Subscribe to Blog

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Finding Love Online

As a woman who has found very little success dating online, you may think I’m not qualified to write a blog on the topic. Oh, on the contrary. It’s because of the disaster dates, and pitfalls I’ve experienced online that I can boldly, honestly talk about the things that turn a lot of us women off from men’s profiles online. I also have a lot of girlfriends who have ventured into online dating, and we have a few things in common. There are certain things men do online that straight turn us off.  I am revealing these turn offs in hopes the love Gods will show favor on me for helping other hopelessly romantic women.
·         No naked selfies, bicep pictures, or abdomen shots. I like a six pack just like the next Channing Tatum fan, but on an online profile it screams, sex. The guy who takes several photos of himself posing in the mirror or lifting his shirt to reveal his stomach leaves us thinking two things:  ‘Wow he’s really into himself.” Or this guy is showing his body because he wants to get laid. I mean why else would anyone put these GQ photos on a dating profile? Guys if you are looking for the kind of girl to take home to mom, introduce to your siblings, stop this. You will mostly attract superficial women or those who just want to jump in the sack. And, if that is your intention why the heck are you on a dating site? Please get out of the way so I can find my real prince charming on here.
 ·         No pictures with other chicks. I don’t care if it’s your sister, your hot looking mom, and I especially don’t care if it’s a cute girl you partied with last summer. How the heck do you expect to attract a girlfriend when we see another woman with their arms around you? I mean really. I’ve seen a lot of guys do this, and it’s not cute. I’m left wondering, ‘Who is that chick? Why is he holding her so close? Is he a partier? ‘All questions that do not bode well for a first impression. If you look nice in the picture please just crop the other chick out.

·         State Your Intentions- If your profile says you want a serious relationship expect to attract people who are looking for a serious relationship. I’ve been on a handful of dates online, and I was disappointed to find the person I was with didn’t want the same things I wanted. I felt duped. Not only it is not truthful it’s a waste of my time and yours. I know well enough now you can’t change a man to be the King you him to be so please spare me the headache and be honest on your profile.
·         Do list your interests, and likes – I can’t tell you how many ‘About Me’ sections I have failed to read. They fall into two categories : the ones where there is barely anything written, and the ones that feel like I’m reading a novel. In a short, concise way state your likes, dislikes, the kind of things you could see us doing on a first date. This is like your relationship coversheet. In order to get the interview you have to sell me on the coversheet. But, don’t overshare. Please don’t tell me about your baby mama issues or how you hate drama queens. I will learn that about you in due time, and then I can decide if it’s something I can handle.

·         Ask Me Out or Stop wasting my time – Look dude I’m paying $35 bucks a month and you are too so are we going to do this or what? On one dating site I will not name I got dozens of emails, winks, and pokes. Again I can count on one hand how many people asked me on a date. It’s very possible these men just didn’t like me. I’ll take that. But, if we’re messaging each other every other day, you’re sending the winks, and pokes my way, let’s go out already. Or at least give me the middle school cope out, ‘I like you as a friend.’ I can handle that. My advice is if you are interested ask for the date, a coffee is better than a virtual wink via some dating site.

 I would much rather meet a man the old fashion way through mutual friends or a through a chance conversation in the check-out line. Who does this actually happen to anymore?  The fact is life has gotten busy, hard, and overwhelming so I’ve resorted to online dating in hopes of finding my “one”.  I haven’t found him yet and I’ve had to kiss a few frogs but I’ve learned so much about myself and men in the journey. But while I'm looking brothas help me out, stop trying to be someone else and just be you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Hometown: Part 2


This weekend, I realized why I moved back to Virginia Beach, my crazy, silly, quirky family. I’ve been away chasing my dreams for the past eight years. I would come back periodically to visit, unwind, and collect myself. But, now I live just minutes away from my family. At first I thought they would cramp my style. You know how it is; mom calling all the time, sister nagging you, parents interjecting their opinion on your life choices. I can’t say I haven’t gotten a little of that. But, I’ve realized it’s perfectly ok.
               This weekend after a day of much needed girl time, I spent Saturday evening with my family. It was nothing extravagant. Come to think of we aren’t really extravagant people. My best childhood memories are simple; watching family home videos, eating breakfast together, and sometimes pranking each other. Yea we are a silly bunch.

                My mom, dad, sister and I went grocery shopping at Sam’s Club. We love a bargain. She pushed her giant Sam’s club cart up and down the warehouse aisles, and I could barely keep up. I forgot my mother walks like she is always on a mission.
                “Oh my God, mom why are you walking so fast?” I said trying my best to keep up with her.

                “You are so young girl, why are you lagging behind?,” she said. 
                “Mom, I like to stroll. Stroll mom, I’m a stroll kind of chick.”

Honest goodness my mother turned around and said, “Girl ain’t nobody got time for strolling.”
              This is my mother, always on the move, never resting, she always has a project.  My Dad is perusing the electronic aisle. I am secretly hoping he is shopping for the lab top I put on my Christmas list. Fingers crossed. He comes back and forth to the shopping cart periodically dropping almonds, water, and fruit in the basket. My Dad is always trying to be healthy. I think it’s where I get my eating habits from. Sometimes I stumble and order fries, ketchup and value size the tea. But, most of the time I am inclined to reach for healthier items; hummus, salad, baked chicken. As a Navy man my Dad is always trying to stay in shape. I remember as a kid he would wake up at 3:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to exercise before work. I think this is why I’m always trying to stay active.

I am trying to be budget conscience so before I place my items in the basket I access the price.
                 “Umm, seven dollars for a huge thing of mouthwash? I’m not doing that, “ I said.

                My mom smiles, “Well that is what you get when you come to a bulk store.”
                I decide I will find a CVS coupon and buy a smaller bottle. By the time we reach the check out line our cart is overflowing with my food, dad’s food, and the family’s food. I tell my mom I will pay her in cash the next day. She nods.

                “Hey, I’ll get pizza for dinner tonight,” I said.
                My mother never asks me to repay her for groceries. I want to say, “Mom how much do I owe you?”
                But, I know she really wants to do this for me without me drawing attention to it so I remain quiet on the ride to my condo. We separate groceries and my speedy Gonzalez mother hauls three bags inside and drops them on my kitchen floor. Again, why are we rushing?
            
             Afterwards we all go back to my parents place to chill. I realize I haven’t chilled with my family in three months. I've been busy chasing assignments, dating, and trying to lose weight.

            My dad goes into his home office off the kitchen. Inside his walls are covered with our accomplishments.  Me and my brother’s college diplomas hang on the wall. My first head shot I gave him for Christmas is prominently in front of his desk. My sister’s drawings are hanging on a cork board. A picture of me and Aunt Doris is hanging up behind his desk. My mom’s nursing degree is also on the wall. My dad is extremely proud of us. I never doubt that. He may not always say it with his words but I know in my heart my dad works to help us achieve our dreams. If it weren’t for him helping me in college I know I wouldn’t be doing my dream job. He always wanted me to have more than he did. And, honestly at 29 I do have more than he did when he was in 20’s. I own a condo, I drive the car I love, and I almost never go without. Dad you’ve done well.

                My mom makes me a glass of sangria, and I curl up in dad’s huge, brown recliner in his office, strategically placed in front of the television. I never realized how comfortable this chair is.  After a few sips of sangria, and about 10 minutes of watching old Dateline episodes with my dad, I am asleep. When I wake up I feel so extremely rested, motivated, and recharged. There is a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter in the air. Mom is making cookies. How did she know I wanted cookies. With my mom’s peanut butter and chocolate cookies, sangria, and my iPad I get to work. I am my mother’s daughter, I am constantly working even when I know I should be taking a break. I try to be the queen of multitasking. There is a documentary about the D.C. Snipers on. I am watching t.v. , checking emails, and talking to my dad about how crazy the sniper cases were. Once the documentary is over, I figure it is time to go. As I’m about to leave dad picks up the remote and changes the channel. The picture turns to snowy, white air mess.
                “Hmm, I wonder what happen?” he said.

                “Did you try restarting the t.v. that works at my place,” I said.

                Dad spends about 15 minutes trouble shooting this t.v. mess and I can tell he is getting frustrated. I decide to leave the room so he can figure the TV problem.

                “That’s it I’m calling Cox cable,” he says.

                I shake my head. My dad for the most part is a patient man, but when he get frustrated it’s another story. And, for some reason my brother always find his frustration funny. Wrong, I know.  I walk back in the room, to see dad holding the television remote in one hand and the phone in the other hand.

                “What do you want me to do read out all the buttons on the remote?” dad says.
                I am laughing as I write this. My dad’s frustration is hilarious. I can’t even contain my laughter right now. I must tell my brother what is going on. I go down to the extra room off the house we call “the man room” It’s a huge space with a bar, refrigerator, and a television. It was once my dad’s man cave until my brother moved back.

                “Jimmy you have to hear dad on the phone with the Cox people.”
                 I explain to my brother what is going on and he bursts into laughter too. I walk back to my dad’s office, and the television is working again.

                “Can you believe she wanted me to read the numbers on the remote,” dad says.
                “Dad, that poor Cox lady is probably so irritated right now.”

                “Yea, she probably is but they work 24 hours,” he says.

                My dad is hilarious. It’s getting late so I pack up all  my stuff to leave. I walk in the living room to see my mother asleep on the couch and my nine pound Chorkie nestled next to her.
                “Goliath, come on it’s time to go home,” I say.

                He lifts his little head, and then turns it to my mother.
                “Come on Goliath, let’s go,” I repeat.

                He does not move. Even my dog finds comfort at my parents place. I can’t even get hurt about it.  I understand why he loves my family. They are actually kind of cool. Sometimes they drive me crazy, but most of the time I adore them.

 

               

               

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why I love the new Kimye Music Video - Bound 2

Ellen premiered Kayne West music video 'Bound 2' you on her show.

Watch it and then read.


http://www.ellentv.com/2013/11/19/kanye-wests-new-video-bound-2/

Full disclosure I don't like Kayne West's attitude. I think he is overly arrogant, and full of himself. I didn't buy this his last CD because I thought it was a overreach --- I mean calling yourself Yezzus come on dude.... But, I am in love with this song.

It's obviously a love letter to Kim. In the song Kayne talks about how they met, how he waited for her to stop playing around with all those other guys. Listen to the verse,  'How you gonna be mad on vacation.' He's saying Kim, 'How is it that you have everything handed to you, a man on your side and you still aren't happy. It's because you weren't in love with these men.' To me it is incredibly endearing song. Notice Kayne is tough in public but raw and sensitive in his music. Listen to 'Roses' about the passing of his grandmother. That man has heart. It is only in his music that he can express these types of feelings. For some reason he just can't translated that humility into real life. So I get you Kayne.

I love hearing how Kim actually opened up to Kayne. If you're a pop queen like me you know Kim and Kayne have been friends for years. It is obviously that their friendship bloomed into a romance. And, falling in love with your best friend is one of the best things ever. Trust me ladies... if you haven't fallen in love with your best friend then keeping looking honey cause it's magical. So with all these other guys Kris Humpries, that guy she dated from the Cowboys (I seriously don't recall his name) , Reggie Bush; these are men Kim obviously dated before she knew herself. Before she knew that love was more than just a handsome man and some good loving. There is not doubt in my mind her past men were great lovers (inappropriate I know). But with Kayne I think this is the one man she can let her hair down with. I mean listen how she looks to him in this video. It's not just that she is almost naked. She is bare, raw , and open with this man. That is what her nudity in this video signifies. And, I think it is beautiful. it takes a lot to be that vulnerable with someone.

God I love this song---- before you judge Kim for showing off her fabulous body listen deeply to this song. Watch the way she gazes at him. It's so romantic. Before you say, 'Kayne you're so vain.' Listen to this song. Hear how he's professing his love for her, the mother of his only child.

I'm not saying this song means they are going to last--- but I am saying this song shows they are truly, madly deeply in love right now. I am officially team Kimye now.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Just Enough

I have an over active mind. Thoughts, reminders, deadlines whizz past me so fast I can barely linger in moments for too long. While I’m applying my makeup I’m thinking about how I will look on air. I am worried about the impending bills stacking up on my kitchen table.  When I get to work I am ball of anxiety. I worry what the competition has. I wonder if they got the interview I wanted. I’m thinking so much I am forgetting to engage.


                I worry the pudge I call a stomach will never get smaller no matter how hard I diet. I worry my hair is going to mess up before my live shot. I worry my paycheck will only cover my expenses and nothing else.


                A few weeks ago my pastor from Lynchburg sent me a text message. I had it on my heart to call him, but never got around to it. Then I woke up and saw this on my phone, Matt 6:33. Nothing more nothing. It’s a scripture about giving it all to God, releasing worry.


Matthew 6:33 “Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat? or ‘What shall we drink ? or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.   I read the scripture, and I thought to myself, ‘Lord I can’t do this. I can’t make people like me. I can’t fix things at work. I can’t pay all these bills. I need you. I give it all to you.’                Since I said that prayer I’ve had more than enough. In fact I’ve had just enough to make it this past two weeks. And, I’m thinking why do I try to take on the world by myself when my Heavenly Father says He will carry my burdens?  My Heavenly Father is a provider, a healer, a comforter. Why do I worry?                This verse started to work in my life immediately. I told God I needed some motivation to get healthy again. He brought my hair stylist into my life whose all about fitness because of her wedding. When I work out with her it doesn’t feel like exercise. We talk, laugh, and before long I’ve killed a whole hour. She was the jumpstart I needed. I’ve been working out every other day, and I’ve already lost five pounds. Normally I’m an emotionally eater. But, all I have a taste for is water and fruit, healthy stuff.


                I told God I wanted to fall in love again. The very man I was trying to push away took care of me, and comforted me in ways I didn’t think were possible. I had this freak allergic reaction and my right eye was swollen shut two weeks ago. He was not the least bit grossed out. He raced to the store to get me Benadryl, and then took me to the doctor. He even made me laugh about it when I felt so ugly. He encouraged me to write, and pushed me to work harder at work. He cooks for me, and lets me be when I need to work. He has shown me so many new things these past two months. Horse racing, martini bars, filet mignon. He asks for nothing in return, just my company. I seriously think it brings him joy to make me smile. To see me get all excited over Crème Brule. I am glad that God kept Him close by.   I told God I wanted more friendships. This week people I haven’t talked to in ages have called me, texted me, and asked to share my time. I haven’t had a down or slow day all week. I had lunch, coffee with girlfriends. And, I realized I’m a good friend. All the people I had to leave behind to start this walk with Christ, it was all for this.


                I told God I need help with my finances. No one ever showed me in high school how to balance a check book or how to budget. This week God told me to sit down and spread everything out . He showed me I made more than enough to cover my bills. I didn’t see it at first. When I paid for everything; I was left will only a little bit after all the bills. Then God really showed out. When I needed gas this week I discovered I had just enough money for a full tank. When I needed lunch one day this week, my stylist offered me some filling healthy food while I was getting my hair done. I love coffee but I’m realizing my Starbucks habit is not good for my budget.  God finally showed me how to make French press coffee and I’m so in love with caffeine again. I wanted to go out and my awesome boyfriend took me to see a really silly movie. And, it was all I needed.


                My God is amazing. So if you are ever worried or wondering how you’re going to make it. Remember Matthew 6:33. It takes more than reading it though. It takes surrender,  knowing that God is in control. When you give Him the wheel the journey doesn’t seem as difficult to navigate.


I’ll end with my favorite verse one that my pastor in Lynchburg (He’s a really great guy) gave me the first time I came to his service. I live for this verse. It comforts and guides me.


Psalms 37:4 ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the Desires of you heart. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dear Aunt Doris

I'm thinking of my Aunt Doris. This time two years ago I was counting down the days to spend a weekend with my her and Uncle. I made the trip to Mississippi in December. She would be gone by the summer. I didn't know then but it would be the last weekend I had with her. I wrote this with that time in mind.

Dear Aunt Doris,

Next to my mother you are the most important woman in my life. I use present tense because as long as I know you are in heaven I know you are still with me.

I wish I had more time to tell you what you meant to me, to show you how much I loved you, to know you. I wanted you to see the brave woman I've become. I wanted you to see the loving mother and wife I want to be, and child of God you knew I could be.

If only I known December would be our last time together. I would have sat with you, talked to you, opened up to you.

But, when I think about it I've had a lifetime of love and lessons with you.

When I was younger I adored your silky, black, long hair. I envied your light skin and feminine ways. But it was the way you carried yourself that taught me the meaning of confidence.  It taught me real beauty had nothing to do with what God blessed you with on the outside.

I used to love visiting your house in the summer. It was seemed like you were always doing something interesting: going to church, making gumbo, or reading scripture. Watching you I learned the making of a real home was the love living inside its four walls.

It always seemed like you had this direct line to God, and you called on Him often.  When you spoke about Him it was like you were talking about a friend, a comforter, a provider, a healer. God is someone you know personally. You taught me I could have a line to God too if I wanted. When I finally connected to our Heavenly Father you were the first person I wanted to tell.

I'm o.k. Aunt Doris. I've had a lifetime of memories with you. I'm glad you're home.

I promise I won't let my sadness keep me from living. I promise to keep making you proud. I promise to make the most of this life God has given me. I promise to keeping dialing on God when life gets rough. I love you Aunt Doris

love,

Mena

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kissing Frogs

In comparison to most women in their 20's my dating life is hardly glamorous and juicy. But here's what I do know. Mama always said, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince." But Mama left out a few details. If only it took one kiss to know the guy you were gushing over turned out to be a complete jerk. No, Mama didn't say that sometimes you'd let your heart get carried away, lose yourself in those kisses only to find a slimy toad staring back you.

At 28 I know now there will be many frogs who will jump onto my lily pad promising something very few of them can give. But, unfortunately I've had to date my fair share of frogs before I learned this lesson.

Here are some of the frogs you may encounter on your way to finding your prince. 

These are the boys who make you feel like one of those sex kitten from the movies. They'll woo you in their nice cars, overpower your senses with their cologne. They will say all the right things. The little girl in you who always wished for a prince will get swept away. He will look like an Adonis.

When you walk into a room with him you know that every woman is checking him out. You will feel powerful having him on your shoulder. He will kiss like the men on soap operas, all slow and passionate like. You feel like the damsel in this love story. This frog will undress you with his eyes, and make you feel like Beyoncé. He's the one you got to have the right hair and makeup with all the time. Because for this frog it's all about appearances. But when the crap hits the fan, when life gets hard, when you aren't feeling like dressing the part, this frog just can't seem to hang around. He isn't interested in hearing about your day or your life or the real you. Oh but he's the first to come calling when there's a party, an appearance, or you're looking especially hot in the new dress you bought. This frog's greatest weakness is his inability to see the beauty of  a true princess has nothing to do with her body or her style of dress. It's in knowing and loving her heart.

Then there's the frog you date for thrills. This dude has been around the block and has seen a world you've never known. He has the exciting stories to tell. He is adventurous to hop around with him. If it's not his latest escapade or drama it's his bad boy lifestyle that makes you feel like alive. But, once it comes time to sit this frog down and talk about feelings,  you will realize that for him it's the thrill of the chase he loves. He is not a frog who stays. He is not interested in savoring the place where two people can actually fall in love.

There are the frogs who will use you. These frogs dangle a relationship in front of you like meat. You a deprived lionesses is begging for him to drop it. But it's a tease. The bait on the end of the line is a relationship, one he will never give you. He plans to keep casting, taunting, and teasing you. These frogs will tempt you with the idea of committing, but never come through. I've also kissed frogs who just don't give a shit how they treat a lady.

Kissing frogs hasn't all been in vain. I'm definitely a stronger woman for it. Because I've kissed the frogs - I know kissing the prince will be much sweeter. It's a kiss that comes with knowing the man on the other side is going to love you even after your relaxer fades, after he's seen you crying, after he's seen your goofy side. It's the prince that somehow finds you beautiful on the most mundane days. He sees you inside and out. He is a man who loves your inner passion as much as your outer beauty.

So here's a toast of sorts to the frogs of the past... the many failed kisses that helped me get to place where I can one day embrace the kisses of a prince who cares and isn't afraid to show it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Hometown

Even in the most picturesque of places, cities, towns, and counties, I’ve missed you.  I ached for the mist of salty sea water, the sight of naval ports, and ships. I wanted to escape, and run back to you, remember those old houses, neighborhoods, and parks I used to play on.  Remember what it was like to wake up to you every morning. This is my love for my hometown.



If I could I would go back to the bus stop where I met a feisty, fiery girl who helped me adjust to this new suburban city life known as Hampton Roads. She pushed me, tearing down my shyness, pulling out the girl in me, and stood tall for me when I couldn’t stand the bullies. I used those lessons to protect my second best friend, when I grew apart from the fiery one.  She was so much smaller than me I felt I had to be her defender. We laughed, wore matching outfits, and exchanged gossip like stocks on Wall Street. If I could I would go back to that line of duplexes next to the park. That’s where she lived. I can see us walking back to her house after band camp, planning a weekend of girlie sleep overs. Times, boyfriends, rifts, and backstabbing tore us apart. If I could I’d stand on the sidewalk and go back to that moment I knew I had to walk away. It would not be the last time I would have to do this. So much of my hometown reminds me of the reunion, the fights, and the realization that we couldn’t be sisters anymore. We couldn’t be the way we once were. This is my hometown.
 

While I’m lingering in my past adolescence, I’d walk past my old middle school. I went to my first dance there, tried to shed my Tomboy ways there, and crushed hard for boys who didn’t notice me there.  Realized growing up was hard there.  My high school is not far from here.  The entrance to the school is a long paved road leading to large parking lot.  Back in time I’d stand in that parking lot and wish that my adolescence self knew half of what I know now. I’d take a deep breath, and inhale the pleasures and the pains of my teen life. The marching band practices, the dances, the boys, the first kiss, and the first heart ache. The football field and track is locked, keeping my memories of the football games, marching band performances, and girlfriend secrets under the bleachers.  This is my hometown.

I like to remember sitting outside our first brown town home, fresh from Mississippi, bright eyed and naïve. I wondered what this place called Virginia Beach had in store for us. I’d get asked out to a dance for the first time in front of that brown house, fight with my friend over the same boy, and escape the vicious teeth of a pit bull that chased me on top of a car.  I like to drive through all the old neighborhoods we lived in. We lived in so many houses. Places that contained my dreams, my hurt, my family, and housed the bitter divorce battle that almost consumed us.  This is my hometown.

These sidewalks lead me home then lead me away to my adulthood. These roads know the map of my adolescence, the miles I logged to be near love, the sadness I felt when my dreams didn’t true out right. All the interstates, tunnels, and roads I traveled when I had to leave you to discover the world and become me. Tears cover those paths. Whenever I left to go to another job, another love, another city, another town I never stopped thinking about you. Those tunnels used to scare me so much, made me feel boxed in, trapped, and worried. I know now I ached most because I was leaving you. It was as if rough hands gripped my heart, and squeezed it until it burned. This is my love for my hometown.

That old ranch house is where I thought I’d spend my last days with my mom. She confessed to us cancer was invading her body, and our lives.  The words cracked into me, leaving me with excruciating shock. I remember running to the street that night so she couldn’t see me cracking, tearing, ripping, and falling apart. A boyfriend I no longer call my own held me as I wept.  Friends brought casseroles, pies, cakes, and so much love our house seemed to radiate warmth. Her hair fell out, surgeons took her breast, but God gave brought her back to me. There in that same rancher where I thought we’d lose it all, God restored us in a way I never knew possible. We are a family, healed, reunited, and conquering the past. This is my hometown.  Then I drive back to the new home where we became a family again, and hurt became a distant memory.

As I return to you, I am different now and so are you.  I am braver, stronger, and more accepting of the roads I had to travel to get back to you.  You have changed with your new restaurants, developments, and people. But I know underneath we still know other.  At any moment we can go back to those childhood beginnings here, the ripping, numbing discomfort of those growing pains, and the release of being breaking free from those bondages.  Now I get to carve out a new chapter with you, in a new home of my own, and a new way. There is no saying where this path will end, but I am so overjoyed we have another chance to write a turn a new page in our story. This is my love for my hometown.

Inspired by Adele 19 ‘Hometown Glory

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Framed Mystery Couple


I don't know who these people are. They're a cute Latin, no Asian, or maybe Filipino couple. I'm really not sure. One thing is for sure they're in love. A handsome man is hugging a woman and  planting a kiss on her forehead. She is wrapped in his arms, looking at the camera, smiling, looking secure, and happy. I really have no clue who this couple, but they are pictured in the black frame on my dresser. It's a simple black frame, with the silver letters 'XOXO' at the bottom.


I'm not sure where the couple is. It kind of looks like a beach somewhere. Wherever they are, they are full of joy, and love. It must be cold, because they're both wearing jackets, and holding each other tight. In their eyes you see hope, and the beauty of romance in full bloom. They have shared memories, jumped hurdles to know each other, and the scaled walls  to enter each others hearts.

I have no idea what brought them together, how they met, or who asked who out first. They reside in a frame in my room, because they remind me their type of love is possible, worthy, and attainable. I am so full of so much faith that God has an incredible love out there for me, I bought this picture frame of this couple that will one day freeze a moment in time for me and my love.

Listen this is not some lonely, sappy girl ode or me pleading to a star for a prince to come whisk me away. This is believing. Psalms 37:4 says 'Take Delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.' And I desire to be loved, wildly, crazy, deeply by a man who loves God, and loves life.

I can't take full credit for the idea. I was watching or reading Joel Osteen a few months back. He mentioned believing in God's promises so much that you claim them in advance of the blessing. When you have faith God will bring the desires of your heart to pass. I am claiming this blessing before it arrives.

My pastor always remind me of Psalm 37:4 when I get down on my myself, or complain of yet another guy disappointing me. The words of Psalm 37:4 give me peace that because I delight in the LORD, He not only knows the desires of my heart, HE wants to give them to me. It's such a simple scripture, but powerful. He wants to shower us with his love, but you first must have faith.  I have given God so much of myself, my dreams, my heart, why then didn't I give him my desire to be loved ? .

I thought to myself, self this is God we're talking about here. Like the Sunday school song says He has the whole world in His hands. That's a lot to carry, I don't want to bother him with my little prayer for a partner. That seems silly when so many people are hurting, aching, and needing in this world.

After this conversation something in me said say, 'Lauren it is not silly to pray for such things.' It's not silly at all. That is the beauty of loving, and praising God, He desires to fulfill my heart as much as He desires to save, help, and heal this world. It's mind blowing to consider that.

So that is why there is a strange, Latin, maybe Asian, or Filipino couple is framed in my bedroom. They are holding a place for the mighty, great, huge intense love God is going to bring my way. I have so much faith in this waiting doesn't seem so hard anymore.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Lexington Wedding: a lesson in love and a lesson in me

I had so many emotions after going to Lexington for my friend's wedding so I had to write it all down.

Lexington is delicate place to wander. Delicate is the best adjective I think of to describe the peace, quaintness, and Southern hospitality I felt when I was visiting there. Lexington is a city nestled in the mountains. The night sky is so clear up there and free of skyscrapers, jets, and bright lights. It’s so free of electric light, I could marvel at the stars on the hotel patio one evening. I miss seeing those sparkling specs in the sky. By day, you can stand in awe of the beautiful peaks and mountains that decorate the landscape. You can walk the picturesque and historic Washington and Lee University or see some of the strongest and brightest prepare for a life of service at the Virginia Military Institute.  The downtown area of Lexington is comprised of a handful of streets, mom and pop shops, and a lot of old time charm. It is a gem of the city, and the perfect place for two of my sweetest friends to get married. They fell in love with this city, its history, and in turn fell in love with each other.
Before the wedding, I wandered the streets of Lexington, going in and out of boutique shops. Each time a pleasant person would say, ‘Hello’, ask about my day, and generally make me feel welcome. That’s what I love about old fashioned Southerners they understand how special acknowledging someone is. It is such a small gesture but it goes a long way. Walking through those streets I learned a little something about myself, something I hope to hold onto for a while.

I bought jewelry for myself, walked the streets alone, and stopped just to take in the fresh air. In those moments of solitude I realized that I was alright, fine even, and it shocked me a little. In my early twenties I always wanted a companion of some sort to live life’s adventures with. I’d dream about how cool these types of excursions would be with a buddy, or an adventurous girlfriend I could chat with along the way.  Sometimes I imagined a cool GQ boyfriend would whisk me away on a Hawaiian vacation. We would walk on the beach, have dinner by candlelight, and explore the country side by day.  I thought all trips would be cooler with someone to shop with, have intellectual convos about pop news, and snap random photos with for Instagram and Facebook.  So far those things, those people haven’t really materialized in my life. There is no man to whisk me away or fun girlfriend who can drop the responsibilities of mommyhood, wifehood, or workhood to go on an adventure with me. But, standing there in the cozy, downtown streets of Lexington, I was perfectly and comfortably OK being alone. It was incredibly freeing. Not only did I enjoy it, I needed that ‘me’ time.

The wedding like the city was gorgeous. My two friends wed in an intimate, chapel that is walking distance from the university where they found each other. It was as if there love had come full circle somehow.  I sat there in that chapel watching the smiling, handsome groom so happy, eager, and ready to see his bride. He seemed almost giddy to have the honor of marrying such a sweet, pure, and kind woman. It’s moments like these that restore any doubts I have about real love existing and living in this world. It is so real, and if you are honored to find someone who loves you the way my friends love each other you are beyond blessed. I am so thankful I got to share in that moment with them.
The reception was held in a banquet hall at the university. The space was everything I thought it would be, elegant, sweet, and simple. It was also special, because I got to reunite with so many old friends. The bride now works at the news station where I worked a few years ago. Several of my old co-workers were at the wedding Seeing those old friends, was like turning back the pages of old memories. I instantly remembered why these people have a special place in my heart. They are just as funny, silly, loud, and crazy as I remember them. The best part they have not lost their supportive, kind spirits. It made me feel so good to know they were proud of me. I owe so much to them for giving me a shot in news. I posed in a picture with them to preserve the moment. As I look at it now, I am so humbled by all the wonderful people God has brought in my life. Sometimes people only come for a season, but they always have a reason. These people believed in me, pushed me, and helped me in a career I am proud to do every day.

The bride Sarah - there are not enough words to describe the kind of friend she is. I will never forget how she drove almost two hours one to take me out to dinner on my birthday. I had to work, and without her I would spent the birthday alone. She knew I was homesick, and worn down so took me out to eat. I will never forget all those long phones when I felt like throwing in the towel, and her positivity gave me the strength to get back up.  Thank you, sister for being you and allowing me to share in your special day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

That Kind of Man

A little something I wrote a few years ago when I was so deeply in love.. one of my first intense adult loves... I like looking back on these moments. It's lets me know that real, deep love is possible and I'm worthy of it.


        He started as a mental fantasy. The kind of man you envision when you have a bored moment to yourself. The kind of man you stare at from afar and turn away when he catches you staring. For a few moments you and that kind of man drift away to a warm, summer day. The two of you are having a picnic like in the movies. He feeds you strawberries and you looking simply gorgeous in your spring dress as you devour his presence. You lean in for a kiss and suddenly your boss is tapping you on your shoulder to get back to work. You realize you drifted off into a dream and you try so hard to put that kind of man out of your brain. Sometimes I feel all good dreams stay just good dreams. But if you are a hopeless romantic you believe in the possibility of that kind of man loving you. The thoughts send your heart, and mind on a mission to find him. You are thinking of the endless possibilities of you and him. The places you will go, the people you will meet, and the love you will have. When I met "that kind of man" I tried desperately to fight falling for him.

 I returned from my winter holiday refreshed and relaxed; but I dreaded going back to work. But there he was “that kind of man”. The man I said I would forget over my holiday break. Seeing him again made me weak, and uneasy. I tried to avoid his eye contact as I walked passed him. He stood there seeming a little disappointed that I didn't give him my time. I tried to act like seeing him didn’t affect me, but when I got home I kept seeing him his face, smelling his cologne. I kept replaying his smile and the awkward hello we shared. What do I do with these feelings?

I told myself I could not have these feelings. We worked together, and it would only make things hard. What started as friendly flirtation at work, turned into an outside-work friendship; one that introduced me to the sport of hockey, made me stand in freezing, gusty, 40 degree weather to watch him play soccer.
 
It was a friendship that was once handshakes and smiles that progressed to hugs and warm embraces. Everyday got more interesting. While I’ll tried to deny it, there was obviously something between us. What that something was intrigued me enough to accept more friendly visits, more sweet text messages, and more day dreaming at work. In the workplace we act as all co-workers do, cordial and polite. We don’t talk about the great time we had together, or how fine he looks in those booty hugging pants. Even now I get distracted. We act professional and later we’ll discuss office politics with one another and laugh.

        What if this friendship with “that kind of man” could be something great? One of those relationships you dream about, or one of those friendships that last beyond a work place romance? 

        My infatuation with him is deeper than how beautiful he is. For someone so handsome, some of the smallest compliments can make him blush. There is something adorable about that. He is the kind of guy who appreciates good comedy and laughing. We would find ourselves quoting the same Dave Chappelle one liners. He is the kind of guy that still opens doors even though you can do if for yourself. He is the kind of guy that lets you order first. The kind of guy whose voice you save on voicemail to replay because you want to cherish how he says, "I miss you honey." He is the kind of man who calls you gorgeous, cutie, and beautiful for no reason. 
 
        He is the kind of man I could fall for. The kind of man I could love.

   

Monday, April 1, 2013

Kardashian Evolution: My Love of Reality T.V.

Another departure from my normal ramblings on love, life, and relationships.

I love reality television, well most reality television. For some reason I am starting to tire of celebrity driven singing competitions, dance-offs, and network produced love fests like the Bachelor. Also,  I am no longer a fan of MTV's 'The Real World' one of the reality television pioneers. It's lost it authenticity.

I was a huge fan of 'The Real World' when it came out. The show looked into the lives of seven, strangers picked to live in a house, have their lives taped -you know the rest. At first the show tackled some really weighty issues. Remember the first 'Real World' in New York with the proud black man versus the pure almost naïve white girl talking about race relationships ? That was some good stuff. Now the show is about picking hot chicks who will get drunk, make dumb decisions, and jump naked into the 'Real World' pool or hot tub. The show went Hollywood much like I feel the Kardashians have, losing what make them so likable in the first place.

As a fan of reality television, I'm no dumbie. Now that reality television is such a hit, the reality is lost. Producers make story lines, plan crafty plots, and people are casted as characters. On one of my other favorite reality series, 'The Hills' and 'Laguna Beach' all the characters admit to following story lines to some degree. I feel like I needed that set up before I talked about the evolution of the Kardashians namely Kim's changes from a fame hungry, money driven bitch to real seemingly insecure person desperate to stay famous and relevant.

I've watched the show since the very beginning. Before the girls had glam squads, endorsements, and celebrity husbands. The show was at its realest then. The family entered the reality business shortily after Kim's now infamous sex-tape was introduced to computers, and bachelor pads across the country. I loved the girls the most those first few seasons. It's when we see them at their most humble and real.

Kim's hunger for fame is evident from the start, and it's clear the show is set up as a means of making her a household name. Mission accomplished. I love these early seasons, but it's also a little hard to watch. You see Kim rub in her sister's face that she can afford a nice car, get a perfume deal behind their back, and take any chance she can to call them jealous. It's ugly. You see an early Kris Jenner, the momager, push Kim to host, promote, like, and sell anything she can to boost her star power. Then there's the couple of episodes when Kim starts to get press and it goes to her head. She ditches her responsibilities at the store she started with her sisters, and turns into a first class diva.

Why do we love Kim I ask? Just kidding. During those first seasons we all fell in love with the sister squabbles, and the girls  seemingly real person problems. It also doesn't hurt they're all beautiful. We all could see a bit of ourselves in at least one of the sisters. Maybe not Kourtney's relationship with Scott. That was just a hot mess.

Those first seasons made for some good television. In the current season of 'Kim and Kourtney Take Miami' I've noticed something strange has happened. Is it me or is Kim a lot nicer, sweeter, and fun this season ? She is totally not the bitch we saw in those other seasons. She seems like the kind of girl you might actually hang with in real life. There is something refreshing and human about seeing such a gorgeous woman struggle with insecurity. The pop culture diva in me wants to believe that her hip/hop baby Daddy has something to do with this.

Maybe KW has taught a homegirl to relax a bit, smell the rich roses she can afford, and exhale. This season Kim drinks which she claimed to never had done before. She is funny, easy-going, and actually seems like a cool chick. It's a far cry from the Kim of yesteryear. I kind of like it.

The cynic in me is wondering though if Kim finally realized that being nice sells, that people are really digging the good girls these days. The good girl is a better seller than a money hungry, fame obsessed diva. Khloe is case in point.

Khloe has become more popular, loveable, and relatable than any of her sisters. It doesn't hurt that she has marriage many women admire to an NBA star no less. But, the girl has opened up about her fertility, her weight issues, and her insecurity. We women reality show watchers love those types of reveals. It humanized her and made us feel we could connect to her. I wonder if Kim decided to take a page out of the Khloe book and give being a cool chick a try. I think Kim and mama Kris have taken noticed, and told a home girl to lighten up her character, chill out a bit.

The show was always supposed to about Kim's life, Kim's sisters, Kim, Kim, Kim. It's definitely served it's purpose the girl is loaded, and has her hand in everything. But, it seems her sister or Khloe at least could eclipse her star power if she's not careful, and Kim K ain't about sharing no spotlight. I think this may be why we're seeing a much sweeter, kinder, funnier Kim. Whether we're seeing the real Kim or television produced Kim is unclear. There's definitely been a change.

But, we may not have this for much longer, word is KW is not a fan of the chose, and plans to pull his baby mama off the minute she drops his baby. Sucks I was really starting to like this Kim.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why I go nuts during March


This is a break from my usual musings about love, life, and relationships.
This is the one time of the year every girl, person, or non-sports fan can get lost in the craze that is known as ‘March Madness’. It’s also when a sports clueless, non-athlete like myself will drop phrases like, “Did you see we’re taking on a Number 4 seed this weekend? “
"We really need to step up our defense this game."
“That conference has become very competitive. I hear their starting guard has NBA potential.”
The rest of the year I’m l like, “What is their record this year?  “So what is that guy’s position again?”

It’s so seem a little backwards and crazy that this time of year births new sports fans seemingly overnight. Offices are competing to see who can predict the winner of the big tourney. Social media explodes with college alums cheering for their schools. Bars are filled with loud, rowdy bball fans. I love this time of year, and I won’t lie I’m one of those people who catch ‘March Madness’ fever especially since I’m an alumna of the once Cinderella team known as Virginia Commonwealth University Rams.  

I’m a mediocre fan at best during the rest of the year. During the season I keep in touch with the Rams from a distance. I read a few sports pages about their season; follow the play-by-play of games on Twitter. I follow our amazing Coach Shaka Smart, the VCU fans twitter handles, and every once in a while I’ll find myself cruising the VCU sports website for highlights.  For some reason my mediocrity is pushed into full on crazy, Rams fan during March Madness. This year was no different.  
Since I felt myself yelling at television screens, and engaging in Facebook rants about how great the Ram are, I’ve been trying to understand why this happens to me and a lot of girly girls. While this may not be true for everyone, I think there is something special about seeing your alma mater play on a national stage like the NCAA tournament. Seeing fellow students, and alumni filling the stadium in their black and yellow shirts, I feel myself swelling up with pride. Seeing those guys play, duke it out, and leave it all on the paint I’m reminded of those college nights I spent cheering in our stadium in Richmond, the Siegel Center.
 
It was right across the street from the dorm I stayed in. I’d toss on my yellow VCU shirt, and grab a seat up close to the players. When I first started at VCU, the games were not packed, and sold out like they are now. Except for when we were playing rivals like University of Richmond, George Mason, or Old Dominion I usually had no problem finding a seat. Those nights me, my girlfriends, classmates, and guys I was feeling would cheer, yell, and enjoy all that was college life.
Players graduated, coaches left, but each year the program no one heard of was getting better and more respected. I remember when VCU beat Duke in 2007. That buzzer beating shot from Eric Maynor was golden. Man that was a good night. The pride I felt from our small program beating such a Goliath of a team was indescribable especially since I watched that game from a journalism conference in North Carolina. I cheered anyway.

For a while it felt like coaches were coming to VCU to get their cred in the college balling world only to leave us, but we kept our heads high. I remember how pumped we all were when Shaka Smart came to VCU. He had this energy and desire to invest in the team. We all knew we had snagged something special.  He pushed us to new heights, and it swept us all off our feet when we beat Kansas to punch our ticket to the Final Four two years ago. I remember how the students stormed, partied, and ran on the streets of Richmond to celebrate. Crazed VCU fans surrounded news reporters in their live shots about the game. It was amazing time to be Richmond. Bars, and restaurants filled up for watch parties. I remember being in Richmond at a Watch party during Selection Sunday. The energy the River City exudes, all routing, cheering for the hometown team, it's amazing. We didn’t take home the big prize in our Final Four run, but it was an amazing ride for everyone on-board.

Those basketball games are so much more than the minutes those players put on the court. It’s our school pride, our memories, the moments we shared, and the amazing journey we’ve all witnessed this program go through. So yes, excuse me if I go little nuts when VCU is playing in the Big Dance. That school means so much to me, and I am so proud I earned my education there. My school pride is drenched in the memories at the Siegel Center, the meals at Shafer, and the celebrations on the streets of Richmond. I’m a VCU Ram for life, but I’m a lot crazier in March.

 

 

 

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Break-Up Date


  I was certain I would end things tonight. I would be assertive, direct, but kind. For some reason though I still wanted to look hot on this "let just be friends" dinner.

I bought a form fitting dress, applied some subtle sexy makeup, pulled my hair back, and completed the outfit with knee high boats. Sexy break up look- accomplished.

When I walked into the restaurant, and he was already sitting there. His dark brown eyes connected with mine, and I could see him accessing my get up. I felt so beautiful in that moment.

He was wearing red, because  I told him it was one of my favorite colors. I appreciate how much he listens and remembers the little things I say. He helped me take off my jacket, pulled out the chair for me, and said, "How are you beautiful?"

My stomach felt weak, uneasy. My palms were warm to touch, and my heart made this weird flutter.
Wait! This is all wrong I'm supposed to be cute, cordial, confident then go into my "let's be friends" stitch.

We ordered dinner and he let me ramble about my chaotic day at work. And,  he was really listening. Not like when guys are pretending to listen, but internally they are wishing you would wrap it up.

He looked at me as I spoke, and reached for my hand as if to say, 'It's OK."

He asked me questions and I replied. Then he stroked the side of my face and said, "You're good at what you do. Why do you worry so much?"

A warm sensation washed over me. I could feel it all over my body like some calming agent was moving through me.

Maybe I could have this let's be friends talk another time I thought. In that moment I wanted to enjoy the night with this romantic, tender man.

His phone rings, and he tells me it work.

"Do you need to go. It's OK?"

"There is no other place I'd rather be than with you tonight?" he replied.

This man must be an alien because boys I've dated don't talk like that. After dinner the dessert tray comes out and he doesn't glance twice when I consider the chocolate cake with glistening icing. There is no 'Oh my goodness she's ordering dessert after all that food' judgment.

It made me feel safe to be me. When we got up to leave he helped me put on my jacket, and pulled me closer to kiss him. I wanted to savour those seconds, save it, go back to it time to time , marinate on it, and use it to remember I'm worthy of all this romance, and love.

"I ask the waiter to take our picture. She snaps three photos on my Smartphone and we look at them together.

I see an image of two very different people who could maybe be more than just friends. The dinner was where I was supposed to put him in the friend zone, but I ended up seeing that maybe he could stay in my zone, a place I could love, learn and grow with him.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dating Woes of a Navy Brat: Part Two

We were in my college dorm, pretending to watch TV when he turned to me. There was so much anticipation. I could feel it was coming. He looked at me intensely, and started leaning in. I could feel sweat on my palms, and my stomach felt squeamish. This was going to be good. Our lips connected, and for a few moments it was everything I hoped for, soft, sensual, and sweet. Then for reasons I don't understand the feeling faded. The whole thing felt forced, like we were trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. I don't know why but it just didn't feel right. I think we both knew it, but felt too invested at the moment to speak the truth. 

I had never reconciled my past hurt with him. And, for all I put in those past months, I didn't feel like he had given anything in return. I needed a man who would spontaneously decorate my house with heart shaped post-it notes each one with a reason why he loved me. I needed a man I could call at night and relive my day with. I needed a man to see, hold, love, and touch everyday.

But, here I was sending care package, notes, and falling asleep by the phone. Sometimes I wouldn't hear from him for weeks with little to no explanation. Maybe he couldn't say, but I began to remember why I didn't want to fall in love with a serviceman. I've always known I didn't want to spend holidays, special occasions, and life with someone miles away. But here I was trying desperately to be something I couldn't be, a serviceman girlfriend. We pulled away from our embrace and oddly went back to watching television. Before he left to return home that night I leaned in for another kiss just to double check. Nope, still felt forced.

He went home, and the passion all but fizzled. During our phone conversations I could hear the tip, tap of X360 controllers in the background followed by a yell from his buddy. Any gamer past or present knows when their boyfriend is playing Halo instead of paying attention to their phone conversation. I demanded his attention. He would turn down the volume, but I knew he was still playing. This became our relationship for the next few weeks. After months of building our long distance relationship, I think neither of us wanted to admit we just weren't compatible. The last stake to our dying relationship was on his birthday weekend.

He said he would spend the weekend with me, and finally meet my folks. I did what any sensible. struggling girlfriend would do. I went out, bought a super cute outfit, cooked dinner, baked a cake, and waited. Then I waited some more, then waited some more. After a few of my calls went to voicemail, and the day turned to night, it was clear I was getting the Heisman once again. This term is after the Heisman trophy in which a football player is giving his opponents the stiff arm. In love it means rejection, "He's just not that into you" getting the hand, dissed, whatever word for shutdown you want to us.

 There was never any closure, just days of me writing angry diary entries, fighting back tears at night. Eventually I found peace on my own. I vowed again he would be the last serviceman I let myself fall for.

I know what you're thinking I just happened to date a crumby dude which is true. But, that experience coupled with my own childhood as a Navy Brat has made me not want to fall in love with a serviceman. In a Jennifer Lopez romance comedy, I'm sure I would somehow find my soul mate in a serviceman and struggle to fight back my feelings. Then I would realize I was making a terrible mistake, I'd run after him, we'd get married and have lots of babies. Life is never as poetic as a Jennifer Lopez movie though. This heartache is not my main reason for shielding my heart from service men. I do not want to make the sacrifices that serviceman girlfriends, wives, and moms do. Call me selfish.

When my dad was promoted to Master Chief, the NAVY gave my mom this awesome certificate of appreciation. It had a list of all the sacrifices military spouses make so their loved ones can help protect our country. It honored her service to the Navy for her selflessness, and bravery. To be honest there wasn't enough space on that certificate to list all my mother had given up. She delayed nursing school while my Dad was at sea, juggled three kids, and sometimes three jobs. I love her for being two parents sometimes, for never letting us see her cry, and always putting on a brave face when her kids pleaded not to move again. I love my Father for the sacrifices he made, for giving up all those years he could have watched us grow up to protect this great nation, for laying the foundation for us to go to college and pursue our dreams.

In my heart I just don't think I'm the  kind of woman who can do what my parents did.  I've been waiting for 28 years for my Mr. Right, and when I get him I don't want to love him from oceans away. Call me selfish, but I want as much time I can bare with him. I mean I have been waiting for 28 years for this man anyway. A long distance service love is just not for me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dating Woes of a Navy Brat: Part One


 Over a hot pizza oven, flying pizza dough, and marina sauce I fell for this dark chocolate brother in high school. He was the Steve Urkel looking type who I saw as my Stefan Urkel. For those of you people who aren't aware of this 90's sitcom references, Steve Urkel was a character from Family Mattedr.  Stefan Urkel was his better looking, suave, alter-ego he created with one of his quirky machines. I digress. My Urkel understood my humor, and at the time was my best friend. When my Urkel found a barber, contacts, and confidence he soon left me in the same sweaty pizza shop where I fell for him. (see the Sbarros Heisman blog for more details)

Fast forward a few years, I'm home on fall break. We bump into each other at the same mall where it all began. He looked buffer, and stronger than I remembered. Through a few awkward exchanges I learned he was in the service, and was about to be deployed to Afghanistan in a few weeks. He flashed that bright Urkel smile I fell for so many years again, and I gave him my phone number. He apologized for the Heisman he served me so many years ago, and said he wished things were different. In that way women do, my mind seemed to have erased the cockiness he got when other girls seemed to notice him. Before I knew it we were texting, calling, emailing, and trying to recapture those adolescent feelings while he was deployed in Afghanistan.

I remember jumping from the top dorm bunk in a sleep hazy to answer his 6:00 a.m. phone calls. It was the only time I could hear his voice, and know that he was OK. Days turned to weeks, and before long I was mailing care packages overseas, and taking phone calls from his mother updating her on his status. I was officially the thing I always said I wouldn't be a service member girlfriend.

I jumped up and down in excitement when he told me he was coming home. He promised to visit me. and take me to dinner. For the weeks leading up to the day I remember agonizing over my weight, my outfit, my hair, and what I would say. But, when I saw him all I wanted to do was hug and kiss him, and hopefully feel the passion we shared in those emails, letters, and early morning phone calls.

All those hours working out, and toning had been good to him. He had cuts in his muscles, and a new swagger to him. I was intoxicated, and pinching myself that a quirky good girl like me could pull a GQ hunk like him. I was floating during our date. I walked around the mall with him on my arm. I could see girls staring, and giving us looks. It only bolstered my self-esteem. Yes indeed. This girl is pulling this guy I thought to myself. His voice seemed smoother, and more suave than in high school. It was like he spoke seduction and charm. He opened doors, let me order first, bought me dinner, and gushed about my beauty. I was in girl heaven. Would this be the man to break my feelings about military loving? He was sure making a good case for himself.  Things were looking good that was until we kissed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dating Woes of a Navy Brat: The Intro


 I am surrounded. Everywhere I go, and everywhere I turn I'm confronted with tales of long-distance loves. At the gym waiting for a class to start, I hear tales of wives scouting their desired deployment locations. In the line at the grocery store, military moms discuss their husband's ranks like they're swapping Pillsbury recipes. At the Starbucks, I hear the whispers of girlfriends chatting about their sailor boyfriends, Skype dates, and impending homecomings. It's no surprise really I live in Hampton Roads one of the largest meccas for sailor sisters, military moms, army wives, and service lovers.

Every time I hear these stories I am transported back to my childhood. It's a late weekend night, and my mom has just handed me the phone. On the other end is my father, his voice sounds so close , but oceans separate us. He's on another deployment, and this is one of my mom's attempts to keep him included in our daily lives. With the receiver to my ear, I'm stumbling through an awkward mumble of what I've done at school, and how I'm trying to make new friends.

We were stationed on a Navy base in Millington, Tennessee and while it was tough I was making friends with other Navy Brats. We were like our own little cult. The senior Navy Brats held water balloon fights at their houses during the summer, the military moms hosted cookouts, and we all somehow managed until our folks returned from duty. There was even a skating ring on base we all went to on Fridays, and showed off our latest moves on our roller blades. I do have some fond memories of living on base housing. But, the worst was trying to get to know a father I didn't see often, and didn't understand.

When my dad returned from deployment it was even harder to connect with him. I didn't know how to act or what to do. Did we hug each other? Was Dad even the hugging type? Did he want to hear about my latest failed attempt to get my crushes attention or more about how I was going to pull up my C's in math? How do you bond with a parent when most of your childhood you've been apart?

These are the feelings and the memories that flash before me when I hear these women talk about their sailor loves. The tales have made me confront what I've known since childhood, I don't want to fall for a military man. I got to know my father in my mid-twenties. I love him dearly and I respect his service, and what he's done for our family. But, in my heart I don't think I am strong enough to endure what my mother endured.

My first and last military love confirmed what I already knew, I don't want to fall for a serviceman.

To be continued.