...welcome to the musings of the flawless amour...

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Dichotomy Between Church & Self

There isn't a time that I can't remember not being in church. Sundays were always the same: I'd pull up a chair to the kitchen stove to get my kinky hair hot combed to silky perfection, all the while praying my mom didn't burn my scalp this time. Soon after that task was complete, I'd go get dressed in the outfit I had laid out the night before.

I was baptized at nine, partly out of fear, more from pressure from my granny. Each week I was urged to go up when the doors of the church opened. At that age, I didn't know she was talking about the Invitation to Discipleship. In my mind, every time I went to church, the doors were open; how else would we all get inside? One particular Sunday, I fought through my shyness and walked to the altar with granny. I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus is Lord and just like that, I was saved.

Not fully understanding the commitment I just made, I didn't know my lifestyle was supposed to change. Being a child, I was already following the requisite rules: obey your parents, do well in school, etc. There was nothing for me to readjust. It wasn't until I got older that I started to realize what I had signed up for. In high school, it equated to a life with no fun. Secular music was banned from my house which meant I was sneaking off to listen to all my favorite artists. Rated R movies were taboo and any time I went out with friends, I had to give a full account of the night's events prior to getting permission. I was being trained to protect my mind and body from the temptations of the world.

In retrospect, I appreciate my mother for doing her job as a parent. I wish more would care like she does.

As a 20-something today, temptation is running rampant everywhere I turn. Sexy men of every shade, color and creed possess the ability to make me wanna relinquish ALL this religion. It has become clear why my mom tried her best to preserve my naivete. Thankfully, I made it through junior high, high school and college without succumbing to temptation. The fear of becoming a young mother is what kept me chaste. But like I said, I'm older now, in the field with grown men looking to do grown up things. Lack of experience is what fuels the fear now, along with a lack of relationship.

Sexual temptation is not the only thing that plagues me though. I'm tested in other areas now as well, especially in my relationships with friends and decisions with my career choice. In the back of my mind, I'm always wondering if this life I want to live is the one that lines up with God. Never one to be out of control, I've lead a good life thus far. I have been blessed beyond my worth and have somewhat of an active social life. Every week I'm in church, sometimes twice, regardless of how late I was out the night before. I know right from wrong. The conflict arises when I feel I'm missing out on living life like a "normal" young adult. Romans 12:2 says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Simply put, as a professed child of God, I should be drawing the outside world to my lifestyle, not the other way around.

There are still many days where I feel that if I choose to do what makes my spirit man happy, my flesh will suffer. Life is all about choices and those same choices result in consequences, good or bad. I would love to see Heaven once the time has come for me to depart from this life. The stories I've read about what awaits in Hell is enough to scare me into a fit of constant depression. The book of Revelation is too real for me to read but I know it only scares me because it's the truth.

No, I don't pray or read my Bible as often as I should. Being born of the flesh, I do make mistakes but with God being as forgiving and merciful as he is, I know I'll be forgiven. Thanking Him for all that he has done is something that I do regularly. It's the least I could do for him breathing life into me every morning. Anything less is just disrespectful. My intention is not to preach to you or force my beliefs on you. Instead, I'm trying to make sense of this dichotomy between myself and my religion. Temptation is nothing new, as it has been around since God created Eve. We are given a choice to do as we please but if we consistently make the bad decision, we'll suffer for eternity. Each day calls for a renewal of the mind so for me to gain the understanding I seek, I must spend time in the Word.

Fifteen years after I made the decision to dedicate my life to Christ, I'm starting to understand what that means. It is a lifelong commitment to living a life that will honor God which consists of me making tough decisions sometimes. Yes, questions still run wild in my head but that is when I must exercise faith and stand on my belief in God. I'm not sure what I'm trying to accomplish with this. What I do know is that being a Christian is NOT easy. I know that I want the reward of an eternity in Heaven  but am I willing to do the work? 

I should probably come to a decision soon. I have never been a fan of extreme heat.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Baiting the Hook

I hate shopping. As much as my mom tried to get me to enjoy the average woman's favorite past time, I never came around. She taught me how to apply a full face of make up and made sure I could walk in a decent pair of heels but I was partial to Nikes and sweats. All the girly things that were expected of me, I rebelled against but when the occasion called for a dress and some stacked stilletos, I acquiesced. I'm a simple girl and I like simple things but I am at an age now where I am considered potential dating material. There are things that must change.

Everyday, women are bombarded with society's standard of beauty. An airbrushed actress sporting couture fashion on the cover of my favorite magazine sends a subliminal message, suggesting this is how I should look. Inside, beauty tips await, along with fashion recommendations that will compliment my petite frame perfectly. All of this serves as the pre-cursor to snagging that eligible bachelor looking all delectable a few pages later.

Just a few years ago, I was all, "Why can't I just be comfortable?" and "I'm not trying to impress anyone at this school!" Now, I'm all, "I want a boyfriend!" At 24, I have yet to be in a real relationship. Gray area situations have occupied my time. I'm ready for something more solid now.

photo credit: http://bossip.com/455457/dear-bossip-my-man-has-a-wandering-eye-and-i-dont-like-it/man-staring-at-woman/
It is clear now that I have to give into those standards a little to get what I want. Men are visual creatures and they need to be enticed. That means I have to practice some of these beauty tips that I tend to overlook. I must stop shopping solely for Nike shorts and start experimenting with different nail colors on a bi-weekly basis. My locs, as much as guys love to try and put their fingers in them, need to vary in style.

Recently, I posed a question to my Twitter followers, asking how does one appear more available. The responses were ones I anticipated, encouraging me to get out more and look more inviting. Of course, I rolled my eyes until I came across the one that made me smile.

"Just be you. You're quite a catch."

Clearly, I am all for that idea but I've heard that there comes a time when you have to stop blaming the opposite sex for your lack of companionship and take a deeper look inward. The me that I have been all these years has left me in this current predicament so maybe I should try something new. I admit that I'm most comfortable in my own company. All I need is my iPod and I can tune the rest of the world out. I didn't realize--or maybe I did and just didn't care--how unavailable that makes me look. Who is going to approach me looking all pre-occupied and whatnot?

My laid back demeanor and background in sports has landed me in the friend zone with guys who I wouldn't have minded exploring my options with. During high school and college, I was not (too) worried about getting the attention from guys the other girls were vying for. And I refused to dress like some of them to get it. I'll never forget all the stares I got on prom night. I'm not unbelievably thick but I do look pretty amazing in a dress *wink wink*. No one knew I had what I did because up until that point, I was all hoop shorts and gym shoes. Granted, the extra attention was nice but even more overwhelming. I tend to shy away from the spotlight, part of the reason I was so anti-femininity back then.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try this availability thing and see how it goes. May even flirt a little more and see where that gets me. As of late, I've been inching my way into typical girly behavior; actually taking my time to look through the racks of clothes at the store and wearing a full face of subtly applied make up to church. If I want to attract a quality man, I have to present quality. I am aware that I do not need superficial things like make up or fashionable clothes, instead I'll use them to accentuate the features God has already blessed me with. I'm a big girl now and it's high time I start acting like one *wink wink*

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dreams Do Come True

Two days later and I have yet to come down from my euphoric-like state. My dreams came true a little after 7 p.m. on July 12, 2012. As I walked into the hotel lobby, I tried to regain control of my nerves all the while looking for the elevators that would take me to my destination. For two years, I've been impatiently waiting the day I'd get to meet the woman I consider a mentor in my mind.

Demetria Lucas has been my writing role model for about four years now. I have followed her blog A Belle in Brooklyn, kept up with her weekly column, Real Talk on essence.com and stalked the mailbox every month for the hard copy of the magazine so I could read everything with her name on it inside. It was her position as the Relationships Editor for Essence that brought her to the forefront of the public eye, namely young, black women like myself. Months later, she is basking in her own star power, traveling the country, promoting her first book and meeting up with her fans, affectionately known as "Belles" of their respective cities.

Her honestly raw relationship advice has catapulted her to the top of all of our favorite persons list. What is even more refreshing is her spirit. I was not sure what to expect while in her presence but I was very pleased to find she was the most down to earth person for someone of her caliber. Listening to her talk reminded me of conversations with my own best friend.

Her book, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life is one year and one month old, having recently been re-released in paperback. I remember sitting in my dorm room, placing my pre-sale order, knowing full well that I would have to wait months before I could read it.

ABIB is not your typical self-help/relationship book. It reads like a memoir where the advice is subtly sprinkled through the author's experiences. She opens up a great deal, giving us all a look into her personal life, making her susceptible to meaningless criticism from judgmental people. I appreciate and admire her willingness to share very personal accounts of her life as a means of teaching.

The elevator whisked me and my two friends to the 33rd floor of the W Hotel and I stood on the far left side, trying to suppress a smile that was growing by the second, them on the other side trying to capture it all. The doors opened and I took a deep breath. Putting on my big girl face, I stepped off, heart pumping ferociously in my chest. I couldn't believe what was happening.

Proceeding with caution, I peeked inside the room, panning it for her. I noticed the wildly tamed 'fro first and once I realized she was staring directly at me, my heart stopped. On the inside, I turned into a complete groupie for her. I'm sure my face and eyes lit up, translating into me looking like a star struck child but I didn't care. Regaining composure, I found my book in my bag and she signed it. I'll never forget the way she looked me up & down, complimenting my flirty pink dress and nude wedge sandals.

"I love your dress. You look fabulous..." I beamed, returning her pleasantries.

was mad nervous right here...lol
For the rest of the night, she drew us all in with some bonafide girl talk. No holds barred as the drinks loosened up everyone's nerve (surprisingly, I was completely sober). Questions flowed endlessly and I was soaking it all in. I did not have many questions for her because for one, I knew what her answer would be to any potential ones I may have had. Secondly, I didn't want to say anything stupid so I just listened as she repeated advice I've seen her tweet or write about.

Although she and I had shared words and established that we are birthday twins (her words, not mine lol), I did not want this night to pass without asking her something.

Me: "Is it too forward for a woman to ask a man out?"
Her: "I wouldn't. Men respect what they have to work for and I've found that men who claim to admire a woman who approaches them first are typically looking to f*ck. If he is interested, he will ask you out."

For a few weeks, I've been going back and forth with myself on whether I should take the initiative and ask this crush of mine out. Numbers have long since been exchanged and interests expressed but conflicting work schedules will not allow us to be great. He works for the city so his hours are long, crazy and often unpredictable. 

My best friend and I call him Pitter Patter because that's exactly what my heart does whenever I see him or his name on my phone. Definitely too old to be having my breath snatched like that! Of course, he doesn't know he has me open like this but the attraction is crazy. He has told me during one of our many conversations that he will take me out once there was a break in his schedule and while I've been anticipating spending time with him, I have been occupying my time.

Lucas could not stress to us enough how important it is for us NOT to put all our eggs in one cliched basket.  "Please believe that while you're dating him, he's out dating someone else. You should too." She made it clear that that doesn't mean sleeping with every man you come to be involved with but get to know more than one person at a time, until a conversation on exclusivity comes into play.

That night, I learned that dreams do come true. I have been replaying the accounts of that evening nonstop since my eyes adjusted from the flash of the camera that captured my role model and I.  Shout out to both Elizabeth and Shequeta for being ride or die chicks, accommodating me in all of my groupie glory. 

This was, hands down, the best night of my life and an even better birthday week. 

Is my excitement showing??

The Conundrum That is Frank Ocean

The first time I heard anything from Frank Ocean, I was not impressed.  A friend of mine recommended the Lonny Breaux Collection via Skype or some other social networking engine. I waited in anticipation while the 64-track length mixtape loaded to my laptop.  Being the music junkie I am, I couldn't have been more excited to get my hands on some new tunes.  Distinct details escape me now but I do remember being slightly irritated that I had to individually load all those songs to my iTunes library.  Like, who in their right mind releases a 64-song project??

I skimmed through the tracks, growing impatient as I tried to find a song that would grab me, making me believe this was something I needed in my life.  Failing to make it through the entire thing, I deleted the file, told my friend I wasn't feeling it and may have expressed my disinterest on Twitter or something.  Fast forward almost two years later and I'm grooving to channel Orange, Ocean's debut album that has had me in a trance for the past four days.  The project was released a week exclusively for iTunes, the same day Ocean was scheduled to appear on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, his very first television appearance.

Unless you have stayed away from the internet for the past week, you know about the infamous Tumblr post from Frank Ocean, confessing his love for a man when he was 19 years old.  Since then, Twitter, online magazines, as well as the blogosphere, have blown up with opinionated fans and writers expressing how proud they are of him for "coming out of the closet".  My twitter timeline has been full of new found Ocean fans, defending this man's honor all in the name of free love.  Along with the diehard fans come the negative ones, claiming they "don't support gay men" but was just bumping "Novocane" & "Pyramids" last week *eye roll*.

While visiting Very Smart Brothas, I saw this post from The Champ that questioned if Ocean was really gay. After reading the now infamous liner notes intended for channel Orange, it was never made clear whether Ocean is really gay or even bi-sexual.  He simply states that he fell in love with a man that happened to be a very good friend.  The two never shared a sexual moment.  In fact, the friend had a girlfriend, who he returned to after Ocean confessed how he felt about him.

The Champ made a very good point in stating that "our definition of what makes a man gay seems to be amorphous, continually shifting to encompass any behavior outside of what we consider to be the hyper-hetero norm. Fell in love with a man? Gay! Not currently sleeping with multiple women? Gay!".  I could not agree with this point more.  I like to think I do a good job at keeping my nose out of other people's business so I could care less if the man was in love with a purple monkey.  The fact still remains that he makes good, arguably timeless music and that should count for something.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have never been the bandwagon type but I will admit that my appreciation for this man's writing ability and artistry has grown tremendously.  His music has been on repeat all week, as I am paying more attention to his story telling ability and musical tastes.  Honestly, I think he is genius, so much so that I am willing to go back and give the Lonny Breaux Collection another listen to see what it was that I missed the first time around.

If for nothing else, Ocean's star power is reaching new heights.  This well constructed body of work coupled with the questions surrounding his sexuality (which is none of anyone's business but his) has made him out to be the most talked about singer at this time.  This could very well be a publicity stunt and if so, I'm not even mad but as I said before, the man makes quality music and deserves respect as a singer/songwriter.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


For the past two years I have struggled with the idea of family; what it is and how it is supposed to function.  In this time, true colors have been revealed and I have watched the ones I am supposed to love unconditionally transform right before my eyes, making affection impossible.

There is only one other period of my life that I equate to hell on earth. This could be the most testing of the two. Circumstances brought us all together and another set is tearing us apart. Each day, I sit in silence and watch as it eats away at the familial bond like a terminal disease. Out of respect I stay in my lane but the ones who came after me don't believe in boundaries. Utter disdain for authority runs rampant in their bass-laden voices; swagger shouting, "I'M A MAN!" while their actions scream out for attention.

Feelings of neglect and abandonment prevail, bringing on bouts of depression that has planted itself so deep that it seems impossible to reverse.

Romantic love is foreign to me. As amorous as I am the thought of marriage scares me. All I envision is unrelenting arguments and deafening silence telling years of disappointment. I don't want to grow into that woman. What I am familiar with is comfortable love.  Love that has become so methodical over the years that it doesn't even seem like love anymore. How does a couple reach that point? Does love live there anymore?

God is showing me with each day who he is and the power he possesses. He put me in the midst so the truth can be revealed to me and through this, I am learning exactly what I need to in order to function as an adult.  With each failed marriage I know what to expect in the one I will have.  Because of my dysfunctional one, I have an idea of how I want my family to be.

Tears burn as I recall everything I've witnessed, time and love lost. Right now, I stand on the edge, the point of no return calling from down below. I am still too hurt to forgive but I cannot continue to hold on to that bitterness.  I don't want to hold on to it anymore.

Once I'm delivered from this hell, maybe I'll consider but as long as I'm still here, it's too hard...