SUPERIORITY COMPLEXES AMONGST ADVOCATES AND THEIR MOVEMENTS: MY EXPERIENCE WITH V-DAY AND ONE BILLION RISING

“Thank you for realizing that violence is just as prevalent in the LGBTQ as it is in the heterosexual community and that it isn’t getting the attention it deserves. But you are not transgendered. Help like that we do not need.”

          Before I jump into the main course of this blog post, let me provide you with some juicy, appetizing context. My name is Lorpu Kpadeh. I am the founder and executive director of The Survivant Organization (TSO), a non-profit dedicated to eradicating domestic and sexual violence in women aged 16-24 through research, interactive education, and advocacy. One in every four women will experience domestic and/or sexual violence, but girls in this age range are three times more likely to experience violence than any other age group. The success of this NPO is the most important thing to me because I am also a survivor. I was in a two-year abusive relationship from 2007-2009 from age 21-23. To be honest, ending the relationship didn’t end my hardships. When I returned to my hometown, I dealt with embarrassment, isolation, and judgment from family and friends which only made my journey to recovery harder. It took me four years, without much assistance from anyone, to work through it which is why I started my organization. For the first time in my life, I feel like I belong as I’m now a part of a group of amazing advocates who make it their job to assist women experiencing injustice around the world. But since 2009, I’ve learned that my story isn’t unique. Unfortunately, unlike me, many women never get the assistance they need. The majority of women suffer in silence, living shrouded with shame. Being that I started TSO in 2013, I was very excited to be a participant in V-Day’s 2014 campaign through a benefit production of playwright/founder Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues (TVM) and One Billion Rising Campaign (OBR). Most people have seen or heard of TVM but OBR, also organized by V-Day starting in 2013, is the largest call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world’s population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION women and girls. Since February 14, 2013, activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world gather at schools, churches, courts, on the streets, and thousands of other locations to express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer. We rise each year to demand an end to violence against women. To learn more about this campaign, visit www.onebillionrising.org .

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To be honest when I heard that we were supposed to work with other local organizations to for OBR, I was extremely reluctant. Why? Because of the negative experiences I had over the course of 2013, specifically how divisive the feminism/advocacy climate is in DC. I am a local so I am well aware of how competitive all arenas of employment are here from law, to government, to public and private enterprises. Being African-American, the exclusivity of white feminists became very apparent to me once various org heads realized that I was actually following through on my dream of “starting my own non-profit”. I was very saddened, frustrated, discouraged, and worn out because the “WO-man” was trying to keep me down. I voiced these concerns to other friends working in the non-profit sector longer than me and they shared my feelings. There was and still is definitely a “clique” of female org heads who monopolize federal funds to throw swanky parties *cough* fundraisers*cough* where people praise “their work with victims” when they really use federal funds and monies raised to go on two week long vacations to Greece, Bora Bora, and other tropical destinations. The other smaller organizations in DC are then left trying to make ends meet for advocates that actually utilize direct services, emergency shelters, and other necessities for those leaving an abusive relationship.

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So even though I was hesitant, I was happy to take a break from planning TSO events to work with a group of women as part of the DC Rising’s OBR 2014 Campaign. We had several conference calls with 10 or so women, each from different relevant groups, and pooled together our resources to set up events for OBR 2014 in DC. First, we organized a poster party to make signs for our rally at SCOTUS the following week. Our next and flagship event was a kickoff reception at the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill. It was magical. I met my hero, Eve Ensler, along with other congresswomen and organizational heads. It was such a glorious night of camaraderie and sisterhood. I exhaled and thought to myself “Yes, events like these are how it should always be. People working together for the common good! Maybe I was wrong about the climate of feminism/activism in DC?”

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Here is some awesome footage from the reception: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBQtYnw0SuQ

Our final event, the rally at SCOTUS followed by a display of the Monument Quilt, was suppose to take place on February 14th but had to be rescheduled because of winter storm Pax. But by the end of the DC OBR 2014 campaign, my experiences revived and rejuvenated my love for advocacy. Refreshed and ready for the fight, I jumped right back into TVM planning. During my training as an advocate in early 2013, I learned that the rate of violence against heterosexual women is not the only problem. Many individuals in the LGBTQ community were experiencing the same atrocities at epidemic levels and were getting even less attention than the overlooked statistics in the heterosexual community. Being the proverbial last outsider who finally fit in, I wanted to make sure that I did my part to make sure that no one else felt the way I used to. The first time I saw TVM was in 2005 during my undergrad career. I had no idea that in 2004, an optional transgendered monologue was added to the play. Several times, I have been to events in the DC community and the general consensus is that no one has been or wants to advocate for the transgendered community. Basically, LGBTQ individuals are always “left out”. As I explained earlier, this wasn’t surprising to me as I experienced it firsthand myself as an African-American female. So I was not only sympathetic but incredibly empathetic. I made it my mission that, at least in my production, one of numerous performances taking place in DC, TSO would definitely perform the transgendered monologue. But instead of having heterosexual females perform, I wanted transgendered individuals to be a part of our production. I have many friends in the LGBQ community but I do not know anyone in the transgendered community. I want to show the community that TSO is an ally in their fight because gender based violence needs to end for everyone. Period.

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 So like many nights since starting TSO, I stayed up until 4 am with little sleep, emailing, posting, and calling numerous LGBTQ organizations in the area. Many places didn’t even bother to respond to my numerous emails/phone calls but three groups did. They all referred me to a list serv for transgendered individuals. So I took the recommended route as far trying to alert relevant parties to what I was doing this year with TVM. I emailed the list serv but it was restricted so I couldn’t post any announcements until I was added by a moderator. I reached out 3 times over the next 5 days before 2 moderators finally responded to me. What happened next was shocking. Below, in italicized font, you will be reading the correspondence between me and two transgendered moderators whose names I’ve changed to “Katie” and “Jennifer” because I respect their privacy. In plain font, I’ve explained my reasoning behind my responses:

 First email to list serv:

 Hello,

 My name is Lorpu Kpadeh. I am the founder and executive director of The Survivant Organization, a non-profit assisting female victims of domestic and sexual violence aged 16-24. This year, my non-profit is putting on a performance of the Vagina Monologues (TVM). As a survivor and advocate, I’ve learned that violence is just as prevalent in the LGBTQ community but it isn’t getting the attention it deserves. I would love to extend an invitation to all members of the community to be a part of our cast. Below are links to media for my organization. Please add me to your list serve and let me know if you need anything else from me. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks again!

 1st moderator “Katie” to me:

 Thank you for realizing that but do you have a transgendered member there already to subscribe? As a support list, members want the ability to talk knowing there are not people from outside the community listening when they post.

 Oh no, thank YOU for commending me on not being an ignorant jackass and being one of the “enlightened ones”. After 28 years and all I’ve been through and done, I’ve really been waiting for you to justify me as a human being.

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Me to Katie:

 Hi Katie,

 Do I have a transgender member where? I was referred to your list serv by the transgender advocates from 3 different local organizations. I desperately want transgender members to be a part of our performance. The reason I am emailing is so that I can invite subscribers on your list to help us increase awareness of gender violence as representatives of the LGBTQ community, showing that we need to work together to end the violence. I understand members wanting to feel protected as I am an advocate and aware of the importance and practice of confidentiality. So I understand your reasons for keeping the list private/restricted. But could you just add my post to the list serv as an invitation to our tryout? When they read it, they can decide and email me if they want. There might be survivors who would like to raise their voices as representatives at our performance.  I think that would be very powerful. Transmen and transwomen can be a part of our production. I’ve tried emailing, calling, reaching out to every LGBTQ organization in the area without much luck. Division between the heterosexual vs. the LGBTQ community is counterintuitive to ending violence as we ALL are victims. If you could just post my blurb on my behalf, I would really appreciate it. Let me know please. Thanks.

 “Katie” to me:

 In your group. I appreciate your wanting to be inclusive but this is a support group. It would be as if I barged into an AA meeting because I had some alcoholic friends…..

If you have a message to send I or another moderator can post it for you but we would be betraying the group’s trust in us to add someone from outside of the community. By being on the list you have access to anything anyone has ever said on the list and that is something we have received direct input not to allow to people not in the community.

 The same as me barging into an AA meeting?!?

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Me to Katie:

 Dear Katie,

 The first thing I said was that I didn’t have any members in my group so that is why I am reaching out. I already said that you didn’t have to add me. I just wanted someone to post my blurb and let each reader/subscriber decide for themselves instead of someone doing it for them. Also, No it actually wouldn’t be the same as me barging in an AA meeting on behalf of a friend. I am a survivor of violence too and I do not see any difference between myself and anyone in the LGBTQ group recovering, healing from, or fighting it. Divisive attitudes are why nothing ever gets done as far as activism goes in DC. Painting me as an outsider who might hurt someone on your list serv just because I am not transgendered is just wrong. Refusing assistance or help bringing awareness from anyone just because they are not transgendered is baffling to me. I do not believe that ALL of your subscribers would think that falls under you “protecting them”. Everyone heals differently. When I first left my abusive relationship in 2009, I couldn’t speak about it. A few days ago, I told my story out loud for the first time because doing so was a part of MY HEALING PROCESS, as is putting our performance of TVM. Maybe someone on your list serv has always wanted to be a part of TVM but didn’t know if or how they would be represented. Eve Ensler, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago, unveiled a monologue in 2004 specifically for the trans community, sharing my sentiment that justice is just as important for trans individuals as heterosexual women. You could potentially be stopping one of your subscribers from hitting a milestone in recovery by not just posting. You don’t know and shouldn’t decide for them. I am sure some of your subscribers have friends outside of the transcommunity that support them as I have friends in the LGBTQ community that come to my events and support me. Whenever I go to Pride events or protest with my LGBQ friends, even though I am heterosexual, no one ever turns me away because they know that I think justice is for everyone. Everyone from every community, heterosexual or LGBT, need each other to help end injustice. But first they must know about it. This is especially important because the people in power are most heterosexual. How do you expect anything to get done, especially the passage of laws, when you turn away people outside of the community who want to help? Thanks for replying to me as this correspondence was very illuminating. Anyways, here is the blurb:

 Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues: A Celebration of V-Day 2014 in Washington, DC

 Come be a part of our 2014’s The Vagina Monologues Cast and Committee!

 The Survivant Organization, a local non-profit fighting domestic and sexual violence in girls aged 16-24 through research, interactive education and advocacy, is directing a performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. We are looking for dedicated individuals that want to be cast in and assist us in our first production on April 12th to celebrate V-Day 2014 here in DC. Help us raise awareness to end domestic and sexual violence against women. Our performance will be a POSITIVE, UPLIFTING, and UNIFYING experience for all involved and in attendance. No acting experience is necessary. As survivors and advocates, we have learned that violence is experienced by transgendered individuals at the same or sometimes an even higher rate than their heterosexual sisters. We must work together to end this silent epidemic of violence. People who lead their lives as women are eligible to try out for our production. This includes individuals who were born with a vagina and transgendered individuals. Transmen and Transwomen are welcome. Being a part of our production would be a dream come true for us. For individuals who are trying out, we have picked 2 poems for you to recite. Read and study both because we will pick which one you read for us at random. You do not have to memorize either poem. We really want to see the versatility of your personality from dramatic to comedic so just have fun!!….

First of all, did you even read my first email? If I already had transgender individuals in my group, why would I be reaching out to you? Secondly, have you ever heard of Friends of AA support groups? Yes, that is an ACTUAL thing and it is amazing because it teach people like you who are ignorant believing it is a choice can learn how to help their loved ones overcome alcoholism as the disease it is.

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Here is a link to a website for Al-Anon Family support groups:  http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

Katie to me:

 As to “hets” being the ones in power so they get to help us little other communities at their whims and complain when we say who we want to associate with?

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Come on! Violence to heterosexual people is nowhere close to those of trans people but we are not discussing relative problems. Help like that we do not need.

So let me get this straight…you don’t want my help because I am a HETEROSEXUAL woman?!?

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 Starting off, I am not going to let you turn me saying hets are in power into a negative dig at the trans community. I said that “hets” are in power because it is TRUE! Obviously I mean HETEROSEXUAL, CAUCASIAN MALES. I am an African-American woman. So this excludes both ME and YOU…DUH! LGBTQ people are understandably protective of their relationships because of the ubiquitous nature of negative stereotypes and discrimination. Many LGBTQ people are reluctant to reveal an abusive relationship on top of one which is already seen as “sick” among the wider population. Even though members of the LGBTQ community often have more education than their cis counterparts, 64% earn less than $25,000 a year. But this should come as no surprise as termination of an employee based on their gender identity is still legal in 39 states in the U.S. Over 90% of LGBTQ persons report experiencing some type of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. That is why even though a few officials like D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray have recently moved for Medicaid to cover trans-inclusive healthcare, still very few companies offer health care benefits to same- sex or unmarried heterosexual couples. About 13% of the 5.5 million of unmarried couples are people in same-sex relationships. All of these factors contribute to the increase in socioeconomic status disparities for LGBTQ persons and families. Just last month, the Kansas House of Representatives approved a measure that would legalize segregation of gay and straight people in every stage of life including private businesses, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, hospitals, public parks/pools, and even assistance from law enforcement at the whim of those in officials in power.

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Even though VAWA, or the Violence Against Women Act, became trans-inclusive, the passage of ENDA, or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and similar legislation is of urgent importance. This leads to isolation for LGBTQ individuals because a homophobic society gives more power to the batterer. Abusers takes advantage of the homophobic nature of heterosexist control to further dominate and control their partner, such as threats to “out” the victim or lost custody of children.

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Me to Katie:

 You made this personal when you, without ever having met me, compared me reaching out to barging into an AA meeting on behalf of a friend for which there is NO comparison. That was ignorant and rude especially when this started as me positively wanting to bring awareness about the trans community. The nature of violence and the disease that is alcoholism are completely different which anyone over the age of 21 should know. Again, I said nothing about hets helping you when they “decided to” because that is not what I am doing. I could have just not reached out to you and stayed just as apathetic as a lot of ADVOCATES are. Even more than that, adding the trans monologue to the show is OPTIONAL. So if I had bad intentions, do you really think I would’ve persisted to reach out to LGBTQ organizations for a few weeks? I don’t think so. Don’t you even try to twist my words.

 I am a trained and certified advocate for survivors of violence and guess what? The stats between hets and the LGBTQ community are about the same. So you preaching to me about that is incorrect. So please do your research and check your privilege. This is the same attitude that I encounter with the “het” feminist community so it is no wonder nothing ever gets done. I didn’t think it would be the same in the trans community. But thanks for telling me that you personally speak for DC’s trans community and that I am just as weak as a supportive friend of a recovering alcoholic. Also, deciding who you want to associate with is fine. Everyone should do so. Personally, I don’t associate with ignorant, a**holes whether they are hets or not. You are the one that started discussing relative problems when you negatively compared what I was doing to another great cause. I brought up hets because it is no secret they are in power so me reaching out to you at all. I know for a fact that many hets do not reach out because, like you, they believe their STRUGGLE IS MORE PREVALENT AND THEREFORE IMPORTANT to everyone else’s when STATISTICS DO NOT SUPPORT THAT. What I am doing is a good thing no matter how you try to twist it. Maybe you need to ask yourself if you’re the one with the problem seeing all HETS as ADVERSARIES when some, like myself, are ALLIES. As an advocate claiming to help survivor, you should practice some self awareness.

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Honestly, what happened to a good old fashioned “No, thank you”? The conversation would’ve ended there for me. Instead, “Katie” and “Jennifer” used it as an opportunity to discuss alcoholism, stats among gender identities, etc. We all need to agree that GENDER BASED VIOLENCE cannot end until we see it as a F*CKING TRAGEDY for WHOMEVER WHENEVER and WHEREVER IT HAPPENS!!! Moving on though….In 2010, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects reported that trans women made up 44% of LGBTQ murder victims. The LAMBDA non-profit dedicated to reducing violence in the LGBTQ community, located in El Paso, Texas, reports that “the rates of domestic violence in same-gender relationships is roughly the same as domestic violence against heterosexual women (25%).”  Haven’s Women’s Center of Stainuslaus in Modesto, CA cites that “according to research and statistics gathered from the Lesbian & Gay Community is that domestic violence in Gay & Lesbian relationships is approximately 25 – 32% (basically the same percentage as in the heterosexual community).” The Minnesota Center against Violence and Abuse found that “numerous studies have shown that violence in heterosexual and same-sex relationships occurs at approximately the same rate (one in four).” So who is wrong? Who is right? Everybody and nobody. Why? Because incidence rates shouldn’t matter. It is a tragedy no matter whom it happens to. So Katie, me stating the obvious is not the same as me condoning something. Not identifying or confronting the problem doesn’t help to solve it either.

 2nd moderator “Jennifer” to me:

 I think you may have misinterpreted “Katie’s” point. [This] as an organization is a support group, and not a social group, or mixed-purpose group.  Anyone *is* welcome to come to meetings.  However, we simply ask that people respect the focus of the group and keep things within that focus.  I do not believe that Kara was in any way attacking you or being intentionally divisive.  She was simply responding back to you based purely on the information that you had provided in your initial e-mail. I would like to add, though, that I find that your own response back to her was unnecessarily overdramatic.  One thing that the group does not need is any additional drama.

 Thank you,

 Jennifer

First, I want to thank you Jennifer for hammering your exclusivity home by letting me know that ANYONE *IS* welcomed to meetings, minus friends of recovering alcoholics that is. Secondly, I’m being overly dramatic….

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Me to 2nd moderator Jennifer:

Jennifer,

Please read her last response to me. I became “dramatic” when she compared what I was doing to trying to support a friend in AA by going to a meeting. In my mind, that would be a good thing too because they can educate themselves on the DISEASE and find out how best they can assist their loved one. But, according to her, doing something like that is not important as well. You will see in her last email to me that trans violence is more PREVALENT therefore MORE IMPORTANT than HETEROSEXUAL female violence which is WRONG on all levels. They are both equally important. The fact as a HET that I thought to reach out when I could’ve ignored it (like most heterosexual female advocates do when organizing events to end violence which is a MAJOR complaint from the trans community), then was insulted along with anyone who is or friends with anyone in AA before being told I’m dramatic for reacting like a HUMAN BEING to your ignorance will not be ignored. Just because you see yourself as a minority, doesn’t give you the right to treat or speak to someone this way. Furthermore, since the both of you don’t know me but I am being “dramatic” for responding to someone insulting me AND recovering alcoholics, if I ever saw anyone on the street being harassed for who they are, trans, het, or LGBQ, I would be the first person to jump in that person’s face with my “dramatics” because ignorance like what Katie expressed today must be confronted. But I am happy to know that you choose who you want to associate with and personally only stand up for those in the trans community. But know that you will not stop or discourage me from reaching out to anyone in the trans community to bring awareness and help fight violence against all women.

During my exchange with the two moderators, I was angry. Looking back on the incident now, I feel bad for Katie because she is unfortunately exhibiting behavior harmful but common to many victims of violence do: when the bullied becomes a bully. Many survivors understandably develop a chip on their shoulders which manifests as a defense mechanism. Personally, I’ve been told by 7 DIFFERENT Caucasian guys since age 21 that I am not good enough to date (and in some cases only “good enough” for sex) because of my skin color on top of it being a major issue in my abusive relationship. So I used to do the same thing pushing anyone who wasn’t a “survivor” like me because they “would never understand what I went through”. Yes, for awhile, it hurt because I believed them. I realized that not only was I harming myself, but my behavior made me a hypocrite, preventing me from following my dream of helping other victims. It’s like drinking poison and hoping your enemy dies. So I changed my behavior. I took time to heal and educated myself on prejudices surrounding race, gender based violence, and sexual assault. So do I think all Caucasian guys or people are ignorant, racist, bigots? NOOOOOO! Now I KNOW that those 7 boys are ignorant, racist, COWARDLY, bigots. More so, I am still open to dating MEN who do not share their sentiments, anyone from Ryan Gosling to Denzel Washington. Katie needs to realize that she can’t be good to others if she doesn’t take care of or is good to herself. There are endless possibilities for the delays number of casualties you can experience on the road to recovery if you choose to white knuckle your way through it. In my opinion, she needs to practice some self-care and non-malfeasance with survivors.

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Jennifer to both Katie and I:

 Okay, BOTH of you… please take a night to sleep on this.  This discussion has gotten completely out of control and is completely unnecessary and inappropriate behavior from both of you.

Lorpu, if you would like us to pass along an invitation or information to the group, we can do that for you.  However, please respect that you approached us, and that you found our information on the website, which is abundantly clear about what the group is for.

 Thank you,

 Jennifer

 End of thread… seriously, not one more word on this topic.

 Me to Jennifer:

Jennifer,

You don’t know me and you are not my mother. I am a grown woman and will decide what is appropriate behavior for me because according to you, you are allowed to tell 2 other grown women when they are being inappropriate and also when to shut up. I can’t speak for Katie because I don’t know her (even though I have a much better idea after today). I don’t know how you run things in your group, but even if I disagree with someone I certainly do not tell them how and when to shut up. Get over yourself and sit down Jennifer. The superiority complex that I’ve experienced from the two of you has only been rivaled by my experiences in the het feminist community. Again, I was referred to you by several other organizations in trans community so it doesn’t matter what I read because they probably did it in good faith. I sent it not expecting anything and just wanted someone to simply post a blurb for me. I was not expecting what I got out of the both of you. You can end your part of this conversation/thread for yourself but you do not EVER tell me when I am done speaking. Let’s get that clear. Since I started my work in the community, I’ve heard so many people talk about how they want to end the division amongst advocacy groups. So I will definitely be continuing this conversation with other parties that I know would love to hear about it. Thanks Jennifer.

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That ends our exciting correspondence. Once my feelings subsided, I came to some conclusions about the divisive climate of advocacy in DC. As a people we have created a social moat, artificial barrier constructed between the varying groups of people as a way to ignore gender based violence. But as a people, we don’t benefit from it. In fact, it re-victimizes and renders active groups in this fight inert when all of these worlds are really one in the same. I can tell you that I have yet to meet a mousey-type victim yet. Not a single person has fit the “victim stereotype” which the majority of misinformed society might believe. Victims may be smart, beautiful talented, doctors, lawyers, and business professionals.

We are in the middle of a war on women with casualties of epidemic proportions. We live in a society that refuses to address violence against women. It happens in our homes, work places, churches. But the front lines are our universities, our high schools, our middle schools and elementary schools. That is where the mis-education begins that our power lies between our legs. This is where we are assimilated into “rape culture”. “Rape culture” is a culture in which sexual violence is considered the norm — in which people aren’t taught not to rape, but are taught not to be raped. They teach that our empowerment lies solely in our sexuality. So when perpetrators hit us they mark our bodies with bruises, making us feel less beautiful that we were before. When they rape us, they make us feel worthless. These acts rob you of choice, dignity, identity because afterwards you can never be the person you were before. It is an invasion that leaves you incapable of trust and intimacy almost impossible. We must reclaimed our vaginas as a tool of female empowerment on our terms and the celebratory embodiment of the infinite ways as s individuals and when standing together that women rock. We must teach little girls that power is not measured by the size of your “fatty” behind, your chest or what’s between your legs. We must teach them that real power sits above your shoulders. Girls should be educated that a girl, a woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.

It isn’t a rich vs. poor thing. We are constantly appalled when reading about the violence women in India suffer on a daily basis. But violence against women isn’t just a third world problem. India. In 2010, a man in Texas decapitated his wife and another man did the same in New York. It is prevalent here in first. They figure if they walk down this street, live in this neighborhood, hung out at certain places with certain kinds of people, that they would be okay. That domestic violence and sexual assault is a crime removed from them. This violence is suburban, urban and rural. When we do acknowledge the prevalence of gender violence around the world, again, we shouldn’t remain apathetic to its occurrence in other communities just because we have victims in ours. A woman being beaten into a coma, a woman being gang raped, a woman having acid thrown in her face for attempting to walk to the store alone without a male escort, a woman being murdered for ending an abusive relationship is horrific in any language, any culture, any community, and any country. We must reject the indifference that cripples the fight to end gender violence everywhere. It is a tragedy wherever and whenever it happens.

 It isn’t about men vs. women. It is about equality across the board for pay, for freedom of speech, for education, and many more. Wanting the same rights that men already have does not mean we are trying to take rights away from them. We want men. Joe Biden has long championed the fight to end violence against women, first as a senator in 1990 introducing VAWA or the Violence Against Women Act to congress and as Vice President in 2013, reauthorizing the act and calling a new generation to act. This year, President Obama has joined him. In January, he announced the formation of a special White House Task force to protect students from sexual assault, modeling male leadership in the fight to halt sexual assault. We need to set great examples so that our boys can grow up to be responsible men that respect woman. We cannot walk alone. We need men to make a pledge to combat this epidemic alongside women and the trans community.

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It isn’t a heterosexual vs. the LGBTQ community fight. Our heterosexual sisters should join hands to support our lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, and questioning sisters who suffer violence at the same and sometimes higher alarming rate that we do. And vice versa.

 We must do more than pay lip service. Gender based violence and discrimination must be against the law. We must implore and demand that our elected representatives to do what we put them in office for. We must hold those in power accountable for the promises they make to us about joining, fighting, advocating, and creating laws to end the violence. And consequences to breaking these laws must be carried out to their fullest extent. Written in 1776, The Declaration of Independence is a statement asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right to revolution. Since then, it has served as an inspiration and guide for Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address in 1863, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, and many other national declarations of Independence throughout the world. It is often recognized as one of the best known sentences in the English language as it came to represent a moral standard to which the United States should always strive and abide. To quote it reads : We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. But after almost 250 years, as women and trans individuals we are not free. Instead, we’ve been exiled to dark corners where we live shamed, disregarded, and outside of important human consciousness. But in order for us to be better, this must be a revolution of love to combat all the hate, weakness, cowardice, bureaucratic red tape that prevents governments for making the atrocities committed against us around the world against and punishable by the law, misogynistic, misrepresentation in media and pop culture that tries to silence, bury, and destroy us. The Declaration of Independence is proof that we have the right to this revolution. We have the right to demand what we are owed. But more importantly, as a species, we need to arrive at the conclusion that living free from violence isn’t a black vs. white thing, it isn’t a rich vs. poor thing, it isn’t a heterosexual vs. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning thing, it isn’t an us them thing. Freedom from violence isn’t even just a woman’s right. It is our human right.

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Sometimes I asked myself the question of where I would be if I weren’t a victim. Would I ignore domestic violence? Would I ignore sexual assault? Would I care? Prior to undergrad, prior to being a victim, I would watch battered women, girls on TV shows like Jerry Springer who stayed with their partners. To me, at my ripe old age of 16, these were women that I was smarter than, stronger than, and would never be friends with. I was above them. I was all 2 snaps, neck turning, eye rolling, yelling at the TV saying “I would never let a man put his hands on me.”  Then it happened and I was just like them: a victim. As a victim, I was forced to be a part of a secret society of women and trans individuals, shrouded in shame. Now as I identify as a survivor and advocate, I realize that I have nothing to be ashamed of as I’ve joined and am a part of a sorority of 1 billion sisters who support, stand, speak, shout, and sound off on an epidemic which has been silent for too long. Finally, for the first time in my life I feel like I belong. There is no way I am giving that up, no matter what het or trans groups do to me. Like most individuals, I didn’t ask or want to be a victim. But I am in this fight for life. Now, NOBODY puts baby or ME in a corner!

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To quote, Former first lady turned secretary of the state (and probable future Madame President) Hilary Clinton: “The rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century”. So we must finish it. We will honor the victims who have lost their lives due to the senseless violence committed against them. We will support those victims who are still living letting them know they are not alone. It’s not the world that needs to change. We cannot change how we treat each other until we change how we think. We must engage the mind to change the heart. It is the people that need to change, especially how we treat each other. One person can’t do everything. But everyone can do one thing. We will prevail in ending gender based violence if raise our voices together to educate through the narrative. Establishing lasting peace for future generations is the work of education. As women and trans individuals, supporters of women and trans individuals, lovers of women and trans individuals, for women, for trans individuals, for the world, let’s stay determined to being the heroines our story. So violence doesn’t discriminate across race, age, socioeconomic status, gender identity, or sexual orientation so as we fight to end this epidemic, why should we? This shouldn’t be an “us vs. them” endeavor. We must arrive at the conclusion that this fight is we, the people vs. the criminal.

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On February 14th, V-Day and Eve asked us to gather in places where we seek justice and didn’t find it, she challenged us to rise. In record numbers around the world, we answered. But we need to dedicate ourselves to do more together. We’ve got to step up so we don’t fall back. We must continue to rise tomorrow until gender based violence becomes something of the distant past. We have to do more than rise. We used to be victims but we are taking our power back. We are survivors. But we will do more than survive. We will thrive. And we will be heroes. No, we will be SHE-ROES!!!

~LK

“WHAT IF?” THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, 32, My Best Friend’s Wedding

Tori Kelly- Dear No One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njmCUJ94lUM

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January 18th, 2014-11:00 pm

Embarrassed. No, humiliated. Again. Same story, different cast. It took me over a week later to complete this entry (The first part is what held me up but you will see why after you’ve read it). I’ve been staying away from all forms of social media to reflect and not expose myself to things that will make me feel worse.Here we go.

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So it’s the New Year. I thought that having a little get together with some of my closest friends would be a good way start 2014. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to separate the men from the boys as far as love interests go. I’ve decided that 2014 would be the year when I wouldn’t let guys float in the gray area which allowed them to enter and exit my life like a revolving door. If there is one thing that drives me crazy, it is INCONSISTENCY. Either way, be CONSISTENTLY AWESOME or CONSISTENTLY AWFUL. I like knowing what or not to expect when it comes to men. I hate the “blind side”, which has happened very often in my love life (Is it still a “blind side” if it happens repeatedly but with different people?). Besides, if they can’t make it past my Supreme Court of Dating aka my friends, there is absolutely no hope for us.

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My friends are the most fun, least judgmental, gregarious people I know. Anyways, back to what happened.

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So I invited a few people and I think honestly I knew which guys wouldn’t show up. With matters of the heart, in the past 6 months I’ve started to give myself a “hard stop”. A “hard stop” for me is a date or an event to which I invite a love interest (or interests). If they do not show up, then that is the end of that “relationship” for me, whether they know/like it or not. So when (let’s just call him “Mr. Limitless” with child because of how I described him my the last post) Mr. Limitless sent me a text to say he would join us, I was nervous but excited. The last time we hung out, two of my friends said that he was their “favorite situation” of mine (let’s overlook the fact that my friends have begun calling my dealings with the opposite sex “situations” and not “relationships”). They got a very “good vibe” from him and told me to overlook the fact that he had a son (I wasn’t judging him for being a dad. I was more so thinking about “baby mama” drama and possible, unknown reasons as to why he was divorced at age 32. Valid concerns, right?).

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They said it was about time that I had someone “mature”. They loved how he came after me that night and how attentive he was. I was pretty intoxicated so,apparently, I missed all of that stuff. I am glad they got to know him a little and shared that information. When I was with him, we didn’t do much talking (a.k.a we spent the majority of the night making out which I NEVER, NEVER, EVER do in public). I blame Jason. He has been the catalyst to many drunken, crazy nights. But again, let’s get back to the events of Saturday, January 18th.

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We picked out a nice spot for our group right as he texts me that he is walking in. Again, I am nervous but a little excited too. But he made a point to say he was coming and he actually showed up! Yes, this may seem like small potatoes to most girls but by the end of this entry you will see why that to me (pathetically) is a “big” gesture. Mr. Limitless and I spoke about our last meeting over the Thanksgiving holiday. We both vocalized that we NEVER make out in public and it was out of character for us. Then we laughed about it. Right then, I felt that inviting him was a good idea. Prior to that night, my feelings for him were lukewarm. I may or may not have wanted one of the other guys to show up. But now I had a chance to get to know him. I liked what I heard so far. The drinks were flowing and then we decided to dance. We were having fun!!!

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We left the dance floor to find his friend and make sure he was alright. We finally found him in another room. Out of nowhere, some girl came over quickly. She hugged him and then walked away just as quickly. I didn’t think much of it because he came here to hang out with me, right?  I mean, we had been together all night which if anyone was watching us, would notice. It would mean something to them…right? I guess it meant something to me. So Mr. Limitless, his friend, and I started walking back to where my friends were seated. Or so I thought. When I got there, I realized that I was alone. I turned and saw Mr. Limitless and his friend speaking. Again, I thought they would come over eventually so I waited. A few minutes later, Mr. Limitless’ friend came over and started grabbing their coats. I asked“Where did he go? Should we go find him”? His friend reluctantly shrugged his shoulders which made me feel uneasy so I walked ahead of him to see what was going on. There was Mr. Limitless waiting for him. Just as we reached him, the same girl who hugged him earlier approached him. I made eye contact with Mr. Limitless as I was just a few steps from him. The other girl approached him before I did, grabbed him away, and led him off to a few feet from me. I stood there dumbfounded. She literally grabbed him away after seeing me with him the entire night. Yes, you did read that last sentence correctly. She grabbed him away right in front of me who had been with him the entire night. Guess what? Mr. Limitless looked at me, looked at her, and then went with her. I stood there with his friend, bewildered as to what just happened. I was frozen, unable to move while I watched what was going on. Less than 30 seconds later, they reached a spot, and then they started making out (remember when he said he NEVER did that in public just 30 minutes earlier?). She, no, he was kissing her right in front of me. Side note: As a woman, I NEVER would do that to another woman. It is not only wrong and rude but it makes you look EXTRA DESPERATE.

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I try to treat people with respect and it just felt like an evil thing to do. Neither of them cared. He could’ve done it another night.Clearly she has some qualities I don’t have that he might like. If a guy I was interested in could do that to another woman, I wouldn’t think that guy and I had much of a future either. If he can do it without remorse, clearly he could just as easily do it to me. But the blame isn’t all hers. It is mostly Mr. Limitless. I turned to his friend who looked apologetic and told him to tell Mr. Limitless to have a good night.

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The walk back to where my friends were seemed like the longest ever. I felt dizzy. I felt sick. I told them what happened and said I wanted to leave. On the way out, all of us saw them making out. One friend asked if she should give him the finger. I refused. Why? What could you possibly say to a 32 year old divorced single father to a 3 year old who does things like that? The behavior he exhibited that night might have something to do with why he was divorced at his age (aka not giving zero fucks about anyone’s feelings but his own). My friends reassured me that I was hotter than him. That may be true and I love them for that but it didn’t make me feel better at that moment. My feelings were bigger than the incident, than that moment. I stood and watched them for a few seconds. Why did I do something like that? Am I a masochist? I did for so many reasons coupled with more questions. Why did I invite him when I was lukewarm about him in the first place? I don’t care if he makes out with someone (when I am not there/when he doesn’t come to meet me) because I only invited him to get to know him but it hurt. The way he did it/it happened hurt. He didn’t even have the common decency as a 32 YEAR OLD “MATURE” FATHER TO A 3 YEAR OLD to say he was there to hang out with me (like he said before) and tell the girl he couldn’t hang that night. He could’ve met up with her on another night and did whatever he wanted. But he didn’t do that. He did it right in front of me. He humiliated me right in front of all of my friends. With no remorse whatsoever. I stood there and watched because I wanted to remember what I promised myself for 2014. I promised myself that in 2014 I wouldn’t be the girl who always feels like she isn’t good enough because of the guys I give a chance to. I promised this year was the year for me to really put myself out there. No more self sabotage because, even though I am scared with good reason, I wanted to find a real relationship. No matter how long it takes. I watched to hold on to that horrific feeling just long enough that so I could tap back into it whenever I felt like putting myself out there again. That night I just broke. I was beyond words. We left and that was the longest cab ride home. I NEVER cry (except for those few days every month when anything makes me cry—Mr.Limitless had PERFECT TIMING if you understand what I am saying). When I got home, I cried until I got a migraine. I cried until I got a nosebleed. I cried until I fell asleep. I know what you are thinking now? Lorpu, seriously? I’ve had worse happen to me and it doesn’t warrant that response. But I wasn’t only upset about this incident. This isn’t the first time I’ve been humiliated in front of friends. I honestly think this response was the unavoidable result of holding back tears through numerous incidents that span a few years. I cried because I’m 28. I cried because I realized that since I started dating at age 20, this is all that it has been. From one bad situation to the next. And now I’m just tired. For a long time, I felt that if I had one instance from which I could extract good memories, it would prove that I can and deserve a great relationship. Holding on to that, I could press on. But I can’t do that because I’ve never had that. I am not exaggerating either. I am just exhausted. Mr.Limitless reminded me yet AGAIN why I don’t date. I watched him and his lady friend because I wanted that feeling to sink in. The pain. The humiliation. So I wouldn’t forget and be stupid enough to try to put myself out there again. I promised myself, starting this year, that I’d never feel like this again. But here I am and I am done.

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It may seems irrational to everyone else (OK, mostly other girls) when you tell them you’re not dating at the moment especially when most are out there looking for the “one”. This is where outsiders or dispensers of unsolicited advice must respect our difference as victims of violence. Logically, why would I want to when since I started dating at age 20 I’ve been lied to, raped, disappointed, embarrassed beyond belief in front of large crowds of people, deserted, berated, mislead, written about in a song-all without provocation? For so long I felt broken, used, forgotten, unappreciated, discarded. I’ve been told I am not “girlfriend material” 7 times because of my race. Even if I wanted to talk to someone about how I feel, I still can’t explain what this feels like. So I just keep to myself. Instead I don’t see friends, go out, and stay off all social media until I can come out without bringing attention to myself.

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By that time, I go back to a skill I’ve perfected over the past 9 years: hiding how I am constantly feeling with laughter, good deeds, and occasional binge drinking.

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People try to make me feel better calling each guy an ass hole, tell me to online date, etc. It doesn’t work anymore. Seriously, has EVERY guy been an asshole for the past 8 years? At this point, I feel like the asshole. I’m not an overly emotional person. I utilize logic whenever I feel like I am getting too emotional about something and it helps me get over it. I know that some people don’t get married or have kids. Those have always been things I, at first, didn’t want and then very rationally ONLY want with the RIGHT person. I never go out SEEKING it because I’ve seen with other girls how that can be a recipe for failure and disappointment. But I can’t play all of those “dating” games. Online dating was a total disaster and I will never do so again. I’m tired of being judged based on the color of my skin instead of the content of my character. How about old-fashioned “man meets girl, man asks girl out on a date, we get to know each other, we introduce each other to the important people in their lives, color isn’t an issue for him, he vocalizes FIRST that he wants to be in a committed, public relationship, we date, have fun, do normal couple things like go to games, go on trips, and the relationship goes in whatever direction we BOTH decide we want it to go and at our OWN PACE ? Read this list of “10 Old Fashioned Dating Habits We Should Make Cool Again”: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kate-bailey/2013/12/10-old-fashioned-dating-habits-we-should-make-cool-again/

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Yes, I feel like my past is probably important to disclose at some point but normal dating rules pretty much tell women to pretend to be someone they aren’t and chameleon, act, and react to things guy do just so they won’t think “you’re crazy”. Don’t tell him you like him because he will think you’re setting a pregnancy trap and crazy. When he calls, you must refuse the first few times and say you have plans even if you don’t and you like him or else you look crazy. If women who aren’t victims of violence have to follow all of these rules just to get and keep a guy interested, I have no chance. So you can just imagine why the hell I would NEVER want to disclose.

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You can’t tell me its timing. So what you are saying is that in the past EIGHT YEARS, my TIMING has been off the entire time? Oh no, it’s their AGE. When they get older they will SETTLE down. Then explain to me why in the past 2 years, the 6 guys that have dealt the biggest blows to me have been age 32 whilst I have numerous guy friends that are 25-27 getting engaged.

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People who really know me know I’ve never been desperate or had my head in the clouds about dating, love, etc. Then they tell me to pray. I am sorry but I am not sure I even believe in God anymore. I certainly don’t feel like going to church because I don’t feel like it is something I should be doing if I really don’t want to. Maybe this is God’s will. Maybe God is telling me that I shouldn’t be dating at all and I won’t get married. After almost 9 years of crap, I am ready to listen. Maybe there are other things in life that I am called to do like my advocacy work which makes me so much happier than anyone or anything has ever made me.  Even when I did pray about it, change my behaviors, etc, nothing changes or it gets worse. You must remember that this blog is for everyone but predominately for survivors of dating violence who cam empathize with my posts. I honestly don’t know how to explain or talk to people about it which is why having this blog is important to me. It provides a place for me to get it out so that I am not holding it in, suffocating in silence. With this blog, I can write about how I am feeling without worrying about being judged by people (OK, mainly possible suitors) who don’t fully understand what life is like for a survivor. The don’t understand that, for the most part, survivors have a greater capacity for love. We sometimes make better partners. The general consensus of society that if you’ve been through anything in life (which everyone has so it should just be called living right?) you must be damaged beyond repair. In my life, the most hateful people are those who have absolutely no reason to be. In fact they do it for fun because no one has ever held them responsible for their behavior. NO CONSEQUENCES=BAD PEOPLE. Besides, life could be always be worse.

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Girlfriends talk about baby names and I have nothing to add. They talk about princess vs. pear shaped diamonds. They know what colors they want for their weddings to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. I have no idea what they are talking about. I’ve always tried not to think about those things unless I have someone I want to do them with. Now I feel like that day might never come. I haven’t believed in a fairy tale ever since I can remember and can’t say if I ever did. I believe resiliency is the plight of women.

On nights like these, I think about him. Him? Yes, the “One that Got Away”, I guess. Let’s call him Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA.

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Here is a brief summary of that story: During undergrad from 2004-2005, we met and worked at a big “Dave and Buster’s” type restaurant together. I was (and probably still am) the world’s worst waitress. He would always help me out even before I asked. We were just friends but soon everyone kept asking if we were dating. Like the entire staff up from managerial to down to janitorial. I guess they noticed something about us. But I vividly remember the day, the incident, that made it impossible for me to ignore. During one of our daytime shifts, I walked over speak to the hostesses at the front of the restaurant. I turned to walk to the kitchen and caught him looking at me while he was standing at the bar. I looked away immediately and said goodbye to the hostesses. I started to walk towards the back of the restaurant and he was still looking at me. In fact, he never looked away. He smiled which made me smile. I have never forgotten that look he gave me. Yes, I still remember that look from 2005 even today. No guy had ever looked at me like that. It was like a sudden rush of heat throughout my body that made me uncomfortable in the most alluring way. So sexy how he never looked away, like he was piecing together the greatest story in his head.

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But he had a girlfriend. Not that it really matter. At the time, I was still a little shy/deathly afraid of guys. So we never talked about or acted on it. The following semester, his girlfriend transferred to UNCW from New Jersey. They had been dating since middle school. In fact, many referred to her as “wifey.” We both stopped working at the restaurant which closed down the following year in 2006. I would see him from time to time at parties. But after she transferred,our conversations always felt awkward. At one party, one of his friends told me that Mr.NJ-to-NC-to-CA had been talking about me and it seemed like he missed me. I laughed it off but he was totally serious. I missed him too. We started seeing each other less and less until I graduated in 2007.  By that time, I had fallen in “love” (which was a “situation” onto itself) and we lost touch. I hadn’t thought much about him until he posted on my Facebook wall in 2009: “LORPU!!!!” He told me that he would be visiting friends in DC so we should meet up for an epic reunion. I can’t lie, I was REALLY excited because I always missed his friendship. I brought my best friend along after I told her about how we met in college. She kept asking why we never got together. I told her why and said that he was probably married to his “wifey” at this point. Alanis said it best…

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We headed over to meet all the boys at Rhino. We walked upstairs and there he was! We hugged. No,we embraced. I said hey to all of the boys from college and some other guy friends I’d never met. One of those “new” guys took my hand and starting spinning me around which of course made Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA laugh. I kept yelling at him for help but he just watched and laughed. I missed his laugh. Then one of our mutual guy friends’ from college (let’s call him “Vince” because he looks like Adrian Grenier on Entourage. This guy friend gets a name because he will have an important role in this post later) joined our conversation. Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA asked if he remembered me from undergrad. “Vince” said of course and hugged me. But then something weird and kind of cute (that everyone in the conversation noticed) happened. Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA pulled me back from “Vince” and hugged me again. Like I belonged to him. What girl doesn’t like being fought over by two very handsome guys even in a playful, platonic manner? But seriously, what what whaaaatttt was that? I giggled and then we got drinks. A different mutual guy friend who also worked at the restaurant with us pulled Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA and I aside. We started talking reminiscing about shenanigans at the restaurant and then he asked me a question: If Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA and I were hanging off a cliff, who would you save? Hahahahaha! I didn’t know what to say. Or at least I didn’t want to say it out loud but I had an answer. Again, I laughed it off. The friend left the conversation so it was just the two of us again. Mr. NJ-to-NC-to CA asked me what I had been up to since undergrad. I gave him the highlights but definitely “forgot” to mention those two years I spent in an abusive relationship. Whooops! Anyways, I asked him the same question. He told me that he was in Northern California getting his PhD in Chemistry…….SEXY!!!!!!. I made some off handed joke about me thinking that he would be married by now which is when he told me he was SINGLE!! What?!?!? I asked what happened with “wifey” but said he didn’t really want to talk about it. At that moment, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about him being single because I had never been in that situation with him. Now we were both unattached (which he didn’t know at that point in the night because I hadn’t told him). A few minutes later, It was someone’s great idea to go to Gin&Tonic (I think it is called Mason Inn now) so you can imagine how loaded we had to be to go in there. We got in line but he stepped out to do what? SMOKE A CIGARETTE?!?!? He didn’t smoke cigarettes in undergrad! Before I knew it (and probably due to all of the alcoholic bebidas consumed at that point) I yelled the following statement at him (and for anyone within a half mile radius): If you smoke that cigarette, I am not going to have sex with you later! *Insert GASP from my best friend*

Right after I said it, the panic set in. I had this internal dialogue with myself: Holy marbles, Lorpu! What did you just say? Something must be in these drinks. How do you even know he wants to do that? Why did you just yell up the street? Now everyone in between the two of you is looking at you. The guys are telling him not to smoke that cigarette but wait…..is he smiling? Did he just drop that cigarette? What is going on?

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Then we all went into the bar. More drinks. More dancing. Finally he asked me what was going on with me. Lorpu, are you still refusing pro surfers? (Kelly Slater reference-short story for another day) Me: Ha! No, I am not. Mr.NJ-to-NC-to-CA: What about guys in bands? Me: No, not doing those anymore either. Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA: Soooo? Me: So, I am single. Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA: So, should we get another drink? Me: Well that’s much better than smoking. He took my hand and led me through the crowd (I don’t know why but I find this so sexy). So a few drinks later, I asked again why they broke up. Then he told me. After undergrad, they decided to move to California together to chase graduate degrees. They both applied to places in Northern and Southern California. But he got into a school in the bay area and she in SoCal. They still tried to make it work. But during her first visit, they found their relationship just wasn’t the same anymore. That is when they decided, after almost a decade of dating, to end it amicably. He only had one rule: Don’t date my friends. Guess what? That is the rule she broke. Unfortunately for my mister, one of their other guy friends who they all grew up with in NJ also lived in San Diego. So his bro “committed the robbery” (Jersey Shore reference). I could tell that it really hurt him which was later relayed to me by one of the other guys. Apparently they all put her on their black list and stopped talking to her. So now I knew.image

The bar was closing but we didn’t want the night to end. Until that point, we had done a lot of talking and only talking. But I had no idea when the next time I was going to see him would be. So we all decided to go back to his friends’ place in Georgetown. During the cab ride over, my friend decided to let Mr. NJ-to-NC-to CA know that it had been a long time since I  “hooked up” with anyone and that I was probably “going gray” down there. She is really subtle, right? Did I forget to mention that periodically throughout the night, all the boys kept interrupting our conversations asking if we were going to make out, falling in love, when/where would our wedding take place, and if we were ready to have beautiful mixed babies? ALL NIGHT LONG. When we got back to the house, everyone went to sleep except for the three of us. I sat next to him on one couch while my friend lay down on the one across from us. She lulled herself to sleep chanting “Make Out! Make Out! Make Out!”. In the middle of one of my sentence, he pulled me to sitting position on top of him(Gosh, as if it weren’t hard enough to resist him in general. Now it felt like he was reading my mind and knew exactly what I wanted a guy to do in said situation). We continued talking until he said “Stop”. So I did. (Again, so sexy. I loved that he took charge on some Christian Grey type of-ish)

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Then he said “Look at me”. He grabbed the hair at the nape of my neck with both of his hands. I was speechless. I couldn’t move. I may have stopped breathing for a few seconds too. Why? What I had been thinking, no fantasizing, about for years and never thought would happen was about to become a reality. Not just a kiss. It was more than that. It was a kiss from the only guy that I knew without any doubts genuinely wanted me for me. I knew no matter what , he would never treat me poorly. This was a very scary place because I had never been there with anyone. Now I was with the only guy up until then I thought it would ever be possible with.

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Then he kissed me. I don’t say things like this but that was the best first kiss I’ve ever had with anyone. Perhaps because it was 5 years coming.

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We still kept it PG-13 (remember that we were on a couch at a friend’s house with my best friend asleep in the same room—-I have standards people!).

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God, how I love when a guy flips me over from being on top of him to beneath him without warning. It’s Just. So. Steamy. In between all of that stuff, we talked more. We talked about how much we really did like each other but couldn’t do anything about it years ago. He vocalized my thoughts that he liked me as I was especially that I didn’t hook up with a lot of guys. Then we talked about California. He told me about how most of the girls he encounters are in undergrad, therefore young and immature. I told him how a trip to Lake Tahoe was somewhere near the top of my bucket list. He made me promise that if he got us a cabin there, I would fly over (FYI: I am deathly afraid of flying), and we’d head there together. We talked about driving up and down the coast on the PCH. We talked about checking out all the sites on the way down to Coachella 2010.

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Then we talked about how I was in school and how much longer that would take. We talked about him being in school and how much longer that would take. He told me he wanted our “first time” to be special (yes, it sounds cheesy but at the time it really sent me), not on his buddy’s couch or kitchen floor. It’s the little things, right? I kept saying we had to go and then he’d kiss me until I lost track of time again. He kept saying it was getting late so he should get some sleep. So I would kiss him so he wouldn’t let me go. They had no choice but to drive back in the morning because of the ridiculous snow storm that was coming (remember SNOWMAGGEDON 2009? Yes, it either permanently ruined my love life or was a blessing in disguise because we never did get to “go all the way”).

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This back and forth went on for about 3 more hours until my friend woke up, stormed out of the house, and demanded to leave. How selfish! How rude (Stephanie Tanner voice)! Ha! Right before we said our final goodbyes, he asked me something I would never forget: “This is never going to happen, is it?” 

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I was speechless. We were sad, frustrated, and angry. I made a joke about him ruining my life by living in California and he said that if he were here, we would definitely give us a try. Leaving him was one of the hardest things I did up until then for 2 reasons: 1) He was the only guy that looked at me and really saw me. To him, I was special and enough at the same time just as I was. He also was very vocal about his feelings for me which was especially refreshing (instead of the normal sub verse power struggle games guys normally attempted with me). He was the only person that I could say with 100% certainty would NEVER hurt me because he knew what it felt like (I honestly have a theory that guys that have been really hurt in the past are a lot less likely to treat girls like crap. But who really knows, right?)

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Mr. NJ-to-NC-CA was “my person”; and 2) I would probably never see him again.The next day, he was gone.

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A few days later, he sent me a text asking how I was dealing with all the snow. When I told him we’d lost power and was home alone in the dark terrified, he stayed up with me until I fell asleep. A couple of weeks later he sent me a “Happy Birthday” text. That night I got extra drunk thinking about who he might possibly be kissing at midnight. Happy f*cking birthday to mee…NOT! His birthday was in early March. I attempted to mail him a card. I am still not sure if he ever got it but by then I was in a full on imaginary relationship with him. This “fake” relationship with someone across the country that I never saw or spoke to was more fulfilling, safe, and joyous than any “real” relationship that I could possibly have in DC. You have to remember that this was not so long after I left my abusive relationship and way before I really told anyone what happened. But then something happened in March.

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Remember “Vince”? Well in March, another one of the guy friends from college came to visit DC and we all went out together again. Mr. NJ-to-NC-to CA was back in California but that didn’t stop the boys from continued planning of our lives together: “When are you guys going to get married?”; “Will you get married in Wilmington?”; “Do you want a boy or girl first?”; “Those mixed babies are going to be gorgeous.” Again, ALL NIGHT LONG. At one point, they even called him and put him on speaker. I found out later that the next day he was VERY upset with them once upon finding out that I was there the entire time. I wasn’t my idea.

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I have to admit that back in undergrad “Vince” never spoke much. But tonight he was very talkative when he wasn’t joining in the teasing. He told me that he broke up with his girlfriend and was ready to date again. I, of course, decided to help him out immediately. I found a pretty brunette at the bar and with my help, they started talking and exchanged numbers. MATCHMAKING SUCCESS! Afterwards, just like last time, we went back to the boys place in Georgetown. My best friend was off with one of the guys so, this time, I slept on the couch and waited for her. “Vince” lay down on the other and we talked until everyone headed to bed. Remember when I told you that the ENTIRE NIGHT all of the boys were teasing me about Mr. NJ-to-NC- CA. (Obviously he told them what happened in December which I think is adorable in his case)? Without warning and to my extreme shock in the pitch dark, all 6’5” of “Vince” was on top of me. So I asked him what he thought he was doing. His response: “ (Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA) isn’t here. He is in California. Do you really think he is thinking about you?” My response to him was that he was missing the point. “Vince” knew how much what his ex did to him hurt. Why would he want to do that to him again? Get off. “Vince”: He doesn’t care about you. You will never see him again. Let’s have sex. Me: You don’t know the conversation that we had with each other so you can’t really speak about how much he does or doesn’t care about me. He must care somewhat because I was in this same position with him and he said he didn’t want to do it like this. Not on someone’s couch or rushed because it meant something to him. You don’t even want to take me out on a date. Just an hour ago, I was setting you up with some girl at the bar. Where is this coming from? Please stop or go home. Vince: I know what you want and I am here. Let me give it to you. You won’t ever see him again and he doesn’t care about you. Me: Please just leave.

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Finally, he got up and left. I stared at the ceiling for the rest of the night hoping my friend would somehow emerge and want to leave right then. Unfortunately, I had to wait until morning. She saw my face and asked what happened. I told her and her jaw hit the floor. She asked me why he would want to do that to his “bro” when he knew his history concerning exes and his friends. She asked what I was going to do. I had no idea because I was still in shock. A week later, one of my girlfriends that also knows “Vince” told me that she saw him walking on the street with guess who? HIS GIRLFRIEND! Yeah, the one he said he broke up with!! How disgusting! Who knew under that quiet, shy, collected demeanor laid all that deception? That might explain why when “Vince” hugged me in December Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA grabbed me back from him. I sat with what happened for a couple of weeks until I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I knew the boys were planning a trip to CA to visit him so I had to tell him what happened in March before that. I did it specifically if “Vince” decided he wanted to share his version of that night. So I sent Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA a message telling him what happened in March. First, he said that it was awesome and decent of me to tell him at all. Then he said that he thought it was a very low class thing for “Vince” to do especially whilst in a relationship. He tried to apologize for him which I told him was completely unwarranted and unnecessary. He reiterated that if he were in DC that we would give “us” a try. I told him he was a rare breed and that anyone would be lucky to have him. That was our last conversation. I held on to it for a very long time, not even attempting to date anyone on the same coast as me. Sometimes I wish we never had that conversation. That fantasy ended 8 months later when he changed his “About Me” to being in a relationship. He started dating some girl who works in the same laboratory with him, not even 21 yet at the time. They’ve gone on the trips we have planned. They’ve hit all the milestones we were teased about by friends. They’ve made all the memories I wanted to make with someone, with him. Even though we hadn’t spoken in months, it felt like a breakup. I don’t know his girlfriend. At the time, it felt unfair because I didn’t think she could love him as much as I could even if she wanted to. Therefore, I don’t think she can give him all he needs like I can. It felt like the end of our story forever. Why? He is not a person that dates casually. He is a lifer which means they will probably get married.

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I found out a little while ago that he stood up for me. He didn’t let “Vince” visit him for an entire year and when he did, told him that he knew what happened. It honestly made my heart skip a beat and those feelings of me missing him welled up inside of me. 

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My girlfriends and I were talking about this subject matter recently. Each one of us had a story. Honestly, almost everyone has experienced that person who inevitably was the "one that got away”. So does one find or forget the “one who got away”? Is it’s better to keep that memory alive in your heart instead of opening yourself up to possible regret? It’s natural to wonder what happened to that long-lost love of your past, right? OK, we all know how things turned out with the love that stayed in our life. But their is always one that often haunts us. Mine was Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA.

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I remember his shade of blue eyes. I remember how I’d catch him looking at me when we were in separate conversations across a room. It always made me smile. I remember holding our hands up against each others with him commenting on how “giant” his were compared to mine but my fingers were “long and elegant”. I remember when he entered a room and immediately feeling butterflies. I remember spending hours in December 2009 talking about the dreams we both had for the future. I remember his kisses from my forehead, to my neck, to my lips (It’s so sexy when I guy you like pins you up against a wall (or door) to kiss you. It’s like they have a craving for you that need to satisfied immediately).

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A couple of years ago, I thought about just hopping on a plane to California. Nothing was really keeping me here in DC. I was having those same thoughts after what happened tonight. On nights like these, the “What If kept me up starting at cracks in the ceiling. What if I just got on a plane and went to California? Would I have skipped all of the heartbreaks n my past? Would I be able to leave? Would I have to leave? Would I want to leave? If I did, would it hurt more after creating all of these memories with him? What if we were to meet up now — just as we are?” What if he moved here? Who are we now? Is it worth the risk? At this point, with all the things I’ve dealt with since I started dating (and surprisingly continue to encounter) it isn’t hard to think that it would be worth the risk. But if my moment for real love was with him and it  has passed, I want to know because that I can live with. I won’t keep showing up to “situations” with even now with the smallest of hopes every 3, 6, 9 months or a year. Yeah, it would be awesome if our reunion turned out like The Notebook:imageimageimage

But let’s keep it real. If I did right now, it would most definitely create a situation closer to My Best Friend’s Wedding. That would make me an ass just like Mr.Limitless and the girl from Saturday night…

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If you have never seen the movie or don’t remember what it’s about, here is the plot: When she dumped Michael as a boyfriend in college, Julianne made him her new best friend. And they made a pact: If they were still single at 28, they’d marry each other. Now they’re almost 28. And Michael is in Chicago. And wants Julianne to call him. She’s touched. She has always really loved the guy. But he’s not calling to propose. He’s calling to explain he’s engaged to be married in three days—to a junior at the University of Chicago, whose father owns the White Sox and a cable TV empire. This is not good news for Julianne. P.J. Hogan’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding” tells the story of how she tries to sabotage the wedding and win the man she should have married all along.

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"Well does this any of this make sense to you? It doesn’t have to. It’s something that happens. It’s like seeing someone for the first time—like you could be passing on the street, and you look at each other and for a few seconds there’s this kind of recognition—like you both know something. The next moment, the person’s gone, and it’s too late to do anything about it. And you always remember it because it was there, and you let it go, and you think to yourself, What if I had gone to California? What If I had said something? What if? And it may only happen a few times in your life. Or once."- Quote from movie, "Out of Sight"

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Story of my life especially after being a victim of violence. Love, especially unrequited is terrifying. Now watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIoq_0T0PZE

During my efforts to sabotage their wedding, I would meet his girlfriend and try to explain why they don’t work. For instance, Creme Brulee is a high end dessert but he is more of a Jell-O guy…

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Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGgdg2q1eig.

Here comes my overdue moment…

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When I finally tell him how I feel, it will probably go just as bad as when Julianne decided to tells him after 9 years. Just see for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ExnVKy8hao

The thing is that My Best Friend’s Wedding didn’t have a happy ending either….

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Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA and I were in different places in our lives back then. Today, we are still in different places. Yet there are some times (usually after a disastrous night out with a guy) when I look back remembering that moment that could have been.

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I don’t have those feelings for him anymore. Why? Because after Saturday, I am not sure I could feel that for anyone. I am not sure it exists out there for me.

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But there were several benefits from having these fantasies. They allowed me to put off confronting my fears. But negatively did the same to my recover, transitioning from a victim to a survivor. They overpowered my self-doubt and insecurities because it proved that I could find the right person for me. For months, I created visual imagery that sustained me. During these fantasies as a couple, we had solutions to every problem which always lead to my desired outcome. Over the past few days before posting this entry, I’ve realized that those fantasies made it harder discover tangible love. Chasing the unavailable isn’t worth wasting my years on make-believe that only provides a temporary fix. I’ve considered, contemplated, dissected, and replayed the night I spent with Mr. NJ-to-NC-CA a million times. Sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the right where it is as not to hinder you from experiencing your desires in the future. Besides, Mr. NJ-to-NC-to-CA looks happy in his life now (Part of me thinks he dates her because she is younger, therefore “safe”, probably idolizes him, and will never lie,leave, or cheat on him). I want him to be happy in general even though I think I could make him the happiest. Also I can’t compare him to other guys. I cant have my past overshadow my future. Doesn’t really matter now because I’m exhausted with dating. I’ve reached an impasse. Now I choose to sit and smile over a glass of wine whenever I remembering him. Maybe someone will come along that is better than him, better than the one that got away. Whoever he is, I hope he will be “the one that stays”. 
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Until next time,

~LK

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS: IS CHANGE POSSIBLE?

You Never Need Nobody- The Lone Bellow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsnrzr0Bm80

The Moondoggies- What Took You So Long

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4JLB4bybyM

Be Mine- Alabama Shakes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwjdpKOv1sY

Adele- One and Only

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4r-c4I_9Rc

Sheryl Crow -Strong Enough

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxx8o_sheryl-crow-strong-enough_music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCYAuTFjAL8 (duet with the amazing Stevie Nicks—amazing!!)

John Mayer feat. Katy Perry- Who You Love (I would be John Mayer in this situation)—http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSRCpertZn8 

Side note: I don’t really follow celebrity couples or celebrity anything but I am actually rooting for them because they kind of remind me of a modern day “Priscilla and Elvis”. I am so happy he moved to a ranch in Montana so he could get back to music. Look at how happy she looks, especially when riding the bull?!? For Katy, such an upgrade from a philandering chimney nymphomaniac who ended their MARRIAGE via text. I especially love when bad boys fall hard.

Here is a link to the lyrics to this song: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/john+mayer/who+you+love_21064745.html. They really resonate with me. The lyrics are definitely applicable to this post especially the first verse as I would be John Mayer in this situation.

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 3:00 pm, December 31st, 2013/New Years Eve/28th Birthday (NYE) - 9:00pm, January 1st, 2014/New Years Day (NYD)

 

This blog post is about New Years’ Resolutions. Wikipedia defines a New Year’s Resolution (NYR) as a secular tradition in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, most popular in the Western Hemisphere. Ever since I had a proper understanding of what an NYR is, I decided it was pointless to commit to changes I never planned on keeping up. Until NYE 2012, that is. I decided if I was actually going to give this NYR movement a try for 2013, I should start small. So here were my 2 NYRs for 2013:

 1) Start a non-profit organization

2) Perform on a stage of some sort to rid myself of stage fright

 Seems easy enough, right? Well, needless to say, I only accomplished one. Yes, 2013 was the hardest, busiest, most fulfilling, and fruitful year of my life. I spent so many nights at home on my computer researching, emailing, writing, downloading horrible music on ITunes (side note: I think my ITunes needs some sort of chastity belt after midnight), and watching Dateline and Court TV. It was upsetting to miss so many events, parties and concerts that I wanted to attend but I’ve wouldn’t change a thing. It culminated on September 5th at TSO’s launch party. Honestly, I am not a high maintenance or demanding person. If one person showed up, I would’ve been happy. But I saw so many faces which meant the world to me. I will never forget that day. I didn’t get a chance to get on stage but before the year ended, I made sure to set up opportunities to keep that resolution in 2014.

3:00 pm, NYE 2013: Alright, I need to stop watching “Orange is the New Black” and start getting ready for the night. But before I do, I will check Facebook just once to see how everyone else plans to ring in the New Year. 40 new notifications? Oh, birthday wishes. People are awesome. I am a lucky to know all of these awesome people who wish me a happy birthday even though I never make a big deal out of it. 2013 was awesome and I probably should’ve had some big party. I will ring in 2015 in style…maybe. I guess I do have an entire year to plan it. Messages? I miss her. I miss her too. And her too. Um, what? Why? How? Why did he send me a message?

 Facebook User Message aka Mr. “I Don’t Want to be Better”: Hey, Lorpu. I know you probably weren’t expecting to hear from me again and you probably never wanted to as well. First, I just wanted to say happy birthday because I know it’s your birthday. You are 28, right? Anyways I hope it’s a good one and I hope this message doesn’t ruin it. I remember a few years ago when we were trying to figure out what was happening with us, I shared a lot with you about my dad and how I felt about his absence in my life. I know you had some similar things happen to you and we bonded on at least that. Back then, I was really stubborn and wouldn’t listen to your advice regarding letting go of that anger so that I could be a better person. You don’t know (and might not care because of how I ended things) that he came back into my life. It took me awhile but I am happy that I was able to hear him out. I forgave him for things he did that I couldn’t begin to understand. He told me he is sick and wanted to make amends for past wrongs because they’ve been “killing” him. He apologized to my mother and to me as well. I learned a lot about him and also myself. We are apparently very much alike. All of a sudden, you came to mind. I decided that of all the people I’ve hurt with my anger over my dad and other issues, you are the person that sticks out the most to me. I want you to know that I was fully aware of what I was doing and did it anyways in 2010. I know that after the first night you met me, you wanted to break things off not only because of me living in NC and you in DC but because of past hurts. I didn’t let you because you were unlike any of the girls I’ve ever met who were not ambitious (sp?), self-absorbed, and you just made people want to talk to you and know you. I told you this and you might remember, but I had never been around someone that everyone seemed to genuinely like and could start a conversation with anyone, make anyone feel comfortable, like they’ve known you all along and laugh too. The night we met I was the most intense 12 hours I’ve spent with a girl ever and we didn’t want to leave each other. I know you must’ve been exhausted at work the next day, staying until midnight and driving straight to work the next morning. I was smiling the entire day. It took me over 2 months but we consistency, begging, and pleading, you finally let your guard down. Our long distance conversations everyday were the most honest way of getting to know a you without the physical getting in the way (even though we know we didn’t have trouble in that department). I worked sometimes until 3, 4, 5 am in the morning and even though you had to get up at 8, you always made sure I called you when I got home to make sure I was safe. You never complained. It was just something you wanted to do. I know you were still working stuff out but I want to let you know, despite how I acted at the end, you telling me about what happened in your bad relationship was a big deal to you. Thank you for sharing because I know it was hard and you didn’t have to. The offer still stands that if I ever saw him, I would beat the shit out of him. Sometimes I got upset when I knew you would be going out because you could meet other guys and that one weekend you couldn’t meet me that one weekend in Virginia Beach but I knew I could trust you. But I was so excited when you told me you were coming down for Brittany’s birthday. But that is when things changed for us. I handled what happened at Indochine wrong. Instead of me listening to him, I became jealous. Then I became angry because I was so used to people paying attention to me usually.

 

[Indochine incident: So Mr. “I Don’t Want to do better” and I got to the restaurant for my friend Brittany’s birthday. We couldn’t be seated until our entire party was there so we waited outside in front along with other people waiting to be seated. It was a Saturday night so, needless to say, the restaurant was busy. While we were standing out front with about 15 other strangers, a car turned from Market Street and pulled up directly in front of us. Ok, so if you’ve never been to Wilmington and/or Indochine, that was about a 2 block distance. I still up to today do not really understand how he saw us from that far and decided to come over but I am not joking. This really happened. So when he stops directly in front of us, I brace myself for the obvious African-American girl-with-her-white-boyfriend-in-a-liberal-but-still-Southern-town-racist-rant. I have been in prior situations like this before but never with this mister so I wasn’t sure how he would handle it or himself. How could I stop a shouting and or fist fight and not kill myself in these heels on this gravel parking lot?!? But this is what the driver said to the best of my recollection in his southern, broken English to my mister: “Son, I usually don’t do this but I was driving down Market and just had to come in and say something. I swear when I was your age, I could never date a girl like that. My sister and my mom used to always tell me about girls and how I needed to find a good one and treat her right but I never listened. I wish I did. I from North Carolina, part Cherokee. You may not know me and I may look like some country bumpkin but listen to me son. I don’t know you either but you have a prize. You better hold on to that girl, treat her right and marry her. I’ve been to a lot of places and they just don’t make them like that. So you listen to me. You better do it because you are lucky or else someone else will and you will regret it for the rest of your life.

 Me: (jaw on the floor)

My mister: Thank you sir, I will try.

Me: (jaw still on the floor but completely mortified)

 I am still surprised today that happened and I couldn’t make it up. But back to the message…]

 Everything was different from that day on. When you left, I became more jealous and angry. I accused you of say things to make me change when you never did. I started fights for no reason and tried to make you into the bad person you never were. We got through that and you told me you were going to visit again so that we could sort things out. Even though you hadn’t told me, I knew you’d fallen for me. But as the date came closer, I just kept thinking about how embarrassed I felt in front of Indochine. So 3 days before you came down and when you were at your cousin’s graduation party, I did something stupid. Followed by saying something stupid that I knew would purposefully hurt you. I made out with some trashy girl who was a complete stranger and told you how the two of us came to the decision that me and you weren’t going to work out because your kind didn’t fit into my family being that you were black. I hurt you enough that you would leave me alone to be the lousy person I am. Worst is that I gave you no explanation of why I did so. There were so many times in the beginning that you tried to give me an easy way out before your feelings got involved and I didn’t let you. I said I saw you. I told you how I understood that you were special and that any guy really worth your time would see through all of your behaviors to push them away and know that you were a prize. Because you are worth it. You are worth it and I apologize for myself, your abusive boyfriend and any other men who made you feel as though you were. I can tell you they do and why I did what I did to you. It is because they don’t want to be better. They are around you and they probably don’t feel like they are good enough for you. Instead of taking that out on you, now I see that I should have tried to be better for myself and for you. But that isn’t your fault. I was an immature coward. I told you I wouldn’t let you down or leave. You believed me finally. Then I did. The girls I dated before meeting you were losers. I was a loser when I met you too. But you saw that I could do and be better. I know it wouldn’t have been easy but my life would’ve been better. I am dating someone now and my life is good but you will always be the one that got away to me. I guess everyone has one of those, right? I don’t know what you are up to but I really hope you are still making people fall in love with you easily. I hope you are happy. I hope you are still making friends and people laugh wherever you go. I hope you are helping people in some way because you are really good at it. I hope that I was the last asshole you gave a chance to. I hope you are dating a real man who saw through all those defense mechanisms or you let your guard down and he is treating you like the prize you are. I hope he feels lucky and never hurts you like I did. If you’ve met any assholes after me, give me their address. I have some vacation time and I can visit to make up for my shit behavior. Anyways, I hope you have a happy birthday and happy New Year.

3:30pm, NYE 2013: What the?

4:30pm, NYE 2013: Why the?

5:30 pm, NYE 2013: Time to delete the message and block him. No response shall be given to that. Ever. But how the?

6:30 pm, NYE 2013: What the hell was that?!?

7:30 pm, NYE 2013: The saddest thing about that message is that since 2010, it has been a lot more of that.

12:00 pm, NYE 2013: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Lorpu, focus. Simultaneously keep your eyes closed to ignore the couples AND hug other single friends without knocking anything over or spilling on your dress. Ding. Dang. Done. Wow, I am such a pro at this now.  So it’s no longer my birthday. It’s a new year. I don’t feel any different. But is anything ever actually different? Alright, so what are your NYRs for 2014, 28 year old self?

Well, I must perform something somewhere to get rid of my stage fright. I’ve signed the org up for the Vagina Monologues but I think I need to do a few smaller performances before that to make sure I don’t projectile vom on the front row. One more, what will it be? Oh, perhaps something that addresses the terminal status of my dating life since 2009. But whose fault is that? But is there anything else I can really do about it? Maybe I am not being obvious enough and Ryan Gosling needs me to send him my physical address.  Lorpu, why don’t you write about your love life in the years just since Mr. “I Don’t Want to Do Better” up until now. It might be beneficial for you to think about how you met, what happened in the relationship/non-relationship, pivotal moments, how you felt at the end, and what you learned before you decide what you will do about it in 2014/for your 2nd NYR. It might be help to map where you came from to know where you want to go and not repeat past mistakes. (Side note: No guys from my past names’ will EVER be mentioned in this blog. Furthermore, if I started dating someone now, I would NEVER discuss our relationship and EVER say his name. Privacy is sexy to me. For those of you who have known me for years, you are the privileged few (or unprivileged in some cases) who can attach names and faces to the following aliases.

In somewhat chronological order:

 Mr. “I don’t want to do better”: (summer 2010)

Met: At a bar after I split the now illegal death causing drink 4Loko (great context, right?)

Relationship: read the message from earlier in the post

Pivotal moments: when he said he could see through my defense mechanisms (never been speechless and so turned on at the same time) which is when I actually started to fall for him; when he told me what he did right before I drove down for the final time

How I felt: Heartbroken; stupid; like an Accomplice to what he did to me because he wouldn’t of been able to hurt me if I hadn’t opened up (albeit 3 months later after trying to avoid it) and let him know how; numb.

What I learned: Seeing the best in someone means nothing unless they want to be the best they can be.

 

Mr. “I’ve was bullied when I was younger so I’m going to take it out on everyone in my life” (Winter 2011)

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Met: Apparently at a few places that were not memorable to me until I was tricked into a blind date with him

Relationship: Non-existent (I never let him meet any of my friends perhaps out of embarrassment)

Pivotal moments: forced/tricked blind date on which we saw the movie“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Obviously a great first date movie with its 2 anal rape scenes, how he kept talking throughout the movie using his “outside” fucking voice, kept touching my shoulders (ughhhhh); when he said we need to have a “talk” (because we all know the greatest conversation start with “”we need to talk”) and told me about the pills he had in his medicine cabinet for his low-T(estosterone). He said that if he couldn’t get aroused (during the imaginary past and non-existent future sex we were never going to have) that it wasn’t my fault but if we wanted to have a baby, I needn’t worry because he was fertile (I never touched him and um, duh-why the hell would I ever think it’s MY fault especially since that has NEVER been a problem for me?!?-moron); when he kept starting fights with me for no reason by lying/making up things that I never said(e.g. when I went to NC for my friend’s Bachelorette party, he said before I left I told him I was going down there to “make out with a lot of guys”. I would never say that because I wouldn’t need to tell him. I wouldn’t spend a second with him and I would just do it. I don’t and have never “made out with a lot of guys”); a failed attempt at trying to “control” me( aka sub verse power struggle) by attempting to tell me what to do (e.g. accusing me of trying to expose myself to other guys when he isn’t around because of an outfit I wore and saw on Facebook when he was out of town visiting family—boy did he regret doing that!)

How I felt when it ended: So jubilant that I told him I was going out on a date on speaker phone in front of his friends 2 hours after I ended the 2 month soap opera with him (I wouldn’t normally be so cold blooded but I should mention that I did this because not only had he been so evil to me the entire time for no damn reason—he wasn’t even cute—but he went over to our mutual friends apartment when I ended things, to first blame them for me ending things before lying to them.He told them that I had been talking shit about them for months which wasn’t true: I didn’t really know anything about them honestly and I could care less what was going on with them because I was dealing with him. It was shocking me that he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to stay with his psychotic, delusional ass. Anyways, they saw through it and kicked him out of their wedding. Apparently he was so traumatized by what happened/what he did to himself that he moved to Canada. It is the one of the first times after a relationship/non-relationship; I had zero feelings of remorse about its ending.)

What I learned: No one is worth the fighting. Patience is a virtue not everyone should have the pleasure of receiving from you. Never speak in anger (which I never do anyways and am slow, almost too slow to anger).  If I feel like a potential significant is combative, demanding, controlling (e.g. trying to give me ultimatums), I pull the plug quickly. I even do that with girlfriends if I am really being honest. Fighting gives me major anxiety because of my past. I try to be reasonable and talk things out. Furthermore, nerds are not nicer. Sometimes have a lot of baggage. I thought I perhaps had problems but he showed me I am handling my past VERY WELL.

 After him, I decided to give ONLINE DATING A TRY. I hope you are sitting down for the next segment. NEVER EVER AGAIN WILL I EVER…EVER!

Mr. “You’re really tall, got a really cool job, and a really cool accent so I can overlook that you resemble Rowan Atkinson aka ‘Mr.Bean’ (Winter 2011)

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Met: Online and met up with him, along with a friend, 4 hours after I broke up with nerdy psycho

Relationship: Only met up physically twice; second time being on St. Patty’s day night (which was unseasonably hot) after which I spent the day simultaneously attending a bar crawl in Arlington and going on 3 blind dates from the website (each guy met me at a different bar along the way—why would I waste such a good opportunity?)

Pivotal moments: the second time we hung out, he became interesting to me and my friends liked him a lot

How I felt when it ended: Well because he kept making plans and cancelling them, I knew something was up. Of course, back then, this drove me crazy and more of my brain space kept being dedicated to it. But serendipity has always been on my side whether or not I want it to be. Something happened on the day when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was in a different part of town that I wouldn’t normally be in, attending a meeting that had been rescheduled a few times. If I’d attended the meeting the first time at the other location, I would’ve missed him. If it ended a little earlier or later, just by one train, I would’ve missed him. Not this day. I was going down the escalator at the Clarendon stop and he was going up. I got to the bottom and because I wanted an answer, I went right back up escalator (Who was I at this moment? Something bold jumped up into my bones!). So I stopped him. All 6’7” of him with his British accent looked totally embarrassed and sheepish. I lost all attraction for him in that moment.

What I learned: Getting to cross off “going on date with guy with accent” off my bucket list wasn’t all that exciting.

Mr. “I’m own 2 bars in DC so I am a pretty big deal-I know I can buy your attention/affection” (Spring 2011)

Met: Online dating; he had one picture up in which he was wearing huge sunglasses that obscured his face, making it somewhat hard to see what he looked like

Relationship: Tumultuous and scary even though we never met face to face

Pivotal moments: when I gave him my number after chatting online for an hour and he began texting me ALL day and ALL night; every time he casually told me how much money he makes (e.g. “I just blew $2,000 in Vegas. I can do that kind of thing. Oh well”); the first time I decided not to meet up with him because of his behavior (including drunk dialing me all night at age 32 at which point I asked him if he was a vampire) and then told me I would “regret” it; the time I told him how I think we would totally hit it off and he promised to back off with the communication until we met which lasted for a day; when he drunk dialed me all day long on St. Patty’s Day and even called me while I was out with Mr. “You’re really tall, got a really cool/inspiring job with a really cool accent so I can overlook that you resemble Rowan Atkinson aka ‘Mr.Bean’; after giving him another chance (and still haven’t met him) the second time I decided I didn’t want to meet up with him and he told me that he “knows what I look like”

How I felt when it ended: Terrified; I didn’t go out in DuPont for the next 6 months.

What I learned: Just because a guy looks great on paper (great job, accomplished, fun, great taste in music, etc) and you have a lot in common doesn’t excuse him from being bat shit crazy. At age 32.

Mr. “I am too busy to meet up but I think we would be a great match so let’s keep communicating for an entire year when we live in the same city (Spring 2012)

Met: Online..again.

Relationship: Lots of texting and a few phone conversations

Pivotal moments: all the “almost” meetings for an entire year; when he sent me an unsolicited “dick pic” (My first ever at age 27! Should I be proud or disappointed!?)

How I felt when it ended: Apathetic because I did the slow fade. Anyone who is serious about meeting up can find time within a calendar year.

What I learned: Pen pals are for the birds, especially when you live in the same area. And you are never too old to receive a dick pic.

 

Mr. “Give Me Another Chance so I can make a fool out of myself” (Spring 2012)

Met: Online; He messaged me when I first got on to the website but didn’t respond to my reply message for 2 months because of his “foot” surgery. He still really “wanted to go out” so I agreed (apparently I had been talking to his roommate who was also on the website! That would only happen to me)

Relationship: Screw up after screw up

Pivotal moments: First he asks me to show him, his brother, and his new girlfriend around DC when they came for a visit and never contacted me during the day to set that up. He contacted me that night to see where I was headed for the night. I asked if he wanted to meet up a different weekend so he could chill with his brother but he INSISTED that I meet up with them in DuPont Circle since I would already be there with friends. He was texting and checking in with me the entire night to see where I was. He kept asking when I was coming to meet up with them. Again, I asked several times if he wanted a rain check which he refused. When I finally got to the bar that he was at, with my friends in tow, I looked around to find him making out with some girl. I waited until they stopped and then went right up to him and said hello. He was bright red; when he texted me the morning after that first incident pretending that nothing happened; when we made plans to meet up again because he wanted to “apologize in person” (not that it would change my mind about him not being an asshole but a dumb ass because he could’ve made out with that girl that night and I wouldn’t have seen it IF he had taken a rain check like I suggested) but then I received a text from his phone (he later said his roommate had his phone and was the person who sent me that text) telling me that he really thought we should give “us” a try because my brothers would love him when he marries me so that I would become a “citizen” (I was born in Silver Spring, MD)

How I felt when it ended: Angry and weary; I thought I was done with the guys and race issues having moved above the Mason-Dixon line; relieved I found out sooner than later because whether or not it was his roommate that sent that final text, I could never be comfortable with him/then and they probably share some characteristics

What I learned: Blondes and I don’t mix. That and the main, perhaps the only issue when looking for a relationship, race, is not a thing of my past.

 This ends my first and last attempt at online dating. I can meet jerks just fine on my own. What a nightmare.

 

Mr. “No, I’m not a bigot. Just preferential” (Spring 2013)

Met: At a bar

Relationship: Good times followed by the Blind Side

Pivotal moments: The night we met after which I told him we should just leave it at one night but he kept saying we should give it a chance and I finally lamented; a semi-date that I was super nervous about beforehand but ended up having such a great time; when I opened up about my abusive relationship and he react in the most amazing way which is when I turned the corner on liking him; when he told me he wanted things to get serious so he wanted me to meet his friends; when I went to said party to meet his friends and he didn’t talk to me for the first hour but did talk to my married friend I brought with me; when I went to said party and I saw him passing his phone around to friends and everyone laughing at something which I later found out was a naked picture of his ex-girlfriend; when I went to said party and afterwards he told me we needed to “talk” because he needed to be honest with himself: “Lorpu, I might regret this in the future but I just have to be honest with you. You are perfect and amazing but it isn’t going to work because I prefer a Latina’s complexion. Thanks for letting your guard down and letting me see the real you. But I swear if I could take your personality and put it into a Latina’s body, we could be together.”; my delayed reaction to that comment upon which 12 hours later he began to argue with me via text about how he wasn’t a bigot before saying he finally understood what his older sister, an inner city school teacher in Philly, tried to explain to him about “white privilege”; when I saw him walking around right outside of my advocate training a month later; when I noticed him following me in Union Station and sprinted out of there; when I caught him stalking me via LinkedIn 2 weeks ago so I guess he really did end up regretting what he said/did.

How I felt when it ended: Catatonic; Defeated; Hopeless.

What I learned: The first cut isn’t always the deepest. I am still dealing with this race issue not being in the south anymore, not dealing with loser guys, not dealing with young but guys in their 30s. I see mixed couples all the time out. I do not understand how easy it seems for them. It keeps happening and I honestly don’t know how to stop it besides not dating anymore.

 Whew! That’s been a lot to deal with for the past couple of years. But is my memory selective? What about that nice photographer guy from Michigan who wanted to see you again but you refused? What about the guys on the website that were actually serious about dating but you made the decision to go out with the “fun guys” aka train wrecks instead (One guy actually ripped me a new one for doing that to him. I respected him because I deserved it)? What about the guy you met this Thanksgiving that your friends said “they loved” and it was their “favorite situation” that I’ve ever been in (even after just 2 hours of all of us meeting him) because he reminded them of Bradley Cooper in “Limitless” (before he went nuts)? Why did you change cars when you saw him on the metro? What about those other guys who you hang out with knowing you don’t want it to go anywhere, right? All of the aforementioned is my fault. But how can I explain what I’ve been doing instead? I know, let use one of my favorite movies of all time, LOVE ACTUALLY!

 So every Christmas break, I watch the movie “Love Actually”. It is an amazing tradition I’ve kept up since it was released. This winter, they came out with a quiz, “Which Love Actually character are you (http://www.buzzfeed.com/jenlewis/which-love-actually-character-are-you)?

I could’ve guessed it before hand but I got Sarah! If you are the only soul on the planet that has never seen the movie, here is a breakdown of her plot line: Sarah is an editor, who has a brother in the asylum and a not-so-hidden crush on Karl, who has a thing for her as well. Sarah, much like me, put those closest to her first, to the neglect to her love life. Sometimes it is easier to care for others than to ask for the same for yourself. When it’s what you want the most, asking and not receiving it is harder than never asking in the first place:

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Sarah, just like me, is terrified of being hurt so she makes excuses and says the guy is way too good for her which is almost most often not based in truth:

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When she finally gets a chance with Karl…

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she blows it. Watch the scene using the following links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTpNbZ_qUB8  ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7a6wo1vwpQ .

Ouch, right? Heartbreaking but more common than you think. I am a witness and perpetrator. Not sure I would’ve stopped to pick up anything if a guy I’ve been smitten with for years paused to tell me how “Beautiful” I am. Or even just one that looks like that I guess. Like Sarah, I am totally fine until I realize that I could have feelings for someone at that moment or could in the near future which makes the thought of getting hurt very real. That is when I panic. The thing is I’ve gotten so good at it that I make the guy think it is their idea. But I brought that mess into 2014. Yes, we are only 10 days in but I’m already messing up. I’ve already done it to one guy. Let me tell you exactly what happened. Let me tell you what I did to him, what I always do. Right before they leave, I start with the “clingy” talk and or behaviors: “What are you doing for the rest of the day?” “You should just stay here all day.” Then I start talking about guys from my past but only tell enough of the story that makes me sound only just a “little” crazy (and leaving out the main parts when the guy was an asshole): “…After that, he should’ve known better than to text me again”. I start telling stories to quickly put in the “this girl has major baggage” category: “He really hurt me.” “It just keeps happening.” I start talking about myself, bragging or just talking too much in general a la “American Pie’s ‘One Time at Band Camp’: “Oh yeah, I think he really liked me. Most people do.” “Let me tell you my life story…” I start talking about us in the future tense: “I am catch. You would get so many cool points for dating me.” “Ugh, I really wish you hadn’t told me that” “When I have kids/When I get married…”; “Next time we hang out…” “When we are out together…” By the time we part ways, he doesn’t have to say a word. His face says it all. Mission accomplished. Most guys are too thick to realize what is going on, if they even care. The bad thing is that the last guy I did this with, I regretted it 30 seconds after he walked away. I just sat there for a moment and realized how stupid it was to do that. Obviously, these feelings weren’t just going to go away if they hadn’t since October. If he was ever interested, I totally just blew it. I really hope not.

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So the thing about this clever way of going about self-preservation is that keeps ALL guys out, even the GOOD ones. Again, I am not one to complain but I’m not allowed to when I act the way I do. I must stop thinking I am cursed or blighted. So my second NYR of 2014 is to quit self sabotaging behavior.

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 But what should I do now? Bury myself in more projects and fitness regimes and hope the feelings go away? Throw in the towel without letting him know how I feel? Before finding out how he feels? Before it even starts? How can I compete with the gorgeous blondes and brunettes that take 4,000 naked selfies, only care about their sororities, and shoes that he is meeting and probably taking out on  REAL dates because those are the kind of girls he normally dates? What can I do to fix it with this guy? Experience has taught me that even though I know that I might not be their usual choice, my exes have always come around to realizing that I was was the better choice but it still hurts. I really don’t want to do that dance anymore. I know my self worth and shouldn’t have to explain it to every guy. Furthermore, with the guy that I perhaps might have blown it with (but hopefully not), I know that we obviously have both been thinking about each other and probably at the same exact time.  I’ve been obvious to him and him to me. There is something strong pulling us together. We met in a crowd. I could’ve walked away. I could’ve jumped in a cab and went home. But for some reason, I walked right up to him. It may seem inconsequential to you but this is no coincidence when it comes to me. Part of the problem is nowadays, unfortunately, you have to act like you don’t care and are busy to let a guy know you like them/keep them around. You can’t let a guy know you like him these days without him thinking you are trying to trick him into a pregnancy. I would love some gesture from him so I don’t feel any dumber than I already do. I am literally really REALLY busy. Sometimes I stay up until 6 am just doing work. I am not sure about reaching out to him because I’m not sure what he is even thinking. I want to start over with him perhaps so that I can act like a human being or my real self, like when I am around my friends. I honestly think if we had a big outing with him, my friends (and some of his friends for my single friends) he could get a clearer of me. It might be over already because of how I left things the last time we were together. If anything, all of these incidents have really showed me what I am looking for in a relationship. I want simple. I want fun. No pressure. I am used to guys letting me down, so I don’t ever push for things in a relationship, like Sarah. I would be content with just enjoying our time together. I want someone to move slowly with. I’ve been single for 6 years so I do not have to see my significant other every single day. I want someone to go to Nats and Caps games with. I want to grow to be better people together so much so that other people can tell. I want someone to know I am terrified to embark on this relationship most of all because I do not want to miss out on something great.

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Because of all my experiences (mostly bad experiences), I just know when it is right. Yes, the majority of guys are very stupid and often come around to your way of thinking after doing the wrong thing first. But how can I convince just this guy of that when most are very stupid and don’t get it? I don’t know. I guess all I can do is say something, right? I have a stomach ache while I am typing this just thinking about possibly saying something. I am almost certain he doesn’t read this. He probably isn’t and has never been interested in that way. I am allowed to be guarded. But not every guy is an asshole, obviously. It is statistically and logically impossible. It’s been a few months and I know that we obviously are thinking about each other by our actions. If it’s one sided, I want to be put out of my misery. I think it deserve further exploration. I want him to get to know me now, the best version of “me”. I WILL NOT continue my self-sabotaging behaviors anymore if we ever hang out again. If these feelings are unrequited, I will not make the same mistake the next guy. Either way, if enough time goes by, I will forget about him and these feelings will subside. But I kind of don’t want them to. Maybe tomorrow night, I will meet someone else.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a relationship. I’ve made myself into a woman of purpose and with conviction; I can say this is worth a try. I am tired of running (read lyrics to John Mayer song in the introduction). We have a very strong connection and it isn’t just physical. I think we are both too old to realize this but for us to have a chance, even if it is just one date, we should (insert scene at end of Garden State). I need to finally be myself for the first time around him. What has helped me reach this point is my new ability to recognize the limits and depths of people’s duty to each other in good and bad times. We are BOTH taking a chance. But who knows, right? Lightning could strike.

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If you don’t understand what I am saying, just watch the final scene from Garden State. This is everything, especially in the beginning when she says what they have doesn’t happen all the time so they should give it a try. I am Natalie Portman. I want this guy to pull a Zach Braff, be terrified, not have any real plan about how we should go about it but come back and give us a try anyways: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTnzPuFPxPw

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I will never mention these guys EVER again. I think just putting it all down was necessary, especially with one coming out of nowhere (yuck!). To end this blog post,  I am going to leave you with the best list of great wife (girlfriend in my mind because I am not some hopeless romantic and move slow) that helped me regain my sanity and many guys need to read before dating the wrong girl or skipping out on someone they’ve never considered who could be their Chupacabra. Even better, IT WAS WRITTEN BY A MAN SO ENJOY!!!

 Until next time,

 ~LK

 The Wife List;

http://goodguyswag.com/the-wife-list-10-qualities/

 

Well, I can sum up most of my friends’ lists right here: 1.Blonde, 2. Skinny, 3. Hot. A few others might include: she likes football, she drinks beer with my buds, and she’s at least a full C. No matter what I write below, that list isn’t going away for some of you guys.  We’re all stubborn, but we can also be authentic. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.

Earlier this week, I wrote the article An Uncrafty Guy’s Guide to Making a Vision Board about keeping you visually focused on your dreams.  Should we be specific about the woman we want to marry?  Absolutely. However, make a list with long-term vision. Most of the characteristics we think we want in a wife aren’t ones that make for a good, lifelong relationship. They are characteristics of a woman we want for one night.

Just like character is the most important quality of a good guy, the woman you’re going to marry should have good character as well.  When you find her, she is more valuable than anything. Here are 10 qualities of good future wife material:

1.  She shares your beliefs

When it comes to finding your wife, I’ve heard “equally yoked.” It has nothing to do with weightlifting for those of you guys who like muscle women. Your potential wife should have the same beliefs you have. Now, you may think you can do some missionary dating, and turn that situation around so she will believe everything you do.  You’re probably going to be very disappointed with some bad side effects.  If you don’t have the same core beliefs….good luck.

2.  She makes you a better man

If everyday is hell with her, that should be a red flag. Your potential wife should elevate you to Yourself 2.0. You can get a good idea from your friends and family. Do they say you act differently in a bad way when you are around her? Not a good sign.  She should bring out the best in you, not bring out heartache and frayed nerves.

3.  She’s trustworthy

In fact, she should inspire trustworthiness within you. If you don’t trust her, you’re probably making her as bitter as you’re making yourself. Not worth it. If you can’t trust her, maybe you’re not ready to date her or maybe you need to work on confidence issues within yourself. If there’s good reason not to trust her, don’t even go there. Just like any cheater, it’s bound to happen again.

4.  She has ambition

She should have strength in character and carry herself with confidence. As a man, you should be the leader in the relationship, but for any dictators who feel justified here; we’re talking servant leadership. You probably don’t want the consummate follower either. She should have plans too. In fact, she should be a hard worker just like you. That doesn’t mean having a job is a requirement. One of my friends is a stay-at-home wife with three kids, and she works harder than any of my friends with careers.

5.  She’s selfless

She should care about others. Look at the way she treats her family and her friends. If she’s not close with her family, and doesn’t have any good friends, that’s not a good sign. If you start dating her, much less marry her, you will discover why soon enough. Some questions to ask yourself: Does she care about causes? Does she go out and volunteer? Does she give change to the needy or buy them a meal? These are important characteristics to consider.

6.  She’s attractive

In your eyes, she should be a “10.” When my wife walks in the room, I’m awestruck by her every time. She’s beautiful from the inside out. However, I’ve dated “hot” girls who ended up being downright ugly by the time we broke up. Personality plays into attractiveness big-time. Just remember, “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.” She should be beautiful down to her soul because that kind of beauty lasts forever.

7.  She’s smart

You’re going to be spending a lot of time with her, so she should be able to hold a good conversation. She should be wise, smart, and give you good advice. Her women’s intuition should be strong. I look to my wife all the time for advice. She’s collected all sorts of wisdom from her mom. She remembers everything. Yes, everything….maybe too much.

8.  She loves you unconditionally

If she’s trying to change you to be another person, it’s time to move on. Your future wife should love you just as you are, regardless of anything you’ve done in your past. There will be minor adjustments along the way, but if she nags you about your core characteristics, it won’t get any better in marriage.

9.  She’s responsible

Does she remember appointments and meetings? Does she flake all of the time? She should already do a good job of managing her own life. If she’s got loads of debt and doesn’t work, you’re going to be taking all of that on. Ultimately, she will have some part in your financial well-being, and guess what? Finances remain one of the leading causes of divorce.

10.  She gets along with your family and friends

If she doesn’t even try to connect with your family and/or friends, let her go. She shouldn’t be critical of the people who you love and have been loyal to you throughout your life. There might be cases where your mom doesn’t like your future wife, and that may require your intervention; but in general, she should be a good fit with the people in your life. Marriage is a joining of two lives that existed prior to meeting the other person.

When it comes down to it, you know what you can handle. Love can overwrite any of the qualities above, but having these qualities will certainly make your lives easier once you are married. No one’s perfect. Even with this list, both of you are still going to bring some kind of baggage into the relationship. Make sure premarital counseling is a huge priority once you find her. My wife and I did a relationship boot camp in addition to premarital counseling. One session just doesn’t cut it. Throw everything but the kitchen sink at the most important decision you will ever make.

 

 

Part 4 of 4: HAVE YOU BEEN SEDUCED PROPERLY? : SEX AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT

Paolo Nutini - Candy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3xYXGMRRYk

TLC - Red Light Special:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP2t9LBeAwo

Pointer Sisters- Slow Hand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnVOt2LK2Gg

Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6WIXCVYT1I

En Vogue- Giving Him Something He Can Feel : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2RKb1R7jM0

Mad Cobra- Flex, Time to Have Sex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROW4_vasyag

Robin Thicke- Sex Therapy (especially the second verse!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s2_QLjF2Vs

Perhaps one of the sexiest songs of all time is Prince’s “Insatiable”. Not many people have heard it and it is so obscure that I couldn’t even find a link. If you do find it to listen to, you’ll thank me for the introduction. Here are the lyrics: http://www.lyricsnmusic.com/new-power-generation-and-prince/insatiable-lyrics/796978

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     If Stella got her groove back, so can you. The first half of this entry will be talking about sexual assault/rape, definition, facts, etc. The second half will deal with sex after rape. I promise you if you make it through the first half, the second half will be “50 shades of grey” (for all you super freaks out there) and worth it. But let me start off by repeating that this is not an advice column and I’m no sex-pert. Even while writing this entry, I don’t know if domestic violence or sexual assault/rape is harder to write about. I just know it needs to be addressed. Sooo..here…we…go.

     Domestic violence and Sexual Assault/Rape are two entirely different beasts. Unfortunately, they are crimes that often occur simultaneously in abusive relationships. Women of all ages, races, builds, income levels, education levels, and temperaments get raped. It was easier to deal with the domestic violence I experienced in my relationship and eventually assign full blame to my ex-boyfriend. Assigning rape to him as well was much harder. It became easier when I decided to become an advocate and educated myself on exactly what sexual assault/rape is. First of all, what is sexual assault? It is defined as is any sexual contact, act or behavior in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against or without their explicit consent. Examples include  inappropriate touching, forced kissing, fondling, sodomy, torture of sexual nature, attempted sexual intercourse, and forced sexual intercourse/rape (e.g. forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration). 1 in every 4 women will be a victim of rape in her lifetime. Girls aged 16-24 are at the most risk of being a victim of sexual assault as they are regarding domestic violence. On top of that, it doesn’t happen how society tells you. In most cases, it won’t be that stranger in the bushes. About 90% of victims know their attackers and 60% happened on dates. 78 women are raped each hour in America. Over 70% of all rapes go unreported. During a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice on college campuses, 33 % of males surveyed said that they would commit rape if they could escape detection and 25 % of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if the woman asks the man out, the man pays for the date, or the woman goes back to the man’s room after the date. 1 in 3 survivors of college-campus sexual assault will drop out of school. Even with these statistics, only 2% of all rapists are convicted and imprisoned.

     Training also helped me dispel some myths regarding rape that stopped me from reporting the crime. The first myth that was that rape is caused by lust, uncontrollable sexual urges and the need for sexual gratification. It is an act of physical violence, rage, power, and domination not motivated by sexual gratification. Second, women provoke sexual assault by their appearance. Sexual attractiveness is a primary reason why a rapist selects a victim. Rapists do not select their victims by their appearance. Victims range in age groups from infants to the elderly. Sexual attractiveness is not an issue. Victims are picked based on vulnerability and accessibility which bring me to the third myth. Victims are to blame for the assault. It is 100% of the abuser’s fault. Lastly, If a woman really did not want to be raped, she could fight off her attacker. Even if the rapist is not carrying a weapon, the element of surprise, shock, fear or the threat of harm can overpower a survivor.

     These myths were an obstacle to me, as I am sure is the case with other victims that delayed, hindered, and prevented me from not only reporting the crime but from leaving my unhealthy relationship. Young women often feel physically, emotionally and psychologically coerced into sex. Some even believe that past consent give indefinite consent. Worst of all, victims who are brave enough to come forward are often told what they wore, drank, or said the “wrong thing” which led to their victimization. The biggest obstacle that victims have is that society that often blames women for the violence perpetuated against them. All of these compounded with the fact that my rapist was also my boyfriend and I lived with him still afterwards magnified my fears about reporting the crime. During training, I learned that surprisingly only by 1993, marital rape became a crime in all 50 states, under at least one section of the sexual offense codes. So if he is your boyfriend and husband, it still counts as rape.

     As a rape victim, sexual assault can leave an indelible mark on your sexuality and your relationships. It might be hard trust anyone. Victims of sexual assault can experience post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, insomnia, loss of appetite, hypersexuality/promiscuity(as a way to regain power over men), guilt, and shame. After the rape, I felt disgusted and used. I worried that future boyfriends would only be able to see me as a rape victim and as “damaged goods. These are valid feelings and fears. Partners may have their own beliefs that prevent them from being supportive or a general sense of not understanding your pain and healing journey. But I finally arrived at the fact that if my partner feels that way about me, that they are definitely not the one for me. Next, I felt that I couldn’t ever enjoy sex again. No one ever forgets the pain and suffering endured at the hands of your attacker. Rape is an unforgivable violation but it does not have to weigh down the rest of your sexual experiences. I became proactive in rebuilding my sex life and rediscover your sexuality again at my own pace. Perhaps the most important thing that a rape victim can do is to stop asking THEMSELVES why it happened to them. I realized that I could keep asking myself why this happened to me but there would never be a good reason. Rape is and always will be 100% the rapist’s fault no matter what the rapist, friends, family, or society tells you. I find it mind boggling that even today in our “most enlightened and progressive time”, that it’s still news when rape victims stand in front of the cameras to state what ought to be obvious, which is that it isn’t their fault and they have nothing to be ashamed of.

      After being raped numerous times by my boyfriend, I now fully appreciate the differences between “f*cking”, “hooking up”/having sex, and “making love”. So it is important that after healing, that you are seduced properly. All women are unique, each possessing a special combination to becoming interested in sex. If you are victim of rape, it will be harder to unlock that desire. For these women, seduction begins OUT of the bedroom. Being with a partner who shows that you are safe with them as well as being in a safe setting are incredibly important. If you’ve shared your past with your partner, communicating not trying anything “in the moment” and having sex for the first time where you feel safe (like your residence) are a few ideas on how to make the aforementioned happen. Looking back, I remembered that on the nights my boyfriend raped me, first he would get me drunk to lower my inhibitions. His poison of choice: wine because it made me feel sexier, which made the assault easier. On those nights, he would wait until I fell asleep in the bed we shared. I would awake to find him on top of me and try to fight him off. But he would just hold my arms down and rape me anyways. So many times I wanted to report the crime but I asked myself how I would report a rape by someone I was dating and with whom I continued to co-habitate. Another layer added to the violation was the issue of race. Once my abuser said that his uncle asked him how far he thought the relationship was going to go because “black girls are only good enough to f*ck”. Once after my ex raped me, he repeated this sentence. At that moment and since then, I’ve never wanted to be outside of my body more because I felt so disgusting. All victims know that it isn’t the bruises that stick with you. The words do. It took me a long time to get over that. When I did, I had the feeling that it was such an absurd statement that I would never hear it again. I was wrong. Since then, a few guys, whether or not I’ve had any sexual contact with them have made me feel as though I am not worth more than sex to them. It made me feel like that small, worthless person which is how I saw myself in 2009. Whenever any guy takes me back there (knowingly or unknowingly), I see red.

     Time to talk about doing the deed. Let’s say you decide that you want to sleep with a particular guy. Again, the seduction starts outside of the bedroom. So the guy has expressed that he want you (yes, you) as a survivor of rape. You feel safe with him. By that time, both of you should have a sense of what gets you in the mood. You should know because as you were healing, you both should have been trying different combinations to unlock you desire for sex again. He should know your “DETAILS”. I will use myself as an example, so hear are some of my “DETAILS”. I am used to my love interests, once we get to the point of wanting to have sex, being timid. It is extremely unattractive to me.  I want him to be certain and in control. I want him to know how sensual it is for me to run his finger tips along my collarbone. I want him to know that if I really do like him, then I become timid. But I want him to make sure I don’t pull away. He will know how sexy it is for him to gently grab my chin or put his hands in the hair at the nape of my neck and tell me to look at him. I want him to give that look across a crowded room, where I can almost read his mind about what he wants to do to me. I want him to give me that look so we both know IT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN!

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I want to be in a crowded place but feel like we are the only people there because we are lost in each other like…..

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Ugh, here comes the straddled. I die.

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     Yes, it may be horrible but the attraction is undeniable. I don’t condone infidelity but I am happy that Jennifer Aniston found someone who really loves her.

I want that kind of slow seduction also exemplified in this clip from the movie“Atonement”. My favorite part of that scene is at 2:44 where he pulls her out of her shoes. Just meow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izs4_0X7UlY#t=167

 I want him to come after me……

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I am a very passionate person. Once I worked through my rape, I realized just how very high my libido is. Sometimes it’s been higher than my partner’s which is a problem for me. I want someone who is up for sexual expression at almost anytime and anywhere…

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And on the rare occasion that we are upset with each other, it’s still like this…

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Or this… 

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What were we fighting about again?

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I experience narratophilia and elephonicophilia or that talking dirty or telling dirty stories is sexually arousing for me. That might explain why I’ve had several relationships with musicians.

*Side note: Vinyl players are incredibly erotic to me and can do a lot of the work in setting the mood.Take notes for your ladies, boys.*

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But let’s stay on topic, people.

     I also love when a guy uses metaphors, which outside of the context of most conversations wouldn’t mean anything. But within few conversations, it is incredibly sexy. An example of this occurs in the movie “Something New” about interracial dating. When the main character, Kenya, an African-American lawyer is having a conversation about her preference/prejudice against dating outside of her race, she asks Brian Kelly, a white landscaper who is very interested in her, if he has ever dated out of his race. He answers with yes and then she counters calling him a “player”. His following response to her made me melt: “No, no I’m not a player. I’m just a landscaper. I take hard earth and make things bloom.” Who has some dirt that needs fertilizing? Raise your hands please. Speechless.

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     Another example (and in my opinion the best example I’ve EVER seen) comes from the indie flick I stumbled upon named“Take This Waltz”.  Just watch it and you’ll thank me later. It is incredible how detailed he is. The first time I watched this scene, I really felt it. Like in my loins. If a guy I was interested in repeated this verbatim to me, I would be stuck between paralysis and leaping across the table to do all things mentioned. Here is the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1clfoKibfA

      To really hammer the point home, words+music= my kryptonite. The words, expressions, the body in D’Angelo’s “How does it feel is?” is really just everything. Look below..

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Salivating and want to watch the video? I’ve provided a link to it for you. Trigger warning: protect your ovaries. I take no responsibility for them exploding. You’ve been warned.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxVNOnPyvIU

     Before I finish (no pun intended), here are a few things I want to leave you with. These are some things I believe every rape survivor needs to remember. Prior to sexual assault, you were one person. But after the crime, you have a new identity: RAPE VICTIM. The key to your recovery is whether you allow this new label to define you long-term or if you do everything in your power to heal and move on. Survivors heal at different speeds. You have may have difficulties with sex and intimacy. Take a break from sex to deal with underlying issues.image

It took me almost a year before I was intimate with anyone new. You should not feel obligated to automatically be healed or have sex again after something so traumatic. This is a period of healing and growth. Take things slow. Find a way to separate rape and sex to realize that you deserve to have a healthy sex life. Remember that rape is not a form of sex; it is a form of assault. It’s OK to enjoy something that was used against you in such a horrible way. It is OK to want sex and to initiate sex. All men aren’t rapists and to be hated. There are men who are patient, empathetic, and will never hurt you. Ultimately, rebuilding your sex life after you have been raped might be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. But the connection with a future partner can be intimate and powerful. Revealing your status as a victim of rape to a concerned partner is your decision. If you do, make sure to keep the communication lines open and turn to a therapist for help if possible. You deserve love. You deserve sex. SAFE SEX. Sex is an important part of adult relationships so enjoy yourself, girl. You deserve it!

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~LK

Part 3 of 4 of the 3rd blog post: Is it possible to miss someone, that the person you miss the most is someone you’ve never met?: Burn your “Perfect” Man List, Write yourself a Letter

SECOND HALF OF THE LETTER 

Paramore- The Only Exception http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J7J_IWUhls

When I was younger I saw my daddy cry
And curse at the wind.
He broke his own heart and I watched
As he tried to reassemble it.
And my momma swore
That she would never let herself forget.
And that was the day that I promised
I’d never sing of love if it does not exist.
Maybe I know somewhere deep in my soul
That love never lasts.
And we’ve got to find other ways to make it alone.
Or keep a straight face.
And I’ve always lived like this
Keeping a comfortable distance.
And up until now I have sworn to myself
That I’m content with loneliness.

I’ve got a tight grip on reality,
But I can’t let go of what’s in front of me here.
I know you’re leaving in the morning when you wake up.
Leave me with some kind of proof it’s not a dream.
Because none of it was ever worth the risk.
But darling,
You are the only exception.
And I’m on my way to believing.

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Someday after meeting your family and what seems like out of the blue, you tell me that you want to have a talk about “important things”. I’ve been content with just enjoying each day with you. Are we there now?  I’ve been too busy looking out the window enjoying the scenery to think about where we are going. But I realize that I didn’t think about these milestones before because I didn’t have any familial role models of happiness. They didn’t seem attainable to me. Before I know what is going on (and I can’t speculate as to how this is going to happen because after all, I don’t know exactly who I am writing this letter to) you propose. But if it included any of the elements from this proposal, I’m sure it will be amazing. 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/maycie/this-is-the-most-sensational-elaborate-over-the-top-wedding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVTr5MNa_8Y

Are you sure? Now, I’ve gone and ruined it. But you know only I would ask something like that in the middle of a proposal. You tell me that you’ve never been more sure in your life. And I’m irrevocably in love with you too. 

Luckily, having a few very talented photographers as friends, our engagement photos turn out a lot better than these did:

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Wedding planning is not something I thought I would be doing ever. But the day comes and it is amazing!

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It will be a mix of my culture and yours. Everyone that has ever been to an African wedding knows how amazing they are, especially the receptions. I still can’t believe you got THE DAN BAND to sing at our wedding!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfUU1wJKXDc

Thank goodness most of my beautiful bridesmaids are professional dancers so I don’t have to worry about them pulling off a traditional African wedding entrance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG2O7kRsdh8 .

But alas, all great parties must end..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7XWnnEhuPc.

Time for a long honeymoon!

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We travel the world!

Australia

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Carnival in Brazil

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Egypt

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Glastonbury

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Great Wall of China

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Machu Picchu

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Paris!!!

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Thailand

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Rome

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Venice

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Ireland

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We  pick up trinkets from around the world to bring back to loved ones. Paris is the place I wanted to visit the most and I am so happy I did it with you. You of course, think with your stomach and decide to eat your way through the majority of the trip. So it comes as no surprise that all of our destinations are your favorite!

Most of our friends have been married for awhile and already have children. We’ve spent a few years having fun as husband and wife (still surprises me in a big way to call myself a “wife”) and you start talking about kids. How did I get so lucky as to be married to this guy who has never let me wonder not only about where we are but where we our relationship is going? You always take initiative to discuss and pursue whatever the next step may be in our lives. Before we decide to go down that road, I voice my concerns with you. I feel that having children is bigger than being married. Being a parent makes you responsible for how another person or persons turn out. We discuss all of the important things that couples should but often don’t do BEFORE having kids like how and where to raise them, how many we want, religion/lack of religion, etc.  So we begin trying. I take a test and I’m pregnant…that was really quick! I look over and you’re all like..

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but I’m all like…

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You know that childbirth is my biggest fear in life! You are laughing because I’m already freaking out about something that is 9 months down the road.You are superman during those 9 months. Since the doctor told you that the baby can hear us in the womb, you’ve started playing EDM around the house. Just to make sure the baby has a balanced music catalog before birth, I make sure she/he hears the essentials like Paul Simon, Bob Marley and Fleetwood Mac ..

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As we get closer to the due date, my fear begins to overwhelm me but it isn’t about labor. More about my ability to be a good mom, if things will change between us for the worse, and if they do how will I be able to shelter our baby from harm once they are here.  I’m sure a lot of divorced couples did “love” each other as a point in time but somewhere along the way, the love was lost. Are you the person that I should bring a child into the world with? All of these are fears I’m afraid to vocalize to you because I don’t want to burden you even more with my paranoia. Its the last month so my OB/GYN put me on mandatory bed rest. I seriously sleep all the time. The baby isn’t here but I’m already worn out. I ping pong between unconsciousness and terrified consciousness until one morning when I overhear you talking to the baby before leaving for work. I pretend to be asleep but I will never forget what you said:  

 You’re growing so fast and before you know it you will be here.  It really amazes me how much you’ve already touched our lives.  I mean you’re already the center of our lives, and we haven’t even met you yet.  All of the decisions we are making now and for the rest of our lives, will be made with you in mind. I hope you somehow know that I’m already trying to be a good daddy for you.  I make sure that mommy eats enough food, I make sure she gets enough rest, and I tell mommy no when she asks me what I think about so-and-so for a girl or boy name.  So when you’re in third grade and the kid next to you is being made fun of because the name their parents gave them, just remember your daddy hooked you up. It’s nuts for me to think about how much you’ll have to learn after you are born.  I promise to teach you everything I can about anything you want to know.  Be curious about everything.  Ask me a ton of questions.  I’ll explain how things work, why the sky is blue, and if you ask me something that I don’t know the answer to and you’re young enough, I’ll even make something up so it sounds good. Yes, of course daddy knows everything. I hope to become your hero; someone you look up to.  I hope that you’ll never be afraid to tell me anything when you are a child or even older.  However, when you are a teenager and if you’re anything like how I was, I’d actually you prefer you to leave out some of those details because you’d make me crazy. I hope to be the type of father you brag about to all of your friends about how ‘cool’ he is. I hope to inspire you to live a life that you love, and that you never ever let anything hold you back. It won’t be long before I’ll be hearing your mommy talk to you and sing to you. It won’t be long before I’ll hear you crying and your mommy yelling upstairs that it’s my turn to change your diaper. Of course I’ll change your diaper as long as you promise not to cry. It’ll be quite some time for you to really realize it, but you are going to be the center of our universe.  You’re going to be loved by a lot of wonderful people.  And I already know that you’re going to have a lot of love to give in return because you came from your mommy and I.  And we’ve been known to get it on in that department.  Especially after rum shots…how do you think you got here? Just kidding, you were planned for the tax write offs. Again, I am kidding.  But that’s a story you’ll have to wait for until your 40.

As you grow every single day in your mommy’s belly, without even knowing it, you’re making your mommy and daddy grow too.  And I’m not talking about my belly because of all the ice cream I’m eating lately.  I’m talking about growing as human beings.  Growing as a couple.  Growing as individuals.  Growing as a family. Changes are happening to us that just, well, it’s hard to put into words.  For me, I’ve noticed that I reflect on life more.  It seems that everyday I obtain a tiny bit more of an understanding of this whole thing we call life.  And I expect by the time you are born and I get to see you for the first time, my understanding will become complete knowing. At that very moment, everything will just make sense…Another change I’ve experienced lately is a deeper and growing love for your mommy.   Anyway, I really love your mommy so much.  I will do anything to make sure that she and you are always ALWAYS happy.  You two are my everything. And the great thing is that you’ll have two loving parents who will do anything in the world for you, too.  Well, almost anything.  Once when I was a kid, I really wanted a BB gun. Allowing an 8 year-old to have a BB gun wouldn’t be the safest thing to do. Anyway, I’m just excited to meet you.  You and I are going to have a lot of fun together. My life used to be just all about me. Then, one day I met your mommy, and soon after my life became all about us. And now that you’re on the way, our lives will soon be all about you. We love you, and we can’t wait to meet you. See you soon baby.

All of my fears about parenting are gone. They’re gone because I’m going to be a parent with you. I wait until you leave for work and I cry for 2 hours straight….stupid pregnancy hormones! Lord have mercy, I love this man.

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Oh, dang it. My water just broke…do I have to do this? Is this really happening right now?

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You know how nervous I am especially because I am quiet. You remind me that we are doing this together and it will be awesome because we have a wonderful creature on the way.

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As you pick up my GO bag for the hospital and head to the car, I try to mentally prepare myself for what is about to happen while I pick up the last few necessities. When I get to the car, you remind me again of why I love you. You are blasting ‘Eye of the Tiger’ to get us pumped up and you kind of look like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsyMtYoSkC0  

Even when I am in this much pain, you know how to put a smile on my face. That doesn’t last very long once we reach the hospital and the doctor comes in to say it’s time to deliver this baby. Push! Push!

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It’s a boy! I will never forget the look on your face. Even though you’ve had the title for about 30 seconds, you are one proud papa! You lift our son in the delivery room and start singing the circle of life which makes everyone laugh.

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How do you find more ways for me to fall in love with you even after just going through the most painful yet thrilling experience of my life?

I am so lucky to have you as a husband. But our son is more lucky to have you as a dad as you keep your promise and teach him so many things.

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You teach him how to throw that perfect spiral, tie a tie…

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how to barbeque, and change the oil/tires for his car. You show him how basic DIY skills can save lots of money in the future and can instill a sense of pride. You teach him the value of negotiation in diffusing a volatile situation while staying calm because he should never be on the giving or receiving end of a punch. You know how important it is to me that you teach our son this especially with my history because nothing good ever comes of physical violence.

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You teach him how to treat women with respect as you lead by example. Or just in general to treat others as you would like to be treated. For us, it’s that simple.  You show him that the world is a diverse place and the value of connecting with the person underneath. One of the most important lessons you teach him is that it’s OK to feel emotions, a lesson often lost on boys. Research has proven that it is important for a person’s mental health to be able to express themselves in appropriate ways. Bottled-up emotions can lead to mental breakdowns, panic attacks, and fits of rage. You show him the best and healthiest ways to get his feelings out. You show him that when a man asks for help, it is a sign of tremendous strength. You tell him to always give 100% because opportunity is everywhere and not to be a sore loser. You tell him to always be and love himself because then others will too. You tell him how important it is never to make excuses and to apologize when he is wrong. You make sure he learns that if he wants to be treated as a man that he must keep your word. You don’t understate the importance of safe sex. You try your best to explain the beautiful yet complex creatures otherwise known as women and that no matter what the most masculine guy says, even he wants love.

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Let him know that he can hold doors open, pull chairs out and treat women right and still be a man. More importantly, that perhaps he will be more of a man because he does so. Cardinal rule: don’t treat them anyway that you wouldn’t treat your mother because someday you might have a daughter too. You teach him to budget wisely, that there will always be someone more and less fortunate than you so he should always help others. You guide him to always keep his values because these are the principles that separate the men from the boys. All of the lessons you teach him are so in the future when he becomes a dad, he will feel confident passing them on to his son.

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From you, he learns that it is alright to be strong, sensitive and scared simultaneously and it doesn’t make you less of a man but makes you a better person.

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Our son is the caring, intelligent, and handsome so essentially the bomb.com.

Then we have a girl !

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You are the father to her that I thought I had but learned later I didn’t. You teach her that less is more with make up and let her know she can do anything she wants in life.

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You show her that she will always be your little girl and that you will always be there for her, from the day she was born

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to her wedding day..

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and every day in between and after by choice unlike my dad. You tell her that she shouldn’t ever let anyone do her thinking for her and that intelligence is always attractive. You teach her how to drive stick shift and that if someone really loves you, you won’t ask you to “do” something to prove it. You let her know that if she has any feminine care questions never to ask you but to ask me. You show her that drama makes everyone ugly…

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and that, yes, as a woman, you set the boundaries and sexual tone for a relationship. Every girl should always move at her own pace. You let her know that she is beautiful and loved. You let her know she deserves love and she is always accepted with us, no matter what society tells her. You let her know that sometimes when we have a disagreement as mother and daughter, it hurts me more than her because I want to have the relationship with her that I didn’t with my mom. You tell her that no matter her age, she will always be daddy’s girl…

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She is the perfect combination of beauty, wit, sass, aka a total bad ass!

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We love embarrassing them in front of their friends but they always know we love them. We play tricks on them like making them watch that movie ‘2012’ and say we survived it so they appreciate us.

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As parents we don’t used them as pawns or make them feel guilty when things are less than harmonious in our household. We show them that everyone is fallible (yes, even adults), actions have consequences, and you should always try to make amends. We teach them that you have to wake up every morning wanting to be a better person than you were the day before. We let them know that no matter what they do, they can always come home because we still and will always love them. Each morning, I wake up to our little, beautiful chaotic family and I fall in love with us more and more each day…

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You made me turkey bacon. I love you.

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I know that this has been a rather long letter and it may seem like an ambitious life to attempt. I want to let you know that some or most of the happenings of this ILIAD of love are negotiable except one:  RECIPROCITY. The love I give to you must be returned to me, otherwise none of it will work..Capiche? If I already know you, you are in deep trouble but…

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If I don’t, I’ve been missing you for what seems like forever..

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Sometimes I think about the girl who wrote this letter at age 27, so many years ago. At age 24, she was despondent, heartbroken and hopeless. The three years in between turned her into the woman she was always meant to be. Then, just like that, you were here. I think about the magic of our lives together created by just us two crazy kids and how back then we didn’t know we’d have a love better than our greatest expectations.

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I’m looking at you right now as your reading this letter and smiling because you see how easily we both could have missed out on all of this had I, if we’d given up. Forget what happened with other guys or my life before you. That would’ve been the real tragedy. Now, you might remember the details a little differently from me. You never tried to keep me a secret. You didn’t try send me secret messages or emails at some ridiculous hour (after 1 am) asking me where I am or wanting me to come over. You used the number I gave to you, got to know me and courted me like just like you would any other girl. You didn’t let something has trivial as race stop you from seeing that I was just as good as or better than what the majority of society wants everyone to do: date within their race and not pollute their own by interracial dating. You actually ask me questions about myself because you care and remember the answers. You were just a guy and I was just a girl from day one. In the end, the details don’t matter. We both maintain that road wasn’t easy. The purpose of showing you this letter, the only thing that really matters is that you found me and I found you. I will leave you with something cheesy but its the truth: our story might not be perfect but at the end of the day, we ALL just want someone to go tandem bicycling with down this road called life. The End. *sigh*

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Sincerely,

LK

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You’ve reached the end of my letter and are probably  thinking: “Who the hell is this girl? Why does this matter? She really has a vivid imagination for her advanced age and is destined for failure”. I am going to be honest with you. I agree with that it seems a little too imaginative but you’re missing the point.  As a victim of violence, you should really be focusing on the fact that I still want these things for myself. Yeah, you don’t know me. But you either are or know a victim of. So they are a person you care about, right? Don’t you think they deserve their own version of a love after DV?

 Now it’s your turn to write yourself a letter.I am sure it will be different from mine. Yes, go right now. Then hide it. But continue to do the most important thing any survivor can do: LIVE. Remember, you are stronger than you think because you are still here. As a survivor, sometimes that is the ONLY thing that can get you through the day. Read your letter when you are weary and feel like giving up. Remind yourself that you wrote it at your highest state of consciousness when the difference between what you’re getting and what you want was most transparent. If, on your journey you  happen to find someone you think is the “one”, get out your letter and read it. See how closely they match up to your revised definition of love after the violence. If it isn’t that person, put it away again. If it is that person, read it to them if and when you are ready. Maybe that’s on your wedding day. Maybe that’s on your 50th anniversary. Without sounding too morbid, maybe it’s on your death bed. But DO read it to them while they can still hear and feel how much you mean to them. So many people speak so well of the dead and while that is great, why give loved ones roses when they cannot enjoy them? Happy writing to you. May the odds ever be in your favor.

Part 2 of 4 of the 3rd blog post: Is it possible to miss someone, that the person you miss the most is someone you’ve never met?: Burn your “Perfect” Man List, Write yourself a Letter

This is the letter I think all victims of dating violence need to write to their future selves (and probably all girls who’ve had their heart broken for that matter).  This is a long post but is made up of many gifs so it will be entertaining. I broke the letter into two halves, each with its own song. I will post the second half in a few days.

Citizen Cope- Sideways http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezz-nazThiM

 “You know it ain’t easy, for these thoughts here to leave me. No words to describe it, in French or in English. Cause diamonds they fade and flowers they bloom. But I’m telling you…these feelings won’t go away. They’ve been knocking me sideways. They’ve been knocking me out babe, whenever you come around me. I keep thinking in a moment that time will take them away. But these feelings won’t go away.”

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November 9th, 2013, 8:00 pm

When is this going to happen?

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Well maybe more like this….

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Today I put all my frustration and impatience with dating in a letter. Then I put the letter in an envelope in the back of my drawer, out of sight.

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I believe that when you are feeling the most pain, heartbreak, etc is when you’re clear about what you want and what is missing from your life. This letter can be written for all aspects of your life including education and occupation but I want to focus on my love life. I’m at the point where I do not even want to think about this mysterious stranger anymore. This picture sums up my frustration when dating guys:image

I’ve already said that my ramblings will not serve as some sort of advice column. I hate advice columns. I hate advice columns because they only speak to a certain group of women, a minority, when there is really a spectrum. I ‘m dedicating this letter to women in the “other” category. I don’t understand why we are in the “other” category because we make up a large group, women dealing with scars from their checkered love lives. To me, perfect man lists are stupid. I don’t believe in absolutes because this planet is full of 7 billion people with different desires, nuances, etc. No two people on earth are the same so some arbitrary list as to who Mr. Perfect should be is rubbish. For example, if you live in an ocean side community where seafood is your biggest export and way to make a living, you might want to find a man with great fishing skills. If you live in Alaska, you might want to find a great lumberjack to chop wood for all of those blistery, winter nights. Point is, it is depends on the person. The other reason I dislike these lists are that they don’t capture how you are feeling. Love is a feeling, not a list of things. If we deal in absolutes, where do people like me belong? Our approach to dating is completely different after violence. We matter too, you know! At the end of my second blog post, I said that as victims we “must live our lives as we see/envision them”. That is what this letter is about. I’m a lover of unconventional love stories between flawed people because those are the only stories I see myself in, whether or not I want to. All of the crisis explored in these stories, whether permanent or not, are relatable to me as I have experienced them more than once. I’m done trying to assimilate into normal dating standards. A victim’s past doesn’t define their future.  Life is pretty much lived in the grays for the most part. If you insist on the black and white, you are going to be very unhappy. So on this grey day with my last drops of hope I wrote the following letter is to my mystery mate, wherever and whoever he is:

 Dear Mystery Mate (MM),

     Whoever you are, I just had to put you on paper. At this point, maybe, hopefully, this letter wills you into existence. If you read this letter, I hope that you won’t think any of this is too much or too cheesy. I hope you realize that we are all human. At our core, we all want this. I hope you realize how hard it is for me to write this to you, even still believe that you exist when I’ve experienced so much. Even worse when I’ve seen so many girls who don’t deserve it, drowning in a sea of love and adoration.

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This letter is my last ditch effort because over the past 6 years of being single, I’ve become somewhat self-destructive. Because I keep getting up after I’ve been let down, I started purposefully putting myself in disappointing situations so that I eventually lose my desire to love. My rationale is if someone gets their heart broken enough times, something in them snaps and they won’t be able to love anymore. So far, I’ve been right for the most part.  Every heart break hurts less and less each time because I am moving closer to an incurable numbness. A numb ness that can’t be helped because it has metastasized to the bone.  Honestly, how much hurt can a heart take? But I still have enough hope left for one last try. Love is like a box of chocolates but I know what I which one I want to get. I want a love with a hard, big Rom-Com blockbuster shell and a gooey, satisfying center like a low budget indie hit at Sundance. image

Hope for victims of DV is a big deal. It is a big deal to feel like I deserve you. If I already know you, you are in trouble. Most of all, I hope you read this because these are words I could probably never say to you. In person, I’m never good with words. I’m living my life and am the happiest I’ve ever been happy. But I am weary. I’ve come a long way without you.  I’ve learned that it takes a lot more than love to make a relationship work. Most of all, I don’t want you to judge me based on my past.  Yes, we are all sums of our experiences but I want to grow with you. I want to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to play games. I’m getting older so I don’t want to have to pretend not to like you for you to come after me. I want you to hold my hand and lead us through a crowd. I want to be seduced. I want you, the guy that I am interested in, to surprise me at a bar, walk in without saying a word to anyone while I am in a conversation, kiss me, and say we are leaving.

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Yes, I want you and those giant cahones. So this letter to you is our story. I’ve put it together with bits and pieces from here and there like a  beautiful Frankenstein made of words and gifs, so it’s easy for you to follow along. Our love story may be an unconventional one, but just like all great stories ends up being pretty epic.

Let’s start from the night we met. It was so crowded that night. Just like every other night honestly. You were standing above my friends and I on the balcony looking into the crowd. But you notice someone. You notice me.

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I come in contact with numerous people on a daily basis and can still go 24-48 hours without making eye contact with anyone. I guess because this is a common occurrence I thought that no one noticed me either. But that night, there I was dancing with my girls. There were so many people dancing. The guys surrounding us are like pacing lions on the Serengeti, looking for the perfect time to strike us gazelles. You shake your head at the those guys trying to stop us. No one should interrupt us. No one should interrupt me. You just watch. You just watch me. As the beats move through my body, I’m pure unadulterated joy personified. You don’t ask my friends who I am. You come straight for me.

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Your look, no your gaze penetrates me. There is something about that gaze. I’m not even sure I saw you blink. Because you are bold unlike most guys that cross my path, I give you my number which I never do. Then you call, surprisingly, just like you said you would. I wonder if this is worth my time and interest so I quiz you about the night we met. What was I wearing?

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Wow, you remember DETAILS. Incredible. A few days pass and somehow we run into each other on the street. But it doesn’t feel like just a coincidence. We exchange some witty banter back and forth. It’s refreshing that you I give you shit and you I give it right back to me.

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When I turn to leave, I say something like “we should do this again, get a coffee or something”. You stop me by saying “Is that a should-vitation or an invitation? As in ‘I should ask you to get a coffee or a drink sometime but I have no real intention of doing so?’ That is remarkably different from an invitation.” I’m speechless. I’m never speechless. I don’t know what it is about me but guys are normally timid without me having to say a word. Instead of canon balling into asking me out, they dip a toe in to test the waters. This is so unattractive to me. I turn to back and look at you to see if you’re serious or if you will back down. You don’t flinch. So I accept.

We meet up again. There aren’t any awkward lulls in our conversation. Your knowledge of my African culture in general is more than this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qn1eNonEH4. You don’t insult me by asking if I’m an African princess or if my parents are diplomats because I went to college. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdSYtlMUzPE .                

When I tell you that I’m Liberian, you don’t bring up that one “Nigerian” friend you had in college. You realize that Liberia is actually a completely different country from Nigeria. I don’t have to explain to you that Africa is a continent made up of countries each with different accents, traditions, and histories. Your knowledge of African history extends to this film, which once watched serving as an unspoken African rite of passage:

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Major points if you’ve already seen this movie. Finally *sigh*, this is the last we discuss of my culture.

 No surprise but the physical chemistry is there from the beginning.

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That has never been a problem in any of my relationships. We start spending more time with each other. Remember that time you tried to teach me how to drive stick shift?

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I catch myself thinking about and wanting to spend more time with you. So naturally at this point, I want to get rid of you.

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I’ve grown wise from experience that I shouldn’t get attached to anyone because everyone always leaves.Then you do something totally unexpected. You tell me you love me. You tell me you’re staying.

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How are you still here?

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I never admit it out loud but I starting to fall into something with you too for numerous reasons. You always say the right thing;

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You always show up, keeping your word. And I’m surprised every time.

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You always know how to make me laugh. Why didn’t I date funny guys before?

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Lorpu (L): "Wow, I’ve never slept on a bed this soft." 
Mystery Man (MM): "You know, I should let you doze off more often. I learned quite a lot - you talk in your sleep."
L: "Shut up."
MM: "Yeah, you really opened up. Thanked me for taking you away."
L: "Really?"
MM: "I mean, you kept on saying, ‘you’re right, you’re always right."
L: "Anything else?"
MM: "You’re the perfect guy for me, I don’t know what I would do without you."
L: "Uh huh, that sounds just like me."
MM: "Yeah, I know right? Along with something about my penis being enormous and all powerful." 

You are a great dancer;

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“He’s threatened by the way I dance. Damn it! Why’d I have to go showin’ off like that? Now I’m all over his radar. Stupid!”  

You insert memorable movie quotes into everyday conversation with ease, just like me;

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Like me, you possess exorbitant amounts of useless trivia, the kind you see on the inside of Snapple bottles.  But everything isn’t perfect. When normal “couple things” are suppose to occur, I don’t expect or get excited about it. At first, this puzzles you. But then saddens you because you realize that no one has ever made me feel like these are things that could happen to me or I deserve. On those days, such as Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, New Years Eve (which is also my birthday- double the depression),

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you ask me what I did being as I was single for so long. I tell you that I didn’t bring attention to my isolation. I made sure not to leave any self loathing, “woe is me” posts on Facebook. I never watch Rom-Coms that remind me of what I was missing out on. Instead, I watch war movies. Yes, war movies. 

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*I have no reason to post these next 2 photos of Edward Burns even though he is in “Saving Private Ryan”. I just feel that his sexiness is seriously understated and needs to be addressed.*

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After I tell you this, you laugh and tell me that you love that I didn’t feel sorry for myself on those days but started traditions of my own. You tell me that you would like to show me for the first time in my 27 years of life what the other half of the world does but can’t make any promises that it will be more enjoyable than a movie marathon fit for Memorial Day. Now you join me on other traditions which I normally did alone. I finally get to take that trip to NYC  during the winter because I think it’s the most romantic place to be. It’s much more fun when I’m not alone.

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When we go, we do all of those stereotypical touristy things like ice skating;

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walk around the Super bowl of Christmas’ light contests’ in Dyker Heights; view the city from the top of the Empire State building, and we walk around Times Square. Concerning perhaps my favorite tradition, I finally have someone to watch “Love Actually” with during the holidays! You ask me why “Love Actually” when there is “A Christmas Story” or even “Home Alone”. I tell you because it’s the only Christmas movie I can watch without feeling bad about past Christmases because being with your family isn’t the overall theme. It’s just about love. Actually. 

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As we grow closer, you never diminish me, my abilities, and my importance in your life or in world. You are just as passionate about helping others as I am and love to volunteer with me. 

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There is NOTHING sexier to me than a guy who gives back. Sometimes in the middle of volunteering, I want jump you but I realize how inappropriate that would be those settings. It’s important to us that we make each other better people. I’ve dated all kinds of guys but now I realize that I really wanted someone like you. You are someone people admire, look up to, and are inspired by. There is no sub verse power struggle. You aren’t turned off because you “feel” like don’t “need you. You realize that me wanting you is much better. We both think that “good reality TV” are shows like “Ice Road Truckers” or “The Deadliest Catch”.

At this point, I realize there isn’t some part of me left wanting. Before you, there was only one aspect of my personality that I would be able to connect with a guy on. If it was intellectual, we would have to discuss theories all the time. If it was social, we would have to drink all the time. If it was creative, we constantly have to go to museums,etc. I enjoy all of those things but at age 27, in moderation. It was all too one dimensional and lacking. With you, we can watch a football game;

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and then we can cook together (or you cook while I drink).

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We frequently attend concerts and agree on this universal truth: the more obscure the band, the better the music. We can have open conversations  about a myriad of subjects without insulting each other. 

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We can be total professionals Monday-Friday with our 9-5 jobs but it is just as normal that every now and again, we can be this fun and vibrant couple;  

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_WJgq76N-Y.

On the rare occasion that I am hung over after a wild night like the aforementioned,

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you bring me Red Gala apples and orange flavored Gatorade.

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You love Halloween as much as I do!

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You to know how rubbing the inside of my wrists when I get scared soothes me. I LOVE how you kiss me; 

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how you grab my chin or you put both hands on the nape of my neck to pull me in.

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Its’ like you kiss me with your entire body. When you kiss me, you can feel me vibrate.

I love how playful and affectionate we are with each other.

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I love that you keep our relationship private. In fact, this letter is probably the most amount of detail anyone has ever heard about it. You know how much value privacy when it comes to our relationship which is different from keeping it a secret. It is sad that is it 2013 and people still aren’t used to us being a couple. When people look at us funny or make rude comments, you handle it with class and maturity. I wonder and ask why you handle it so well when other guys in the past have not. Your response:

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You are stable, consistent, and reliable.   

We’ve been together for awhile now and I hate to admit it that I’m coming around to the idea of you being an object of permanence in my life. 

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Sidebar:Wherever this place is, I need to go there because it’s breathtaking.

It is easy to see how much we care about each other even during the simplest of moments.

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I realize that I can be weak with you. You’ve been so patient and I finally start to open you because I’m not worried about regretting it later like I did in the past.

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Some days aren’t great but I can still count on you to make me laugh.

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When you have a bad day, you know I will be there to I make you laugh too.

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You successfully passed through my Supreme Court of dating aka my friends and they love you! It’s a scary thing to admit but for the first time in my life, I am the one my friends are jealous of.

The sex. The sex is so passionate; we need a safety word.(For all you super freaks out there, I will address sex directly and how it affects DV victims in part 4 of this blog post)

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However, there are days that your patience runs low with me. I am always putting others first which sometimes means putting our relationship second.

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It is a long standing habit that, with your help, I am trying to break. 

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I am not used to guys or men being good to me so this is new territory. When I’m upset, I won’t yell at you. You know how much I don’t’ like fighting or screaming. I do something worse. I shut down. I shut you out because I am used to being the only person that cares how I feel. Sometimes you catch me looking at you with wonder as to why you’ve stayed when so many didn’t before.

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Soon after, I try to find excuses to leave before you obviously do. But everyone knows you can’t out run love. 

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I am trying to change and after the smoke clears, I hope you are still here. It gets to the point that I realize that even that I couldn’t stop loving you if I tried. I am pissed!

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After being pissed, I see that the only thing I can do now is surrender to it. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I finally tell you how I feel:

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This is an ‘Oh shit’ moment for you because that’s when you knew with 100% certainty that I loved you back. That is also when you got scared. You got scared that you too might end up letting me down.

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Usually at this point, with all of my relationships before you, this is normally when it ends. They tell me I am too smart, too friendly, etc for them to date making it my fault. Some have said they don’t want to be better guys. They tell me I could do better but by then my heart is in it.The damage is done. Now you fully understand why I was so hesitant and almost defiant in the beginning. But because we are pretty similar people, you tell me that you need a few days to think about things. I curse myself and vow that I’ve learned this lesson for the last time. During that time, you talk to your friends and family about what to do. They tell you what you already know: throwing this away would be the biggest mistake of your life.

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"Stop talking about love. Every asshole in the world says he loves somebody. It means nothing. It still doesn’t mean anything. What you feel only matters to you. It’s what you do to the people you say you love, that’s what matters. It’s the only thing that counts. You can’t fail if you don’t give up.” You are scared but so am I. But does that mean we shouldn’t try at all?

You show up on my doorstep hoping that you didn’t mess things up for good. But you know that you’ve hurt me in the worst way. I have no reason to ever trust you again.  Still you try to apologize .

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I really don’t want to hear it at this point.

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You remind me that I, that we deserve this.

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You tell me how you were the only one to see through my bullshit façade of staged complacency.

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I’m feeling a mix of emotions which is disorienting for me. So I do what I normally do when I am scared: leave. It doesn’t take me long to realize that we have been looking for each other so long and giving up at this point would be really stupid. I come back.

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You’re all in. I’m all in. We’re all in. And we never look back.

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In a way, life begins. You suggest that we move in together. I am super reluctant to consider this because of how poorly that worked out for me the first time. But you, just like me, are someone that fancies adventure. I suggest, to see if that would work for us, that we should try to spend a significant amount of time together. I suggest we travel for the whole summer, afterwards take a week long break from seeing each other, and then assess how we feel about living together. I am terrified that this may break us up for good but I would rather know sooner than later. So our summer begins. You know how much I hate flying so we take a cross country road trip in a drop top convertible.

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We see and do so much!

Lollapalooza;

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Lake Tahoe;

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Sasquatch Festival;

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Redwoods in California;

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We rap every word of Biz Markie’s Just a friend while we drive down Route 66;

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aofoBrFNdg

Grand Canyon;

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Bonnaroo;

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Hot Air Balloon Festival;

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We blast Tupac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” while driving down PCH;

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDZ961xhNEo.

Coachella;

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I’m kind of sad when it ends because this has seriously been the best summer of my life!

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We get back and after spending a week apart, we realize that we really do love each other.

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So we move in together…

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And we burn hotter than ever…

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I love waking up with you every morning;

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I hate to see you to leave even though I know I will see you in just a few short hours.

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I love it when you pick me up!

Living together has gone well so far, so again, you ask if we might you be ready for the next step: meeting the parents. This is something that makes me uneasy, almost queasy. You’ve told me so many things about your family that I feel like I know them already. You stress how your family has always been so accepting of everyone you’ve dated. You assure me that you would never put me in that situation if you didn’t think it would turn out well especially because they know how important I am to you. I am still nervous for 2 reasons. The first reason is that before you, the only reason that my significant others’ families did not think I was “right” for their son always had to do with my race. This is something I can’t change and wouldn’t if I could. I’ve been received with everything from “She is really nice but she is black. How far do you really see this going? to “Do you have to go out marching in the streets with her during Black History Month?” to “Black girls are only good for one thing”. If they end up being awesome, my second reason has to do with trying to explain my side of the family to them, how every family is not like theirs, and why its just me. The following is an example of this awkward exchange and it makes me cringe every time I watch it because I know it is a terrible reality that I will have to face with your loved ones. I want to avoid the possibly of being judged for things and people I cannot control or change.

http://www.nbc.com/parenthood/video/not-everyone-has-a-family-like-yours/n42242/

It is great that I voiced my concerns about meeting them because, unlike the guys before, while we are there, you do something so subtle and comforting that reminds that you’re with me and have my back.

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Without words, the most important things are communicated to them: that we are good for and the massive amount of love we have for each other. They see our relationship for what it’s supposed to be: colorblind and limitless. Whew!

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 This is the end of the first half! Look out for the second half within the next few days….Thanks for reading!!

 ~ LK

Is it possible to miss someone, that the person you miss the most is someone you’ve never met?: Platitudes, Charlotte was underrated and 500 Days of Summer (Part 1 of 3)

Josh Heinrichs- Only Wanna Be WithYou

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MovTHkpyKI

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“Just be yourself. Look for friends, not romance or sex.” “Your time will come; just be patient.” “There’s somebody out there for everyone.” “If someone doesn’t accept everything about you, they aren’t the right person for you anyway.” “Time heals all wounds.” “I know how you feel.” “It is time for you to get over it and put this behind you.” “Be strong.” “There is a reason for everything”. “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” “Get back on the horse.” “You just weren’t meant for each other.” “Sometimes relationships end.”

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Healing takes time. You never really know how someone else feels. When you say that this tends to make them angrier. Get over it? There is no time line to grief. We all grieve in our own way and for as long as we need to. Sometimes pain never ends, but it changes. The acute pain dissolves in time, but on holidays, special days, and other times it can feel just as acute as when the loss first occurred (e.g. Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, Christmas, New Years Eve- which is superbad for me because that is also my birthday). Be strong? We are telling people not to cry and to hold in their feelings. Plenty of other fish in the sea? That was not a fish. It was a person and I don’t want another one. I want that one.

Especially in cases of abuse/assault, never ever say:

“What is it about you that attract people like this?” By saying things like this you are inadvertently reinforcing the idea that they did something wrong. If you have ever known (or have been) raped or assaulted, then you know the victim did nothing to deserve such treatment. The idea that victims of violence do something to deserve it is not only shit, it’s re-traumatizing to the survivor.This puts blame on the victim, something they’re already struggling with.

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Victims of abuse are trying desperately to regain their sense of self, the self-esteem robbed from them. Victims, on that long road to recovery and transitioning from victim to survivor, struggle with self-blame:

“How didn’t I see him for who he really was?”;“Am I that stupid?”;“Did I do something to deserve this?”;“Maybe I wasn’t patient enough or loving enough or understanding enough…”

Other things not to say:

“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” (Sit down Kelly Clarkson);“The best revenge is living well/success.”; “Just get on with your life and put this behind you.”;“You can’t control him; you can only control yourself.”;“Things just didn’t work out. Sometimes things just don’t work out.”; “Sometimes bad things happen to good people.”;“Did you say no?” ;“Did you push him away?”; “Did you scream?”; “It takes two to tango.”; “Did you see the red flags and just ignore them?”; “They’ll get theirs one day.” ;“Karma’s a bitch.”

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Not effing helpful. Platitudes are for the birds.

Platitudes can re-traumatize and set back a survivor’s healing. Pain is about a broken heart, but we speak to a person’s logic. The word “platitude” originates from a French word, plat, meaning flat. These trite and meaningless statements can and do fall flat on a survivor’s ears, because it makes them feel patronized. People can’t think of anything to say emotional situations, and may say the first thing that comes to mind. When they offer a platitude rather than support and sympathy, the result is a feeling that the upset person is being dismissed. A bromide, or calming statement, with a clichéd element doesn’t validate the emotional state of the upset person and seems insincere.

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I have several married friends that talk me about how they dated their husbands before they got married, broke up because one cheated/needed a break, dated other people and got back together again. How happy they are now especially now that they are married and have kids. You do realize that during the time that all of that was going on, I wasn’t dating at all right? If the letter I write in part 2 is for some guy I ALREADY know, I am going to be pretty pissed off that he has let all this shit happen in the meantime before he woke up and realized that we should be together (Read the letter/part 2 of this post tomorrow. The previous sentence will make more sense).

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I don’t know if I can or would do that. Can someone just get it right the first time? I already feel so far behind (see my last post about “Timelines”). So it took me a few days to write this post. Why? Because I’ve given up on relationships. Again. For real this time. Okay, so I am not sure if THIS is really the last time but every time I say this to myself, the time between my last attempt and my next attempt extends. First, a month. Then 2 months, then 6 months before this last time. I spoke to some people and overdosed on the platitudes they fed me. Sometimes victims of dating violence are stuck between the platitudes people tell them and how they actually feel in the moment. In that space, there isn’t any room to breathe. It doesn’t make sense. Whenever this happens, I shut down. I stay off the internet, don’t leave the house, have little to no communication with the outside world and bury myself in more projects. It is hard to explain to those around me what this feels like especially with my history. They don’t understand how or why I would prefer to be alone than be in a relationship that might be a lie.

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Let me tell you what happened this past week that made me upset. I had been thinking non-stop about a guy and just to end my suffering, so I asked him how he felt about hanging out again. Without going into details about the response, we are not hanging out again. It took me a few days to realize that before he answered, I knew what I wanted him to say. I felt relieved as soon as I asked and before he answered because I knew the probable response. I wanted to release my thoughts from the emotional Guantanamo Bay in my head. I wanted him to say no. Failure in relationships is unfortunately a space I know how to operate in. Expectations often fall short of reality like that really awful scene in “500 Days of Summer” when JGL (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets invited to a party by Summer, thinking it’s going to be the night they finally reconnect only to get there and see it’s her engagement party to someone else. It hurts every time even though I know its coming. Right in the feels. Everyone has a moment like that, when expectations fall short of reality.

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The response I got from the guy a few days ago was compounded by something curious I saw on the internet. A girl that I used to be really good friends with (and decided not to be anymore because her friendship was cancerous) has a boyfriend. Yes ANOTHER boyfriend. No, I am not jealous of her. I am happy that I do not jump from relationship to relationship. I am happy that I’ve never been “Desperately Seeking Susan”. I am just frustrated with girls like her that are awful to guys and have boyfriends all the time. During our friendship, I saw her on numerous occassions cheat, lie, and try to make me an accomplice in her dramatic scenarios. One time, she cheated with a guy and was “all broken up about it” when he found out. So much so that I decided to take her out of town with me on my trip down for my brother’s graduation. While there, on MY family trip, again she tried to make it all about her. How the hell do guys date this girl? I know what you are thinking. And you are wrong. She is not good in bed. I’ve been told so by several guys. She isn’t particularly smart or funny either. In fact, one of the first things people notice about her is her generally unpleasant disposition. People always asked me why I was friends with her. Sometimes when we were out, I would see a friend and stop to say hello. When I would introduce her, speak with the person and then leave, she would ask me something along the lines of “Do you have to talk to everyone you know?” Are you kidding me? I am not even going to get into the story about when I trapped indoors with her for a few days during Snowmageddon 2009/early 2010. I swear several scenes from both “The Shining” and “Misery” were on constant replay in my head.

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She also NEVER pays for anything. I wonder if the guys she dates are alright with her constantly using them for money. Did I also mention that her new boyfriend is not only I guy that I may or may not have given bed bugs to a few years ago but the brother of a guy that she had sex with? Yes, how is that not awkward?!? What the hell is wrong with that guy? I thought he was the SMART brother. I know that if it ends, when it ends, it will be messy because that girl NEVER goes quietly. I had to end up blocking her on Facebook because her antics got out of hand. But this post isn’t about her. It’s about me not feeling like my “better than” is ever good enough when competing against these girls that are so clearly “less than. It is about all the guys that I have been interested in but instead date hateful girls or boring ones. I guess when girls are beautiful in the obvious way like her they can do whatever they want.

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Some of us (me included) are not so lucky. The guy from last weekend is developing “feelings” for someone else. I don’t want to talk bad about someone I don’t know but whenever they do materialize as a couple in front of my eyes, I’m never wrong. So I can only gather what kind of person she is. She is either exactly like the girl I used to be friends with or really boring. I’ve had guys not date me because I am (in their words) “too smart, too friendly, too much” of things that you would think a mature adult male who doesn’t want drama would want to date. All of these guys are in their early to mid thirties. I know because of my childhood, culture and upbringing that I’ve grown up and matured a lot faster than some but sometimes dating seems ridiculous and pointless. I’ve seen several of these guys from my past that date girls like that aforementioned literally arguing on the street, in a club or on the metro. I’ve made eye contact with these guys and I feel a few things. First of all, wow, this is the girl you decided to date instead of giving me a chance? Second, are you more embarrassed that this is happening right now in public or that I serendipitously am here to witness it? Third, I want to laugh at you because of how bad you made me feel about my good qualities but I shouldn’t give you life. Fourth, that was my closure and I’m not going to give you another thought. The last look he gives me before I leave the scene is perhaps one of regret. He knows that I never would’ve done anything like that to him. Ever. He judged me because of my past and thought perhaps I would be “too messed up” to be in a relationship with. He realizes that because those things happened that, in reality, I was more likely not to hurt him as he is now. In that moment, that last look I give to him isn’t happiness for what’s happening to him. Truth is I am sad. A small part of me always wished he would wake up and come to his senses, aka, that running in the airport searching for you before you leave his life for good. In this moment, we both realize too much time has passed. I am not sure we could ever get back what we had and you are very sure that you don’t deserve another chance to try to do so because of how you ended things the first time. Afterwards, I have to live with being both right about what we both want in a relationship but wrong about you at the same time because you made the wrong choice.

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I came to a realization about my frustration with the platitudes said to me in the past few days. I realized that unless you’ve been a victim, they do not understand that every unsuccessful attempt for a relationship is somewhat re-traumatizing and an almost exponential compounded failure. I can’t be mad at the people around me trying to give me unsolicited advice about something they don’t understand. They are trying to make me feel better and I love them for that. The only thing that keeps me somewhat sane is my female intuition. It’s easier for girls to have intuition about other girls/how they will treat their mates, compatibility between two people in relationships, or how long the relationship will last. I think my intuition about relationships has improved because of my experience dealing with violence. Because of my past, I can see when people don’t go together. I have successfully called several Bachelorette picks, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian relationship debacles months before they happened. I can see past the excitement at the beginning of a relationship that people often wrongly see as an indicator of long term success or compatibility.

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Yes, you are probably a much better catch than this mystery girl but you have to remember this without him. Boys are stupid. They could have a genius IQ, a really awesome job, etc and still make the dumb ass mistake of dating a girl who will later probably cheat on them and if they are stupid enough to marry her, take them for half or all they’ve got. And they will continue to repeat that same mistake and date that girl. Often she is a version of the very first girl that broke their heart so they are trying to date “her” again in an effort to “conquer” her this time and prove that there is nothing wrong with them instead of seeing that she was just some simple bitch with a bad attitude. Guys are just as insecure as girls. Or even worse, they date a girl who is “safe” and lead long, boring, passionless lives together. Stay away from the latter especially. If a guy needs to date someone “beneath him” so that he feels better about himself, don’t be that girl to feed his insecurities disguised as a super ego.

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Here is the point of this post. The part that victims of DV need to hear when they get fed up with the “dating” game. Truth is, if you still get upset about a guy not wanting to give you a chance because he “thinks he has feelings for someone else” and is an idiot because he doesn’t see the potential for greatness that you see for the two of you, then honestly you HAVEN’T given up on love. These are the words you need to hear instead of what friends, family, etc say because they actually don’t “know how you feel” during your “500 Days of Summer” moment(s): Don’t let anyone ever tell you that it doesn’t hurt. It sucks and it hurts. The pain is there for a reason. Feeling pain in your love life when that guy doesn’t call or text you back (sometimes whether or not you’ve hooked up with him), leaves, cheats is OK to feel. It means you are human. Not feeling pain is a very, very bad sign. If you can’t be hurt by a guy anymore, that means you’re numb. Then we really have a problem. When you are numb, you are dead inside. You don’t feel any pain but you can’t feel pleasure or love that you see other girls get so easily (even when they don’t deserve it) when you of ALL people should be feeling it. If you feel pain in your love life after being hurt by a guy or several, it is ok.

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It means you are still romantic; you’re an optimist and still have faith that your love life can become something epic. You haven’t given up yet! This is a good sign. You are actually one of the better people, instead of one of those bitter people who say it is never going to happen for them and don’t believe in love. Maybe even the best because you were able to do this after your harrowing ordeal with domestic and sexual violence. That fact that you can still get hurt is awesome!!! I love that! Now to the most important part, the pain is a symptom of something. While it is okay to feel pain, it is a symptom of whatever we think that “500 Days of Summer” moment means when expectations don’t meet reality.

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The pain comes from one of 2 places: 1) if it comes from you believing that this guy in this situation was “the one” for you and you’ve lost him, the intensity of that pain will be high and chronic. It may never go away because you think you’ve lost your “soul mate” (I put soul mates in quotes because I don’t particularly believe in the concept). The result of thinking this way can change the rest of your life forever. You won’t allow anyone else into your life because you think that guy was supposed to occupy that space. You will continue to be hurt. You will completely shut down. It will ruin your life. Or you can make the pain mean something else. 2) Your second choice in that moment is to realize that yes you are hurt but you are DISAPPOINTED because you’ve found out that THIS guy may not be the one for you. This is smarter, healthier and logical. In this instance, the pain comes from being disappointed that this wasn’t/he wasn’t what/who you thought it was. It doesn’t come from believing that fundamentally you’ve lost someone that was supposed to be in your life forever. THIS IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. I didn’t realize this until I watched the following video.

Listen to this guy. He says it all. With an accent. Meow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXy8_ZX2W3k

In the meantime, I’ve got a Vagina Monologues performance, a Kick Starter Campaign and 3 video projects to work on. That should cover me not celebrating my birthday this year and keep me from even thinking about dating, hooking up, touching, hanging out with a guy until next April. You might want to take another 6 month long break from guys like me but at least you realize that you haven’t given up altogether.

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This ends Part 1 and brings me to part 2 of this post. Part 2 is something I think all victims of DV (and probably all girls who are trying to date but are discouraged after a broken heart) should do. Write your future self a love letter. And then put it at the bottom of your drawer under everything out of sight. Tomorrow I will show you mine.

Until then,

~LK

*What are some of the worst platitudes you’ve heard? I want to know…Thanks for the support!*

Timelines, Tom Cruise, and the Pull Out Method

Music. Don’t you just love how everything starts to make sense once you hear it in a song? I LOVE music so I will be starting every post with a song describing how I feel/general mood of the post. Feel free to listen to the song before or after reading as well as leave your comments below…thanks!

RHCP- Scar Tissue

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzJj5-lubeM

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Sunday, November 3rd, 2013- 9:30 am

This weekend I made a new best friend. Her name is Felicia Beefeater.  Ok, well his name is really AJ but his alter ego is named Felicia Beefeater. I know I was meant to meet them both.  

I woke up this morning with a big smile on my face wearing a leotard, pantyhose and feather headdress. Alone. No hangover at all. Are we adults now? Life is beautiful. Halloween, for some unknown reason, lasted 3 weeks this year. Over the course of celebrating for what felt like all of October, I realized something.

My costume is an extension of my personality.

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I’ve worn the same costume for the past 3 years, one I made from scratch. The first year it was just a simple bird costume. But every year since, I’ve been improving on it, adding parts and pieces to make it better, brighter, bolder.  This year I felt confident telling people I was actually a phoenix. It doubled as metaphor for my journey dealing with life after DV. I hopped out of bed and went downstairs to join the rest of the girls re-capping what parts of the night they remembered. Apparently at some point I started a cypher/dance circle in the middle of the party with 100+ people in attendance. I don’t remember doing so but in my head it looked like this: 

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We were all on Facebook trying to put together bits and pieces from memory and the internet to get a full picture of the debauchery that took place the night before…and failing wonderfully. This got me thinking about time, specifically the passage of time and how people use it to determine one’s progress or even success in life. So today, let’s talk about TIMELINES!

Before I began to identified myself as a survivor (circa early 2010), everyday felt like I lived in a war zone. These feelings were magnified when Facebook added the “Timeline” feature.  As soon as I connected to the interwebs, I’m was bombarded with everyone else’s joy. I’d wake up to see relationship statuses change from “single” to “in a relationship” with supersonic frequency. Proposals abound. Jennifer added a life event: Expecting a baby boy. Jon added a life event: Proposed/Engaged to Samantha. Amy just updated her status: just wanted to remind Lorpu that she is still single AND unwanted. Not cool, Amy. Not cool.“V-Day” or Valentine’s Day used to be my own personal “D-Day”. I would roll my eyes as checkout lines at the grocery store would be twice as long with lazy guys buying the “nicest bouquet” of flowers for $5 because somehow with all the Hallmark, Kay Jewelers, and candy commercials they forgot today was  February 14th. All in a hurry to give them to a girl who would probably be none the wiser. Yeah, I’m 27 and I’ve NEVER received flowers from a guy. Ever. On any day of the year. Not even the “I’m sorry I wasn’t thinking about you/I’m sorry I messed up” arrangement. Not once. Then there is my favorite summer holiday, 4th of July. Time for the beach, day drinking, cookouts, warm weather, etc. I love going to see the fireworks…and all of the couples kissing beneath them. Fast forward to my favorite season of all, Fall. Not too warm but not too cold either. Perfect for chunky sweaters, beanies, and cute booties. Sounds great, right? WRONG. Everywhere you look, there are people walking in twos, brightly colored leaves crunching under their feet walking in sync as they rough the rugged pot-holed terrain of DC. They’re dressed in “His” and “Hers” Patagonia for protection and stay hydrated with their Venti Caramel Macchiatos, with arms or even worse FINGERS interlocked. Probably heading home to do what I think is the “perfect” fall season activity: to eat crockpot of chilli, cuddle underneath a huge blanket and watch football. All of the aforementioned can incredibly disheartening and hinder a victim/survivor’s recovery. Do I sound jealous? I was not nor have I ever been. Let me tell you why that was actually a BAD thing.

Since starting the org and this blog, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’m “brave” for doing what I’m doing. For this blog to useful, I feel like I must be honest and utilize maximum amounts of transparency. I want to tell you the truth. I’m not brave at all. Not yet at least. I’m terrified. I have been for a long time. I’ve NEVER been the girl to plan her wedding in her head, know if I want a princess or emerald cut engagement ring, how many kids I want to have, etc.  If some poor soul did come to the conclusion that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and proposed, I can picture me probably ruining the moment by countering with a question like “are you sure?”. The reason I’ve NEVER been jealous and why it is a bad thing lies in the next statement: I’ve never had a good relationship with a guy since I started dating that made me believe that all of those “milestones” were a possibility for me. So for a long time (up until probably 6 months ago), I only spent time with guys I knew I wouldn’t be interested in for the long term or vice versa. I lied to guys who I thought might want an actual relationship about how awful of a person I really am. I stopped talking to a guy if I thought he wanted to go on an actual date. When I started to have feelings for a guy, I practiced the “Pull Out” method. Yes, 70%  of the time, it works EVERYTIME. I buried myself in projects and put on blinders as to pretend I don’t see or want a real relationship. I never felt that any guy could actually love me that much, even if I were perfect, for him to make it down that aisle. So why try dating at all? I used to find it hilarious when guys would jump to the conclusion that they think I want a relationship. As if I would EVER let it get THAT far. Ha! Fools! I told myself these were all acts of self-preservation when really they were acts of cowardice. You see almost every guy that has treated me like crap has come back to either apologize or ask for another chance. I am not complaining, definitely NOT bragging. It isn’t a comforting thing to think that guys have to blow it with you first before realizing your worth. It isn’t as redeeming or romantic as it is in the movies. Jerry Maguire never interrupts a party with your friends to give some rousing speech about how you “complete” him. Instead, I tell myself that there are plenty of women who are workaholics, leading successful AND happy lives without romantic love. I tell myself that the love that I currently possess but hide for a mate that isn’t here is better displaced on girls I could help with the org and my friends. But this is no laughing matter. There are so many girls who feel exactly the way I did. We don’t think we can be in a relationship AND be our best possible selves simultaneously. Many of us suffer in silence with full potentials never being met.

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Sometimes, I think I am a closet introvert masquerading as an extrovert. As a child, my mom says, that I could spend exorbitant amounts of time alone. Sometimes I would wake up early in the morning before everyone else and find a dark cabinet to sit in. She would only be able to find me by searching for a pile of stacked pots on the kitchen floor.  Sometimes I would wake up, make myself a PB& J, pour myself a half glass of milk (and spill the rest of the gallon everywhere) to watch a movie. The ones that were heavy in rotation were Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Short Circuit. Apparently I had a very LOW tolerance for cartoons. I kept asking where the real people were until my parents just gave up on me watching them. Let’s fast forward to me trying to assimilate back into “normal” life after DV, in 2009. When I moved back to DC from NC, it was tough. On several different occasions, I would be out in a crowded bar and my feelings of loneliness were overwhelming. I would look around to see my girlfriends in conversations with guys and think “I cannot do that”. Let me explain why. Hypothetically, I’m having a conversation with a guy and let’s just say it happens to go well. Then he asks me out on a date. Are you nuts, Lorpu? You know what a good date leads to? More dates! Then possibly having “feelings” for him. At which point, HE would utilize the “Pull Out” Method to let you down like every other male has before. As I played out this all too familiar melodrama in my head, I realized that this recurring nightmare was actually my reality. Because of these obsessive thoughts, sometimes I would be on the verge of tears and leave the bar without saying goodbye to my friends. I’ve realized through all the mistakes that I made after my DV relationship ended with other guys is that I, personally, DO NOT CONNECT with guys very often (these mistakes/people will be covered in a later blog post titled “The Lost Years”-coming soon). I used to be able to hookup, not think or feel anything for the guy. That was enough for me. I stopped when I realized it wasn’t numbing the pain of what happened to me. I could no longer convince myself that the emptiness of it was comforting. It actually delayed me starting the recovery process. But I am happy I realized these things and stopped. Before the launch of the org in September, there were several guys circling me. I told them all about the launch and promised myself that if they weren’t in attendance, anything and everything that we had before it was over. I didn’t tell them that but I shouldn’t have to.

It’s really easy on some days to think about what direction my life would’ve gone in, who I would be today if I’d never been in a violent relationship. But over the past 2 years, I made the decision that I don’t want to be one of those hard women. A woman who is angry all the time. So I constantly have to remind myself as I watch everyone else’s life events play out that I am NOT on THEIR TIMELINE. I am on my OWN TIMELINE. There isn’t one playbook when it comes to dating. Because of DV, you play by a different set of rules.

When it comes to dating after the violence, I think one needs to approach it like Daylight Savings time and “fall back”. The first thing to do when you decide you want to start dating again is well, don’t. Don’t do it! You need to take your time and build yourself up or else you won’t be good for anyone including yourself. Not doing so might land you in another abusive relationship. No bueno. Life at this moment is kind of like a video game. Right now, your energy levels are low. You need to do things to increase your life force. Get a hobby. Maybe re-claim a passion you gave up during your abusive relationship. Or just become passionate. And if it be about someone, it better be yourself. Follow the law of conservation of energy which states that the energy of a system cannot be changed. The law holds that energy can never be destroyed. Surround yourself with people who enrich your life and use their energy to fuel yourself. And vice versa. Return that energy to them. You can only accomplish these things if you are SINGLE. It took me long enough to realize this (3 years) but I’m happy I did it because I feel closer and more ready for a meaningful relationship than ever. I want something with sustenance.

The fact that you are on your own timeline due to the violence you experienced might be all but impossible for others to understand. Family members are constantly asking about my non-existent dating life. Telling them I am focusing on myself right now doesn’t make sense to them. I’ve been gifted several books about marriage ANONYMOUSLY, asked if perhaps I am a lesbian, and I’m almost certain that my newly tech savvy mother has created a profile for me on Christian Mingle without my permission.

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Friends may comment or question your actions. So perhaps you aren’t ready to hit the bars and skeez on dudes. You don’t have to.  Perhaps you do meet a guy and you only see a short term future with him, like just that night. You are allowed to have fun. If you’ve learned anything from your past trauma, it’s that not EVERY guy you meet is BOYFRIEND material. But what if you spend that night with him and decide that there is a possibility that you want to take things further? You give him your number and you never hear from him. You are not STUPID. You are not a SLUT. The whole “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” argument is completely antiquated.  All the surveys I’ve read asking guys anonymously if they believed a relationship could possibly come out of a one night stand, an overwhelming majority always say yes. We are getting to the age where people need to use logic regarding this matter. The reality of the situation may be that you are a phenomenal young lady with a 120 IQ, beautiful, funny, run your own company so you barely have time for yourself (let alone the amount of energy it really takes to be easy) and be the farthest thing from promiscuous. He could be the first (and lucky) guy out of ALL possible/numerous suitors that you decide to get fresh with since last MARCH and you are amazing in the boudoir. You could be someone to bring home to mama, precisely the woman a boy like himself needs aka THE TOTAL PACKAGE. If he believes in this double standard, of course, he could do BETTER than you with some millennial who has approximately 10,000 photos or “selfies” on Facebook all of which she’s wearing a bikini, with no indication of what she does for a living (unless professional drinking is now a job), has never heard of duck hunt or doesn’t know who Mr. Belding is. So when he does try to date that tot, you can take solace in the fact you showed him interest but that he welcomed that soap opera into his life when he clearly had a better option. If he likes girls like that, he can’t be interested in you too. Know your strengths. I’m not sexy and that’s okay with me. I would rather be an acquired taste than everyone’s flavor of the week. HIS total loss.

This year, I’ve just started coming around to the idea that perhaps I want to achieve those “life events”  too and it is a very scary thing. Oh my god, is that a grown man dressed as Batman boarding the metro? What is he doing…oh, my god, is that his son? ERMAHGERD, they have on the SAME costume! Silent squeal. Watch this YouTube video. A mom is singing to her daughter and she is crying….Wait, why am I crying TOO? Best proposal ever my a**, I’ll be the judge of that. I’m a complete puddle at exactly 12:16. Uh oh. No longer is vicarious joy enough for me but now I want these things for myself? When did this happen and how can I make it stop? Sometimes I find myself thinking about cute ideas for family Christmas card (e.g. all of us in onezies sitting on bicycles in front of the tree) or Halloween where we all dress in men’s shirts and socks and go as Tom Cruise in “Risky Business”. I’ve never felt this powerful and it is something that I have never been able to feel in a relationship.

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So I go back to my timeline on Facebook and scroll down look through all of my history. It isn’t filled with life events regarding trips taken with my boyfriend, anniversaries celebrated, or love. It is filled with something better: numerous posts from family and friends years ago when they had no idea were the darkest and saddest days for me, saying how funny I was or how happy they were to meet me. Even up to today with perhaps the nicest compliment I’ve gotten in a long time which made me choke up from a very pretty lady named Marena Piccillo:  

Lorpu, I’ve only met you a handful of times, if that, but in those short visits, I was automatically drawn to you. You are such a beautiful, magnetic, energetic, and likable person. I took the time out to read your post and I’m glad that I did because I got to know a little more about you. I encourage you to continue writing. You’re an inspiration as well as the other things I listed. Love ya girl!

Honestly, it is possible to do everything right and still end up with a shit result. I will be 28 in less than 2 months. I’ve never been this happy, vibrant, comfortable in my own skin. I bet if you scroll through your “timeline”, things aren’t as bad as you think. Take things one day at a time. We must imagine our lives how we want to live it. Sometimes as victims, survivors or just as people we forget the most important thing of all: Inhale, exhale. Take a look around sweetie, YOU ARE STILL HERE.

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*Disclaimer: I love Britney Spears. I used to spend hours in my room in during middle and high school learning her dance moves. So that’s all I will say about that.*


~LK

Domestic Violence and The Walking Dead

Music. Don’t you just love how everything starts to make sense once you hear it in a song? I LOVE music so I will be starting every post with a song describing how I feel/general mood of the post. Feel free to listen to the song before or after reading as well as leave your comments below…thanks!

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Sunday, October 27th, 2013, 5:00 pm

Frou Frou - Let Go

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kLkNICTdgc

The worst thing about you telling me you think “I’m beautiful” is that when it comes out of your mouth, I believe you.

Last Saturday should’ve been just another anonymous weekend eve. After not having much of a spring or summer, I decided that a night out with the girls was long overdue and necessary. After a pretty uneventful night, I label it a self-fulfilling prophecy of meeting the same self-centered yet boring blokes and wonder why I drag myself out in the first place when I had an unwatched DVR’d episode of Dateline at home. I turn to say goodbye to my friend as I figure the next obvious step is to hail a cab and return to scheduled solace. I don’t know why but I turn and start talking to a boy instead. Wait this handsome stranger is a man. So let’s call him Mr. Handsome. I thought those were extinct because the majority of the males I’ve met in the past 3 years in their early 30s have fallen far short of that title. So I make a decision. I didn’t do my hair, shower, put make up on and come out here for nothing. Not tonight. I deserve one night to do what other single 20-somethings do every weekend. What’s the worst that could happen? You end up being just as inconsequential in my life as I am in yours and we never speak again? Fine. I’ve gotten so good at this that come sunrise you will actually think it’s YOUR idea that we never see each other again. Doesn’t matter to me, even better if it makes you maintain your machismo being “in control” (yes it’s awful but insert mental pat on the back).

The next 8+ hours we spent together are ridiculous. Ridiculously amazing. I laugh like I haven’t laughed before. Wait…have I EVER been with a guy that makes me laugh? I listen to MR.HANDSOME snoring as I lie awake going over the nights’ events in my head. More so, how I am feeling about the events of the past few hours. I find that I am not thinking about when and the least awkward way to say goodbye. I realize the reason I cannot sleep is because I am feeling two things that I’ve desperately wanted to feel desperately for years, two things I haven’t felt since 2007 simultaneously: sexy and safe. Oh sh*t! Before I can even think about WHAT that means, I am in a panic. Quick before he wakes up, WHAT SHOULD I DO? What I do best of course, revert to passive behavior! When he talks about hanging out again, I talk about how I don’t need the distraction, blah, blah, bullsh*t, blah. He leaves around noon and when he does I act like I don’t care. It’s even better because while Mr. Handsome is walking towards his car I realize that I am not even sure if we traded contact information so he probably has no viable way to contact me if he wants to. As I begin my Sunday errands, I wait for the usual logic to prevail.

Now its 1:00 pm and I’m at the drug store. I get to the checkout and the guy asks me why I’m in such a good mood. I asked him how he reached that conclusion. He said I came in smiling. I shrug him off and leave the store. At 3:00 pm, I visit with family friends and they ask me what I’ve been up to. Even as I am describing how exciting and stressful the past few months have been, I’m smirking. At 5:00 pm, I walk to my car to head home and I catch a glimpse of myself and holy marbles, I can’t get this stupid grin off my face! I don’t know how to describe it but sometimes the only way you know something is right is having done a whole lot of wrong before. I am an expert in wrong. This was different. I hate that to admit it but I actually want to see him again. The worst thing is that I’ve had these thoughts all. Freaking. Week. Long. Up until today, Sunday October 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Exhausted from last night’s Halloween festivities, I woke up like clockwork at 9:00 am and started my Sunday errands like normal. I’m a notoriously bad sleeper so this wasn’t surprising to me. But if you don’t get enough sleep, I hear you can possibly die. Last night caught up with me so I decided to take a nap. Apparently, you only dream when you enter deep or “REM” sleep, during which is supposed to be a restorative period for your body. My mind had a completely different idea. I didn’t have a dream. I had a nightmare. A nightmare I’d had once before in 2009, same characters, different setting. Last time my ex boyfriend cut through the mesh window on the den, broke through the glass in the kitchen with his elbow to put his hand through and open the door. He was in my room and before I could make a sound, as if I could make a sound, his hands were on my throat. This afternoon, he climbed through my bedroom window. I asked him how he found me and he said he would always be able to find me. I told him to leave. He said no. I yelled stop and he came closer. Again, his hands were on my throat but this time I made a sound. I screamed, screamed and screamed this time for my mom but she never came. I finally woke up, realizing it wasn’t real and that he wasn’t actually there but I still couldn’t breathe. I’m laying in the fetal position shaking and hyperventilating with a million thoughts running in my head.

Why am I having this dream again NOW? Yes, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of him but why now? I tell myself that I need to pull myself together but not to rush it, just as long as I am done before The Walking Dead comes on. But the questions keep coming. The only conclusion I’ve come to is this. I’m no Freud or Yung but I met MR.HANDSOME on an anonymous Saturday eve after not going out for months too. Even though most of my engagements start hot and heavy, this one, I thought was different too. I felt sexy and safe too. What is frightening to me is that even though almost 6 years have gone by, I am still trying and failing to pinpoint the moment at which it changed and I didn’t feel sexy or safe anymore. When I left NC, I thought it would all go away if I assimilated into a normal 23 year old girl’s single but dating life is. At age 27, maturing as a woman, I think I am coming to terms with that fact that it will never be normal for me. I don’t want to spend some of the supposed best years of my life white knuckling through normal rites of passage. We all meet guys and talk about how much we like them and want them to call which of course they never do. Or there is that guy that we don’t like who calls too much and just can’t take the hint we are not interested but he is “really really nice” and we “don’t want to hurt his feelings”. We ask each other what we should wear on the first date or what we think something they said means, etc. I, like so many other girls you know but would never been able to tell are victims of dating violence because they are forced to live in secrecy in a society that revels in victim blaming and shaming, think about other things. We, as victims, think of other things. We ask ourselves “How long do we really expect this to last?”; “Does he know that I am a victim of DV and think less of me?”; “I like him and I do want to open up to him but will he think I must obviously be nuts or too damaged to date having gone through that?” “Doesn’t he know that having gone through that makes me 10 more likely to cherish and dote on an awesome relationship? And worst of all, “If he does turn dark, will I be able to recognize them this time before it’s too late? - the self doubt that almost never goes away.

I thought about the MR.HANDSOME just like he joked I would after he left for this entire week. Until this afternoon, when I saw my ex boyfriend’s face again. I hate how he isn’t here anymore and hasn’t been for years but still is a menacing figure to me, making me question how I feel or what I want about something that felt so great in the moment for reasons I don’t fully understand but THIS TIME with THIS GUY want to explore. I don’t want to wonder, think or worry about my ex and my past with him in the present tense. I guess I have to thank him for planting these seeds of doubt because it makes things much easier for me if I never hear from the MR. HANDSOME again or get to explore whatever it is I am feeling. It may make it go away faster too. As I think about how I want to pay it forward with the young women I want to help through The Survivant Organization, I can’t help but think about how useful it would be for someone to write a single girl’s dating guide for life after DV. Anyways, The Walking Dead starts in a half an hour so I have that to look forward to. Baby steps.


~LK