When I was little I found a letter she wrote to you but never sent. She said she couldn’t understand why you hated her so much.
Years later in a text, I said to some nameless man, “There’s no way you love me. This isn’t how you treat someone you love. You hate me, and I don’t understand why.”
I poured into him the love I should’ve given myself, but how does one pour from an empty container?
Is that what she did? Did my mom give you everything? Almost gave her life to give you life and you tried to take hers all because you changed your mind?
And how did she do it? How did she make us whole when one cannot pour from an empty container? I’ve come to learn it’s us who filled her. We filled her completely in the dark spaces you could never reach.
I won’t spend my life searching for the love you never gave her.
Look what she did without it.
“Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”
She made magic. Gold. Life. Three times over.
Only a few hours ago this room was alive with animated conversations, punctuated by laughter, induced by liquor. But not now. Now it’s still. Quiet. The only audible sounds are our heartbeats and the brief pauses between our breaths. We’re standing so still, and so close that it feels like entire days have passed. My head rests so comfortably on your chest as if it were always meant to be there. My whole body feels warm and loose, and the only thing holding me up is you. Now I am awkwardly aware of my hands. Where do I put my hands? I know where, but I’m terrified to move. I just want you to…move first? If you lower one hand just a little pass the small of my back and put the other one around my neck, then I’ll have permission melt into you. I know I’ll lose myself completely in you. And won’t that be a shame after I worked so hard to find myself in the solitude of this crowded city?
Sometimes I miss you so much that I read the words you wrote to me that day. You said I was beautiful and smart and funny. I feel ashamed now for craving your approval in that way. For feeling satiated by the sentiment as if I weren’t all of those things before you told me I was. Maybe this is why compliments make me crazy. Suddenly, I don’t miss you so much.
I have written more bios, and About Me’s, and done more pitches about Not Carrie Bradshaw than I can count. My trusted team of advisers admonished me to do a video to give people a visual with a more in depth explanation of who I am, and what this site is really about. After all if Beyoncé has taught us nothing, it’s that people love a visual. Watch below!
I read the way some women write about love, and the anguish of losing it. I listen to the way some women sing about it, saying they would rather die than to exist in a world without them. I read about how some women feel the man they’re with is their entire purpose for being, that he is her everything. I enjoy taking in their experiences as a voyeur, because I feel very detached from the experience of being hopelessly, madly, deeply in love.
I have an awful lot of friends. I don’t mean Facebook friends. I mean real, If I die tomorrow this is where I keep my toys. Please dispose of them before my mom finds them, or they end up in an evidence locker,” because I watch too much Law and Order SVU friends. For any situation I may ever find myself in, I have at least 3 people I can call to get me out of it. I am very blessed in this regard. For this reason, it’s hard to keep up with everyone. I don’t see or talk to all of these friends every day, because who has the time? Whenever possible I schedule time to spend with my friends, and this often means a long ass pow wow wherein we catch each other up on what has happened in our lives since last we spoke or hung out.
Today was such a good day. Emphasis on was. Ever since the election I’ve been caught in a space between being highly motivated to take responsibility for my life and contribute something good to this world, and crippling fear over what our soon to be President is going to do to this country. Today, I was on the good side of that. I was on the side that my forever President Barack Obama encouraged me to be on per his farewell address. After watching Being Mary Jane, I thanked God for opening my eyes to the fact that it is always a good idea to work on yourself before you commit to someone else. I even wrote a little about it:
“If you subscribe to the beliefs and teachings of any higher power, then at some point in your life you have hopefully endured some experience that showed you the principle of perfect timing. We call it God’s perfect timing, or His perfect plan for our life. This guiding principle gives us peace in knowing that everything we need is ours according to His perfect timing. With that being said, is it so illogical to believe that if I am not in a relationship right now that maybe I don’t actually need that right now?”
As I was typing this, I casually asked a co-worker how she was doing. I could tell from her posture that she was really going to tell me the truth.
“You know at the end of 2016 I told myself 2017 is going to be about me. It’s not gonna be about my kids or my husband, it’s gonna be about me, and that just didn’t happen. I’m telling you Jessica, value this time now. Be present in it, because you’ll never get this time back.”
Feeling even more assured that I am on the right path, I typed this out with such vigor, conviction, and pride. Sometimes we need a reminder that time to ourselves is a valuable commodity that every woman doesn’t have. The love and companionship of another person always seems to be at the forefront of our desires, but I decided a while ago to put myself at the forefront of my desires. I have this time to myself for a purpose. The phase after this is a husband and possibly children, and we all know that one must be selfless in the role of wife and mother. I tell myself all the time I can’t be more eager to commit to someone else than I am to commit to myself. With this burst of energy and certainty, I responded to emails about upcoming events, execution of plans for my brand, and I felt so good adding things to my calendar. And then I really looked at the calendar. I mean I really looked. I looked forward, and I realized that Valentine’s Day is coming up, and that I have to be okay being alone on that day too, and my whole day went to shit.
I don’t care what anybody says, it sucks to be alone on Valentine’s Day. You can be as happy and content in your single life as you want to be, but when Valentine’s Day comes, and everyone around you is getting shit and feeling loved and shit, it sucks. I can’t even solidify plans to have a girl’s night out, because my friends aren’t reliable when it comes to that kind of thing. So I started thinking what can I do by myself that won’t also make me feel lonely? I googled and came up with zero good ideas. I mulled this over in my mind a hundred times. What do I really want to do? What would I want to do if I had a guy? And then I realized that it is a whole ass month away. I climbed down off the ledge in my mind, and said relax bitch, it’s a whole ass month away. Let’s worry about it when it comes. I will check in with you in a month to let you know if I dipped into my 401k to pay a matchmaker. Standby.
I can’t remember what year it was, but at some point in middle school I got my period for the first time. It was so dramatic for no good reason. My mom, my brother, and I were at dinner at this restaurant that I refuse to eat at even now. I went to the bathroom, saw that it had happened, and scurried back to the table to whisper it to my mom. First of all she asked how I knew. I was so annoyed like, “What do you mean? You signed off of on the sex ed papers like three years ago, I know what the hell is happening here!” That coupled with my brother’s snickering because he figured out what was happening added to my embarrassment. To make matters worse, my mom called damn near every woman in our family to tell them the good news (this is not newsworthy). After she made her obligatory phone calls, we took the longest drive to Wal-Mart ever. Why? Because, this is when my mom decided to have “the talk” with me.
“You are now able to become a mother. I am not the vagina police, so I am not going to tell you what to do with yours. But know this, anything a boy tells you, he will go down the street and tell another girl the same thing. Anything you ever do in this life, you need to be able to proudly look at yourself in the mirror the next day, and be okay with your decision. If you feel the need to have sex, call your sister,” she said while driving to the farthest Wal-Mart possible upon my request.
“Why can’t I just talk to you?” I asked innocently enough. Isn’t this the kind of things mothers and daughters discuss based on every sitcom I’ve ever seen?
“I would advise you not to,” she said matter-of-factly. You know that voice moms use when you know that’s the end of the conversation? That one.
That was the first and last conversation I ever had with my mother about my sex life. In her defense, I don’t ever remember not knowing what sex was, or where babies come from. No one ever sheltered us from that kind of info. If we asked a question, the adults in our lives told us straight up. Although, I don’t ever recall asking anyone that cliche question either. So the part of that conversation that freaked me out was looking in the mirror, and being proud of what you see. I was such an independent kid that I felt I had been responsible my whole (short) life, but now I am responsible for making sure I don’t create another life. That part was easy. There are more ways not to get pregnant, than there are ways to get pregnant. So I never worried about that. What gave me anxiety was that I needed to like myself. I needed to be proud of myself. I had to trust my own decision making. But there was never a talk about that. No one ever told me the importance of loving myself, or trusting myself because they all assumed I did. That’s the danger of being an extrovert. People always assume you have a bottomless pit of confidence to be so outspoken and outgoing, but that just wasn’t the case for me.
The reason I have such deep admiration for Diane von Furstenberg is because she so accurately summed up how I’ve always felt about my life in saying, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” I always knew who I wanted to be. I just didn’t know to give myself the time, space, and patience to grow into her. But, this year I did. I made a point to be nicer to myself, to be patient with myself, and more than anything I learned to trust myself.
Last story (for now) I promise. My Manager/sister/friend and I were in the midst of one of the many meetings we had before relaunching this site. She started asking me an array of questions that I knew I should have the answer to, but I was afraid I would choose the wrong thing. I got insanely overwhelmed and started to doubt whether I should do any of this at all. “Okay let’s stop here. If you are going to go through this meeting with a defeated attitude, then let’s regroup another day. You know what you’re doing, and you have to trust yourself. I am not going to make these decisions for you,” she said, and she gathered her things and left. Initially I was like well damn!
But, she was right. How can I undertake such an immense project with no sense of confidence in my own decisions? It’s my brand, and my site, so I have to make these choices. I had a major come to Jesus moment, and look where we are. The site is doing so much better than I could’ve ever hoped for, and I’m so looking forward to what we have lined up for the coming year.
The lesson to trust myself did not come easily, in fact I’m still working at it. For example, it is very sobering to learn that a guy you have been dating for three months has a mixtape (and a trash one at that). Y’all I found YouTube videos of this clown rapping, and I just felt awful. Epic effin failure. The lesson of trusting myself came from failure, and from recovering from those failures stronger and wiser. When you allow yourself to see the other side of failure, you become less afraid, and much more empowered to just live. Whatever your goals are for the next year, be patient with yourself. You don’t know everything, and you cant expect yourself to. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to start. Be nice to yourself. If you fail, it’s okay. You’ll grow stronger in your recovery, and this is usually where you see God show up the most. And trust yourself. Your path is your path. If you listen too much to other people’s advice, they will talk you right off of your path. Seek wise council, but trust yourself. This is where confidence grows. This is where you grow.
I have this friend named Meredith. We were once co-workers who are now great friends. She lives two streets over from me in a gorgeous co-op building, and is one of my favorite people in the world. This is greatly due to the fact that she knows everything about everything, and I always leave our conversations a little more enlightened than I was before. Hence, I look forward to our weekly or bi-weekly chats over overpriced smoothies or coffee in our hipster Brooklyn neighborhood. (Seriously though, why are we paying that much for blended vegetables and fruit topped with bee pollen?) A few weeks ago we were sitting in our favorite cafe, which is often heavily populated by families whose children have too much authority. This cafe alone has made me reconsider motherhood. Those children are little terrorists as far as I’m concerned. At any rate, we still managed to get our catch up session in over the screams of a child who clearly did not want a gluten free cookie.
“I just don’t subscribe to the toxicity of positivity that we live in these days,” she said.
“Elaborate,” I said inquisitively.
“This constant need everyone has to be so positive about everything all the time is just toxic. Bad feelings serve a purpose too.”
I stumbled into my dark house with tears welling up in my eyes. My purse dropped to the floor like there was an actual brick inside. I stripped off every piece of clothing I had on. My makeup stained sweatshirt was the first to go, and the tears were falling faster than I could wipe them away. By the time I made the short walk to the bathroom, there was a trail of personal effects that I couldn’t be bothered to clean up. Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow. I turned on my shower and leaned against the tile until I saw the steam form. I tilted my head back, and stood there naked and exposed for the second time today while my makeup, my tears, my anxiety, my fear, my sadness, my everything ran down my body and down the drain. I looked at my white ceiling, and I wondered why can’t it be this simple? Today I faced my fear. I stood nose to nose with my fear, and I said take your best fucking shot. The fear of the not knowing is worse than the knowing, I thought. And so rejection came out and kicked my ass like Diamond in the conclusion of Player’s Club. Rejection tossed me around like a rag doll, and left me feeling insecure and alone. I tried to fight back. I will not go silently into the darkness. Not today bitch. But rejection said that’s cute girl and tossed me right back on the floor.
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