Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Healing Love of Nature

I’ve wanted to write about Love and Nature for a while now, but was stumped. I remembered how nature has been a healer for me. I smiled at the story of my close friend whose first date with her now husband was a bologna sandwich picnic lake in a state park. I’m still perplexed by how much I despise winter days, but as a child loved late night winter walks up the unpaved, dark, country roads of my grandmother’s rural Mississippi home. Camping is my favorite stress reliever. When I’m focused on building a fire, steadying my flashlight on a path, or staying warm in a tent with hot cocoa, the rest of the world melts away. With all this love of nature, you’d think writing about LOVE and NATURE would, well…come naturally! Ok, ok, forgive the play on words, but you get my drift, right?

Well, LJL fam, we’ve been pretty open and clear with one another, and right now, I’d argue that we’re in a little bit of a funk…and not the Bootsy Collins kind either. In fact, I wish I was ON Collins, Boulevard, that is.

Maybe the sun and salty air of South Beach would pull me out of this funk. Unfortunately, I’m suffering like the rest of the mainland, from this Arctic Blast that just won’t quit.

Chandra Kamaria and I often marvel at the brilliant, beautiful, productive, well educated, articulate and genuine brothers we’ve collected as friends, over the years…while faced with the stark reality that the other side of the bed is warmed only by our laptops. Is this the conundrum we face? Knowing, interacting with, loving and supporting our male counterparts, exclusive of that “ultimate love connection” we’re all taught to desire as women? It can’t be, it simply can’t be. We, like you dear readers, hold ourselves in high regard. We know that we operate in our worlds from positions of power and privilege, and have vowed to never abuse that power, but to definitely use it to uplift, mentor, support and serve. But the basis of all of this is love. Love begets Hope.

Hope is what Mother Nature gives us at every moment. In the fire and the seed, she destroys and gives life. Despite our darkest nights, the sun rises to greet us at each new day. Though our skies can pour lightning, thunder, rain, snow and ice, birds still honor their natural desire to fly through them. As the hauntingly accurate multimedia artist/poetress Alixa of PoeTree reminds us, in her poem Being Human, nature never questions its existence. She wonders if the insecurities of humans are evident in nature, and when we consider the ridiculousness of it all, it makes us understand, have new reverence and respect for both nature and ourselves.

Despite the trials, despite making the “right” decisions, love can be wrenching, it can make us question ourselves, but if we return to our source, if we return to nature, we can regain our hope, and remain open to the possibilities…I know I’ll be stargazing tonight, despite the measly 39 degrees we’ve been promised here in the Lone Star State…I need to know, to see and hold strong to “the possibilities.”
Are you with me? Can we all take some time and let nature renew us, and our hope?

Evaluating the Alternatives, Part I

As a newly single chick, I take great efforts to remain grounded and out of the range of becoming the Basic Woman after a break up, mainly because it's too exhausting to be so weighed down by what went wrong. Honestly, my former lover and I just couldn't see eye to eye on the matter so it's a wrap. He's a good man -- a little too damn wishy- washy for me, but a good man nevertheless. Anyway, it's my philosophy that the only person that can be controlled in a relationship is the one staring back at you in the mirror.

To that end, I have been scoping the scene, trying to figure out where I can position myself these days to score a few prospects (read: meet single men). Mind you, my time is even more valuable than it was four years ago (that's how long my guy and I were doing our thing). I got projects on the table to move, so while I run the risk of sounding like the crabby chick who sits in the corner at the club looking like she smells something putrid, I ain't got time for games!

Insert neck roll and 'sista girl' hand gesture here.

So, being the crafty sista that I am, I have decided to do some groundwork first and evaluate my alternatives as a single, thirty sss--*cough cough* year old woman. According to the Pew Research Center, marriage is in decline. There's not too many people interested in taking that stroll down the aisle until they are sure of their footing in life. Compared to that staggering divorce rate, which is holding steady, marriage almost sounds like a rather overrated, possibly obsolete thing these days.

In defense of those who are skeptical about marriage, I can fully engage in their reasonings for why marriage is not the 21st century move. At the same time, there are scores of happily married people who are putting in work and making it work. Therefore, I'm managing to hold on to my starry-eyed longing for that moment in life so it won't go dim. The fly thing is that as I have grown older, I know exactly what I want--a man who loves the absolute crust of me and will work just as hard as I am in making our marriage a fruitful union. Because I am aware of myself enough to know that I am too good to be true, he's going to need a very beautiful strategy of dealing with me when I have managed to push some of his buttons...and vice versa.

There's a lot to take into consideration when out here in the shark-infested waters of the dating ocean. Ok, that was corny -- but bear with me. As a sista, I have to take into consideration sheer numbers -- yes, sheer numbers. There's more of us than it is of them -- black women outnumber black men so it's a mathematical impossibility for all of us to get one to ourselves. Now, for many sistas, they have sought to rectify this issue with expanding their dating options (read: date White men). More power to them. I am all for expanding options. Actually, it's imperative to do so, but for me, in terms of preference, can't nobody do me like a Black man....or a really sexy Puerto Rican or Mexican....ahem! I digress. (Note: here's where this post will become a bit silly. Enjoy!)

I have my own way of handling this issue, remaining true to the C. Kamaria style which is direct and with all of the humor and irony that only life can provide. To adjust for the sheer numbers factor, Alternative #1 is to become a Cougar. Wait. Who am I kidding? I've dated younger men before and thoroughly enjoyed it so I might as well study up and earn my certification because currently I am a Cougar-in-training.

Just in case you've, somehow, missed out on this phenomenon, let me update you. A Cougar is a woman who's, at least, forty years old and dates men who are up to twenty years younger than her. I've had the Cougar discussion with my Big Sis and we were trying to determine the official age range of a Cougar, finally agreeing on forty and older, hence my definition.

Until recently, society had a tendency to frown on this thing even though it's been going on under the radar for decades, perhaps even centuries. In Black popular culture, we have quite a few references to this dating style. For instance, Zora Neale Hurston's infamous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, centers around a 38 year old woman in love with a man 12 years younger than her. The inspiration for Hurston's novel came after a painful breakup between the author and a younger man who was her lover -- much like another author, Terry McMillian, who wrote the book turned major motion picture, How Stella Got Her Groove Back. The stage play, The Old Settler, which later became a made-for-TV movie starring sisters Debbie and Phylicia Ayers-Allen, was about a woman in her mid-fifties falling in love with a twenty-nine year old handsome boarder at her sister's house. In the 80s, the Queen of Raunch, Millie Jackson, crooned in her throaty alto about being in love with a younger man.

As far as celebrities go, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Vivica Fox, Nancy Wilson, and Sanaa Lathan have all ventured into relationships and marriages with younger men. Again, I've put in my time dating younger men too and now that I'm in full stride, doing my grown woman thang, it stands a chance at getting better. Before, I was in my late twenties dating guys who were only a few years younger than me. Now, I can actually set the age range back, at least, ten years and still date an adult man! That way, I will not run the risk of becoming a Christine McCallum.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Well, what about older men? Uhhh. No. Look, I don't have a problem with dating a man slighter older than me, but if he is too far ahead of me in age (approximately 10 years or older), no thanks. Older men tend to be a bit too settled for me. Because I'm in the middle of a transition in life, honestly, I do not think I will keep an older man happy. For many women, older men mean security--financial and otherwise, but for me, it would be too much of a challenge unless he still has much youthful vitality, like Chuck D (oops! Did I just type that?). Otherwise, I'd rather be a babysitter than a caregiver, or, as one of my Cougar friends said so eloquently that the only thing an old man can do for her is die and leave her the money.

So, what do you think of Alternative #1? It's a great idea, yes? I think so. Feel free to share your thoughts on this alternative as well as others that could help all of us have a better shot of scoring out here in this game. Meanwhile, I need to make plans to camp out at college bookstores and libraries to do some prospecting. LOL!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Status Changin'

Greetings Fam!

Zenzile has filled you in on what’s been going on these days with us at LJL.  We’ve been dealing with the brushes of issues that accommodate the art of loving fiercely. I could go into all of the details but then I really don’t want to bore you with them, no, that’s not true—actually, I don’t want to intimidate or discourage you.  Instead, I’ll use my situation to illustrate a larger point.  

Remember my post on Love Meditations?  At that time, I was standing on the verge of an impasse and hesitated at surrendering as I was completely unwilling to give up on this particular love affair.  Vested time was the primary motivator for trying to hang in there. But then, one had to eventually come to one’s senses to surmise that wasting time is just wasting time.  The attempts at mulling it over to find a new spin had completely grown stale.

When Zenzile started this blog, I was grooving to a composition filled with desires for passionate encounters with my lover.  My writings were sweetened with the delicious morsels of loving a man who held real estate in my heart.  Now, it seems as though the tide has shifted, simply because I made a status change. 

Love called….he didn’t answer so….


At first, I did not want to own it fully—going from one state of vulnerability to another – initially open to my lover’s strategy until he abandoned it and now I’m wide open to the flawed possibilities and new opportunities that comes with starting over.  Let me forewarn you that there may be times when melancholy notes will seep through my writings on this blog.  Bear with me. I’ll get over it.  I’m in a place where I feel as though I am betraying myself  if I continued to desire him.  Of course, that won’t go away overnight.  It has to fade away a little bit with each passing day. 

Zenzile asked me about my new plans as if I’ve had time to develop any.  Because I’ve been consumed with what my status change means to me,  I haven’t given much thought as to what to do with it.   During our conversation, I gave her an overdrawn explanation that culminated in a sophisticated answer of ‘I don’t know’.   To be honest, I’m not really sure where to go from here.

Have you ever been in this position?  If so, share.  You never know who you might be helping.