A Single Girl’s Guide to A New Year

It has been a while since I have written to you. I have been thoroughly immersed with a new job, a new pandemic and most importantly, a new mindset. The majority of 2020 has felt like one never-ending season of pranked. Kobe Bryant, Betty Wright and Chadwick Boseman died, Covid-19 ripped through the world, ruining people’s families, finances and faces (I am not cute with a mask.) The lucky ones of us were forced to work from home, which resulted in babies, divorces and wider backsides. Those that were not so lucky have lost jobs, access to resources, homes and more. 2020 has been interesting, but I would be a fool to not acknowledge that in the midst of the foolishness, good things occurred. I accepted a new job position, I rededicated my life to Christ, my nephew turned one years old, and I lost some weight! Praise God for that last part because walking was becoming a struggle.

2020 has been a mess, from an orange president who won’t say uncle, to people rioting in the streets behind countless black people slaughtered at the hands of police enforcement. I can speak for most to say that the new year will be welcomed. But, ironically, this time last year, people were so excited for 2020. No one would have believed that life as we know it could just pause…

But I digress. I am here to share some thoughts. I am now 28 years of age. In my past, I would have fretted over the fact that I am close to 30, which means practically 50 which means…. what? So, here we go.

You are where you need to be.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be in college. When I was in college, I wanted a job. Now that I have a job, I want a picket fence, a garden and some dogs. Do we see the pattern here? When I have all of those things, I will then feel as if there is something else. I am one of those people that never live in the moment. I am light years into the future, and already stressed about things that have not occurred yet. That’s not healthy. That’s not living. Paul speaks in Philippians about “being content whatever the circumstances.” 2020 should have revealed to you that circumstances will change; but YOU being content is on YOU. You are right where you are supposed to be. Smell the Lord’s roses, thank him for whatever situation you are in and really take the time to live in the moment.

Age ain’t nuthin but a number

I don’t care how y’all feel about Robert, the brother is gifted when it comes to the pen. Age truly is a number. Yes, as we get older, arthritis becomes apparent, the likelihood of brain fog increases and shoelaces are subbed for velcro. Otherwise, take some pressure off. I used to agonize over being a certain age and achieving certain things. As a woman, the fertility window appears to be slimming, but not my waistline. I am getting older. But instead of looking at aging as a bad thing, I choose to be thankful that I am still here. It must mean that my work here on earth is not yet complete. If there are some goals that you desire to meet, do not wait for the numerical age to start; start today. Go for a walk today; start a grad program today, move to Alaska today! (lol) Also, stop beating yourself up for feeling as though you should be…. Stop thinking about should and focus on what is. You are never too old to have a positive mindset and to make yourself useful. I for one, plan on being a swaggy 75-year-old, and you should too.

Family matters.

Whether by blood or through time, love is what makes the world go round. We can never get time back, but we can spend it appropriately. Spend time with your family. Encourage your family and allow them to encourage you. No man is an island. If you don’t have many biological ties, that is okay. Nourish the friendships that God sends you. If you do have biological ties, make sure that you are spending time with them and making the moments count. No one will live forever.

Get a therapist.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Whether you speak with a paid professional, or you can confide in your mother or best friend, make sure that you have someone to speak and unload on. I think that some of us need paid professionals because that trauma needs a specialist, but hey, what do I know? I just don’t want you to damage your personal relationships by consistently stressing loved ones who are ill-equipped to help you.

Trauma is real, and all human beings go through it. I say to seek a therapist and to consistently speak with them so that you can identify the trauma, and then put plans in place to overcome those traumas, or at least deal effectively with them. Put the food down and slow down on the intimacy. The vices will never heal you, they are just cover-ups for the pain you don’t want to face. The truth is that we are all adult children running from the trauma of childhood. Your parents gave what they had to give, and even if they did not, get a therapist and WORK. ON. YOU. Stop looking backwards. It’s time to step forward.

Relationships are awesome. It is perfectly fine to be single.

And to my final point, partnerships are cool. We are not islands, and intimacy and partnership are wonderful things. But they are also difficult things, even with the right person. Your first love affair is you, and if you have forgotten what loving you feels like, or have no idea, here’s the chance to start. Life is a journey worth living, and you are worth it. If you’re married or dating, be kind and allow someone to care for you. It is okay to love and be loved! Muster up the courage to walk away if necessary, or get some backbone and make it work. Every day won’t be sunshine and rainbows, but at the end of the day, when you truly love someone, you sacrifice things. (Key word “things”. Do not sacrifice your soul.)

And if you’re like me and single, just buckle up. Get ready for the questions about why you’re not…. and “I have this son” and “do you even want kids” and “maybe you have too much education” and “maybe you’re just too”. “Maybe you’re just too” kept me from a lot of dreams. I’m here to tell you that putting yourself in a box is not going to force the universe to reveal a soul mate. Quite the opposite actually; so I say take the pressure off. People gonna people. But what do you want? I am a firm believer that seasons of solitude are the perfect time for self-development. It is perfectly fine to be single.

Welp, I hope that you read this and found something beneficial. 2020 has revealed to us to expect the unexpected. That being said, the universe is what you make it. Let’s dance like no one is watching, laugh from the pit of our stomachs, turn our anguish into art, say ouch if it hurts, and say “I love you” only when we mean it. Time is not on your side. Get after it.

Bob,

Love is an “Inside Game”

I have a friend who’s about 3-4 years younger than me, and quite honestly the wisest person alive. We met in college, circa the library where all of the true Einstein’s are built. LOL! She was looking at me like I was speaking foolishness, which looking back I probably was, and as I cackled on into the night, entertaining college students that should have been studying, this stone-faced little girl with box braids continued to assess me. One thing led to another, and I started dropping her off at home and work; she was younger than I and ran in the same circles, and I had never had a little sister before, so I decided to adopt the little cactus of a woman. Fast-forward 6 years and that little blank-faced college girl is now one of my closest friends, a sister sent truly from God. So, although I am older, she is my little sister that I go to for advice.

One day last week, we were having one of our “diabolical conversations” and by diabolical, I mean I was ranting to her about God knows what (it’s me so probably kittens, overthrowing the system, 4c hair in magazines and books) and she, the wise one, was taking in all of the details I was hurling at her brain. One thing that stood out to me from this conversation was my little wise, big sister telling me that “we have to love ourselves more”.

Now, you read this and thought, well duh! Self-love is the best love, #GodisLove and all of the other internet sayings flashed through your brain. You can regurgitate positive mantras until you’re blue in the face, or in my case, recite them first thing in the morning. (This is so I don’t harm anyone at work. I am doing this for others; not myself. Y’all welcome.) You can read bible plans about anger, cry on therapist couches, write poems about men who can’t love you cause they don’t even love themselves, exercise, eat fries, move to Spain; but at the end of the day, whether you lay down at night next to a teddy bear, a body pillow, or someone who loves you deeply, you have to love yourself.

This little sister, who’s wiser than Solomon and more confident than Kanye, is a vessel sent to me from God. I know this because when I am venting to her about fleshly shortcomings, like why my butt is flat, why I’m single, why can’t I be a millionaire, she speaks with love and encouragement falls from her lips like syrup. She consistently speaks life into people, places and situations that are struggling. And she is able to do this because she loves herself.

So, how do you go about loving yourself?

Invest in you.

What do you actually like to do? Go to the club; read books, bash your ex at speak easy’s? I have found that life is much more peaceful and fulfilling when you take intimate time with yourself. I, for one, turned into a baked potato when I was trying to get over an ended relationship. I took the pandemic to start exercising and drinking more water and eating less cheetos. I also applied for a new job, changed my hair, and re-designed my room. None of the things that I mentioned take the mind of a genius; just effort. Love is an inside game, and the first step to winning the inside game is finding out what you like/need etc. and doing it over and over again. The time and effort spent lamenting on things outside of our control distracts us from becoming better humans. Invest in you.

Get you some religion.

I am a Christian; I fool with Jesus via God, and I also fool with the Bible. I have taken things from my religion to help guide me through great times, mediocre times, and terrible times. I say “get you some religion” because when you need an example of how to love yourself, aside from how Jesus loved others, there are a plethora of examples of people giving and living advice on how best to love others, and ourselves. To name a few, you can hit up the book of Corinthians. (Inserts love is patient, love is kind) Getting you some religion SHOULD give you some ethical and moral codes to live by. Emphasis on SHOULD, because if your religion/beliefs/ideologies/morals don’t fulfill you, empower you, assist you with self-control, and the confidence to love yourself, then boo, it’s time to find an entirely new belief system. Good thing we live in America so there are a bazillion belief systems to adopt.

Adopt some new habits.

Two books that I recommend for someone embarking upon changing their life are “Atomic Habits” and “The Power of Habit”. I read both of these books while in quarantine at the beginning of this year and man, I can truly say that they changed my life for the better. Rome wasn’t built in a day; you aren’t going to fall in love with yourself in a day either. This “loving yourself” romance is a life-time job that gets better and easier as you do good things to and for yourself on a daily basis.

Although very simple, I was someone who never made their bed in the morning. My mom made me do it as a child and I vowed the second I got out on my own, eff that bed. But, one of my habits was to make my bed immediately after I read my bible verse and plan for the day. Believe it or not, that one habit trickled into me consistently tidying up my room, exercising and even eating better. Essentially, you are a combination of your small habits; and if you make a habit of taking care of yourself and doing the small things every day until they become a routine, the path to self-love will soon unfold.

Get a Therapist.

No I am serious. Get a therapist, point, blank, periodt pooh! Somewhere in life, people started internalizing that asking for help, assistance, saying ouch when things hurt was taboo. Wrong! People ask me what’s changed about me in the last year? I seem so different; and thanks to a bit of weight loss, I even look different. Well first off, God. But second off, I found myself in a space of hurt, confusion, solitude, grief, and I couldn’t keep coping on my own. My methods of coping were unhealthy, and I knew that I needed help. So, for the last two years, I have been seeing a therapist; at minimum once a month and at maximum twice a month.

Therapy is hard if you do it correctly. Don’t be going in there lying; and don’t stay if you can’t be open and honest with your therapist. In order for you to grow to love you, you have to trust the therapeutic process. This person can become a mentor, an accountability partner, a surrogate parent, a clinical doctor and more. GET YOU A THERAPIST! There is nothing wrong with consistent check-ups before you have a mental and emotional blowout.

Your relationship status is a part of you; not you as a whole.

Whooooo chilllleeeeee, I write this paragraph for me and only me. I was that person who envisioned my wedding day, and babies and picket fences and dance recitals and blah blah blah. And maybe one day I will have that; but today I have me and that is fine. It is a daily process not to hate myself for the lack of external love I don’t have in my life, and thats a fact jack. But what I reflect on now more than ever, is being grateful for my life and the people in it. I love my best friend and her family, I love my friends, and I adore my parents; I like my job and creating. I am appreciative of the fact that I have people close to me that motivate me professionally, spiritually and encourage me to have life and live it more abundantly. I do lament over the fact that more and more of my friends are getting into romantic relationships, marrying, having children and whatnot, but comparison is truly the thief of joy. You have to love you more, and I can’t help but to be hopeful for the future that as I grow to love myself more, my external romantic life will flourish. Love cannot miss you when you are a lovely person. But more than anything, I want to love myself now in this single season because I have my entire life to partner, to mother, to nurture, and if I can’t take care of myself; I can’t be the person I need to be for others.

So you have read this and reflected on how you can love yourself more. Please know that loving yourself more is a prerequisite for living; because when the people leave, die, hurt you, outgrow you, offer you things beneath you; you have to be able to dust yourself off again, pick your ego up, put your shoes on and continue pushing. The fact of the matter is the hurt would have been less severe if we loved ourself enough to KNOW our worth and to let go early. That being said, when you know love for yourself, you can give it to others and not self-sabotage out of fear of assumed rejection. And rejection happens. So be it. Next.

Everything you need is inside of you. Loving yourself more looks like knowing who stays and who goes, when to lay down and when to rise, when to smile and when to cry, when to detach and when to hold close. The process to loving yourself more is a day by day choice to live well. Live well because you deserve it.

With Love,

Bob Left-Foot

The Reason I Stopped Watching Love & Basketball

From the moment I laid eyes on Monica Wright and Quincy McCall, my life was forever changed. The responsible parents that I inherited hid the movie from me as long as possible – there was a little sex scene they wanted mine eyes not to see -but finally, freshmen year of high school, I watched it in all of it’s glory on BET.

I was forever changed. At the time, I was playing basketball myself. I also was a product of a two-parent home, one in which financially we thrived, but emotionally, we struggled. As I grow older, I understand all of the pitfalls that trigger human beings to make terrible decisions, but as a teenager, I was perplexed.

Monica and Q’s love for one another was organic to me. It was authentic, even if we ignore the fact that Q didn’t take Monica’s virginity after she got all dolled up. (Attracting men physically after they’ve been attracted to you mentally and emotionally is a whole other topic that I’m most certain I will eventually write about.) They loved one another; but one loved basketball a little more. Monica loved Q and basketball, and when she had both of her loves, she was fine. Q loved Monica, and the idea of being a better ball player than his dad. When the perfect pedestal that he had his father on came crashing down, so did he. Ironically, the entire movie emphasizes his father wanting Q to be a better man than him, but also, I digress. That is another think piece for another Wednesday.

Love & Basketball is without a doubt my favorite movie. I am almost certain that it will forever be my favorite movie; but I stopped watching it. I went from watching it once a week in high school and college, to avoiding it when I would see it on cable. When the topic of basketball would randomly come up in conversations, I would casually mention that it was my favorite movie to friends. I still would not watch it. Even when I made the split level decision to watch it yesterday at a local movie theater (Yes, I went to the movies during Covid-19. Fight. Me.) the entire ride was filled with nervous anticipation. I had anxiety built up in my stomach.

As I sat in the movie theater, going back down memory lane, quoting the movie lines like I was on payroll, I began to think about high school. I began to reminisce, if you will, on the good times. I used to hoop, but my passion was dance. I was on the drill team, and I loved every moment of performing. The lights, the music, the audience, the stretching, the thrill..I remember having crushes on people, waiting up for phone calls, getting ready for school dances, awaiting college acceptance letters. I remember looking forward to something.

And there it is. I stopped watching Love & Basketball because like Ms. Aiko, I knew that it would trigger me. Sitting in that movie theater, feeling oh so confined, confused, sad and lonely; not because I took myself on the date; but because watching that movie illuminated the fact that I was not living, but existing. Love & Basketball took me back to a time where dreaming was possible, and my life seemed limitless. I could do anything I wanted, be anything that I wanted to be and go the distance.

I hope that you’re not like me, and stopped dreaming. It is most certainly an uncomfortable place. There is a part in the movie where Monica comes back from overseas, and she runs into Q, who is now engaged to a barbie doll (also a future think-piece on who people decide to marry.) Monica tells Q something along the lines of “life being a trip. When you’re a kid you plan your entire life out and you never think it won’t go that way”. I paraphrased by the way, but you get it. And when she said those words, one fat ahh tear slipped out of my right eyeball. Now, I knew I had to get it together because I couldn’t be the only person at the theater on a date by themselves and crying, lord have mercy, someone help the single black woman! As I calmed down, and wiped the tear from my eye, I began to reflect on what passion felt like. What did desiring and looking forward to the next day, the next event, the next performance look like? I had forgotten.

I had stopped myself from feeling because, as Monica said, “you never think your life won’t go that way.” Post-college, all I could focus on was a career and a ring, and really a ring before anything else. I actually admire the fact that Monica was passionate enough to pursue her dream of playing ball, and of course it ends with her playing in the WNBA and being married to Q with their little girl (happy cry). But, I closed myself in a box. I stopped dreaming, as Q said, “I traded in my Nikes for a pair of shoes I couldn’t even walk in”. That’s a half-life at best.

I am not sure how many of you reading this are believers, but if you subscribe to the Bible, you know that John 10:10 says that we can have life more abundantly. I.e., with God, we don’t have to settle for what’s given to us. I dare you to dream again. I dare you to open your heart to true love again, and if love’s not being served, leave the table and don’t recommend the restaurant. I dare you to risk it all. I dare you to write the book, lose the weight, apply for the job, move, become uncomfortable, say “I have loved you since I was _____”. I dare you to be the person you dreamed of being when you were a kid. I write these words and I am only speaking to myself, but if it applies, you’re welcome.

If it triggers you, bite the bullet. That’s where the real work starts. You can have it all, and that is why Love & Basketball will always be my favorite movie. But, you have to risk it all to get it all. You have to dream a lot, work even more, and never give up on that vision you had when you were lying on your back, excited for something, someplace or someone. The life you have always dreamed of is within reach. Lets get busy.

-Bob Left-Foot

When Boaz Ain’t Found YoAz

The Beginning
As a 25-year-old recently graduated, and gainfully employed single black female, addicted to retail (not retail, but to food actually), I find myself excited about receiving a check with a comma, fearful about impending student loans, and worried about my blank ring finger. Let me take that back, since I was the ripe age of 7, and fully aware that Barbie not only created female dolls, but “Ken” dolls as well, I began to imagine when my Ken doll would appear. What would he look like? Would he be short, tall, love God and chipotle? Would he be loud and abrasive, the typical “man’s man” (I hate that terminology but whatever), or would he be meek and mild? Yes ladies and gentleman, I was ready to be married by the age of 10, and I was certain that I would make the perfect wife and mother. And why shouldn’t I have felt this way? I had burned my cakes in my easy bake oven not once, but twice, I had a dollhouse perfectly arranged with the children on one level, the mothers on another, and my two ken dolls outside mowing the grass, and I had mastered my multiplication tables. What more could you ask for in a wife?

Fast-forward from the age of 10 to the age of 14. I have a flat stomach, a flat chest as well, with a struggle-length bob and glasses, pink clothes of all shades, and confidence comparable to Kanye. Disney had done his job; I had bought into my “Ken” doll, my prince charming, and although I was jamming out to “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child in the daytime, I was crying to ll Cool J’s “I Need Love” in the night. The boys in high school were clearly blind. In my head, (lol) I just knew that the minute I started high school, I would meet the man of my dreams and fall madly in love. We would go to prom together, choose the same colleges, both major in biology, become dentists, with a house, 2.5 kids, a pit bull and a hedgehog. I had a vision board and alladat. My life was planned. Needless to say, none of that stuff came to fruition.
But I digress, the reason that I write this article is to tell all of the women who are 18+ with no Boaz, or “Ken” doll, prince charming, significant other, bae, boo or whatever in sight, there are some things you should be doing with your life ma’am! But before I start expounding upon these specific things, I want to take the time to explain that I write this for you and I. I was (quite possibly still may be) that girl who waited by her phone day in and day out for some random boy/man to contact me. I would ditch my friends if someone I was interested in wanted to kick it, I would make permanent decisions over temporary people, I would condense myself, tell lies, stretch, and eventually break all in an attempt to achieve Disney and Barbie’s dream of me and Ken chilling in our dollhouse. You, whoever you are, come first. Your needs, desires, dreams, and goals are the most important, and I promise you this, when you are living for someone else, you are dying within yourself.

So what should I be doing Master Tonee?
Oh yeah, just a reminder.

1.You come first in your life.
2. Your needs, desires, dreams, and goals are the most important.
3. There are always times in your life to be selfish (not just your 20’s. And by the way, I hate that quote. Time is relative. Be amazing your entire life)
4. BE YOURSELF.
5. Women rule the world because we birth the babies.
6. You have your entire life to be somebody’s (someone’s wife, mother, side-piece, girlfriend, whatever.) Focus on being free for once.

Ruth was at work.
So if you refer to the title of this passage, Boaz was the man that Ruth (its a book in the Bible for you heathens) married. In a nutshell, Ruth was doing what she was supposed to when she met her husband, (working) of whom she was not even aware would be her husband. So what does this mean ladies? Okay, in secular terms, Beyonce has a job. She had a job when she met Jay, she still has that job today, and I’m sure she will retire when her tombstone reads “The best to ever do it; here lies Queen Bey”. Okay, let me spell it out, get yo ish together boo! Follow your dreams girl! Get to work! Write that book. Apply for that job. Work that body out. Sing that song. Whatever you do, JUST DO IT. Be busy. Too often as needy women, we wait around, putting our life on pause just to wait for a man to press play. That’s not living, and that’s not being an autonomous human being. That type of behavior should be reserved for purses, jewelry and all the other accessories we utilize for life, and you my darling should never be an accessory. You are a fully functional human being with talent, thoughts and dreams and the ONLY way that you and your Ken doll/prince charming/bae will live together in lovely bliss is if you are working towards being the best version of yourself. So if you don’t know what work you should be doing currently, that’s fine, but excuses are tools of the incompetent, AKA, you should be desperately searching for some meaning to life outside of a man. Ruth was working when she met Boaz, so you my dear should be working!

Perception is Reality.
The lens through which we view life has a definitive affect on the way in which we view our lives and the lives of others. In my previous article, “Because of the Internet the World Crashed” I briefly mentioned how comparison to other people can cause us to think that our own lives, well for lack of better words, suck. And whether this is true or not, if you believe these debilitative thoughts, your life darling, will indeed suck. The woman that changes her hair, and her thoughts is about to change her life. As a (wo)man thinketh, so is she. I think I’m a boss a— b——- therefore, I am a (insert expletives).

So lets take a moment and think about how we view ourselves. How do you see yourself? Do you look in the mirror and see Sasha Fierce, or Timid Tammy? As a woman, and a semi-confident woman, I will say that on my journey towards confidence, I was a negative Nancy. I lived on social media analyzing all of my friends and their wonderful bodies, relationships, and levels of happiness. I spent nights begging to God, asking him why he would allow me, of all people, Mrs. Burns Cakes in her Easy Bake Oven, why was I forced to live such a horrible life? Why was everyone else’s life always better than mine? See I, ladies and gentlemen, was a spoiled, insecure brat. I can admit it now because I have grown to accept the fact that you aren’t owed anything. In life, you have to make things happen for yourself, and nothing positive will come from a negative mind. I used to be the person who could spot the negativity in everything and everyone. I was constantly putting myself down, and I was quite frankly ruining the happiness of those around me. It was not until I took the time to think about those negative things that I was telling myself, and question if those things were true. So again I ask, what do you tell yourself?

Things I told myself:

You are unworthy of a relationship
True love does not exist.
You can never truly trust a man.
You are crazy.
No one will ever truly understand and love you.

All of these thoughts were illogical. All of these thoughts were generalizations that kept me stagnant and fearful of ever growing as a person. If you are seeing yourself in these negative thought patterns, you need to figure out a way to change that negative talk to positive self-talk. No man, scratch that, no one can love you if you can’t put out love to the world, or yourself. Be your own superhero. Plant your own flowers of sweetness and watch beauty grow before your eyes. If all you ever do is pay attention to weeds, you’ll miss the flowers.

Things you SHOULD tell yourself:

You are worthy of all good things in life.
True love does exist.
Self-love is my main concern. I can, and will take care of myself.
GOD IS LOVE!
God created me in his image therefore I am a BOSS. The End.

The Point of it All
Okay. Okay. So you’ve read this and decided you’re gonna follow that dream, work hard, play harder, change the woman in the mirror by speaking and also doing kind things, as well as shaving off all your hair and singing “I’m Every Woman” at the top of your lungs in your bathroom every morning. You have decided to become the boss the world needs you to be. Therefore, you are living in your destiny! What should you be doing when Boaz aint found yoaz; LIVING YOUR LIFE BOO! Because at the end of the day no matter how good he makes you feel, how hard he makes you laugh, how sweet he is to your dear old cat who is on it’s ninth life; if you aren’t happy and content and living in your purpose, Boaz will not fill that void. Contrary to Disney channel, marriage is not the be all and end all. You don’t become Mrs. Ken and then life pauses. Afterwards comes the sharing, the babies, the crying, the sacrifices, the love, the good, the bad and the ugly. I am simply saying that whatever stage of life that you find yourself in, whether you are engaged, beating men off with sticks, have five boyfriends simultaneously, or have been searching voraciously on blackpeoplemeet.com for your Ken doll, take a deep breath and know that in all avenues of life, you should be content. Don’t focus so much on your relationship status that you accomplish nothing else in life. Boaz is out there, or maybe he’s not, but regardless, life is beautiful and so are you my darling. Focus on creating beauty and I promise beauty will come to you. And you never know, your beauty may come back to you in the form of a 6’4 Adonis with a big heart and a bright smile. Sounds a lot like Ken aye? 😉
Be Blessed!

Black Women Need Love, Most

I sat across from my therapist, chewing on gum.. and words.

“What’s wrong with me?” I asked her.

For the 300 millionth time, I found myself crying to a paid advisor about the woes of solitude. We were supposed to be celebrating how I had triumphed over my temporary bout of depression, and how it was time to start looking for new jobs. We were supposed to be problem-solving. I had gotten too large for my circumstances. It was way past time to switch gears career wise, and to move from the only area I’d ever known. It was time to grow up. “Time to put your big girl panties on” ran through my mind..

We were planning for the future, yet here I sat, playing with the charms on my James Avery bracelet, a gift from my mother years ago, wondering why my ring finger was bare with no sight of it being “crowned”.

Like my therapist, the local chemist, church mother and nice man at Luby’s, my therapist began to tick off all of the reasons why I should not be concerned about my marital status. “It’s not time yet” “You have a promising future in front of you” “Have you even taken the time to fall in love with Tonee yet” “Do you know who you are, what you want, and where you’re going”

“You’re so amazing Tonee. Beautiful inside and out, smart as a whip, and loving. And you sell yourself short every time”, she said. “What do you think marriage will bring you?”

And I couldn’t answer. The truth was that I hadn’t had a boyfriend in almost 3 years, I was forgetting what flirting felt like, and I was quite content with showing up to HEB in homeless attire. I also was crying myself to sleep at night because, if my parents die, who would I have? No man, no baby, no boyfriend, and each day was a step closer to 30. People were so content with saying “You’re young. You have time”. But what happens when you run out of time? When you’re settled in your ways, financially successful, comfortable and thriving in your surroundings, and single?

The idea that women should live life focused on becoming Mrs. and are vilified when they don’t achieve it is nauseating, but real. In cultures all around the world, mothers and aunties sit on telephones wondering why Janet’s baby bought that big house, moved across the country, broke off that engagement, took that corporate job. Why would a woman want a fulfilling life and expect, no; assume that wife and motherhood would be the icing on the cake? You can’t have it all honey. Let me let you in on a little secret; we, women want to be financially successful too. We stay up late at night agonizing about impactful work and career progression. We have pinterest boards of weddings and home cooked meals. We have called our unborn children’s names aloud, and loved men who could never love us back. We do it all. We want the career, the husband, the family, and guess what, we deserve it. As black women, we deserve the cake with the icing and candles. But will we receive it? Worse, will you kick us when we complain and grieve for not achieving that “pie in the sky” life.

I should have landed a husband in college. I was at the perfect place with “like-minded driven individuals” says my mother. “You have time for marriage; when you’re done chasing your dreams” says my father. “Marriage ain’t no big deal; kids are cool, but the married/relational aspect is tough,” says my church member with 3 kids and a rich husband who is never home.

“What’s wrong with me,” I asked. Because, there must be something. I have a masters degree, love God, write poetry, can make pasta, hair and nails on fleek, on any and every dating website you can think, love my friends and their children, take care of my parents, am financially responsible, give of myself until it hurts, on the scene to my heels ache…..There must be something wrong, because I am single. And society says that’s odd, and my aunty says that I am wasting my time; I should lose weight and stop with the nonsense of this nappy hair and close my mouth more. Why was I so focused on my career, she wondered? That would scare off available men. I think I don’t want to marry a man who is intimidated by relativity…

Single women are not social pariahs. We hurt just like you. We worry just like you. Your sympathetic glances at us in social gatherings aren’t missed, just ignored. We desire love too; but not of the Instagram type. Man was not created to be alone, so if you are a woman who is reading this and feels alone, please know that I see you, I hear you and I understand you. No matter what, do not sell yourself short. You deserve it all sis and I pray that you receive it one day.

There’s nothing wrong with you boo.

Sincerely,

Bob Left-Foot

Stand up for your Life

A church member of mine passed away today from Covid-19. He was in his 60’s, and though I don’t know his health, he may have had chronic health conditions. But that’s not my point.

He felt sick last week, and so being the dutiful citizen that he was, he followed the rules and set up a virtual doctors appointment. At that appointment, he let the doctor know his symptoms. He let him know that he had a chronic cough. The doctor told him that he did not meet the criteria for covid-19.

His last Facebook post was Saturday; and he let the world know that he was going to make a hot toddy; and then go to bed.

He died today. But he finally got a test; and apparently it came back positive.

Demand a test if you are feeling sick. They are lying to us. I don’t even know the depth of who “they” is. But this is all a game and I’m sorry; I don’t believe the hype about black people dying at astronomical rates JUST because of chronic health issues. I believe it’s deeper. I believe people are overwhelmed at work. I believe people in health positions are valuing certain lives, and then sentencing other lives to death. Unfortunately, per the usual systemic racism treatment.

The best thing we can do at this time is to NOT get sick. BUT, if you are sick, go to the hospital. DEMAND A TEST while you are still breathing. You owe yourself that much.

Stay aware. Stay alert. THEY BE LYIN.

Blessings,

Ode to Ari Lennox

My ex was in love with time, while I was in love with him. So you understand why things did not work out. Some of us don’t want the 21st century dream; some of us are plain content with being a woman, wife and mother. They ask me if I am fulfilled at work? Why sure, I love it. But work can’t sleep beside you at night. Work can’t kill spiders and wasps nests, work doesn’t come with you to thanksgiving, or make you cum every night. Work doesn’t hold your hand, pray for you, love you, guide you. And you read this and thought, honey, neither do men.

My ex was in love with time because he had none. I was in love with my ex because i couldn’t have him. He wanted an artist; I wanted a husband. He wanted a trophy, I wanted a father. You see, we were both striving after characteristics neither of us embodied. No wonder it didn’work.

Perfection is…..

Perfection is an illusion. There are no perfect people. There is no perfect marriage, career path, love story; there is no perfect timing. All things that have seemed perfect, merely happened. You meet the love of your life two months after barely surviving the heartbreak of your life; you hit the lotto the same day that you find out that you have cancer; your dream job calls the same moment you decide to move to Hawaii. Perfection is not real. Our hopes and dreams and expectations of others are real; and usually are based off of perfection. You will be hurt. But perfection is not the key to a successful life; it is effort. Every day, trying in spite of all the crappy things that life throws your way. Putting one foot in front of the other when life’s chaos surrounds you like a tsunami. No one is coming to save you. There is no perfect time in life that you will look around and say, “Aha, I have reached the point of perfection. I am comfortable”. Because the minute you grow comfortable, is the moment you become stagnant, and question everything and everyone in your life. The moment you reach that unattainable point of perfection, someone dies, someone lies, someone cries. You are not in control of anything but your effort. Push. Pray. Repeat.

 

Pretenders, anonymous

I have been the artist for the “I like art type girls”

guy.

I have been the Christian for the saint,

The sinner for the heathen.

I was the poet for the reader,

The speaker for the writer.

 

I screamed so others could be heard,

I wore an invisibility cloak so that someone else could be seen.

I put on clothes too tight. I dieted, because my back ached, and most importantly, I took up too much space.

I avoided boxes, yet found myself in a pine casket.

I pretended. I cried. I laughed. I hurt. I pleasured. I stole. I killed.

I lost

Myself.

 

Contortion is for magicians; acrobats at the zoo.

It is not meant for regular women desperate for love.