Month: April 2017

The Dangers In Looking Back

Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt after looking back to see the catastrophe she’d been delivered from. I heard that story growing up in church countless times, but now at Twenty eight it’s making a lot of sense. Let me tell you why, and yes this may take a minute.

In my post-fuckboy world I realize that I passed up on a lot of smart , beautiful, and sincerely kind women all due to my inability to understand I had some deep seeded issues that needed to be sorted out before I could really appreciate them. The prototype of the man I was building wouldn’t ever function right because I needed more work. I embrace and fully admit that now, but that didn’t stop me from looking back. Lot’s wife and I had that in common. Looking at where you’ve been is so much easier than facing forward. It’s comforting, it’s familiar, and it takes so much less work; or so I thought.

I, like other cliched villains, returned to the scene of my love crimes hoping that those same aforementioned women would take me back and let me be better. In my mind that’s what love looked like. It was leaving, learning, and returning better. I would try my damnedest to find my way back into their good graces so I could earn back lost time. Happiness I was sure would follow. But, as you can probably guess, it didn’t. Most of these women moved on and found someone who truly appreciated them. Others paid me no never mind despite my attempts, whilst the remaining patiently wait to see my soul burning on that Holy Day of Reckoning. Even facing such loathing I still looked back.

It took some years but I’m finally seeing why. Wale in his wisdom wrote a song, The Break Up Song (ha), and it has a line that’s been ingrained in my mental notebook. “Most times darling the sequel sucks.” Until hearing that I never thought about relationships being like movies. The first movie (pre-break up) tends to be much better than the sequel (getting back together after)  and it’s rare for that not to be true. Over the course of the last few years I’ve tried to apologize to some of the women I hurt. Some apologies went easier than others, but all came from a genuine place. I didn’t want to get them back, I just want to acknowledge that I learned my lesson and hoped for some form of closure (yep the simp in me won out).

From these apologies I’ve learned a lot about friendship and forgiveness. But it’s also taught me the dangers of looking back. Most relationships worked out how they were meant to. Even more so if you believe in amor fati. Life pushes and sometimes drags you forward so you can grow into the person you need to be. Looking backwards can hold up that progress. Our pasts made us who we are currently. Each mistake teaches us something that inevitably changes us, and holding on to past baggage is like an anchor that sticks us firmly in the ground till we accumulate dust, dirt, envy, and a myriad of other shit. Maybe that’s why Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt. Looking backwards and holding up our growth combine to make a slow form of death by poison. The kind of poison that kills slowly by ticking seconds off our lives. I don’t want to live like that, hopefully neither do you.

Life in its complexity doesn’t leave room for us to look back too frequently. Sure unlike Lot’s wife we can and should remember where we came from, but the caveat comes from wanting to be back there. Being a man in the midst of my hoe phase was fun, and the thought of it at times does seem rather  appealing (full disclosure giving no fucks was beautiful) in as much as being a kid again does when you think about a life without bills. But when that brief nostalgic moment is over and I come to my sense I’m happy with who and where I am now. You should be too.

None of us have reached perfection yet. Our prototypes are no where near completion but we go forward still, even if we may blindly do so. The past we survived is behind us, while right now is at the door and tomorrow beckons.

I’ll admit this post wasn’t for you per se. It was more catharsis for me than anything, but I needed it. Maybe you did too.

EP.

-As always,

T.L.

FYI: A Listing of Things Grown Men Wish You Understood

Men and women aren’t the most effective communicators when it comes to each other. Men moreso. We rather just ignore things than speak to it, but today on this glorious Sunday a group of men dare to do something different. We came up with a list for you the women around us. Hooray for communication!

 

1. Women without successful friendships with other women are red flags.
2. Sometimes a hello, is just a hello. Not every kindness should be taken as a statement of interest. Some men were raised right, go figure.
3. The worst moment in dating is when we realize why you’re single. This moment is even worse when we realize it mid-date and it’s too late to leave.
4. The best sex happens when you’re the most comfortable and relaxed. When you’re not trying to be sexy or sensual and you’re just you it takes things to a new level. Toss in some slight shit talking and you just may be onto something.
5. There’s a least one friend of yours we don’t like. The chronically single or bad relationship having one who likes to give you advice on how she thinks we should go. Yep, she sucks.
6. It still blows us when you don’t have any suggestions where you’d like to eat. Make a list of places you like and just toss one out every once and a while.
7. Waking up on the edge of the bed because you want to be close is cute, but selfish too.
8. After a certain point in the relationship, sex isn’t a gift (pretty early on if you want to be honest) anymore. If we were to just give you sex for a gift there’d be a side eye waiting. Be fair, especially if you wouldn’t accept dick in a box.
9. Women who have whole conversations with themselves via text because they haven’t gotten a response yet are bothersome. It comes off very needy and bored. We don’t have to respond to you immediately because you want it and writing more messages won’t inspire that to happen any faster.
10. I’m not here for your entertainment. Sure we can entertain you, but not be your dancing monkey.
11. A properly positioned thank you is a game changer. When and how you say thank you for basic behaviors pay off. Chivalry, while expected, is still something that deserves an earnest thank you.
12. Asking for food from a man’s plate is the kind thing to do. Grabbing food or passive aggressively hinting that you’d like some is not.
13. Quality time should be fair. We do what you like and then we switch to something you do. Pretty obvious, but hey some of you still don’t get it.
14. Men who are dating seriously are looking for a partnership, not a bill. The moment you become one we’ve already started phasing you out. If you think your conversation is a trade off for us paying for the date you missed the point. Be worth the investment by sharing your mind, spirit, and energy. You have conversations for free, so make your company worthwhile.
15. Space is a beautiful thing, and the best relationships allow people to have it when needed. When we don’t feel like being around you don’t take it personally, instead take the same time and enjoy it. Being around someone too much erodes the very thing that makes them appealing.
**This is an ongoing theme, so it’s only fair to offer a retort. Look out for the things Women wished Men knew.

Why You’re Still Single: An Honest Conversation about You.

You know there’s no easy way to say this, but I think I know why you’re single. Certainly timing is a factor, and yes the saying is true “things will happen when they’re meant to” but have you ever stopped to think that maybe it’s you that’s holding your timing hostage? Many single women I’ve met lately all seem to hold on to the belief that the right man will find them when the stars align and the moon is full. Don’t get me wrong I’m not here to disrupt that belief, but what I do want is for you to realize that while it’s great to hold on to hope, that level of faith without work means absolutely nothing. If you’re not spending your single time learning about yourself and growing you are doing it wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with being single it’s honestly one of the greatest things because being alone allows you time to deal with yourself. Some of the greatest growth comes from moments of self reflection. Look at the religious figures of our society take Jesus or Buddha for example, both men left what they were familiar with to find themselves. Jesus went on a journey for 40 days/nights into the wilderness, and Buddha left his family to find enlightenment. When there’s no distractions to occupy our minds focusing on us shouldn’t be a problem, but for some reason it is. Many people never learn to really decode themselves and deal with the depths of their minds especially when we’re single. We like to blame everything but ourselves because it’s easier and it makes us feel better. We blame the city we live in. “There’s no one here for me, I bet if I move I’ll find someone” or “this city has an unfair population so it’s hard to find someone worth my time.” I’m sure we’ve either heard or even said some variations of these things when the truth is more obvious. We don’t know ourselves.

Still reading? Thanks for forgiving me for the cliche. I can explain. You see when you go out and live your life you see everything from one perspective. You know your motivations, drives, and purposes while the rest of the world does not. That missing part that you don’t see is how you’re viewed externally. Both views are necessary if you really want to know who you are. You can think that you’re a nice person all you want, but if no one externally sees that can you really say it’s true? The part of ourselves that other people see is still a part of us, and often times it’s the hardest part to cope with. This is the piece of you that people see on dates and 9 times out of 10 is the reason you’re still single. You have all the context and backstory to explain away the things you do, but without it the rest of us just think it’s who you are.

Having an honest look at yourself and then taking the feedback you’ve received is level one to fixing your single problem, but consider this your warning it’s not going to be fun. Could you deal with finding out that the person you believe yourself to be isn’t how people actually receive you? It’s a tough thing to face, but it’s also very freeing if you think about it. Everything in life requires some sort of feedback for you to reach mastery. Dating is no different. Find out what parts of yourself aren’t aligned with the person you mean to be and fix them.

*Disclaimer
I am purposefully avoiding the obvious argument that different people like different things so what one person may not like about you may very well be something that another loves. It’s true, but that doesn’t help you get any better does it? Sure that aspect of you may not work for one person, but there are somethings like negativity that aren’t received well at all no matter the person. Work on things like that which poorly match up to the best version of you

Here’s a challenge: ask someone you care about to give you a honest view of what they think of you. Get them to share what flaws they see, and what strengths you hold as well. *Extra points if you can take it without explaining away anything. Take what they say and compare it to the person you believe you are. If they don’t have an accurate description of who you are don’t get upset realize that you’re not conveying that image to them, and work on it. Their view of you is real time without the luxury of your context to explain it to them so expect discrepancies. If you can face this challenge and not see any areas of opportunities try it again with someone new. Find something out about yourself that you’d like to work on and start on it. Honestly challenge your mind to explain your actions and behaviors. Find your enlightenment by leaving the parts of your mind you’re comfortable with. Stretch yourself by reading, exercising, or however else you can to align the current you with the image of the best version of yourself ( I recommend checking out books like /The 5 Love Languages for Singles/ or anything that can offer you new perspectives on interacting with others).

When you start working on yourself I can promise you that you’ll gain so much insight into how you actually operate and your motivators that you will be forced to grow stronger as a result. There’s an old Chinese saying, “when the student is ready, the master will appear” and I firmly believe that once you’re close to the person you truly want to be you’ll find the man or woman to test that theory for you. Be the best version of you that you can be and do what you can to continuously grow. Who can say what will happen when you do?

Being single isn’t a death sentence if you manage it well, but it certainly will be if you’ve never learned self reflection and correction. Don’t be one of those people who complain and blame everyone but themselves for the loneliness they experience. Take responsibility for the aspects of yourself that led to failures in your past and correct them so your future will be better. Do what you can while your on “the bench” so when the Coach (life/God) puts you in the game you will be the star player you’re meant to be.

T.L.