Category: dating

unlearn

To Unlearn: What I No Longer Believe to be True

unlearn <un·learn>

ˌənˈlərn/verb
discard (something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information) from one’s memory.
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  1. College is the only or surest way to succeed in the modern world. We know no examples. Bill Gates. Oprah.
  2. Smart people always make good decisions. If you are smart, you cannot be wrong. Ever. Duh.
  3. No one will ever truly look out for you, with the exemption of your family. Family members – the ones you do not choose – are the only people you can trust. Surely, everyone is ultimately out to get you in the long run. If people leave, even when their appointed season in your life is over, that is the zenith of betrayal. Off with their heads! Every institution – even the most blessed, pure, and loving – has its limitations. That can’t possibly be ok.
  4. You cannot set boundaries with family. “I love you, mother… Thanks for calling the third time today… Yes, yeah… I’m on the look out for my future husband. Of course!…. Yes, a medical doctor, yes, medical… I have the criteria list seared into my mind… I’ll review the scroll right before I head out to work… Oh yeah… yeah, it’s morning here – kinda early….”
  5. Life is not meant to be enjoyed. What is happiness? Struggle is life. Struggle defines life. Despite the fact that you only get one chance at living, why would you actually enjoy any part of it? This is not a game. #struggleislife
  6. Men are on the fuckboy spectrum. Therefore, can they really ever be a partner and ally? Not one man is worth the time of day. They’re all such good men, and yet leave behind throngs of broken women in their wake. I mean, why expect respect and harmony in a relationship when all he really needs from you is a warm, cooked meal and a warmer body? I mean, really, #NotAllMen, amirite?
  7. True love eludes women who are decisive, inquisitive, and have at least one degree. The more degrees you attain, ladies, and the more you desire out of life and people, the worse off you are in the love department. Facks on facks. And you’re over 30?! We all know you tuck your degrees and diplomas and career under your pillow, bitter, lonely woman. I mean, can you even cook?
  8. The goal in life is perfection. Live up to everyone’s expectations at all times. This is the true measure of perfection. If no one complains about you, and you’re worn ragged as a result, who can fault you for being exactly what is expected? At this point, you’re perfect!
  9. People’s opinions of who you are and what you do matters immensely. Again, it’s amount molding yourself to the pleasure of others. You’re a humanitarian, after all. The only life you’re gifted cannot possibly be lived according to the terms of the personality gifted the body. Benevolence is cute, but my opinion of who you are and what you ought to be matters more than the love you ought to generously dole yourself.
“I am ready for love
Why are you hiding from me?
I’d quickly give my freedom
To be held in your captivity.” -india.aire
I’m trying this thing where I’m putting myself out there and actually saying yes. I haven’t read Shonda’s book yet (I’ll wait until the next century when it finally becomes available at my local library), but I’m trying proactivity, nevertheless. It’s where you meet a guy who as a nice smile, great skin and by all physical accounts doesn’t appear to be of the serial killer persuasion and you offer – unprompted – to hang out over coffee. Novel, amirite? I’ve heard that guys actually like this method of interaction, so why not? I’m grown and I’ve pretty much asked and received everything else in my life, so why not become the protagonist and spearhead my dating experience more intentionally?
However lately, I’ve been asking myself quite self-reflectively whether I would actually make a good girlfriend. The single life has made me selfish and impatient, so much so that even the idea of owning a pet makes me groan with the thought of added responsibility. That a dog could not feed itself and I would have to rush home after work to take it out to potty is beyond me.
I have a routine! I use the restroom with the door open, blasting my podcasts from my wireless speaker every morning with abandon. There is a wine glass in my bedroom that never makes it to the dishwasher in time, and I watch whatever I want on Netflix knowing no one else would care. Is this what people do in relationships do too, because I can’t imagine switching this up. Additionally, by all accounts from the hitched-up women in my life, men have needs. Like actual egos and needs and wants and habits that need addressing and negotiation. They say it’s beautiful; I don’t know, it’s been a while.
Perhaps it’s the commitment of it that makes me wonder… the wondering whether I would have to drastically change to accommodate another human form that I have affections for (child-raising makes me nervous, too, btw!). Or that I would passively be in support of problematic thinking. For instance, I cannot imagine tempering my feminism and blackness and Naijaness to make a man feel comfortable. I can negotiate room temperature preferences to a point, but I’m not giving up pepper-sauteed snails because you have a moral obligation to the consumption of molluscs. I would find it immeasurably unforgiving to hear ideologies that are anti-humanity:
…Amber Rose is a hoe; she ain’t no Ayesha Curry; so if Kanye disrespects her, you can’t really blame him, can you? 
…Syrian refugees should really just stick it out; ISIS is a problem everywhere and all, but we don’t have room! 
…but you gotta admit that black people really need to focus on black on black crime; if we can’t help ourselves, who will?
While it’s taken me lots of growing up, exposure, personal research and trial and error to form the ideologies I hold, one cannot blame me for ghosting gentlemen who are fundamentally perpendicular to my value system. Also, the idea of sharing a lamb chop dinner with someone who doesn’t like me asking questions and who thinks it’s natural for a girlfriend to teach them household cleanliness is beyond me. How will I function?
Has my millennial sensibilities categorized me as a difficult woman?
Alas, here I am! A basket full of peculiar impatience, ready to meet someone who laughs as generously as I do and thinks Instagram celebrity arguments are fascinating to talk about during How to Get Away With Murder commercial breaks. I’m outchea – taking numbers and texting back, even wiping right on Tinder on occasion. I’m charming enough for a second date, me thinks. Will walk cautiously into relationship possibilities… so yanno, heart open and what not!
strawberry

How To Pretend It Doesn’t Hurt | by Ashe Vernon

How To Pretend It Doesn’t Hurt by Ashe Vernon
When he says
He doesn’t love you anymore,
Roll your shoulders back
And look him in the eye
Even when it feels like your ribs
Are breaking inward, like spider legs.
When he digs up old aches
That he swore he forgave you for,
Smile
And ask him why he didn’t leave you sooner.
Ignore the way the words feel like sandpaper
Running all the way up your throat to your mouth.
When he blames you
For mistakes that wear his face,
Do not scream.
Do not cry.
Tell him that there are boys
Who would be proud to say they’d love you.
Tell him that in two years
You won’t even remember his name
And don’t let him see the way you can taste your own lie.
When he leaves
Ignore the howling in your blood
And do not get up after him.
Not even to lock the door.
Do not, do not
Do not.
Smell his shirts when you box them up
To give them back.
Not one.
Swear off dating when your realize
You’re chasing ghosts that wear his smile.
It’s okay to cry over him.
It’s even okay to forgive him.
But do not go back to him.
If he did not know how to love you the first time,
He won’t know how to do it the next.
chicago

So I’m Turning 30: Always Choose Yourself

Some of the best stories are shared when you’re seated, waiting to be attended to at your country’s consulate, and someone has a situation on their chest they need to share. Story, story! Story! Once upon a time! Time, time!

She used to date this guy for a while. Things were going really well… really well… until they were not. Lots of disagreements turned into lots of fights and lots of fights turned and fading commitments. After a full box of Kleenex and many discussions later, they decided to take a break. She still liked him, though. During said break, he found someone else. Some weeks have passed and now she wants back in. He likes them both; he can’t choose. Should she stay? Should she go?

Dear Sista Unafraid to Share Her Story with a Stranger,

(A) Thank you for sharing. You don’t know me at all. I could have laughed at your face and told you mean things, but you trusted I would be compassionate. Thank you. I don’t often consider myself a nice person.

(B) I swear we all have variations of your story. Some devoid of tears and emotional outbursts, some with broken property and confirmed pregnancy tests. It’s the boy who can’t choose or it’s the girl who can’t choose. Yet, here you are, left in the lurch, holding hand in heart as you await to be chosen by the lover with whom you’ve dedicated time and money and connection. It’s hard to give up on a relationship that once made sense. Some hold the school of thought that if there is no ring at play, there’s no point in fighting. Leave. Stat. Others hold the notion that posits that life is the most worthwhile when you give your everything every time. Fight until there is nothing left to fight for.

Na dem get power pass.

Let me keep this real short, so you can keep it real cute: don’t break character for someone who is breaking up with you. By all means, go through the stages of grief, but remember who you are because that is who you should choose. Choose yourself. Now, I understand communal mentality. It’s the idea that you not be so independent-minded, that you shun others for the right to be a lone ranger – that you learn to exist in this world with others. So find ways to reconcile; make the effort.

But what happens when you’re lost or are beginning to lose yourself in the identity of this young boy (who is likely struggling himself!) and being alone in a room terrifies you? So you gotta learn to trust yourself enough to choose yourself. Choose the most authentic version of yourself. Find her and begin re-introductions and do not wait. Because whether you like it or not, you are all you have. Folks you love may not show up and even the most concrete of circumstances with change. Who you are in the midst of all that is the one you can rely on. Do not break character, and if you do, it’s ok. Re-calibrate, re-balance, Take your time. Your greatest gift is self-forgiveness.

And for the sake of all things holy, choose yourself. Not him. He don’t know who to choose; how can you rely on that? There is no Nobel in dating. You do not owe people bits of yourself. It can all be very confusing, and that’s alright too. Everyone is just trying to find something, anyway.

Signed,
udee, I don’t know much, but I can share some thoughts

The Self-Proclaimed Good Guy

pouring wine
You’ll have to excuse me; I need some space to get this out.

Recently, I had the distinct displeasure of meeting a young man who was apparently confused as to why women would not want to be with him. I’m a good man, said… we’ll call him Gregoire, “I don’t get why a woman wouldn’t want to be with me“. I blinked into my phone, reading the Book of Lamentations of the Self-Proclaimed Good Guy. Yet, I gave Gregoire the benefit of the doubt: I asked questions, gave him space to elaborate. It wasn’t that Gregoire, the good guy was actually complaining about relationship troubles. We all have them. The singles among us all think we deserve decent people to be with, because we are decent, fun-loving, ambitious people. No, no, it was that Gregoire, the good guy felt as though because he was a decent person, women ought to be flocking to be with him. It was confusing to him why a woman like me, udee, would not automatically see his goodness and sign my name on the dotted line to be with him forever …or for the night. Ugh, who knows!

Le sigh.

There is nothing unsexier than an adult displaying their acute failure to grasp reality. Humanity requires a baseline level of decency in most cultures. You don’t get rewarded for being baseline nice. And your reward for baseline decency should never be other people. This should never be your expectation! Tell me, how does your being a decent, nay, good person, mean that you expect your reward to be a binder full of women? Women have become the prize to be won when you offer your seat on the train to the elderly, eh? Or perhaps when you drive your more than tipsy female friend home from the block party, you expect your reward to be what, a snog maybe? Or maybe it’s her romantic attentions you want? What do you appropriately reward a man who decides, in his infinite goodness, not to defer to inappropriate behaviour, or assault or outright rape? …and we wonder, still, on this side of the 21st century, why feminism is relevant.

It is emotional manipulation to tout your goodness as sacrifice for others, because (a) what metrics have you employed to calculate that your level of special and alleged sensitivity is deserving of female attentions? and (b) you’re simply not that special – no one is. In the face of sounding too morbid, even after your death, after a period of mourning and healing, life will continue to move on without you. You do not deserve other people. You do not deserve a woman. We are not property.

It’s actually terrifying to think, as a woman, that there are men out there who take their chivalry aka goodness aka decency and expect women to queue up to be with them. What unbridled entitlement! Upon explaining to Gregoire why this was not at all tolerable, I still don’t think he understood. He thought I was hating on his confidence as a guy. After all, he mused, I’m not ugly. Ah yes, my dear Gregoire! It is that you are handsome that you ought more access to a woman’s emotional and physical body.

I had had enough and proceeded to distance myself permanently.