how do you define a relationship?

“and if you want to consistently go out with and have sex with the same person, that’s a relationship”

My homie and I were on the phone while she was IMing with another friend. She was telling me about their convo and read the above aloud. Forgetting I’m at work, I say (a bit loudly) “Sheeeeeit it takes more than that constitute a relationship.” I’ve been in…let’s find a delicate way to express the italicized…situation like the above and they were the furthest thing from a relationship. Hell at some points, they weren’t anywhere near to a friendship. It was a mutual need being assuaged.

This got me to thinking about what I believe a relationship entails.. As I vehemently denied that the above is indeed, a relationship, I cannot clearly define what I assume one to be for others. We all have our own sets of standards. I know only what my (healthy) relationships were based upon. Mutual admiration is what drew us to each other initially, but common interests and a genuine affection for one another is allowed them to flourish.

Excuse me for being crass, dinners and dick are nice, but a relationship is about more than that. it’s about having a support system when things feel like they’re about to crumble. It’s about companions who challenge you to do better and be better. It’s about inside jokes and secret caresses and raised eyebrows across a room signaling the time for an exit. It’s about fighting and making up and fighting again because the making up was so good. It’s not perfect. It’s not always happy, but the love is evident. It rings through clearly in your actions and words for your partner.

And yes, sex is a part of that, but for me? A situation that is solely dependent on sex? Not a relationship. That’s a fuck buddy situation. And again, being honest, there’s nothing wrong with that. There is certain a time & place for those types of situations in some people’s lives. But to convince yourself that regular trips to the Olive Garden for penne pasta and back to the crib for him to put his penis in your Secret Garden is a relationship is doing a great disservice, in my opinion.

Whatchall think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Lemme know…

JCorp ™

I was talking to a friend the other day & we got on the subject of the different levels of friendship. I like to think of my friendships like a business (JCorp) with me as Owner, President, CEO, CFO, C3PO, whatever other acronym you wanna throw in there that means I’m in charge of everything, haha! As the person in charge of this friendship business, I decide whom to hire and fire at will. Upon being hired into JCorp, people are either promoted or demoted as I see fit. Not everyone in my life is privy to the same information. This amount of information to which they are privy equals the level to which a person is ascribed. For me, the levels are as follows:

*Entry-level – These are simply folks with whom I’ve had some sort of contact. We speak in passing, but hold no indepth convos beyond pleasantries. Some coworkers and classmates fit into this category.

*Mid-level – A slight step above the previous group. We exchange more than just pleasantries, but do not hang out like that.

*Senior Level – We talk on a semi-regular basis. Hang out sometimes. Usually by extension of another friend.

*Middle Management – We talk on a regular basis. They know some details of my personal life. We hang out more frequently than Senior Level. My family knows of them.

*Upper Management – We talk weekly (at the least). They know the ins and outs and goingsons of my life. We get together on a regular basis & chill. I have their back & they know I have theirs. My family considers them family. Commonly referred to as my sistas.

*Board of Trustees – AK47. If you ain’t them, you don’t even know what that means.

The levels are not based on the length of time that I have known any person. Hell there are some people in Upper Management whom I’ve known less than some people who are still at an Entry-Level position. The difference between these folks is that they have proven to be trustworthy & dependable. We click, mesh, etc.

The conversation that sparked this blog was about a person I know is jealous of another friend’s relationship with a mutual friend. She does not understand that with every person there are tiers of friendship. Perhaps she should be content with the level of frienship in which she is now quaintly ensconced and roll with it. Don’t worry about whether or not she knows all the intricate details of her friend’s life. Just like with any job, if she works at this friendship & shows her ability to be a real friend, she might get promoted. Until she proves worthy of promotion, however, I’m sure she will remain at the Mid-Level position in which she is currently.

I’ve never dated, but I’m ready to start.

Some people might be tryna call shenanigans on that title, but it’s all truth. I’ve never really dated anyone in the traditional sense. I’ve been in relationships. I’ve not been in relationships (read between the lines). But I cannot honestly recall just dating around. They say that’s what your 20s are for, but clearly I didn’t get the memo on that.

Every guy* that I’ve been in a relationship with has been someone with whom I was previously acquainted. We were either neighbors, classmates, friends and that moved on to something greater at some point. I’ve never had the whole “meet a perfect stranger, go out a few times, have it fizzle” or “meet a perfect stranger, go out a while, decide to make it stick” type flow happen. I would welcome that actually. To be honest, I’m over relationships ruining my friendships. It’s the main reason why I have a smooth ZERO male platonic friends today. (.__.)

For the past few years, I’ve put myself on a men hiatus. I (awkwardly) flirted and crushed and lusted and slipped a la Nina Mosley a few times, but was not really tryna get yoked up like that. I needed some time to get my head right. To be perfectly frank, I had a lot of shit going on mentally that lead to the breakdown of relationships. Relationships that had I been introduced to now? Would probably still be going strong. An inability to recognize and accept honest and true love impeded my ability to take things at face value. I always felt like people had ulterior motives (& some did–shoutout to [name redacted]!) and never fully let down my guard.

Now? I’m on my Nina Simone “it’s a new dawn/ it’s a new day/ it’s a new life/ and i’m feeling good….” Great, right? I should be able to jump right into this dating thing and start meeting people right? In a perfect world, yes. In J.Nic’s world? Sheeeeeeeeit. Like, I don’t even know where to begin. Harpo’s Jook Joint? The gym? On the streets? Online**? Via friends?

Ok, I had to laugh at the last option myself. No shade toward my friends, but I honestly do not think a single one of them could tell you my type of guy. Honestly, I don’t have a “type” per se, as much as I am seeking a guy who is an eclectic mix of a whole bunch of qualities and knows well enough to leave me the damn hell alone when I’m asking him to, ha. Physically, I’ve been attracted to guys that run that gamut. The only consistency in that area is that all were taller than me. And with me standing at a statuesque five feet even, that’s not a hard criterion to meet.

So you daters out there, tell me your secrets. I am listening. For serious.

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*Well, nearly every guy. There was the one dude who was my man, despite me being unawares. *He* was a stranger. Seeing as how we’d only seen each other a few weeks & most of that “seeing” was actually talking–I call shenanigans. This was also the dude who sang that Diddy jawn “Last Night” on my vm when I didn’t answer one day.

**Coincidentally while writing this post I just got a notification from an online dating profile I set up nearly a year ago and never gave a second glance. Apparently I have a new message waiting for me. Perhaps I should check it out.

transparency…

Initially when I sat down to write today, I had another, completely different yet oddly related idea in mind for what I wanted to sit here and type about. Then I logged onto tha twittas and saw something that took me down a different thought path, so here I am.

This is a personal blog. Most of its fodder comes from my (random) thoughts or events I’ve witnessed and feel a need to talk about. It’s my life, for the most part, unfiltered. I allow y’all a bird’s eye view into my world with the understanding that you will have comments or thoughts, whether or not you choose to express them. I do, however, at times struggle with how much to actually reveal in this space.

You see at some point, I feel like too much transparency leads the way into attention whoredom. While I do like to feel like I’m being read & understood as much as the next man, I don’t exactly want people to read too much into what I do or choose to post about.

a delicate line…

I’m on Twitter a lot. Anyone who knows me and/or follows me can attest to this. While on Twitter, I’ve come across a phenomenon that, while I have seen it in real life, seems to be more acute there. As it is a platform for one to throwing their thoughts, feelings, opinions, nonsense into blank space and others to either choose to dialogue (be it in a positive or negative way) about it. Just like in real life, relationships are formed. Bonds made. Boundaries crossed. Lines blurred. Etc etc etc.There comes a point in time when certain people just will not get along and at this point a choice has to be made. Will you pretend that person doesn’t exist by blocking them to holy hell and filtering every combination of their username/@name in whatever application in which you view Twitter or will you passive aggressively attack said person each time he/she manages to cross your timeline? It’s a simple choice really, but some people struggle with it.

So that’s part one of the equation. Now here’s the second part. You’re friendly with both parties from that contemptuous relation mentioned above. You hold both in pretty high regard and consider them to be important people in your life. My point (and there is one, despite my slowness to arrive at it) is that sometimes your friends may not like other folks with whom you are acquainted, right? And that feeling is mutual, right? So how do you, as the impartial party, manage to essentially stay out of their mess? Especially when one side of the friends constantly decides to talk shit about the other side of the friends. Does this make sense?

I should note, because some of *my* friends read this. This has nothing to do with anyone any of your know personally. It’s something I’ve been wondering about in my head thanks to me being nosey and reading between the subtweet lines of some of the people I follow, heh. I’ve been the person in the middle, IRL, and it truly is a delicate situation. Especially if one of the parties involved isn’t the most mature. You’re constantly on edge, trying to remember not to mention the person that they dislike for fear of hearing a long diatribe as to why they do not like the person. Like you don’t already damn hell know. No matter what has gone down between you and my other friend, if I consider them a *true* friend, he/she ain’t gon be too many bitches/mfs/etc. before I cuss YOU smooth out.

The Evolution of Emotion

Alternately titled Motherfuck My Birthday.

When it comes to my emotions, I go from zero to sixty in less than three seconds. It doesn’t matter if it’s happniess, sadness, anxiety, whatever–there is no slow buildup of emotion. One minute I’m chillin’, then next I’m on level red of the Emo Alert System. The intensity and rapidness with which I feel emotions is sometimes scary to me, especially when I am angry. I don’t know how to turn it off, tbh. If I concentrate really hard, I can calm myself down fairly quickly–but I can’t always recenter myself.

So if you’ve been keeping track, I turned thirty on Saturday. I kept vacillating between making plans or just being low key. As this is a milestone birthday and should be handled as such, I decided to make plans. So, I did a family dinner on my actual birthday. I was probably obnoxious with the amount of emails/texts/FB alerts/etc I sent out, but I really wanted everyone to be able to come and feel included. For a family as large as I have, the response was lukewarm and I was feeling some kind of way about it. I feel like I support everyone’s endeavors & make every event that I can, so some sort of reciprocity would be nice. Right? That’s only fair. I wanted nothing more than their companionship on my special day, but they couldn’t even offer that? Ok fine, whatever.

I quickly got over that and concentrated on the folks who were coming out. Grateful to be surrounded by them, but still kinda hesitant as the day loomed ahead. I’ve talked about my parents (& their tempestuous relationship) in this space before, I think. Bottom line is that they’ve been split up for nearly a decade and my father is currently ensconced in a relationship with a woman I’ve come to respect and love. So when I planned this family dinner, of course she was going to be there.

Prior to the dinner, my mother specifically asked  “Who from your father’s side is coming?” She always does this. In those two words italicized there is derision. True, I am closer to the maternal side of my family. Why? I grew up with them being around ALL THE TIME. My maternal cousins and I are more like siblings as we spent so much time together. My paternal side of the family didn’t (and really still don’t) spend a ton of time together. They only get together for major milestones, thus my interactions with them were infrequent. I knew she was asking this question to be ornery, so I made it a point to emphasize that my dad AND his gf were coming. The point in the previous sentence is important, so please keep that in mind as I progress.

I was running a tisch behind because I was watching SVU  wanted to look especially well put together for my special day. When we arrived, my dad and his girlfriend were there as well as my aunt (mom’s sister–this is important, too) and her boyfriend. They were in conversation, but I broke that all up with hugs and such, haha. We settled and my dad introduced my mom to his gf. The polite thing to do when someone joins a table and there are only two who aren’t previously acquainted, eh? I was too busy in my phone, so I don’t know what her physical reaction was. I only heard my dad’s gf make “pleased to meet you” type sounds. They razz me for being all in my phone, so I look up and join the conversation. My mother might as well have been a statue as she sat mute and unmoving. I knew then that the night had the potential to be awkward.

At one point, before everyone else arrived, she just left the table and went somewhere. I don’t know where, but immediately I turned to my aunt and say “Ok am I gonna have to get your sister together tonight or will you be doing the honors?” My aunt basically just said to ignore it and enjoy my night, but honestly I just couldn’t. Finally the rest of our party joins and we start to eat. I meander down to the other side of the table and notice my mom only really talking specifically to one of my cousins. I knew she was talking shit, but the extent to which* wasn’t revealed to me until the next day. I tried ignoring it, but feelings of anger and disappointment gnawed at me. I expected more out of her, to be honest. This day wasn’t about her. It wasn’t about whatever feelings she has about my dad. It wasn’t about acting like a petulant child. It was the one day when everything SHOULD have been about me, but it wasn’t.

The only thing I truly wanted was for everyone to get together and have fun. And they did, except for her…and me. I found myself getting wound up at several points during the evening and I tried calming, but it was evident that I was not pleased as people kept asking if I were okay. And I lied and said I was because I didn’t want things to get even more stilted or awkward. To be honest I was just over my mother altogether and really didn’t even wanna ride home with her. Had my cousin not had to go pick up Ikey, I would have ridden home with her and her fiance.

On the ride home, my mom asked if I enjoyed myself and I couldn’t even answer. I just made sounds that could have gone either way. My sister (dad’s daughter) was unable to make it & I was sort of upset about that. In the past, my mom and sister have always had a strained relationship. My sister has matured enough to get over it, but my mom still feels some kind of way about her. We’re riding home in stone silence and all of a sudden my mom goes “This is just a joke, but why didn’t Tee come? I wasn’t gonna set shit off. She coulda came.” I just looked at her. No you weren’t going to set shit off, you were going to sit there and act like a fucking child because you don’t know how to behave in situations that require delicacy. Actually no, there was no delicacy requirement at all. She just needed to sit there and act like a fucking grownup.

Talking to her about what she does never helps. She consistently does and says things that are hurtful, but when she is called to the carpet, she gets defensive and makes ME feel bad. Every time I try to talk to one of her siblings about her behavior (& get some help), I get the same “well you know that’s how Jan is.” And yes, that is how she is, but I shouldn’t have to accept that. I demand better of her because I know she can do better. My grandmother (God rest her soul) did not raise people to behave in the ways in which my mother acts. She really just needs to grow the fuck up and get some help for the subscriptions (oh we’ve long surpassed issues) she has.

One of the reasons that I am hesitant to have kids is because I see parts of her in me. I don’t want to be the type of mother she is. I don’t want my children to grow up with feelings of contempt for me as I have for her. It’s not all bad. I know I’ve harped on all of her worst qualities in this post, but it’s a vent session really. Deep inside I know she’s a good person, but until she works out whatever the fuck is going on within her? She will continue to hurt people and make them not want to include her in things.

*In recapping the night w/ one of my cousins I found out that the following sentences were uttered “I wasn’t told that [my father and his girlfriend] were coming because if I knew that I would have done something else with my daughter” and “[my aunt] is MY sister. where is her loyalty? why is she talking to them?” What a fucking maroon!

 

ULAM: “Not only am I the president, I’m also a member…”

$5 & the shot of your choice to whomever gets the titular reference.

So yesterday this happened:

 And with that I knew I had something to talk about today. So can we talk about how using words like always and never usually lead me to believe a statement is untrue? Can we also talk about how there would essentially be no need to the word “unrequited” to exist if all people liked all others who expressed the slightest amount interest in them? And finally can we talk about how that statement is a lie and I am offended? LOL, ok not really, but I had to give him the “C’mon Son!” face when I saw that comment.

This may make me sound sadder than the tears of a clown, but I’d venture to say that about 47% of the guys I’ve ever liked in my lifetime have NOT liked me back. I have a thing for the unattainable, what can I say? Anyway, I think what Suga said is the only plausible excuse for this man’s train of thought. If you’re not given many choices, some folks are grateful for whatever bones are being thrown and accept all overtures. Me, myself…I like to think that I was created for a special purpose…oh…uh, wait–that’s a Beyoncé lyric. Personally, I’m a bit more discerning and believe that there is a greater majority who tends to feel the same way.

And furthermore, if you’re not really interested in a person, but are of the mind that “maybe I can grow to like him/her”? Fuck you sincerely. LMAO! I say this as a person who went out on a date with a guy I was really feeling but who was indifferent towards me. The entire date was awful. Conversation over dinner was awkward and I feigned an emergency to forego the post-dinner activity we had planned. The entire time it just felt like he thought he was doing me a favor by going out with me. Which? Bruh, not really. He wasn’t the first nor would he be the last guy that I’d crushed on who didn’t return the feelings.

It’s irresponsible, in my opinion, to give folks false hopes. I know some people do not do well with confrontation or hell, in some cases communication, but sometimes you gotta just be honest with people. I have much more respect for dudes who flat out tell me, “I’m not feeling you in that way” as opposed to dudes who were like the one above that give people “sympathy dates”. Unless you’re dealing with someone who is unhinged, I think that folks would rather have the truth over your pity any day.

Naming names…

I’ve been feeling real sentimental lately. In lieu of paragraphs about some random topic, I just wanna thank some people. Some I know personally, some I don’t. Some are still with me, some have left or been pushed out. What they have in common is the effect they all had on me in some way.

Mommy: For unconditional love despite our clashes. For being there every time I need you.

Daddy: For believing in me when I don’t even believe in myself. For dropping everything to make sure I’m all right.

Grandma Rosie: For still being here despite transcending nearly 18 years ago.

Dannie: For listening, laughter, Collin, & telling it to me straight.

Day: For food, fellowship, laughter, my awesome angel babies Deb & Nea & the ‘dos.

Auntie D: For strength and light and love and laughter.

The rest of the [redacted] clan & their descendants: For love and truth and laughter and tears and frustration. But mostly for love.

Kiki: For enlightenment and forgiveness and love. Consistency is key & we’re proved to be the most inconsistent consistent people. I love that for us.

Cheryl: For friendship and patience and brunching. Yes, the brunching ; )

Trina: For every damn thing ever. You already know, Veep. Me & you us never part, sis.

Allyson: For 2001 and beyond.

Jenny Rae: For your incredible spirit that cannot even be expressed in words. And Le Cordon Orange. And the crafts. And Oktoberfest.

The Fans: For fellowship. And ridiculousness. And the dramz, always the dramz.

Sarah: For pushing me to try something new and not hating me when I bailed.

Meera: For laughter and tears and hoshit stories and friendship.

Lisa: For pushing me despite my stubbornness. And hospitality. And ratchetry; always the ratchetry.

TNT: For betrayal and eventual recovery.

B Dot: For breaking my heart.

John: For…*ahem* building forts.

S.Dot: For love.

Kelly: For “Ready” and “Maybe” and “Racehorse” and “Addicted” and singing my life with your words.

B: For 4 and DIL and and BD and IA…SF.

Janet: For escapades and nations of rhythm. For inspiring a need for change. For singing about hope and love and hoshit.

ZNH: For dialect and discovery and delightful stories.

TM: For Sula and Milkman and words crafted with care.

Ready for love

No my title isn’t referencing that insipid India.Arie song. I’m normally here for I-Dot, but there is something about that song that chafes my hide. Anyway…so this weekend was spent amongst my single girlfriends and inevitable the talk turned to the idea of marriage & kids during various points of the weekend. Then nearly everywhere we went we were surrounded by cute couples, kids & all that jazz. I started feeling some kind of way.

Since 2010 I’ve been on an unofficial relationship hiatus. I broke things off w/ someone that I cared about at the end of 09 & swore off dating for a while. My last few relationships hadn’t worked out in the way that I wished they would and I was burned out. My feelings aren’t Teflon & I’d basically been through the wringer one too many times. I decided to step back, fix some things with myself & then start over again.

Well before I knew it I was completely disinterested in forming any lasting bonds with anyone. I…had…er, fun for a few months before that got old. By mid 2010 I was content with just being alone. I was beginning my journey of introspection and didn’t want any distraction. But every now and again those old feelings would creep in and I’d think about calling off my hiatus. The feeling usually passed within a few weeks & I’d be back to business as normal.

For the past few months, however, I’ve been increasingly feeling lonely. I don’t know if it is because of my impending milestone birthday or because I just got to witness one of my best friends marry her love (more on that later), but I finally think I’m ready. There are still some things that I’m working on within myself, but I’m ready to try. I’m open to the possibility. I’m willing to take the risk & hope the rewards reaped are worth it.

Blessed!

Woke up this morning & one of the first songs I heard was Jill Scott’s “Blessed”. That shoulda told me I was in store for a great day. I knew my friends had a surprise in store for me, but I had no idea as to what it would be. We arrived at my friends’ house & they had t all decorated in fun “happy 30th b’day” stuff with mimosas waiting. If you know nothing else about me, know that I LOVE champagne.

As the rest of the day unfolded, they planned events that spoke to different facets of my personality that those who know me best are aware of. As I sit here currently in a food coma in the back seat I am overwhelmed. I could cry, tbh. To know that I’m surrounded by people who care this much about me to plan something BEFORE my birthday & tailor it to specifications that I wouldn’t even have thought about?! Girl listen…I am verklempt!

Take a minute amongst yourselves to discuss: a peanut is neither a pea nor a nut. LOL

To my friends who conspired to surprise the girl who hates surprises: THANK YOU,BITCHES! LOL I love you more than words could ever express!