What I’ve shared below can also be heard through this audio message. Click play and enjoy.
I’m sitting here at my desk reflecting.
My reflection is focused upon my life, specifically my love life.
I’m a romantic. I’ve always been. I don’t need the big and grandiose. I love the simple things in life and love. Oftentimes it’s the smallest of gestures that have the biggest impacts, the smallest packages can contain the best of gifts—and that, for me, brings me the greatest joy. A handbag has a price tag and can be damaged, lost, stolen, sold, or given away; sitting by my bedside holding my hand, rubbing my head, kissing me and telling me that all will be well, while I’m in the hospital fighting fear and whatever else—that’s priceless and can never be damaged, lost, stolen, sold, or given away. That time, attention and affection is for me and only me. That is precious and everlasting in my heart and mind.
I just saw a November 1961 Photoplay Magazine interview with actor Robert Conrad, who is quoted as saying:
“I neither condemn nor condone the morals of others. I think there are very few, really, whose conduct reflects unfavorably in the rest of us in this mythical kingdom of Hollywood. There are men who need many women in order to bolster their egos–half the time, they don’t remember the girl’s name afterward. But I’ve got a good ego to start with, and I’m too sensitive for a quick relationship with a dame and sex alone would never be enough for me. Marriage is something that goes way beyond the flesh. Each human being has his own need for security …It’s great to have someone to lean on… it’s great to have someone lean on you.”
I agree with Mr. Conrad’s statement, my focus being on the last part as it relates to marriage and our need for security, and that it is great to have someone to lean on and to have someone lean on you.
I enjoy companionship and the gifts of sharing and caring, and looking into the eyes of someone who lights up every time they see you. I’ve always wanted a partner, in the truest and most authentic sense of the definition. I’ve always wanted a person who I could be safe from external harm and safe with them—never fearing harm from them. I’ve always wanted to be part of a dynamic duo that other people would sit back and proudly marvel and celebrate—because they could see not only our love for each other, but our love of God.
By looking at us they see God.
Partnership isn’t splitting the household bills, heck a roommate can do that. Partnership is much deeper and carries greater weight and risk. Partnership is a bond that you share with no other but the one you vow to stand beside through hell or high water. It’s that ride or die trying, and I’m a ride or die kinda woman—so I need a ride or die kinda man!
I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship that was built upon the foundation of God, and where through our prayers and actions, we always turned to God to lead our relationship—putting Him first in all things, ways, and circumstances. I’ve always wanted a relationship where we could work together to reach our individual and shared dreams and goals—lovingly pushing, encouraging, challenging, and inspiring each other along the journey.
I’ve always wanted a partnership that would come together to form a union, and through that union a family would be birthed and nurtured—-building upon our shared and individual legacies. I’ve always wanted a relationship that was nestled in the understanding that trust is only possible when there is honesty and honor. When we are not honest and honorable how can the other person trust us to be anything except dishonest and dishonorable?
What I’ve realized over the past several weeks and months is that it is imperative to find, connect, and love a person who you are ‘equally yoked’ with in more ways that one. You need more than a fifty percent connection for you to have a bond that, strengthened with effort and hard work, can then withstand the tests of time, external influences, internal fears, and other forces beyond your control.
We must be secure within ourselves and fully knowledgeable of our strengths and weaknesses to balance each other in a complementary way—not one person leading and dragging the other from behind, but walking side-by-side facing the world and its challenges together; graciously allowing one to stand up and stand in where they are strongest and the other is weakest, so that together we can accomplish what we must to get where we need to go.
I can’t just be with any man, any kind of man. No. Any and all men can’t handle the force and light that God has poured and molded into me. God did not make me to be a shadow or stand in someone’s shadow. God made me to shine and throughout my journey I’ve learned how to use the dimmer switch to adjust my brightness so not to make anyone feel as though they are in my shadow.
Not everyone wants to share the stage.
Some people feel that only they need to shine and that you need to be there to help them shine, and make sure that other people see their shine. That is what I call selfish shining; it’s all-about-you and it’s all about making sure people know it’s about you. Selfless shining on the other hand is the opposite; it is shining in a way where we all are uplifted—all of our rays cast outward to touch, love and heal each other.
I must be with a man who is secure within himself but not self-absorbed, self-righteous, and borderline if not fully seen as arrogant. I can do confidence and cockiness, but arrogance is beyond a turn-off for me. Growing up as an athlete this was something that was ingrained in me—you can celebrate your accomplishments, but don’t gloat. So I’m repulsed by the person who arrogantly gloats and draws attention to themselves to gain kudos, or who chooses to ignore your advice simply because they feel their mind or abilities are far-superior than yours, so they must be right and you must be wrong.
I want to dislocate my jaw when around the person who would rather turn right than turn left simply because you told them to turn left. For them, even if turning right is the wrong direction, they would rather find that out by themselves than allow a ‘lesser mortal’ to guide them. It’s absolute foolishness and I don’t tolerate fools well.
The man for me must be deeply spiritual. God must come first in his life. His priorities must be God first, family second, career third, everything else falls after. See, if you put God first then you are properly guided as to how to handle the other aspects of your life. When you put your family second then you are considering their needs and they serve as your added motivation when pursuing dreams and goals in your career. When you take care of your career needs then you are free to do everything else.
Do you see the order? Do you see how everything is in balance?
I’m rooted in my spirituality and therefore I need a man who also deeply rooted. We must be like this picture (and no, he doesn’t have to be of African descent), and when we come together we are intertwined within the foundation, being that of our Creator. I refuse to accept less. We must be equally yoked spiritually or we cannot be.
When I think of a romantic relationship I think of my best friend. I think of the person that I can share my secrets, fears, dreams, goals, and goofiness with—-without judgment. I think of the person who I can be myself with 100 percent of the time; I don’t have to filter, alter, adjust, or morph to accommodate them. With this person I don’t have to attempt the impossible feat of perfection, because in their eyes, heart, spirit, and soul—I’m the perfect piece to their puzzle—my flaws are what create the added character that forms the shape that then fits perfectly to the other side of their flawed piece. We come together as one; one unit, one team, one force.
God has tons of ideas that He pours into me and as I attempt to grasp, process, and pursue these ideas, it requires a man to confidently stand beside me (working diligently at and towards the ideas and things God has placed before him) to see in what ways he can assist me in accomplishing my goals, and being open, receptive, willing, and interested in seeing how I can help him accomplish his.
Neither of us give more or take more. It’s like the perfect recipe. Visualize your favorite meal or dessert. When those ingredients are perfectly measured, combined, and prepared at the right temperature for the right amount of time, your first bite is almost overwhelming. You savor each and every bite, each one feeling more intense than the last. The balance makes it possible. Too much of one ingredient throws off the others. Not enough of one ingredient almost makes it useless.
That is the balancing act that many of us attempt to master. Some get it right, and we stare wide-eyed at those couples in adoration and amazement. Some of us get it wrong; the relationship crumbles as the missing ingredients cannot properly bind. It falls apart, like that disaster cake you can recall making some time ago. Sometimes you rush things or sometimes you let things linger so long that they burn up and become irreparable.
The relationship, just like the recipe, is what you make it and how you make it.
I’ve always wanted to have a relationship built upon the beliefs, values, principles, and expectations that I shared with my significant other—-not society, our families, our friends, or what we see on social media—-nope, just us. This is a difficult dynamic to navigate, harness, whip together, and form. It’s difficult for us to purge or compartmentalize our years of programming that tells us what love is and isn’t, what relationships should be like, and how men and women should act, think, speak, and behave in relationships.
We’re all locked in to these beliefs on gender roles and how they tie into domestic life, business, and the like. It’s difficult to toss those aside or even modify them to align with what you would prefer to do, see, and experience in your own life. There is where we become trapped and that is how we risk our relationships and our inner peace.
So for me, the best person for me is one who can not only think outside of the box, but can reinvent the box—visually and physically reshape it. What’s for me may not be for you, and vice versa—so why be subjected to and confined by these differences? Why can’t you live out your truth in your relationship as you see fit and I be allowed to do the same in my relationship? Why must our truths clash when they can live harmoniously, separately?
For example, some people don’t believe in monogamy. They should only be in a relationship with other people who have that same belief. Why be subjected to the torture that comes from this level of dysfunction? Because let’s be honest, it’s not possible to function properly when you are polar opposites. There are plenty of people in this world who share the same beliefs as you; go find and fall in love with them—-don’t enter a relationship with a person who stands on the hardline of monogamy as a deal breaker and think that somehow you can convince them to stay with you as you cheat on them, or worse, you convince yourself that somehow you can tiptoe around and outsmart them, and they will never know that you are a cheater.
Why even subject them to that ignorance? Heck, why subject yourself to it? Just go find someone who wants to live as freely as you in a relationship.
It really is that simple. No degree needed. It’s common sense. Free of charge. Yet time and time again we see people selfishly enter relationships that they know their toxic behavior and mindset will ultimately destroy; leaving behind carnage of an innocent victim who didn’t even see the culprit coming.
Love is not easy. It takes effort to love, especially unconditionally. It’s easier with family—blood connects you—there is a bond at birth. Outsiders require more effort and time, and that is a huge risk; you’re more exposed and cautious of your vulnerability. Every time you start and end a relationship you are taking risks. Starting requires jumping on the train and ending requires jumping off of the train. Both jumps can cause severe injury if your timing or elevation is miscalculated.
This time last year I had resolved that I was done with the bigness of relationships. My heart was hurting and the last thing that I wanted to think about or consider was starting over again, with someone new—-someone unfamiliar, someone who could potentially hurt me, even worse than I already felt. Who the heck wants to jump on another train after jumping off of one? My body, mind, and heart felt exhausted. I didn’t want to jump off of the last train so why would I feel inclined to jump on a new one?
I didn’t want to risk being hurt. But love is a risk.
Love is the strongest, most powerful thing, source, presence, emotion, and energy—and you have to give it fully to receive it fully. You literally receive what you give in return. To receive 100 percent you must give 100 percent, that is how you can always ensure that you never feel a void when giving—-because you’re constantly being replenished as you’re replenishing someone else. You are both keeping each other’s cup full, recycling out old for new, constantly improving the quality and consistency.
The love you give is the love you receive. God’s love for us makes our cups run over. When you give less than 100 percent then the other person only has to make up the deficit, but you never feel and experience all of them because what remains is mostly you—and quite possibly your past (which is filled with all sorts of ingredients).
Visualize a cup.
If I pour out 20 percent of the contents that make up me, that means to refill the cup you only have to pour in 20 percent of your contents—-but that also means I’m only getting 20 percent of you. The 80 percent of the cup outweighs the 20 percent.
Do you remember what I said about the perfect recipe?
The ingredients must be balanced and complementary. With food we use less of one ingredient and more of others, but we must find the perfect balance to achieve the right level of sweetness, spiciness, boldness, etc. In relationships it’s similar but slightly different—it’s about the ingredients that make up my 100 percent merging with your ingredients that make up your 100 percent. They blend and come together to make a savory experience. The difference between the meal and the relationship is that the latter requires you to give all of the contents within your cup so that you can receive and ingest a full cup; rationing never leads to a perfect recipe.
Most of us experience disconnect because we’re giving and receiving small portions that never create a great enough presence in the cup to contribute to the richness, flavor, and satisfaction of the contents within the cup. It’s like have a 64-ounce container of milk and adding one-half teaspoon of chocolate (melted or powder, it doesn’t matter) to the milk.
That’s not chocolate milk.
It’s milk that now has a shift in the taste, but not significant enough to clearly identify it as chocolate; it’s not a meaningful and impactful merger. Now of course that doesn’t mean that you’re to pour all of the milk out of the container and fill it only with chocolate; that too does not make chocolate milk. You have to find the right balance.
There’s a lot of us walking around as 64-ounce containers of milk with a mere one-half teaspoon of chocolate barely existing within. There’s no risk here. There’s no love. The chocolate has been rationed.
There is a void. When we have a void we begin looking anywhere and everywhere to fill it, oftentimes leading to a disastrous outcome. There are numerous examples of this; countless broken families and broken promises; countless relationships and marriages destroyed.
So as I reflect upon my adult life and the love that I’ve given and received over the years, I can’t help but to smile.
I’m a romantic. I believe in love. I believe in the perfect partnership as designed through the hard work and effort of two imperfect people who deliberately come together to create what works best for them—absent of outside influences, so that they and the family that they create, can live together in harmony. That is bliss in my heart, mind, spirit, and soul.
That is something that I truly believe God has in store for me. That is something that I’m being molded for; and the one who has been called by God is being molded to be my other half, my partner, my right-hand as I’m his left-hand (umm, because I’m left-handed); he’s being molded to be my best friend and confidante; together we will come together as one united force, guided and protected by God.
Love is a risk, but it is a worthy one, as it is priceless, pure, and healing.
Yes, I’m willing to take that risk once more. I’m willing to test my skills to jump on a new train and see what adventures await me. I’m willing to give 100 percent to receive 100 percent. I’m willing to work to figure out the right ingredients and right balance, for him, for me, for us. God’s preparing me. I’m in bootcamp right now. I’m sweating and shedding off the added weight; I’m getting stronger and increasing my endurance and flexibility.
I have to make sure that I’m prepared for the leap and all that comes after I board that train. All that comes, from this point forward, will be based on God’s plan, His timing, and my obedience. I look forward to it.