With Love, J. Sheppard

What is "Young"

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Malcontented and I wish I could crawl under my covers and hide. For whatever reason, when we hid under the covers we always thought we had a found a safe place. I don’t want any human interaction when in fact that’s all I want on a day like today. I’m surrounded by men and while the normal single woman would be flattered, I just want to get away from the whole male species. I want them all to vanish for a few days lol.

They’re either unattractive, unproductive, or the real challenge as of lately, younger, attractive, 20-somethings that believe they’re truly interested. That’s the real issue for me today. I want to get away from these younger 20 somethings that look one way, but age wise they might be another. Question of the day,

How young is to young?

For a 26 year old woman whose intention is to get more mature, older, and wiser, how young is to young? I’ve never had to deal with being approached by a guy younger than me and wanting to entertain it.

Is it because the weather’s breaking? It’s looking like it’s going to be a really nice season for a summer fling. That’s the word in my head. FLING. When I think of a younger individual, all I think they can offer me is a fling. I made the decision a few weeks ago I was done accepting love applications for a little while. I’m unsure when I’ll be open, but after being single for some time, I’m in a good place and I want it to last as long as it can. Mentally and emotionally, I’m happy lol. No crying and overthinking… just chilling.

Now physically?????? I’M DYING!!!! GASPING FOR AIR!!!!!!! ON LIFEEEEEE SUPPORTTTT, PREPARE THE FUNERAL ARRANGMENTS because I don’t know how much longer Vagina’s gonna make it. Not even just that, the female body needs interaction. Hugs, kisses, hand holding, spooning, laughter, heightened serotonin levels. The physical me is lacking (laughing at this moment but it’s almost borderline crying for help). YALL. I just want to HIDE behind a freaking rock. I want to go away and be on a planet by myself for a few days. I truly need to get away. I need to stay focused. No matter what direction I turn my head, there is a male of some format in sight but it’s not my man and, I’m just bothered. I don’t wanna see yall. Get out my view. Leave me alone.

Back to the question, in terms of 20s and up, how young is too young? I think part of the reason I’m afraid to date a younger man, is because what if I like him? Lol. What do I do then? At least, if he’s older than me then… if it doesn’t work okay… I’m prepared for that. It’s socially acceptable to have an older mind have your mind gone, but if I start entertaining these younger men and I meet one I like… what will it look like to have my head gone by a “young boy” lol. No offense to the younger men reading this post. I guess I just need to see a younger male that interacts and shows me that he truly is a grown man. I just…. Don’t know. I mean, how mature can you truly be if you’re younger than me? (serious question and I’m open to a real answer)

 I wanna go hide under my covers and be by myself because the weather’s breaking and things are pullin. What in the world is wrong with me? 

Ode to Matt Jones

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A little after 3 this morning, I prayed for you. I prayed that you wouldn’t lose heart going after your dreams. That your faith would remain constant and if there was any decrease that he would give you back your strength to believe. That you would remember his promise to give you that specific desire in your heart so not to worry. I didn’t pray for us to be one, I just prayed that everything you were believing him for would come to pass. You’re so perfect in your love for him that it’s hard to be selfish when thinking about you. Never about me, but just that you get to have the life you were destined to live.

When their heart is pure for Jesus, it reminds you of what you should desire in a friend...

I'm not interested in the man himself, but moreso intrigued by the heart. I wonder if God replicates those. 
 

The Archives (Clarity)

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The records of our lives in the 21st century are easily discoverable. “Archives”… a collection of records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. The first meeting was intellectually stimulating to say the least. I’m reminded it was right before thanksgiving break, and I won’t give much detail but it was one of the days I’ll never forget. Perhaps because knowing you was exciting for me.

At a time a lot of me had died, you popped up during lunch and brought life back into that smile of mine.

Fast forward… casual friends… first encounter… death…. misunderstandings…rectification…rehabilitation... pure laughter and fun during it all. 

Anyway, tonight I found your archives I honestly don’t know what happened. I was exploring my founders and somehow I stumbled into your history. I’m not surprised because going into this I knew you two would forever be related, but I searched… from day one up to yesterday. Initially, it was to learn something new that I didn’t know before meeting you, but then I began to search for myself. (That selfish side of me, I have you to thank). Years into the archive, I was digging, looking for any trace of me. Anything I inspired, any emotion or memory I produced, any song, any picture, any writings…. I clicked through with a fine tooth comb.

Nothing. No trace of me. Nothing whatsoever. It’s natural to jump to conclusions and I’m sure you’ll laugh and remind me my antics are unnecessary but, immediately I produced the rawest truth I could feel in that moment.

You left no trace of me because I wasn’t supposed to exist.

Deep in my womb but you granted me no life.

I found no records of my existence and that wasn’t the part that affected me...just no hidden meanings, no art produced on my behalf, no inspiration when I know the images we painted and the interpretive form of dance on your floor came from an inspired place. 

I never mattered. You’ll argue me down and say I’m overreacting but I hate the number two it’s unforgiving. To matter a little is not the equivalent or even comparable to mattering enough. No one remembers the person that tried, they only write about the ones that did. This is what makes our friendship for lack of a better word, authentic. We have the hard conversations… correction, I address the hard things and you now hide as if you’re not open, when the truth is, you’ve become so comfortable in hiding where you are, that you’ve disregarded the nature of our authenticity. We didn’t have to beat around the bush, it was always head on. Now, you’ll take every other route instead of straight to the point. I used to think you were courageous but now I wonder if you’re cowering because it’s easier to not address it or are you now choosing to be in love?. 

I’m unsure of what this is that I’m leaving here, I don’t feel any emotion just clarity which is it’s own emotion unidentifiable with any other feeling. Am I upset I didn’t make the cut? Upset there’s no trace, record, or art of my being in your museum? Or am I just finally clear on our grey areas? 

Lol, I’m choosing the latter. What the world will interpret as “upset” due to the words on the page, we both know this is just our norm, clarity…. The Archives.  

CSS: Color Struck Syndrome

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“Everything she do is pretty to you”

Color Struck, a play by Zora Neale Hurston, is about a black woman who feels inferior to lighter toned black women. It addresses the theme of colorism which is the preference of lighter skin over darker skin within the black community, or as activist Alice Walker puts it, “preferential treatment of same race people based solely on their color”. Within the black female population, some of us encounter colorism as a person that gravitates toward a certain skin tone and associates that shade and/or its physical attributes with beauty.

It’s a very sensitive topic that so many of us acknowledge in our thoughts and maybe insecurities but never aloud within our community. I actually, can’t believe I’m bold enough to address it from my own truth and opinions but here we are. In the play “Color Struck”, the main character Emma, had a man named John who loved her very much as it was presented, but Emma would get very upset and jealous even, whenever a light skinned woman was around or interacting with him. She admitted to feeling like he’d choose one of them over her due to her being darker. 

Now, if you wanna know more, feel free to read it, but right now, let me share. I’m not dark skin, but I’m nowhere near light, yellow, or “red boned”. I’m brown... medium toned brown. I know a lot of men that date, sex, and/or commit to women that aren’t red bones, so I’m not even gonna try and make it seem like black men are color struck. HOWEVER, black men are color struck, just not all of them. If we’re being honest, the moment you tell a man he’s color struck, he’s going to get defensive and clarify for you every woman he’s ever associated with, that’s not light skinned. 

Let me back track just for a second, because it’s not all wrapped up in the color. Remember I associated physical attributes with my definition of colorism. Lighter tone individuals, were initially looked at as black individuals who had a non-black parent of some sort, but my idea is, lighter tone attributes meet one or all of the criteria:

  1. Light skin.
  2. “Good hair” that’s not kinky coily when natural and as close to “what you mixed with” when straight.
  3. Social economic status? Paying out of pocket for college.

Now, back to this colorism thing, if you tell a man you think he’s color struck, he’s going to name a list of women to prove he’s not, but you gotta check the hard cold facts. How many of these women were you in love with and why? How many of these women did you commit to and if you would have but did not, why? And MOST IMPORTANTLY, show me your last few girlfriends and or WCWs. 

As far as a color struck man, it’s nothing personal to me. I love them the way I’d love a black African king or a George Clooney white man... I do have a preference but my preference is that he’s black, and any shade will do. Check my credentials boo, (you may laugh here). 

Anyway, enough about color struck men, that’s a whole other layer I don’t want to go into. I could because my track runners all went for the lighter version, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Color Struck. As a non-light skinned woman, I can relate to Emma. Not as dramatic as she was, but the insecurity has popped its head up on more than one occasion. Let’s see, let’s start as a youngin. As a youngin, pictures showed I was light skinned. However, I grew up and I got darker. A lot darker in my opinion. My mother is light skinned and I’ve always wanted to ask my father what truly made my mother aesthetically pleasing to him? But I’m afraid if I address her skin tone, what kind of reaction or level of truth I’ll receive. Growing up, I wanted to have her skin. Sometimes I still do for different reasons. I have my father’s skin and I suppose the good Lord knew I needed that level of tough and roughness to overcome life’s stabs. 

There was this kid in kindergarten, I told him I liked him and he wasn’t interested. No biggie but you pay attention to the females guys like him chose throughout grade school. Another guy in elementary school, told me on the bus, I didn’t have “long hair” so he wouldn’t date me because he liked his girls with hair down her back. He wasn’t even black so lol whatever there. Oh wait? I forgot to tell you about Mrs. Cox, my white first grade teacher, telling my parents I might would be happier in her class if my hair was straightened... at that time I had this natural jerry curl thing going on. (Placing my head in my forehead because there was curl activator involved and it was just... embarrassing for me then because, in the 90s, natural styles wasn’t it). Anyways, I remember her telling my mom that I believe and I got my first perm in first grade. Smdh. 

Fast forward, my first went for a lighter toned chick with hair all down her back, (I won’t address where we both stand now) and my son’s father once asked me, why don’t you wear your hair like so and so, mind you so and so was weaved up and has been known to do the little Kim pinks and Nicki Minaj greens and grays.... nevermind that, just what the hell was I thinking wanting a guy like him? At 15, I had no clue. But anyway, lifestyle wise...financially, she had enough to flex. My parents could never. (Love y’all, but whatever, we couldn’t). 

Let’s keep the train moving, other high school crushes, both crushed on the same girl and dated her. She’s light skin with the “what you mixed with” hair lol. I feel so shallow for describing this the way that I am, forgive me. I promise I’m not shallow, just trying to address it as real as we experience it. Anyway, get to college, met a guy or two... lighter toned chicks. Now, these guys, all of them I’m sure, have had their shades of black women and some white/other races, but if you ask them to describe their dream woman physically... most men will admit to having a preference. It’s not offensive that men prefer lighter/red boned to dark meat, however, to a darker girl that knows no better and has to discover her beauty from the countless “not you’s” she’ll experience growing up, by the time she’s 26, she will have had to learn to quiet her insecurity while unlearning and healing from her own color struck illness. 

Colorism is a thing a lot of women won’t admit or even talk about. We just dust it under the rug and try to project the unity of black women all around, both fully and interracially black. I’ll be the first to admit, the lighter woman for me was always a threat and privileged in my eyes. Now at 26, I’m learning some of the lighter ladies are more insecure and deal with a number of struggles due to their skin tone privilege. Physically happy, but still insecure. Across the Fenty and Mac swatches, we battle insecurities just in different forms. I won’t say the color struck illness is one to easily shake when you’ve had it for years, but it’s manageable. The more you treat it and do the necessary therapy to regroup, the closer you’ll be to one day being free. 

"It's Gone Pop"

jelina sheppardComment

Let’s see, we’re a few days into 26 and its beating my natural brown OKAY I’M BACK. 26 and you realize you’re on the other side of 30. 26 and you’re straining your eyes to identify how little time you have left in that hour glass. 26 and I’m not where I want to be.

I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, “you have so much time” and “you’re only 26”. The people that use that last line with me… I typically feel a strong not so nice word rise up in my flesh and when I say strong, I mean strong. It’s like, the people that are comfortable with that “you’re only such and such” don’t remember what it was like to be “such and such” and how stressed out you are when you’re such and such. When it comes to relationships and marriage, yeah, I wholeheartedly believe “you’re only….” and “you have so much time”. However, career and dream wise…. Yeah, yall can kiss my forehead with that.

“You have so much time” to do what? Struggle? Stress about bills? Work in an environment that isn’t what makes you happy? [Happiness]… is that one of those things we shouldn’t strive to have? Is adulting still that time of your life where you disregard happiness because stability and security are over valued and projected to give you the “life you’ve dreamed of”? My dreams include all those things, but my dreams include me doing what I love and what I’m passionate about even when I don’t enjoy it. Or am I now too old to be dreaming?

My fourth day of being 26 and I’m stressed the hell out. I’m agitated, I’m responsible, I’m intentional, and I’m routined. I’m struggling in more ways than one… today it’s about career. It’s like, there was a period where you hardly saw anyone on the scene, and so I put my two scents in. I’ve been putting in the work, (although not as much as I probably could despite the amount I have), and I’ve rebranded, rebooted, and revamped this thing. I’ve made some important strides and while I know it’s not going to happen overnight, just how many nights are we talking? (I’m committed, but I’m just saying). I’m in a relatively small area, compared to the world and it’s like now everywhere I turn, I see the market growing. It’s like everyone wants to jump in my pool of Bethesda and get the same exact healing I’m trying to produce and obtain.

Now, there’s room for everyone to be “healed” and we can all have a lane. I get that and won’t for one minute think J. Sheppard coined or placed dibs on this particular area… I’m all for everyone black winning. It’s just, I want to win first. (Shrugs, judge me later).

Everyone’s a blogger now or better yet, everyone has something to say. Everyone’s a social media sensation and literally as I write out my frustrations, I’m understanding how to stay set apart. Anyone can write and even put out a book, but sustaining the career path and thriving as an author is the real challenge. If I can manage that while paving the way for my brand to evolve in the other areas J. Sheppard wants to overtake, I suppose I’ll be less bothered by others jumping on the blogger/writer/author thing. I’m not successful at it, but if I was, I wouldn’t consider anyone else.

Fear… is what happens when you’re trying to figure it out and you can’t but you look back, or around and see others coming down the tunnel you’ve dug in hopes you’ll find gold and being worried they’ll strike first. As I inhale these chicken minis from Chick-Fil-A as a means to clear my mind, I’m back.

I wish I could unplug from the social media world and focus merely on this blog. I’m distracted and this site is my safe place because here, I’m “it” and it’s all about me, however, the social aspect is how I share so it’s needed. Idk. Day 4 of Bossing 26 has been a tough one. Everyday isn’t going to be the best but, it’ll only get better I suppose. It’s been a long four years with this writing thing and one day soon a change will come.

“It’s gone pop”

  

The Prettier (Insecure) Me...

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Once upon a time, there was a guy I was seeing and at some point he was being flirtatious with this other girl… regardless if he ever admits what I knew, I know what I know. Hashtag OKAY? 

Anyway, this young lady was (in my honest opinion) GORGEOUS. Like, I’m not the person who can’t see a beautiful woman, shorty was cute. She was the “cute” most men go for… (men, you can challenge me later, but record shows….. I’m not wrong with this one)…. anyway, she’s beautiful right? Curvy such as myself but a little hippier and hips only, she has very clear skin.... lol like skin so clear they’d use her for the clearasil commercials. Beautiful hair…. like type 3 natural… on a good day and with some manipulation she might get a 4a… anyway, the girl was and still is fine… oh and mixed too… (that’s a whole other conversation the A.A community refuses to have and acknowledge). 

Now that’s not what got me… you ready?????

It was like she was me but in a lighter toned body. She could sing enough….and at the moment when I discovered her twitter (judge me later, the lord HONESTLY put her on my TL one day due to him retweeting her lol, that’s his fault) but anyway, she was PRO JESUS. Like… for a while I thought her ministry was stronger than mine, her voice was more “commercial” than mine due to her looks… everything was JESUS, JESUS, JESUS and I was like "Man, God I been rocking with you for a minute but I’ve never been this way". Like, I mean scriptures, words of encouragement, Jesus type posts, just a real saint. Probably the one I should aspire to be… nonetheless, I never told him this when we argued about her, but I was very insecure about their very real but non-real interaction due to that one thing… not that he was tweeting her and she was commenting on his pictures with hearts and stuff that he wouldn’t respond to… but her designer Jesus outfit. 

Oh wait! Did I mention she was on the “waiting Til marriage” kick that I’ve been about? So in my head, I felt like "she’s a prettier you and how can you compete?" Matter of fact, one of my ignorant male friends told me “Shepp, she's worth waiting for…” and my response was “So… I’m not?” My friend was like “nah I’m not saying that, I’m just saying I’d wait for her and you know I’ma hoe”. So that conversation between a former coworker didn’t make things any better between myself and the guy I was into at the time. 

Anyway, I told myself I wouldn't try to become her or try to out “jesus”/ “minstry” her. I said I would fight to be me and that even if the guy didn’t, Jesus loved me just the way I was at the time. Now… she, this girl, is apart of the reason I pushed and whined as much as I did. WE had other things we needed to work on, but she was the icing on the cake for me. Now I don’t know if they ever slept together or if he was ever more official with her than he was with me, but I like to think I stayed true to myself and didn’t compromise my walk for a relationship. 

Fast forward a year or so, the interactions I saw, I haven’t seen in a minute and disappeared shortly after we cut ties. (That’s not to say they still don’t interact because you know, men are stupid but women are gullible)… either way, a mutual interest of hers and my own brought us back under the same roof one evening and I was like DANG IT JESUS, GIVE ME A BREAK! SHE REALLY IS THE PRETTIER ME. LIKE UGH! Instantly, in an environment I was supposed to be dominating and bossing, that trigger was trying to make fear my defeater. Now, I shook myself off and did my thing but… when I went home, it stuck with me. So… I became Inspector Gadget again… (that was the nickname he gave me that I didn’t deserve) and I checked to see if what I was hoping would pop off for me, popped off for her. Now that idk… but what I did find that I wasn’t looking for was…. 

The over the top Jesus antics were slim to nonexistent… there was profane language… sexual talk… just all the things I didn’t see initially I do now, which made me think either

  1. She was a newbie in Christ who hasn’t solidified her way
  2. It was all a facade… OR
  3. Something’s happened and she needs rescuing because the girl I saw was not the girl I had seen previously. 

I said a prayer for her you know, that God would reel her back in and do what he needs to do to get her back locked in because yeah… I love the lord or whatever but can I have a real moment…

Something said, “She’s not you, J. The relationship you and I have is real and solidified. It’s not budging as long as you stay hungry for me." When it comes to me, the girl is just pretty… that’s not to take away from my own prettiness but she’s a pretty face. I’m sure she has substance but “J, you have layers. There’s a depth she doesn’t have that you do”.

Don’t ever think someone else can out love you in regards to your love for Christ. 

I thought she did and maybe that was the deciding factor as to why the guy whose eye we had didn’t lock me down… do I think he chose her over me? Absolutely, I do. But there’s this reoccurring theme happening in my life lately where the people that chose others over me are realizing they chose too quick and chose wrong. I’m just saying, there were a few windows I could’ve busted and a couple of lives I could’ve taken… Hashtag, no LOL, I said what I said. 

But there is something true and beautiful about “the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s”…. So many times we don’t respond the way we want to when we’ve been offended but HONEY, victory done His way is sweet and the best part is, your hands and conscious are clean when he finishes on your behalf. There are no felonies and charges most importantly, but stay true to yourself and anchored in him. He really does have your back and is fighting on your behalf. 

 

¡Merde! 🤦🏾‍♀️ (I Choked)

jelina sheppardComment

Somewhere along the lines I’ve conditioned myself that my feelings and concerns are not important and that everything that happens for the most part is trivial. I know that has to be one of the hardest things to deal with when dealing with me... especially for the ones that want to care and want to help.

I’ve always been the person to say “let’s focus on your part in the situation and how you can fix you...” or I’ve always been the person to not mull over how something made me feel but rather try and force myself to get over it and be okay. Most of the time it works... but like Superman we all have our kryptonite. I think I’ve found mine... just something else discovered it before I did.

The saying "if it won’t matter in five years don’t worry about it now", or something of that effect is what I reflect on, but what happens when you reflect five years later and realize you’re still affected? Then you start to feel like you’re “too far affected to be resolved”....

It’s pretty complicated and I’m very much complex. The desire and now constant force to be “okay” gets taxing at time. It’s possible I’m so addicted to being “okay”, that being affected for too much time causes me to feel like I’m losing it.

That’s the thing with strong women, we don’t get to be affected... and expressing logical thoughts and concerns in the past has always been responded to as “you’re emotional” or “you’re overreacting”, or “you should just get over it”...shame on you for making us feel as if our feelings don’t matter.

But, they don’t. That’s not to say they don’t exist but they can’t be the most important thing right? Right now I can’t answer my own questions because my mind is too clouded with a lot of different things. All I can do is pose questions.

Somewhere within the last two years, I’ve lost my voice...

In so many different ways I’ve lost my voice.

I have a few cards to play, but perhaps the most important card is the most vulnerable and I do this thing where I protect my relationships with people. I try not to put them in a position to hurt me. I value the relationship so much to the point I try to be very careful about what goes on. People are people at the end of the day, and even with the best intentions they still sometimes hurt you.

My apologies, it’s just I have enough to heal from. So many of us are constantly healing but never seeing ourselves healed.... My plate is full and I don’t want to add our relationship to the menu.

The Dedication...

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The blueprint in my insecurity (and no not my opinion but insecurity), was a luxury… one that I was unable then and still don’t think I could afford now… in the best and amazing way, he's very expensive... perhaps that explains why I'm still to this day mesmerized by our experience. While experiencing him on the surface I think is one every woman would want to have, I can’t predict how much debt I’d occur trying to keep up with the emotional, physical, and spiritual maintenance of our relationship. I could expound right there but I won’t, however I will say everything that's a luxury isn't always something you need... normally it's just a want. 

My roadmap was an expense I could afford to take… still costly but not outside my tax bracket. I could maintain the real lifestyle I was aspiring to live and keep up with our relationship. If I managed us correctly, I might would’ve been able to save a little as well… you know grow, expand, accumulate some self-wealth.

In retrospect, the roadmap was more than good enough initially but somewhere down the line, decided he couldn’t see my worth which in turn made me question if I was too good for him.

Outside of my insecurity and fear, the blueprint wouldn’t have been too good for me, just different. The only life I could imagine us having was one outside of convention… while it could've worked, would it have appealed to the woman I’ll be in ten years? I can’t say. It would work and appeal to a woman that was accepting but would that woman be who I was destined to become? Would it even appease the woman I would consider settling to become just to have him? Different isn’t always bad, but it's not necessarily satisfying. It’s a lot that goes into these two beautiful men… and beautiful is what I’ve created by knowing them.

Overcoming a Breakup in 2018.

Nostaligia....(The Blueprint)

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The Blueprint…

Every project has an inspiration and you were mine. You weren’t the fulfillment, but the idea of “Overcoming a Breakup” nonetheless started with you. Today… for whatever and gawd awful reason, I miss you…. Okay, it’s not God awful, but uncomfortable because I know I shouldn’t but back to the purpose… I miss you… so that’s that and by now, you’re smiling in surprise that I actually admitted my truth.

You would ask me to say what’s real and then when I did, you were always shocked I had the boldness to say what the average woman wouldn’t and what you wanted to say aloud in your head. “Closed mouths don’t get fed” is the notion we understood and I think my boldness, wit, playful attitude, sarcasm and charm were what made you fond. I could be a piece of myself with you and while I’m sure I could’ve been all of me, only a piece is what I was willing to and could give.

That’s the thing, you appealed to a particular piece of me. The selfish piece…. The neglected piece of me that needed to be all about me and because you accepted that piece, I think it persuaded me to be all for you and sometimes I miss that… being all for you.

The creative piece, the honest piece, the conversational and communicative piece, the intellectual piece, the mental stimulation piece, the shallow but depth piece, the be easy “life has a way of working itself out” piece… some of my best peace…. I felt when around you and right now,

I miss that… being around you.

You aren’t the best person but I think you were the best person you could freely be and that’s what I enjoyed… the best you. I don’t know if that was the real you but it was an honest you and if you’re honest, then you’re real… so in a way, I know the real you….

I was that peace for you, the place you could be yourself with no objections because it was what it was but I wish I could’ve been your conviction. Your conviction is what you’ve outwardly committed to, but that’s a whole other bag of burritos under the hood….

Choose your struggle... Choose your lover...

jelina sheppardComment

I too, have fallen victim to “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. I’ll be honest, it’s the level of mental stimulation I’ve been wanting outside of my own self. Do I agree with everything that’s presented as creditable in this book? Not necessarily, but I am open to processing it to take make a decision about the pieces I’ll be integrating into my life. So much of this book has jilted thoughts and emotions for a lot of different reasons, but that’s a whole new bag of burritos under the hood. (wink)

So… in this book Manson talks about struggle and pain are inevitable in life. Pretty much we shouldn’t want the alleviation of problems but instead pray for better problems. Problems worth solving, because solving problems is what is going to bring consistent happiness. I’m not going to go into too much detail, you’ll have to get the book (shrug). Anyway, he asked the question, “what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” 

He then goes on to talk about how he wanted to be a rock star while he was younger and that that was all he could envision in his head. However, when it came time to really put in the work, hours, and commitment needed to get the glory of being who he wanted to be, he didn’t follow through. “I thought I wanted something but it turns out I didn’t. End of story” and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s just that simple. He added “I wanted the result, not the process, the reward and not the struggle”. So back to the question, what pain do you want in your life? 

What problems are you committed to solving? What pain are you willing to endure? What relationship is worth the process? Who is worth the pain? Our lives shouldn’t be reward driven because then we’ll never be content with the beautiful things the process can offer. 

As we solve problems, we are then upgraded to hopefully better problems. Who is worth the struggle? You have the power to choose your lover. Find a person you are committed to enduring the problems of life with. When you get married, you’re choosing to fight with a person for the rest of your life about whose gonna get the burritos, (That’s something for another day). 

“Most people want to have great sex and an awesome relationship, but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings, and the emotional psychodrama to get there”….. I couldn’t agree more. I’m now at a place of reflection as I sometimes wonder why so many “we’s” didn’t work out. On one end, I think I found someone I was willing to struggle with. I was willing to endure his pain… but on the other end, he thought he wanted something hence the sold dreams, but it turns out he didn’t. He wasn’t committed to the process of the “dream” with me. 

Then in another man, the vision of him, the vision of “us”, was very unconventional. It was great, but it wasn’t marriage committed. It was what I wish life could really be like, but I know there would be a lot of agony to be had because of our connection for no or unofficial structure. I can’t say I’d be committed to the emotional psychodrama we would have, but as his friend (still to this day), I’m committed. He could call and need something and as his friend, I’d show up because of what we had. We are just better off as friends. Although, I often wonder if he’s in the “what if…. What else” phase of his relationship, or if he’s settled, or chosen rather his lover. (Again, those burritos under the hood).

Either way… choose your struggle first. What are you committed to solving in life… what are you willing to endure to reach your vision? Then choose someone whose willing to endure the process of getting there with you…

Comfort Food.

jelina sheppard1 Comment

Anyone who knows me knows I have this ridiculous obsession with Chipotle. I mean, I love it. I eat there a few times out the week, just about every month of the year. It does what I need it too. It hits all the right spots. I can count on it to give me the level of serotonin needed to help me maintain. 

I stopped by there for dinner and as I was parking I had this thought like “ugh, more food J?” Now, I haven’t missed any meals lately and I’m cringing at the results. So, when it comes to me having to eat, I’m currently disgusted with myself but I don’t know what else to do. It’s the one thing I can enjoy and it’s not a sin. JUDGE ME! It’s okay. (insert Kanye shrug here). 

Anyway, back to this thought in my head, it hit me and I realized, I don’t really want anything to eat, I mean yeah, it’s my second meal of the day but, I want him. This is painful to write, but it’s honest. I want him because he’s like comfort food. 

He’s like my favorite meal at my favorite place with the handpicked ingredients I chose, to make it just right for me. (Puts my forehead in the palm of my hand). He’s comfort food. For a moment, he gives me high levels of satisfaction. It’s almost like a high.

He’s enjoyment, he’s utopian, he’s a fat kid when given a piece of cake, he’s….comfort food.

But just like my favorite meal, it’s not enough to maintain the level of happy I feel in the moment. On a good interaction, he might be able to hold me for a few hours, possibly through the night… I’m satisfied, but when I wake up, or when the food has digested, I’ll want more. That’s the thing about comfort food, it’s your go to when you need to be comforted… when you want to feel comfortable. When you’re in the middle of a lot, sometimes you need a break and want a moment of comfort. God I’m in in the middle of this and it’s uncomfortable so if you’ll just allow me a moment, I need to be comforted. I need a break. I’m unsatisfied with a lot right now, I’m not getting ANY satisfaction from anything, sad to say including you. I love you, but things are either routine or not moving it seems like and it’s beginning to be uncomfortable. That depth or next level in you I'm wanting, I can't seem to get it inspite of my trying. I don’t even know if you like me anymore, you love me yeah, but am I still your favorite? I mean our relationship is strained because of whatever. You’re not moving like you used to, I don’t feel you like I used to, you have us somewhere that’s not where I want to be and not that I’m not with it, I just don’t understand and its becoming hard to maintain. 

So, we reach. We all have our go to’s… that special dish or treat that gives us comfort. I have for a while now, changed my diet. The thing about comfort food is that it’s probably very heavy. You’ll gain a lot of weight if you consume too much of it. Comfort food tastes good and makes you happy, but it’s not what you really want, you only crave it when you’re in need. 

I’m in need, but because I’m aware, it keeps me from reaching. I want too… LIKE I GOT MY PHONE RIGHT BESIDE ME AND THE MESSAGE TYPED OUT, COME HOLD ME FOR A LITTLE BIT. I miss him. He was a whole meal, but I won’t dismiss my desire for a restaurant…my own food chain. My own personal chef that makes my dish the way I like it and isn’t offering the same meal elsewhere. I said all this to say,

I GET IT.

He’s like comfort food and he’s hella good, but he’s unhealthy and doesn’t do your heart well in the long run. He’ll give you enjoyment, but he isn’t joy. Joy is something you have, that the world can’t give or take. Enjoyment is something that’s fleeting. We are uncomfortable. We are stressed the hell out. We are frustrated. We may even be unsatisfied and unhappy, but at the end of the day at least we’re saved… and we’re covered. 

[LAUGHS HYSTERICALLY] I know!!!!! When I wrote it, I was like “man this some…” because I’m not feeling it either; and it sounds good but that’s not the comfort food we want. We don’t want a word, strength, or encouragement. We want what we want and that’s the manifestation of what we’ve petitioned God for, but we are also still in control of our emotions and we’ll get through it. We just have to make it through one more day, and always one more day. Eventually, we’ll look back and see how things have changed. It’ll get better. Weeping may endure for a season, but soon and God I hope very soon, Joy will come. All we're saying is, It or they (whatever Joy is for you), needs to hurry up because Lord, we’re over it. Hashtag, Jerusalem is now the captial of Israel. 

Decisions Decide.

jelina sheppardComment

How often do we settle for a life that’s inadequate because of our desire for love?

At 25 that’s the fear that I’m trying to avoid facing. The way it looks in my head is I’m at the end of a street... and the street splits into two different paths. I can only choose one. On one side there’s a sign that says “Ambition, Vision, Goals, Success, Drive, Wealth” and on the other side, the sign says “Love”, but there are no details on what each path will require and what type of happiness each will yield, if any at all.

Can you imagine the type of anxiety I feel in this dream? First of all, I’m constantly trying to have the upper hand on my anxiety so me having to make serious and life impacting decisions is always stressful. I want love, the happiness, the having someone to hold me down and support me and vice versa. All the ins and outs of love, I want it. Howwwwwwever, I also want stability… financial stability. I want to live a cultured life where I get to travel and experience different things. I don’t want to have to wait until love finds me to do it but I also don’t want to have done it all by myself before love gets to me. I want to share those moments but I’m becoming impatient. I want to push my agenda. I don’t want to relinquish my vision, goals, and dreams to support another’s… especially if his vision isn’t bigger than mine. I want something I can be proud to support and push. I’ve realized I’m not happy if every now and then I’m not accomplishing something. I need that type of satisfaction because, sad to say, I thrive off it.

So let’s discuss the mistakes I’ve made. I tend to go for a man whose vision isn’t bigger than mine. I settle for an individual who doesn’t have step by step details on how to accomplish his goals. He has dreams and things that he would like to happen but when I ask him “what are your goals in life?” I usually get “ummm” or something that’s very broad. I think I feel like if a man’s vision isn’t bigger than mine, I can have love and keep my agenda too. He won’t require me to sacrifice the things I feel like I need to accomplish. But at the same time, I also feel like a man that doesn’t have vision, drive, ambition, or a goal-oriented mindset will slow me down

....love will slow me down.

The desire for companionship, affection, attention, a connection, a bond.... sex, will ruin my life. That’s my fear. It’ll slow me down because I’m having to take part of my energy and time to push my man to get where he needs to be or I’ll abandon my goals and vision to fully support my man while he accomplish his; but then I wonder after he reaches his peak, will I internally be truly happy?

Can I have it all?

I know exactly what type of man I desire. I’ve articulated that very well in my conversations with God. The only problem with that is, it becomes harder and harder to ignore that certain men just don’t measure up. Will I have to compromise? Do I have to compromise? If I compromise, is it still considered settling? I’ve reached that realm of meeting good men, but they’re not the right men. Their drive isn’t like mine. Their vision isn’t bigger than mine.

And yes I’ve met men with a solid vision but they’re missing the attraction factor… or better yet all the men I’ve come in contact with don’t see the real value of the woman I am and will become… hell I don’t even know but I know it’s more than who I am now. It’s beyond stressful because our decisions decide our lives.

How often do we settle for a life that’s inadequate because of our desire for love?

Just… is it possible to have it all?

"Help a sister out"

jelina sheppardComment

A good friend and brother shared this with me this morning and it's absolutely perfect. If you've ever needed help voicing what you need or help understanding what women want this video is it. Let it help you. Women need affection, affirmation, attention, acceptance, and assistance... watch below for more. 

Mr. Big

jelina sheppardComment

You know what’s better than being married? Being loved.                                   And if you’re truly blessed, you get to be both the way you desire. 

Sometimes, he still gets in my head. I don’t know if it’s possible to be in love with two different people in regards to Big and the man God has ordained to love me, or if they’re both one in the same until God differentiates. Even still, let’s address Mr. Big. It’s no secret I’m very Carrie Bradshaw by characteristic traits. Now, I enjoy the show but before I even knew what Sex In The City was, I was living out my own carrie moments in retrospect. 

Mr. Big is a man that you enjoy. He’s charismatic in a way that charms you. He’s emotionally unavailable even though against his will, you’ve found your way into his heart. You’re a weak spot for him and vice versa. You’re on and off because you two can’t get it together. You’re pushy and he’s un-submissive to your emotions. Mr. Big can’t handle (in this particular stage of your relationship) making a big commitment. He’s done it before, maybe several times, and his previous failures are the barriers he sees when it comes to letting his inhibitions go for you. So, when it feels real he runs. 

 

“If you’re tired you take a nap-a, you don’t move to Napa.”

 

Napa’s where he goes when it gets to be too much. But enough about Mr. Big… you’ve already imagined him in your head and I don’t want to throw salt on stressful and open wounds. Most people say “leave, you can do better, God will send something better… blahhh”. 

Listen to them. They are logically right. You should let Big go and find someone else. However, it is a process that you won’t be able to avoid because all relationships have to run their course. I’m a firm believer what is supposed to happen will happen. When you’ve exhausted all your options and you finally see logically, then you will make the choice I made.  

BUT, because you’re not there yet, let me give you a strategy I didn’t consider when exhausting my options last year.  For the Misses Big and the Mr. Big, because this personality isn’t limited to men, if they’re what you want and you’re willing to compromise then try this. 

Set relationship goals. Remember, these type lovers don’t do well with long term lingo. You have to be strategic and plan in a way that could potentially get you both what you want. If you’re willing to compromise, focus on the short term goals. Everyday should be the goal of making that day the best day possible. Literally take it ONE DAY AT A TIME. That’s the starting point. “Babe, let’s just be together for today. If we make it through today, then cool. Let’s try again tomorrow”. Don’t focus so much on having a set itinerary in motion that you forget to enjoy the freeness and spontaneity that love gives.  

The key is, acting out your long term plans but presenting your desire in a way that’s desirable to Big. Granted, this will only work if Big is willing to try. Really that’s all you can get them to do is try. You can’t put locked in stipulations on them. They have to initiate and bring that to you. Your objective? Make the moments you have with them unforgettable so they want and become open to more. Eventually what will happen, you’ll be in a committed relationship and will have shifted the focus from the title to the relationship itself if that makes sense. Again, you have to already have a place in Big’s heart. He or She has to in their heart want to be with you. This method is to help them get out of their way so they can get to you. Literally, take it one day at a time. The more you do this, eventually Big’s mindset will become conditioned to taking it one week at a time, to one month, to one year, to ok, lets just do it. 

Mr. Big: Would you want to get married? 

Carrie Bradshaw: Well, I didn't, didn't think that was an option. 

Mr. Big: What if it was an option? 

Carrie Bradshaw: Why? What? Do you want to get married? 

Mr. Big: I wouldn't mind being married to you. Would you mind being married to me? 

Carrie Bradshaw: No, no, not, not if that's what you wanted. I mean, is, is that what you want? 

Mr. Big: I want you. So, ok. 

Carrie Bradshaw: So really, we're, we're getting married? 

Mr. Big: We're getting married. Should we get you a diamond? 

Carrie Bradshaw: No. No. Just get me a really big closet. 

God, I Miss Having SEX.

jelina sheppard3 Comments

Let's talk about sex. 

I miss it. Sometimes I can't remember how much I actually enjoy it, but I'm so happy I made the decision to wait. I've been dating and getting to know people since my last breakup. It hasn't been easy but without sex on the table, I date smarter. My vision is more clear when it comes to the person I'm getting to know. Don't get me wrong now, sometimes it's still unclear but it's not unclear to the point that I'd stay or entertain something unhealthy because of the dickmatization that comes with knowing a sexually skilled individual.  

I date smarter.

That's a huge advantage of waiting to have sex. Now, is it my goal to wait until marriage? God yes. I'm focused on meeting a partner that will at least respect and actively support my desire. Will I and we be able to maintain, I believe it's possible if we both want it. Spiritually, I think everyone should wait until marriage. Physically, not everyone is committed to that. I don't want to be the type of person that tells you you have to do something. I can only advise and speak on what I believe to be best for you and me too. The decision is ultimately yours.

When I took sex off the table, a lot of guys didn't make it 21 days. I have a rule that if he's consistent with me for at least 21 days, only then would I even make an effort to consider him a candidate for my life. With me, they go in knowing sex is a nonnegotiable. It's a no go. The ones that think they want me won't push the subject, but after a certain amount of time, if they really want me for my body will fall off the consistency wagon because they're not getting any. Now, not all of them fall off because of my no sex policy, sometimes we try to get to know each other and it's just not there for us. However, those individuals are intentional about consistently getting to know me. That's the beauty of no sex, you can make a sound decision about whether or not this person's lifestyle and characteristics vibe well with your own. You can really get to know the person and not the body. Our bodies do well with other bodies, but our souls, minds, and hearts don't always click.

Taking sex out the equation only makes getting to the solution so much easier. When you put sex in a relationship, sometimes you have to go through a lot of extra steps when it comes to determining if they're the person you should spend the rest of your life with. I can now determine in 3 months what used to take me anywhere from 10 months to 5 years. (I know right, and I'm only 25. Smh) I stopped sleeping with these men and realize that some of them only had a few inches to bring to the table. I realized that maybe I only had a few glasses of water at the time to bring as well. 

At this point I bring a whole lot... mostly good too, but that's neither here nor there. What I'm saying is... sex should be THEE last thing you add to a relationship. The very last thing. Some women do the 90 day rule, I'm telling you that's too soon. Rome wasn't built in a day and a healthy, exciting, and lasting relationship won't be either. You also don't want to build your relationship around 30 minutes of feel good pleasure... if you're lucky. I've been extremely and ABUNDANTLY lucky, but at 25 I'm looking for God's exceeding blessings.

When you're tired of going through the same cycles in relationships, you'll lean toward doing something new. You can't get something established by doing what you've always done, if what you've always done has yielded nothing to last. 

Living Single, Living Sacrifice...

jelina sheppard2 Comments

This is going to be jumbled because that's how my thoughts are but here we go.

Anyone can be married now a days. We live in a time where anything and everything is easily accessible. That's what our society has become accustom to. So, like everything else, marriage is also easily accessible. You know I'm right. Millinials are jumping the broom left to right and you know what my response is to that... TGBTG! More babies to populate this beautiful creation of a planet. God your will be done. 

If you're like me, you've at least had the million dollar question run through your mind if you haven't mulled over it. "Why am I not married?" "Why am I not at least in a successful and healthy relationship?" "WHY AM I STILL SINGLE OH LORD!" Clearly, love is in the air and you are blessing nuptials left and right.... what about me? 

I have a theory.... and this theory applies to me and me only; UNLESS you're special, such as I am, and are handpicked to be set apart. We've all heard the scripture "many are called, but few are chosen". If you've ever seen America's next top model, they put out this flyer and announcement calling all models. A large number of people who believe they fit the criteria answer that call and show up but only a FEW are chosen. 

That's me and you. We are different and set apart. We are chosen. It doesn't make you conceded to say and know that. We might not know what God has chosen us for completely, but we know we are chosen. Accept that call. (I really hate being deep, it blows the carnal man in me sometimes.) But of course, our journey to love is also one to be set apart. It's not typical, you're not typical, and the love you and your person share will be ordained and CHOSEN as well; but back to my theory....

What if you're single because you haven't gotten to a place of being a "living sacrifice". I don't know too many living sacrifices. I know a lot of people who sacrifice things for Jesus, but how many of us (myself included), are active and daily intentional living sacrifices? Like, if someone asked you what are you called to do, If nothing else, your response can now be "I'm called to be a living sacrifice". 

I won't pretend like that lifestyle sounds appealing. At 11 pm last night it definitely did nothing for me.But WHAT IF?! The reason I'm single is because I haven't fully given in to becoming a living sacrifice? 

Now sometimes he don't answer my questions quickly but this time! Without hesitation he told me, "you'd give everything for the person I have for you, which you should.... and you wouldn't think twice or hesitate because you already love him enough to sacrifice and live for him." I had to accept what felt like chastisement and say Jesus you're right. At 25, I'm making decisions with my partner in mind. I'm conducting myself they way I feel he'd want me to live. I persevere now because in the end he is mine. 

Make no mistake, I acknowledge and deeply love my source. I never forget Jesus and I am because he is, but I love my husband (can't front like that didn't sound good haha). Sometimes things are held up because we don't take the right shot to make it fall down. Now, keeping my theory in mind, what if I haven't gotten my person yet due to my lack of intention of being a living sacrifice for Jesus. I'm not sure all of what that entails but I have to be committed to finding out. What if, the moment we become a living sacrifice for him and always him, is the moment he releases everything a chosen king or queen is supposed to receive? 

I physically don't want to but I know in my heart, my spirit wants to. You are already set apart and chosen, everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of that call. You can only be blessed if you accept. 

Proverbs 14:23 

In Sync

jelina sheppardComment

I talk to you everyday. Whether it's physically or mentally. I'm never out of touch. Today I acknowledge that one if not both of our hearts will have to overcome fear and doubt. Because our love is strong and at the center breeds pure intentions founded on a relationship with Christ, I know fear will try to keep us from one another. So here we go, today's a reassurance kind of day. 

I vow as your friend, your efforts will never be wasted on me. Your pursuit for my affection will always be valued even if your execution isn't always accurate. Your commitment to having real love will always be honored and respected. Your ability to lead will always be supported by my willingness to follow. Without the affirmation of who you are, I'm already following you to the ends of the earth because I trust you to lead me to Christ. 

Today's a weak day for one of us, and maybe that one is me. Even still, you know when I talk to you, I'm reassuring myself...

From My Heart To Yours...

jelina sheppardComment

Marriage isn’t the goal for me. It’s apart of the process. It’s a “state” across the journey. Don’t just ask me to marry you. Be creative. I’m not the average woman, I’m very much set apart and a gem to say the least. And if I sound strong in what I’m saying, its because I’m deserving. Today I’m frustrated because I’m tired of achieving alone. I’m ready to do life with you. Don’t run from me when I tell you my dreams. Don’t loosen your grip on us when I bring up subsequentials. I see where I want to be and it’s with you. Is that a bad thing? Is it a scary thing, to have someone that wants to live with you?

I want to figure things out with you. I want to experience with you. I want to study us and discover the limit does not exist. I want to conquer this world… spiritually. I want to be better than most. I want to be better with you. Everything at this stage is doing life with you. Most people think when a woman is looking for a commitment it’s really she’s ready to be married tomorrow, but that’s not true. Marriage should be the reward for taking on this commitment.

I vow a ring will never have more value than your existence.

I do want the commitment and I do want your heart. Am I ready to exchange my last name for yours? Absolutely not. I don’t want to focus on that. I don’t want to focus on gaining titles. I don’t want to focus on the outside opinions or societal requirements. I just want to do life with you.

I-just-want-to-do-life-with-you.
Ijustwantodolifewithyou………
I…. just want…. to do life…. with you.
Can't we just live our lives... together?

I’m frustrated because I don’t feel heard. Frustrated because what I want isn’t accepted. I don’t feel as if I have a say so… I have to wait on you for it to be valid and you’ll take the credit for what I’ve prayed. I’m not sure if I know you or have even seen you… either way. You’re not listening. Today, I love you and I’m committed to maintaining for you, but you don’t hear me and I don’t feel like you’re fighting hard enough to reach me. I’m frustrated because I. Can’t. Get. To. You.

Today, I don’t want to live alone…. I just want to be doing life with you.

Dismissive...

jelina sheppardComment

This last guy… he wasn’t trying to be rude. He wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings. He wasn’t trying to be an asshole. He was just being casually honest. He thought I was “beautiful” and a really cool person. He didn’t want a relationship, but he did want to have a sexual encounter and was willing to commit to me sexually…. (I highly doubt it, but let’s go with it).

I thought he was attractive and maybe had more substance than I was giving him from first glance. But when he charmingly asked me “can we fuck”, it disappointed me and could still very well damage a piece of me if I let it. I’m not foolish to think I’m exempt from the fockery men give now-a-days, but I do get tired of being approached by it. I’m so ready for God to send something special that when the frogs come I’m open to seeing if they could be my prince. So, while he was trying to be nice and honest, he didn’t realize he had hurt my feelings. He didn’t realize that in that moment he made me feel very small and like I was only good for one thing… to be used. I’m not offended by him or what he wanted, I was offended by who and what he represented.

You know what I hear a lot? “Don’t be so quick to dismiss a person because they don’t come off like what you’d want”. I won’t disagree with this advice because there’s been some truth to it. However! Men these days aren’t giving us too many reasons to not be dismissive.

Dismissive because I haven’t seen anything different. Dismissive because at the age of 25, I’ve had the game ran enough to know how it starts. Dismissive because I’ve started to feel that any attractive man that’s interested in me probably just wants to screw me. Dismissive because that’s the pattern. Not that I’m surprised, I mean… I am great in bed and maybe great enough to the point my body doesn’t hide it? I don’t know…. I try to cover up and keep it for the most part loose… simple and dressed down… never dressing in the way that screams I need attention.

So, I’m dismissive because every guy I’ve come across within the last year in some shape or form has mentioned my “ass” during a conversation. Dismissive because I know what “that look” means. Dismissive because I’ve known that body language…. I’ve spoken that body language. Dismissive because I’ve studied the signs. Dismissive because no matter how much I cover up and how hard I work to be seen as a great woman, they only see a great time.

Now I’m aware that some men would love nothing more than to be good to me, I can vouch that there are great guys, but those great guys are usually missing something… stability, physical attraction, humor, ambition, consistency, or mental intellect. I’m not picky and while I do have a type, I give everyone a solid chance.

Maybe I’m dismissive because at the first sign of uncertainty, I run. Anxiety doesn’t do well with uncertainty. Maybe I’m dismissive because it’s rare to meet a person that wants the same things I want. Maybe I’m dismissive because if all men are going to play games, he’s gonna have to be HELLA amazing all around to get away with it. Maybe I’m dismissive because I’m not impressed. I’m not impressed with men these days and I’m starting to feel like they’re only good for a moment and with lifelong commitment, they’re trouble. I’m dismissive because I don’t truly want to be bothered with the BS. Dismissive because there’s more to do out here than play games and play hard to get. Dismissive because what man doesn’t elevate my self-esteem with words then damage it with actions? I love it when a man is honest with me about what it is he wants. If you wanna have sex, say that initially. I’m not there anymore so you won’t get far, but I respect you and your honesty.

Chivalry goes farther than opening my door… it’s about protection. The most unprotected person in the world is the black woman. I pay attention to how you handle me and if I ever feel un-safe, you become disqualified and that doesn’t make me dismissive.