Dating

XCIX: Love Doesn't Always Win!

We are raised with the fairy tale versions of love and romance. Disney tells us watered-down versions of tragic stories that somehow end in love and not the tragedy that they really ended in, and television shows sell us versions of life that simply don’t exist anymore.

THE REALITY IS…

Rarely do you end up with the love of your life. Rarely do you end up not regretting your ultimate choices. What we miss in all of the Disney stories and TV shows is the fact that reality is much different. When you fight and that loneliness kicks in, the vulnerability kicks in harder and mistakes are made.

When you think that there is no fix to your relationship — because who shows up at your window with a radio playing you guys’ song anymore and apologizing — you take the easy road and you quit because there’s always someone who is also alone who will “help you through your break up”.

Next thing you know, you’re married and regret everything. Love does not “always win” anymore.

RESPONSIBILITY, TIMING, EASE, AND COMFORT ARE THE REAL WINNERS!

Responsibility

Sometimes, doing the right thing is hard and it means hurting 1, 2, or 3 people to ‘be the bigger person’. Sometimes you have to lose everything in the name of being responsible. And sometimes you have to live out everyday knowing full-well what you’ve done and why you’ve done it — you’re stuck. Not in love, but in life…

Timing

The less time you have to spend actually hurting, reflecting and healing, the better, right? These days lazy is the default.

I mean, who wants to sit around and think about the hurt that they’ve caused or actually grow up when they can just scroll down social media or look around and find someone who also doesn’t want to be alone. Next thing you know, we’re calling a fling of convenience “heaven sent” and timing wins again.

Ease

Don’t even have me ramble on in this section, we all know that we are sliding, full force, into the time of ease. Whatever’s easiest is usually the choice for MANY people, and, I mean, in the age of everyone needing attention there are very few people making things anything other than easy.

Comfort

Comfort kills.

And the thing about it is that the first thing that many people say is that they live outside of their comfort zones. But, I guarantee that if you spend one month with them (and not even that long) you will soon see that their comfort zone is their home. It’s all they know. And they are only fooling themselves.

Comfort is what keeps a lot of people where they are. It keeps them for going for what they actually want. It keeps them from trying. It keeps them from being honest. It keeps them from bliss.

But, let them tell it, 🎶comfort don’t live here anymore🎶. Lies.

WITH THESE THINGS BEING THE FACTS OF OUR DAY…

I don’t know whether I’m in full support of leaving any and all situations when they aren’t right or fighting for what you have. I can tell you that I used to fully advocate for fighting for what’s yours, fighting for what you’ve worked at, fighting for “love”.

But…

These days, people are so selfish with their decisions that they really make you have to fight for something that you should have already had! They’re so selfish that they expect any and all of their bad actions to go unpunished. They’re so selfish…

These days, all relationships give me pause — friendships, dating relationships, significant others, etc., with the way a lot of people play, I’ve learned that this game/joke that they’ve made out of love is NOT FOR ME.

so, I DON’T KNOW WHO NEEDS TO HEAR THIS, BUT:

Don’t be their fallback plan.

Don’t be their second choice.

Don’t be the reason that they’re “stuck”.

Don’t be the one who makes your children suffer through a bad marriage just to keep a marriage.

Don’t be the one who ignores all of the signs.

Don’t believe that love won’t knock on your door again.

Don’t convince yourself that you don’t deserve more.

Check yourself.

Check your spouse/partner/bf/gf.

Be real with yourself.

Be real with others.

Keep your head up.

Don’t you ever forget that Love is a privilege reserved for the victor.
— Eli Pope

LXXVII: Have I Called A Post 'Love' Yet?

If I were to choose a Love Language, then it would definitely be in line with Gifting. Not so much receiving gifts, but definitely giving gifts.

Because I am not as physically and verbally expressive as most, I tend to show affection, appreciation, love, and friendship via gifts instead.

FOR ACQUAINTANCES:

I’ve found that I am an odd breed of person because I don’t even have to know everything about you to think of you and get you a gift if I think that it is fitting for you.

There have been instances where I just met a person and in one of our conversations they mentioned that they were a huge fan of something random. And then one day I am in a store and see a trinket in line with that thing and I grab it for them!

That’s just me! Oddly enough, the people who have crossed my path these last couple of years obviously haven’t had giving people in their lives because, when it’s a gift to a guy, he thinks I’m proposing marriage, and when it’s a girl, she thinks I want to be her best-friend! And trust me, neither of these are ever the case.

For this, I feel so badly that they’ve never had a nice person in their lives and am always happy to be the first! But, I’ve also found that these are usually glimpses into more narcissistic or egotistic character traits that I do not need to align myself with, so I let these people pass me by — gift or no gift.

But lucky for them, they were a thought at some point! Making someone feel special is something that brings a joy unlike any other type of joy, especially to me. Give it a try sometime in whatever your Love Language may be.

For Friends:

The majority of my friends receive gifts like random flowers, tickets to things, gift cards or food.

To me, food is a bond and when I can share that bond with others, then I usually can tell that we’ve crossed that boundary into actual friendship. But, I always say, if I can’t even eat in front of you, DO NOT THINK THAT WE ARE FRIENDS, PERIOD.

In my opinion, friends receive the second best gifts that I give (coming second to family). They get the gifts that show my appreciation for their long-lasting presence in my life, their honesty, their loyalty, and their patience in dealing with me (because I am WORK).

I love and appreciate the friends that have stuck by me and I make it a point to show them.

For Dates/More-Than-Friends, but Less-Than-Lovers/and Lovers:

These gifts are usually more sentimental and I certainly put more thought into them.

Because I am naturally a “gifter”, when getting a gift for someone who is working his way into my heart, I definitely spend a good amount of time reflecting on our relationship up to that point before deciding on the appropriate gift. I think back on past conversations about our goals, wants and needs. I think to things that have affected him and I think to things that he’s said to me. But most of all, because a sense of humor is a must when being around me, I think back to things that have made us laugh uncontrollably. These things usually help me most in putting together gifts.

Over the past five years, I’ve put serious thought into gifts for guys twice! This should give you an idea of how rare it is that I even let someone get close enough to care about getting them anything “special”.

Again, I am not affectionate in many ways, but gifting is kind of my thing. Lucky is the man who convinces me to love em’ (& deeply troubled, let’s face it, I’m a handful)!

Now, it’s your turn, what’s your love language?

  1. Gifts — Receiving gifts

  2. Quality Time

  3. Words of Affirmation

  4. Acts of Service — “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

  5. Physical Touch

LXVII: What I've Learned, Thus Far, From 2018?

Here we are! Another installment and another year of lessons!

I’ve changed things up this year and entered into it feeling a bit more liberated than I was in 2017. I had decided early on that I was going to do what I wanted, when I wanted and try things. But, with that, I also opened myself up to people which is something that I normally steer very clear of.

Whenever you open up your heart, mind, and ears to new people, you’ll definitely be learning new lessons, however. Trust me!

So, here are a couple of the lessons that I’ve learned, thus far, this year:

STEER CLEAR OF THOSE WHO WANT YOUR RHYTHM BUT NOT YOUR BLUES

Wanting my rhythm and not my blues simply means that someone wants to be around me when I am happy and having fun, but when stuff hits the fan of life, they want to hit the road.

I’ve had this type of person in my life plenty-a-time!

The bad thing about me, however, is that when it comes to people who I have allowed into my life, I genuinely try my best to keep them.

BUT, sometimes in life you go through things, not to learn to work through them, but to learn to walk away from bad situations

This year has been one big lesson on walking away for me. It gets so lonely sometimes, but walking away from people who want to be around when all is well but leave when things get difficult is a very necessary reality. 

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING

The way you view a situation says a lot about the way you view the world and the way you view yourself.

Now, I generally look at situations from a very realistic standpoint. I also use facts from the past that have created a pattern to assist with the way in which I view those situations. So, in short, when a situation presents itself, I’m an absolute realist through and through.

Now, this year has been filled with ups and downs, and I’ve worked at keeping my outlook on things upbeat enough to allow myself the ability to continue on in whatever direction I am attempting to go in life without letting things get me too down.

Changing my perspective on a lot of the things that have happened to me lately has seriously helped. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so necessary. A lot of times, perspective comes through in the form of a glass being half empty or a glass being half full. 2018 has taught me to look at things with the glass half full which has allowed me the opportunity to fill it the rest of the way on my own.

WHEN SOMETHING IS FOR YOU, IT WILL ALWAYS BECOME YOURS

This is super important for me to remember! 

I oftentimes work overtime to keep friendships and relationships with people who have never even deserved my time in the first place. It’s in my nature, however, to nurture those relationships...

BUT, when a relationship is for you, it will be yours without all of the tug-of-war! I forget this so much and it results in me making people feel way more needed than they actually are by trying to keep them in my life.

This is a habit, in me, that needs to be left in 2018. Because, trust me, you won’t be forcing the friendships and relationships that are meant to happen!  

BE REAL WITH EVERYONE AT ALL TIMES 

Now, first and foremost, you have to be real with yourself! But after that, you have to be real with everyone else.

I met someone this year who was such a gem! A beautiful soul inside and out. But, if you asked me, now, whether or not I still know this person, then my answer would honestly have to be ‘no’.

This person was so good at pretending to be the great person that I grew to very fondly enjoy, but [as you’ll read below] people can only pretend for so long (and sometimes for too long) before their true colors show.

It turns out that this person was a complete stranger to me when they showed me who they really were. What a shock!

I can see from that situation that it is, a lot of times, hard for some people to just be themselves which, to me, seems like it would be more work to pretend to be someone or something else. But, I digress, …

People usually teach me the biggest lessons and from this person, I’ve learned that you have to be super mindful of who and what you are. Remain true to yourself no matter the situation.

Real will attract real, but you have to weed through a lot of fake to get to it.

PEOPLE ARE GOOD AT PRETENDING — WATCH FOR SIGNS

I have made the mistake of underestimating the amount of time that people can live while being fake and, trust me, they can go the distance. 

But, I’ve learned that, eventually the real will always come out. 

I’ve had two friends while in school that people have completely warned me about but I ignored it and instead defended them because I wanted to base my reactions to them solely on my experiences. In hindsight, I completely wish that I would’ve listened to those people, but I didn’t, so I had to eat that loss.

I didn’t believe these things because people are so good at pretending to be things that they are not. They immitate the things that they see being attracted by others. They become so good at the facade that it’s undetectable to eyes that want to believe what they see.

But, I’ve seen that faking it gets exhaustive and they will eventually show their true colors. Some people don’t last a week, others take months, and one took years!  

 My advice to myself and others would simply be to jump ship as soon as the first sign becomes apparent. We’re so inclined to ignore the little signs because we’re enjoying the bigger moments, but trust me, cutting these people off early on is always best. 


So, there you have it! 2018 has taught me A LOT about people and how I should approach the next batch that I meet in life.

But, most of all, 2018 has taught me to look at situations from multiple angles: yes, losing a job will hurt, but there are so many benefits to it; yes, losing a ‘friend’ will hurt, but I’ve gained so many more who actually seem good; and, yes, loving someone is difficult, especially when you’re on completely different wavelengths as far as life is concerned, but opening your heart to someone has the never-ending benefit of showing you so much about yourself!

So for that, 2018, I thank you! 🎊🎊🎊

XVII: Can I Just Tell You All The Ways That I Am NOT Killing It Right Now?

As much as I am sure you'd all like to believe someone else has all of their stuff together, I can assure you that 9 times out of 10, they do not. Let me forever be the first to make it known that I am flourishing in nary an area of my life at the moment. No, I'm not joking. Let me explain... 

Work

Have you ever rode on a stationary bike? You worked hard on that bike, no? But, when you got off, you were in the same spot you were when you started, weren't ya? 

That's me all day at work. I feel like I work so hard sometimes that I break a sweat! No, I really sit at my desk sweating (for no reason, mind you) and just typing away in an effort to reduce the piles of work on my desk and in the inbox of my emails. When five o'clock hits, all of those piles are still there and my emails are still in the double digits. 

This has really started to weigh on me. It causes me, instead of working harder, to feel as though I am stuck whether I'm working or not. I look at the piles and instead of becoming motivated, I become discouraged. I begin to think that, even if I work my butt off, it will never end this cycle. And so begins the downward spiral. At that point, I am no longer filled with the joy of waking up to report to a job that I love. Instead, I dread waking up and heading out to another day of not being good enough. But, I was told that this is just another part of life that I am tasked with getting through. I've accepted that challenge and am working hard to keep my head above the rough waters that my job has been throwing at me.  

School

I will preface this by saying that I am handling school so much better this semester than I did last semester. I had no idea what was going on last semester and the first time that I actually opened up my books was to study for finals. 

This semester, however, I know where all of my classes are, I attend them and I've read some books. But, let's be real, it is law school. There is not a day that doing the bare minimum will get you by. So, in short, I am simply not killing this law school thing right now. Blame it on the exhaustion. Blame it on the burn-out. Blame it on me actually wanting to have a life for a little while instead of giving in to the guilt of not studying. 

Whatever I choose to blame it on this week, something's got to give, because with the fast-paced environment of law school and its competitive nature, you just can't take time out to feel sorry for yourself or to feel tired/burned-out. 

Dating

Wait, what is that? 

No really. I took a year and some change to just completely be out of the dating game. This meant no talking to men (unless it was business), no entertaining men, no flirting, nothing beyond basic conversation. It was a great year! But it also took away whatever minimal ability I had to do these things before.

I was awkward in social situations then, but oh if you could see me now, you’d be amazed. It’s almost like watching your parents try to compose a text, or my favorite, watching your parents create a Facebook post. It's painful for everyone within a 50-foot radius, let me tell you. 

Although I am back in a space where I am open to having an adventure buddy and someone to go eat at random places with that won't judge my portions, I am also in a space where the prospects are slim to non-existent (blame it on my year of non-social activities). I am also deeply opposed to any form of "social dating," so if you slide past my profile on a dating app I can assure you that you are being Catfish-ed. Call Nev and Max immediately!

Curse me and my belief in an old-school attachment. In holding out for that, and even in trying to create that attachment, I very easily become discouraged at the thought of venturing into this world of vulnerability. One day I am super excited to be this open and vulnerable, and the next day I am cursing to the wind about how stupid it is. 

Will I ever figure this out? Who knows, but just know that I am currently not killing the dating game. 

Working Out

I have never been one to spend hours in the gym. I do not believe that a good workout takes half a day. I think that you can get in, get it done, and get out. I have no clue what the people that spend an hour and a half in the gym, with a notepad, are doing, except being in the way of the people that don't need to look at pictures to use the equipment (Hi! That's me).

With this said, I used to have a strict workout regimen, and it worked for me. I’d wake up in the morning, go for a run, go to work, go to class, go home, do homework and go to bed. The only alterations I’d make to that schedule were to change my morning run to a lunch time run. It worked for me until it didn’t work for me. 

Nowadays, I find it harder to wake up in the morning, even harder to get out of bed, and please believe that I am in bed earlier and earlier every night. I make all kinds of excuses for not working out knowing that working out is the only thing, at this point, that keeps me somewhat sane. 

The worst part of all of this is that my lack of physical activities is starting to show. Those that know me know that I maintain somewhat of an athlete's body. I've grown to love this little fact about me, but these days that athletic build is turning into mush. I have love handles. I am losing every row of abs that I previously had. My arms are turning into flab, and for the first time in my life, I think I have actual back fat. 

So, as far as working out is concerned, I am not even close to killing it, but I am slowly but surely working my way back to where I once was.

Friendships

I am so sad to say that, this year, I am having more lights shown on the faces of more fake friends. The shadows that this casts is uncomfortable to say the least. More so because I keep hope that they will change or get better (as if fake is a curable disease). 

With every realization, I am left feeling emptier and emptier. Let's just say that, once I allow you in, I put way more faith in you than you likely deserve. Losing a friend usually hurts me as much as losing a "lover." I am not one to form relationships with just anyone. I take the process very seriously, so whenever I find out that I was not as good a judge of character as I'd intended, it usually breaks me down. 

This all leaves me passing out way more side-eyes than smiles which is just not a way to live your life. How pleasant can life be when you feel as though you have to constantly watch your back with those closest to you just to make sure that they don't stab you (as if you could stop it)?

I am, however, optimistic that getting rid of the old batch of friends will bloom new and beautiful connections that I couldn't have projected while in the shadows of the fake friends. 


So, although I am not batting a perfect .400, or even a .300, I am optimistic that all of the walls that I've seemed to hit lately will yield beautiful detours to breathtaking ends. 

This is me creating my own light and good fortune. We shall see how long this lasts... 


Strive, forever, to be the ‘Selfless’ in the land of the Selfish.
— Brianna J.