, I am sometimes like a robot. Think Beyonce; you know she's human, but with the way she speaks, acts, and works, you're not one hundred percent sure. But the truth remains that no, Tes is not a robot. Tes is, in fact, a person who feels things deeply.

Jason, the cutie with the best hugs, has been AWOL in my life for a few weeks. It hasn't bothered me much; I've been focusing on writing a book of short stories, and trying to get my life together so I hadn't noticed his absence as much as I would've had I had the time. I find that when I have something to do, something to focus on, I don't stress so much about the emotional side of me but more on the financial, tangible parts of my whole life.

But then I ran into him in a hardware store and BAM. Jason's the kind of guy who talks with his words and his eyes. Seriously, I hate using corny, cliched phrases, but the man has hypnotising eyes, and uses them to his advantage so that every word is some variant on sincere and genuine and thus clouds my mind. he wondered why I didn't text or call him. I informed him, indeed, phones work two ways, to which he replied his was broken.

Eh. Broken phone? Really? I mean...okay then.

The thing with Jason is...he doesn't seem the type to genuinely go for chicks like me. I'm cute. I'm smart. I'm funny. Jason is hot. I mean like Mississippi GodDamn hot. And through some perusal of FaceBook I noted that out of his thousand and some odd friends, majority of them were women who either know how to work an angle, know how to work Photoshop or are just that damned gorgeous in waking life. None of them have natural hair. Almost none of them wore glasses (like legit glasses, not the neo-nerd glasses with no lenses). None of those chicks looked like me.

Usually that sentiment makes me feel bad about myself; because I walk to the beat of my own drummer that sets me apart from what's normal and accepted, what's expected. And then looking around one day at my job it hit me; that's probably the reason why, or how, he could be interested in a woman like me. The women I work with, the black women, all have straight hair. Relaxers, wigs, weaves, all of them have straight hair. And my hair is 7 inches tall, thick and unruly and for the most part I leave it that way save for a headband to add some shape. These other women giggled at lame jokes dudes would tell them, resting their newly done, 4 inch nails along the guy's arm while I would be joking with the dude, telling stories, being myself.

Being myself. Being myself. Is that all I've got to do to attract men? Why didn't anybody tell me?!

I felt for awhile that being me, being different was a detriment. I was too tenacious, I was too witty and too quick. I don't kiss men's asses, instead I compliment their intelligence or give them kudos for little things they do that they don't think anyone notices (a dude with nice cologne gets me every time). Being me...rocks. Sure, it may not be getting me laid, dates a relationship, but in the long run it makes me feel better knowing that people see that difference in me, see the sincerity with which I'm trying to live, and appreciate me for it.

Will they appreciate it enough to ask me on a date? Only time will tell...