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Friday, January 14, 2011

A Bit Of Cynical Wisdom

Friday, January 7, 2011

You Are Not India Arie...

I often hear people lament their single status and say they're ready to "settle down" and be in a relationship. Then they cue India Arie's I Am Ready For Love and walk off slowly into the sunset.
Let me be the first to snap you back to reality and say NOT SO FAST...
You are not ready for love and you're not India Arie. This is the thing, love has defied tangible definition since dinosaurs produced huge endangered offspring, so before one begins believing they are "ready", it may be a great idea to know what your personal definition entails. Trust me, there won't be a test at the end of this entry...but there will be one in life.So, lets have a bit of fun with the lyrics and do a critical analysis of what "ready" could mean to/for you.

I am ready for love
Why are you hiding from me
Technically, love doesn't hide from anyone. Most of the time, it's standing at the end of your nose and fairly close to a mirror. That's right! It begins with you, so if you're hiding from yourself, guess what? You're not ready for love...

I'd quickly give my freedom
To be held in your captivity
Are we talking about love here, or jail time? Actually, both. While being in love with another human being (yourself included) isn't the equivalent of doing a bid, an amount of freedom IS relinquished. Consider this for a second... If you didn't love yourself (at least a little), you'd be free to do any and every variation of dysfunctional, harmful and downright death inducing things to yourself because *shrug* who cares?!! It's only worthless little old you! Instead, even at our most base, parts of human nature (and self love) require a bit more thought and responsibility...which can compromise your freedom to self destruct at will. Still with me? Good, because this is the thing about being in a loving requires two people willing to relent to each other occasionally. And once there, you're somewhat captive to the idea of remaining "in love".

I am ready for love
All of the joy and the pain
And all the time that it takes
Just to stay in your good grace
I'm sure there is someone right this very minute rolling their eyes heavenward and exclaming loudly, "love isn't supposed to hurt" because they saw it on Oprah. And while I agree, in theory, in practice (and this wonderful little place called reality), love is uncomfortable at best and somewhat painful at worst. The brain has to contort itself in a pretzel shape called insanity to even come up with the idea of love, much less make it work and that is the source of discomfort. It's not all walks in the park, slow dancing along the rings of Saturn and weddings in the south of Spain. Sometimes it requires time, patience, bribery, incantations, prayer, sweat, weeping, gnashing of teeth, alcohol consumption and (here's the big one) COMMITTMENT to make it work! Committment is painful and change sucks.

Lately I've been thinking
Maybe you're not ready for me
Maybe you think I need to learn maturity
They say watch what you ask for
Cause you might receive
But if you ask me tomorrow
I'll say the same thing
This one will shock and amaze you. Love is a redundant mofo! Put the needle on the record and watch it spin in circles and presto! A visual manifestation of what love actually is. It's not a spark. It's not a fluffy feeling. It's not a sunrise or a poem. Love is picking up the same 5 pairs of underwear and socks for 5 years straight, while mumbling under your breath about laziness and sloth. Love is knocking on the door of your own place for the 7583rd time because your significant other ALWAYS locks doors despite the short length of your trip to the end of the driveway. Love is looking at his/her favorite meal cooked for the 12 millionth time despite the fact that you wanted to try a more adventurous cuisine. Love is rolling over and contemplating the snoring mass next to you at 3 a.m., kissing them and fighting your way back into dreamland, despite the fact that they sound like a freight train running through your bedroom.

I am ready for love
Would you please lend me your ear?
I promise I won't complain
I just need you to acknowledge I am here
If you're ready for love, you're going to have to SHUT UP! (Yeah, I said it!) True Confession Time: I'm a bit persnickety. Some of my favorite things in life are watching the lines left in my carpet by the vacuum cleaner, swooning over a completely clean kitchen and tossing out old things that I no longer use. My "partner in time" ...not at all... not so much. My choices here are only two. Become a stark raving nag when he drags his feet over my freshly vacuumed carpet, complain like a harpy about the truckload of "memorabilia" he keeps in the closet and shriek like night terrors everytime he uses a bowl, knife and cutting board to eat a single apple...OR, revacuum, rewash and organize his "memorabilia". Depending on the day, I do both...but I prefer the former. Every gesture committed by your loved one isn't some measured tactic to get on your last good nerve. Sometimes, it's just they way THEY like to do things. And it's not the end of the world, so get over it...QUIETLY. One of my favorite Ossie Davis quotes mentions walking through a room and touching your loved one on the shoulder. Small acknowledgements, not grandiose gestures will have to do.

If you give me half a chance
I'll prove this to you
I will be patient, kind, faithful and true
To a man who loves music
A man who loves art
Respect's the spirit world
And thinks with his heart
I mentioned this briefly, but lets expound, shall we? This is India's DEFINITION! At some point in your life, you're going to have to turn off the music and create your own song. Personally, a man who thinks with his heart would be STEAMROLLED by yours truly. I'm impatient, spoiled and strident...and left to handle a man whose brain and heart have changed places would only leave both of us damaged. Someone who is ready for love, realizes what they want their version of love to be. My song would be a bit different and involve 50 year old Scotch, clean fingernails and planned spontenaity. What's yours?

I am ready for love

If you'll take me in your hands

I will learn what you teach

And do the best that I can
If you've somehow found yourself in a relationship and you want to figure out if it's love, here's the easiest test. What have/did you learn? I'll wait...
I am ready for love
Here with an offering of
My voice
My Eyes
My soul
My mind
Tell me what is enough
To prove I am ready for love

Another simple love test? What are you willing to give of yourself? Again, I'll wait...

I am ready...
Are you?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You Ought To Be In Pictures...

So, you've prepared your spontaneous poses and preset the camera to capture your endless love in 5, 4, 3, 2...
Or perhaps, you two are attending a function and your shutter happy friend insists on snapping photographs of you unaware preparing for their life as a member of the paparazzi. Or may, it's just something that happened and once again, yourself and your mate are freeze framed into the annals of time for family, friends, and facebook to fawn over. Either way, at some point in your relationship, there will be pictures of you with your significant other (and if there isn't...well, that's another post for another day). You'd be surprised by what your pictures are saying...

It's pretty simple to deduce that couples who have multiple face to face photos probably spend the majority of their time gazing longingly, lovingly and lastingly into each other's countenances...but not so fast. Watch what those eyes are doing before you assume ever lasting adoration. This is the thing. Couples who enjoy each other, tend to look directly at each other. Not over shoulders, at some random point to the left, right, above or beneath of their paramores.

A couple that exudes contentment is pictures are none other than our POTUS and the First Lady. A genuine smile, whether facing the cameras or each other, casual touches seem to reassure each other of their great fortune at having found each other and open, receptive body postures that point to their ease and contentment whether staged or captured unaware. Likewise, photos of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee with their heads and smiles inclined towards each other bespeak a timeless love.

Body language speaks volumes.

This last one can be a tad tough to decipher. On the one hand, a picture of a couple all snuggled together can signal their complete rapture with their union. But there are one or two hallmarks that can point to a couple's possessiveness. An arm casually slung over a partners shoulder? Cute. An encircling body blocking, semi~suffocating gestue? Scary.

One thing's for'll never view Facebook photo albums the same...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Than A Crush...

On a daily basis we walk a fine line between what's acceptable, extraneous and downright crazy, so it's understandable that occasionally, our opinions about what's acceptable can be brought into question. How do you know how your intentions will be judged. Are you successfully initiating the "meet cute" story that the two of you will eventually tell your children's children at the family reunion... Or are you prefilling your arrest warrant?   Here's a list of three potential types of stalkers...

1. The Work Place Stalker
Monday morning is difficult enough to face without being concerned about an obsessive pair of eyes hovering over the edges of your cubicle or that a knock on the door is going to put you face to face with the one person who makes you more uncomfortable than R. Kelly at a Junior High School dance. The workplace stalker demonstrates his/her slightly offputting behavior based on how contrived his/her reasons for visiting your work area more than 12 times a day. The work place stalker is there with your morning cup of coffee with the perfect cream to sugar substitute ratio because they've watched you measure the concoction every morning for the previous 6 months. Instead of sending an email communicating due dates or scheduled team meetings, they find every reason to travel down 14 rows of cubes and 5 closed office doors to deliver the message in person...often reading from said memo in a sweaty shaking hand, while making the smallest of small talk and inquiring about your day, children, dog, goldfish, paper boy...which wouldn't be so bad, if they didn't do the same thing EVERY Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

2. The Internet Stalker
This type is far more difficult to spot if he/she is content with simply lurking around your favorite social media networks. The problem is, this type is usually progressive in their stalker tendencies. It starts with quiet, little harmless mooning over your profile picture. A bit of lurking never harmed fair maiden nor gent. But then it gets worse. They've finally worked up the nerve to type a "LOL" after some random, hastily flung witticism and you responded! The flood gates of passion can't be contained in the internet stalker when you employ the smiley face. At that point, your pictures, inbox and status are all subject to the one person in the world who can't seem to get enough of you...besides yourself. Before you know it, your friend's list becomes his/her friends list and every comment is mysteriously followed by their comment and the picture you posted of the kitty hanging by it's paws is somehow the funniest thing on Earth.

3. The Emotional Stalker
The emo stalker comes with paperwork. Ever have that one friend who makes the weirdest sexually inappropriate jokes, but you're willing to overlook it because when you need to vent, they're the "go to" person? Here's a clue: That person ACTUALLY thinks you're the beeknees and is too afraid/crazy/delusional,  shy to let you know. Where's the harm in that? I'll tell ya! The same hand that's there to wipe your tears is attached to an arm that is blocking any additional interactions in your life. Isolation is a stalkers bread and butter. How can we test this theory? I'm glad you asked. Present Loopy Du Jour with a scenario in which you are a complete and unrepentant rogue. Some sort of cross between Mengle and Lindsay know a complete screw up who punches baby ducks for jollies. If you present your utterly disturbing scenario and they blame the "witless victim" rationalizing that ducks have all those feathers and can take a could have a potential emo~stalker or an overly supportive friend. If however, they suggest that you two team up and punch ducks because they need to be taken down a!

It's easy to let the object of your desire and a dash of fantsy run away with you. In fact, our society encourages it. (How else do you explain "scripted reality shows"?!). The key is to realize when you may have obliterated stepped over the line. If you recognize yourself in any of the above...its time for a the country...alone!

And what if you're the person being ardently pursued? Stop being so damned alluring, witty, charming and irresistible...and if all else fails, wear something comfy. That trunk ride to the country can get pretty bumpy!