Men + Myself + God

Month: November, 2012

Operation FALL in Love: #writegirlproblems

by Patia Braithwaite

I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been writing poems since the third grade. I’ve always wished that speaking came as easily for me as writing.

It doesn’t.

I was born with a stutter, and –as a result – I was extremely quiet. I don’t stutter anymore, but I’m still extremely quiet. I get nervous when I have to use my voice. Somehow I teach everyday.

I also, kinda sorta, sound like a dude. I have this deep voice that some people think indicates singing talent. I don’t have any. I’m like one of those freakishly tall people who can’t play basketball. The voice is just for decoration. Writing is all I’ve got.

I thought, for some reason, that being a writer made me unlovable. No one would want to be with me because, in my mind, my type of writing was useless. I was raised in a household that values accomplishments over creativity; I’m still a product of that household. My father’s a photographer, which though creative, is only valuable to him insofar as he can see quantifiable results: awards, accolades, revenue. Thus, becoming a writer – an unpublished writer, was, well…worthless. It had no value-added.

Yes, it makes me an intuitive and sensitive soul. Yes, it informs how I see the world. And YES, I’m pretty damn good at it, but I wasn’t published, so writing had no “socio-romantic currency.”

So, I was a writer in secret. My boyfriends all knew that I “liked to write,” but they didn’t care to see the work. They never asked for me to share with them, and they didn’t have strong opinions about my creativity. My writer self was something I kept in a drawer – like period panties. They were only brought out when no one was around.

The last ex changed all that; he proofread my work and recommended books for me to read. I shared my passions with him and he challenged some of my thoughts. He had a lot of flaws (some I’ve been vocal about), but he gave me as much space as I needed to be myself. In my fiction, when he showed up as an abusive, volatile, alcoholic version of himself I asked him how he felt about it?

Fine, he said. It’s weird, but it’s not me.

When I told him I would need to reach out to my ex regarding a book I was writing – he was less than enthused, but he understood.

You’re a writer, he said. I get it.

He LOVED my writing and (whether or not he lied and told people I was published by The New York Times), he supported me. He was the first boyfriend who allowed me to experience myself as a writer in relationship. Prior to that I was a writer in isolation.

I get it. It’s hard to be in love with a writer. They do weird things, they know weird people. Sometimes they don’t bathe, and they get really depressed. They crave adventure and experience, they fight and cry and throw things – all in the name of art. For a writer…any decent one, at least… everything is fodder and nothing is off limits.

Enter…the relationship writer.

Over the past year I’ve developed into something of a relationship writer. This isn’t something I set out to become. I didn’t even realize it was happening. I had this book idea about men God and relationships (this should’ve been my first clue), I started a blog revolving around the same topics. THEN, to promote said blog, I started writing relationship articles for a break up website. These articles found their way to Yahoo.com’s relationship blog. And More recently, I’ve been guest blogging at Single Black Male.org

What, you ask, do I tend to discuss at SBM? You guessed it. Relationships…

So yeah, somehow I’ve become a relationship writer, and I am IN LOVE with the task. I was born a poet, went to school to become a novelist, but here I am writing about relationships, God, and men that cross my path. I LOVE it. Writing about this stuff gives my life meaning. It organizes my existence — when things happen, I look for the lesson to share with you all.

This is my life’s work, I am certain of it. I want to be a writer/life coach who helps people sort out all sorts of relationship mess: relationship to self, relationship to other, relationship to calling, and to lover.

Here’s the thing: The only way I know how to coach/write/teach is from vulnerability. The only way I know how to heal others is to share from my own broken places. And so here I am putting my business on Front Street.

This was fine when I was talking about exes and stuff, but as it turns out, I’m not so single anymore (another post for another day) and asking someone to sign up for this visible life of mine is a challenge. I’m asking for my boo to also be a writing partner…a supporting character in my melodramas, a co-writer who never types a word.

Be a character in my life, I whisper. Let me use our intimate moments to illustrate larger points.

I don’t know if this is fair. My only consolation is that I’m a character in my own damn narrative, and sometimes I’m the villain. I look bad, I offer myself up to be judged, and I truly share (maybe over share) myself; I leave it all on the page…well, a lot of it.

My only consolation is that I would never share anything about my partner…that I’d hide about myself. That might not make anyone feel better, but I have to hope that’s enough. Please let it be enough…

Because there’s no alternative. This is who I am.

#writegirlproblems

BLOGGERemme: Don’t Choke the Baby

by BLOGGERemme

“It always boils down to the same thing – not only receiving love but desperately needing to give it.” – Audrey Hepburn

There is a moment, or three, before the completion of a project or a period of growth, where I am super quiet and reflect. Throughout, I normally will speak most of my “Aha!” moments to friends, contemplate lessons learned, internalize these lessons, finesse any positive change that came about, assess areas where I may need to go deeper in and fight off anxious desires to reach the end goal. This was no different and with one week left, it’s time for some checks; a fear check and a reality check.

Patia wrote a post recently that I swore she wrote from the depths of my heart. The need to love is strong within me. It has been there since I can remember. Instead of shrinking, that need has grown and I am fine tuning where it lands. When I am in a relationship I want to give love and receive it. While I don’t have an exhausted list, I like to give love by giving affection, saying and writing loving words, making love, taking trips together, spending time together, doing small, sweet things for my love and more. How I give love really depends on the tools that I have available to me. If I have nothing to work with then a massage it is; if I have the world to work with, watch out and prepare to be romanced. Knowing this about myself means that I really have to ensure that I choose the best person to give my love to. I am committed to this goal. It’s part of the “new” me.

I have shifted a lot over these past six weeks. I have faced fears, acknowledged and let go of the past, and prepped for my future with “The One”, but I realized this week that there is still one thing stopping me. Me.

What am I afraid of right now? Falling back into old patterns. Not living my dreams. Not trying. Not continuing. Not persisting. And not caring.

Can I deal with or handle this fear coming true? Yes. I can handle my fears if they were to come true, although deep down inside I know all these fears are of my imagination.

Can I avoid this fear coming true? If so how? Yes. I can avoid any of these fears coming true. By staying true to me, choosing me first, honoring my desires and stating them upfront, and taking full ownership of my love-life, none of my fears will even be fears anymore, let alone become a part of my reality.  

Is my fear, founded in reality? No. My fear is of my imagination and used to self-limit me.

My fear is a perverse way of me protecting myself from what it is that I want. I want to be happy. I want to be happy in love. My fear protects me from all the frogs and even the princes too. So that while I can still be generally happy, fear makes it quite hard for me to be happy in love. Somehow, love is supposed to break through my barrier, but as love is a verb and not a noun, it is quite impossible for that to happen of its own accord.

Katherine Woodward-Thomas states this clearly when she writes:

‘If we look at what we do, instead of what we say, we will see that, ultimately, most of us are more interested in protecting ourselves from the risks of love than in the actual experience of it. We go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the possibility of being hurt, regardless of the hunger in our hearts. We rarely own outright how often we sabotage love by admitting, “I am more interested in being safe than I am in being loved.”’

As I move forward and make myself available to available men, state what I want at the beginning, choose me first, receive and allow myself to be vulnerable; as I strengthen these new ways I have to remember what John, my seventh-grade teacher, would say as we handed in our homework assignments “Take your time and hurry up.” I feel like I am prepping too much, over-thinking, overanalyzing, over-searching. I am hurrying up and not taking my time in parallel. I am “choking the baby”. Reality check, through fear, I am squeezing the life out of something before I give it the chance to blossom. Now, I need to let things be. I need to let love in and be open to love, but not beat it over the head and make it come away with me. And that is exactly what I will do. I am committed to giving my love and receiving love and being happy in it.

Have you given yourself a fear check and/or a reality check lately? What are you committed to but stopping yourself from experiencing?

Cheers,

emme

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Giving Thanks ;)

by Patia Braithwaite

During thanksgiving dinner last year, my family and went around the dinner table and share one thing we were thankful for. I was sad — my boyfriend at the time wasn’t able to sit at my table — and I felt alone.

When it was my turn to share my gratitude I said:

I am thankful for everything I have and everything I don’t.

At the time, I don’t think I realized how true that statement was. I was trying to fight the feelings of lack that existed inside of me, but clearly I couldn’t see anything else. I was trying to look on the bright side without actually acknowledging my blessings.

This Thanksgiving, I finally feel the truth of that sentiment: I am thankful for everything I have, and everything I don’t.

Often, we believe we are ready for blessings that haven’t arrived yet. We find ourselves looking forward to what will come, or impatient about what is missing. We don’t often realize the blessings that exist in the absence of what we think we want.

Shortly after that thanksgiving dinner, my boyfriend came to stay with me for two months — two of the most stressful, claustrophobic months of my life. If I’d know then, way I’d known now, I would’ve savored the empty dining room chair, and the intimate thanksgiving without people I could truly trust and rely on. As my mother says, hindsight is 20/20.

As I am working toward my dreams and manifesting my deepest desires, I am deeply deeply grateful for the moments in between — the time to cherish what I do have, and the time to feel excited and enthusiastic about what’s to come. I can also, authentically say that I am deeply and profoundly grateful for the moments where I fallen short, gotten it wrong or felt disappointed. I am grateful for the ability to both receive and release people and experiences that weren’t right for me. I am grateful for all of this life….every drop.

Why? Because all moments lead to this person, this breath, this smile in my heart on this beautiful beautiful day. And for that…I can be nothing else but thankful.

Happy thanksgiving, y’all.

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