NPR did a story today on how according to data collected from dating apps Black women and Asian men are the “least desirable“. I understand personal preferences, I have my own, and I expect that most people date who is around them, given that in the U.S. we still live in very segregated areas, we are generally surrounded by people that look like us. A few times within the past week I have been involved in conversations about the Black woman’s loyalty to Black men and if we should abandon that loyalty to expand our dating pool to men of other races, since Black men seem to lay blame on Black women when they decide to date women of other races. In my 39 years I have only known one Black man that was married to a woman of a different race that said it was because he met her, liked her, fell in love. Every other man I have discussed this with has begun by bringing up negative stereotypes about Black women, saying its just easier to date non-black women. (deep breath) Okay. I have strong opinions about that. Opinions I will keep to myself. Anyway, I am never quite sure how to feel in these conversations because truth be told, I have only “dated” one Black American, everyone else has been West African and West Indian. Not necessarily outside of my race but definitely outside of my culture. I grew up simple and plain Black American. I have no idea when I started to love Africa, its people and it’s culture but I do. I love hearing West African languages spoken, I love the traditional way of dress, the food, the music. That is my preference. I’ve entertained the idea of dating non-black but have never been able to do it. Even the Black Americans I am generally interested in tend to have darker complexions and very strong West African features. We all have preferences and though you cant hold what a person likes against them, we have to wonder how much the history and culture of racism in the U.S. plays a role in how we choose to date. We can probably guess which groups are most desirable according to the dating app data, one group sets the tone for the standard of beauty in American culture, the other, I think, is immensely fetishized. And that’s all I have to say about that.
This story did give me an idea though. Maybe I’ll join one of those apps and go on a few dates.
Psalm 34:14 tells us to “Seek peace and pursue it.” The definition of seek is to attempt to find, pursue means to continue or proceed along a path. In other words when we want to find peace in our lives we must find where peace is and continuously follow the path to get to it. If ever we step off that path we may well lose our peace. This concept can be applied to nearly everything in our lives. If we want something we have to go after it and we must stay the course in order to achieve. I have found my peace in God. It is in seeking him that I have found the calm that I needed in my life. I cant say that everything has been perfect since or that I have always made the right decision but I do know that when things start to feel “off” or overwhelming I only need to look to him to re-center myself and find my calm. Proverbs 3:6. 2017 was a good year for me because it brought completion. During the beginning of the year I did not understand what was happening to me at all. I was overwhelmed I was exhausted and I was done. I questioned everything I believed and everything I did, in church, for God, as the church crowd would say and was ready to abandon it all. Yet there was a piece of me that wouldn’t let go. The piece of me that fully remembers how I used to feel and act, the things I used to say. Pre 2011 me is no long an option in my life so I held on and just a few weeks ago at the beginning of December I learned what true forgiveness feels like, I let it all go and added another layer of peace to my life. I still question the role church plays in my life and if I am in the right place but that’s a post for another day. In 2018 I am seeking and pursuing the things that I want in my life. I have a house but not a home, I have great care and concern for others, but no one to love, I have so much of myself to give but its bottled up because its not the part of self that can be shared with the masses. In 2018 I am seeking and pursuing home and family. The place where I belong.
May you be well fed, truly loved and overcome with joy and peace in the new year.
The holiday season is quickly coming to a close and I must say that this one has been vastly different that any before. This is the first holiday season I can remember that I have not been sad, this year I am just comfortable. Normally I spend the holidays thinking about my mother and how I never had the opportunity to spend a happy Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years being a good, happy daughter. This year, though I have thought about my mother, that feeling of loss does not exist. I am not sure what exactly has caused this shift and I am not going to try to figure it out, I am just going to enjoy it.
Moving on to other interesting developments in my life. Early Christmas morning I went to wrap presents with my new friend. Mr. L. Actually I wrapped presents while he napped on the couch. He’d had a full day of laundry, traditional Sunday breakfast for the girls, Christmas Eve with the extended family and back home for cleaning and wrapping presents. The helping part of me was very happy to be there wrapping presents, its something I used to do with granny and something I greatly miss, but another part of me began to wonder if I could live the life of a parent. I have spent a significant portion of my adult life as a caregiver and right now I am dragging my feet on a rather urgent life circumstance because I just don’t feel like dealing with it. I feel a bit selfish in saying but I want someone to take care of me. I want someone to call me to ask if I am eating, if I have everything I need, how my day/week has been and not round out the conversation with a task for me to do. It feels self defeating that I am thinking like this, I want to be a parent someday and I know no one is truly ever ready but I would like to feel less tired. I don’t know why I feel this way. However, I must acknowledge that a few friends and family members have been very good to me this holiday season with cards, gifts and invitations to holiday events. It has given me a great sense of release just knowing that others are thinking of me.
Anyway, I enjoyed my time with Mr. L. I always love talking to him, as much, as he will talk, he gives me little bits of himself and then stops. Its amusing because I am like that also, I can only give so much of myself then I retreat for a few days while I consider if I have said too much and should just disappear without saying anything. I don’t like for people to know too much. Once the wrapping was done, sitting on the couch listening to 90’s R&B I was comfortable. I could get used to that level of comfort in my life.
2017 is just about over. Christmas is in six days and then we coast into the new year. I have been giving some serious consideration to next year and what I want my 2018 to look like. One thing I have learned in life is that you, yourself have to make life happen. So here’s my 2018 bucket list.
- Save more money. I have been looking at various investment apps and listening to Marketplace on NPR just to keep up with what’s going on. I downloaded the Acorns app and am jumping into this full force. I used to have my financial life together, time to get that back on track.
- Recently I have lost 41lbs. I am thinking after another 20 I can start toning and defining. I mean, who doesn’t want arms that look like this?
- I want to write more. I love writing, it’s the only way I thoroughly express and process my feelings. I am pretty sure I can turn this “hobby” into something profitable, I just haven’t figured out what. I’ll be hitting everyone up for ideas.
- I’ve gotten into this bad habit of hiding in my house. I used to have a social life but not anymore. I go to work, I come home, I go to church, I come home, if I am already home I stay there. I have become the master of excuses not to go out. I have no gas, need an oil change, broke, none of that stuff ever stopped me before and most of the time it was true, right now its just an excuse. Brothers Drake has a Jazz Wednesday, I think I am going to put on my nice shoes and go mingle.
- I need to find me a sweetheart. I have a couple of really good guy friends, they keep me occupied and entertained and while that has normally been enough, it no longer is. There is this one guy I like, I don’t know what’s happening there. We both have walls we need to let down but in general I don’t think he’s ready for all I have to offer. Its ok because I have no plans to give up any time soon and his baby girl likes me. His older two girls, they’re teenagers, I have no idea what they are thinking, they just giggle when they see me. It amuses me but having been a teenage girl I am sure they think there is something more serious going down. I love teenagers.
So there it is in black and white. In 2018 I am getting things done. Living my best life and coasting into middle age in style and with money to burn.
Recently I have become obsessed with cottage chesse. I have it for breakfast and dinner, I actually eat food for lunch. I’ve always hated cottage cheese but suddenly its the best food ever and it gives me great pleasure to eat it. This was weird/interesting to me for two reasons; one I have adopted a healthier way of eating and have not really had “pleasure” in eating in over a year. Two, its cottage cheese, I am pretty sure that’s what little Miss Muffet was eating when that spider scared the crap out of her. Anyway, it made me think. Part of human nature is to seek pleasure, I personally don’t like doing anything that doesn’t bring me pleasure. I don’t do things, go places or build relationships that don’t satisfy me. Our society is built on pleasure, while its good to be happy and feel good about life, some of what society offers crosses the line into hedonism. Its not about being content with what you have and thankful for it but being “pleasured” (for lack of a better word) by it. 1st John 2:16
All these jumbled thoughts made me think of Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Here is where I am going with all this.
We spend our lives looking for the things that will satisfy us. Be it food, relationships, titles, careers, houses in the right neighborhoods, cars, etc, etc, etc. We are constantly searching for pleasure. Church leaders question how they can raise membership, keep young people interested in church so they don’t leave when they become adults, they try to tell people how “fun” it is to serve God but there is a disconnect. That disconnect exists because people don’t really see where they can find pleasure in living life by biblical standards. Matthew 5:6 tells us, we have to really want it. If we want what God has for us bad enough as we seek and live his will, we will find pleasure. That’s something to think about, something to consider. For me it has not been easy to let go of the things mentioned in 1st John 2:16, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Those things come with a sense of power, a hunger and thirst for Gods righteousness definitely comes with humility.
Right now I am asking myself, How bad do I want it?
With the end of the year fast approaching its that time when many look back over the year to remember what was good, what was bad and to plan how they will change it all in the new year. I haven’t really done much planning these last two years, I am living in the moment. I don’t dwell on yesterday and I don’t worry about tomorrow. I am just here hoping for the best. However, in 2018 I want my life to look different. A lot of the things I do, the things that “define” me, they aren’t really me, they are just what I do. I spend a lot of time making sure everyone else is ok, I don’t spend that same time on myself. So, in the coming year I am focusing inward. To love and be loved, to build a community of people that love me for me without trying to change me, to find pleasure in every moment of life and share that pleasure with the one person that makes me feel safe to be me, that is my only plan. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
Now a few random thought that have nothing to do with this blog but they are in my head.
- After 28 years Keanu Reeves has been demoted to the #2 spot in my life. Chadwick Boseman is my new fake husband. Keanu is now the back up.
- What is the most effective way to recruit someone to manage a food pantry. A unpaid position that if the proper amount of time is put into is about the equivalent of a part time job.
- I need to figure out how to turn this blog into a lucrative career.
- I am always amazed by how easily people can turn another’s life situation into something about them.
- I don’t care how pretty you are, vanity is ugly.
That’s it. That all I’ve got to say.
There’s a video on YouTube called “God I’m Breaking Up with You.” I am sure I have seen/listened to this video at least ten times today. The first three and one-half minutes is so powerful, I feel the pain and emotions that come with the words she speaks, the anger and annoyance when one asks God why. “Why have I come here only to be faced with this. I did not ask to be “knitted together” in my mother’s womb and if you were only bringing me to this earth to be disappointed, hurt and misused from early on, you could have left me wherever I was.” Things I have said to God over the years. July 2011 until 2016 were a struggle, a lot happened in those years, but I know most of it was God trying to get my attention. I am a preacher’s kid so “I know better” but I was never much interested in doing better. Somewhere in there I decided maybe I did need Jesus in my life, I committed myself to living better, reading the bible, daily prayer times, all those things saved people do. However, in late 2015 spilling over into 2016 a flood gate was opened and it all got to be too much for me and I told God, I am done. I just cannot with you. I still went to church, fulfilled my duties, I still read, prayed a little, mostly to tell God how he’d screwed up my life. I started telling people I had gotten into some negative thinking, but I was ok with that. I was going through the motions mostly not caring about any of it but there was this one small part of me that would not let go. (Hebrews 10:23)
I was mad at that part of me because I was done, it was over. All the church people were talking about how God uses your testimony to help others, I want to know why I must endure foolishness so someone else can be encouraged, why can’t they endure as I did? Honestly, I am still not ok with that and every time someone tells me such a thing I have to walk away, hearing those words incite anger in me. The point is that although I still believed in the Creator I did not trust that he really cared how our lives on this earth played out, or that there was even a point to it all. As long as I acknowledged God’s existence I was good. I had a head nod relationship with God because there was no way he was that interested in me. If he was why was I in so much pain?
Then comes Summer 2017. Time Warner is now Spectrum and they need new customers. The cable guy shows up to my house he is supposed to be selling me cable, but he says to me. That he feels God has something to say to me. He tells me 1) reaping does not always look like reaping. It took me by surprise because just a few days earlier I had come to the conclusion that all those things I did way back when were catching up to me. He said when I was done reaping great things would happen, but I had to go through this time in my life and 2) while I am going through this I must Be still and know that God is God. I stood on the porch and cried in front of the cable guy, that was sent here from Ethiopia by God to minister, that knew my name is Hebrew and means God is good, I don’t cry and I especially don’t cry in front of people. I went in the house, sat on the couch and here I am. I still don’t understand all of what is going on around me, I am talking to God again, but the best part is when you are still you are better able to listen and if you are listening you can hear. This chapter of my life is almost over.