My girlfriend and I recently went on a beach trip. While driving the conversation about dating came up. We broke down the differences in what we looked for and what was important in college and as teens versus now as adults. Granted, she is married and I’m in a LTR, but nonetheless we acknowledge the rules and cues for dating are totally different after you hit a certain age.
I used to be resistant to the idea of being in a long-term, committed, and deep relationship. Why? Basically, my old mindset convinced me if I was in a relationship it would deter and distract me from accomplishing my goals and dreams. Now, however, I realize balancing the intimate relationships that come with life are possible even while getting yours as a woman.
Balance– Noun|an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.
Today, one of my best friends brought up the subject of bucket lists. I wrote one when I was in college, and I had not looked at it since. My bucket list features some extreme activities, but for the most part, it hosts my ultimate long term goals. I was inspired to look it today, and realized I was able to cross 8 items from my list. Those tasks include items such as traveling to three countries, getting my master’s degree, and other things which would deem inappropriate to list were crossed off. And I thought, “Wow. I did these things with my Shnuggah.” The topic and content for this blog piece has been manifesting for week, but it seems it has come full circle.
In a sense, I was operating on a the notion that in order to gain power (Capital, money, clout, vision, goals, etc), I had to denounce my craving for love because I assumed it would inevitably distract me from my purpose, relationship with God, and ultimately my goals. This school of thought was actually birth from my own personal habits. I had the tendency to drop and/or lose myself when in a relationship. My own priorities, dreams, and needs would be put by the wayside in an effort to nurture my relationship. Patriarchy and other examples taught me to lose yourself in order to meet the needs of your loved ones to include children and partner was the portion for women. This was youthful thinking. Now, I realize having it all–your dreams and your man is possible with the right ingredients.
Break it Down, B:
The OG relationship and goal getting baddies of the world can contest the process of having love and goals is not a simple one. However, it is only attainable if you consider the following ingredients.
- The Right Partner– Hear ye Hear ye. While there is no such thing as
the perfect man, for we are all always growing and evolving, there is a such thing as the perfect man for you. And what I mean by this is, the man who fits you, your needs, and desires. There will always be growing pains in a relationships, but if you know, you are a go-getter on the move with goals and dreams and vision, your partner must not only be supportive, but balance you in such a way that the other parts of your life do not have to suffer and all parties involved are happy. You can have a supportive partner, but if he is mentally and/or spiritual draining, you probably won’t have the strength or will power to go for yours. Trust. I’ve been in unbalanced relationships before, and my grind was sadly interrupted.
2. Communication– Sometimes as women we get carried away. Things in our relationships seem to be running smooth, things are getting done, the children are doing great, and goals are getting accomplished, but in the mist of that we have a tendency to let our partners/spouses needs fall lower on the list of priorities. In other words, we forget to tend to the needs of our partners because life is, well, a lot. The opposite can also occur. From the male perspective, the routines of the joint lives seem to be running smooth, and yet our partners are missing something.
In this time and the time prior, it is important to communicate with our partners. We must learn to communicate our needs, our expectations, our standards, our schedules, our desires and everything else in order to maintain lasting relationships that accommodate goal getting. When the communication lines are clear, we are better able to meet all the needs and dreams of the parties involved while staying connected.
3. Common Mission/ Values- This ingredient is relative to you and your partner. It is necessary, nonetheless. Both of you must share a common mission and /or values. A common mission refers to an overarching goal set between you both. For example, raising self-sufficient children, saving money, traveling, owning a business, being happy, etc. The mission is up to you both. However, it must be something you both believe in, so you both will be more inclined to work together to achieve it. Maybe the goal is for you both to own and operate successful businesses because ownership and building wealth is important to you. Cool. Now that the common mission is established, you both can do your part to ensure it is successful.
Common values are also important. You going for yours will be easier when you have a partner who is also ambitious so they understand. Ambition, focus, and patience, are the common values which make it easier for your partner to understand why doing things are important to you. Otherwise, you will always be explaining yourself or maybe even feeling guilting for wanting to do something in relation to your dreams.
4. Prioritizing– I have heard the OG Family Oriented Goal Getting Baddies say this multiple times on multiple occasion. There is actually no such thing as balancing family life, or in our case relationship life (the children are not here yet) and goal-getting life. The love and the work just must be done. From what I understand, the attempt becomes a marathon of doing what needs to be done and prioritizing the order of importance. What that means for us, is we must decide what aspects of our lives are important, and act accordingly. For example, my relationship and soon to be family legacy is important to me. This means, I’ll have to make that part of my life a priority. This means, I must put in the time necessary to cultivate it. The same duty applies to my goals.
The truth is, and patriarchy, feminism, and the media will avoid promoting this truth, but the truth is goal getting and vision building is actually easier with a partner. There’s an African proverb that says, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” Rafiki was referring to you and your man. I’ve worked for my goals in my single hood and in my togetherness, the truth is that I have grown more, achieved more, and found myself more at peace in the togetherness.
Now, there are two sets of hands, eyes, ears, and feet working toward a common goal. Now, when something needs to be done in the house that I cannot get to because there is a paper due, I know my partner will be there to pick up the task and vice versa. We are even more powerful working together to build than we are alone. There is nothing more encouraging then the support and love of your partner.(Hebrews 10:24-25) Nor is there anything more important in life than enjoying the journey with the people you love. With that, I revoke the mindset that I am better alone. The truth is I am twice as good in my relationship.
If we remain unable to imagine a world where love can be recognized as a unifying principle that can lead us to seek and use power wisely, then we will remain wedded to a culture of domination that requires us to choose power over love.bell hooks, Communion, The Female Search For Love
- We get more accomplished as a team.
- Effective communication is imperative when making a relationship work.
- Finding the right one is the right move.
Thank you for reading!
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First of all, I’m pretty sure I have the best man in the world. His love is so inspirational. I don’t know how the rest of the world lives without him. Sucks for ya, because you can’t have him. He’s mine, but that’s neither here nor there. What makes our relationship great, however, is the arguments we have. I know that sounds abnormal, but its true. The argumentative discussions we have along with our unwavering friendship creates what I like to call an Oven Mac & Cheese relationship. It got me thinking, maybe we should clarify some misconceptions us young adult millennials tend to have about building strong relationships. Before I was here, I can see how young relationships go awry.
Stove Top Mac– Velveeta or Kraft 15- minute mac and cheese prepared over the stove with a pack of noodles and already made cheese sauce
Oven Mac– Prepared with a variety of cheeses, elbow noodles, milk, and eggs in the oven at about 350 degrees. Amount of time depends on the preparer
Looking back at my relationships before I was blessed with my Shnuggah, those muthafu**kas never worked. And yes, there are a variety of reasons. For instance my taste in men has evolved drastically, the lack of understanding of myself and my needs, and most men ain’t shit rhetoric we all know well. In addition to those reasons, as I reflect on the differences between those and the relationship I am currently in, I realize a solid foundation was not there before I made up my mind to be serious. Often times, I wanted to jump in eager for a title and validation.
In the process, I, well, we were building play houses on a straw base. Ultimately, it takes more ingredients and time to make that southern comfort relationship much like the mac and cheese we typically get at grandma’s or ma’s than it does to make a quick Tuesday night, “I’m just trying to get my cheese fix mac”.
Break it down, B:
Tinder, any form of DM and other social media mediums have their pros and cons. Pro: advertising, connecting to friends and family that are not close, insight into cultural happenings, opportunity to meet new people. Cons: easy accessibility and distortion of reality specifically relationships and, well, living. Instagram makes everything seem so instant, insignificant, and easy. It’s so easy to post a picture or video of what seems to be a happy couple. When that doesn’t work, in the next few months or so its easy to delete and post a new picture. Thank God for the delete button. However, along the way we miss the work required in building strong relationships, begin to believe a better picture is always around the corner. The post, delete, post, delete removes the necessity to build, court, and date.
For example, those long lasting, years+ relationships, that oven mac and cheese that some of us wait patiently until the holiday season to indulge takes a lot of time to make. (Ephesians 4:2) Instant pictures do not show the:
- Deep spiritual connections
- Long conversations
- Resolved arguments and disputes that lead to better understanding
- Friendship, or
That sometimes take years to build between two people. Those eggs, variety of cheeses, and milk are not only hard to come by, but they can be difficult to put together. Yet, when we take our time to layer the pan with patience, our first bite provide a tranquility which whispers the wait and build up were worth it.
Sure it is easier to boil water, add noodles, drain, add cheese, salt & pepper to taste. Sure it is more enticing to have what you want when you want it quickly. However, we will think about that oven mac when the stove top pot is gone after two serving, the thrill of the relationship leaves emptiness and confusion. When we wash the dishes, we think about that oven mac.
You choose. Us southerners love our comfort food. Just know, it will take longer than 15 minutes to cook, but the first bite will be worth it.
Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know genuine love we have to invest time and commitment.bell hooks
- Love is patient.
- The way we pursue love evolves over time
- #relationshipgoals take time
Thanks for reading!
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Soooo, I went to see “Little” on Friday. I laughed. I cried (twice I’m a wiener.). I left thinking. Overall, the movie was quite enjoyable. With Issa Rae, Regina Hall, the makers of “Girls Trip”, and the young G Marsai Martin, how can one possibly go wrong? Nonetheless, the movie caused me to ponder on the little things that grow into big things if we are not careful. Get comfy ya’ll its a review.
Little: Adj| small in size, amount, or degree
I’m in the movie ya’ll crying like a little bitch who got locked in a cage. By the way, I just got a female puppy, so the bitch jokes are strong within, but I digress. The first scene that got the tear ducts operating was moment the children were getting bullied during their auditions. And again, the tears rolled when they finally gained confidence, but those moments are not the nuts and berries of the movie. “Little” comments on more than the idea of coping with societal expectations. It goes deeper. Major themes were ideas such as: inner healing, childhood traumas, and creating alternative images and personas to overcompensate for pain. But it got me thinking. In wait ways do I carry childhood trauma? What issues lay on my plate and hinder my peace and development? Lastly, does social media or any other space based on images reflect a denser version of myself which attempts to mask my pain or be used as a defense mechanism. And if not me, than us—my girls, my guys, my community?
Break it down, B:
Ultimately, the purpose of art is to be a mirror of society. In that regard, “Little” is a compact mirror that zooms in on blemishes we often try to hide. “Little” prompts many must-have man in the mirror conversations. First up childhood trauma. The fact one bad moment in Jordan Sander’s (Regina Hall/ Marsai Martin) childhood led her to become jaded, bitter, harsh, mean, and in many ways stifled is a common case. Think about it. Her employees hated her, her business was at a negative halt, and she couldn’t go deep with that fine ass man from Star. In essence, it was her unhealed trauma and childhood insecurities that disabled her in the important areas of her life. The lesson that can be learned from looking in the little mirror goes as followed: we must heal or handle our childhood traumas/insecurities before they turn us into monsters. 8 times out of 10 when we take guarded and defensive routes to behave or react, it is due to some unaddressed, unhealed insecurity or trauma. I know that is the case for me. I’d tell you about how I handle issues in my relationship as an example, but we don’t have the time.
Second, and this theme is the most millennial: images. In order to overcome the bullies from her childhood, Jordan Sanders opted to recreate an image of herself that would warrant respect from all whom she came across. She made herself a bad boss ass bitch in order to save herself from hurt and pain. I’m here for being a boss, but the issue with Sanders is her boss caricature was toxic and withholding. On the other hand, and this is the wammy. When she told those kids they had to APPEAR to have fun and APPEAR to have it all on social media, I dropped my damn popcorn. Especially when the little boy–I don’t remember his name in the movie, BUT he could sing!–said, “well why don’t we just have fun in real life”, and Jordan’s response was, “we don’t have time for reality. It’s about appearances,” I clutched my imaginary pearls because that’s what we do. We sweep the real shit under the rug, funk up the place, then crop the lump out of the picture. We spend more time appearing to have fun and appearing to have it all on social media, we end up missing out on our lives. “Little” aims to challenge our dependency on images on and off the grid.
At the core of it, “Little” was a great movie and prompts much self-reflection. If you haven’t seen it. What are you waiting for? After the mirror is gazed upon, the popcorn gone, and the soda watered down, you will walk out of the theatre and all of the introspection like a light boss. The movie is funny, it makes you think, and it is dripping with self-love motivation. After all the mud, Jordan learns to appreciate her true self again, and the image is a little more than inspiring.
Even if you press the snooze button, it’s never too late to become the person you alway wanted to be.-Homegirl
- Get those insecurities before they get you.
- Art is a mirror for society.
- You are too bomb to be holding on to baggage—even if its designer.
Until next time…
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I love the self-love. On the contrary, all of this self-love talk got me thinking. What does self love actually mean? More importantly, what does self-love require? My response is self-love must be supported by the following pillars: self-confidence, self-advocacy, self-acceptance, and self-awareness.