Man, let’s skip the theatrics. It’s been a long time since I posted and y’all know why. I had a crazy year, with many ups and downs (What up love! What up stalker!) Looking back on the last 12 months, I gotta say it was mostly down filled like a duvet, son.
But what goes down, must spit. And then come up. And up I have come. I’ve finally got my shit together and it’s a nice feeling. It’s also a strange one, to feel like most of the seemingly random puzzle pieces you’ve been carrying around in your pocket for years finally start to fit together. You wonder if you weren’t able to see that the pieces already fit or if they somehow changed shape while you did. I know they say it’s not about the destination but the journey…well EFF THAT. This destination is one to be proud of, and makes me want to smile a lot more than the events that took place on the way here to Bawseville, population: me.
This blog started as a place to vent about the TTC and bad dates (yo, she’s deep, right?) and somehow, as if to test my faith (read: cynicism), I fell in love. Falling in love is tricky as f*ck when you do it right. It has to be the perfect blend of holding on and letting go; letting go of your past, your baggage and your qualms, and holding on to yourself. I usually fail miserably at the former and excel in the latter, albeit sometimes remaining a little too much like myself with no room for compromise. But this time around my tendencies were reversed. I gave myself completely to the idea of love and without realizing it until the bitter end, I also lost myself for the first time in my LIFE. Me. Vanessa. V-Block. The loud-mouthed, opinionated as eff, yo-I-hate-those-boyfriend-chicks chick barely recognized herself anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. I learned that I can cook, succeed at (and actually enjoy) that #WifeLife, and Martha Stewart the shit out of a home. But most importantly I learned that I can love with everything I’ve got. I can listen, forgive, and wait patiently for someone to get it right (where I got it wrong was how long I waited patiently, but that’s another post for another time). And while clichés make me sick to no end, this one I gotta big up – a relationship, no matter how good or bad, is all about LEARNING. Learning what you like and what you don’t like about your partner and potential future partners, but even more useful is what you learn about yourself.
Men (or women) are like perfumes – you can spray yourself with the exact same perfume as your girl but y’all are gonna smell different because your essence is gonna be different than hers. A man can be amazing on paper; romantic, sincere, thoughtful and an all-around good guy. But if dude doesn’t mix well with your essence, it’s just not gonna work. You can wear that $300 bottle of man and still end up smelling like a cheap bathroom spray. The key is to acknowledge when your nose is reacting to that shit like a bartender just took her shoes off in your car after a 12 hour shift (you’re REAL lucky if that reference doesn’t make sense to you). Instead of sticking around on some ‘yo, let me just be SURE it’s her feet and not the air outside’ tip, trust your gut. If there is one thing I have learned from EVERY relationship I have ever been in, long or short, it’s TRUST. THAT. GUT. Trust that quiet voice inside your head (and those loud af voices coming from your homegirls) telling you maybe this dude ain’t the one. Maybe you don’t have to let anything else slide because you love him. Maybe you shouldn’t ignore the fact that you have nothing in common because he’s a nice guy. Maybe you shouldn’t have to be okay with the fact that in a year you haven’t had ONE deep conversation because he’s ‘just a simple guy.’ If you like those deep convos once in a while, if you NEED those deep convos once in a while – don’t you settle for anything less.
There are some things we can compromise and some things we can’t and SHOULDN’T. Sure, maybe he doesn’t think Anchorman is the funniest comedy of all time (who is this jerk?). Maybe he likes sweet more than salty. Maybe he squeezes the toothpaste from the middle of the tube. Relationships, whether with your boss, mom, roommate or partner are all about picking your battles. Some things you just gotta let go. But some things you gotta put on that weird Roman type helmet with that broom shit on top and go to war for (I’m so historical).
About a week after this relationship finally came to an end, I went out with some work folks and a couple of friends. The night was about everything I’m about – my homies, drinks, GOOD music (specifically hip hop this particular night) and fun times. After a perfect night, one that USED to be a typical evening out for me, I got home and immediately got emotional. It finally hit me – I had been pretending to be someone else for the better part of the last year of my life.
Let me explain – I was still me. I enjoyed cooking, I enjoyed taking care of my man, I enjoyed quiet Saturday nights in. Finding new interests is what makes a relationship great – you should be with someone who is always teaching you and introducing you to things (even if indirectly). The problem wasn’t what I gained, it was what I lost.
Music. I lost music in my life. The one thing (besides writing) that has been consistent in my life for as long as I can remember (I mean that literally), was gone. It didn’t happen overnight. It started with music opinions that clashed. Whatever, I ain’t gotta hate on someone for not knowing better, right? Slowly it then became not being able to listen to the good shit unless I was alone, which became less and less often. Then the desire to download anything new started disappearing because I couldn’t really listen to it at home or discuss it, so what was the point? Then it moved on to missing out on concerts because he clearly wasn’t into that last one we went to or the one before that x10 (I should have ran when I realized I was with a man who couldn’t appreciate D’ANGELO). Do you see where this is going?
There were many ways this could have been avoided. I could have still kept on top of this passion of mine, enjoying it alone or with my friends, as I always had. But my relationship world slowly became my only world. Dare I say it – my worlds had collided – and music took a backseat to love.
As usual though, I digress. This story is not another ode to music (although we are back together and better than ever, thanks for asking). This tale is one of remaining true to your ESSENCE, whatever it is. Love is a beautiful thing. It is one of the things that make life worth living (I’m gonna barf all over myself if I use one more cliché). But there is one simple lesson you have to learn in order to make a relationship work and it’s this: loving another person is one of the best feelings on earth, but loving yourself and staying true to everything you are can NEVER be compromised in order to achieve that feeling. Never. You can lie to the world and get away with it, but you can’t lie to yourself. If you don’t think you can respect a man who listens to 2Chainz, you probably can’t.
And just like that, she’s back folks.