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.

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there, there, my little cabbage.

four brown straw hats display
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

I’ve never actually believed in retail therapy. If you’re not into shopping anyway (hello, me), the idea of massaging a bad day or a sad mood by walking around a store or even engaging in window shopping wouldn’t be the first thing on the list. But the comedy of life is that retail therapy is almost always what I do when I need to massage a bad day or sad mood. (Barring a hunkering down in my apartment with a week’s worth of carbs.) I drive right to the store, park, grab a cart, and traverse the aisles moodily until I either leave with nothing or buy something I don’t really need. And that was me yesterday.

Yesterday, I was sad and blue and glum and humdrum and needed to do something. Something. Whatever that something was, it translated into leaving work and driving to my favorite Ross, where I parked, grabbed a cart, and traversed the aisles moodily, looking for things I didn’t need. In the shoe aisle, I tried on a bunch of shoes, of which neither ended up in my cart. I ventured over to the accessories, where I touched a lot of scarves and pulled them off the rack to examine them for whatever one looks for when you’re scarf shopping. One scarf ended up in my cart. I then sauntered over to the hats. I tried a few on (see above), which was interesting in light of the faux locs (I have faux locs! More in another post) on my head, but there was one hat that incited a high level of like and also, more importantly, fit over the locs. Perhaps because the color matched my mood?

ross3

It ended up in my cart, as well. So did a pair of pants. The End.

I didn’t analyze my sadness and blue too deeply though. Mostly because 1) winter; 2) Monday; 3) single. You know what I mean by #3. The grays of this seasons and its accompanying doldrums seem to be heightened when one is going through it by their lonesome. And although, to repeat, this is a year-round desire, the fall/end of the year finds it all very pronounced. It comes and goes and it is what it is. I’ve long given myself permission to call a thing a thing (praise Queen Iyanla) and feel exactly what I feel. And I felt it all yesterday. It’s interesting how the mind finds a way, any way, to cope.

Nevertheless: here’s to distractions by way of hats and scarves, and other such things. Onwards…

self care

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.

The Thing about George Clooney.

Clooney and his boo, Amal. Photo courtesy of People magazine.
Clooney and his boo, Amal. Photo courtesy of People magazine.

You don’t want to hear about the other thing about George Clooney, which is my undying admirating for this generation’s Clark Gable and his suits and that salt-and-pepper hair. And I won’t do that to you. However, it’s the present thing about him that has captured my attention. Rumors abounded this weekend that Clooney had become engaged to his latest girlfriend, Amal Alamuddin. It’s news because Clooney was the perpetual bachelor; the Lake Como villa owning playboy who asserted over and over in various interviews that he had no interest in remarrying (he was briefly married in the late 80s). That playboy image was repeatedly emphasized by Clooney’s revolving door of interesting girlfriends: models, more models, cocktail waitresses. (If you care, the Huffington Post has a pictorial of all the girls he’s loved before.) So this news about the engagement has gotten most medial outlets into a right tizzy, and I get that. What I find interesting and ultimately stinkin’ awesome, though, is that Amal is nothing like the girls he’s dated in the past. She’s a lawyer, an Oxford grad, an activist, older than the ladies he’s used to…It’s a win for smart, older ladies everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, please. I’m sure the ladies of the past that graced the halls of that droolworthy villa were smart, intelligent women. But Amal is rocking my world, ya’ll. She’s a brainiac and she’s in her mid-30s. And that makes me happy. I’ll elaborate.

This past weekend, some friends and I had a long, enlightening, and hilarious conversation about the sassy single life that most of us live. In between raucous laughter and quiet moments, some of us wondered why it seemed that the younger set (like, really young, at times) are entering into matrimony like gangbusters when the majority of us in my age group and older who have a desire for marriage are not. There weren’t many answers to that Big Question. Who really knows? And that was essentially how we concluded our discussion.

But the fact that Clooney, who I don’t know and will never meet (I mean, unless I happen to find him in Italy, completely by accident and not as a result of an exhaustive search or anything), in choosing to officially make it 4eva with this apparently cool lady, speaks volumes to me.  Our lives are diametrically opposed–we in Normalville, USA, do not live the lives of celebrities and Oxford attorneys. And I certainly don’t believe that Clooney will somehow set a precedent for all men. I just think it’s stinkin’ awesome, and puts an interesting spin on the conversation I had with my friends this past weekend.

Now…can you find villas on Google maps?

The Unmarried African Woman. (shudder)

Some of you know this woman. She’s your sister, your friend, your fellow cubicle dweller who insists on playing 70s soft rock on her Pandora station, your daughter, your cousin. Some of you don’t believe that the fact that she’s an Unmarried African Woman (UAM) needs to be capitalized, or even an issue. And if that’s you, then you’re surely not African.

(I’m aware that other cultures may experience similar discussions and silly opinions about their unmarrieds and singletons, but my vantage point is mostly African, so I’ll be commenting on my personal experience)

The truth is, this particular community doesn’t understand mid-30s and singleness. It’s not in the DNA, ya’ll. It is not. Marriage and family are the very center of lives and culture. And this isn’t a criticism, by any means. I’ve come to a place where I can look at everything with humorized (not a word) irritation. Sometimes, it’s just pure humor and downright laughter. Anyway. This is generally what I hear as a UAM. Get ready…

  1. Is Your Daughter Waiting for a White Man? This is an interesting question, huh? My mother was asked this question by a family acquaintance about yours truly. (The question in its entirety was, “Is your daughter waiting for a white man? Is that why she’s not married yet?”) Stunned by his question, she very succinctly informed him that her daughter was waiting for the right individual for her, and she wasn’t about to just marry anyone, white, black, or green. Go Mama, huh? When she’s not suggesting I marry someone who just needs to be “polished” (more on that later), she’s definitely on Team Square Peg. Anyway, I suppose he took in the fact that I’m your atypical African woman (read: Americanized, which is a completely subjective term), raised in the suburbs and speaking with her accentless Valley Girl twang, and assumed that I’m waiting for my white knight. Who knows? Who cares?
  2. I know the PERFECT Man for You. No, you don’t. You don’t know me. We’ve spoken two times. Literally. Let that one die.
  3. He Just Needs a Little Polishing. I get that one quite a bit. The future man in question apparently just needs a little varnish provided by me and my lurve, and he should be fine. It doesn’t matter that he’s typically seen talking to himself in a corner somewhere, or laughing at a private joke that only he and the invisible person next to him have shared with each other. Hey, I get that in a relationship, both will be enhancing one another here and there. I embrace it. But that’s a lot of polishing, ya’ll. He (they) needs medication. Not me and my varnish.
  4. So, Is Attraction Important to You? Nope. As a UAM, I definitely want to meet a man who looks like the creature from the black lagoon. No big deal. After all, I’m only getting older, right? And who wants to be vain and superficial? Bring it him on. (But don’t, ok? Don’t do any of that.)
  5. Perhaps Your Standards Are too High. Soooo, we have standards for the car we want to buy, for the pizza we want to eat. And don’t tell me you don’t get hot if they add anchovies when you asked them not to. This is forever. I have standards. Hopefully, so does he.
  6. Honorable Mentions. Don’t marry a short man (Mama), and don’t marry a man with a big head (also Mama). Those are my personal favorites. The reasoning behind these caveats are usually followed by curious African anecdotes that I never fully understand. But I love hearing them.

I’ve no doubt that some of these interesting comments cross cultural lines, but there’s just something about a crotchety African woman telling you that you need to stop being so picky. Kinda feels like home.

Can’t imagine what I’ll hear when I become a MAW (Married African Woman). Sheesh.