(Still) In Europe– ON Finding Elucidation in a Jet-lagged dream

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Well my week in Dublin came and went… Ireland was great, from what I could see, unfortunately everything closes early besides pubs, so my work schedule didn’t really allow for much of anything else.

My impressions of Ireland though is that it’s pretty meh weather, very friendly people (or at least less of a culture of otherizing than what I experienced previously… it was great to walk around in space where I was only 1 of a very few number of black people and it was not a big deal… the other black people didn’t make eye contact, didn’t try to connect since we were the only ones of our race in a hostile space… ha ha… but everyone else went around their business: I never felt otherized).

Food was ok, but from what I understand, traditional Irish food is a lot of stews and a lot potatoes.  I didn’t really eat much of that… it was more hotel/restaurant food. I think I should have stayed through today (Saturday) so that I could really get a feel for the town.

I did go to the city center my last evening there and thought it was really cute (too bad again, everything closes so early…. 7pm ! on a Friday night!)

But something else happened during my trip, that I wanted to codify, a little bit. Laying in my lovely hotel apartment (it had heated floors!… ha ha, and a pretty comfortable mattress,  but overall I think it was a little hyped up… not complaining though it was lovely). I have been thinking about a  few things… related to my “new  year” philosophy.  I have had a disquieted spirit for a few weeks. Well, not disquieted really but there was some stuff I was trying to make sense of, because I felt overwhelmed and preoccupied by a a lot of different thoughts. The anxiety has been building, tbh, I was looking forward to going to Dublin and the subsequent vacation. It wasn’t just one issue, really, it’s a bunch of separate ones, some interrelated, some not. But it all felt so daunting.  Anyway…

Jet-lag is weird… I lay there that first night in Dublin, desperately trying to sleep and focus on sleep. But my mind kept staying super active, and going everywhere but to counting sheep. And boom somewhere around three AM I realized two important things: The first, about an issue that has lasted the past couple years. I have been trying to resolve it within my heart and mind, and succeeded only to a certain extent. But there was sort of a final piece that I realized, acknowledged and came to terms with and I immediately felt a source of peace…. The only hitch is that I also shared what I had realized that morning… In a manner that I thought was tactful with the other person involved… And their reception of it is still TBD.:

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FWIW… LJC if you happen to be reading this, I meant what I shared, but hope it wasn’t taken as an insult of any kind. I thought sharing was what you wanted, but maybe not… Ironic though, when I finally feel like the issue is completely resolved that manages to have (potentially) cringeworthy repurcussions. I can see how it can feel dragged out and maybe even like some sort of attack. Am hedging my bets that this is not the case here, that this is not how you read things. But I know that everyone has to do what they have to do. Sigh.  With that said, I value you and your friendship greatly.

And it would be really sad if as everything was making sense to me, the craziness of it made you say, fuck this…

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Can’t put it back, honestly I wouldn’t want to… There is a freedom in pointing out certain things… At least, I hope all parties can see this.

 

The other issue, is a newer one, in a newer dynamic that I am still trying to figure out… but as I tossed and turned, I figured out what I need to do for now… Some rules that I needed to clarify for my own self.  Gazelle figured out what she’s doing!!! —- in a situation where I didn’t realize there was figuring to do.

So it’s  a little crazy that it took traveling almost 5,000 miles to help me realize some key things that have been weighing on my subconcious. Still a lot of other things to sort out, but checking off two things from the list still feels good.

 

And now I am taking it easy this weekend. Breathing in and out… hoping for the best.

It’s Official: Europe Bound

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Yup I will be doing a short sprint in Europe in a couple of months! (not mainland Europe but whatever). Looking forward to seeing some family in the UK and being in another country that I have never visited before.

 

I didn’t expect to be kicking up my travel shoes again, but here we are. Thank God I have a new, very warm winter coat.

2016 in Review: Highs (so few), Lows (so many), Dating Woes- Part Deux

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So let’s start with January. Ah January came on the heels of a very shitty last quarter of 2015 on so many different levels. If you care to remember it was when I was int he middle of a lot of bad choices, lots of regret and lack of clarity on where exactly I would be moving onto in 2016 (jobs, locations etc).

But like the lighter, brighter friends (with the good hair… ha ha) I joined the online dating thing for real: partially because I was lonely and curious to as the possibilities the then New Year would hold, partially because I thought it would be good to do some unofficial gauging of what my options were, figuring that wherever I moved to next would be where I would beed to find my Mr. Wright…

I matched with an interesting Moroccan man.. an IM and he was funny and thought I was cool too. But there was hitch (and there always is one, isn’t it?) … Upon meeting in person I found that he was a lot lighter and a little chubbier than his photos. But still, I forged ahead. (I should have taken that as a harbinger of things to come). I soon realized that IM as mainly looking for a quiet penis receptacle. He straight up told me that he didn’t like talking and was looking for someone who would support him, he didn’t want a girlfriend who made him think: He did all his thinking at his engineering job…. Wow. This, plus his mistaken notion that since I am black and speak Arabic I must be desperate to be Arab and ashamed of being black meant that this was doomed from the start. I slightly regret how I ended things here, but at the same time, he pushed me till I felt like I had to choice but to be super duper frank, perhaps more frank than I wanted to be and not terse enough. Funny thing is the story doesn’t end there…. Ha ha… Before the end of January this budding relationship had died the death of a falling star.  It had hit earth and We both had moved on, or so I thought…. Queue Valentine’s day when I get a message from IM out of the blue. My response: “Who is this?”

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Give me some credit, I didn’t quite respond like that! ha ha

Apparently, that was not the response he was looking for. IM responded with a terse “No one” and (I believe) blocked my number… I was really confused by the immaturity of his response, but also reprimanded by friends for being unfriendly… ha ha…

Mentioning it in passing to my sister and she said that my problem is that I like to be in control… I as annoyed that someone who had written me off and I had written off would come back out of the blue  rattle me.

 

Who knows? For me this is the beginning of the encounters that I leave in the trashbins of history.

 

 

On Chumps and Men Part II

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The previous post was getting too long, so I am continuing here. Well actually, in this post I really get to the heart in what bothers me in all this. I am someone who takes time to process things and my reaction at the time was contrite, we had several super long hugs goodbye (his doing, not mine, all the while I was thinking “Please just go” ).

I think my gut knew what my head knows now…this was a load of bullshit. sigh. I have spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my actions, that last conversation and how in the heck I got into that situation as my weekends have been freeed up quite a bit… ha ha.

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I guess I just wanted to put some words to electronic paper. I am mad.  But not for the reasons many would assume…

There is a certain type of man out that prides himself on being a cut above the rest in terms his moral compass

I really have a problem with men like SB. They pride themselves on being “good guys” because they don’t sleep around with women…i.e. because they aren’t super sleazy like many of their own damn guy friends. They pride themselves on being honest, honorable etc. and yet, here I am. I have to ask, (and perhaps should ask SB) what about his interaction with me showcasess his honesty? His trustworthiness.

What I didn’t mention in the first post, is that a lot of little things slipped out during SB’s soliloquy: One of the main ones being that he had known since at least our second date that he was the one dragging his feet and he had known since at least our third that he didn’t want a relationship with (presumably) anyone right now. Oh and that he thanked me for having the honesty to bring our situation up because he didn’t.

But here’s the thing, I don’t fault him for not being in a place where he is ready for anything. But I do fault him for KNOWING this and continuing to interact with me as if he was. Ugh.

So there you have it, folks. “Nice guys” can be and will be assholes too. He wanted the external trappings of a relationship, but with no formalized commitment. Part of me can see how we could have gone on for several more months, messaging talking, hanging out and he would have no qualms about that. The larger part of me wonders why his honesty only showed up when he had to declare that he IS NOT my boyfriend (using caps cause it was said with emphasis).

When faced with the fact that they have in fact hurt someone, they turn to even shittier behavior like heaping on empty compliments and declaring how important your friendship is to them

This is the part that makes me very, mad. Because it’s about THEM, THEIR ego and THEIR need to hold to the idea of being good, honest people in the face of showing that they are human and are assholes just as much as the broey friend they measure themselves against. Being used emotionally can hurt just as much as being used physically.

So when Surfer Boy segued into random statements about how amazing I am, I didn’t take the bait. He can keep his shitty complements. Because it wasn’t about me (first of all, I know how wonderful I am. But people sometimes take my railings against racism and colorism to mean that I am insecure about myself looks. They take my not wanting to brag about x, y or z to mean I have low self-esteem. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. I live in a world that does not value me at worst and devalues me at best. Fuck this world and this society. I know I am fucking amazing).

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This is my internalized mantra: “You are precious, it’s society that is (a piece of) shit”

So hearing him say that I am smart, beautful, blah blah was about the show he was putting on for himself.

Claiming to value my friendship is perhaps the biggest Cop-out of all and goes back to points 1 and 2

The one thing I did say to SB besides, “I don’t like gray” was that this conversation felt like de ja vu, because I was in a long, protracted gray area before, and was really sad to see that I had ended up there again. The details are different, as is my level of complicity, but those posts are not for today.

The point being, that I know this response quite well. In the last situation I took responsibility for my own complicity (mainly my stupidity) in making things go so badly and because the person was someone I had known for a long time, agreed to try to make the friendship work. (In fact, in relaying SB’s overtures of friendship I remarked to a friend, what do I want him for now? To be the white version of the bullshit I am already going through????? ha ha)

BUt again, I take issue with this because just like when they declare all of my positive attributes like they just discovered them in that moment…. claims of valuing me as human being ring hollow, to say nothing of my “friendship.”

I see it as a weak ass move to offer their conscience some reprieve: They can still feel like “good guys” because they have offered me this awesome consolation prize “Their friendship.” I am being cynical here perhaps, but I wonder if they ever really think about the scenario that they are proposing:

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This is pretty much what he said, but what it sounded like to me was more like:

“I don’t really want to acknowledge the extent to which I treated you like shit, but I am such an awesome person that you obviously want to stay in my life at any cost, so how about I have the benefit of pointing to you and saying “friend.” That way,  I don’t feel like an asshole and absolve myself of any hurt my actions may have cost. And you still get to be around my magnificence.”

I don’t doubt that they perhaps think they are being sincere, but again it rings hollow for me. A friend who won’t level with me? A friend who doesn’t respect me enough not to waste my time? I think I can do bad all by myself.

I honestly would have preferred SB to say that look like  a train ran over my face, or that I smell, or something more meaningful than dull, lifeless compliments however animated he was when he said it. It’s funny because I knew that that weekend would be our last one, (again, if you have to ask, you know the answer) but I didn’t expect to hear what Surfer Boy said. I knew something was off and this wasn’t going to continue, but I didn’t expect the bull shit that he threw my way.

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You know I am sadly perhaps most of all mad at myself

Every time I think I have it figured out, things crumble and I wonder, wtf was the point? I feel like assholes seek me out, lull me into a false sense of security and then display their  fuckery. The silver lining is that I caught this relatively soon. I lament the time wasted that I can’t get back. But that is neither here nor there.

So there you have it folks. My latest foray into the dating world. It feels good to put in words what has bothered me for a long time

 

(and yes, LJ Cul de Sac if you see some of yourself in these posts, you should… But I give credit where it’s due and you apologized— I won’t say without prodding, but it surprised me all the same that you had the moxy to do it…. but this situation for all it’s parrallels and perpendiculars is a lot different… I will leave it at that).

I feel like a used prop, and am perhaps more cynical of the whole situation than I will be in the future but it’s how I am doing now. I wonder if the contrasts in our interests and backgrounds made being around me an escape of some sort for him… you know for one day a week he didn’t have to deal with certain things. bah. It was a three month thing and now it’s over. Get over it, Gazelle, ha ha.

I’ve tried to psychoanalyze so much of this.

What I do now? Who knows. Over the past year, I have been thinking about how marriage isn’t for everyone, about how I could adopt a kid when I’m 35 if no relationship materializes by then….  By then, this blog will have been retired. It will be interesting to come back and look at this post at that time though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Chumps and Men

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Boy sees woman’s profile on a dating site, boy actually reads profile and sends a message that reflects he has. Woman is surprised as anyone who has done the online dating thing knows most of the men on these sites and apps really suck, or so many women lament. Where the story goes from here is interesting, to some perhaps, to others perhaps not.

I have an off again, on again relationship with these  dating apps as I’ve tried quite a few, some for as little as 15 minutes at a time.  Most, I have deleted and then downloaded again at times when I felt more optimistic. I preface with all this because I wary of people only looking for hook-ups, I am cautious or perhaps fear rejection.. ha ha so I never message a man first.

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It’s my prerogative, but I find this an easier way to gauge genuine interest. Most of these virtual swipes right or online convos are short-lived: There is no spark, I am not available to go for “drinks,” the conversation gets dull because he doesn’t like writing.

But it wasn’t like that with Surfer Boy (SB for short). It was a surprising breath of fresh air. I will admit I was skeptical as all get out at first; We are like night and day. He is tall super athletic (a pro surfer in a past life of all things!) and white, I am none of those things ha ha. But our messages were super long, and when we moved to Skype we still felt like we clicked, well I guess I can only speak for me, but I assume it was the same. We had started chatting when I came to the US briefly in June and interviewed where I now work. So he knew I was coming back and moving to his area, but he knew it was going to be several weeks. And yet, SB didn’t mind.  It was a weird feeling, because logically on some level I felt like we didn’t fit, and I let him know that, and downplayed the “positive signs” that our continued interactions supposedly revealed.

We kept it up with daily text conversations, 4+hr Skype calls, and definitive declarations of how great it would be when we finally meet. When we did it was great. Probably the funniest first date I’ve ever had. From then on we didn’t stop texting every day, and pretty much a day of every weekend was a SurferGazelle Day. We fit, I thought because SB was ok with taking things very slowly, we both agreed that hookup culture of today didn’t suit either of us, that it was important to get to know a person well, develop emotional attachment and intellectual connection.  And as time wore on, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, that maybe he just needed more points of connection before deciding how he felt.

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But then September rolled around, and as that month waxed on and the responsibilities of my new job did too, I really took stock of just how much of the fabric of my social life here was connected to connecting with SB.  And I ponied up the courage to clarify what exactly was going on. If after constantly communicating with someone for 3 months you are still unsure of what you want with or of them, then you’re not unsure at all. I felt like I had nothing else to show, and honestly didn’t want to waste my time on something that had many of the external trappings of a relationship: a seemingly attentive man, a proactive one who would drive an hour or so each way to see me every weekend, one who was thoughtful and encouraging and real (as I was with him).

But of course, if you have to ask, you already know the answer.

My recollection of the jumbled mess of the response he gave me is naturally jumbled. I said something short and sweet like “I like you a lot and have enjoyed spending time together, but I feel like we are in something of a gray area and wanted to check in with you and see, I dunno, what you are thinking.”

He was packing his bag to leave at the time, but to his credit seemed to take in my words and stopped what he was doing so we could have the conversation. Again, he then rambled a lot, but I can break his response into a few big chunks: 1. Acknowledgement that I am right this is gray because while I am NOT his girlfriend I am not just a friend either. 2. Further exposition on why he can’t commit to anything right now — needs to find himself and work through some issues/he is not confident he could be the kind of boyfriend to me he wants to be and doesn’t think it would be right to even make me wait till the day he is ready for a relationship 3. (empty) Praise of all my positive attributes, my honesty, kindness, beauty blah blah bblah 4. Him wanting to remain friends because he is very picky about who his  friends are and he only has a small circle of them,  and I supposedly pass the snuff test. 5. Him taking the possibility of a relationship off the table  if that means he can just be a part of my life, giving examples of how he could be useful to me.

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Yup, in the pendeja of a situation that is pretty much what I did… sigh.

My main interjection in all this was “I don’t like gray.” Because I don’t.

 

 

 

 

On Love: GAzelleism of the week

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So I wrote this God knows when, I am just cleaning out my closet of sorts.. I think this is 2016 post, but it might be from 2015…honestly I have been recycling some of the same feelings. But in the interest of throwing out the trash, here it goes: Another GDS original.

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Preach Ernest! source

You can’t love people who have neither the desire nor the fortitude to love you back… well you can love such people, but it will probably be to your own detriment… just saying.

Love is built on three reciprocated pillars: Respect, care and trust. I don’t care what kind of love we are talking about if one of these three are missing you’ve got a problem.

Sharing common DNA does not necessarily mean that these three pillars will be there going both ways, (so that each person is both a lover and is loved). Really, really, wishing your feelings were reciprocated won’t make it so in romantic relationships either… ha ha…

So if you have a frenemy, explain your relationship status as complicated or feel the dire necessity of shaking them haterz off even amongst family… You may want to reexamine your motivations for staying invested and connected to these individuals.

Hanging onto people who don’t want to hold you… will just leave you all ALONE in the end.

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Lessons learned and they sure run deep!!!!  source

On Being a Dark Girl: Oprah has done it again!

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The O Network will be featuring a documentary called, Dark Girls, about what it’s like to be a dark skinned woman. Naturally as one of those said Dark Girls I am very much interested in what this film has to say about us. (And ahem, why was I not called for an interview?)…ha, ha…

I have the O Network, and so I will be tuning in, and will undoubtedly have much to say.

This documentary comes at an interesting time for me, I think.  I was verbally abused by a ruddy looking dude (perhaps he was homeless?) in DC.  It all started with the usual street jargon that people yell… I think this guy yelled at me “Hey Gorgeous!” to which I did not reply and just kept walking.

Well he was a nasty thing, and after feeling slighted said a bunch of things, the only one of which I can remember is “You don’t want to talk to me because I’m black? Well, you blacker than I am!”   Um, whaaaaaaaat!!!!!!!  My first instinct was to laugh and keep walking.  He obviously looked like a lunatic. A man in his forties, dirty clothes and God knows what else (I did not get a good look at him) yelling stupid nonsense is no skin off my back… or is it?

I think I read someone’s comment on the documentary about how black people sometimes use the word “black” as an insult.  Of course, this is what that caramel colored fool did with me.  Somehow, it might have affected me more than I thought?

Precisely!

Maybe not, I think being back in the DC area and hearing random things like hey beautiful, relatively often makes me feel a little PTSDish… like I’m back in one of those places where cat-calls are the norm.  Usually, I don’t care.  Usually I don’t even remember the situation once its past. Unless of course, the circumstances are unusual, or the man is particularly bold or witty.

I think this buffoon falls into bold category.  Part of the reason why it stayed with me is because it’s safety issue.  All he did was put out vitriol demonstrating his lack of good manners, but it was enough to make me think, if only for a few seconds, about what to do if it got physical.

I wanted to shout this stuff from the roof tops, but decided to post it on my blog instead.

Sometimes, in Egypt or Morocco, I would walk around with my hand in a fist, just in case.  I unlearned that habit in the year since I’ve been home.  I don’t want to relearn it either.

Nor do I want to give off the sentiment that either place was entirely unsafe (a perusal of entries while in either country will make that clear).  But I stood out a little more in North Africa so more attention both positive an negative was a given.  But what is the motive of people like that weird guy I had the unfortunate luck of crossing paths with?  I guess the truth of the matter is that he would have been nasty even if I was white as snow, some men don’t know how to deal with rejection…. ha, ha….

Do-do birds like him aside, being dark-skinned is not all a pity parade, I don’t think so anyway.  But I know that a lot of people do in fact think like this.  For large swaths of people, a darker-skinned woman must be exceptionally beautiful to be acknowledged as beautiful.  (It’s annoying, but I often hear things like oh she’s so fair, so white, so light, she’s so pretty…. meaning fair skin=pretty…) but beauty is subjective.

I’ve never dated anyone my shade or darker…it wasn’t intentional, (then again, I haven’t dated many people). So, it’s not impossible for dark skinned people like me to get some love…ha, ha.

And don’t you forget it!!!!!!!!!

And yet, there have been plenty of times where I have been left confused.  Confused because someone, who looks a certain way I had decided somewhere in my subconscious, is not attracted to people who look like me.  Each time it has happened, I have to sit myself down and reevaluate my preconceived notions about myself and how others see me.

Somehow I think that if a guy that looked like Fabian Rios would come my way, I would take him, no questions asked….ha, ha…

At any rate, here’s to Oprah for giving me something to help unpack what it means to be a “dark girl.”