Check out what I said via How Do You L💖ve YourSELF?
Today is the last Monday of the month. I was trying to think of ways to inspire you when I thought about what I’ll be doing today. I’ll be at Munch’s school volunteering to help the staff get the children’s fall photos done. Yes, we’re late. Yes, I’m disappointed about the time the school selected, but I’m so happy.
Why? Because I love to watch the children smile or hide smiles. Some kids grin is so wide and goofy that you have no other choice but to smile. Others think they’re too cool to smile and I’ll stand behind the photographer and make funny faces. Smiling is very good for you it’s healthy.
I think we all need to remember to smile. No matter what is going on in life you can’t let the enemy see you falter. You have to get up, keep fighting, keep pushing forward and doing it with a smile. There’s truth in a smile. There’s pain in a smile, but there’s also joy and hope in a smile.
I said yes to being a panel judge for a pageant geared towards young women. Can you believe it? I’m a feminist. Isn’t it a contradiction to want to judge young ladies on the way they dress, speak and walk? Am I sending a wrong message? Ugh, I struggled with the question when asked and then I realized that I’m not.
Why? Because feminism is about equality for women. I am not going stop being who I am and let’s be real…aren’t we all judged everyday? So, I decided to research the pageant before committing. I mean, I didn’t want to set my gender back by judging a swimsuit competition.
Here’s what I discovered:
The Pageant began in 1955, only one year after the annual Labor Day Festival originated. The first Pageant was open to women between the ages of 15 and 50. It was a fundraiser for the construction of the Youth Center building. Votes were cast by turning in pennies in collection jars set out at various businesses, and children helped collect penny votes. The woman with the most pennies to her credit won the title. The first winner was married and had three children when she won at the age of 30!
In 1956, the rules were modified slightly. Entrants had to be single and between the ages of 16 and 25. The contest was called the “Popularity Crown” or “Popularity Contest.” Once the Youth Center was a reality, the theme evolved to “Unity Through Community Involvement.” Over the years, the Pageant has been modified, streamlined, and organized under various directors, becoming what is known today as the Pageant System. In 1982, the swimsuit competition was removed. The Little Miss and Junior Miss contests were added in the 1980s. In 1992 the Pageant began to emphasize the importance of education, and gave scholarships to the title winners.
The competition is designed to teach girls poise and self confidence, how to be at ease with themselves and others, and how to have fun in a team effort toward a common goal.
All contestants receive special recognition in the Pageant System because everyone is viewed as a winner!
Yeah! I liked the pageant evolution and decided that I would love to be a judge because of these three things:
I had to stop and smell the roses. I wasn’t selling out my gender by participating as a judge in a pageant. I was empowering young women to see the beauty in who they are and be a part of an organization that believes that they are all winners.
Now, back to the movement!
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my girlfriend about Mr. K. I was telling her what a gentleman he was and how I really liked that he was raised right. I told her that he was a good guy and just normal. I told her that I never had normal. I told her how I’m just enjoying the normal. He’s not perfect. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone has something, but he’s just a good person.
She asked me what if we got into a serious relationship, would I stop the weekly dinners at his parents? Nope. She said, “No, I mean you both are serious and in a committed relationship. You would let him go?” “Yes” I replied. It is their tradition. I told her that I would never interfere with family tradition and I like that they do that. She smiled and told me that she thought it was weird that he has dinner with his parents weekly. I smiled at her sincerely and said, “No, it’s not weird.” She asked, “It’s not?” “Nope” I told her. “It’s normal. We’re broken so normal things seem abnormal to the broken.” She asked, “So, that’s what it is?” “Yeah” I sighed.
I then went on to explain that there are three types of people in the world: broken, broken and healed and never been broken. I told her that Mr. K has never been broken so his being and doing normal things seem weird to those that have been broken. Let me break it down further:
There you have it. I am in Category #2 and thankfully I am healed from my pain and can talk about it without shame. Without feeling like I’m being judged or looked at awkwardly. I hold my head high because my faith and therapy have allowed me to get past the sexual assaults. I have a voice that I want to utilize to educate young men and women that these experiences are horrific but they will not define the whole of who you are. Only you can do that. Only you can want to heal. It takes time and it will get easier. Just know that I know and I will be here.
I’m thankful that I’m in category #2 and Mr. K is in category #3. It means that I can value and appreciate the normalcy of us. I can sense his uneasiness when I discuss the sexual violence of my past. I can sense his concern when my eyes tear up as I discuss the prison pipeline that we are creating for our young girls that are also suffering violence. I can sense his admiration when he says to me “I’m happy you shared your story with me. You are the most brilliant woman I know.” I smile.
I tell him that all I do is advocate for those who feel they have no voice. I am healed by the grace of God, but I will always remember being broken. I pray continually for everyone and especially those who are broken that they find the peace that they are looking for. Our world would definitely be a better place as a result of it.
Until next time loves!
That was the question that I asked Mr. K last week. We were having a conversation and I said, “Why are you single?” I wanted to know. I had to know. You know that whole inquiring minds thing right?
No, it was more than that. This man is different. He opens doors. He pulls out my chair. He listens. He follows through when it comes to showing interest in things I’m doing whether personally or professionally. He converses about things he knows nothing about because I want to talk about them. He listens enthusiastically and makes me feel uber smart and appreciated.
So, you’re probably thinking, T, if you know all of this then why are you asking this man why he’s single? Right? Because I had to know. I mean he’s too good to be true. He’s normal. Normal is good. I mean he has dinner with his parents every Wednesday. Sidebar: I think this is so cool.
His response? “Because I want to be.” He explained to me that he had two serious relationships that scarred him. He told me how he felt that he couldn’t be with a woman after his divorce because he paid an astronomical amount in child support. He said that he felt that he couldn’t date a woman while paying all that money. Wow! I was shocked by his honesty. But, appreciated that he shared that.
However, I wasn’t expecting his next question though…why are you single? I said because I’m a handful. He laughed. I told him that I was over playing a shrinking violet in someone’s orchestra when I was born to be the prima ballerina in my own ballet. I told him that I am all about compatibility and friendship first. I want to take my time experiencing being courted and making memories that matter and mean something in my life.
I explained that I am in no rush to do anything because I’ve been married before and I don’t want anymore children. I’m done. So for me it truly is me knowing and accepting the fact that the man who is supposed to be in my life will seek me out, court me, understand me, accept me and love me and my son with everything he has. He said I get it. I told him, “Remember when I told you that I want a man who knows I’m the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?” He said, “Yeah.” I replied, “That’s why I’m still single. No man has recognized that.”
Fast forward to today and I’m thinking, self-reflecting, self-evaluating and such and I realized that I was sorta right. I mean I think men recognized that I was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but they took it for granted that I would always be there shining for them. It sucks, but those experiences only made me stronger.
I, like many women realized one thing about me… I am a self-sabotaging sister. I am so used to dating losers or men that are whack or have whack tendencies/traits that I don’t know how to appreciate and accept the good guy standing in front of me. I’m always thinking what a loser.
I’m learning in my time of transition what love and relationships are supposed to be. Not that I’m in love, I’m just saying that I realized a lot of what I thought I knew about love was based on the premise that love was supposed to be painful. That love was supposed to hurt and be violent. That love was supposed to be difficult, controlling, insulting and just plain hard.
I’m not sure why I thought that. I mean my wedding ceremony incorporated the famous wedding verse:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NRSV)
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
But, I didn’t know what that verse truly meant. I mean I had survived dating and we had crossed over into marriage which I knew would be difficult, but I had to endure. We took vows. Pain could be temporary. I’ll just do better, try harder, pray more and be more vigilant. You see that?
I was blaming me.
I sat there and looked at it is my sole responsibility to fix the foolishness of my marriage. I accepted that it was my fault and I took vows and I need to be truthful to those vows. I mean it did say for better or worse. Worse can only be temporary right?
My wake-up call came when I started to realize this one fundamental fact…God’s love for me is not painful. It is ever-present. It is comforting. I realized that I wanted and needed that kind of love from a partner.
I want a patient love. I want a love that is easy-going and supportive. I want a love where we are not resentful of the successes we have. I want a love that will stand the test of time and be anointed by God.
I’m not in love. I’m just dating a great guy that it sometimes baffles me what he sees in my nerdy and neurotic self. It feels good to be courted in the traditional sense. No foolishness. No disrespect. Just good conversation and friendship. He’s a grown man. He’s a nice man and I am vowing to just accept that he’s a good guy who likes me for me.
The other night while I was perusing Facebook, I saw this post:
and paused. I sighed. I realized that I know some collectors. I’ve dated collectors. I don’t like to be collected. No one does. Dictionary.com defines a collector as a noun. A person or thing that collects.
Good or bad, I think many women and maybe some men can say that they’ve known a collector or two. Rather personally or professionally. Collectors simply collect things. Is it bad to collect things? No. But, should you collect men or women with no thought of them? No.
Collectors are selfish. Whether or not they know it is another thing, but let’s be real clear…collecting people for personal gain is just plain selfish. I dated a guy before who told me simply ,”I know I’m a better man with you than without you, but I’m just not ready to be in a relationship.” I was young, naive and believed that I could change him. I believed that if I stuck around and loved him harder and made him see what he could have that he would look up one day and see that I was worthy.
You get that? I thought that there was something wrong with me. I thought that I wasn’t worthy of his love because he wasn’t ready to love me. I believed in him and refused to accept that I couldn’t change him. I believed that if I just stuck around that when he wanted to be in a relationship, he would pick me. I refused to see that he had the problem. He was a collector.
How did I know? He told me that he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship with anyone. So, he dated me and other women. I was good for a little bit until I started asking questions and wanting something more. He would then put me on the shelf so to speak while he spent time with another woman in his collection. I would get frustrated and start dating other people. When I became less available to him, he would do something so sweet or romantic that pulled me back in (taking me off the shelf). But, he was manipulating me.
However, I allowed him to do so because I didn’t value my worth. There’s nothing wrong with being a valuable piece, but if you don’t know your worth, you will fall for a collector and allow them to manipulate the situation. You think you’re strong enough to handle it, but really ask yourself this question…should you? Should you have to handle or deal with someone who is a collector and not really going to commit to you. Commit to any one person? No.
As the author of this post stated, there is no true formula to relationships. They are fluid. You give and you take. Go with the flow as some people have said, but what I want you to remember is that if the person you’re going along with the flow won’t answer your questions when you’re trying to determine how you should dress for the ride (a life jacket or not, LOL), you’re probably dating a collector. Step away.
Move on and know that you’re worth so much more than being a piece in his collection.
Take care loves!