Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm Afraid, Now What?

As most of us know, our experiences are what shape us; the good, the bad, the ugly and indifferent. Somehow, someway all of the things that happen in our lives have an effect on us and thus how we deal with those around us going forward. With that said, after doing some soul searching last night I finally was able to admit to myself that when it comes to matters of the heart and opening up to men, I'm afraid.

I'm afraid because I find it hard to believe that there's someone out there who could genuinely care about my feelings more than they care about their own right now. Someone who wants to see my character before they see what's beneath my clothes. Someone who's willing to take a leap with me and see if we could build something together once we land.

I don't want to be the first one to call, the first one to text, the first one to ask "where could you see this going?". I don't want to put myself out there and let him know that I'm "digging you like a grave"* when really I may not be anything more than just another chic riding his bench waiting to get put in the game.

Being in this "quarter life" stage, so much of who I am and what I'm doing is in a state of limbo. So adding the vulnerability that comes with opening up to a man to the rocky road I'm already trodding on, can sound like more than I'm willing and able to handle. I've gotten to the point where I'd almost rather nip the possibility of seeing where things could go with someone in the bud at the very beginning, rather than taking the chance of getting my heart stepped on. I do all this talking(typing) about wanting to take the steps to find the guy for me but am I really ready to receive him? If I know nothing else, it's that love and fear don't mix.

So now that I've taken a deep breath and admitted my fear(s), what do I do now? How do I get past this? Maybe you all have some advice, because on this one, I surely don't.

*Love Jones reference for all those who didn't take Black Love Movies 101

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why 'The Spark' Is About As Real as Santa, Unicorns & The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

During a heated discussion with a guy I once dated, he told me that he and I could never be together because he didn't feel a "spark" when we first met. Even though this conversation took place over a year ago, I still remember that statement because it was one of the most confusingly hurtful things I had ever been told. At this point I had known this guy for over 3 yrs and we had gone through quite the rollercoaster ride together, but the worst part was that he not only told me he didn't feel a spark with me but that he had felt one with his ex-girlfriend which is why he had decided to be with her and not me. Seeing as he and the girlfriend had just broken up, you would think that would be an indicator to him at just how full of bs this notion of "the spark" actually is.

But with that long anecdote aside, what exactly is "the spark"? And when do you feel it? Is it that warm feeling that you get when you first meet someone that you're attracted to? Is it something that you can feel for several people? I've had a couple conversations over the past week, discussing possible answers to these questions, and the conclusion that I've come to is that what most people refer to as "the spark" is most often nothing more than lust.

My dad reads the Date Lab* column in the Washington Post magazine every Sunday and it never fails that week after week couples who admit having a great time with one another end the column by saying "there just wasn't a spark". So you enjoyed this person's conversation, they made you laugh, you had things in common but because you didn't feel "the spark", you won't go out on a second date with them? Am I the only person that's confused by that?

It's kind of like, we've gotten so into the instant gratification aspect of the 21st century that we forget that some things, ie. genuine lasting feelings, don't always hit you as soon as you meet someone. I like to think of good relationships like I do my friendships. I have some friends that when we first met, my only thought was "who the hell does this chic/dude think she/he?", but because there was something about them that peaked my interest, a friendship was able to form and blossom.

Too many people think good potential relationships have to begin with an instant spark of sensual feeling; like if I don't think I could sleep with you love you right now, I definitely won't in a couple months or years. We've become so side tracked by lust, which I definitely think is more of an instant and often fleeting feeling, that we no longer seem to have the patience it takes to form successful relationships. Can we really then be surprised by the high divorce rates and relationship failures of today?

I may just be speaking out of my ass but let me know what you guys think. What do you all think, is "the spark" real or just a figment of our adult imaginations?

*Date Lab is a column where The Washington Post sets up singles of all colors, ages & orientations on blind dates and then reports on their experiences for our entertainment.