Being Part Of The Knot-Part 4: “Not The Marrying Type.”

My baby sister, the aunt to my baby dragons, said that the women in our family (read: maternal) are “the marrying type.” When I asked her what that meant, she kinda looked at me. Then, I knew.

Our parents and maternal family wanted all female children to be able to take care of themselves. The worst thing to be called was ‘a weak woman.’ This is a woman that is dependent on other people. On its face, this is dope, right? On this bitter Earth, it is an abuse and a danger to have female children ill equipped to deal with the world around them.

I had a mother and aunts and a father that reinforced that I had to be self-reliant. In the words of my father (I cannot make this up!):

“You need to depend on a man for nothing.”

This is the drumbeat I heard from middle school up through high school and up until I got married for the first time! I learned to be self-reliant to a vicious degree. I learned to always have a backup plan. Never to ask men for money. I learned to ‘always have my own’.

Funny thing about that.

When you say that you want to build your life with someone, you have to trust them. You have to be able to give into the relationship that you are building. With that indoctrination, I was reminded of this one thing:

I didn’t deserve the chance to be in a committed relationship. Why? Women like me, didn’t get that. I couldn’t trust, because that would make me vulnerable.

Vulnerability is a liability.

Now enters Strong Woman Syndrome. Or in my case, Strong Black Woman Syndrome. My heart had to be fortified from disappointment before any could come. I had to be prepared for him that would walk away before he could ever come into view. I had to learn that there would be times where I would be alone because no one could (or would help me).

This quote was baggage. It was an emotional anchor that I took into every relationship, and threw in the face of any man that tried to lob me. It made me suspicious and vigilant. It made me hyper focused on flaws rather than joy. This thought of not being the marrying type had be resigned to a life of being single when I hadn’t fallen in love yet.

I never thought I would get married because I thought I was too much. I was too ambitious. Too loud. Too driven.

But also too scared to admit I didn’t know exactly how to be with someone without having a life hidden in a purse, box or closet. I had to admit that I was far too quick to expect a blow, than a touch. I freely admit, I was ready to fight and flee than ‘work something out.’

I was taught to be strong. To be resourceful. To be vocal and fortify my heart. Even when I was in a relationship, the man I was with had to beat in walls to get to the real me. But, I wouldn’t let him in. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t because I didn’t know how. I wasn’t taught that part.

Here on the cusp of 40, I have time now to reflect. To be mad. To take ownership. To admit what I learned equipped me, but didn’t prepare me. I have to love me, totally, so I could give love to someone else. I had to break my own walls and realize the lie was there, put there by hurt people. Whose only crime was that they didn’t want me to be hurt.

I don’t have to be a wife to every man I meet, but I have to be ready for the right one. And now, I am. And I have him, and he still thinks the sun rises when my eyes open. I am worthy of that kind of love. So are you.

Being Part Of The Knot-Part 3: Being Chose

I am a fan of jewelry.

I always have been. I think that the first time I saw a crown, I have wanted one for myself. I especially fave been fond of rings.

On and in my pursuit of trying to have a husband before any sense of life or self, I imagined what my wedding set would look like. I imagined Colin Cowie would do the reception (Google him!). I, in my Vera Wang gown, would walk in with Derek Jeter on my arm with cream and pink roses to a cheering chorus of about 200 people.

And the ring, darling? The ring!

I wanted the ring, size 7, platinum or white gold with princess cut diamonds. I imagine the rocks would glimmer, and shimmer in the light. It would be like holding all the rainbows in the world on my left hand. Our first dance? It Had To Be You by Harry Connick, Jr or Nothing Even Matters by Lauryn Hill. We would dance and I’d twirl, and I’d be a whole Queen forever.

Alas, that didn’t happen that way.

However, but I did think about this.  What is it about being chosen–getting chose, as I call it. What is so powerful about those words (“Will you marry me?”) and the appropriate answer (“Yes.”) that will allow women to put up with so much, for so long, in order to be chosen?  The best that my experience and failed relationships can garner is the reason why getting chose is so powerful is simple. Everyone wants to be special.

To be special.

We all want to know there is someone in the world whom decides that they cannot live without us. That they ache for us, lose breath at the site of us. Can think of no other lips to kiss, not body to meld into, hand to hold other than ours. We want to have the affirmation that we belong to and with someone. Harlequin has made love and its storytelling a multi-million dollar business! I mean, it was the fiction of Nora Roberts that reminded me, showed me, that love deep, solid and mystic was not only possible–but available! And from her  Three Sisters Island series, I got this Gaelic phrase:

Image result for a ghra a amhain

 

We all search for that, at the cost of ourselves, and complete selves. In the pursuit of being the love and the only to someone else, look at the behavior we consider. That we tolerate. That we endure. That we silence. For women, we do it in the pursuit of metal and rocks. This proof that we can–and have–endured all things toward the pursuit of this wearable proof that we were chosen. That we are the love, the only, the precious one.

At the cost of being special, we forsake warning signs. Don’t ask questions. Lie about answers. We hide from truths and wisdom from sources that have seen and lived longer. Being chose is better than being alone–so it is said. The beautiful thing about relationships is they are supposed to add to you, not define you. Not encompass and rule over you. Your partner is  not a trophy, but an asset.  A reminder that with this world and all its darkness, you are not alone to slay it. That you are worthy of something lasting, beyond a day–beyond a dress. More than any band, more than any Colin Cowie centerpiece.

Being chose is indeed magnificent. I myself have been chosen twice. What I have learned is that what problems were there before being chose, will be there after–waiting. They will amplify. They will irritate. They will root. They will embolden or embitter. Be careful dearest ones in the pursuit of being chose; that is only half of what is required. The other part? It matters who you are chosen by…

 

 

 

Being Part Of The Knot-Part 2: More Than A Day

My dream wedding dress is a Vera Wang, and it is more than $5000.00. Without a veil. No shoes. Just the dress–cloth, dye and thread–is as much as a used car.

But, I found this dress while I was dating a man that tried to kill me in the apartment we lived in with his father and his girlfriend. I thought if I just loved him hard enough, he would see how badly he had treated me, and I would get my happily ever after. So, with that goal in mind, I looked for a dress.

From the dress, I registered with theknot  and was determined to make this man love me. I wanted him to love me like I loved him. It wasn’t until that relationship was over did I realize how askew my focus was. And just how detrimental that is.

 

This isn’t the exact dress, but it’s damn close. 

 

I tease people that I grew up as a pagan. I didn’t come to knowledge of faith in Christ until I was 8. I was baptized at 16. I wasn’t brought up in a house that made or put God as its center. But. after 16? I knew that sex before marriage was wrong. With that guilt, compiled with a me sleeping with my ex on a regular basis? I knew that marrying him would make everything go away. All the guilt. All the shame. Once I put on this white dress, this ring and told God I would be his wife–my absolution would be complete.

But here’s the rub.

It’s deeper than chastity. It’s deeper than spending more focus on a dress than on a relationship. The rub was prizing the decor and decorations over a lifetime. Being with someone in a dating relationship is much different that being with someone in a marriage. In the pursuit of trying to be chose (which I’ll discuss later), I put up with behavior I wouldn’t think of putting up with now.

I wanted him to see how strong I could be. Just like the gold in the ring I wanted. I wanted to keep myself pretty, always eye-catching. Just like the diamonds I envisioned I would wear. I loved him, I forgave him, and accepted anything that he gave. I wanted him to see me as adaptable, like any circle. Like any ring.

Marriage is more than a wedding.

When people ask me what I think about relationships (which is actually pretty often), my advice is the same. I suppose now, with the most toxic relationship I have ever had being over almost 20 years ago, I have a unique vantage point. I stayed with a man that tried to kill me because he said he loved me. I stayed with him because after everything we had gone through, after everything he promised me, he owed me a ring.

He owed me dress, a day and the chance to celebrate us. That would be the proof that he loved me. It would be proof that I could maintain a relationship. It would be proof that I could withstand the ebbs and flows of a committed relationship. It was proof that I was wife material. A wedding, the wedding–my wedding–would be the ultimate trophy. It would have been a win for us. I would be the coda of everyone that didn’t think he was good enough for me. It would be a middle finger to everyone that thought we couldn’t wouldn’t last.

The altar wasn’t a culmination. It was a finish line.

Marriage should be a culmination.

A wedding is a party.

Marriage is what you do when no one is looking. The staying together when the world around you goes to shit. You shouldn’t have to prove how much you love someone by how much you take. Love doesn’t require being emotionally trampled. Being someone’s wife doesn’t mean that you need to prove your ability to get back up after being knocked down.

Marriage doesn’t change who people are, not really. It fortifies and reveals who they are! It shows if you have the ability to compromise, to be selfless or selfish. Can you compromise? Can you, do you hold grudges? Can you put do what is necessary because it has to be done? And the most important thing to consider:  can you want the best for someone whether it benefits you or not?

Can you allow this person that you chose, and whom has chosen you, to grow? To mess up? To forgive and be forgiven by? Do you have the stamina to really love someone?

If you don’t, if you cannot fathom such a thing beyond sex, then don’t bother picking a dress. Or buying a ring.

You ain’t ready.

 

 

 

 

Being Part Of The Knot-Part 1: The Seeking Game

I am a woman of faith. I believe in God and the power of His word and wisdom. The one thing that has struck me is this scripture:

He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing and obtain favor from the Lord. 

(Proverbs 18:22. KJV)

With the wisdom found in this 15-word scripture, I feel,  has not been hewn out. Let me  tell you and unsweet truth.

Not every man is looking to for a wife.

Not every woman wants a husband.

There, now that we have established these two truths, let’s talk about The Seeking Game. This is also known as dating. Yes, dating.

On the cusp of turning 40, I quote my mother often. The quotes I cherish above any others deal with dating and relationships. This one is a favorite: “There ain’t nothing wrong with dating!”  Nowmy mother is almost 70. She is from an era that women expected a man to bring something to a relationship. Where criteria were created, held and appreciated. In the situations where there weren’t, a woman left. In that phrase, ‘there ain’t nothing wrong with dating’, gave me the freedom as a woman that was dating to be honest with the men I was attracting.

It also reminded me of my criteria, and what I wanted. It reminded me that the man that  want, has to match what I need as well! If I want to be a wife, I can’t be caught up with a man that doesn’t want one! Simple as that.

AS. SIMPLE. AS. THAT. 

I believe that to be chosen, in being chosen, for a relationship requires the desire to be chosen (What does that mean, Jenn?). That means you have to have the desire to be chosen, in order to be chosen! You have the right to sample and swim in the dating pool! You have a right to change your mind, say no, or to date without being serious or attached.

You have to be able to be honest with yourself when you date! You have be able to be alone with your thoughts. If you want to date casually, do that. If  you want to date with purpose, do that. But you have to make a decision! And that level of decision-making, is going to take a level of honesty few people are prepared for. Why? People don’t like to be alone, and we crave comfort and routine. As one of my girlfriends said:  Some people stay together out of time and convenience rather than loyalty.

The most irrecoupable thing you have as a human being is time. Once that is gone or wasted, there is nothing which can be done to snatch it back from that hungry abyss. Value what you bring. Value your criteria. Value your time.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with dating. There is nothing wrong with keeping your options open. But be honest about what you want–and adhere to that.

 

Love & Possession: The Dark Set (Week 2)

“I want the darker part of this love, the parts only known by God.”

He shifted before my very eyes.  What had been once sweet, had been made raw and open. He told me to look at him, touching the skin below the right side of my neck and right ear. The heat from his hand, warming all skin around and below it. I closed my eyes, breathing in his scent freshly showered. The room became too small, and the world quiet. There was a tempest born in me unknown before. He placed another hand around the left side of my neck and kissed me, pulling me into him. 

We had talked about this before, nothing big really. But now, I was ready. I thought I was ready. He wanted more from this–beyond a relationship. He called it ownership, but it didn’t feel that way. There was a rightness to his words. His presence. Even how he fit inside me–how incessant his thrusts were, and how, when he told me to open, I had cum like I never had. Even by my own hand. Even in those times without him, I thought of him. The first time I had called him Dueño was in my own bed alone.

Him owning me, fully, this was right.  This is who I wanted, wanted to be with. It was deeper than a want. Beyond a need. This was kismet in overdrive. This was more than could be given to me by Harlequin or Porn Hub powered imagination.

I melded into him. Fit as my body found its rhythm within his. I felt his hands roam over my ass, my thighs, and how I opened to him. “Let me in, don’t think. Don’t think, Kyla. I’m right here.” I shivered as his lips traced over my shoulder, the skin still hot from where his hands lay. My breath was caught, and my mind swam. Thoughts of hesitation, of fear, of changing my mind halted. Washed away with his head between my thighs as I stood.

No safe words. No safety net. I was in his hands and at his mercy.

Love & Possession: The Dark Set (Week 1)

img_0403I told him I would answer when he called. He told me to shower, using the vanilla scented soap.

He told me to stay home until he called. I had rearranged my work day to be available for him. This was a test I knew. I sat in bed, the warmth from the down blanket soothing my nerves. I kept thinking about our conversation three nights before.

In the three years we’d been dating, I had always felt safe and comfortable with him. I mean, it wasn’t anything outrageous, but our sex life was great! Mason was attentive, sweet and had what I thought were lycan-like tendencies. He was possessive of me. Not the smothering type of possession you need the law for. But he was super aware of what was going on with me, some times without me saying anything.

I believe love has levels, and I more than loved Mason. Whatever level there is beyond love, we were there. I thought I could hear his thoughts. We were that close. “This is the next step, Kyla.” he had whispered in the receiver. “Let me in, babe. Let me in.” I closed my eyes, remembering his voice and the last time he touched me. “You know you belong to me right?” I had smiled when he said that, holding the cell phone close to my ear.

There was a click in my soul when he said it. There was no ounce of jest, no doubt. I shuddered when he repeated it. All I could manage was a simple, “I  know.”  We were silent then, content to hear each other breathing. “You are my jewel and my greatest possession.” he said.

I opened my eyes, feeling the phone ring next to me. I looked at the glowing rectangle, feeling anxious and thrilled. I picked it up, hands trembling. His voice anchored me to the bed as he answered. “What color?” My mouth was dry. “Blue.”

“Good girl.” He said.

He’d never called me that before. His tone was different. More sure and hungry. I felt my body flourish and open, as a small puddle gathered between my legs. “My Kyla, my pretty, pretty girl.” I laid back on my pillows, closing my eyes.

I counted my breaths, willing the thudding in my ears to cease. I hung on his every word. “My pretty, pretty girl.” I heard this voice lower to almost a growl. It was a growl. “My delicious Kyla. I am going to have so much fun with you. I’m going to devour you, as succulent fruit.” My inner walls clenched, and I placed my left hand between my thighs, feeling how warm and slick I was. And I moaned. “You are mine.”

For A Fast Girl: Epilogue

You own your body and all that happens to it.

The first eighteen years? You are at the mercy of people. But after that? The remainder of your life is up to you.

In her book Eloquent Rage, Dr, Brittney Cooper talks about the intersection of Black, female and sexuality. She talks about her own struggles with embracing her body and sexual pleasure. Dr. Cooper talks about the process she herself as a proud Black feminist went through when it came to sex and being fast!

Those feelings of shame, guilt and denial of pleasure are real.

What I hope that you have gotten from this four week journey is that you embrace all that you are. That you value all you are, and will become. I want you to know that being fast has nothing to do with the way you wear you hair, the fit of your dress, or your number. You are entitled to your entire personhood as a woman. You are and were entitled to be protected as a young girl. You have the right to demand respect from any person that wishes to share time or intimate space with you. You have the right to please and to be pleased.

When you become a woman of a certain again, and in certain company, you can even joke about being fast. Why? You now determine what it means. You determine when you say it and in what context.

We have to understand that our grandmothers, mothers and aunts were of an era where a how a woman carried herself meant everything. How a woman was perceived would garner her ridicule or respect. They did as best they could with the wisdom that they had, believe the best way to protect was to overprotect; to over correct; to shame was to prevent the post assault conversations of “What did you do?” or “What were you wearing?”

Take this info to heart, dear ones. Remember that you, all of you, is valuable and to be valued. You determine your path and whom you take with you. In the famous words of Lil Wayne in 6 Foot 7:

“You can stand under me, if they don’t understand me.”

If they call you fast while you are living your best life, they were never meant to catch up anyway.