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.
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.
Specifically: A watched pot never boils. Time moves slowly when you’re waiting or 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: 2. I’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: 4. She’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.
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. 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.”
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?
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…
Why relegate candy to your sweet tooth? Shall we not have candy for the eye, too?
This is Superman. I know, I know: you thought Superman wasn’t real you thought Superman was Christopher Reeve. And he is, no doubt. But this is the new Superman. And I mean…Wednesdays were made for that face. They just were.
I first met Henry (not in real life; had we met in real life, I suppose you’d be reading about me somewhere in an article about infamy) in the film The Count of Monte Cristo. A great film. He played Fernand Mondego, the son of villainous Count Mondego. He was lovely. His skin looked like warm milk. I literally said this to my friends in the theater. “Doesn’t his skin look so milky and creamy?” My male friends and my brothers naturally rolled their eyes. Anyway, years later, a friend asked if I knew that Fernand had been cast as the new Superman. “Fernand? Milky Fernand? But he’s so delicate.”
Fernand grew up.
Happy Wednesday. May your superheroes be all manly and such and be cast in the latest Mission: Impossible film (inspiring 1,000 squeals) and grow amazing mustaches and be milky and dreamy, too.
Did you miss Wednesdays with This Square Peg? Here’s a mea culpa for my absence:
Liev Schreiber has eyes that will find their ways into your soul. He also has a voice that will drive you slightly crazy. He’s also immensely talented, with a quiet, still intensity that always captures my attention when he’s onscreen. He can also wear a suit. Goodness.
What an introduction. Let’s get right to it: when Her Excellency was was still on the air with her daily talk show, I won tickets to be part of her audience.
Back in 2011, I remember going on the official website for the show and noticing one of the upcoming episodes. The theme of the impending show was going to be all about best friends. (Title: An Oprah & Gayle Kind of Friendship) Made sense, given the longtime friendship between Madame O and her bestie, Gayle King. The requirement to be part of the audience was to write and send in an essay about your best friend and why he/she was wonderful. That was a no-brainer. I’ve discussed my bestie on TSP more than once. She.Is.Everything. And so I got to writing. Looking back, I submitted the essay with only a small twinge of excitement, being that 1) I was probably 1 of a million people doing the same thing, and 2) I didn’t want that level of disappointment if I didn’t get chosen.
Then I received an email on March 23, 2011. Yes, I searched my inbox for that date. And yes, I’m giddy that the email still exists. Bottom line, the main idea of the email: my bestie and I were invited to join the audience during a taping of the themed episode.
I reacted a bit like this:
So at this point, dear reader, my bestie didn’t know I had done any of this. I kept it all to myself in case we didn’t get chosen. Welp, that didn’t happen. After receiving that email, I called her and engaged in the following conversation:
Me: Hey, are you free on April 11?
Her: Let me check…yes, I’m free. What’s up?
Me: We’re flying to Chicago that day to be part of the audience of the Oprah show.
Me: Are you there?
Her (whispers): This better not be a prank.
Me: It’s not! I wrote an essay and they picked it and it was about you and me and our friendship and we’re going to see Oprahhhhhhhhhh!
Her reactions, from 1-3:
Needless to say, by the time we got to three, we were both primal screaming on the phone. Flight plans to Chicago were made; outfits were discussed (we had been asked by Queen O’s team to wear colorful clothes that would show well on TV); mild disappointment was expressed because a giant rule was that no pictures were allowed inside the Harpo studios; and finally, more primal screams were shared. You guys, it was one of the best experiences of this life. And you know how Empress Oprah’s audience would go mad? I admired her, yes, but I just couldn’t understand the mania these women showed on national TV. Well, I can easily say that on that morning in April, as Oprah was introduced and walked out and waved at us and smiled: I. Get. It. I truly do.
Her presence: dynamic. Her personality: open and charming. Her overall nature: amazing. In the minutes between her walking out and sitting down before the cameras turned on, there was no change. She was the same onscreen and off-screen. She was also just fun. During commercial breaks, she joked and laughed and told us about her painful high heels…it was surreal. My bestie and I spent the entire time just like holding each other in disbelief and Oprah-generated joy. And yeah, we got some gifts, too. And food. It was incredible. I’ll say it again, and in French: incroyable.
But the best part of that whole thrilling experience, dear reader? It involved a years-long, amazing friendship with one amazing lady, that being my bestie, and it involved another love of my life: my writing. My bestie kept saying the following throughout the day. “You are a writer. It was your words that got us here. You are a writer.” It was definitely a boost in confidence with the mighty pen. Nevertheless, the topic at hand, why this woman was such an indescribable presence in my life, made it easy. I didn’t hesitate. The benefits of a worthy subject.
Got any thrilling moments with your bestie that you’d like to share with me? Don’t fret because Oprah isn’t involved in any of them. The comments await you below…
You may have seen him in 42, or Get on Up, or the latest rendering of Captain America, or the recently released trailer for Black Panther, which gave you, me, and everyone currently living enough life to last for more life. I mean…
I chose the photo above because I think it exemplifies, above all, why Chadwick is everything: he loves National Public Radio. He loves NPR. I mean…
He’s talented and awesome and a superhero and a supporter of public radio and…
Let’s end there, shall we? See you in the movie theater in 2018.