Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lyrically Speaking...

Recently, I attended the concert of one of my favorite music artists, Mary J. Blige. It was held at Foxwoods Resort and Casino’s Grand Theater and every seat was occupied. The smell of buttery salted popcorn, freshly sprayed perfume and lung killing cigarette smoke filled the air. The space was live with anticipation, nostalgia and good time vibes. For some, this concert was just something to do on a Saturday night, for others, it was a chance to be entertained by one of the greats and for those like me, it was a night of lyrical testimony being performed by a living legend.
Mary J. Blige emerged on the scene in the summer of 1992 with the single, “You Remind Me” from her debut album, What’s the 411?.  During that time, I was in a relationship that had turned into a threesome of sorts. I had just discovered my boyfriend not only had a girl on the side but was very much in love the other woman. At the time, many young women admired MJB’s style and tried to emulate her look. My man’s side piece was one of those. Thus, MJB herself became a constant reminder of this other woman and her album, What’s the 411?, became the soundtrack to that period of my life. From that album, five singles were released: “You Remind Me,” “Real Love,” “Reminisce,” “Sweet Thing,” and “Love No Limit.”  Each song hit a sweet and sour spot for me but the one that I feel the most is ‘Reminisce.’ It speaks to how, at the time, my boyfriend and I once had it all then, with the development of this new relationship he was sharing with someone else, all was lost (to me). So, when Mary sang,
Iiiiiiiiii cannnnn rememberrrrrr whennnnnn, We haaaaad, We haaaad it aaaaalllllll, Yoooouuuuuu and Iiiiiii, Yoooouuuou and Iiiiiiiii (Reminisce on the love we had)…..yeeeeaaaahhhhhh! I know that we've been here before, The candle light and you walking softly through my door, Come on in my sweet. How have you been?, You’re so nice… but tonight we're gonna be more than just friends, I recall the days and ways of love we made, I still feel the heat when we shared each other…..Don't you feel the magic, the mystery's in the air, Lets go down to lover's lane with the love we shared…. ”
 I felt every word, every syllable and every vibration of this plea to reminisce.
Since then, MJB released several albums but there are two, My Life and The Breakthrough plus the single, “Not Gon’ Cry” (off of the soundtrack to the movie, Waiting to Exhale) that resonate with me as deeply as her debut.
When My Life was released, in November 1994, I was away at college. As those of you who have had the college experience know, being away from your friends, family and significant other can be difficult at times. Even more so at a time when there were no beepers, cell phones or social media outlets to keep you connected on a regular basis. If you called home and people weren’t available, you had to hope they would be the next time you made that call. Having telephones in our individual dorm rooms, as opposed to a common area, was as good as it got, in those days. I started my second year of college when My Life was released. I was able to get what was known as a ‘single’ room so I didn’t have to share my private space with anyone else. I thought it would be perfect for the times my daughter and her father/my man would come to visit. However, that was not to be since he would become incarcerated soon after I returned to my college campus. In addition to him being incarcerated, he was also expecting a child by another woman at the time.
Dealing with that situation and the feelings that came along with it, songs from MJB’s My Life served as sources of inspiration, strength and courage. My friends and I would play this CD and sing the words of every song, no matter what we were doing. My personal testimonial performances were often of “You Gotta Believe,”

I told you once before, That I love you and I need you, But let me tell you once again, You were my closest friend, I'll never leave you, So hold me tight all through the night, Caress me with your tender care, Anytime or anywhere… I will go with you anywhere. (Please won't you trust me babe), Won't you trust in me baby, Stay with me (stay til death do us part), Till death do us part, You'll always be (oh, oh) right in my heart, Won't you please stay with me, Baby please believe in me (please believe in me)
and “Mary’s Joint,”

I know that you're just a man, But you're all the man I need and I know that you care and you'll never leave, No, you'll never leeeeaaaave…..I love you so, I can't let go, You know it's real, the way I feel, I want to stay, I'll try to wait on you my dear, my love's sincere….”
As we played spades together, the whole room would join Mary as she sang the words to “My Life,”

Life can be only what you make it, when you're feelin down you should never fake it, Say what's on your mind and you'll find in time, that all the negative energy, it would all cease…. And you'll be at peace with yourself, You won't really need no one else, Except for the man up above, Because He'll give you love…..If you looked in my life and see what I've seen...”
and “Be Happy,”

How can I love somebody else, If I can't love myself enough, To know when it's time, time to let go, Sing….All I really want Is to be happy and to find a love that's mine, It would be so sweet, All I really want Is to be happy and to find a love that's mine, It would be so sweet, I just wanna sign, from the sweet Lord above, I know the answer is in front of me but when you think you're in love, you only see what you wanna see, and all I see is me for you and yooooouuuuu for meeeee….”

 I won’t quote the lyrics of every single from that album but, you get my drift. When Mary J. could be heard, her voice, her words, her songs brought people together, if only until the last melody drifted away.

                After completing my first two years of college, I transferred to a university in my hometown. I continued working hard to pursue my degree, mother my child, maintain connections to my friends and relatives and fight for my relationship. I shed some weight, gained some self-esteem and began to stand up for myself. I rarely accompanied my crew when they went out on the town but after being able to put on a body-hugging dress and turning heads, I was ready to go! I was feeling myself and feeling the fact that others were feeling me, too. Unfortunately, my man at the time wasn’t so enthused. He would destroy my clothing, say things to put me down and try to sabotage my efforts to enjoy my life. During this era, MJB came out with the album, “Share My World.” The single, “Everything,” said everything I wanted to feel and say to my man because it had been true at one time.

“It's all because of you, I'm never sad and blue, You've brightened up my days In your own special way, Whenever you're around, I'm never feeling down, You are my trusted friend, On you I can depend, You take me away from the pain and you bring me paradise, And when there were cloudy days you brought sunshine in my life, It never occurred, To me the first time I saw your face, I would fall so deep in love that your love can't be replaced…. You are my everything (you are my everything), love so good, so good only you can bring, You are my everything, You are everything and everything is you”
But, while I was finally beginning to feel good about myself, my relationship was on a downward spiral. I found myself living the lyrics to “I Can Love You.”  

Sitting here, wondering why you don't love me the way that I love you
And baby have no fear, 'Cause I would never ever hurt you, and you know my love is real, boy I can….I can love you, (I can love you), I can love you, (I can love you), I can love you better than she can, I know some times can get rough but we'll make it, We'll make it through the storm and I know I will try to make sure that you can trust me and you know the reason why that I say…. I can love you, (I can love you), I can love you, (I can love you), I can love you better than she can”
In spite of the fact I believed I could love him better than any other ‘she’ could, my boyfriend and I parted ways. Thus, a whole new era of love found, shared and lost began. During my 10-year relationship, I went through almost every phase of love and hate that a couple could go through. I was determined to not duplicate many of those situations….especially the ones that involved high drama. When MJB dropped “No More Drama,”im 2001, I, along with millions of other seeking emotional relief and release, was on board with her as she sang……
“Broken heart again, Another lesson learned, Better know your friends
or else you will get burned, Gotta count on me, Cause I can guarantee
That I'll be fine, No more pain (no more pain), No more pain (no more pain), No drama (no more drama in my life), No one's gonna make me hurt again
…..”
Unfortunately, there was still drama to be had in my love life. When the single, “Be without you” from MJB’s album, The Breakthrough was released in September 2005, I was deeply in love with somebody else’s guy. Despite the fact that he clearly belonged to someone else, I dedicated the words of that song to my forbidden lover. The first time I heard it, I thought to myself, “She clearly wrote this song for us!” I felt so strongly about it that I immediately set it as the ringtone on my cell for my special guy. The lyrics spoke to our relationship exactly…….
“Chemistry was crazy from the get-go, Neither one of us knew why, We didn't build nothing overnight, Cuz a love like this takes some time, People swore it off as a phase, Said we can’t see that, Now from top to bottom, They see that we did that (yes), It’s so true that (yes), We’ve been through it (yes), We got real sh** (yes), See baby we been...Too strong for too long (and I can’t be without you baby), And I’ll be waiting up until you get home (cuz I can’t sleep without you baby), Anybody who’s ever loved, ya know just what I feel, Too hard to fake it, nothing can replace it, Call the radio if you just can’t be without your baby……”
Eventually, I got out of that situation. Yet, that song (like the others from their respective eras) takes me back to those days, the feelings I felt and even certain smells, sounds and sights.

So it was, on the night of the concert. I know I wasn’t the only person who had this kind of experience because people all around me were singing their hearts out, dancing, punctuating certain words and lyrics with their arms and feet. It truly was a revival-type of experience, listening to and watching Mary J. Blige do her thing. Unfortunately, she is now going through a divorce so the strong emotions she brought up in herself were evident. Of course, with her catalog being so extensive, she could not perform every song each of us yearned to hear. I heard a man, who was sitting in the row behind me, say, “All I wanna hear is “What’s the 411!” But, she did not perform that song. I wanted to hear the entire “My Life” album but, of course, that was not to be. She gave us an hour and a half filled with the songs and messages she wanted to relay. She spoke about love of self, love for another, love unrequited, love shattered and love that stands the test of time.  Through her words, sang and spoken, MJB took us on a journey that spanned over two decades. She brought us to tears, made us laugh and kept us dancing, on the floor and in our seats. Her performance was so strong and her aura so real that she made us feel empowered, courageous and like family. My friends and I left the concert feeling energized and wanting more.

Upon leaving the concert, that ended too fast, my friends and I reflected on the show. It was noted by two of my girlfriends that MJB didn’t mention anything about the upcoming election nor did she address the Black Lives Matters movement. While those things didn’t cross my mind once, my friends found it to be a bit disappointing. I guess MJB thought it best to just stick to the music and the messages of love, life and good times. I don’t blame her. In spite of wanting more and feeling like the show only lasted 5 minutes, we thoroughly enjoyed the 90 minute MJB experience. It was obvious that she truly appreciates the love, loyalty and support of her fans. Twenty four years after her debut album, everyone still loves Mary and she remains hailed the Queen of Hip Hop Soul.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Love, Unrequited

DEAR LOVER......

For too many years than I care to say, I've been waiting for you to want me, to be with me, to cherish me, to love me. To look at me with stars in your eyes and not just as a 'good piece of ass.' To care about my feelings, to think I'm beautiful and treat me accordingly. For decades, you have been my knight in shining armor.....in my head.

What was it about you that I was so infatuated with? You've always been good looking but I was never about looks. I loved the way you walk, cocky and sure. The way you talk, deep and commanding. The way you laugh....that laugh....boyish and sly.

Sly. Manipulative. Selfish. 

Three words that describe the real you, not the fantasy figure I've held on to for umpteen years. In my head, you were this strong, sexy, manly creature who could fulfill my every need. You would love me, protect me and make me feel like a queen...because you were always my king. Even when I was involved with other men, they all knew about 'the one.' You were always the unseen threat to my relationships.

You were like a celebrity to me.. There were times I'd see you out and the moment I'd lay eyes on you, I would smile and swoon; yearning to be by your side. In your midst. In your life. But, I'd tell myself I wasn't enough for you.

I wasn't fly enough. I wasn't pretty enough. I wasn't worthy. I wasn't enough.

So, I loved you from a distance. Then I found out you were looking for me. You wanted to contact me. You wanted to see me. You (finally) wanted me. I remember telling my cousin, who had called to see if it was okay to give my number to you, 'Hell yeah he can have my number!' I recall the moment I heard your voice on my voicemail. It was surreal. When we saw each other in person and you asked me to take a ride with you, I didn't care that we weren't in a luxury vehicle or that we were only riding around the block; at that moment, I would've gone anywhere with you.

To the moon and back.

I was so excited that, finally, I'd have a chance for a real relationship with you. I thanked God, in advance, for what was getting ready to happen in my life. My fantasy was soon becoming a reality. We talked, we hung out together, laughed, partied and enjoyed each other's company. My emotions ran wild and my actions followed. Soon, I was giving way too much and receiving little in return. You always told me I was special to you, claimed to love me. Yet, your actions showed me different. But, I refused to see it; choosing, instead, to hold on to my fantasy.

I listened to your words and excused your actions.

Sure, there were times when I claimed to have learned my lesson and would cut you out of my life. I ignored your calls, refused your invitations and rejected your advances. But, ultimately, your persistence would prevail and I'd be right back where I didn't need to be; in your arms. Each time, you'd give a tad bit more of yourself; a kiss where there had been none, 50 strokes instead of 5, a touch of concern here, an ounce of regard there. I accepted your bullshit excuses, tolerated unsatisfying (sometimes degrading) sexual interludes and held on to the false hope that you would eventually 'get yourself together' and be the man I wanted,

I yearned for your company, you came for sex.. You made me laugh, my heart ached with emptiness. You said I was special; I felt disposable to you. You said you loved me, all I ever felt was used by you. I wish I could charge you with crimes of passion but the truth of the matter is, I gave myself to you, freely and with wild abandon. When I discovered the key was always in my possession, I unlocked my heart and pushed you out.

Now, I am free.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A letter to my daughter....



Dear Daughter,

     I see so much of me in you and it scares me. It scares me, because, like me, you are a fierce protector of your family & friends; family and friends that sometimes don't deserve your loyalty and protection. It scares me because, like me, you often put other people's feelings, wants and needs before your own. It scares me because you love others freely, completely and deeply. It scares me because, like me, when it comes to men especially, you love too hard and too long.....
even when they don't love you back.

Like me, you choose men who are broken on the inside. You attract the kind of guys who need more than you are capable of giving. Instead of a partner who can improve the quality of your life, you end up with partners who bring you pain & stress. They always have a back story of which you try to make sense, try to make right, try to make over. You try to love the pain from their eyes, the ache from their hearts, the darkness from their souls. You try to love them out of a history of despair, into a future of happiness, joy and success. You try to love them into seeing themselves in your eyes. You try to love them into loving you.

STOP THAT. NOW. IT DOESN'T WORK. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. 

You see, some men are so caught up in their own despair that they really don't see you. Sure, they take notice of your beauty, might even engage in deep & meaningful conversation and they won't hesitate to make sweet love to your body. But, when it comes to establishing a genuine connection, soul to soul, heart to heart, eye to eye, you won't get it. Not necessarily because they don't want to give it to you, they just can't. They are incapable and there is nothing you can do about that.
Only they can make that change.

YOU MUST UNDERSTAND, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.

When you come along with your light, fluttering heart, bright, beautiful smile, sweet, sassy charm, high hopes & big dreams, he has no idea what to do with it. He is not ready. He has not been prepared. He is battling demons from his past or buckling under societal pressures of today or barely fighting for his future. Although you may think shining your light into his darkness will help him see his way out, the effect is often just the opposite. Your fire burns him. Your light blinds him.

YOUR BRIGHT AURA HIGHLIGHTS HIS GLOOM.

Try as you might, you cannot make someone love you. You can't charm your way into his heart. Your goodness, he cannot appreciate. Your loyalty means nothing to him. You are just one of many who try to find their worth in his unworthiness. His anger, his sadness, his misery, his loneliness, his insecurities, his incompetence, his history of abuse, violence, indifference, neglect blocks every blessing you try to bestow upon him.

YOUR EFFORTS ARE IN VAIN.

My advice to you, dear daughter, is to turn your focus inward. Give your self the love, attention, affection and care you have so abundantly given to others. Polish your own shine to diamond status, uplift your own spirit, strengthen your own resolve, enlighten your own mind and be the best friend your self ever had. When you are comfortable in your own skin, being good to your self and living your life like it's golden, it is then that your true love will appear.....in the mirror.

Dear daughter,

LOVE YOU FIRST AND THE REST WILL FOLLOW.


Monday, March 28, 2016

If I don't attend your funeral, please don't take it personally.......





My cousin died and I didn't go to his funeral. We didn't see each other every day (except for the few years we worked in the same building) nor spend a lot of time together but we did have a dear relationship. We grew up together, experienced fun times together and loved each other very much. I wasn't mad at him, I wasn't out of town, I could've taken time off of work, I knew the time, date and place. I didn't go because I simply chose not to.

He was 44 years young and his death was sudden and unexpected. After the shock of the news wore off, anxiety flowed through my body as thoughts about his funeral service came to mind. 'Oh no, I don't want to go to another funeral!' 'But how could I not go to his funeral?!,' How can I go to his funeral?!,' In the days leading up to the date of his service, my thoughts ping-ponged back and forth. A couple days before my cousin was to be laid to rest, I visited with his mother and siblings. As most funeral gatherings, before and after, turn out to be, it felt like a mini reunion. Various relatives and friends stopped through to offer their condolences, support and helping hand. It amazed me to see his mother talking, smiling and laughing in the midst of what I'm sure was a terrible heartache she was feeling. His sister and brother were quite sociable too but, I could see the pain in their eyes and on their faces. It was then, I knew I wasn't going. Not only did I believe it wouldn't be good for me emotionally but, I did not want to see my cousin lying dead in a casket. I wanted to remember my cousin as the happy guy he was. The guy who always greeted me with a huge smile and big kiss. The guy who had the loud, gregarious laugh. The guy who was 'one of the good ones.'

The first funeral service I remember attending was that of a 10 year old girl who I did not know. My grandmother took me and I don't even think she knew who the little girl was herself. I remember seeing the body in the casket....she was wearing a pretty dress and she was just....so still. I recall asking what happened to the little girl and, if my memory serves me correctly, I was told she died at sleepaway camp. I wasn't scared, freaked out or traumatized. I just remember being sad that a little girl, who was around my age at the time, had died. I never forgot the little girl or that experience.

When I was younger and hadn't experienced a lot of loss, I could attend funerals, shed tears, give hugs, swap memories and share stories. The first time I experienced pure devastation from the loss of a loved one was when my paternal grandmother passed away. I was 17 years old and 8 months pregnant. I vividly remember the day my mother relayed the news to me and my sister. As soon as the words left her mouth, I broke down. Hysterically crying, my sister and I held on to each other for dear life. We cried so hard that we almost made ourselves sick. At my grandmother's funeral was the first time I saw my father cry. My grandmother's death changed our lives and our family in major ways. As difficult as it was, life went on. I attended several wakes and funerals since; those of beloved relatives, good friends, associates and acquaintances. I experienced heart breaking losses; some were bearable, some were not. Emotionally it was draining, mentally exhausting but, for the most part, I recovered well & fairly quickly. I always thought, death is a part of life and it's something we all have to deal with it. When someone dies, you go to their funeral, pay your respects, mourn and move on. I would comfort others, in their time of need and receive the same in my time of need. I believed it to be cold, dismissive and disrespectful to not attend the funeral of a loved one so not going wasn't an option.

That is, until my father died. I was 30 years old when my Dad was hit by a car and succumbed to his injuries 10 days later. The entire experience, from the night he was hit until today, shook me to my emotional core. Saying the words, 'my father died' to literally seeing the blood drain out of his body as he lay in a hospital bed to viewing his lifeless body in a casket was the worst collective experience I ever had to deal with, at that point in my life. Naturally, when experiencing the loss of a loved one, the days immediately following the loss are difficult. Depending on the relationship with the decedent, the recovery period could last anywhere from days to weeks to months or even years. The toll death takes on the surviving family and friends is unpredictable, widely varied and sometimes, life-changing.

It became more difficult for me to attend the funerals of others, after my father died. The purpose of attending someone's funeral service is to pay your last respects, fellowship with others who loved the decedent and pay homage to their memory. After my father's death, I would go to others'  funerals and think about him. I may have wept for the person I was there to honor but, inevitably, my thoughts would turn to memories of my father. I would be heartbroken all over again, remembering my Dad's body in a casket. I would grieve for him at times when I should have been mourning the person whose funeral I was attending. Sometimes, I would be fine after a good cry. Other times, it took me days to get my head back in the game. So, I began to skip people's funeral services, no matter who they were. If I felt I couldn't handle it, I would make up an excuse to not attend. Even though I knew it was in my best interest to not attend, I still felt guilty for not going. Then, my brother died.

My 24 year old brother committed suicide four years ago and his death dealt a crushing blow to our family, collectively and individually. No words can describe the pain, anguish, anger, frustration and heartbreak we still experience on a daily basis. Losing my brother, especially in that manner, broke me all the way down. In addition to several other realizations I have come to since my brother's death, I realized I just can't and I won't do it. There is no way I can attend a funeral without thinking about and crying for my brother. It would be unfair of me to mourn the loss of my brother, focus on my pain and sorrow when I'm supposed to honoring the loss and life of someone else. It would also be unwise for me to put myself through such an emotional wringer when I know how difficult it would be for me to get out of it. So, I made a decision. I will only attend a funeral if my presence is necessary, as a source of strength, peace and calm for the survivors, if I am in a good space, mentally & emotionally and/or it is that of my immediate or very close relative or friend. If I make the choice to not attend someone's funeral, close relationship or not, I will not feel guilty about it nor make excuses for my absence. I cannot and will not worry about how my absence might make others feel. I know it is not because I don't love the deceased or that I don't care about their families or that I don't respect their legacy. It's because, while they are gone on from this life, I still have to live it.

I still have to be able to get through whatever days, weeks, months and years I have left. I want to be my strongest, happiest, most productive, positive, purposeful, best self. In order to do that, I have to practice self-love, self-care, self-preservation. That includes being mindful of how I spend my time, expend my energy and use my resources. If I feel strong enough to attend a funeral, I will do so. If I deem it better for me to show my support in ways other than attending the funeral, I will do that. I am at peace with knowing I showed, gave and shared love to all the people I care about while they were alive. Upon their deaths, I don't know if I will be there to pay my last respects, view the dressed up body, sign the guest book, share memories, break bread or fellowship with the survivors. There is no love lost after death so, if I don't attend your funeral, please don't take it personally.......

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ghosts do exist....

SCENARIO:
You meet someone, exchange numbers, spend time together,
are in constant communication with each other for a period of time then.....
Whoosh! They disappear.

Ghosting (according to urban dictionary): The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just "get the hint" and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject's maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.

I'm sure most of us have experienced this, on some level. He may not respond to your texts for days. She may not answer your calls for weeks. You begin stalking your phone, making sure all wires, buttons, screens, ringtones and sound effects are in working order. Nothing is amiss. You start wondering what you did wrong. Was it something you said? Did you turn her off with your corny jokes? Did you turn him off by playing hard to get? By being too easy? Wait, did your last text offend her? Did you answer his question with too much attitude? Are you too sexy for him? Too prudish? Did your breath stink? Were your lips dry? Was your style wack? Was your hair too nappy? Too curly? Too straight? Wrong color? Not long enough? Not short enough? Is your skin too dark? Too light? Too perfect?  Is your voice too deep? Too high? Too sweet?

Ridiculous right? Totally! Yet, these are some of the questions we ask ourselves when someone ghosts on us. Oh, not you? Ok, well I have.

One minute, he was here, next minute, he was gone.........
I wasn't immediately attracted to him, romantically but I was open to getting to know what he was about. After a few conversations that often lasted for hours, it seemed I had finally met someone who was on the same page as me. I was feeling him, he was feeling me. I looked forward to his texts and calls. Suddenly, after a few weeks of almost daily contact, things changed. My phone wasn't buzzing with anything from him. My texts were ignored, phone calls went unanswered and unreturned. Immediately, I thought, 'What did I do or say?' After a few moments of insanity (I know, I know...I never should've questioned myself. Unfortunately, my insecurities kicked in), I realized I wasn't to blame. I didn't say or do anything wrong. Obviously, something was awry in his world so I decided to wait it out. I figured, if he wanted to talk to me, he would contact me. After nearly a week of nothing, he called. I answered. We talked. I accepted the reason he gave for his lack of communication. Life went on.

Eventually, this is the way he would end things with me. I shouldn't have been surprised, given the history of his rocky style of communication. But, after months of ebbing and flowing, it seemed we were more into a steady flow. I mistakenly believed we had reached a new level of understanding so I didn't think the disappearing act would happen again. After not talking to him for a couple days, I received a text saying he wasn't going to call me anymore because he had been calling me and his calls were going to voicemail. Immediately, I thought, 'Bullshnoggit!' I had received no calls from him. I responded with a 'whatever....you're full of it' text, thinking it was just his way of trying to gauge my attitude since I hadn't heard from him for a few days prior. I expected an immediate response to my text and figured we would have a conversation soon thereafter. But, he never responded to that text or the two subsequent texts I sent. He never called...that night or again. After a couple weeks of no communication from him, I realized, that was his out.

What a lame, immature and cowardly thing to do.

Everyone is entitled to their feelings. Things change, people change, you get turned on, you get turned off, you meet someone else, you decide to go back to your ex, you think you'll be better off single, etc. Whatever the case, own it and be real about it....or better yet, be a man about it.

As Toni Braxton sang,

"Just don't make no excuses, no no
Why you gotta lie to me
Just be a man about it
Baby, you don't gotta lie to me, no
Just be a man about it
If you wanna leave go on
Just be a man about it
Come and grab your things and go on
Right now
Just be a man about it"

Friday, February 19, 2016

SOUL MATES

Most people think of a soul mate as a romantic partner who will enter their lives, bring sunshine and happiness and live happily ever after with them. A partner who will understand them better than anyone else has or can; a partner who will love them unconditionally and support them wholeheartedly; a partner who loves them as they are but constantly inspires them to be better; a partner who takes care of them, mind body and soul. I am one of those people. However, I also believe we have soul mates who serve different purposes, in different areas and at different stages of our lives. For instance.......

As an adolescent, I had a best friend who I believe is my soul mate. We did everything together. We worked together, played together, dressed alike and had each other's backs. We confided in each other, encouraged each other and shared very important milestones together. To this day, we are one of each other's best friends and will remain so until death do us part.

As a teenager/young adult, I had a boyfriend with whom I had no doubt I'd spend the rest of my life. He treated me like a princess, took care of me and made me a promise of 'forevermore.' We were a match made in heaven. We were together for 9 years; nine years of raw, unadulterated growing pains. During those years, life happened. We loved each other madly and betrayed each other badly. In the end, our romantic relationship did not prevail but our co-creation of life preserved our love as family. As co-parents and co-grandparents, our souls are mated, forevermore.

Since then, I thought I had a romantic soul mate or two but the truth of the matter is, I have not. A few may have connected with my heart, my body and/or my mind but none with my soul. I am still patiently waiting for that connection.

In the meantime, I've realized, my siblings are my soul mates. They know me almost as well as I know myself. They know what to do to piss me off, make me happy, make me cry, make me laugh, make me scream, jump for joy, sit down and be quiet, sing at the top of my lungs, dance til my feet are on fire or just be still. I have a sister who knows how to dress me without making me look too young or feel too old; a sister who protects me like a bodyguard and feeds me like star chef; a sister I can call on, any time of day or night and not wonder for one second whether or not she will come to my aid; a sister who can make me laugh for 24 hours straight, if I sit there that long; a sister who, as my emotional mirror, constantly shows me ways to be and do better; a sister who will dance with me all night long to damn near any song; a sister who serves up dollops of inspiration, motivation, encouragement and guidance at a moment's notice; a brother who, as a celebrated athlete, dedicated employee and family man, serves as a daily example of strength, determination and perseverance and, last but not least, a brother who, through his tragic death, reminds me every day to never give up and live life to the fullest.
I think it's safe to say, though the king to my queen has yet to take his place in my life, I have made acquaintance with my soul's mates.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

POETRY CORNER: Quality Time #mylovelanguage


TIME OVER MONEY
by Sameialika Tarver 2011

Yes, money makes the world go round
and affords one nice things too
But time with you is what makes my heart pound
without your money, I can do

Honey,
when dollars just don't make sense
when I'm longing for your touch
I need you to clock in on my shift
to remind me of just how much

You love, adore & appreciate me
that your day is brighter because it includes me
that in your arms is where you like me to be
giving me butterfly kisses oh-so-softly....

Yeah babe, I know
you gotta do what u do
at the end of some days
you need 'me time' too
some nights you may cherish your bed alone
don't wanna DM, text or talk on the phone

All I'm sayin is,
don't take for granted my heart
even though we know it was love from the start
You said it, now show me
your heart is mine
not by buying me gifts but by spending time

Every moment with you
I cherish beyond measure
every memory we make will be treasured forever
so while you're on your grind
makin dollars out of dimes
just keep in mind the bottom line

I NEED YOU

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I Love My Family!

So, it is Black History Month. In the past, I have considered whether or not we still need 28 days (or 29 in the leap year) set aside to celebrate black history. If it were up to me, the answer would be 'nope,' but not for the reasons stated by the misguided and clueless actress, Stacey Dash. I believe our history, accomplishments and contributions to this world should be acknowledged, highlighted & celebrated throughout the year, not one measly month. But since I have not a nickel in that decision-making dime, I will embrace and honor the tradition. In celebration of Black History Month, and Buttafly Diaries' month of love, I'm going to talk about my black history. My lineage. My family.

They say you must know where you came from to know where you're going but does anyone REALLY know from whence they came? I don't know about you, but I have limited (and selective) knowledge about my family history. Some things, I learned through discussions with my elders, other things I learned from being nosy conversations I overheard and some tidbits I got from my friends/peers (who got it from their parents). Growing up, I knew I was connected to a lot of people, through family ties, but didn't always know how that connection came to be. It wasn't until I was an adult that I became aware of what was real and what was make-believe. I learned the truth. I heard the real story from behind the scenes. I was given facts that were previously hidden, lied about, changed. Facts that were refreshing in some cases, enlightening in others, disappointing at times and downright heartbreaking in a few. Some of what I learned helped me to understand family dynamics (various levels of love, respect, regard, consideration, inclusion and exclusion). Some of what I learned gave me answers I was seeking or, still left me full of questions (so that's why she never came around or now I know why he looks so different; but why didn't she tell somebody or what happened after that??). Some of what I learned had me wishing I could unlearn it (Nooooooo that didn't happen to her?! or Nooooooo my fave didn't doooooo that?!).

Of course, I'm not going to spread my family's ugly business. My Mama and Daddy taught me better than that. However, there are a couple situations that I'm sure a lot of you can relate to.

For instance, I learned some relatives weren't really related, just close family friends. It was just a coincidence that my grandmother and her best friend married guys with the same last name but were no relation to each other. I grew up calling my grandmother's best friend and her husband 'Auntie' and 'Uncle,' believing their offspring were my cousins. It wasn't until one of them passed away that I learned we weren't related after all. It was something like a heartbreak. I wanted to un-hear it, to make the untruth true. I wanted to keep my family the way it was. Good thing family isn't required to be blood related. So, after learning the truth of the matter, our attitude was/is, 'You still my cousin though!'

Or when I learned both of my grandmothers gave birth to children before they met, married and had children with my grandfathers. It made me look at my grandparents in different lights. Whereas, I once viewed my grandmothers as pure, angelic and fortunate for marrying, bearing children and remaining with one man their entire lives, this new information showed me a more flawed and beautiful side of them. They were not perfect, they were human, just like me. In that, I felt a closer connection to them. Finding out my grandfathers not only raised other men's children as their own, but raised them so well that, if one wasn't told, they would have never known the biological truth, made me have more respect for them. It made me see the love, compassion and understanding behind their strong, masculine personas. It made me love them more.

There are sad, bad and even sinister patches in the quilt of my family's history. Things I would have never thought, imagined or believed to be true. Things that nobody likes to talk about, hear about, listen to or share. Experiences that have changed the trajectory of some people's lives. Issues that could change the trajectory of some people's lives if they would face them. Situations that caused some people their livelihood, their freedom, their lives. History that cannot be relived, rewritten or undone. History that makes us who we are today.

In light of all I've learned, and have yet to learn, about my own black family history, I stand tall, strong and proud. I am strengthened by my family's ingrained support, encouraged by the examples I have been raised with, inspired by my family legacy and uplifted by the truth. I love my family and the strong roots from which our formidable tree sprouted.

Love is family and family is love.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

I Loved Me Some Him.....

"I love me some him, I'll never feel this way again, I love me some you, another man will never do...." - Toni Braxton, 'I Love Me Some Him'

There was a time I sang this song with just one particular man in my mind. Despite the fact that I had 'fallen for' others before and after 'him,' none made me feel the words to this song quite like 'he' did. You see, this man not only 'tickled my fancy,' he truly had my heart. He had my heart in his back pocket, shirt pocket, jacket pocket, chokehold, stronghold, death grip, locked up, locked down and completely covered. The feelings I had for 'him' were not your usual lovey-dovey, topsy-turvy, he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not kind of flutters. It was the kind of love where you see yourself in 50 years, sitting on the front porch, rocking in your chair with him by your side; you sipping on a sweetly mixed cocktail while he sips straight up gin (what? old people can't sip??). The kind of love where, if something tragic, exciting, inspiring, upsetting or hilarious happens to you or around you, he's the first person you want to call & share the news with. The kind of love where, when you get home from work, or get ready for bed or wake up in the morning, his face is the only face you want to see. The kind of love where, no matter what other guys offer, look like, are capable of or willing to do, they cannot sway you from 'his' grasp. Yeah, that kind of love.

Yet, all of this loving was getting me....us....nowhere. Our relationship was stuck in 'neutral.' There was no commitment made nor labels established. Each of us had entertained others, at one time or another, yet we always found our way back to each other. As much as some things changed around us, things remained the same between us. At first, I thought, he must not realize how much I care for him. So, I started to do things I believed would prove to him just how deep my feelings were. Things that showed that, no matter who else I may take a liking to, he was the man for me. Things I thought would shake him up and make him see that I was, indisputably, the woman for him. What kinds of things, you're wondering? Let's just say, he received middle-management benefits while performing entry level work.

No, I wasn't stupid (stop calling me names, that's not nice!). No, I'm not blind (though the prescription in my glasses is pretty strong). No, I'm not desperate (I mean, I could have somebody.....anybody....if I wanted but, I told you, I loved me some him!). I loved everything....well, almost everything....about him. From the way he scratched his head to the way he chewed his food to the way he said my name to the way he boyishly laughed to the way he clumsily held me in his arms to the way he....well, you get the picture.

I loved me some him.

Yes, I knew he didn't deserve the treatment, consideration and pieces of me I gave to him. Yet, I always found a reason to excuse his behavior and justify this pattern of mine. I never stopped to think about how little effort he put into making me smile or satisfying my needs or fulfilling my wants and desires. He would always tell me how much he loved me and how special I am to him, but his actions never backed up those claims. His 'love' for me never inspired or motivated him to change his ways, treat me the way a special love should be treated or take any action towards upgrading the quality of our relationship. So, his 'love' wasn't worth much.

I began to question myself.

How do you love this man so much when you are not loving yourself enough? 
This love you have for him is unrequited, so what is your point of participating in this relationship?
Do you believe you can't find some other 'him' to love....a 'him' that will love you back?

It became clear to me: while I was loving me some him, I was not loving me.

I made the decision to, finally and permanently, stop the madness. I didn't tell myself the lie that I would just cut him off cold turkey and never talk to him again. I didn't send him 'dear john' texts or give him an ultimatum (as I had in the past). I knew the 'all or nothing' tactic didn't work because I never stuck to my guns. So, I tried a different approach. I weaned myself off of him. I decreased the amount of time I spent communicating and interacting with him. Eventually, it became crystal clear to him that I was serious about ending his chapter in my life. It was then that he offered to do things for me and with me that I had longed for him to do in the past; but it was too little, too late.

I was filling my own love tank, quenching my own thirst for companionship and paying attention to my own wants and desires. Although I still loved me some him, I finally focused on loving me some me! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Grand-ness of it All

When I became a mother, it was the most joyous experience of my life. My heart was filled to the brim with so much love, I didn't think it could hold another ounce. Then along came a lil diva and, I swear, God must've increased my heart's capacity. Since the day my granddaughter was born, she has been the butter to my toast, cream to my coffee, the sugar to my sweet. I often wondered how any other grandchild to come along would ever fit in our grand lil world. Then we received a beautiful bundle of boy. Big difference. New kid in town. Whole otha ball game. Boy vs. Girl. Brand New Heart Compartment. Love overflowing. No competition necessary.

I have the best of both worlds.

Delightful.
Happy.
Joyful.
Two hands full.
Blessings.
Wonderful additions.
Immeasurable pleasure.

Of course, life with/for them is sometimes stressful, frustrating and difficult, as well but my daughter can better attest to that aspect. When it comes to Gida (that's me), life with the grands is pure bliss. I'm not the kind of grandmother who takes the kids to church or sits in a rocking chair to read a story or bakes cookies, pies and cakes but I do schedule, spend and enjoy quality time with them. And I must admit, they are great little people to be around.

My oldest grandchild is an outgoing, talkative, busy, inquisitive, energetic, beautiful, intelligent, outspoken little girl who has personality for days. She loves to take pictures, of herself and others. She enjoys all the lil girly things, like nail polish and pretty clothes, yet she will get down in the dirt or climb the highest tree right along with the boys. She makes a friend wherever she goes and her 'claim to fame' is telling it like it is. She is known as our 'grandiva,' and at just five years old, she lives up to every letter of that name.

My grandson, aka the grandada, is 3 months shy of 2 years old and is quite the character, in his own right. He is the yin to his big sister's yang. Where she's loud & obnoxious, he's cool, calm & collected. Where she's sensitive and tender, he's strong and tough. She pushes him down, he gets back up.....and still worships the ground she walks on. In real life and play, she's the teacher and he's the attentive student; which has been a blessing and a curse. In trying to keep up with 'Sis' (as he calls her), he quickly learned to walk, talk and throw tantrums. He communicates well, with words and in sentences, asserts his independence regularly, commands and demands attention. He also loves the camera and knows how to take selfies, is quite skilled in basketball and is already a heartthrob.

It's truly amazing, how smart and insightful these two kids are. No, seriously. I'm really not just saying this because they are mine. Every time I am with them, I learn something new. Whenever I am around them, they remind me, or give me new reasons, why they are so awesome. Make no mistake, I'm not one of those grandparents who thinks every little thing they do is cute, wonderful and supercallifragilisticexpialidocious. I do redirect, correct and discipline them, when necessary. However, even in their brattiest moments, I think they are the best kids ever. From the start, being a grandparent has been a beautiful and incomparable experience. There really are no words to fully describe just how special grand-love is. I often tell people, "It's love on a whole 'nother level." The feelings I get when they exclaim my name or hug me ever-so-tightly or give me sweet, butterfly kisses are like sunbursts to my soul. One day, I learned, those sunbursts come through even when the grands are not around.

Perched upon my desk at work are two frames of the grandiva and grandada together; one photo of them in their holiday best and the other, their fashionable school flick. This particular day wasn't special or extraordinary; nor was it the first time I looked at (those particular) pictures of my grandchildren. I just happened to glance that way and, once they caught my attention, I lingered for a moment and smiled. Then, suddenly, I felt a lump in my throat and tears began to sting my eyes. There was a swirling in my chest and I thought, 'What the hell is going on here?!' I was overwhelmed with emotion. I literally had to talk myself out of crying. Once the moment passed, I laughed and shook my head at myself for being such a sap.

It was in that moment I realized, with that kind of joy in my world, life surely is grand!

Monday, February 1, 2016

FEBRUARY: The month of love

FEBRUARY. It's the time of year where you find out if you're truly loved or not. It's the month in which relationships are confirmed or denied. It contains the day in which men better get it right or face the wrath of the woman they do wrong. It's when a relationship makes it or somebody breaks it.

Ok, I'm kidding......kind of.

VALENTINE'S DAY. February 14th. The day most women look forward to and a lot of men wish they could avoid. It's the day true romantics get to shine on and real critics get their whine on. The most hated, love-filled day of the year. Although critics of Valentine's Day do make valid points, it's not so serious that they need to rain on the hearts and candy parade lovers choose to participate in. True, if you're in a relationship, you should show, give and receive love every day. However, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the existence, participating in the fun and indulging the ones you love, just a bit more, for the sake of Valentine's Day. Sure, Hallmark (and other companies like it) makes a killing, some people go overboard, some people miss the mark entirely and others get depressed. However, it's not the (designation of the) day itself that is to blame; it's all about perspective.

As a kid, I loved Valentine's Day because it was a day in which you found out who liked you, how popular you were and who gave the best valentines. It was a day for which you gained permission to interact with boys with no consequence and, most of all, it was about how much candy your stomach could tolerate before nausea set in.

As a teen, Valentine's Day became a tad bit more serious because a competitive component was added. Between the ladies, it was all about whose boyfriend gave them the best gift or whose crush was most bold and creative. If you had a boyfriend but didn't get anything for Valentine's Day, that was grounds for a break-up. If you had a boyfriend who gave you and someone else a Valentine's Day gift, that was grounds for a fight (between you and his other amour). If you didn't have a boyfriend, or at least, a crush, for Valentine's Day, it was simply a bad day.

As a young woman, I learned I should reciprocate the love on Valentine's Day. I expected to get gifts and be treated extra-special; however, I had to find a way to do the same for my valentine. This is when Valentine's Day got better and worse. Better because more thought went into celebrating this special day, therefore more fun was had. Worse if it came around a time when I didn't have a valentine or my relationship was in a bad space. It was during the bad times that I determined Valentine's Day wasn't just for lovers. I could do something special with/for my daughter, my mother, sisters or friends. Not as much fun but still an option.

As a mature woman (ok, older woman), I see, and understand, Valentine's Day from many different perspectives. For some, it can be a love-dipped, soul-stirring, boot-knocking, body-rocking, heart-stopping, irresistible, kissable kind of day; for others, it can be a fun-filled, lighthearted, self-loving, self-indulgent, me-time kind of day; and, unfortunately, there will be those for which Valentine's Day will be heart-breaking, disappointing, disjointing, misunderstood, mistaken or just plain miserable. I have experienced Valentine's Day on all three levels. Currently, I am single....and no, I'm not happy about it. Like most women, I would love to be showered with sweet cards, gifts, candy and experiences by an attentive lover. But just because I don't have one, doesn't mean I have to wallow the day away. I know, I know..... I still have 12 days to be shot by Cupid but that's unlikely. So, I've decided to be my own valentine.

Not only will I treat myself to something beautiful, loving and sweet on February 14th but I am going to do those things every day of this month (and aim to keep it going every day I am blessed to be alive). There are many ways one can show love and, starting today, I will consciously do something, daily, that is loving towards my self. Every day, I will find a way to make myself happy, my life better or my outlook brighter. Each day of the month, I will rise up to the challenge of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, redirecting unfulfilling experiences towards uplifting ones, reshaping unfavorable circumstances into more appealing ones and remembering that happiness, love and joy come from the inside of me.

In addition to treating myself, I will also treat you (my readers) to a reading experience filled with love through stories, poetry, music and more. Throughout the month, I will post about love lost, found, ignited, unrequited, appreciated, underestimated, incomparable, unbelievable, unforgettable and most regrettable. If you'd like to share your love story, please do so by sending to buttaflydiaries@gmail.com and be sure to put 'Love Story' in the subject line. I will not publish names, unless asked to do so.

In the meantime, keep living, laughing and loving!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Poetry Corner: A LETTER FROM THE WOMB

DEAR  MOMMY: A letter from the womb
c.  Sameialika Tarver October 25, 2006

To keep or not to keep
you ponder every day
You wonder if it's meant to be
for you and me to stay

Together, connected by body
Together, connected by blood
Together, connected by my father
Together, connected by love

You think about the pain
you imagine I will bring
You know your life won't be the same
If you take a chance on this beautiful thing
Your life will be turned upside down
Adjustments, you'll have to make
The experience of birth won't be much fun
yet, it will be worth you seeing my face

The memories of your labor pains
will soon fade away
The memories you and I will make
caould never be erased

Yes, your pockets may run low
your me-time and patience, too
But, just imagine how you'll feel
when I look at you
When I snuggle against your skin
and grip your hand in mine
Imagine the joy that will fill your heart
when I say 'Mommy' for the first time

I look forward to meeting you,
my Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, too
To smell your scent, to hear your voice
I know that you will make the right choice

Choose Me, Mom
Choose Us
Choose Me, Mom
Choose Love

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Poetry: TIME

As I head to the Queen City to celebrate my sister's 40th birthday, I want to remind people to take the time (to make a phone call, send a text, a card, a letter, visit, meet up with, reach out) to make connections with the people who are important to you. Yes, we all have to take care of ourselves, our families, go to work, pay the bills and do all of the required work of a grown up. However, we have to make our personal relationships a priority in our lives, as well. Too often, we take our friends, our loved ones, our lives for granted. It can't be said too many times that we need to stop and smell the roses, strike some poses and show those we care about just how much we like them, love them, want and need them around. We must cherish the moments we have with them now, because when they are gone, they are gone forever........and as we've all learned, tomorrow is promised to no one.




TIME

Time flies, they say
When you're having fun
to the rising of the moon
from the dawning of the sun

Time crawls, it seems
when the skies are gray
when you long for someone
to take the pain away

Time waits for no soul
for the seconds, they fly
the minutes speed walk
while the hours run wild

Time on my hands
is what I have without you
is what I wish I had more of
when the times are few
far and in between
the Then and the Now
My heart bursts at the seams
when I think about how
much time I've wasted
worrying about nothing
bitching and complaining
just trying to find something

A reason
that you were not perfect, As Is
how much wrong you had done
Now those things don't mean shit

Time flies, they say
and I know that is true
Oh how I wish I had more time
just 
to spend
with you


c. Sameialika Tarver, March 25, 2007

Sunday, January 3, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


For my first post of 2016, I thought about reflecting on the struggles endured and overcome, obstacles encountered and surpassed, unfortunate circumstances I found myself in, unnecessary drama I removed myself from, love found, lost and unrequited, time spent, stolen and wasted, memories made to be forgotten or cherished forever, dreams developed and deferred and life refreshed, recharged and redirected. But why look backwards when I have so much to look forward to? I have a lot to be thankful for, grateful for and proud of. Though I won't detail every little thing, good or bad, that I experienced in 2015, I would be remiss if I didn't touch on a few VIPs (very important points) that had a significant impact on my life. 

I'm on my own. For the first time ever, I reside with my self: no children, no significant other, no relative, no friend, no roommate. Just me, myself and I. Upon signing my lease and finalizing all paperwork associated with my move, I realized it would be the first time I would live in a residence alone. At various points in my life, I lived with my parents, daughter, granddaughter, significant other, siblings, friends and grandparent. The only time I lived by myself was in college, when I had a single room for a year and a half. When I announced that I would finally be moving into my place by myself, some people speculated that I'd be lonely (and miserable, they wanted to add). They predicted I would miss having other people around regularly and that I'd probably spend a lot of nights staying with relatives and friends. I predicted I would feel free, comfortable and at peace. True, I did love having my mother right there to do all the motherly things she loves to do. I enjoyed seeing my grandmother every day, happy that, after more than 92 years, she is still here with us. I even found comfort (along with my annoyance) in having our beloved family dog, Prycee (a beautiful, loving and sometimes too playful, pit bull) in our midst. But, I longed for the peace and tranquility I knew would come with living on my own. Although it's only been a couple months, I feel the best I've ever felt. I'm enjoying the process of shaping my space into one that is cozy & inviting, adding style & flair and making it into a home.....my home.

I realized a dream. Over 10 years ago, my soul spoke to me and said, 'You need to run a group for children where they can learn important lessons, consume a hearty meal and feel love.' I contemplated whether it should be an after school program, a summer program, a weekend-only program or.....?' I finally came up with the idea of a breakfast club. I thought about how every health expert....plus, my Auntie Oprah....says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I figured in the fact that breakfast foods and supplies are pretty affordable, flexible and appealing. I decided, in spite of the fact I am not a morning person nor do I particularly enjoy cooking, running a breakfast club would be a sure bet. It would allow me to flex my creative skills, build my culinary repertoire and give me a good reason to get my rump out of bed early in the morning. As fate would have it, a conversation with my stepmother about love (and the changes I been going through....) morphed into a discussion about our personal hopes and dreams. We both expressed a desire to run a group such as the breakfast club and, thus, a dream was set in motion. We took the necessary steps to make it legal and official then we stepped out on faith. Although it didn't quite materialize the way I envisioned it, The Breakfast Club came to fruition this past summer. We served nearly 100 breakfasts over several Saturdays. The kids who participated (and their parents) seemed to be very satisfied and thankful that our service was available. I'm looking forward to continuing and expanding this mission.

I met a guy. Well, I didn't actually just meet him. I've known him since middle school and had been 'friends' with him on social media for several years. We didn't have much contact during that time but, one day last March, he decided to reach out to me.  My first reaction, when I saw the notification I had a message from him, was, 'What the flimflamflum does he want with me?!' I automatically thought, 'Oh, here we go.....another guy trying to score from his inbox!' But, I was dead wrong and pleasantly surprised. Our initial conversation was the typical, 'How are you? What have you been up to? Why are you still single' question and answer session. We exchanged phone numbers and communicated via text for a couple weeks. After we began talking on the phone, it was like we were teenagers. Our conversations lasted for hours at a time and we talked about everything. I had never been so candid with a guy before or had one be so candid (and, dare I say, vulnerable) with me. We both admitted to feeling a 'connection;' like we had been friends forever. Due to his job, we didn't see each other in person for a couple months. By that time, we had experienced a few communicative breakdowns, mishaps,  miscommunication and disagreements. So, our first meeting started out a bit awkward and lukewarm. It was obvious we still liked each other and the attraction was still there. Yet, the connection seemed to have weakened. Nevertheless, the chemistry still crackled and we did share a few passionate moments, in a NC-17 kind of way. Since then, we have remained in contact with each other and our friendship has blossomed, albeit still not in full bloom. The ebb and flow of our relationship is sometimes frustrating, and even infuriating but, overall, it has been inspiring, motivating and alluring. I don't know what the future holds for me and him but, if our friendship ended today, I could honestly say, I'm a better woman because of it.

All of that being said, the year 2015 has been quite good to me. I ended that year with an honest assessment that I had absolutely nothing to complain about. Sure, I had trials and tribulations but none that overtook my mind, my senses or my health. I feel good, I look good and I am proud of who I am. So, this year, I plan to continue progressing as a woman, developing as a leader/teacher, learning how to be a better businesswoman, practicing being a helpmate/soulmate/partner, loving my self, cultivating my spirit, sharing my heart and being the best me I can be. I do declare 2016 as "The Year Of Me!"