African Woman, feminism, Life Lessons, Love is...

Love Is – A Messy Kitchen

kitchen2
That kitchen towel is wet! On the dining table.

Love is: Knowing that the kitchen will be a total, utter, mess when he is done cooking, and finding it in yourself, deep down, to relax and let it happen anyways. The meal will be delicious, so why the hell not? You have already fought, nagged, blackmailed and sulked one thousand and seventy eight times about this, so why bother?

I promise, every second meal, sometimes the simplest one, like tea with sandwiches, he will use all the kitchen apparatus, cutlery and utensils available.

thumbnailThe dishwasher will not save you when he is done.

Relax, Love is everything that happens while you Live.

The five dysfunctions of a team
On the wall behind the dish rack, you can see the above. I love Artificial Harmony!
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African Woman, Amateur Love Doctor, feminism, Learning to Live a Balanced Life, Life Lessons

Do Feminists Need LOVE from Men?

I had been thinking.

Pulling my hair.

Gnashing my teeth.

Scratching my back.

Picking at the pimples on my face.

Scratching my scalp bloody.

Biting my nails.

Re-counting my years.

Checking the wrinkles that may or may not be showing up.

Checking my awaited grey hairs.

Learning new things.

Getting promoted.

Investing the savings.

Thinking. Choosing. Re-choosing.

What a luxury! To have choice. All these wonderful choices.

Some mornings, I woke up sad. Some nights, I slept close to tears.

 

I can afford the rent.

I can feed myself.

I can pay my ticket and hotel room in Paris.

I can buy my own shoes.

The thought hit me.

To choose; when you have everything else and the only thing left to choose is love; you have to choose the love you cannot live without.

The silent question: “how to choose?”

Pooh answered: “You cannot go through your feminist life looking back at the things you rejected and miss & regret when you are 50, 60, 70 years old.

If you cannot say the below to the rejected, the left behind, the discarded, the not-chosen, or to yourself, and really mean it; then you cannot reject. Anything. Anyone. Ever.

  1. I do not love you. I wish you well.
  2. I love someone else. I hope someone else will love you.
  3. I am not available for you. I am prioritizing someone else.
  4. You have to celebrate one more birthday without me. And many more in the future.
  5. Someone else’s feelings and happiness mean more to me than your feelings and happiness. I hope you will be happy anyway.
  6. I will not miss you.
  7. I will not miss your voice.
  8. I will not miss your wonderful face.
  9. I will not miss your smile.
  10. I will not miss your jokes.
  11. I will not miss your body.
  12. I will not miss your body odor. In fact, I will forget it.
  13. I will not your input when I need input.
  14. I will not miss your feedback when I need feedback.
  15. I will not miss taking a walk with you in the city.
  16. I will not miss your/our friends.
  17. I will not miss your family.
  18. I will not miss watching TV with you.
  19. I will not miss spooning with you in the mornings.
  20. When I think of love, when I dream of love, when I speak of love; I will not think of you.”
African Woman, Life Lessons, Therapy Sessions

The Subtle Art of Not Forgiving

She sat at the bus stop and spoke to strangers.

She is not a better person. She says. Far from it. She is a work in progress. A difficult, opinionated, happy, work in progress. Daily reminding herself that she needs to be kinder. She needs to think kinder thoughts. To be more mindful. To be more generous. To smile more. To think of others twice before she thinks of herself. To use her ears as much or more than she uses her mouth. To accept love when love is offered and to be graceful when she loses an argument or a game.

She will not forgive him though. A nameless him. A faceless him.

“Shall we call someone?”…”someone who can come get you?”

She would never do anything to harm him, she says, she just won’t forgive him.

A pause. Silence. We start to leave. She is crazy.

Not after what he has done. she says

“what has he done?”…”Are you injured?”

Not yet. Not today. Not tomorrow. And possibly not the day after that.

She will live in her unforgiving state for a while. She will enjoy the not forgiving.

She laughs a little brittle laugh.

She says she will call friends to let them know that she hasn’t forgiven him.

She will even call her family and let them know. His family too if she has to.

If he was alive, she would not speak to him. Silence & No Contact would make him understand that she hasn’t forgiven him.

She smiles. Her eyes glitter with tears. She shakes her head to keep the tears away? Or to shake a memory?

Because, she asks, why would she forgive him for making sure that she felt, felt deep inside her, that

  1. she is prioritizing the wrong things, but, only when she prioritizes herself? her needs?
  2. she is not good enough to be loved?
  3. she is not good enough at loving?
  4. her work is not as important as his? if she works overtime once a week, it too much, and when he works overtime twice a week it is too little?
  5. she did not deserve to achieve what she has achieved?
  6. she does not deserve to have the dreams that she has?
  7. her expectations are wrong, other people have better expectations?
  8. her boundaries are not as good as his boundaries? or other people’s boundaries?
  9. her lies are worse than his lies? even when he constantly lies about their future and she lies about her past?
  10. her people are less than his people? based on his expectations of how people should be?
  11. the places that she knows well & love traveling to are not good enough for him?
  12. her ways of escape are not as good as his?
  13. she is not worth some expense, or some trouble, or some concern, or some compliment?
  14. her anger, or any of her negative emotions are not valid? other people that he knows don’t have negative emotions. That makes them normal, while making her abnormal.
  15. she may not be a good parent when that time comes, because she does occasionally get angry, or sad, or drunk, or restless, or dissatisfied?

That after all that, after all the trying & fighting, and talking & making up. He would go and kill himself.

She will not forgive him now.

She will try later, but not now. Even nature is, sometimes, unforgiving.

 

 

 

African Woman, Borrowed, Learning to Live a Balanced Life, Life Lessons

If you forget me – Pablo Neruda

I am a sucker for love poems. In the beginning, it was a total surprise for me that I could get so carried away. I do get carried away, and can read & re-read my favorites. This is one of my favorites on love, and one of my favorite poets too.

Pablo Neruda’s, If you forget me has been a way for me to define love for as long as I can remember. Below, I share it with you:

I want you to know one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look at the crystal moon, at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch near the fire the impalpable ash or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists, aromas, light, metals,
were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad, the wind of banners that passes through my life,
and you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots, remember that on that day, at that hour,
I shall lift my arms and my roots will set off to seek another land.

But if each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness, if each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me,

ah my love, ah my own,

in me all that fire is repeated, in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten, my love feeds on your love, beloved, and as long as you live it will be in your arms without leaving mine.

African Woman, Amateur Love Doctor, Learning to Live a Balanced Life, Life Lessons, sex

When Love Isn’t Enough- Amateur Love Doctor

One of my all time favorite poems is Unending love by Rabindranath Tagore. Often, during the worst years of feeling abandoned, self doubt accompanied by self hate, feeling lost, feeling used & misused etc ; I have gone back to this poem to find inspiration on how to love myself.

I don’t know when I first knew, but I have known for a while that love is a verb. Hard work. Still, when I met love, I almost missed it! Like driving by the turn you are supposed to take on your way home and realizing it when you see the road sign for the next junction. Thinking no. no.no.no I don’t want to go there. I want to go home.

I almost missed love because, like most of us who have a complicated childhood, I had little idea how love should look like. How love should feel like.

I knew I didn’t want the love I saw or experienced during childhood. Love that abuses. Love that ignores. Love that belittles. Love that leaves. Love that stays but is not really available. Love that controls. Love that goes behind you back. Love that cheats. Love that mocks. Love that hurts constantly. Love that kills. Shattering love.

So I have been learning about love through living & making mistakes. Here goes!

4 times when love is not enough:

(1) Low or non-existent Compatibility. Intellectual, emotional & sexual. If 2 people are not compatible, eventually it becomes such a struggle to communicate, to have sex, to just sit together & have breakfast that love turns out to NOT be enough. BUT, the complexity is, it doesn’t matter how compatible a couple is, keeping the compatibility relevant is essential.

(2) Low or lacking Respect is the end of love.love-respect-cycle For every relationship, boundaries have to be set & boundaries have to be respected. If the boundaries sound unreasonable, re-negotiate them respectfully or leave. Boundaries cannot be over-stepped without re-negotiation where respect is present.

In my experience, when compatibility and respect are properly balanced, communication issues are few and severe misunderstandings far in between. Apologies are genuine and forgiveness easy. A person who feels appreciated, loved & respected will be more forgiving. A person who feels unappreciated, unloved & disrespected is more antagonistic, bitter & unforgiving.

(3) Lack of We are our own little Gang mentality/attitude. Politically correct members of society say “we are in this together” or “we are a team”.

For love to be enough, one has to feel that they belong with the other person. Totally. Like Lily & Marshall. So glued together that when a 3rd person even considers attacking, annoying, gossiping, looking down etc on one of you; the other jumps the 3rd person! Immediately & brutally. You have each others backs & you keep each others secrets. Your safety, well being and/or success is not more important that your partners.

(4) Plan Bs are a love killer or a love challenge at the least. In my limited experience, a case of one foot in one foot out usually means both feet out. If there is some other person, place or experience that feels more interesting, more important, more exciting than your partner; then love will not be enough. Especially if most of these things feel more fun when done without the partner. If mother dear is better at most things. If your best friend understands you better, always. If that fight you had yesterday made you wonder if you really should be together.