A Stale Mate

Do you throw milk away on the date on the carton. What’s the difference between the sell by date and an expiration date? If you continue to drink the milk, at what point will it make you sick? Do you wait until it stinks? In my experience, we don’t fuck with the milk past the date on the carton, regardless of whether it says sell by or use by. Why wait until it’s spoiled to find out…

So why do we keep people around longer than they are needed and useful? Why do we ignore the expiration dates on our relationships, especially those that are romantic in nature? Why do we wait until people literally stink up our lives, make us emotionally and spiritually sick, before we walk away?

People are complex organisms… our brains, our mental center, and our “heart” or more appropriately our souls, our spiritual center, are both very much guided by our emotions. We may KNOW something is the right choice but not FEEL like it is, and be at a standstill. Our mind and our soul might be delivering the same message, but our bodies start to physically long for what it is used to receiving from a mate, their touch or just presence. We have physical reactions based on our emotional experiences. We cry, we tremble, we feel physical pain and anguish… at the mere thought of letting them go. Like the milk, we don’t want to waste… money or time. But the cost of milk versus the cost of letting don’t compare to the cost of getting physically sick or being emotionally scarred and abused. Expiration dates aren’t written on people like milk, but yet we still know when that time has come. The trick is in letting go.

I once spent years, not consecutively, but years nonetheless, trying to make a relationship work, with this man. We looked good together, we were both successful, we seemed a good match. Yet, no matter how good things would be going, we’d come to a point where he would become what I later realized was emotionally abusive. As good of a match as we seemed to make in paper, he was severely insecure about my friendships, professional success, position, and intelligence. Years would go by and we would run into each other and fall back into old ways, spending time together. Yet the last time, once I was aware fully of what was happening, I no longer needed explanations, closure, or anything but to shelve his ass into someone else’s pantry. He was not healthy for me, he was past his expiration, and was spoiled AF. He probably had mold spores by this point. It was a wrap. Unlike anytime before, I had done the changing. I was so protective of my own peace and my self that I would not allow any stale mate to position himself on my already full plate. I need nourishment, and my food can touch. I didn’t need him ruining or taking any valuable time from the other parts of my life.

We often hold on to people in fear of them leaving an empty space we believe we might never refill. But trust me, other people who are looking for the type of relationship you have to offer are always present. You just have to be as well. Removing the unnecessary will make room for others. The act of being able to remove those who do you no good is not possible until you take inventory of what you allow to sit on your shelves, waiting to be picked up again, and purge everything that is not in service of making you better. It’s much easier to type it than to do it, but it can be done. If you have a new box of Crunch Berries and you both are calling each other’s names, but you still have spoiled milk in the fridge, you’ll never answer the call. That same carton of spoiled milk will flash in ur mind when you are grocery shopping, making you believe you don’t need a new fresh carton. It’ll have you dreaming of cookies and milk… but in reality it’s no cookies and shit for you. Get rid of everything that holds you back… spoiled milk and stale men, moldy bread and broads doing the most. It is easy, you just close that space in your life. Bust a MFin move!

We make excuses for people and our own behavior that keeps us locked in places not meant for us. In love relationships, uncertainty is always there. When we see someone as long term, and the terms don’t meet our expectations, the first time, we tend to make excuses for folks. Yet we carry that little bit of heartbreak through the span of the relationship until it has reached a point of no returnđź’”. Then we reside in that heartbreak for months and years, never standing up and moving out of the muck to fresh ground. That first disrespectful comment will likely be followed by another. That first push or balled up fist will definitely be followed by another. That first other woman may either stay or go away when the newer one appears. Continuing in it is a choice. Letting go is a choice. We can still validate our feelings of disappointment, upset, heartbreak and simultaneously free ourselves from people who mean us no good, who won’t protect us, and who harm us mind, body, and soul. But you can also walk away the first time. They were ripe for the tossing at that point.

I don’t know much. But I’m sure that love is kind and patient. It’s not abusive, inconsistent, disrespectful, hateful, chaotic, or ever ever unsafe. It won’t play a hoax on your soul, trick your mind, or cause your body trauma. It won’t make you sick, and it’s not stale and definitely not spoiled. Love is always fresh and nourishing. Get you sum! And cut that zero…

State Ya Biz

Friend or foe yo?

-Jay-Z

I have always oddly admired folks were were friendly and outgoing, and simultaneously been uninterested in being either of those things. I don’t deal with too many people at once because it’s confusing and I need to know who is real at all times… that’s hard in a big group. I don’t do foes… you won’t be around long enough to even get a title.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more open because at this point I trust my people skills and refuse to lessen myself to accommodate others. But that comes with greater responsibility to myself. So I refuse to be bothered with you if I find out you are either 1) inconsistent, 2) an imposter, 4) dishonest or 5)selfish. Those things usually come across in how you behave when others are involved… you lie, you fake the funk, you only act in consideration of self and not others, and/or you change your tune depending on the audience. Keep it a dollar with me… cuz if it don’t make dollars…

You draw, better be Picasso, y’know the best

‘Cause if this is not so, ah, god bless

-Jay-Z “Friend or Foe”

I believe in forgiveness and giving folks grace when you know they are good people who just got it wrong. But if you are questioning someone’s goodness… my advice, be on some one hitter quitter type shit. At this point be really vigilant about who you share your spiritual space with… someone behaving irresponsibly with no regard for the other people involved are selfish and will push you in front of a bullet to save themselves; someone dishonest will trick you by looking you in your eye why they are picking your pocket; an imposter will put on whatever camouflage they need to fit into circles they know they don’t belong in… and will hammer their square asses into that round hole no matter the cost; and inconsistent people will kiss the devil in private then go ranting and raving about folks kissing the horned in public.

We have a habit of inviting people into our space because other folks vouch for them or they profess their place. Start making people state their business… what you want ’round here? What are your intentions? Then be real Malcolm X about people… sometimes your own folks turn on you when it benefits them. COINTELPRO type negroes are lurking around every corner taking notes, but then will claim they are there to protect and serve you in friendship. They buy their place with claimed commonality, one hand in the group hug the other robbing you. Imposters and liars. Selfish and unpredictable. Be on some “getcho hand out my pocket” type stuff. Protect your spirit.

There is no need to work it out, keep the peace, get closure, talk it out… they are dirty. Some folks sling dirt (along with drama and petty bs) while others of us use it to grow. As one of my best sistafriends says… we are not all the same. We need dirt to grow, but then we transfer to different and bigger pot. Cross go, collect $200, buy Baltic and Mediterranean, and build on the dirt. Concentrate on you, surround yourself with people who are good to you, who want the best for you, and just claim those other folks foes. Or better yet… call them nothing, but gone. Then flex on ’em…

And promise you never, no matter the weather

Neva eva come around here no mo’

-Jay-Z “Friend or Foe”

Relationships 301: Lessons Learned

So I’m super private. There are some things I just don’t think it’s necessary to share… mainly anything about my relationships. Even people I do talk to about it only know bits and pieces, usually until it’s over, and even then I don’t share much. As I have experienced more, I realize how many lessons there are in the journey. And lessons definitely need to be shared…

I am a relationship girl… I am my best when I have a partner because alone I can tend to be so self sufficient I’m not very receptive to others and their needs. I know, I know, you can’t imagine that…but it’s fact. Sharing a space for three years in college, sharing all my organs, womb, and every ounce of personal space I’ve ever had with my son, and working at building a partnership in a marriage and other partnerships I have been in, have certainly broken me out of some of that. Notice I said some. As my child becomes more self-sufficient, and any time I spend single and available, I can easily slip back into that mode. So I believe that the universe sends me people I was meant to learn from to prepare me for this moment.

I was once married. I’m not now. Things happened. But I met a man with his own home, ten years on the job, investments, what seemed like a fellow self-sufficienteer. But I soon realized that a lot of that was perpetrated by someone else as work by his own steam. So I was expected to help a grown man do things I thought he knew how to do. But if you know anything about me, that’s not gonna fly. So we fought, and soon our verbal fights turned to his attempts to strike or physically harm me. At that first moment, I planned my exit. So early on I learned that every relationship, EVEN every marriage is not for a lifetime. Til “death” do us part might simply mean until the death of this union… or the death of my ability to function in this union. That’s certainly the case for me… and no one can tell me otherwise. Opinions are like assholes.

After marriage I was what you’d call a serial long distance monogamist. I dated a dude in Atlanta, one in Phoenix, and one right around the corner but emotionally distant. I cannot say I didn’t know that going in though, if I’m honest. Part of their unavailability was the draw… because I wasn’t sure what I wanted either. I thought I could live in Atlanta, that a change would be good. Nope. He thought moving back to Detroit from Phoenix on some whole Captain Save’em mission was what I desired… but I didn’t need saving and I wasn’t ready to give up my Captain’s hat. This rig was mine to control and I liked it that way. Plus he’d have just run us into an iceberg or some dumb shit. The other dude, well… again I was aware he was not available and to some degree neither was I, until I was, and at that point he was no longer a viable option. Nevertheless, this period taught me that it’s better to be alone than to give or have a portion of a person. We often split ourselves into bits and pieces and spread those bits and pieces over fertile ground to see what will grow, and the answer is NOTHING! We must be whole, ready, and open or any relationship is just an exercise in futility.

So I settled in singledom… and true story I asked for a love like my first love or none at all. It was so honest and raw. It was without pretense, neither of us knew about sending our representatives or being anything other than who we were. We met on a Friday and we saw each other almost every single day for a year until I went away to college, and although we tried, that proved just too great a distance to overcome. They say ask not, want not, and from that ask, that very guy, sent me a message out of nowhere. Yet, it was out of everywhere. Out of the universe. Sent from the heavens. And we have not missed a beat since…

Who and What we have become was only possible through the experiences we gained apart. When we talk we often wonder what if, should have, could have… matters not. The truth is that WHAT IS is all that matters. Now is the only time that matters. That is what dictates when, how, where, and what. If your right now is not where you want to be, be assured if you have put in effort to your expectations, it’s where you are meant to be. Keep living. Id gladly hit restart and experience all that over again to end up here. It’s the first moment I have felt like now is mine. He’s the first person who has assured me, without words, that if I let my guard down, he’ll protect the fort.

Lessons learned. Now back to my privacy!

Lessonships

I loved the Wonder Years…

One of the things I loved most about it was the theme song. I’m a tv theme song junkie… ask me to “sing” one, I probably know it. Anyhow, if went something like…

“what would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song. I will try not to sing out of key. I get by with a little help from my friends…”-Joe Crocker (The Beatles), With a Little Help From My Friends

Friendship is a mighty powerful dynamic. It is more powerful, I believe than familial or romantic bonds. For familial bonds that don’t become friendships and romantic bonds that don’t begin as friendship tend to fade away as we get older, or at least get less of our time and our attention.

What is friendship? I believe it’s a bond or commitment between two people who share an affection towards one another to share the ups and downs of life with love, respect, compassion, admiration, care, and concern. I think all of it is necessary… the bond, the affection, the sharing, and the emotion.

It’s “through good times and bad times, I’ll be by your side” but it’s also …

whenever you need me I’m already there
Its gettin’ done hangin’ out the window
Sayin’ WOOO motherfucker UH 
You ride for me I’m a ride for you its only fair!” -Mystikal, How Many

We can be arm in arm and braiding each other’s hair or gully with it… doesn’t matter, again, it takes mutual affection, sharing, emotion, and commitment. That can come in many forms… and it might just be me hanging out the window ready to ride!

But all friendships don’t last.

Or were those really friendships at all.

I’ve been friends with folks since kindergarten, the second grade, the ninth grade, college, and made new friends just this year. I’m not friendly, but I take my friendships seriously. I honor code, I’m down to ride, I got your back, I’ll watch your kids, I’ll get on a plane, whatever is required. I have rarely lost a friend. Lost contact temporarily perhaps, fallen out with them and had to get back right, but lost… I can count on one hand and still not use all my fingers. Cuz generally, if you sing out of tune I’m gonna get up and sing with your ass.

However, there is one type of person (there are multiple but only one that fits this topic) I cannot do… Quitters. She and I cannot be and will never be friends despite what was, there is no making up… that’s a character trait that isn’t going away, and I’m uninterested and unavailable. I can forgive a dishonest moment. I can forgive a weak moment. I can forgive foolishness. But I can’t forgive what or who you are, I have to accept it. And if what you are is a quitter, I accept it, just can’t fuck wit it.

A quitter in friendship is usually supremely self-righteous. A self-righteous person is so narrow minded they think they are always right or believe they are morally superior, and will exit stage left in order to maintain that fallacy as fact. You can have that shit.

“No hard feelings…

I once had an argument with Righteous Ramona who expected me to act a certain way to appease her, and I refused. I should be accepted as is , just as I accepted her. Ramona then accused me of being selfish because I wouldn’t bend to her whim. Cuz that’s what “real” friends do… they change to be what you need. INCORRECT!!!! Now I can be selfish, but with her I had NEVER been, in fact I was more than giving and accommodating and open with her than most. She showed up at my home unannounced and wasn’t on fire, and I let her in and didn’t curse her out. She asked to borrow money that she never paid back, and I just decided that it was a gift. C’mon fam… case closed. She stood so solidly on that shaky AF premise, she was willing to die alone on that hill and not continue the climb. Well I’m on a hike not a one way trip, so stay there.

…I wish you well!

I had another “friend”, Moral Mildred, who was what I like to call a convenient moralist. When you sing Freak Like Me by Adina Howard one day and the next only associate with the mass choirthat’s some Christian holy haberdashery that I want no part of. My God loves and accepts us all… hers clearly doesn’t. I heard her sermon loud and clear… I received that message. So more power to Milly, I hope her faith remains fortified, her ridiculousness doesn’t rob her, and she gets her moral rocks off hard on every block. But as for me and mine, we shall dwell in the house of be who tf you are. I’ll leave you to deal with judgements on your judgement day… a jury I surely won’t be apart of. Let the church say…

No hard feelings…

But were those really friendships at all? I don’t really have the answer to that. But I do know this… friends are God’s gift to you to pick who you do life with. We get the family we get, but we select our friends. They are a blessing. We must treat them as such. I also know that because we select them, we can unselect them as well. As we grow and change and become more of who we really are, we may just realize that those people we thought were our friends were just lessons.

…I wish you well!”-Zo, Wishing You Well

As for me and my friends… we sing along and hang out the window! Can’t stop… won’t stop!

Soul to Soul

So I know some amazing people who have their finger on the pulse of healing, wellness, and enlightenment! I saw this quote above on a healer friend’s Facebook post that spoke to me… and y’all know how I get when something gets my spirit stirring… I write. And immediately I had something to share upon reading it.

Let me break this down for you!

Know the difference between a SOULMATE and a SOUL LESSON… be clear this is not just about romantic partnerships, but relationships period. Some people are kindred spirits, you all just fit, like puzzle pieces. Others are spiritual guides placed into your path to get you back on the right journey, for a reason or maybe even a season, but purposeful nonetheless. So let’s explore this a bit.

I have a few soulmates, these are men and women who feed me morsels of love when I most need them. They connect with me beyond one note, they are friends, family, counselors, confidantes, and lifetime fixtures. I have a set of sistafriends who have been around since I was a young girl and others more recently acquired by my heartstrings, who support me, seem to know just when I need a boost, and are always on point and game tight when it comes to being available to me. I have the best boonapolis (yep, that’s a word… go best fran, that’s my best fran) in the modern world! I have male friends who are always around to protect, big up, and love me no matter what! We don’t always agree, but we agree on the one thing that matters most… we get by with a little help from our friends!

Soulmates are special. We’ve got acquaintances, friends, day ones, BFFs, and soulmates. The latter are like the unicorns of relationships, the virgins on a room of high school seniors, the girl with her real hair at a Bronner Brother’s Hair Show. You may have known them forever or just met them yesterday, but they kinda feel like your earthly twins.

Y’all finish each other’s sentences.

Say stuff like…get outta my head!

Can sense when the other is down or out, and needs your shoulder! Miles apart even.

They just get you!

You are their person!

And although they are a compliment to your existence, these are the folks that God created for you, and you for them… so you kinda do need them in a way that is unlike the rest of your friendships. It’s just different.

But just as soulmates are sent to soothe your soul, others are meant to help you get to the point where you are taking better care of your soul. So that you learn how to heal and nurture yourself so you heed the lessons that the universe has for you.

I had a soul lesson recently…

Without telling you too much of my business, (cuz I don’t know all of y’all like that), I reconnected with a soul I thought was good for mine. Turns out, he liked the idea of me better than the reality of me. He was envious of the successes, friends, networks, and connections I had made in life and couldn’t see over my big King King sized dreams… so he semi-ghosted me. Yep, #nathansnavy was lost at sea and my mirror bitch was like… squo?!?! He wanted to appear and disappear at his whim. Nawwww…. I’m not gon be able to do that, so I walked away. In the past, I would have stayed around much longer than I should have in the name of loyalty and commitment to someone who wasn’t loyal or committed to me. That was a soul lesson, and I got it, I passed. From now on I will take heed to those signs far before a year later…

Just like in school, the teacher keeps giving you tests to determine if you know the material. Only once you have mastered it, you move on to the next lesson. God is the teacher for your soul: injecting folks and situations into your life that you need to ensure you are being good to yourself, your mind, body, heart, and spirit, which resides in your soul.

Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee calls the soul, the “part of us that is one with God”, and since God is love, the soul must be the place in us where love resides. Most say it’s the heart, but the heart beats and gives us life, it is the conduit to living soulfully. And a life of soul is a life of love.

-First Corinthians by Karyn Lynn DeShields

So learning to love yourself and feed your soul are the soul lessons that we all need! However, we have to identify our lessons and our mates accordingly. A lesson we matriculate into our lives as a mate is a lesson not learned, a bad fit, and will eventually lead to a void of light in our soul. Don’t be afraid to cast out the darkness, learn the lesson, and seek love! Remember love is patient, kind, and food for the soul!

Chrishara Seyanna Dudley-Wilkes is a Life Teacher at Chris and Chrys Spiritual Concierge, connect with her on Facebook here.