When to Settle Down?

After writing my last piece on being bad at love, I really had a chance to sit down and think about love and life. So I joke around about being bad at love, but the truth is I am truly not bad at love (which was evident towards the end of my last post), but I wanted to share the second half of that piece that was missing.

In a society that defines success not only by your own personal accomplishments, but also by your relationship status, it is easy to see why love is on everyone’s mind. As I get older and slightly wiser, I have started to realize that just like everything else in life, love has a timing and place.

Over the past three or so years, I have been focusing so hard on securing the perfect relationship with someone and for some reason I lost focus on how important picking the right person needed to be. I floated between people who truly were not built for the person that I was and the person that I was trying to become. This lead me to great heart-break as well as breaking other’s hearts.

The last two people who I considered dating more than friends were the two individuals I needed to enter my life to truly allow me to figure out this whole love “thing” in my own sort of way. There comes a time in every person’s life when they finally realize that they are ready to truly “settle down” in either in a relationship or life in general.

First thing, you will experience the worst heart-break that you could have ever imagined. This could be the person that you end up marrying later down in life, or it can come from a person without any romantic ties at all. You experience a heart break that will take the wind out of you. It will hit a place you did not know existed. It is the heartbreak that comes when you realize you are not ‘good enough’

A little less than a year ago, I gained feelings for someone who was a genuinely nice person but they would never see me as their ideal partner. Although our we had a similar faith, mutual respect for culture, similar cultural and religious upbringing, shared a mutual friend base, similar infatuation with one another, and career goals were in the same place, having a woman who did not constantly look up and feel inspired by him was not something he desired. Having my own career and becoming continually successful within my career was both intimidating and a turn off for him. Consequently, he only saw me as an object of desire and not a viable partner in life. One drunk night, I texted him how I felt without a filter. He never replied to my text and two weeks later he had a woman crush Wednesday on three of his social medias(if you have not figured it out it was surly not me). At the time I deleted his number, deleted him from snapchat, unfollowed him on Instagram, and unfriended him on Facebook. I have never felt an ache as bad as I did with him. My confidence took a hit, and I was not secure in the person I was becoming.

After this I took a social media hiatus for about three months and started to discover who I was. Outside of my career, social media presence, persona I present to my friends, persona to my family, and all the faces I constantly change to fit my environment. I dug deep into my faith and truly cleansed my soul. I stopped becoming the person that people expected to see or interact with and slowly became the person I always felt I was deep down. The ideal person that I wanted to not only be perceived as but the person I felt was truly who I was. I gained both my confidence and the true knowledge of my past self, current self, and what the future holds for the person I am striving to become. (Just to spoil the ending, we are both now mutual friends with respect for one another who share the same best friend so we are bound to constantly interact)

Second, you will experience one of the most satisfying times when you are not the right person for someone or someone does not see you in a romantic way and you….survive (GASP). Not just survive but thrive. You chalk it up to the person not being the right fit and move on. During the season of finding myself I dated sporadically but kept everything light and tried not to see a future or make plans with another person before I truly became content with myself. At the start of this year, things turned an unexpected turn with a coworker. It was a true infatuation stage. As the infatuation cooled for my coworker, and I truly become engrossed within career shifts on my end and some of my own personal issues, he decided to have the “let’s be friends, I am not sure if you are the one I want” talk. As I felt the conversation coming from a mile away I did not feel the doom that I would typically feel in the past. It was more of a relief. It was the moment when I truly realized that I was whole on my own. I was not searching for someone to complete me but was looking for a person to compliment the whole person I already was. I was finally searching to find another whole person. It is an awakening moment when you realize that it takes two whole people to truly pursue a relationship. Two people who realize who they are as individuals but they are also ready to merge their life with someone else that can amplify and promote growth as two people together.

Although the most recent experience did not leave me torn or had a moment where I felt like I needed to have a full on self-discovery phase (although I spent like eight hours thinking about the situation days later-because I naturally overanalyze everything), it also made me realize that every person needs to get to a certain place in life before truly jumping into the dating pool.

So here are a few ways to realize that you are truly ready to settle down.

You know it is time to “settle down” when you finally realize you are a whole person on your own. You do not need anyone to complete you. When you are broken with the pieces still on the floor and you are still reassembling the pieces of yourself, it can be impossible to allow someone else to fit the pieces together in the proper way . It is hard to truly love another person when you cannot love yourself. Accepting the love from another can only come after you love yourself and have made yourself whole. Being once broken but pieced back together allows light or love to shine through the cracks but you are still whole in your own fragmented way. Being whole is the first key to being ready to accept the love someone else has to share with you.

Settle down when you are content with yourself and not willing to change key components of yourself to please another person. Simply you can truly be the unedited version of yourself. If a certain trait is not attractive to your potential match than they are simply not meant for you. Your true self-will eventually surface and it is easier to start sharing who you truly are as a person than to have it discovered later after emotions are invested.

Settle down when you find someone who you can mutually grow with. It is not about who is more successful or who is more accomplished, it is about finding a person that allows you to grow and you do the same in return. We are humans that are constantly attempting to perfect ourselves and growth is unavoidable. You must be okay with the person you meet being someone totally different in ten, twenty, and even thirty years down the road. Change and growth can be viewed as the element of most lasting relationships because it eliminates becoming complacent or bored with the person. You will learn to love a new person every few years and so will the person you are with.

Speaking of mutually growing you must not erase the past you have and the past of the person you are with, but simply accept it. There will always be someone they loved before you, or a past that may be frightening. We all have demons or chapters of our lives that we hide away from the world. Accept the fact this impacts the person but may not define the person and who they are trying to become. We are not a victim of our past but rather a product of what our past holds. It affects each person differently and in unknowing ways but has little effect of the absolute and final outcome of who that person becomes. You are truly ready to settle down when you accept your past and are open to the idea that many people have a colorful past in turn.

Settle down when you realize you do not always need to be right (most people who know me-knows I sometimes struggle with this one). In fact, it is okay to be wrong. Having someone who thinks differently than you on some subjects is important. It keeps you from having a single mind-set and being able to see the diversity in the world. Most of us tend to find people with identical beliefs as our own and remain blind to the world around us. I am not saying that you need to find someone who is your complete opposite. Like you are a devout Christian and you need a hard-core atheist, but at the same time I am denoting that you need to find someone that may have a slightly different perspective than yourself. Just realizing that you can be like a person but be different enough to learn and grow. If you are both open-minded about ideas and do not shut down the other person’s thought process, this can help both of you grow. Agree to disagree at times.

You are ready to settle down. When another’s opinion of you does not destroy who you are. Someone telling you that you are not what they are looking for or you are not their ideal mate should not be life crushing. It can hurt, but it should not send you into eating chocolate ice cream alone and crying. Well let me stop here for one second…first anyone who makes you feel this way should never be a part of your life and you were lucky you escaped in one piece, but second the important part of this statement is that your self-worth should come from knowing who you are and never trying to live up to an image or to someone else’s ideal of who you should be.

Settle down when you realize that jealousy is a personal issue and not your love interest’s issue. Having jealously is both natural and a part of human nature. It is how we react on this needless feeling that defines us. I am naturally an overly jealous person, but through training and self-reflection I have learned a few things about it. Jealously is a true reflection on one’s own trust and confidence. It is a manifestation of self-worth and the value we place upon another’s actions that has little to do with them and more to do with our own personal demons. Jealousy is this little monster that tells you that you are not enough. Being jealous is not an issue for your partner or romantic interest to fix but simply your own. Why do you feel this way? What is the true cause of these feelings? On that note if a love interest is purposely flaunting and trying to make you jealous than that person is truly not mature enough for a real long-lasting romantic relationship and you should consider other avenues. If you are open and communicated your concerns and make it a point to tell the person that you feel a certain way because of your own securities, some people are willing to eliminate situations that will cause you to experience low self-esteem. Jealously again is natural and not saying that you should never feel jealous but realizing that jealousy is a reflection of you and not another person is key to knowing when you are truly ready to settle down.

I have focused the last few sections on self and self-reflection but being ready to settle down is a two-sided coin and also involves someone else. Being content with oneself and understanding who you are is vital in the success of a relationship, but there are many other instances that you must move past self-reflection and fulfillment to engage in the reality that a relationship takes two people and a lot of compromising and editing of your life to merge two lives into one consistent relationship.

Settle down when you are able to put someone else’s interests ahead of your own. There is compromise and sacrifice in every relationship. It could mean engaging in topics or movies that have little to no interest for you. The important message here is that in a healthy relationship, your partner’s happiness is just as important as your own. Being willing to put someone’s interest above your own, at times, is a sign that you are ready for a long-term commitment.

Settle down when you can allow the little things slide. No person is perfect and we all have traits that are undesirable. Overlooking this undesirable quirks or not bringing a large amount of attention to the small things is fundamental. We are constantly searching for the perfect person without flaw for a marriage, but most of the time we need to settle with a few quirks and overall be happy with the person they truly are. Again it is a part of being human having at least a trait or two that is not as desirable to others.

Settle down when you can accept a person for who they are at that point in life. Entering into the a relationship in hopes of changing a person into your desired mate will never work. It is important to note like stated above in healthy and thriving relationships, both partners will motivate one another to become better versions of themselves and growth is inevitable, but growth is not the same as trying to change someone’s nature. So be honest and open and never enter a relationship in hopes of trying to mold an individual into your perfect ideal mate.

Settle down when you are ready to merge your life with someone else. Although your relationship should not take up your entire existence, it does affect a large portion of your life. You become interconnected with someone else’s family, friends, hobbies, children, pets, and the list can go on forever. And consequently they become a part of yours. Sure at some point there are boundaries but willingness to allow someone into your daily routine and being a part of someone else’s is a big step on showing someone you care and are willing to make the commitment. This is the first step in building bridges into one another’s life and starting to tear down the walls that separate you from them.

I save my most valued and most important point for last. You are ready to settle down when you are happy in your singleness. As I stated above about being whole and finding self-fulfillment is beyond important. It goes hand in hand with the fact; if you are not happy single, you will not be happy in a relationship. Single is a simply word that can describe someone who is strong enough to live their life by themselves until the right person comes along to share it with them. When you are constantly looking for a relationship out of loneliness, you will find yourself settling with the first person who comes along that happens to have interest in you. You must have enough self-respect and dignity to hold out for the person that truly deserves you. The only way you can truly be able to hold out for this person is to be happy long before they have been introduced into your life.

More important thing to remember than all these signs of knowing the right time to settle down, is something that you cannot read or someone can not advise you on. That is how you feel. When a person is in the right season in life or stumbles across “the person”, you are destined to know that you are ready to leave the single life behind and build a new life alongside someone else. But until that time comes that you find the person who fits into your love story, continuously work on yourself and defining your own happiness because one day you will be able to share this with someone else.

When you are truly ready to settle down, as I experienced myself. You will surly know.

 

-Bella

Bad At Love

When looking at my blog from a far it is really tough to understand the overall theme or natural flow that exists. For many people who read and follow along, it seems a little disconnected. Like random thoughts or ideas placed into one place.

Well unfortunately  it is random thoughts and ideas that some how end up typed out and published, but more importantly there is a defined themed throughout. Each piece explores human nature and the norms in society. From stereotyping, to being introverted, suicide, being happy, struggles, and my newest series being human; each post explores aspects of society and human nature.

I typically write from a place of knowledge, wisdom, research, or my soul. One topic that is not often discussed or highly talked about it romantic relationships and love.

It is not that I do not feel like it is not a topic for discussion in regards to norms in society and human nature because it is usually a topic that plagues our society and is in fact a large aspect of being human.

Of course I will explore this topic from a specific angle within the series of Being Human at a later date (If you have not read the first two than 1. go read them because the series is bound to get interesting and the more thoughts and opinions will shape the future of the series and 2. you will not understand the difference of this post to the one in the future in the series of being human), but I often do not speak on the topic because I am one of many who cannot figure out this love thing. (or so society thinks)

It is not that I am an emotionless corporate climber without work life balance, or the opposite a hopeless romantic that jumps in and out of relationships in hopes of finding the love of my life.

I am simply bad at love.

Writing that is both a relief and also really tough for me. I am person that prides myself in becoming successful in anything and everything that I truly put effort into. I believe the more effort and time you spend, you will soon reap the rewards of your effort. Regardless of the time I put into love and finding love or the time I allow escape and let nature takes its course the more I come back empty handed.

We as Americans are engrained in the belief that if you hit 30 and you are still single and on the market that you ultimately are one of two thing. First is that you placed importance on your career over finding love or you are not lovable. We live in a society where relationship goals is a hashtag and oversharing everything in life including your love for another is normal.

As I slowly creep towards the age where I am unable to donate my eggs due to my age, and having more than one pet makes you a _______ mom or lady. I have had to stop and really think about love.

Have I found romantic love. No not within a life long person, but I have found love. Love in my career. Love in who I am. Love in my confidence. Love in laughing. Love within my family. Love in my purpose. Love in my faith. Love in my sweet pups that deal with my craziness. Love in the daily joys.

I am not bad at love, I am bad at the image of romantic love in society. I have so much love to give and have not found the person to share it with. I do not know if I believe in soul mates or a defined love of my life. But I know when it is my time to explore romantic love, it will not be the idealized image that society has engrained in me to have and strive for. It will be this true and honest love that I have been learning exists in my daily routine.

Kindness does not need Validation

So I recently discovered a pet peeve of my own, and decided to share. My older sister lives in a secured building. The building is an income based apartment complex.  The guards that are employed are all there regularly, and start to build relationships with the tenants and regular guests. Although I could probably give a thousand stories about these wonderful guards, this will probably be the first and last.  One of the regulars always bring in extra snacks and food for the kids that live in the building.  Honestly he gave me more hope in humanity. As I was leaving one day, we happened to start talking because after I cleaned snow off my car, a little kid came over to my car and offered to help clean it off for a small fee.  Although the kid asked for two bucks and could not even reach halfway up my car, I allowed him to help me clean off the car and in reward I bought him a hot chocolate and gave him the change from a twenty dollar bill.  Before I left that guard asked if I was going to take a picture with the kid or post about the occurrence on social media. After talking with this guard for a while, I found out that he takes pictures of his “good deeds”, and has gained followers and recognition from his actions.

This man openly said that he loves all the positive feedback and it pushes him to do “more”. I love that he is helping others, but I could not help but question his motives. Does he perform random acts of kindness just to gain more followers and more likes?

The sad part is that the more that I think about the subject, I have realized that it has became a trend. People perform these great acts of kindness, but seem to post about the occurrence, video the “random act”, or take pictures with the people they helped. Why do people need others to validate their actions? Why has this become a trend?

Personally, I probably will never understand the need for validation. On a daily basis, I perform tasks that are thankless and goes without ever being noticed by anyone.  Being a good person does not need validation. Being a kind human and treating everyone like they are important does not need others approval or acknowledgment.  My satisfaction is knowing that each day I make a difference in this big world, no matter how small!

So I have a challenge to anyone willing to hear my rants. Go out and perform random acts of kindness, even if it is as small as giving a compliment to a stranger. Just one small random act of kindness can improve your day and your overall attitude as well as will help others.

Make today great for your self and others. Put out good vibes and always remember everyone is fighting their own battles.

Until next time!

 

I am not an Exception

The other day, one of my good friends put a post on Facebook explaining why he is not an exception.  He made a great point and an important remark that I feel should be shared to the masses. He wrote the following:

“I am not an exception. I repeat, I am NOT an exception!

Now that I have your attention, here are a few reasons why. I am NOT an exception for:

– Pursuing higher education
– Being educated!!!
– Being able to hold a deep and insightful conversation on complex or controversial topics
– Having goals and a plan to obtain them

An exception is defined as, “a person or thing that is excluded from a general statement or does not follow a rule.” So being that none of my above examples should come as shocking for a person in their mid 20’s, I am not an exception. Pretty simple right?

Unfortunately, my melanin causes some peoples logic program to malfunction and they throw an “exception” label on me because it’s tough to comprehend. Though, I could understand it, you know, if I was the first black person to do it. Maybe even the first from “the hood” with dreadlocks and tattoos, but I’m not. All I’ll say is, if my computer program kept throwing exceptions, I’d rewrite my program. Though, even with the many instances of black excellence that occur daily, I can honestly say I’m not surprised people still believe there are just a few “exceptions.” Cause between the media and unfortunately the actions of some of our community members (yes, we have to own up to our own part in this situation), that “general statement or rule” will continue to reign.

There are thousands upon thousands more individuals like me, and more being born each day. We are determined to achieve greatness in whatever form it takes in our personal lives, and are willing to use all of resources to do so. I thought that was the “American Dream”!

So let the world know, WE are NOT exceptions.

Changed minds change lives. #geniusmentality” 

I repeatedly write and rally against stereotypes, and the placement of imaginary boxes society places upon people, but I have always allowed people to reference my achievements as an exception. I am constantly reminded that many people of my race with similar socioeconomic background never end up going to college or having the opportunities that have been presented to me.  As I am constantly fighting against the boxes society has created, I have never pushed against the reality that, I am not an exception. I am not a lone wolf. I am one of many educated African Americans. I am one of many black Americans that pursue a higher education, who land a decent job, or that can have a meaningful conversation.  In comparison about 33% of African Americans pursue higher education compared to 41% of whites.  Over 1/3 of the African American population pursues higher education, and this percent is constantly growing each year. 1/3 of a population is not an exception.  When will society wipe away the rules on what is normal for a person of a specific race? When will  a person stop being defined by their pigmentation? When will we all realize that we are not a product of our race, our past, our socioeconomic status?  These factors may help create our personality, our determination, our being, and our outlook on life, but it does not make anyone an exception. Instead it allows us to prove that pushing barriers reaps great rewards, and anyone can live the American dream.  The next time you want to give someone a pat on the back and tell them they are an exception, remind yourself how many people overcome the same obstacles.

To my dear friend who wrote this enlightening post. You are right, you are not an exception, but yet you are still exceptional. The definition of exceptional: to describe something that is unusual; not typical. You are not exceptional because of your circumstance or your accomplishments as a black man, but you are exceptional because you are enlightened beyond your years. You are exceptional because you treat people with dignity and respect. You are exceptional because you set goals that are bigger than yourself, and you never rest until you get there. You are exceptional because you are not the typical guy with dreads who made it out of the hood, but an enlighten young guy who never allows others to put his accomplishments in a box.  Your genius mentality is inspiring to so many.

 

Stereotyping: Fraternity Edition

There has been a long period of time since I have recorded some of the crazy thoughts in my head.  One of my many pet peeves that I often rant about is stereotyping and placing people within a box.  I have taken a hiatus on writing on this issue, but of course another incident has went viral that calls my attention to the issue.

Over the past weekend, a guy attended a party at PSU.  While leaving a fraternity house on campus this individual encountered another person that claimed that he did not like people who are gay.  After this person stated this, the first individual preceded to tell this person that he was in fact gay.

Unfortunately the situation ended with that individual receiving a vicious beating by the other. Afterward he posted pictures on social media stating “Don’t let a Frat guy know you’re gay”.  As I read this tweet that has been Favorited and retweeted by thousands of individuals, chills ran down my spine.  My initial thought was that this was terrible situation and I felt sorry for this poor guy, but as I reread the tweet my feelings changed drastically.   He just indirectly called thousands of Greek members homophobic.  He allowed one terrible incident describe every person who decides to pledge a Greek organization.  He described men who decide to be in a fraternity homophobic jerks who could violently attack an individual due to their sexual orientation.

Many Greek affiliated individuals, myself included, understand that one individual actions should not represent the system as a whole, but unfortunately society does not always agree and Greek bashing has began. We also understand that this tweet will erase many good deeds that we have accomplished within our community.  Unfortunately this individual has placed our organizations into a box. He has stereotyped all of us and has made others on social media platforms view Greek life as a place the breeds homophobia.

So after a little investigation, I discovered the individual that assaulted this man, was in fact not affiliated with any fraternity, but rather independent.  This man who wrongfully accused a “Frat guy” has not apologized or corrected his words on his social media site.  There are so many individuals out there that took that tweet at face value and think negatively of Greek life when in fact there was an error in his statements to begin with.

Again I am deeply sadden that this man was attacked merely by his sexual orientation, but I am also disappointed that he has not seen the error in his ways and realize that he stereotyped this jerk as a Frat guy causing a stir in society for individuals that did not wrong him.  When will people realize that what is posted in social media can have a negative impact on people or groups of people. When are we going to break the stigma and stop stereotyping people. All Fraternity men are not homophobic, they are not taught to be homophobic or racist as a group. Like all groups of people in society they should not have a terrible stereotype follow them without good reason.