I feel like a silly, awkward, irky, detached pimply-brace faced teenage boy. At least when it comes to dating in 2019. Teenage girls are doe-eyed, love-struck balls of emotion, rewriting fairy tale wedding fantasies with each new love interest. Teenage boys are obnoxious creeps. They trip you in front of the entire cafeteria, and then leave you anonymous love notes in your locker.
First sign of seriousness and I’m doing arm-farts, shooting spit-balls across and headlining belching contest. Ok so, maybe I’m not that bad but any sign of seriousness and I get real weird. Maybe I’m more like the kid who’s learning to ride their bike without training wheels, while still refusing to take the training wheels off.
I’m scared, girls. I’ve put work in. I’m not talking about easy work either. Now, I’ve wedged myself in between this rock of wanting to stay where it’s just me, and the hard place of trusting someone to love me the way that I love me.
I realized it this past Saturday. My 21-year old son and my ….. well, I don’t know what to call him but for the sake of this posting, I’ll say my boyfriend. I watched my boyfriend and son bonding and laughing and instead of feeling all bubbly and warm, I felt nauseous and irritated. And weird. And I was being kind of rude. What the fuck, Janell. Something was forming directly in front of my eyes and I wanted to run.
He asked me to come sit near him and it startled me. I sat in my window seat staring outside, and I casually replied, “I’m vibing right now, hold on.” When in actuality, it felt like a ton of bricks was holding me down and I could not move. I wanted to so bad. The free-spirited, ready for love Janell was nowhere to be found. 30-year old Janell popped in. I thought I had rid myself of her years ago, but here she was sitting on my window seat next to me. She said smugly, “You already know what happens when you open yourself to love. It never stays. They see you and decide that you’re not who they thought they were and they leave. You ready for that shit again?” Man.
I’ve always stood firmly behind the notion of, if you know how it feels to hurt in that way, why would you do it to someone else? I enter relationships with rainbows and glitter, pouring all of me and my love into my man. I stopped that shit when I ended up stuck cleaning up the confetti from the last failed attempt. But I don’t want to stop anymore. That’s not who I am.
I’m a lover to the tenth power. I’m talking all up in your face and in your space, kissing and squeezing, random loving acts and surprises. I am the poster child for amplified love. This year’s mantra for me is to always do what love needs me to do. People often interpret that as saying yes and showing up. No. It’s deep. So much deeper than we can even wrap our heads around. God and Love are one in the same. God is omnipotent. Limitless. Powerful. Magnificent. Energy. Alive. Infinite.
If that’s not love defined, what is? So when I speak of love, I’m giving and receiving it through God in me. That doesn’t mean it’s pretty. The greatest acts of love are the ugliest, to me. Trusting in someone else’s ability to love you is difficult. I compare it to making the decision to place a parent in a nursing home.
Now, y’all know I’m extra but I need you to catch this. You’re faced with the decision to trust. To believe that these strangers, who are not capable of loving to your depth, will nurture and protect your heart. Placing it in someone else’s hands with instructions, care requirements, expectations, and trusting that they heard you and will proceed with care. That shit is S C A R Y. To trust that all of the love I’ve spent the past eight years pouring into myself can’t be undone. To trust that I can’t be undone. Ahhhh, there it is.
It’s the fear of coming undone. The fear of feeling a hurt that wakes you from your sleep to weep. One that has you on your knees praying to God to please help you stop the love. The death and grief of the loss. Wheeeew, it hurts so bad.
I loved a man for over 20 years. We loved one another so fiercely. It was the deepest love I’ve ever known from a man. Toss in a death and major life changes, us sharing a space, and the things that you’d think would bring us even closer were the very things that drove us apart. Through marriages, divorces, children, all of that, we survived and held on tight. He was my very best friend. He had never left me alone in this world. Losing him left me with so many emotions. Mostly grief.
A year had past and around the time that Kim Porter died, my therapist and I were talking about the devastation, Diddy’s response, etc. and I unexpectedly burst into tears. She handed me the tissue box and sat quiet. Then she asked, “Have you called him?” Girl. You are entirely too good at your job. I said no. I explained how this whole Kim and Diddy thing was tearing me up because we all believed that they’d get it right one day. She asked, “Like you believed you and him would?” Oh boy, I sobbed. She explained how grief covers all loss, not just physical death. She gifted me with a journal that day, said that she’d been waiting for the perfect time to give it to me. That she was clear about the things that turned me off from writing but to look at this journal as the eulogy to him and I. I took it home and wrote one sentence, “Thank you, for EVERYTHING.” and through it in the trash.
The door that I left wide open for him was nailed shut. I decided that getting serious just wasn’t going to happen with anyone for a very long time. I’ve met good men. Good, good men. I play with them while they’re nice and shiny and new, and then I put them back. They stay shiny and new, and so do I. I’m intact, they’re intact and I keep it moving.
Enter Mr. Dy-no-mite. He ain’t going for it. My games or the shelf.
From day one, he identified me as a runner. I put it all out there, all of me on down to the fact that I keep a dirty car and don’t pay my bills on time. He smiled and said, “I’m not going anywhere. You cannot push me away.” I don’t want to. At all. I just have to get my heart to believe that he’s here to stay for as long as the universe requires. I’m trying.
I want to embrace him and get this shit right, move out of my own way, release whatever junk is remaining but I am scared. Scared because I can’t see what he sees in me. I want to see it too, so that I can say “Oh don’t get use to that!” How crazy is that?
I asked, “Baby, what are we doing?”
He said, “Falling in love.”
We are falling in love. Not in perfect. Not in get along everyday. Not in no flaws, no error, no mistakes. We are falling in love. Periodt.
I spent yesterday celebrating the 30 year old who showed up on Saturday. I talked to her, cooked for her, sang to her, danced with her in the mirror, celebrated and cried. When I told her that she had to go, she said that I was the one holding onto her, for years. So she just stayed because each time that I got close to love, I ran back into her arms. She didn’t know that it was okay to leave me. I went to sleep for hours afterwards. I got up and sat in my new favorite place, my window seat. I smiled and sang out loud, “Need somebody, neeeeext to meeeeee!” She didn’t respond. But my heart did. It’s time to do what love needs me to do, for me.
Enter Mr. Dy-no-mite. You are welcome here.