The Color of Compromise

About six weeks ago, I joined a zoom meeting and had no idea what to expect. I was the youngest person in the meeting, and the entire meeting was uncomfortable and interesting. We watched (or listened, rather) to an episode of “The Color of Compromise” and had an open and honest discussion afterwards. I was so engaged in listening that I nearly forgot to say anything. Since then, we’ve met another two times and I wanted to write about my journey so far.

As many of you know, I am the mother of a beautiful and amazing biracial baby girl. When I decided to join this group, I never imagined I’d be crying during the third meeting. Nor did I expect to find others who have experienced racism similar to me (or rather, my daughter). See, I’m not the only one praying for my child (or grandchild) and their future in this climate. It is 2020 and only recently did the Washington Football Team change their name and finally dropped the racial slur Redskins. It is 2020 and I still hear close family members share their opinions on my dating life (I’m an equal-opportunity dater). It is 2020 and yet it feels like the 1800s.

Which led to me crying. When will it get better? Sometimes, I get so very overwhelmed. But what I heard this past meeting sparked a new hope within me. I may not be able to change the world, but I can work on myself and help to change my circle. And circle by circle, change can start and have a ripple effect. So, I am challenging myself by putting myself in these uncomfortable conversations. I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I mostly listen, but I also am learning how I can change myself from within to be more accepting and loving of others.

Because at the end of the day, that is what it’s about. Loving others as God loves us. How are you trying to be a better version of yourself? What are you doing to abolish hate and racism?

Sifting through the garbage

Back by popular demand. I am here to update you all on the dating life of Jen. A few weeks ago, in a moment of weakness, I downloaded the dating apps again. After finally letting go of St. Louis (sorry Cal), I found myself a mixture of bored and buzzed. So what better solution other than swiping through other bored people in the middle of a pandemic?

The reality of it all? I had to deny and reject several offers before finally, weeks later, meeting someone. But up until that moment, I really thought I was literally sifting through a landfill. See, there were guys asking me if I’d give them a blowjob on the first date (true story). And there were guys sending me unwanted dick pics with no warning.

There was also this guy who never called me despite me telling him I wouldn’t meet him without a phone call first. He was so mad when he finally realized he was going kayaking alone.

Up until this past week, I really thought I was wasting my time. It felt wrong. All this swiping and texting for what? And with what pretend free time that I don’t really have? I was feeling overwhelmed and once again just wanted to run away from it all. But then there he was.

He seemed so simple and normal at first. The conversation was easy. Then we spent 5 hours on the phone and it felt natural. We met this past week for sushi, and once again it felt normal. Have I known him for a week or longer?

It’s all new but I’ve been praying daily for God to guide my footsteps. He told me, back in November of 2016, that He has “someone better” for me. I am really hoping and praying for my someone better.

Why I’m not afraid of being single

First of all, before I dive into the topic of my dating life, I must pre-cursor with: I am completely and utterly full of joy in every aspect of my life. My career, my education (on-going), my family, my friends, and my faith. Everything literally feels like a dream. Needless to say, I have zero complaints. Except for one. My singleness. But not enough to lower my standards. Or settle for less.

See, recently someone told me I can’t afford to be picky. Maybe because I have a daughter and want another kid. Maybe because I’m not getting any younger. Maybe because it would be really nice to have someone to help me grow in all aspects of life: financially, physically, and mentally. But no where in any of that is what God wants for my life. See, it’s easy to give excuses as to why I could just settle for the next guy who swipes right on me (if I ever go back on the apps lol). Or I could start building a case to go backwards and just accept someone who doesn’t value me as much as I should be valued. But in doing any of these things, I lose myself and what brings me joy.

Why should I walk away from my joy-filled life only to check a box? And while a good, healthy partnership is way more than a box, right now without that good, healthy relationship waiting on my doorstep it is just a box to check off. And at the end of the day, I have to focus on the most important things in my life. My daughter is important, my faith is important, my well-being is important. See, I love myself and I love Jesus. And I love others. I have so much love sometimes it’s overwhelming. But no where did God say it’s ok to love those who don’t love you back. Or, rather, you can love but with boundaries.

I think these past four years since my husband left me in late 2016 I’ve struggled with my self-worth and value. See, I believed the lies the devil told me that I wasn’t worth it. I still battle these lies daily, but I know that I am beyond worth it. I know that I am powerful but not powerful enough to ruin God’s plan for my life. And so far, from what I’ve seen, it’s a glorious plan. Even if it includes me being single. I have all the love and joy I need.

I’ll leave you all with this piece of wisdom:

Three strikes, you’re out

After my last post, things took a drastic turn for the worse. I won’t lie, I was totally smitten with this Doctor moving to Boston. I am not sure if it was Harvard, or all the punny jokes, but he swept me off my feet. Unfortunately, as I was developing feelings for someone who was about to move away from me, he turned into a 14 year old over night. All of a sudden, his mom wouldn’t let him out of the house (I could see why he was moving away lol). I tried to see him, but all of the excuses came up and it made me realize I was not as important to him as he was to me.

Moral of the story: don’t fall for a guy who’s moving away and knows he’s moving away and doesn’t tell you right away. Ugh, Boston, you got me!

I literally paused my dating apps, but once he refused to hang out with me again I went back. I met the third guy, who was cool until he told me he was legally married. Three years separated and supposedly hasn’t talked to his wife in three years, but I couldn’t see past the word married. See, I dated a married guy before and you know how that ended. In total utter heartbreak. I told him there was no way I could see past this. Also what the hell was he waiting for? Aaron Burr, if you stand for nothing, what will you fall for? Like if 3 years of no communication didn’t warrant a divorce, what would? AND why the FUCK are you on a dating app if you’re married?

To be a little nice, I agreed to be friends with him. But even that is iffy. He supposedly is calling a lawyer tomorrow, but I am still confused as to why he didn’t call them yesterday, or better yet three years ago.

Amidst all of this, another guy started talking to me. His profile stuck out because he used foreign words such as: He is dedicated, loyal, and loving. He was really cute and worked in a hospital. It was almost too perfect. He video called me and I agreed to meet him three days later. Right before we meet, I look up his dating profile and I realize he deactivated it. I’ve never seen this before, and it sticks out to me. We meet, and we talk, and I realize we have a lot in common. We have been through similar situations, and we have similar goals in life. He’s a year away from his PhD about to be a doctor/director of a hospital. To say he’s smart is an understatement. I won’t lie, this guy seems foreign to me. He legit wants to be with me after two dates. I deactivated my dating accounts and I’m giving him a shot. So I guess, wish us luck. I’m weary after Bright to be honest.

And the craziest part is I have two guys from a dating app who slipped through the cracks right before I met new guy who are quite upset I didn’t even give them a chance. But I am not able to date around. I am a girl who gives each guy a fair and even shot. So to the new guy and to us. Hopefully we survive Covid (I told him I want him to meet my church fam but obviously that’s not possible). I’ve been praying daily as I really do want what God wants for me. Whether it’s this guy or someone else, I am looking towards Him to guide my footsteps.

Stay tuned for more adventures in my dating life and beyond.

My adventures in dating and how I found a unicorn

Due to popular demand, I am writing this blog post late on a Sunday night in regards to my adventures in dating. This is an ongoing narrative, but thought I’d give an update in the dating life of Jen.

Some background: I have been in full-time school since June 8th, and I have a 1 year old who keeps me busy when she’s not with her sitter (about 2-3 days a week) or her dad (every other weekend). To put it simply, I don’t really have time to date. I am looking for something very specific, I actually made a list. Ideally, I want to meet and be pursued by the man God has for me. I have a very specific plan that includes marriage in the future. I will list below what I want out of the man in my life, which has guided me in my decisions towards who I date and who I say bye to.

*He’s ambitious
*He’s open-minded
*He’s intelligent
*He’s passionate
*He’s family oriented
*He’s kind and sweet to me
*He accepts me for who I am
*I must be able to learn from him
*He wants to be my closest friend
*He enjoys learning
*He loves trying new things
*He knows who he is
*He’s on his journey of finding his purpose
*His heart is pure
*His soul is raw and real

Through my experience, I tend to have very specific preferences. Ever since February of this year, I’ve been very interested and honed in on black men in the medical field. I dated a pharmacist from March to June, and I went back to the dating apps about two weeks ago. That’s when the adventure started. I was striking out on the app until last week Saturday I was inspired, drank some wine, and started swiping away. I started talking to some interesting people, video chatted with one in particular and we agreed to meet the next morning for coffee. We met, and he was super cute and really tall (6’4″) but after thinking further, I determined he wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I also, indubitably, got distracted by someone more engaging. This guy just kept texting me these awful and hilarious jokes. At first I thought he was yet another guy trying to get in my pants, but he turned out to be so much more.

After texting all day Sunday and Monday, we decide to last minute meet on Monday night. We go out for food and the connection is undeniable. I literally can’t stop laughing all night long, the next day my face hurts as I teach my lesson in my internship. He is one of the two guys I’ve ever met and felt this instant connection with. So much, I start thinking there’s something not right about the situation. My fears are confirmed on Wednesday afternoon when he texts me that he’s moving to Boston in August for the job of a lifetime: to be a doctor at Harvard University Teaching Hospital. He basically asks me if I want to move forward and try a long distance relationship (insert gasp here). Day 4. LDR. Understandably, I start thinking about the pros and cons. I actually take the next 24 hours to process things, ask others their opinions, and make a pros and cons list. The pros outweigh the cons, and I agree to continue to see him until he moves on August 3rd.

We spend Thursday night, and Saturday night together. I meet his friends Saturday night and have a great night with him and them in the city (both downtown and in Lakeview). We both are currently in the same mindset that we will take things one day at a time. I won’t lie, I already looked at flights to Boston and texted my bestie Joyce who lives in Boston to tell her I want to come (pending covid status).

Someone tell me to wake up. This guy is too great but is it only because he’s moving away? Has anyone been in a long distance relationship? Did it work out? Or no?

Picture of me attached. I refuse to take a picture of us because there is no us unless we somehow weather the storm of the impending distance between us.

On to the next! To be continued…

Growth comes from discomfort

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re likely aware of the many protests occurring in order to bring about changes in regards to how people of color (POC) are treated. This is not a new fight, it’s actually been going on for hundreds of years. The hate crimes/ police brutality are not new either, they are just being video taped more regularly thanks to technology. Through everything though, we as a people know that change won’t come from us just sitting at home. We must unite, protest and march together to bring about change. White people along with people of color must come together to bring about the needed changes. We must not remain silent.

It’s easy to see discomfort is a necessary thing to endure in order to grow as a nation, as a community, and as humans. A lot of people get stuck. A lot of people get comfortable. Many people are so comfortable, they’re miserable. Actually I personally know several people who are comfortably broke. So broke they can’t even feed their own children, and yet won’t step out of their comfort zone to relieve some of their expenses or make more money.

Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a totally new situation won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. Calvin Coolidge says “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”

I, for one, know that I am not happy with my current financial situation. I also know that I have the power to change it. I want to grow not only financially, but also spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I want to help students learn and better their lives through science and beyond. I know I have to face some discomfort, I actually get really nervous giving presentations/speeches. Especially on video. And here I am jumping into teaching (likely virtually) starting in July. So I know it will be uncomfortable. I know it’ll be hard. I also know it’ll be worth it. I will be exhausted but also full of joy.

What area of your life are you trying to grow or change? Are you sitting idle hoping for things to just magically get better, or are you putting yourself out there to get uncomfortable and force yourself to change?

Growing in emotional maturity

For the longest time, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. In college, I was holding my breath waiting for my boyfriend to trust me. Once he didn’t trust me, there was no relationship. I just kept pressing forward only to make things even harder and more painful when I finally walked away. After college, I pursued a married man. He ended up doing to me exactly what he did to his first wife, but you could say I had it coming since I was the reason he left her. After our divorce, I started pursuing just the physical aspects of relations. I was literally too scared to get hurt to even consider a committed romantic relationship. Once this life caught up to me and I started considering seeking a healthy relationship, I found out I was pregnant.

With the pregnancy came all the feels. Looking back, I had a very physically healthy pregnancy, but my emotional well-being was very low. I was facing an uncertain future with a baby and her dad who wasn’t capable of loving me. Here I was, once again, looking for love in the wrong place. I yearned for him to even try and make it work with me. But it wasn’t in the cards. I had to finally stop being emotionally immature and move on from the things that weren’t helping me grow. Once I let him go, I felt my heart finally healing. Healing from the college guy who never trusted me. Healing from my husband who left me for someone(s) else. Healing from my baby’s dad who likely really wishes we had been more careful. (I refuse to use the word he did on here, but that part was definitely the most painful).

I started and have been reading the bible daily. I’ve been listening to certain podcasts and reading books. I’ve really taken the time to be selfish, if you will. And focus on myself. And I agreed with myself to take time to be single and heal with one exception. If someone were to enter my life and help me to grow then I’d allow it. I met someone unexpectedly about two months ago and it’s been an interesting ride. Shortly after we met, the city where we live entered a shelter-in-place that’s still occurring. Through this time, it hasn’t been easy to get to know each other. At first, things seemed great. But as time goes on, it appears to me that while his words are great and helpful, his actions seem to be misleading. I’m not quite sure if he sees me as his girlfriend or just a friend with benefits.

I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt since things aren’t normal due to Covid-19, but I also have to be true to myself. I keep praying to God to show me what He wants for my life. And I will continue to pursue His word. I just felt like I had to share, since because of the growth I see and feel inside of me, I will no longer settle for anything less.

I hope everyone’s doing well despite the craziness. 🙂

Positive mindset and manifestations

Please note: I am 100 percent aware that things could be worse. I am not here to say anything negative about anyone, as I do not know everything they’re going through and so trying my best to see things with grace and love despite the hardships I am experiencing.

Three months ago I finally woke up and decided to trust God completely and walk away from the toxic environment I had let take over my life. After nearly 9 months of praying and trying to make things work with the father of my child, I had to finally let him go. He made it clear he had no intention to try and make it work with me. He actually told me I had to change in order for him to even make an effort. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, my ex husband. I knew if I kept lying to myself and moving forward with this man I would end up slowly dying inside.

Sorry, that may seem extreme, but I know I am more than enough. And I don’t have to change for anyone who’s unwilling to change for me. Think of it this way: I was willing to look past his flaws to try and make it work. He wasn’t. And that’s okay, better to know now and move on before having it hurt even more.

What was holding me back was fear. Mostly, financial fear. See, I was already working three jobs and barely making it. Asking for a room-mate to move out meant losing the small amount he was helping towards my mortgage and bills. It meant waiting on the state of Illinois to process my child support claim, which I expected to take a few months even before covid-19.

But in January, I started readjusting my mindset to focus on the positive. I started writing down manifestations to change the negative things going on in my life into positive. To be completely honest, I never planned on sharing these but have felt called to since we’re all going through hard times these days. So, enjoy.

Instead of I’ll watch our child so you can work three jobs,
Manifest
I’ll take care of you and our children so you no longer have to work three jobs.

Instead of I’ll split your mortgage with you but not contribute towards anything else,
Manifest
I’ll make sure you’re financially comfortable and content.

Instead of my other child is worth more than the one I have with you,
Manifest
Every child is priceless.

Instead of outgrowing a two bedroom condo,
Manifest
I will own a beautiful and spacious house in the Oak Park area.

Instead of you’re not worth fighting for
Instead of I don’t want to help you heal and take down your walls
Manifest
I’ll support you and be patient with you during your healing process

Instead of unless you’re struggling financially, I don’t see why I have to help contribute towards our child’s life
Manifest
I will do everything I can to ensure our child is healthy and happy

Have a great Sunday everyone! And I hope some of this has touched you/helped you in some way!

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Moving on from disappointment

If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ve likely noticed a trend of me writing about heartbreak and hard situations that have shaped me into the person I am today. Ever since going through my divorce, I have been on the defense with every person I meet. I settled just for the wrong attention after my divorce just to justify things in all the wrong ways. Because of this, I met a slew of disappointing people. I told myself the physical attention was enough for me, but in reality I was dying inside. My expectations lowered to a point where I expected to be disappointed. I lost my way from God’s plan for my life. I lost sight of Mr. Better, the person I heard God tell me about. I started believing the lies people were saying about me. That I wasn’t good enough to be loved, to be taken care of, to be put first. That somehow I had to just settle into being last in someone else’s life.

Due to all this heartbreak and pain, I started closing up. My astrology sign is a crab, and I took no time to harden my shell. I started self-sabotaging anything that seemed good. I didn’t trust anyone at all. I started telling myself it was too good to be true, or there were hidden red flags. I would start creating excuses to not meet someone, or not go on a second date, or just plain not even talk to someone smiling at me. I have a three year history of running away from everyone and everything, good and bad. The only people I haven’t pushed away are my church and running friends. They’re the only ones I really keep around. For everyone else, there was a very tall wall to climb.

More recently, I’ve been taking time daily to focus on God’s word and what He wants for me. I have been seeking His voice lately and have heard him through a few avenues. He is still saying there’s someone better for me. He’s telling me there’s someone worth letting my guard down for. Someone God’s been preparing for me as much as He’s been preparing me for him.

After about 4 weeks on a dating app, I decided to delete it and try a different one. An app I had never really tried before but I know two people who found their spouses through it. I had never tried it before because I wasn’t ready to date with intention until recently. I was too scared of getting my heart hurt once again to actually consider a boyfriend.

Also, it’s important to note, I haven’t had a boyfriend in 8 years. I have completely forgotten how to be a girlfriend. How to let someone in. How to just be myself with no fear and no regrets. Last week this guy messaged me as I was about to delete all dating apps, then he called me. I freaked out, I can’t remember the last time a guy called me to talk. Then the craziest thing happened, he called me daily after that. And we made plans to meet. It all felt natural. I’ve known him not even a week, but feels like I’ve known him longer. But in the midst of it all, I’m still fighting my battles of self-sabotage and wall building.

Last night he sang this song to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqIxCtEveG8

And it was like the song was written about me. And him. See, he’s been single for 5 years. I’ve been single for three. We were just not finding the right person for us. I was trying to fit square pegs in the circle God created for my life. I was holding my breath in hopes for someone to wake up and realize my worth. I was wasting my time with all the wrong people. But it helped me realize exactly what I don’t want. Exactly what will make me run away.

While my walls are still high and strong, I have started on my healing journey to let God guide my steps.

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Motherhood has broken my heart

I’m forever changed and always grateful for it. This is a growth opportunity, but one I didn’t see coming when I found out I was pregnant in September of 2018. See, I had lost my way. I was trying to pave my own path, only to be shown once again that my plan wasn’t written by me.

Once I became a mother, some things changed in my heart. One, I fell in love with my child. She was and still is my miracle baby. The baby that I was told would be very hard to have. The baby I will never take for granted after seeing so many others struggle through fertility and beyond. I can safely say I’ve never felt this type of love before and can’t imagine being able to replicate it ever again (unless there’s another child in my future). Two, I started feeling differently towards her father. This was the thing I didn’t see coming. I started imagining things differently from what was the harsh reality around me. I started dreaming and hoping. I fell in love with him. No, the idea of us working out. Of Aria having parents who loved each other and who could show her what love looks like.

I found myself yearning for the perfect family. The family that loved each other and loved others. The blended family that actually got along. The unusual story of it actually working out. My heart turned into a mother wanting to actually not be that stereotypical struggling single mom. My thought patterns changed and I started having massive anxiety. Sleepless nights, explosive moments, huge mood swings. I just wanted to have it all.

I got so wrapped up in my alternative reality that I didn’t see I was dying on the outside. Things weren’t working out. I was miserable, and I was trying to be someone I hated. Someone I didn’t recognize came out. I started drinking heavily, and using other coping mechanisms. It got so bad that the person I wanted so badly to want me was triggering memories of my ex husband and my failed marriage.

Thankfully, I was able to take a step back and make the healthiest decision. I chose to stop living in my fake world and finally wake up. I realized that being a struggling single mother isn’t half as bad as what I was doing to myself. And actually a lot healthier. Not just for me, but also for my daughter. She needs me to be happy and healthy, not destroying myself. She needs to see what wholesome, unconditional love is. Because she deserves it. And I deserve it. I am enough. I am purpose. I am love.