Can I Keep It Real For A Second? About Love…My Changing Perspective.

***This is written as the thoughts are coming…I just got off the phone with V and shared some really deep things regarding my life with her…it now has me thinking…I figure I can’t be the only one in this place right now***

Recently, events in my life have forced me to confront my outlook on love.  L-O-V-E.  I’ve been taking a critical eye, examining it and truly questioning its value…is it worth it?  I suck for that.  The Bible is all about love, God is love and life is…love.

But why does it have to hurt though?  And be so challenging?  Is that not the biggest oxymoron of all oxymorons?  For something like that to be so POWERFUL, so MONUMENTAL, so LIFE-CHANGING, why can it not be simpler?  Easier?  More effortless?  (and no, I’m not speaking on exclusive “romantic relationship” love…all of it.  All of it is rarely ever EASY…at least to me it seems that way)

“I love you” is not a daily part of my vocabulary.  I use it sparingly…too sparingly at times.  Sometimes when it’s time to hang up with somone, I get ready to say it then close my mouth…despite the fact that I love them to death, something in me just won’t let me go there.  I hate that.  And it may be a family member or something…Ty comes to mind lol.

Once you say it, it can’t be taken back.  If you use it, you better mean it…despite my outlook on the topic, to say “I love you” still means a LOT to me and goes a LONG way with me.

So yeah, recently I’ve been thinking a lot about this…the good, a lot of the bad and the flat out ugly.  And then today I was reading Shelby’s blog and she wrote a post on love’s importance.  And man, did it hit home.

Ultimately it’s saying that love and our relationships are what life is about.  All Ten Comandments deal directly with love/respect in relationships and things such as money, future promotions, random interests, building empires and the overall “grind” have NEVER been a proper substitute.  To place those things over our relationships with family, friends and other significant people in our lives is an EPIC fail.  I needed this.  I’ve found myself giving 90% of myself to my “work” and internally, my Spirit has not been okay with this.  My family and friends are my world and my priorities don’t reflect this.

I need to change.

Below is Shelby’s article.  Read it.  This may be the reminder you need to get a new perspective on the life you lead.  I know it has served as a reminder to me.

Life’s Passion-Love

My life’s passion is definitely “love” – I know it’s weird, but I fundamentally believe there is nothing more important than love. With that said, yesterday after having a conversation about “why my passion is love and not pastry arts school” with a few classmates (yikes), Mike and I decided to crack open “The Purpose Driven Life” and by “coincidence” we read this. It literally gave me goose bumps, so I had to share it. So out of love – I paraphrased a section from the book (chapter 16) Enjoy!

The Best Use of Life is Love
By Rick Warren
Summarized by me
 
Love should be your top priority, primary objective and greatest ambition. Love is not a good part of your life, it is the most important part. The Bible says, “let love be your greatest aim.” It’s not enough to say that I want to be more loving as though it’s on your top ten list. Relationships must be the priority in your life above everything else. Why?
 
– Life without love is worthless. Paul says ” no matter what I say, what I believe, what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” Many times we talk about finding time for our relationships – like relationships are something that must be squeezed into our schedules. But God says that relationships are what life is all about. Four of the ten commandments deal with a relationship with Christ, the other six deal with relationships with other people. All ten are about relationships. 
 
Later Jesus summarizes what matters most to God: Love God and love people. Relationships not acquisitions and achievements matter most in life. So why do we allow our relationships get the short end of the stick? When our schedules start getting busy, we start cutting down time, energy, and attention that relationships require. What’s most important to God is displaced by what’s urgent. 
 
Busyness is a great enemy of relationships. We become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life. THEY ARE NOT. The point of life is learning to love – God and people. Life minus love equals zero.
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An Ode To My Ex-Loves

This is a rant…Do not judge me.  Exclusively, my personal thoughts

                One could say that late Feb/March has been busy for me.  Within the last couple of weeks I’ve heard from three of my exes.  They all are asking about the same thing, several times over, in many different ways.  Ultimately, it looks something like this…

“Ashley, can you PLEASE give me another chance?!”

Heck no.

            It’s all kind of ironic seeing as to how just a few years ago nothing would have delighted me more.  I wouldn’t have been able to shout “Yes!” at the top of my lungs quick enough!  At one point in time I think I could have pictured a happily ever after ending with each of them.  Some I might have known I was settling to be with, but I was ok with that.  Others I shed tears over, but to no avail.  Ultimately, the relationships didn’t work and we went our separate ways.  Here we are a few years later and after coming full circle they insist on asking that inevitable question…

“Well where do we go from here?  Are you sure we can’t try again?”

Nowhere.  And never.

                There’s no looking back for me-I strive to move forward.  Now that I think about it, I’ve never been one to give second chances.  I’ve done it once in my life and I’m still waiting for the results to see if it was successful.  I don’t believe in remaining friends and find it to be so problematic that these men believe that meeting for lunch or dinner to “catch up” is harmless.  Despite saying that they understand my outlook and respect it, no they don’t.  If they did, they wouldn’t ask for dinner, and they certainly wouldn’t insist on the age-old…

“But I’ve changed and have learned from my mistakes.  You were amazing and I was such a fool-I took you for granted.  I can honestly say I regret what happened between us.”

Really…?! Nah…

                I will admit, the first time I heard that the icebox surrounding my heart began to melt a bit.  Does that not sound so sincere?  So earnest?  So heartfelt and desperate?  I loved seeing/hearing that emotion!  I began to wonder if there had finally been a breakthrough.  Was I the inspiration behind changing the man?  Until I heard it again…and again…and again.  Yes, I’ve heard it from four of them in total now.  I’m wondering who the man is that has published this manual that they have all passed around and memorized.  A friend of mine once said, “If it seems like a coincidence, it’s probably not.”  They’re right.  It’s not coincidental that four of my exes have hit me with the same “I’m sorry Ashley/I’ve changed/I want you back.”  The only change that has occurred is the face of the woman they’re spitting the same sorry excuses too.

                My only recommendation to these men who insist that they’ve changed is to put all of this emotion, effort and desire into the next relationship they find themselves in.  Prayerfully she will never experience the hurt that I once knew with that same man.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone; I can see all obstacles, in my way...

Too “Far Away” For Me to Comprehend

            Marsha Ambrosius has been getting a LOT of love lately.  While this amazing singer started out as half of the English duo known as Floetry, she’s now become the most popular new solo artist out right now.  With the release of her debut album, Late Nights & Early Mornings this past Tuesday, she’s shed light on a very sensitive topic in the Black community.

Non-flamboyant, male homosexuality.

            Her second single from the album, “Far Away” speaks to a love that while starting off was burning strong but it has now faded-the other person is so far away.  It’s sad actually.  When listening to the melodic harmonies of the piano and Marsha’s soothing falsetto it carries you away to another place…she makes you remember that love that you may have shared with someone that now seems so far away…

 

            As I sing along with the lyrics, I always picture Marsha with her love, hanging out and vibing strong until one day life’s distractions tear them apart, despite Marsha fighting to hang on, in a desperate attempt to hold on to the loving memories she and her partner once shared. 

Then I saw the music video. 

OMGosh. 

 

            When picturing the song from Marsha’s point of view, the distraction to the relationship was a gay relationship.  Her man left her for another man!  Then, because of societal pressures, her ex-boyfriend committed suicide by overdosing on pills!?  Woooord!?

            I’m angry.  My heart is hurting for Marsha and severe anger towards the man.  How can you date women and men?  Why did you not figure that out before you decided to sweep a woman off of her feet?  The part that really got me is how the ex-boyfriend and his new boyfriend did not fit the stereotype of what “gay” looks like to me.  They had a nice swag in their step, dressed well and didn’t have “limp” wrists.  That’s scary because these are men that I see every day, that my girls and I date.  These are the men that are gay?  Or are straight until they try the other side and decide they like it better?  Or play both sides and sometimes tell us, and sometimes don’t? 

            Maybe I’m angry because it’s disrupted my idea of what “gay” is.  I don’t understand it (as I once believed I did) and do we not hate what we do not know?  She pushed the limits with this latest video and I’m now beyond uncomfortable.  I hate it. 

            A few of my followers on twitter are discussing the video today…many feel very sad and even shed a few tears.  I wonder if anyone else is actually angry about it like me though.

12:30 AM

For the past 3 hours or so I’ve been tuned into SATC (Sex and the City).  Today the complete series arrived and as soon as I got home from work, I popped in Season 1 and tuned in…

As I’ve been watching, as usual I identify which “character” I am…

Samantha is an open sex-freak down for whatever, whenever, however…nope.

Miranda is boyish, not feminine enough and kind of lame…next.

Carrie is cool but she seems too confused, too all over the place and I can’t STAND her relationship with Big.  I’ve begun to hate him…so while she and I share the passion for writing thing, it’s simply not enough…pass.

Charlotte!  Yes, I’m Charlotte.  Charlotte is neat, organized, has everything planned, is prim and proper and overall seems to have a great idea of what she wants.  This is me.  This is me.

But then reality hit me.  Why am I the only one that says I am Charlotte?  EVERYONE who watches this show says that I’m Carrie.  Of course I’m always flabbergasted and encourage them to “see past the shared passion for writing.”  Those who watch the show tell me that they do and still see it…apparently I don’t have it as together as I’d hoped…and I don’t have it all figured out…and dare I be the one to say it…

Have I been stuck with my own form of a Mr. Big?

That’s the real reason why I despise the comparison to Carrie so much.  She doesn’t seem so bad until we come across Mr. Big, easily her biggest weakness.  She is always so strong, persevering and unwavering in her ideals until….[insert any effort/action by Big] and then she’s like putty in his hands.  And the regular people who know Carrie in her daily life aren’t aware that she’s got such a major liability on her hands (besides her girls of course).

We watch how in the beginning it was so easy for her to pass on him-she saw that he was a big deal, but she wasn’t going to sweat him either…but somehow he got in there, and now she’s hooked…she’s fallen…and eventually she’s in love?  Let’s be honest, the only way a woman can stick around like that is after she’s fallen in love.  And where is he?  Playing.  Pursuing his own life.  Allowing Carrie to get in when he feels like it.  And this ridiculous charade continues for years until finally he realizes she’s the one and after standing her up at the alter and crushing her spirit (because he had already broken her heart a couple of times) he decides to wed her in front of a Justice of the Peace.  And we the viewer are supposed to celebrate this?!

Of course common sense says after the first shady move, “Run Carrie, Run!”  But common sense is not so common…and then there’s the quote, “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on so long in the first place.”  And we can’t ignore the fact that Carrie eventually did get a ring.  But was it worth it?

I want to be Charlotte.  Charlotte represents how I chose to see myself, through rose-tinted shades that speak to the romantic that lives inside many of us.  I want to be perfectly coiffed, prim, proper and dainty, with a fabulous plan that I adhere too.

Smh.  And I guess in an effort to be as objective as possible, no one really knows about my own “Mr. Big.”  In recent months, it’s a subject I’ve refused to discuss with even those closest to me.  The comparisons friends have made regarding myself and Carrie are all centered around Carrie’s knack for focusing on unique perspectives of common societal ills, norms and vaules.  In addition, I’ve also been told I have the ability to get people laughing, conversations flowing and different groups of people to interact that possibly normally wouldn’t.  In that regard, it’s a lovely compliment, but I focused on the negative-how unorganized Carrie can seem, how she doesn’t really operate her life with a planner (I prefer specific dates/times, not just “showing up whenever” kind-of-planner) and of course, that dreaded Mr. Big character that I love to hate. 

It’s been at 12:30 tonight that I finally see what others have seen for months.  Figures.

Next time I watch this show, I’m going to focus on the positive things that Carrie brings to the table that reminds others of me instead of the glaringly negative thing that worries me about what my possible future could look like in the worst-case scenario.

That is all folks.  Goodnight.

eHarmony Failed Me!

 

           Earlier last year I was watching tv when one of eHarmony’s numerous commercials aired.  They were advertising for a free connection weekend that had started that Friday and would be lasting until that upcoming Monday.  I was kind of salty that I was unable to take full advantage of the offer since it was already Saturday night-I’d just missed out on two full days of possible matches.

            I quickly found my way to a computer and began signing up (quit judging me).  It sounds a LOT easier than it actually was.  eHarmony had an EXTREMELY detailed and lengthy questionnaire (100+ questions) that asked about everything it seemed.  Some questions were obviously necessary such as, “Are you a smoker?”  Others were a bit redundant-how many ways can you ask me if I consider myself to be a “kind/generous/caring/genuine person?” 

            After finally hitting my last “Continue” button I anxiously sat, awaiting to see my possible matches.  I was met with this message:

“eharmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive research with married couples.  One of the requirements for successful matching is that the participants fall within certain defined profiles.  If we find that we will not be able to match a user using these profiles, we feel it is only fair to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.

Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you.  Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched.  This occurs for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply will not benefit from our service.  We hope that you understand, and we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.”

            Salty.  Who really knows why I wasn’t accepted though-it could’ve been anything.  Maybe I was/am too bossy?  Too dominating?  Too aggressive?  I will admit, at times I can behave like the stereotypical Black women who is unbending/uncompromising.  I have been known to demand “my” way on several occassions.  Eek! 

            Today I signed up again, wondering if I would receive the same disclaimer.  They found matches for me this go around.  If at any time in the future I decide to pursue any of them (i.e. I become desperate) I’ll definitely keep you folks updated! 🙂 lol

#DontAskDontTell

My father has evolved into one of my best friends in recent years. That transition from strict disciplinarian to a figure of advice, gossip, etc wasn’t always the smoothest, but we’ve arrived. As a result, we talk about everything under the sun it seems…weather, friendships, family, dreams, our futures, randomness, etc. We talk about everything except one thing.

Relationships.

I’ve never discussed my men with him, nor has he discussed his women with me. He might’ve seen a boyfriend back in the day who joined me at a family gathering and he does meet male acquaintances on occasion (however these male acquaintances are never anything more than acquaintances), but he never dives too deep when it comes to questions. He’s never done the whole, “So where do you know him from?” or “So what’s he all about-what are you two doing?” I really appreciate that. And for him, I don’t ask questions. Now that he’s married I don’t really ask about the marriage and when he was single I just went with the flow with whoever I was introduced too. He and I have always had this understanding…

Or so I thought.

Today I came into the office and while we were doing our usual small talk and easy going banter I asked, “So, anything special for Valentine’s Day this year?” Of course he responds with the “Girl na! I ain’t thinking nothing about that day.” Then he took it a step further and went into uncharted territory.

“You got any Valentine’s Day plans?”

It was an innocent question. I do in fact have Valentine’s Day plans with someone that Dad probably should have met quite some time ago but hasn’t for whatever reasons. I also have innocent plans with an acquaintance and it just so happens that we made plans before looking at dates on the calendar. Just my luck, right?  One would think I could have shared all of this with my dad. He’s SUPER cool, down-to-earth and just, cool lol. But I didn’t.

“Oh, nothing worth talking about for real…you know.”

Sigh. Maybe by this time next year I’ll have met someone that I feel comfortable introducing to dad and when that question is asked I’ll be able to gush about it. What’s kinda funny to me is that none of my siblings (to my knowledge) discuss these things with him (or anyone really). For example I know I have no idea if my younger brother has a girlfriend/main and vice versa. Sometimes it just be’s like that.

***Sidenote: I wonder if dad’s getting anxious. He’s got 5 kids, the oldest of whom is 35 all the way down to the baby who’s 21. He has NO grandkids and no prospects either. I think I might start feeling anxious lol.  He doesn’t hint at it, but then again, I don’t think he would.  My older brother is getting married this spring (the first marriage of my dad’s kids) and the rest of us aren’t getting married anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I believe we’re all single with no serious prospects. Most men his age are grandparents-they’ve got a few snotty-nosed mongrels running around wrecking havoc at Chuckie Cheese.***

My Grandmother Gives Out My Number…Seriously. SMH

From the time I was younger I’ve always thought my grandmother was fabulous.  She’s always dressed her behind off, has a little sass to let you know she’s not to be played with and most importantly, she does not settle-what Norma Jean wants, Norma Jean gets.  This is all fun and dandy until you get to me.  Since reaching adult age my grandmother and I have clashed quite a bit.  The family says it’s because we’re exactly alike-similar personalities, strong-willed, stubborn and spunky.  My grandmother believes it’s because we’re both Gemini’s.  Whatever lol.

When I was around a sophomore or junior in college my grandmother began attempting to hook me up with different men she encounters while she’s out and about.  I remember one time when I was spending the afternoon with her, she pulled up outside of a Holiday Inn hotel insisting I get out and meet a young man she’d met earlier that day.  She was convinced we’d hit it off because he was an attractive young man, obviously employed and had spoken and been very polite to her.  I was beyond embarrassed and refused to get out of the car.

Yesterday she was up to her old antics.  I was in the office, reviewing a few of the end-of-year reports at work when she rushed in exclaiming, “Oh great Ashley!  You’re just the person I wanted to see.”  Immediately I grew concerned.  Grandma came to the office just to see me (my father owns the business and my younger brother works here as well)?  “Hey, Grandma!” I cautiously exclaimed back.  “What’s goin on?  Talk to me.” 

She began telling me the story of how she’d just left the barbershop where Linda, Grandma’s barber, had just cut her hair.  While there Grandma had struck up a conversation with Trace, a well-groomed, pretty boy she saw in the shop.  After complimenting him on having a “nicely-shaped head,” (seriously) she asked if he knew her beautiful granddaughter, Ashley Yancey.  Upon hearing no, Grandma told him the name of the office I work in and said that I can oftentimes be found there. 

“Grandma!  Why would you do that?  You know I’m not looking for anyone.” 

“Oh Ashley, you’re never looking for anyone.  It’s fine.  Trace said that if he comes in here and see’s you he’s going to extend his hand to you and say, ‘I’m Trace.  I heard about you from your Grandmother.  Hehehe!”

SMH.

After Grandma left the office I got a call from her a few minutes later.  “Ashley, the oddest thing just happened.  I saw I had this number for you but I realized I’ve had it for awhile so I’m checking to make sure this is your current phone number.  I’m updating my contacts.”  “Yes Grandma, this is my number.”  “Ok Ashley, I love you, goodbye.” 

About 20 minutes later Grandma called back.

“Ashley the funniest thing just happened!  Linda called me and Trace happened to be right there so I went ahead and made sure that this is your updated telephone number so that I could give it to Linda.”

“Grandma, did you just give my number to Trace!?”

“Ashley, Ashley!” she exclaimed between giggles, “Trace is such a nice guy, he really is.  He dresses so nice and is so handsome.  He reminds me so much of Ty, I think Trace kind of looks like him [Ty is my brother].  Trace didn’t think he’d be able to stop by the office and he travels a lot for his job so this would be the best.  I mean, isn’t it less awkward on the phone instead of him coming into the office anyway?!  Besides I think he lives in Virginia, or maybe he’s from Virginia.  I don’t know.  But he’s supposed to be calling you sweetheart!” 

Only me folks, only me.  *Praying Trace doesn’t call*