February is always my favorite month of the year. Between Black History realness, and it being the shortest distance between my paychecks, the second month, is particularly lit. The icing on the cake? The quintessential Designated Day of Love, or as y’all call it, Valentine’s Day, which also happens to be my favorite Holiday--- falls in the middle of the month and brings about an upsurge of positive energy that makes one feel… all warm and fuzzy. I’ll say though, that I was particularly dumbfounded, that some of y’all Bitter Betty’s, (shoutout to @karmajonez for that term) legit tried to ruin it for the rest of us. From the rants about its capitalistic roots (name a holiday that exists without capitalism) and the tired ass complaint of, ‘you don’t need one day to tell someone you love them,’ which--- duh, I was overwhelmed by the pseudo woke-ness surrounding an otherwise charming and delightful holiday. Y’all ain’t got jobs? I mean, with Orange Tyranny and his Minions ruling the free world, we need all the love we can get.
You’re probably thinking, “why is she talking about Valentine’s Day in March?” There’s a point—I promise.
So, last night, as my favorite month came to a close and I found myself pondering why people would spend their time and energy ridiculing those who chose to celebrate with their significant other, family’s or with their single Black self, I also thought about my Valentines of years past. My best one?
Sophomore year in college, I had a bae. And by bae, it probably meant that we studied in each other’s rooms, dry humped till one of us got tired, and perhaps shared some waffle fries and bomb ass lemonade from the Chick Fil-A in the Campus PunchOut. Short version, Sophomore Bae saw that I had just gotten a Juicy bracelet for my birthday, (I’m aging myself), and I was consistently babbling about what I wanted my first charm to be. Well, four months later, Valentine’s Day rolls around, and I come back to my room from a full day of classes, to a note attached to my door saying, that my ‘Secret Valentine’ was sending me on a scavenger hunt around my dorm for my gift.
He even got his boys in on it, giving them handwritten clues to give to me, while myself and my two besties at the time giggled like idiots running up and down Meridian Hill Hall.
It was cute. The hunt ended at his room but, before he gave me the gift, he sat me down and sternly told me that he wanted me to know that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship. He wanted to, and I quote, “play the field.” Excited, I brushed it off, eagerly waiting for my present. He handed me the small box—in it held the exact charm I wanted. I squealed in delight.
The next day when it the excitement wore off, I found myself staring at the bracelet with its new addition, questioning why I even accepted the charm. I called him to my room, (probably on my pink Motorola Razr) and gave it back, even though I’m almost positive he bought it with part of his student loan refund check. He. Was. Pissed.
My 19-year-old reasoning? If I can’t have it the way I want it, I don’t want it. And I wanted him. The commitment.
Fast forward, almost a decade later, I'm a little wiser, and probably a little wider (ahem), and one of the many recognizable changes that I've undergone, due to the the various relationships and courtships that I've experienced, is that I've become somewhat of a CommitmentPhobe. There, I said it. Particularly and primarily, and especially when it comes anything that I can’t control. Which means—you guessed it. The Mens and 'nem.
This is important for a few reasons:
We’ve all been hurt. Some have been devastated, (I’ll get into that at a later date), but I came to understand that it's the reason why I deal with men in the manner that I do. Why my sometimes stoic demeanor can be translated into apathy. How my excitement for meeting someone new, quickly fades when I begin to become annoyed by their quirks and antics. Why my (sometimes) erratic thought process surrounding male behavior leads me to the swift delete and block ministry in my contacts. Why when they lay it on thick, I RUN.
Unlike going to the gym and eating well, for example, which pretty much guarantees that I’ll get out what I put in, (a moderately snatched waist and #GracesBodyGoals) the fear of giving and not getting, is paralyzing.
In fact, I’d surmise that many of us have this same or similar issue, based on the conversations I’ve had on the Interwebs with my fellow twenty- somethings. That the vulnerability, or lacktherof rather, makes it nearly impossible to form romantic relationships with one another. A few months ago, I was chatting with a good friend of mine and he told me something simple, but profound. “Be committed to the process, but completely unattached to the outcome.”
Some of us are so addicted to the end result— the relationship, not getting played, etc. that we don’t enjoy the process therein. As a result, it causes us to give up and walk away without giving the moment an authentic effort. While I agree that you should cancel anything that is stealing joy or doesn’t sit right with your spirit, I’d also propose that discernment be a regular tool in your arsenal, to know what (read: who) is worth committing to, and what’s not.
If Sophomore Bae taught me one thing, it's that commitment--while not all black and white, requires above all, a made up mind. Ain’t no half steppin. You’re either in, or you’re out.
Choose wisely. Me? I'm working on it.