What I’ve learned about love

What I've learned about love

I’ve always found myself to be a hard lover. A deep lover. An extremely intense passionate being. I’ve loved a thousand times in a million different ways, but my 20s really exposed me to so many different levels of love. It even brought me to the point of disbelief in love at first sight. Of falling in love. The redemption of love.

The start of my 20s found me in stubborn love. I’m notorious for not quitting things, a lot of the times in my past, to my detriment. I’m a lesson learner. I mistook my name for Florence Nightingale. I felt like my love and space was the great healer. I could cure any inability to treat me exactly like I deserved. I let him call the shots. I lost myself. I gained too much weight. I became a shadow of the lover I always thought I would be. While I was growing and growing in my confirmation of the type of adult I would undoubtedly become, I allowed the most precious private parts of me to be mistreated in one slight way or another. I became a jealous person. I became a snoop. I became untrusting.

Then I learned to get myself together again. I saw me again. And I stepped away from that situation.

After that, I was still a bit shaken up but strapped with years of emotional experience in my bag I marched forward. Looking back, one thing I will always be proud of is my ability to give everyone a full and fair chance. I didn’t allow whatever a person did to me or I allowed to have done negatively affect a new relationship.

There were some duds and some became great friends that I love dearly. But with each new experience my intuition became stronger and I learned to stop questioning and doubting that force within me. I trusted when I was presented something not quite right. I’ve had eerie visions in the past and done some extreme things (taking a plane ride to prove a point?). I’m a protected woman of conviction, what can I say?

Luckily for me, these were all short lived experiences and I met the man I’d marry in my mid 20s. Even that threw me for a loop, because I met him when I definitely was not interested in a relationship and felt myself growing exponentially in my singleness and he happened to be everything I was looking for when I wasn’t looking. And it was everything it should be: whirlwind, cosmic, electric, magnetic, other worldly, and sober. All at once.

I started my 20s in a place I never in a million years thought I should be and ended it in a place I never thought actually possible, despite my tendency to dream. My 20s taught me to always believe in love. To know there’s nothing wrong with loving hard. To never feel spurned when things don’t work out how you thought, because right around the corner there is a reward awaiting you. A reward so positive, it will overshadow all the negative you may have previously experienced. A reward that will be so fulfilling, you’ll no longer need to think about the past. All you’ll think about is right now. And tomorrow.

I’ll talk about a different kind of love another time. What have you learned about love in your 20s? Any gems you care to share? Leave them in the comments section.

[This is a post in a series on lessons I've learned in my twenties. Read the first and second posts.]

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What I’ve learned: things I’m afraid to tell you
















I feel like I’ve brought this topic of what I envision this space to be A LOT over the past year especially. I know I said I’d start this week with a bunch of posts about lessons I’ve learned in my 20s, and those will start tomorrow. As I’ve mentioned at least one million times before, I’m a long time reader of Jess’ blog, Makeunder My Life. I even had her contribute to my happy lists (which I will start back up soonish). Roughly a week ago, she wrote a post where she listed real life things that show her humanness and don’t leave us all thinking she’s this perfect human being, which in all honesty is sorely missing from the internet.

Then Ez from Creature Comforts picked up on it and set a challenge to everyone to participate on Friday to contribute your own personal stories of things you’re afraid to tell your audience. I knew I wanted to participate but then I started thinking, “well who exactly is my audience?” I know I’ve been blogging for quite some time, but I have no clue who many of you who do stop by actually are. I guess this challenge becomes a bit easier for me than others where I can feel a bit more at ease to share. So here goes…

Although I try to fight it, I sometimes get extremely jealous of other blogger turn designers turn overnight sensations. Or any combination thereof. I don’t dwell on it at all. Most times I’m not even thinking about it. But when it does creep into my brain? Maaaaan, not a good time. I wonder why they seem so “accepted” by the internets. I think a lot of this has to do with my wanting to be farther ahead than I am with business endeavors. I’m human and I deflect and it’s not cool, but it’s real. I know what’s mine is in my grasp, but patience is a teacher if there ever was one.

I also wish I had gone to school for writing. One of my deepest passions is writing. I should be published already. But what have I written? I mean I’ve written things, things I don’t share. I’m definitely growing out of not wanting to share, to at least wanting to write things I’m unafraid to share. I did go to school for Advertising, but that was only because I wanted to do writing I knew I would be paid for. Then I ‘womaned’ up in my senior year and did what I wanted to do.

I’ve had a fairly tough time bonding and fully relating to people living here. I am a very extremely race-conscious woman. I think sometimes it’s a bit too much for people, but if I hid that, I wouldn’t be true to myself and I would just forge surface relationship after surface relationship. I’m not interested in that. Not in the slightest.

In my mental and emotional transition of acceptance that I now live in Amsterdam, I really hated it with all my heart because I felt like I was in the belly of the beast. I started learning at a rapid pace all of the other ways the Dutch were involved in the world at large and just knowing I was laying my head to rest in the heart of the transatlantic slave trade is enough to make me more than uneasy. I’ve since found my own ways to deal with the reality, and recognize the only thing I can do to change it is to leave. Some things you accept (and try not to focus on) and others you change.

I’ve spoken about this before, but the idea of relying on my husband to provide for us really weighed heavy on my ego. I am not used to relying on anyone for my basic day to day and beyond. I think I’ve made my first year of marriage hard for me emotionally as a result.

I am entirely baby crazed. I sometimes think it’s unhealthy. I do worry about it being difficult to conceive. Not something I’m comfortable sharing still, and I have no logical reason to fear it but I do. As bad as I want some little bambinos, I know in my heart of hearts I’m not ready. I even find myself being a bit envious of all the new mamas and preggo mamas in blogland and facebook and everywhere. My only solace is that I know what kind of shape I want to be in well before kiddos enter the picture and I’m definitely not there yet.

I always feel like I should be upfront and question where are all the bloggers of color that aren’t just talking about makeup/natural hair/afrocentric crafts, but I never do. Well, I guess I just did? Harking on that as well, I also wonder where are all the expat bloggers of color? Where are you people???? I can’t be the only one who isn’t just talking about my experience living in a foreign land, but just talking about life in general. SHOW THYSELF! Please?

I have always felt like there is this mostly innocent pressure placed on me by those who know me or think they know me that I should always be totally inspiring and super adult and serious and insightful and successful but feel like I’m never really asked if I need help. I guess I feel like I’m hardly reached out to in general. That’s one thing I’ve always struggled with and it sort of blew up in my face during my wedding planning (something I think I’m still working on getting over to be honest…18 months later).

Well, I’ve think I’ve put myself all the way out there enough for one day. I’ll share more another time. I think it’s important for us to stop pretending our lives are perfect and then only mentioning in 2 sentences “you know, life isn’t always pretty”. I think it’s not only good but important to show the ugly, the awkward, the uncomfortable, the honest because none of us are perfect. We don’t all have the luxury of having doctors and high powered lawyers and whatever else for spouses so we can do what we want. Our homes aren’t always immaculate. We don’t all have our dining tables perfectly dressed, just waiting on perfectly dressed guests to arrive and have our cameras out to catch people being “natural” in our perfectly lit homes. That’s not life, that’s an editorial shoot.

These are some of the things I’m afraid to tell you. I really hope you’ll participate and share some of your secrets as well. Let’s be human, together.

What I’ve learned

Inspired by Sarah at Fairytales are True, I’ve decided to start a short little series about my 20s. I find hers interesting because so far the guest posters are all still in their 20s. Yes, I may only be 30 (as opposed to being well into my 30s) but I think it would be good for me to reflect on the decade now that I’m outside of it. I have the entire 10 years to think about.

I’m not exactly sure how I’ll be posting these thoughts, but I think next week there might be a bunch of tales and lessons and things of that sort, especially since chances are I won’t have most posting time available because MY MOMMY WILL BE IN TOWN!! Yay!

In the meantime, I really want to kick this off by sharing this poem my beautiful friend Aja Monet wrote and performed in collaboration with Camovement, filmed at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Enjoy.

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