Monday, April 27, 2015

From My Journal: When He Arrives & You Aren't Ready

My mother sometimes speaks in cliches. 

I grow weary of certain sayings, knowing they've been carved into my memory, thanks to her repetition. 

"He'll arrive, when you least expect it."
"You never know, he could be in your life right now." 
"These things take time and there are so many fish in the sea." 

But there are a few that sing, hum melodies into my every day train ride. These are the comments that were flung into the abyss by the doubt that he'd ever come and the insecurity that I so desperately needed/wanted to grow out of. 

"Devour all intellect you come across. Never lose your hunger for the written word."

Andrew is the guy that follows you on social media for years. He's the name you always see, within your likes, but never took the time to glance. He correlates with everything on your list, speaks a love language that's been lost for a decade, and still you managed to miss him. 


Were you too busy chasing men that only had interest in how your spine could bend?
Were you under the influence of fleeting, as opposed to forever?
Were you unable to decipher game from genuineness?

Andrew is authentic. He smiles like he carries no care in the world. I envy this. I could listen to him for hours. He's in love with Leo Tolstoy and Junot Diaz. He wonders how someone that is clearly an expert of locution could still be "so down." He pays me a similar compliment, tells me I'm versatile and amazing, 
as his tongue meets his lips, 
as his eyes meet mine, 
as his hand expressions emphasize, 
as his laughter runs along the rim of my heart...

It is the first time I'm intimidated. Although I'm quite well read, he spouts words, concepts, and texts that I don't know. 

I'm ashamed to write this. 

I told my momma.
She said, "He's got eight years on you, baby."

This cliche I do not mind. It's soothing.

"Take care of yourself. It's so important. Pause. Sleep. Get your nails done, frequently. Shop for things that you love. Treat yourself to quality that will last you forever." 

Andrew is an exquisite polar opposite that sports J. Crew and Ralph Lauren, for play. He walks around as if he's not of this city, as if he's one of those self-serving trust-fund babies that knows nothing of bags under eyes and 40+ hour workweeks. 

But he's the hardest working man I know. 
Where does he find the time?

I ask him this, during our first several hour late-night talk. 

He pauses, he's the type that thinks before he speaks:

"I just do. I care about my well-being, just as much as I do others. I'm not going to apologize for that. I'm not rushing out of work at 5, but I'm not going to kill myself for a company that doesn't do the same for me." 

I think back to the appointments I've rescheduled, the self-care that I've half-assed. I applaud his sentiment, I'm inspired and impressed. 

"You need someone that's on your level or surpasses the one you're on."

I'd told her that these men no longer existed, were taken, or they weren't interested in me. 

& then Andrew showed up...

& of course I couldn't tell you, from a few conversations, if he was the type of man my mother spoke about...

But damn he was close. 

"Fall in love with yourself, so that when he arrives his love will be an addition...not something to fill the hollow."

& I ain't hollow.
But there are still trenches, 
in my heart, 
in my soul, 
in my smile.

Warriors sit there. 
They await each day to be chosen,
to be plucked from their solace,
and stirred,
they anticipate my finality,
my everlasting words:

Me-->Warriors: I love you. I accept you for who you are. 

Andrew called. He'd just returned from Barbados and I was on my way to Jamaica. 

He said, "Let's start your tan, early. It's a beautiful, sunny, Sunday. We shouldn't waste it."

I stared at the mounds of paperwork, scattered in front of me. I was working on curriculum, manuscripts, blog/business plans, and consultant work, all at the same time. 

This is one of the warriors. It's the feeling that if I inundate myself, I will not endure longing or loneliness.

"I've got a lot of work to do. Perhaps, when I get back from vacation?"

I was already thinking of how much more beautiful I was with a tan, the hour long jogs, across sand, that could reduce my stomach, the seafood and callaloo that would also help. 

I cringed, when the words left my lips. It sounded like I was trying to schedule him in, two weeks from then.

"Wow. You can't be serious. It's so beautiful outside. C'mon, just an hour or two."

I frowned at my reluctance, "I can't play hooky. I really have to catch up."

"It's because you haven't found anyone worth playing hooky for."

He was right.

I was so used to men, superficial and easily intimidated, that I'd tried to shrink myself into the things they desired.

I'd used the amazing calves I had, to carry me last minute shopping, to grab something I thought would hide my imperfections.

I took to mirrors, tucking away my "extra" in high underwear, pushing up cleavage, and oiling legs, hoping the latter would be more noticeable.

I'd found myself ordering salads on first dates, trying to hide the gap in my smile between chews, giggling at jokes and suppressing my own, fearing I'd come off as corny.

I wasn't being myself, because I didn't fully love myself.

I realized this a while ago, but I wasn't finished with the process. Although I'd grown out of some of it, I'd find other insecurities resurfacing.

I still had so much work to do.

I couldn't say this.

Instead I spoke, "Seriously, after Jamaica. I promise."

He resigned and made it clear that he felt "curved."

I was temporarily upset, with how I'd handled it.
I waded in the notion that he could've been "the one" and I'd sabotaged it.

& then I remembered that I had to continue learning to love myself.

I wanted to breathe during pictures.

Affection isn't found through the awkward faces and poses you make, while trying to hide the stomach that's a part of you.

I wanted to lose weight for my health, not for a man or an event or an ad that asks if I'm summer ready.

I had to push through my work, know that it was good enough for me, even if it wasn't for public consumption.

I needed to know that my laughter was heavy and resounding, because it rose from somewhere deep.

My smile was a product of child-hood thumb-sucking and refusal to wear my retainer, my own doing.

Sticking my tongue through my gap was freeing, letting those I kissed do it...could be freeing too. ;)

My glasses and adoration of comic books caused a deeper bond with my students, especially ones that made their ways through hallways of torment, every day.

The flail of the skin under my arms made my hugs more potent and me warmer, during the winter.

My height made me the most noticeable woman in the room, gargantuan doesn't sound the same on my lips. I'm larger than life.

I needed time to learn to love me.

One of my friends said, "What if he was the one?"

I hate that term. Because there's no such thing if you're not one with yourself.

My mother always said, "If someone truly cares, they'll come back to you."

This is cliche too, but the familiarity of it is what keeps me steady, counting the beauty marks on my skin, in the reflection of the Jamaican ocean waves. I trace them with my fingers, connect them like astrology, and can feel the rush of salt water against my skin, similar to the self-adoration I'm accruing day by day.


JustPeachy said...

That was beautiful. I love when a writer makes you feel the story, as if it were yourself in that time. In the meantime live with no what its and get ready because Andrew just has to come back.

Jay-D said...

As I read, I realized that I was afraid to scroll down the page because I did not want this to end. I never want your pieces to end, I can see so much of who I am, who I was, and who I aspire to be in everything you write. Please keep sharing!

Anonymous said...

This is me and I love you for this

Toi J. said...

Reading this reminded me of myself. I admire Andrew's ability to be true to himself, but I think there's a beauty in knowing where I am on my journey. I agree with your mother through, if it's meant to be...

& yes I love

Anonymous said...

This piece spoke volumes to me. Learning to love one's own self is such a process but it can only make loving someone else that much better. Keep on writing and sharing with us because stumbling across your blog has been one of the best things I've done in a long time.

Taney said...

Slow claps! For me, this is neck and neck with If No One Has Told You. #LOVE

LySaundra Janee' said...

Loved this! Thank you for being so transparent in your writing. It's inspiring and refreshing!