“The Inn Of The Small Comforts” – a new poem

I am “The Inn Of The Small Comforts”.

No one comes to me to stay.

They linger for a tiny spell,

and I send them on their way.

They continue on their journey.

They come to me only to rest.

To quench their dry and thirsty mouths

with milk pouring from my breast.

They lay their burdens on my shoulders.

Their worries, cares, and fears.

Releasing their most tightly held emotions

with loud screaming, and with tears.

They lay their heads down in my softness,

and take shelter from the storm.

They regain their strength within my caring

‘til they’re no  longer weak and worn.

I am “The Inn Of The Small Comforts”.

My tables overflow with food

that is fresh and well prepared

and nourishing and good.

My bath is a luxurious scented dream

of soapy, watery, bubbly bliss.

I massage their heads and backs and feet.

I send them to sleep with a soft kiss.

But I always remind them,

“This place with me is not your home.”

Yes I will let you rest awhile,

but then you must go on. Alone.”

I am “The Inn Of The Small Comforts”.

But all comfort does pass with time.

And then I remind them that it’s time to leave.

Staying too long is a crime.

“You cannot stay here with me” I say.

“This is not your domain.

This place will never be your own;

must never bear your name.”

“You cannot stay too long within my walls.

You are too weak to keep them strong.

So leave when it is time to go.

This is not where you belong.”

Once a wounded, wandering soul

thought he should not leave.

“I could stay here the rest of my days.

The air is so sweet and here I can breathe.”

He admired how well I ran my inn.

I do it with what seems to be ease and grace.

With pleasure dripping from my curves,

and a smile upon my face.

But it took me years to learn to run my inn

and while I don’t ask others to assist,

this man said he wanted to help me.

He asks and then insists.

He chops wood, gets water from the well.

He fishes and hunts and brings me game.

I serve him juicy fruits fresh out my garden,

and his words are always the same.

“I want to be in this place with you

and I want to earn my keep.

I want you to take a break sometimes.

To relax and get some sleep.”

But there are more chores than he imagined,

and I bear many heavy loads.

He had no idea this was the life

behind the gates of this abode.

Now he resents the work he asked to do,

but now I’m used to his helping hand.

He wasn’t strong enough yet to work so hard,

and yes, I guess I understand

that his wounds were still fresh, though healing.

And now he’s angry at me too.

For I just let him stay there knowing

there was too much he could not do.

I am “The Inn Of The Small Comforts”.

Or I was, but not anymore.

Too much damage done to my sanctuary,

and so I’ve finally closed my door.

But one day I do plan to reopen,

that I do guarantee.

But when I do, I’ll have a new name,

“This Is The Place Called Me”

–Petula Caesar

Advertisements

My strange Valentine’s Days these days…

This time of year is my busy season as far as my performing goes (in case you don’t know, I do erotic performance poetry with a band). What I do is very popular around Valentine’s Day. Since 2005, every Valentine’s Day I was on stage someplace performing; in some cases I wasn’t even in Baltimore. The fact that I’m usually so busy this time of year helps distract me from the things that bother most single people during the Valentine’s Day period. I don’t really have time to think about whether I’ll get flowers or candy or asked out on a date because I’m rehearsing, or picking out performance outfits, or finalizing travel arrangements. And this year won’t be any different – I’ll have several shows this year around V-Day, including performing at a popular local radio station’s speed dating event. While I do appreciate the distraction, I do see the irony in the fact that for the past 5 years, though my own love life has been strangely stagnated, I provide entertainment for lovers or potential lovers. They look to me to add spark to their celebration of their intimate and personal feelings for each other. They expect me to help them see each other through new eyes, to generate heat and passion between them for at least that night, and I try to do that. My Valentine’s Day sets are a combination of sensual and sexual pieces. I do a relationship piece here and there.

I try to have at least some new material each year, so I don’t bring the same show back to places where I am appearing for a second or third time. That means I’m writing and memorizing at least 2-3 new pieces in preparation for my shows throughout January up until the events. Now that I’ve started doing covers (which means I perform work by artists), that does help me create new shows because now I put at least one cover in every show I do. But that means my band is constantly learning new music. A new show also means new outfits to wear onstage. At some shows I do acapella sets, and at some shows I perform with a full band, so I have to rehearse different versions of my show to accommodate different venues. If I’m traveling, I have to pack, get to the airport/bus station/train station, get to my destination, check into my hotel, try to get to the venue a little before my show so I can get a feel for it and watch the crowd come in (that’s how I make a final determination on what I do in a set – by watching the crowd). By the time February 15th rolls around, I’m exhausted.

In many respects I am thankful for my new Valentine’s Day rituals. Granted they are not at all what I thought they would be at this stage of my life – I find myself in the strange position of putting on some of my sexiest and most revealing lingerie and attire for a room full of applauding strangers instead of that one special someone. But it does help take the focus off myself; I am focused on other people, which is a good thing. Instead of wearing myself out worrying about love, I worry about performing. I don’t have time to wallow in self pity or self doubt, to wonder why I’m alone or visit my mental cemetery of dead relationships. I don’t make random phone calls to any of my exes, trying to get closure where there is none (something I’ve done in the past). I don’t have time to wonder about unrequited loves from my past, present or future. I have to work, and that’s what I do. Work. I throw all my energy into my work.

But I do wonder if I would be depressed if I weren’t so busy. If I really had to feel the sharp little needles of loneliness so many unattached people feel this time of year, how would I handle it? Though I’ve never been one to be big on holidays and expressions of affection dictated by the calendar, it is still difficult to totally ignore a world draped in red and pick, smelling of roses and chocolates with words of love dripping from its lips. No matter how much reason and logic you apply to the whole Valentine’s Day thing, you still can’t help but feel an occasional pinch of sadness – and I think that’s especially true of women, who often put so much more obvious emphasis on relationships and being with someone. Or I would feel bad that is, if I weren’t so busy. Performing is the anesthetic I pour on my heart during this Valentine’s Day season, but what would I be like without it?

Of course I have to appreciate Valentine’s Day, because it is the month when I earn the most money as a performer. I sell more CDs and downloads between January 25th and February 15th than almost any other time of the year. I can count on a bunch of performances that pay pretty well, and are a lot of fun to do. The shows I do during this period always lead to other bookings and expose me to people that help me in other ways. And I sell a lot of merchandise during my Valentine’s Day shows. Love and sex is thriving business for me the first 2 weeks of February, and I take full advantage of it. I start looking for Valentine’s Day bookings in mid-December, and by late January I’m all set. I plan out my wardrobe, load up on product to sell, make arrangements for someone to keep an eye on my kids – between rehearsals and shows I’m not home a lot this time of year. During these two weeks alone, if I’m careful, even after expenses, I earn a very decent amount of money. But if I slowed down – would the pain catch me? Would I be lonely? Would I notice that there is no “special someone” who comes to my shows to support me, to admire me, to care about me and what I do? If I stood still, didn’t write the poem, put on the makeup, lace up the corset, pull on the stockings, would I look up and notice there isn’t anyone wishing I didn’t have to work on Valentine’s Day so I could spend it with him? Over the past five years no man has said to me “can’t you take off this year” or “do you have to work so hard”? Would I really notice the couples in the audiences I entertain, would I see them and wonder why I am not part of a couple someplace? Would I envy the couples that come up to me after shows who buy a CD, get it autographed by me and quickly take a picture before running home (or wherever) to make love, while I go back to an empty hotel room, or go home alone to my kids and kiss them goodnight?

For the moment, I don’t have the answers to those questions. Between today and February 15th, I have six definite performances and two possible ones. I start rehearsals next week. I have two new pieces I need to get to two different groups of musicians I’m working with. I have a new piece I’m committing to memory, and while I’m not doing any major traveling this year, I will be in D.C. with the band for a few shows. Again I’m too busy to really notice the celebration I so actively participate in and profit from. And it’s probably better that way.

Don’t get me wrong — it wasn’t always like this. I have had extremely romantic Valentine’s Days in my past. I remember gifts. I remember perfume. I remember flowers, candy, jewelry, shopping sprees, and romantic dinners in beautiful restaurants. I remember getaways to quiet sexy places, satin sheets, and massage oil. I remember bubblebaths for two, bottles of champagne. I remember lingerie worn for only one set of eyes. I remember love letters and love poems written for me, instead of by me for others. I remember hands, a man’s hands, moving across every part of me with tender and sensual dedication. I remember scented candles, rose petals on my skin and passion in my heart. If I strain really hard I think I can even remember love, which made the lust much more potently powerful. Men in my past have showered me with love in its most luxurious, decadent, generous fashion in my past.

But these are my memories, not my realities. And the ocean between the two is dark with pain, regret, and probably even fear that the tide has turned away from my shores for good, and these things will never return to me.

So perhaps my present is a blessing. From where I stand onstage, I can at least acknowledge that these things do still exist, though they aren’t in my world. I can look out onto the sea of love, though I may never dive in again and ride those waves to wherever my lover and I end up. It perhaps is enough that for now love welcomes me on its sandy beach, offers me a special place to sit, tickling and teasing my feet with splashes now and then. It may be just as well, because I probably have forgotten how to swim in that powerful current anyway.

Having said all this, I must go now. I have a poem to memorize!

Peace!

Where is the love? Not here (and hasn’t been since 2004…)

Tonight, for some reason, I decided I wanted to blog about love.

I can’t really say exactly why I am feeling compelled to write this right now. But whenever I think about writing something, I write it. It doesn’t matter what the subject, or what I think about it, or whether anyone else will get it. So why should writing about love be any different.

I am sitting on my couch late tonight, trying to remember the last time a man told me he loved me. And believe me, it’s requiring me to go way back as the saying goes…back into time. In fact I have to travel back to 2004 to recall the last time a man said those three words to me. It was a man I thought I would marry at the time. I wanted to marry him, I really did. There is no relief in the world like the relief a single woman feels when she’s finally met “the one” and thinks she is at long last going to be taken “off the market”. I wouldn’t say that being single is a horrible thing, but it grows tedious over time. And one thing that life has taught me is that people aren’t meant to be alone. They really aren’t. More often than not even when they say they are going to be along, they don’t actually do it. They usually find someone (or several someones) to keep them company at least sometimes. But as fate would have it, I was not meant to marry this man. I can’t say that I’m sorry that we didn’t marry; ultimately I think it was best that we part company. He wasn’t ready to be a husband, and definitely not my husband. What I didn’t realize was the last time he told me he loved me was going to be the last time, for a long time, that any man would say that to me.

Now just because I haven’t heard the words doesn’t meant I haven’t felt at times that there were men in my life who loved me. Because there have been brief moments when I thought someone felt that way about me. I was wrong in those cases. So that leaves me here tonight, six years without hearing those three words from a man. And I must admit right now, it hurts. I’m not really sure why it’s bothering me right now. Maybe I’m feeling particularly lonely on this night, or some wave of nostalgia has taken over me. I guess watching “Soulfrodisiac” on VH1Soul isn’t helping, with all this slow, sexy, romantic love songs playing. But right now I am closing my eyes tight, and remembering how it felt to hear those words. I can hear them in my ear, soft and low as I drift off to sleep. I can hear them over the phone line as we reluctantly end our hours-long conversation. I watch his lips mouthing the words to me from across a crowded room. I look down at my cell phone and receive his text message that only says “I luv u.” I remember it with great fondness, especially because I knew he meant it. He really did love me, and every time he said it it was the absolute truth.

But that was six years ago. Six long years ago. And since then I have not heard a man say those words to me. I can’t help but wonder if it is because I have become unloveable somehow. I can’t help but wonder how six years of my life went by, and not one single man that I met was moved by me in any significant way. Maybe I am arrogant, maybe it’s kind of ridiculous for me to think that meeting me would be such an incredible experience that those words would fall from some man’s lips. But if I’m arrogant…well, truthfully, I’ll buy that. I’m pretty amazing if I do say so myself, and continue to be in spite of a lot of disasters that should have left me bitter, battered and afraid of living. But I’m not. At least I don’t think I am – but then I think of my six year drought without those words to water me, and I cast myself into a world of self doubt again.

Maybe love is rationed out in one’s lifetime. I must be honest; I’ve experienced a great deal of love in my life over the years, including the love I speak about now. And again, speaking honestly, I did not always treat it carefully. At times I threw it away with both hands, confident it would come back to me in greater abundance. And it usually did. I’ve excelled at walking away all my life, and I guess I always expected love to just follow me like a puppy in need of a good home. But what do I do now when I look back and love isn’t following me? So, as I enter my seventh loveless year, I try to figure out how I can continue across this dry season of my life. I do gain some comfort from the love I do have in my life from family, and the one or two close friends who I hope hold some kind of love for me within themselves. That love has warmth, but no heat, and heat is what I miss as winter makes its way to my doorstep again. The heat of that particular kind of love is what I want to warm me for a change, but since that isn’t entirely up to me, I may just have to continue to make do with what I have.

In the meantime, to each of you reading this, find someone to love. Not just warmly and fondly, but with great heat and passion. Set them aflame with your heart so that they know they are alive, so that they can add fire to you in return. It is so crucial in such a very very cold world.

–peace

I am going to break this down so that anyone and everyone can understand. There is a lot of confusion out there about what roles men and women are supposed to play in relationships. “What does he want from me?” “What does she want from me?” The battle of the sexes wages on and on and on, with everyone making demands and no one quite able to figure out how to get what they want. But I have the answer to all this. It’s this simple.

A man’s role in a relationship is to overcompensate.

A woman’s role in a relationship is to over appreciate.

If a man can find a woman he loves who will over appreciate him, and a woman can find a man she loves who will overcompensate in dealing with her, they just might make it.

Men – Your job is to overcompensate where your woman is concerned. Every day, in every way. Overcompensate as much as you can, day in and day out, week after week after month after year. Never stop. Overcompensate for everything, even if you are doing everything adequately in the relationship. Why? Because by the time you meet your woman, she’s been through a lot of things – in life in general, and with men in particular. More than likely she’s had a pretty hard time – that’s just the nature of the world these days. She may be trying to raise kids on her own. She may have been a victim of some kind of abuse. She’s probably insecure about a lot of things. She’s probably had her heart ripped out of her chest while it was still beating by some callous uncaring man who didn’t know how good he had it with her. She’s got her hopes and dreams but oftentimes has no idea how she’ll accomplish any of them. She may have been abandoned by her family. The world is cold and cruel and unforgiving, especially for women. And women are always punished more harshly for the mistakes they make – so the woman that you love is probably hiding scars, bearing burdens, and struggling in ways she would never want you to see, because you wouldn’t want her if you did. Now granted, none of this is your fault, or your responsibility. But this isn’t about what is right or fair…this is about you being with your woman. So as her man, it is going to have to become one of your missions in life to be the balm that helps her heal herself. That will mean you will have to overcompensate.

Yes you will have to make her forget about all the jerks by doing right by her for yourself and for all of them. You will have to be generous for all the ones that were stingy, forgiving for all the ones who were harsh, and faithful for all the ones who cheated. Is it a huge burden? Hell yes. But nothing worth having is easy. So overcompensate. Do it. And what I can tell you is this – if you truly have a good woman, and she sees you doing this, eventually it won’t be as necessary for you to do it (though you will still have to at times). It won’t be about you doing it; it will be about your willingness to. The fact that you can do it, in time, will be enough. But as a man, that’s your job. You compensate, then you do extra.

Now for the ladies. Your man needs you to over appreciate him. I mean that seriously and literally. You need to appreciate him for the things he does that he should do and that, to some degree, you shouldn’t need to go out of your way to appreciate him for. Why? Because just like the world is hard and cold for you, its cold and hard for him too. He is catching hell out there – a kind of hell you know nothing about – a kind of hell you don’t even know exists because a man will never tell you about it. He is getting murdered out there, not just physically, but psychologically. He’s trying to work not just to survive, but to thrive. He wants to do well today and do even better tomorrow. But no one seems to care about his pain. According to way too many women, men have no pain, but that’s a lie. Often they’re getting past similar abuse issues from their pasts, broken hearts, misplaced trust, and the like. But men don’t expect you to directly right those wrongs like we do, which is why they don’t require overcompensation like women do. But what they do want is for you to receive with great sincerely, joy and gladness everything they bring to you. And I do mean everything. If a man loves you your smile is like water in the desert. Don’t let him die of thirst, or have him getting his water from some other well.  Men want to know you see all they’re doing, big, small and in between, and that you’re acknowledging them, their work, their sacrifices, their plans, the way in which they are trying to do their very best.

Will that mean you have to thank him for things that, to your mind, shouldn’t  require thanks? Occasionally. Will you have to praise every little task he performs from dawn to dusk, from peeing straight in the morning to taking the trash out at night? Well, no, I wouldn’t suggest that. What I will say is that from time to time, on a very regular basis, you need to let your man know that you see his efforts, and you acknowledge them in a special way. Sex is always good, but it can’t be the sex you usually give him. Make that the time you step your game up. If it’s not going to be sex (I suggested sex because its something most men would like and feel appreciated by!), make it something the man really wants. Let his boys come over to watch the game instead of banishing them to some sports bar. Cook up their favorite snacks and leave the house until the game is over. (Even if you like sports too, leave anyway. Sometimes guys just want to be guys without girls around and it has nothing to do with the extent of your sports knowledge.) But the point is over appreciation. That is what a woman does. You appreciate, then do extra.

Now not every woman knows how to over appreciate. And not every man can overcompensate. Some men just don’t want to put the work in to please their women like that. Some women think the fact that they’re present in a relationship with the guy should be appreciation enough. And that’s all well and fine, but trust me it will not be enough to keep them around successfully. It’s all about overcompensation and over appreciation – and that’s all I have to say about that!

PEACE!

Jump Offs: The Myths, The Realities

I cover a lot of different topics on this blog. But for the next few entries, I am going to be focusing on relationships, especially the more intimate and sexual aspect of relationships.

There is a lot of discord going on between men and women these days, and much of it is because of a lack of honesty — a lack of honesty with each other, and even worse, a lack of honesty with ourselves. I want to stimulate TRUTHFUL, open, mature discussion about these matters. I want to generate discussion that doesn’t seek to make one gender feel superior to the other. I want to generate discussion that isn’t focused on proving who is right and who is wrong, which is one of my pet peeves about these types of conversations — they are often divisive and more about finger pointing that helping us identify our issues and resolve them so we can treat each other better.

I want all of us to stop making ourselves feel better by looking down our noses at how other people behave in their personal relationships. But that’s not easy. We don’t like to face our own internal ugliness head on. It is much easier to observe others, criticize others, talk about what others have done that we never have done or would do, berate others for tolerating things we say we would never tolerate and so on. But more often than not, most of us have, in some form or fashion, have engaged in most of the behaviors we criticize others for. So it is my hope that those who read this won’t have the politically correct knee jerk response. That’s too easy. After you read what I have to say, Just think about it, ponder it, and don’t judge.

Having said all that…let’s begin!

The topic of today is “the jump off”. I want to get into so real talk about jump offs, the myths and realities of the jump off scenario, people’s attitudes about jump offs, and even jump off etiquette.

Now for some reason many people feel that being a jump off is demeaning, degrading, etc. Women and men speak in a condescending, even a disrespectful manner about this arrangement. But let us be honest and clear about exactly what a jump off is in an attempt to understand that negative attitude.

A jump off is situation in which one has a relationship that is solely sexual in nature. It is an entirely physical interaction. The exchange in and of itself doesn’t have to be cold and unfriendly, but it does have to have a certain amount to detachment to work. People should always be courteous, hospitable, and pleasant in these circumstances; what is absent in these scenarios is a connection between the two participants beyond the temporary merging of genitalia.

Now, I don’t know why this arrangement is met with such derision by so many. So often I hear women say with much scorn and disdain, “well, she’s just a jump off” or “I ain’t trying to be just a jump off”, or men will say “she ain’t nobody, she’s just a jump off”. Why the negativity people? Is it really necessary? If two consenting adults mutually agree to engage in such an arrangement and are honest with themselves and each other about it, what’s the harm? Why the attitude? Why is it so bad?
Why do men feel compelled to accompany the jump off arrangement with a level of contempt, though they still willingly participate in it? Why is that necessary? Do men find it impossible to respect a woman who enters into this situation; are they only capable of having jump offs that they don’t respect on some level? Why the verbal harshness in referring to them? Why is the jump off role in one’s life minimized and trivialized instead of being looked at objectively and honestly? And ladies, some of you seem to equate participation in this kind of thing as something unladylike, that its an indication that something is wrong with the woman that does this, that it means she has low self esteem and doesn’t want more for herself besides jump off status, because of course she MUST want more. Why can’t it be that the woman made a clear decision about what she wanted and is getting exactly that — no more, no less? And why does this mean the man is some kind of man-whore with no respect for women, or no ability to deal with a “real woman” in a “real relationship”? What if he really only wants the sex, and isn’t misleading, hurting, harming or disrespecting the woman? Why the snobbery when it comes to jump off scenarios, especially when a large majority of us, if you reach age 25 and are still single, have either had a jump off, been someone’s jump off, or both, at least once — whether you knew it or not or are willing to admit it or not?

Having said all this, I’ll let you in on an important truth. For the most part, jump offs are myths. They don’t genuinely exist to the extent that rumor would have you to believe they do. True, actual jump offs, where the two parties are just sexual and nothing else are rare. That level of detachment where one shares their body without sharing themselves isn’t easily accomplished by men or women. It is a genderless condition. Very few people can honestly manage it for any extended period of time, and there is a very simple reason why.

Human beings are wired to seek out connections to others. Now please read that correctly — that doesn’t mean they are always seeking romantic love. BUT being human is about the connections we make to other humans — our family, our friends, etc. Those connections are how we know we are alive, they validate our existence, they allow us to find meaning in the time we spend here on Earth. The inability to successfully make those connections is a sign of a greater psychological disorder that we don’t have time to get into here. Now we may get hurt in our relationships, or find ourselves in abusive circumstances that injure our spirits and souls in a way that make it hard for us to reach out to others. In some cases we are so damaged we actively avoid involvements with other people beyond the superficial and necessary. But no matter what we say or do, we still usually stumble upon someone who attracts us, who stimulates our interest, our curiosity, and we attempt to make a connection, even if the connection is just sexual. We may do it badly, awkwardly, or subconsciously. We may do it in a thousand tiny little ways that no one understands but us. But no matter how successful we are at it, we do find ourselves reaching out to connect when we come across people that ignite an undefinable spark in us in the hope of lighting up our cold dark lives, even if we fuck it up because of our own issues.

Because of that, jump offs work like this:

You and said person become sexually involved, and agree that will be the limit of your involvement. Cool. Jump off etiquette requires that you and this person have minimal contact that is not sexual. So you meet, perhaps politely converse while undressing, fuck, and part company.

Now if the sex is not particularly outstanding, it is possible that the jump off status can remain intact for a time. The lack of mind blowing sex makes it easy to keep the contact sporadic and inconsistent, two other key elements to a genuine jump off. A jump off is never someone you fuck regularly, consistently or frequently. As soon as a jump off consumes that much of your time, they are taking up space in your head as well, because if you fuck someone a lot, you think about fucking them a lot. Anyone who takes up that much space in your head isn’t a jump off anymore. They may be a lot less than a boyfriend or girlfriend, but the detachment that is part of being a jump off is gone.

But if the sex was just okay, its not going to hold your interest or attention for long. At some point, whether it takes days, weeks, months or years, you’ll find someone else you like fucking more, or someone else you just like (or someone else you came to like because of fucking them, which we’ll get into in a minute). No matter how it happens, waning interest will usually cause the jump off to die a quiet death.

Now let’s say you like the sex. Let’s even say you love it. The earth moved and the angels wept, etc. If that was the case, you are not going to be willing to make hooking up an occasional occurance. Something in you was touched; you have been moved. A connection was made somewhere inside you, even if it was made in your sex organs…those connections count too. So now you want to spend more time fucking this person. Spending more time with a person, even if its spent fucking, invariably leads to more opportunity to get to know a person. And getting to know a person can often lead to getting to like a person. Liking a person has a way of leading to finding ways to spend time with a person. And when that happens, its clearly no longer a jump off. Again, it may be less than a spouse, but its no longer a jump off.

The space between jump off and committed relationship is a huge one. It is the largest gray area in all of human existence, and truthfully, it is the area a lot of our personal relationships operate in. Many of us have that person we are intimate with, who has clearly stopped being jump off status a while ago, (even if this hasn’t been verbally acknowlewdged by either party), who has yet to fully, openly, and willingly shoulder all the burdens of a committed relationship. They might appear to in their actions at times, but the “out” is always there — the “out” being that the person never agreed to a change in their status, and you can’t change a person’s relationship status without their consent. That “out” is the single most frustrating thing about this vast gray area in which most relationships exist. So these gray area living/extended and remixed jump off situations become like giant relationship waiting rooms…the places where people pass the time hoping their conditions improve.

The other big myth surrounding the jump off scenario is that it can’t change. That isn’t true at all. In my experience and observation, a situation like this has just as much of a chance of surviving as any other kind of relationship. But if it is going to change into a more “official” relationship, one of the parties involved is going to have to request a change in relationship status. And making that kind of request is a huge risk; you must be prepared to forfeit everything you already have with this person. It is truly an “all or nothing” proposition. Because if the other party doesn’t agree to the status change, the relationship is over, or will be over soon. Why? Because one party has made it known they aren’t satisfied with the current state of affairs, and the other party isn’t going to wait for the dissatisfaction to make itself felt in other ways. Most people are cowards, and just ride along, sorta kinda mostly cool with how things are but still secretly hoping that one day they are offered all the keys to the kingdom.

My finals words on the topic are simple: never let anyone make you feel bad about FEELING something for someone else, even if it is the wrong person. As long as you have it in you to care about someone else, all you need to adjust is your selection process. That is a much easier task than the alternative; it is much harder to teach someone to feel once they have lost their ability to do it. And while jump offs may not really exist like you thought they did, what does exist is a world full of people looking for shelter from the unforgiving harsh world…people who want to care who have lost their way…people who carry heavy loads, manage deep searing pain and hide ugly scars the best way they know how. Sometime they may seek temporary shelter from their most personal storms in your most personal space if you allow it. They may decide to stay. They may not. But no matter what the case, don’t lose sight of who you are in the midst of it all. Because at the end of the day, you are the only you you’ve got.

I think I have commitment issues…but I am a woman? What da hell??

I think I have commitment issues. If that’s true, that is a problem. But I may have a greater one. I am a woman with commitment issues!

In case you didn’t know, only men have commitment issues. Women are just sitting around waiting for love, romance, relationships, marriage, boyfriends and husbands. They’re just dying to be all “booed up” with some dude. They’re just waiting for an opportunity to love a good, strong, honest man to take them off the market and away from the cruel cold world of singleness. The only thing keeping them away from “happily ever after” is men’s unwillingness to commit.

To hear them tell it, men don’t want to commit. Men don’t want monogamy, and the monotony that is often a part of it. Men want as many women as they think they can handle, they have no interest in maintaining faithfulness to one. Men are dogs running the street, unwilling and unable to settle down. And because men are unwilling to commit, and women are just beside themselves with excitement waiting for commitment to happen, there is always this great sense of unbalance in the universe. Because men won’t commit, thousands of lovely women will never have their “happily ever after”.

But what am I to do when I think I am on the opposite side of the fence as most of my gender?

All my life every woman I have ever known wanted to get married. That didn’t mean they didn’t want to get their educations, or pursue their careers, or accomplish other things. But marriage was always in there, always an integral part of their plan for themselves. When I was a young girl, my girlfriends would dreamily plan their weddings, taking their Barbie dolls down imaginary aisles in their rooms with their older brother’s GI Joe’s. Even if their mother’s told them “girl, men ain’t s**t”, (because some mothers did do that), the girls still held onto their dreams in a little corner of their heads. I never planned my wedding as a child like my friends, and my dolls never got married. They were single I guess, dating the Ken dolls and whatever other toy male representatives I could find amongst my toys (I didn’t have a brother.) I never imagined marriage really. When I did think about my wedding, my main concern was always how much fun the party/reception would be — what music would the deejay and bands play and what kind of delicious food and fabulous drinks would be there – you can see where my priorities were, even then.

As an adult, most women I’ve known really wanted to get married. Sometimes they were in a relationship with their boyfriend that had gone on for years and they wanted to “make it official”. Sometimes they had kids by this guy, which was all the more reason to “make it official”.  Sometimes they were under pressure from their family (“girl, you ain’t married yet??). Sometimes they wanted financial assistance (“somebody needs to come help me with these bills, plus I need more income to get this mortgage!”) But whatever they reason, they wanted marriage. It was important to them. It was a burning desire they would not turn away from. It just had to happen, it just had to be.

I am still waiting for my burning yearning to begin. Even in the cases of my children’s fathers, I never felt like the children we shared was a good reason to get married, much to the chagrin of my family, which has a long illustrious history of “shotgun” weddings – more women in my family have gotten married pregnant than not. But I didn’t do it.

I have never experienced that burning desire to get married. Even when I have been involved with men that I wanted to marry, that I thought I would marry, it never burned inside me. It was never the most important thing to me. It never kept me up nights. I never ached to be wed. I ached to be with them, yes, but not as a wife necessarily. Being with them was my primary focus, not the marriage part. Now don’t get me wrong…I did want marriage yes, and I wanted it very much, but…it just never seemed to inflame me like it inflamed other women. And in every case where I was involved with a man I thought I would marry, at some point I ended the relationship.

In some cases, I sabotaged the relationship with unrealistic demands, and when the mere mortal of a man failed to meet them, I ended the relationship. Sometimes I was unfaithful, and when I started doing that I knew I had to go, so I ended the relationship. Sometimes I knew the man would never be happy and satisfied with who I really was at the core of me, and I ended the relationship. Sometimes I felt like he just thought it was time (“well I’m getting older, I don’t wanna be the old dude at the club so…let’s do this!), and to me that was never enough reason to get married, so I didn’t do it. I have returned engagement rings, cancelled appointments to look at dresses and the whole nine. All this leads me to wonder if my fear is commitment.

I have had good men in my life – gainfully employed, college educated, smart, good looking men who wanted to marry me, and I didn’t do it. Men with homes, men with cars, men with ambition and dreams, men with substance mentally, emotionally and spiritually, men who treated me well. As I write this I can think of four men with those qualities who I could call right now who would be more than happy to seriously date me, and if I put my mind to it I could be Mrs. Somebody in six months – maybe less, with a bad ass ring to seal the deal. But I don’t make any of those calls.  Even on the days I complain about being single, how I wish I could find love, and more importantly, acceptance in the arms of a man who would cherish and honor me, I can’t help but taste the hypocrisy in my mouth as I think about the men I keep at arms length for whatever reason.

Sometimes I think my biggest fear is being forced to be something I don’t want to be. In a lot of my past, I have dated men who really thought I was perfect, except for one or two things they wanted me to adjust. Unfortunately, the things they wanted me to “adjust” were things that were too much of a part of my essence. It always seemed like there was something wrong with me when it came to these men, and I always left rather than cut off pieces of me to fit. And right now, I can’t imagine it would be easy for a man to want me for a wife. I just don’t look like, sound like, act like, anyone’s idea of a wife I guess. When men picture their wives, a woman like me doesn’t pop into their heads. Men always seem to want their wives to have these very obvious “good girl” traits, even if they discover later it wasn’t as “good” as they thought it was going to be. My “good girl” traits aren’t obvious. Anyone who knows me well will tell you I have them, but from the outside looking in it isn’t the first thing you’ll notice about me. I don’t have a problem with that; I enjoy my many layers and facets, but many men do have a problem with it.

Sometimes I think I fear getting into something I can’t get out of easily. Marriage is hella hard to get out of, and the longer you’re in it, the harder it is to get out. I know you shouldn’t enter into something immediately looking for the exit and trying to plan your departure strategy, but this is what I do. I am a planner. So to me it makes sense that you plan how a relationship would end if it ended, because it’s better to plan that now while you like the person than later when you hate them and are gonna be all about cutting his balls off. But I know if I get married, there will be no divorce UNDER ANY CONDITIONS. We may part and go our separate ways but there will be no divorce. And I always worry that I might choose a man that I’d have to separate from, and that would hurt.

Sometimes I think my biggest fear is failure. I don’t like not succeeding at things, not being good at things. I work hard to do everything I do well, exceptionally well. And in most cases, I manage to accomplish that. Everything I have ever failed at haunts me endlessly; I revisit the grave of that failure, pondering over what I did wrong, trying to never do it again. If I failed at something as important as marriage, I don’t think I could deal with it. I think I would never forgive myself. I would blame myself, feel ashamed and hurt and sad and defeated. And knowing me, I would marry someone who was my best friend, because I genuinely believe you have to have that kind of love that exists in close friendships as part of marital love. (You know how when you get totally fed up with your best friend, they’ve made you totally sick and you’re disgusted with them, but you know good and damn well they will always be your best friend no matter what? That kind of thing is what I want in my marriage.) So if the marriage failed, I would lose my best friend too. That would tear me up more than anything. I don’t know how I would handle that.

Sometimes I tell myself I am too honest to get married. I hate to say this, but some marriages seem to involve some degree of coercion on the part of the woman. She had to threaten to break up with him, or nag him into it, or get her family to nag him into it, or get pregnant, or pretend to get pregnant, or something like that. It has always been my dream that a real man would get to know me, love me, carefully consider all his options, and decide that having me as his wife was what he wanted more than he wanted to be alone or with some other woman/women. I want him to volunteer, completely and totally, heart and soul, ten thousand percent. I don’t want it any other way. If I have to employ trickery, or use my womanly wiles, or get him drunk or drugged, I will not do it. But very few men seem sure enough in their choices to pursue them actively once they make them. Oftentimes they just don’t make them at all, and wait for some woman to drag them into it. And the women never seem to much care, as long as they have their husband.  That I cannot do.

Sometimes I think I am selfish. I mean, every time I have ended a relationship I have said to myself in consolation,“well, I guess I just love me more”. And as much as pop culture talks about self-love, to really make marriage work both parties have to, on many/most levels, care more about the other party than themselves. And this has to happen all the time. For marriage to work everybody has to be serving the needs of the other person and the union 24/7, and not their own needs. Ideally, if everyone is always serving everyone else and the needs of the union, everyone will get most of what they need and want.  And hardest of all, you still have to do this even when the other person isn’t. But in the relationships I ended, at some point I decided he was not serving my interests; he was only serving his own. And I decided I didn’t wish to serve his interests anymore. That kind of selfishness has no place in a marriage, so I guess it’s good that I ended those relationships.

Sometimes I think I just haven’t met Mr. Right.  I do so want to find someone and create a place and space for us where we can be our most genuine authentic selves, and improve on ourselves individually and as a couple. I sometimes worry that my man will hate me once he finds out about the real me. I don’t want a man to fall in love with “my representative” when we are dating, only to discover me and she have NOTHING in common. I want him to love me, all of me, me as I am today and me as I will come to be as I improve and grown in the sunshine of his care. And often I tell myself I haven’t found that evolved man who can appreciate my domestic side and my workaholic side and my imagination and my creativity and my sexuality and my tendency to be overly analytical and critical and nitpicky and sometimes self-deprecating  and all the other vastly contradictory things I am.

But mostly I think I’m just afraid of commitment.

My parents were reasonably happily married for over 40 years, so I had a good example of a solid marriage before me. Many of my family members are married, and have been for many years also – ten or twenty plus years in some cases. I am the oddball in that I have been single so long, just raising my kids on my own, and pursing my own interests without even a regular guy in place to bring to family functions. They kind of see me as this slightly off-center, artsy type that they don’t quite get, but they love me because I am family. They have stopped trying to fix me up, because it never works.

So I write this now, as a single woman who may be afraid of commitment. Occasionally I attempt to talk to other women about it, but they all look at me like I’m crazy. That lets me know how messed up I am, because I am supposed to want this like a man in the desert wants water, and I just don’t feel that way about it. I am not prepared to give up all of me for it. I don’t want to pick the wrong man. I don’t want to be hurt, or taken advantage of, or live a life of misery with some man because I chose out of desperation. I don’t want my sex life to dwindle away into nothingness (I hear that’s what happens in marriage, and sex is wayyy too important to me to have that happen). I say I want a man of my own, and I have options if I were to attempt to exercise them. I’m not sure if they are the options I would choose if I did the choosing, but I have them. I could at least explore them, find out what they have to offer. What is my problem?

Am I afraid of commitment?

So…today’s blog…

is a poem I wrote that I am posting cuz I felt like it…

PEACE!

When loves’ slave catchers

throw their chains and traps

around me

I will chew off

pieces of my heart

to free myself.


During these sex-filled struggles

I lustfully bite

my pursuer

as I fight the ties

that seek to forever bind

me to him.


I sensuously swallow

pieces of him

during the battle of wills.

But I am always the victor,

and I greedily devour the spoils.


As for the love warriors

who rise up

attempting to rule my

personal internal  queendom

and who always fail,

they now will spend

the rest of their lives

trying to get back

the pieces they lost to me

in the battle.


The pieces

become part of

the fiber of my being

and the marrow of my bones.


These leftover spirits

invade me and

teach me how

to be the hunter

and still seem like

the prey.


Now I chase others

by allowing others

to chase me.


To attract them

I strip my brain bare

in their presence

and

mentally masturbate

before them.


A psychological exhibitionist.


They watch me

and want me

while I wonder why

the presence of love

has always meant

the loss of my freedom.


And I must fly

until I die.

So, catch me if you can.

But know

that even I

haven’t caught me yet.

..