love and grief
we accept one
at the risk of the other
and love is worth it
till it brings the pain
how one loves after loss
that takes might
Category Archives: Relationships
love and grief
While driving on my way to work this morning, I was reminded of just how split-second life is.
Usually, while driving down the street, my windows are down so I can feel the morning air. Well this morning, thankfully, my windows were up.
While I was sitting at a red light, a car headed in the opposite direction caused a huge rock in the street to pick up and smack my driver’s side window. This rock was big. This rock was humbling reality.
I was shaken up for a bit, and thoughts of comas and states of vegetation entered my head. This exact scenario (only with the window down) is actually one of my most horrifying fears. When incidents like this happen, I cope by looking for a message. I believe I am fortunate and increasingly getting on my life’s intended track. And last night I was met with some very fortunate news. This morning’s rock is the balance to my fortune, and the reality that reminds me that I must express gratitude daily and take advantage of every second of my life.
Jacq Friedhof’s essay below is about getting on when the good is gone in a relationship. I wholeheartedly believe, and am reminded by flying rocks, that life is too short to participate in any exchange that is not fulfilling. This includes crappy friendships, lousy relationships and dead-end jobs; even if your job isn’t dead-end, if it’s not what you want to do, if it’s just “safe,” then how is that living?
I have this list; the list of 101 things I want to do and experience in my lifetime. It’s my reminder that I have goals, dreams and goofy, fun stuff that I want to experience. It’s a dream list. It has easily attainable goals and some that are stretching it. But if I don’t know what constitutes my life, how am I to live it?
You’re living when you’re willing to risk starvation to do what you love. You’re living when you have the nerve to walk around the boulder planted in your path because that boulder surely isn’t going to move out of the way on its own!
Not so long ago, I (finally!) found a boyfriend. After not having a man for two years, I was thrilled to have someone who was mine. I’ll call him *Michael. The relationship started out great. He courted me, shared a good amount of time with me. He called daily and picked up the phone when I called. He was a nice guy. He was the person I’d been dreaming of for the two years I was single.
After a few weeks, I did what all women I know do: I began to imagine a future with Michael, and it was good. He was sweet, passionate, and when I was sick he brought things to make me feel better. However, while I was developing all of these feelings and thinking long-term thoughts, I didn’t believe he was thinking these things about me. I decided it was okay because most men I know don’t think the way women do so early in a relationship.
Time went on and Michael made it very clear that we were in an exclusive relationship. When I asked if I was important to him, his answer was always yes. Michael had been cheated on by a previous girlfriend, so it was important for us to not hurt each other in this way. He didn’t even freak out when I started sharing my long-term feelings with him.
Fall semester began at Michael’s chiropractic school, and we started seeing less of each other. He would blame his studies for his lack of time for me. I knew I could accept weekends only as long as we talked everyday. I was busy and I had a lot to do, too. I didn’t want to pressure my new boyfriend, but I also wanted to feel important to him. This request would soon prove difficult for Michael to fulfill.
What began as a stream of hope quickly turned into a stream of doubt. The honeymoon period was ending. I started to wonder if what we had would sustain, particularly as our feelings of lust began to wane. The rose colored glasses were off and I questioned the future with Michael I’d so clearly seen in my head.
As two people grow closer they begin to open up to one another whether it’s good, bad or unfortunate. Not only was he in chiropractic school full-time, but he also lived 60 miles away, which, in Los Angeles, is long distance. He had a lot of issues with his family and I wondered if that would be an obstacle in the long run. I began to wonder if I would ever meet his family and the more he told me about his relationship with them, the more I was content with not meeting them any time soon.
Other issues surfaced, as well. I soon realized that my maturity level was beyond his and, while I thought he was a great person and had the potential to be an even greater partner, we were not on the same level nor were we on the same life timeline. And we wouldn’t be for a while.
Michael said he wasn’t going to be ready to marry for at least five or six years. He still had three years in school and wanted to have an established chiropractic practice before settling down. I supported this philosophy and decided I could take the same five or six years to go to graduate school, build my businesses, write, and do all the other things I do every day. I was on board with this time line. Or so I thought.
It soon became clear to me that I was adjusting personal goals simply to justify being with Michael for the long haul. That’s when I began to freak out. What if, in five to six years, Michael decided that he didn’t want to be with me anymore? What if I decided I didn’t want to be with him? It wasn’t like everything was going smoothly between us. His studies were getting in the way of him making any time for me. He wouldn’t even make phone calls because he was too busy studying. His family was very big on making him feel guilty for not doing things their way, so he’d end up putting me off in order to please them and then apologizing for it later. Michael was 31 years old and I feel that there should come a point where you have to start your own life independent of your family; thirty-one is definitely an age when you can start making those considerations. When I expressed my concerns he was good at telling me things could change, but was even better at showing me that they wouldn’t. It became very clear to me that I was going to either stay in this relationship and secretly date others hoping for something better or I was going to have to end it so I could stay true to my word of not (emotionally) cheating on Michael. I was going to have to choose to be single and alone.
I will be the first to admit that it’s nice knowing someone expects to hear from me at the end of the day; that when I call they will pick up the phone and be happy to hear from me. However, I decided that wasn’t enough to make me happy in this particular relationship. I don’t want to be just comfortable, especially only four months into the relationship. After taking a break, I decided to end things with Michael.
For the first few weeks after the break-up my experience was easier than I expected, but I had my moments of weakness. I kept waiting for Michael to see the light, miss me, and ask me to take him back. He paid me a visit to collect some of his things and it was clear that we missed each other. That evening, it would have been easy for us to just get back together. However, I had to hold on to the reasons why I chose to end things with Michael. Michael is a great guy. Michael would have been fine with what we had. He wasn’t trying to break-up with me. However, he knew and I knew that he couldn’t give me the things I needed to be happy. And I wasn’t happy. When we first broke-up there wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t think of how bad I didn’t have it. He wasn’t going to cheat on me. He wasn’t physically or verbally abusing me. He wasn’t ignoring me. I would think to myself that he wasn’t “that bad.” I could be in so-so relationship just to get some attention. I decided instead that I deserve better than “he wasn’t that bad.”
Michael and I were big on being faithful to one another. When I broke up with him I told him it was necessary because all that would end up happening would be me seeing other men with the hopes of finding something better. I never wanted to cheat on him and possibly hurt him even more. I owe it to myself to be available for the opportunity of love. We all owe it to ourselves to be available for the opportunity of love.
*Name changed to protect the identity of the broken-hearted.
In this newsletter I am going to share a personal essay about why I chose to break-up with someone who wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t hard. It just needed to be done so I could be open to and available for something new; something more.
It’s been over a year since we broke-up, and I don’t regret it at all. I’ve moved on; Surprise! I’m okay!
My good friend, and Relationship Style Editor for the BEB, Ms. Tanisha Everett, recently broke the code that is me and what I expect in a relationship. She said to me, “Feather, you love yourself a lot, and you are looking for someone who will understand that and love you as much or more.” I had never thought about it like that, but she is right. It has taken a long time to get to this place, and I will not settle for less than what I know will be good love. I’m already in a relationship with the love of my life: me. So, I want a partner that sees the value I’ve built within me, and I will do the same for him.
It was today, two days before Valentine’s Day that I was connecting two of my single friends for the big day; two ladies I add. My one friend said to me, “Damn! our society is all I have to say,” as she declared her apathy toward St. Valentine’s Day. I replied to her, “We love Valentine’s Day when we have someone; quite the opposite when we don’t. I am all aboard with the flip flopping of emotions associated with the holiday. I would, however, like to spend it with the same person two years in a row.”
And then I thought about it. I have spent the holiday with the same person two years in a row; in fact, no matter who else I invited to the party, it has been twenty-eight years in a row that I’ve spent Valentine’s Day with the love of my life – ME! It was Oscar Wilde who said “To love one’s self is the beginning of a life-long romance.” I’m not saying that adopting Mr. Wilde’s approach is going to make the annoying jewelry commercials easier to bare, but when it comes down to it, you should be as happy spending the love day (or any day) with yourself as you would with a lover; or gather up your other single friends and go to the latest romantic comedy release, enjoy a champagne dinner or an evening at the spa with each other.
Valentine’s Day isn’t going anywhere and the good thing is you know when it’s coming every single year. No surprises. Sitting around waiting to be depressed on Valentine’s Day is the same thing as not reminding people that it’s your birthday and then getting mad when no one says Happy Birthday.
You can choose to make the best of the day.
It was summer 1996 when I became a scorned woman. I was 18, my heart was broken and I had an anthem: Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know. Truth be told, I wasn’t physically intimate with the guy. I wasn’t scratching my nails down anyone’s back. He didn’t tell me he’d hold me until he died. There were no random acts of “you know what” in a theater. However, for some reason I felt connected to the anger she so clearly expressed through her lyrics. I was rejected; I wasn’t chosen. So whenever it played, and especially when he was around, my friend and I would perform it as though we were Alanis in the video. I’m sure we looked crazy. Music and relationships are like Marc Antony and Cleopatra; Sid and Nancy; Mickey and Minnie; they just fit!
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition, it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly, be that kind of a friend for your friends.”