I was looking through old photos and found this in my album from 2016. Those words pierce right through you, no? Right through you.
Five years ago today.
In London, mid-autumn, travelista-ing, crossing the same road that one of my favorite musical groups walked on and named an album after.
Yes, I squealed.
Thanks to my beloved Daddy for introducing me to a love of traveling, of music, and of the Beatles.
In line with my previous thoughts on the matter. Eloquently said.
Recently, I watched a heartwrenching video of a woman on social media who tearfully spoke of her frustrations while looking for love. Wanting to find the right one and that not happening. Being eternally and repeatedly ghosted. I highly identified with her. In a follow-up video, she spoke of some of the comments she received from others who had viewed the original video. Many were of the “love yourself” variety; others told her she should stop looking and it, love, would come to her. I saw some of the comments. I typed my point of view. Here’s a run-down of my point of view.
Wanting love and loving yourself are not mutually exclusive. People, people, people. A person can love themselves and still want to find love at the same time. Both things can happen at the same time. Sure, many look to love and partners to validate them. That happens a lot. But to assume that someone wanting to find a partner means they have no self-worth and don’t love themselves is absolutely shortsighted. Many of the comments in the video spoke to this. To them, her tears were a symbol of someone in I-need-validation pain, not someone in, quite simply, It’s-really-hard-to-be-alone pain.
Speaking of being alone… Commenters were very adamant about her needing to accept her aloneness, to enjoy being by herself. But what if she does enjoy her own company and still wants a partner anyway? See where I’m going with this? This weird separation of things. A person can be fine by themselves and still want to be with someone. The two things can exist together. For me, they do exist together. The realities are that I’ve traveled alone, dined alone, movied alone and have loved every minute of those things and still wanted to share those very things with another person.
“Stop looking!” Oh, lawwwwwddddddd. Many comments were in this vein. Just stop looking. It’ll come to you! I know, I know: it’s a thing. You stop looking/caring/obsessing about something, suddenly what you stopped looking for/caring about/obsessing over comes to you. Sure. But the opposite can be true, too. You can keep looking and caring (not obsessing, but hey, it happens) and it comes to you. I’m sure many of the commenters felt like since she’s been doing things a certain way for so long, maybe not doing things the same way will result in a different conclusion. Could be. But it was still worthy of discussion, in my estimation.
Obviously, I was emotionally tied to this woman because I know what she’s going through. It’s why I commented, both to show my solidarity/encouragement and to also put a kibosh to some of the unhelpful things I was seeing in some of the comments. She replied and thanked me for saying what I did. And that’s all I wanted: for her to feel heard and understood.
Quarantine Life. It’s been a thing. Here’s a round-up.
Professional Life. I’ve been working from home since mid-March. It was initially a huge adjustment for me; I’ve worked remotely before, many times, but in a space where it’s happening 8 hours a day, 7 days a week–there were a lot of tough moments. Structurally, I’m one of those folks that doesn’t mind being in an office. I learn a lot when it comes to nonverbal cues and in-person conversation in general, so I think I struggled with not being in an active people space when it came to the day-to-day. Doing everything from behind a screen–from working on projects to discussions with colleagues–wasn’t always easy. But with time, it’s gotten better. And boy, am I thankful to even have a job with everything that’s going on and an option to do it from home. So yes, continuing to gratefully take things one day at a time.
Goals: have a more thoughtful workspace. Right now, I’m at my dining table with my desktop and laptop. It’s not the most ergonomically sound or practical space, but it works. I’ve been perusing Pinterest, naturally, to make some changes. We shall see.
Personal Life. It’s been tough. Life pre-pandemic wasn’t easy for this singleton who longs for her Person and struggles with deep loneliness, so I’m sure you can imagine (or perhaps you can’t, and that’s okay; what words and sharing and hopefully empathy are for) that life during a pandemic and being on quarantine has been pretty hard for me. But there are always lessons. For one thing, I’ve learned–even more than before–that my peace of mind is priceless. I protect it fiercely. Which means the abundance of noise–social media, news stories, on and on–has become too loud for me, at times. So, I intentionally shut off and shut down. I need to. Another thing: videoconferencing is…interesting. Who would have thought that living in an age of so much connection would almost make all that connection so exhausting? Perhaps it’s because the power of choice isn’t there; pre-lockdown, we could choose however we wanted to connect. Now: it’s all on video and that’s it. Managing it. But I also say no a lot to invitations via video, all for the purpose of decompression. Overall, prayer has been key for me. Communicating my frustrations to a close, trusted, understanding friend or two really helps, as well. But I won’t sugarcoat it: the one day at a time sometimes has to be handling things one hour at a time.
Goals: I’ve been longing for a dog forever, y’all. Always put it on the back burner because, to me, it wouldn’t be fair to leave a dog home all day while I was at work. But now that I’ll be home for a while…seriously considering it and researching my readiness. I’ll keep you posted.
Creative Life. I’ve been writing, actually. Working on my latest project, for one thing, and also managed to squeeze in a pandemic-inspired sci-fi short story that I’m pretty proud of. When all of this began, I didn’t even bother to wonder if a creative surge would come; after years and years of living this creative writing life, I recognize that, eventually, the ideas and desire to write will come. And as the pandemic days continued, they did. Ideas came. Stories came. Desire came. We’ll see how it goes.
Goals: finishing that project mentioned above. What’s it all about? Mum’s the word for now. Just know that I’m enjoying every bit of its creation. You’ll be the first to hear when it’s complete.
So, yes, that’s life for me so far. Hope you’re making it wherever you are.
So, this pandemic and the resulting quarantine has proved, over and over again, that necessity truly is the mother of invention. I’ve seen people find creative ways to continue living and doing: roll-by parties (especially for 2020 graduates), young folks creating sanitized ways to hug their family and loved ones, so on. And one favorite thing I’ve come to love during these unique times are virtual weddings. Y’all. Virtual weddings, though. The intimacy (almost reverential), with just the couple and maybe an officiant, are so striking and beautiful to me. But when I read about Elaine Welteroth’s (whom I just adore) absolutely amazing wedding on her Brooklyn stoop, the squealing and inspiration was endless.
Here are five reasons Elaine’s stoop wedding slayed me:
1. Like I said, I’ve been hooked by the intimacy of weddings in the time of COVID. Elaine said bump that. She had guests, bridesmaids, even her neighbors there for this wedding, all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
2. My queen Lupita was there.
3. I felt a palpable sense of joy while reading about Elaine and Jonathan’s commitment to still having this beautiful day happen despite possible obstacles. It was really lovely.
4. There was an elegant simplicity about this wedding. Elaine’s wedding dress came from her closet; her veil belonged to her mother. Everyone wore white. Just dreamy.
5. The mechanics: a “Soul Train” line of bridal party members socially distant standing on the sidewalk while Elaine walked down the “aisle”; each person having a FaceTime “buddy” so friends and family could see the ceremony. The love was truly in the details.
This wedding was beautiful, dear reader. Like most weddings, yes, but I really appreciated the creative lengths Elaine and Jonathan went to ensure that despite the current climate, it would be beautiful and memorable. Read the article and enjoy.
Have you attended any virtual weddings? If so or if not, what are your thoughts about them? Let me know in the comments.
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.
I’ll be honest: this quote, albeit lovely, still triggered me a bit. Because I’m so tired of traveling alone. And when it comes to my favorite season, there’s an unbearable aspect about it: enjoying the beauty and electricity in the air by my lonesome. I’ve discussed this before–that something about fall that drives the desire to be accompanied by another even more than usual. The feeling remains. Heightened by crisp evenings and the turning of trees, no less.
I wish I understood why. I long for a change. Until then: I’ll continue to enjoy the “finest company” around me.
Maybe you don’t need a relationship to heal you.
Maybe singleness isn’t killing you.
Maybe you’re simply looking for love.
To love and to be loved.
And although you will survive and thrive without it, the need is there.
And each day that passes you by, as the need remains unfulfilled, you put out the little fires across your chest, the ones searing your heart.
The little fires of disappointment, dashed hopes, and unrealized expectations.
Deep, deep down, you entertain the diminishing, nearly absent hope that love will indeed find you.
Maybe it will find you.
Until then, you have to admit yet another painful truth:
You’ve grown weary of maybe’s.
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.
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.