Corn(y) and Cheese(y)

Fun fact about This Square Peg: I’m a shameless, sincere, straight up goofball. I jazz hand, I make silly faces, I tell/laugh at dumb jokes, I opera sing in the grocery store, I dance like a weirdo. And I have no qualms about any of these things. Being serious is a thing. Being not serious at all is also a thing.

I was reading an interesting post on social media where the author made mention of “corny love.” He said it lovingly about the relationship he and he wife have, and it got me thinking.

We shall have corny love, he and I, whoever he may be, and we shall have it in spades. My goofballery will amuse him to no end, especially during times when perhaps levity is what we need to make a situation bearable. He may not be on the upper echelon of silliness like me, but being open to it is key. I insist on corniness and cheesiness. On text messages that tickle and delight. On sharing my wild, interpretive dancing. On laughter well into the night.

Because even though I don’t share those aspects of my personality with everyone (and I don’t), he’s the one who will have it all. Jazz hands included.

Lessons.

affection board broken broken hearted
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This post is inspired by a very moving and honest post on In My Sunday Best, where blogger Sade openly discusses her experience with relationship rejection. Read it and reflect; I appreciated her candor and discussing the inspiring lessons she learned about herself. As I read it, it reminded me so much of my own journey. A journey fraught with rejection.

Before I go on, I want to thank my tried-and-true readers for hanging with me in this little corner of the webverse. I’ve always considered This Square Peg to be an online journal. And in a journal, you talk about the highs (loving my natural hair, my writing, my adventures) and the lows (managing my depression, emotions, and the various disappointments of life). Thanks for supporting your Square Peg through it all, with your comments, your follows, your reading.

My first foray into admitting my feelings for someone and the rejection that came after happened in the 8th grade. At the time, I didn’t necessarily feel rejected; although my declaration of “love” was by no means mutual, I still felt that the object of my affection and I became somewhat friends after all of that. Nevertheless, it started the ball rolling. The combination of movie fantasy, being a romantic (more on that later) and an intense desire to be loved/be in a relationship were usually the catalysts. Despite being a shy girl, something came over me during those moments–being bold and expressing how I felt meant more than anything. Throughout my 20s, it happened time and time again. Meeting a guy, finding myself attracted to him, eventually opening up and telling him how I felt. I continued on despite the pain of rejection; somehow, there was a degree of hope that one day, the person I was meant to be with would cross my path. But hope isn’t steel. Eventually, it all started to affect me: what was so wrong with me? Why didn’t they want me in return?

After this happened, I was officially done. I told myself that even if I was attracted to someone, the weariness on my heart and the embarrassment of putting myself out there with no mutual return were simply things I no longer wanted to risk. I was also suffering from what Sade eloquently described as “rejection as reflection.” Their rejection of me had translated into seeing myself with incredibly negative eyes. Unworthy. Unpretty. The rest. By the time my 30s came along, although I became committed to now loving myself and repudiating that negative self-view, there was no way I was ever going to put myself out there again when it came to relationships and matters of the heart.

These days, I continue to remain stalwart in not approaching a guy with my feelings; I’m fine with the menfolk doing some work. However, I also don’t believe in coyness or not being open if I share his feelings or his interest. I don’t believe in stringing people along. But that man hasn’t shown up.

Yet.

Let’s talk about that word, yet.    

A friend recently described me as a romantic. Deep down, I balked at the description. Something about that word completely turned me off; I imagined treacly women who were hopelessly waiting on fairy tales and other unrealistic, rose-colored wants for a relationship. Sure, I believe in love and in falling in love, but I’m also not naive to the uneasy parts of relationships. I lived in a household when things got all too real, at times. Never doubting that my parents loved each other, I was equally exposed to times when things weren’t so pretty and escape, by all parties, seemed ideal. So being described as a romantic wasn’t my favorite thing. But it’s me, folks. I had to analyze why it put me off so much. See the previous sentences. I associated a romantic nature with a weak nature. Weak and unrealistic and living in a total fantasy world. But that’s unfair. A romantic person who believes in love and wants it for herself can also be a realistic person who has her feet squarely planted on the ground. So yeah, I’m a romantic realist. It is what it is. Thanks to that friend who got me thinking and ruminating.

So, to wrap rejection and the yet in a pretty bow: not allowing my history with rejection to douse me with negativity, cynicism, and a belief that love will never come is something I’m trying to balance. I don’t want to give in to mentally throwing away the idea of love because it hasn’t appeared, or base my feelings on things not working out in my past. Like Sade reasoned, none of those guys were meant for me. Looking back, I can make that statement with absolute certainty.

Share any thoughts you have in the comments.

 

 

The Watched Pot.

Never boils.

Specifically: A watched pot never boils. Time moves slowly when you’re waiting or potboiling watching for something to happen. I’ve been thinking about those words this week, specifically because my mother said them to me on the phone. During our conversation a few days ago, I hinted at one of the major Worries for a Singleton, which is #1,089,556 on the list: hesitating about making a major life decision because you wonder if something or, rather someone, waits for you around the corner. (And a part of you wants to wait to make that major life decision until you’re 1 of 2.) Her response: “Oh, Adjoa, don’t worry about those things. A watched pot never boils. I don’t want those thoughts to consume you. It’s easier said than done, I know, but don’t overthink it.” I let her words marinate before replying that I wasn’t necessarily obsessing, but merely thinking aloud.

My initial, knee-jerk reaction? 1. Pure irritation. Couldn’t I just express myself without the assumption that I was engaging in overthinking? Couldn’t I just say I was thinking about the future and what will be without being reminded of a slowly boiling pot? My next reaction: 2I’m never not going to think about my future and whether I’ll share it with someone. It’s always going to be a thought. It pays rent, that thought. It shares a room in my brain and it ain’t going away. Next reaction: 3. Grateful for the acknowledgement that it’s all easier said than done. As I get older and those desires to have my own family grow, it’s certainly harder to just be carefree and let it go and don’t think about it and la la la. It just is. Final reaction: 4She’s right, don’t overthink it. And as much as I have a Master’s Degree in Overthinking, my mother was absolutely correct in knowing that I do overthink, I do over-worry, I do over-consume in endless ruminations about life and the future and love and all that. And she, my biggest fan and cheerleader, didn’t want me to drive myself crazy.

Y’all. It’s hard wrapping your brain around needing something and going through life not seeing that thing manifest itself. It’s just hard. No amount of well-meaning advice…

  • Don’t think about it!
  • Are you even ready? It’s really hard!
  • Are you putting it out there?
  • Just move on!

…will remove the fact that in life, when we need something and we’re not seeing it, it’s just difficult to la la la and keep calm and carry on. Overthinking will happen. Mental over-consumption will happen. Emotional merry-go-rounds will occur. But it’s important to extract what you need–the acknowledgement of things being easier said than done, for example, or the reminder that people who love you don’t want you to stress yourself out–and try, very hard, to keep it moving. It doesn’t mean you stop thinking or praying or wondering, but it means you fight (fight hard) to not be consumed.

So the pot is there and I take comfort in knowing that it will boil. Until then, I’ll be peeking in the kitchen every now and again.

Blogtober #5: The Autumn Boyfriend

Y’all know I’m a singleton, right? If you didn’t know: I’m a singleton. I enjoy my singleton life immensely, but yeah, full disclosure:  I also want that demographic to change.smile And I have to tell you, dear reader, that the desire to change my singleton status becomes even more heightened when autumn settles over the atmosphere.

Is it the image of walking down a leaf-strewn path with my hand inside another’s? 

Gazing up at an orange moon and marveling about its wonder to someone else and not just to myself?

The general electricity in the air that seems to call out for change?

Years ago, I mentioned this to my bestie, that I seem to crave the presence of another even more during the fall. “I get it,” she said. “There’s just something in the air that makes a lot of folks feel that way.” autumn2

Is it the prospect of dressing up in my burnt orange and boots for a non-solo dinner or movie outing?

Leaving the mark of my fall-inspired chocolate and/or burgundy lip color on another’s cheek?

Cuddling?

You’d think that a season where nature dies beautifully and bursting with color wouldn’t necessarily call for the welcoming of love. Or perhaps that’s it exactly. It is the fall of the year, after all. Nature’s last hurrah as it prepares for the unremitting winter to come. Maybe I want to fall in love in fall to prepare for the inevitable chill on its way; the darkening, cold, hushed days that, sometimes, can be unbearable when you’re alone.

#realtalk: It’s a year-round desire. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t entertain the idea of a seasonal love and then moving on when summer wakes up. But there’s just something about love and this time time of year.

C’est la vie en automne, I suppose. Happy Friday, onwards, and bon weekend…

because I’m petty.

No other way to say it.

I just am.

Anywho, I wrote this brief essay/diatribe. Happy Tuesday.

 

Miss Petty Boots 2016

You don’t recognize me, do you? You’re doing that I’m trying to place that face squint with the head tilt to the side, as if the re-positioning of your head and narrowing of your eyes will somehow ignite the memory corner of your brain. Don’t sweat it. I know exactly who you are.

What was it: about three years ago?

We all have preferences and you exercised your preferential right not to be attracted to me. So you told our Yenta that you’d rather not and I said all right and we all moved on with our lives.

But who is this woman standing a few feet away from me? The face is somewhat familiar, but…the woman from three years ago was a bit…chubbier? The face was a bit fuller? The physique a bit more zaftig? (Let’s be real; you’d never use that word.) But this woman is really svelte. The face: thinner. But I know that face, don’t I? But this woman is different. I can’t stop pretending not to stare at her. Hope she doesn’t notice.

Oh, I notice. I see you pretending.

I’m going to be Miss Petty Boots 2016 for a second: it’s because I’m hotter than you remember. I worked on my health and my fitness, and one of the pay-offs is a leaner version of the confident woman you preferentially chose to not pursue three years ago. Back then, sure, I was low-key excited at the suggestion from our Yenta that she could introduce us. After all, you smiled at me, so… (what it took back then for me to be intrigued by a fellow: a smile. *Le sigh.) And yes, my active imagination plotted our entire courtship from initial meeting to wedding day. So when our Yenta informed me shortly thereafter that you weren’t interested, it was disappointing. Not hurling myself dramatically off a nearby bridge disappointing, but disappointing nonetheless. But I moved on. You moved on. And now here we are. Don’t worry, though. I’m only Miss Petty Boots in print. I’m not the kind of woman that will saunter up to you and publicly remind you of the past.

I’m the kind of woman that will continue her conversation with her friends and peripherally remain aware of your fixed regard and leave it all there. (Still about 75% petty boots, though.)whitpetty

*A smile may be lovely, but it’s just rows of meaningless teeth. Be prepared to impress me. 

So keep narrowing your eyes and tilting your head.

Maybe you’ll figure it out.

Tips.

As a singleton, invariably, 1) I’m offered someone’s murderous son/nephew/cousin/friend/random guy on the street as a potential marriage partner, and 2) I receive plenty of tips and advice about my future marriage. Here are a few of my favorites, along with a bit of commentary.

A good marriage consists of two forgivers. I’ve heard this more than once, and I like it. To me, it means that I can forgive him for forgetting that I occupy our home when a game is on and he can forgive me for reacting…melodramatically. (Think screaming “you obviously don’t love me” from our upstairs balcony.) marriagetip

Marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100. Another good one. I may be functioning at a third-grade level when it comes to Math and numbers, but this is clear: he will 100 percent buy me pretty presents and I will 100 percent love him for it.

The first year is the hardest; it can make you or break youMy mother said this to me. I believe her. I mean, yes, I imagined Idris and I just swimming in sunshine and roses that first year, but I don’t doubt that there will be some growing pains: what to name our yacht, pestering him to leave the outgoing message on my cell phone, reminding him about our weekly galas in the city (he can be so forgetful)…

Never go to bed angryTrue. But what about infuriated, incensed, and/or enraged?

All humor intended.

Happy Wednesday.

to all the boys i’ve “loved” before…

There was the very first guy, *Darrell Henson, whose uncanny resemblance to Michael Jackson meant that I was instantly in love. That was in the 5th grade. crush

We, of course, need to mention Steven Morgan, whose hazel eyes and 6th grade charm meant that I was quickly under his spell. Even when he fell in love with the school beauty, Denise Hutchinson, and employed me as his deliverer of love notes to her (not the first or last time that happened, sadly), I somehow never stopped swooning.

Yes, folks, we’re talking an interesting journey down Infatuation Highway this Wednesday. Because other than devoting myself to writing, reading, and barely arithmetic, starting from puberty down to a bit into my early 30s (more on that later), my life was dedicated to seriously crushing on boys.

As you read above with the first one/blueprint, Darrell, it generally didn’t take much for me to think these boys were the bee’s knees. I mean, come on: he looked like Michael Jackson. In other words: the face. Others were nice, or funny, or listened to my dumb jokes, or whatever. But lest you think there was an open door policy in my heart and these guys came in and out every few weeks, I have to inform you that I was a faithful crusher. Like years with some of them.

There was Ricky Sharpes, who held my 12 year-old heart in his hand for a whopping 3 years. From 7th grade to freshman year in high school, I thought he was everything. Those overalls he wore with one strap hanging. (It was the 90s. You loved it, too.) Those chiseled features. That quiet intensity. One day, while hanging out in the mall with my sissy and a friend, imagine my sweet shock when Ricky and his older brother–even handsomer, if you can envision this–passed us by as they walked toward the exit. I mean, seeing him in school was one thing. Randomly seeing him outside of school was worthy of 8 hours of squealing. And if you’re wondering, yes, I thought the entire thing was divinely caused, the two of them simply walking by us. Again, everything. In the 8th grade, inspired by I suppose way too many John Hughes movies, I declared my love to him by way of a note surreptitiously slipped into his locker in between classes. I think it was 10 pages. I basically broke down why he and I were perfect for each other. Nothing came from it. I knew he read it because I would catch him looking at me strangely in our English class. But he seemed a bit more talkative after that unfortunate declaration of love, going as far as defending me when one of my lovely bullies felt the need to try and shame me in front of others in said English class. Yep, I nearly died. By the middle of freshman year, however, it was clear that my beloved Ricky was not a possessor of a working brain. That quiet, squinty-eyed intensity was likely a clue that he was trying to form an actual thought. It was over.

But not the crushes. The crushes weren’t over.

There was Dave, the talented actor who starred in our high school drama’s production of Fiddler on the Roof and quickly stole this adolescent heart. My goodness. Obsessed. Like buying him gifts obsessed. (Years and years after high school, he happened to walk into the bookstore where I worked. He came to my register. He said I looked familiar. I maintained, from beginning to end, that we didn’t know each other.)

(If you open that bookstore link, you’ll read about another crush. Le sigh.)

As soon as I began college, there was John Fontaine: dreamy, looked like Jordan Catalano, and wrote poetry. I was toast…until he asked me whether I used mushrooms for inspiration in my creative writing. Once I confirmed that he wasn’t referring to food (“what, you mean like actual mushrooms?”), it was over and out for that weirdo. True story.

On and on it went. As I got older and these eyes began to lose their rose-colored tint, I would tell myself to stop seeking crushes. I was tired of the low that entered after the high of the crush dissipated. I wanted to stop analyzing whether a simple smile or conversation meant more than it actually did. I mean, just because Juan accepted my friend request didn’t mean anything, did it? Did it?

But you already know how it all ended. After the bestie stuck me in the arm with a dose of reality, I became (and remain) determined to disallow crushing from popping its pesky head back into my life. Reminiscing is fun and always hilarious, but I want mutuality. The real thing. Crushing on someone who crushes back and wants to take it beyond those heady moments in the beginning. And until that happens, kindly refer to me as Mrs. Idris Elba.

Oh, darling.
                Oh, darling.   

*names have been changed, not to protect them boys, but to protect me. This is the Internet, after all.

For the Mister.

Dear Future Mister,

Here are a few things to know and note:

I’m moody. I won’t qualify it with a comment about females and hormones. I was simply born moody. Mr. Rogers

Sometimes it won’t be your fault. Don’t worry.

When it is, I’ll try to communicate that. When it’s my fault, I’ll try to communicate that, too.

About communication: so, yeah…it’s just gonna get real sometimes. Let’s promise to not let the sun set with you and me committing harm with our words. No matter how sleepy I get (more on that later), I won’t sleep until we fix it.

Speaking of things becoming real: sometimes real life pushes me into my tiny cocoon, where stress, bills, and home improvement don’t exist. Gently pull me out if it’s taking too long to return.

I’m sleepy all the time. During events, during plane rides, during trips to the grocery store. But if you have to work late, I’ll nap on the couch while I’m waiting for you to get home.

I’m a sincere goofball.

I’m also sincerely serious about things that are important to me. I hope you are, too.

I’m obsessed with music, poetry, the arts, dancing like a weirdo, history, and old movies.

I don’t watch sports. I can’t. It makes my eyes bleed. But I will completely support you in your love or whatever you love, eyes bleeding and all.

But you will have to sit next to me at Broadway show. Just saying.

I miss my Dad and will often enter that quiet place where I wish he was around to meet you. Or simply wishing that he was around. I’ll come back and appreciate you all the more.

Let’s travel as often as we can. We can go to Rome and take naps in our hotel room if you want. But we’re in Rome. (That’s to say that I’m not a stickler for traditional touristy stuff. Just want to breathe that foreign air sometimes.)

About cooking: Let us pray.

About prayer: it’ll be the foundation of our relationship.

I like surprises. Like tickets to see James Taylor and you somehow get us backstage so he can serenade me with Walking Man surprises. But a nice card and flowers just because it’s Tuesday will result in the same giddiness.

Romance. Romance.

If you know how to fix things? Please. You’re always golden. Always.

About money: Let us pray.

Seriously, dear, please handle all of that.

My past hasn’t always been rosy. Here and there, it’ll be my pleasure to let you in.

I hope we have a song. You know, something we hear at the same time and look at each other and understand that the lyrics embody this thing of ours.

My mom will love you. Just know that. She will love you.

Don’t be alarmed that I’ve seen virtually every TV show ever made. If we play trivia games, my love, use this to your advantage and make sure you’re on my team.

Don’t be alarmed by how super competitive I can be. Just whisper “calm down, you weirdo” lovingly in my ear.

On occasion, I might stare at you in slight shock that you’re actual real and present in my life. 10 years down the road, this may still be happening.

I hope our song isn’t Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

I’m sensitive.

Laughter: we need to have it, claim it, use it, bellow it, giggle it, chuckle it, screech it.

One day you will read this blog entry and you will hopefully smile.

We don’t have to go to every party, every gathering, every affair that we’re invited to. I like being at home.

But if we’re in a room together and you feel me leaning back into you, it’s because there will never be a sweeter feeling than being in a room and knowing that you’re just a few inches away.