Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Food for Thought: "To Settle or Not to Settle?"

I was asked by my baby blog sista Serenity3-0 to discuss the notion of settling, amongst other things.

I saw *crickets* when she asked my thoughts on such. I sent an email saying

"Dear Chicken, can you be more specific?"

I could see her eyes rolling quite hard when she read that.

She ought to know by now how slow I am. And getting my thoughts on something is like pulling teeth with cheap tweezers. Very difficult to do. Don 't know why she bothers to browbeat me about things.

I know why... That chick wanna be like LadyLee!!!

LOL!!! HA HA!!

No, that ain't the case. I just have a different point of view about things... I suppose.

But I carry her questions around in my wallet and I've been pondering them since she gave them to me on June 1. I take time to write a page here or there concerning them. I have searched the coffers of my mind and personal diaries for something...

That something that would remind her of just how insane that is.

I don't think that she will mind me posting what she said. (If so, uh, you need to let me know, chile). But I think that it is important, and something that crosses every woman's mind at one time or another in life.

"It is too easy to settle for a man, job, etc. When you keep running upon obstacles, you get tired and decide to just take the first thing smoking. I need a reminder of just how stupid that would be."

Hmmm...

To Settle or Not to Settle?

That is the Queston.

An all too important one at that.

You know, I read a post over at Aretha's spot a few months ago that made me shake in my frickin' shoes.

Ya'll know I'm a hardcore bootleg tomboy, but I do believe I even might've dropped a tear and had a hard lip quiver behind that post.

The title of the post was "Eff You, Aretha"

She was expressing to a fella that she didn't think they should see each other anymore. I am not sure if they were dating or not, but she wanted to stop all communication with him.

Well, the guy nutted up on her, right there in the restaurant.

I pulled a quote from that post. He'd just snapped on her, told her she was acting crazy, told her she was afraid of relationships... just tripped out on her something awful.

"I told him he was the one acting crazy, and that if he “thought” he loved me, chances are that he doesn’t. I told him that since he’s going to throw a tantrum I may as well be completely honest. I told him that the truth is that I do want a relationship. I do want someone to have full access to my life, my thoughts, my desires, I do want to have sex and a lot of it, I do want to go away on fun weekends, I don’t want to date around and have other guys date around, I do want to fall in love…I just don’t want it with you. ..."

Shoot. I think I must've read that post 5 times.

I commented in that post, in particular to that quote I just pulled:

"My goodness. That right there struck me. I mean, how many of us have those very same feelings, and yet are browbeat into something and stay in it for YEARS... still having those same feelings, and end up kicking ourselves for not going with that initial feeling.I applaud you for nipping it in the bud. And you got a glimpse into LL's true character. Better now, than 5 years down the road. Good for you for going with your true feelings and not lowering your standards. Not eff you, but good for you."

Aretha made a choice that evening. Well, not that evening, because her response shows that she had put much thought into it.

The pertinent thing here is that she made a choice. A decision.

She chose not to settle.

She chose to say "I have a standard that a man must meet to be worthy of my love, and I am NOT lowering that standard."

So many of us do not take that route.

I have had my isshas with that in the past. I have settled. And I tell you, it is NOT a good thing and it is NOT a good feeling.

I met my ex-husband when I was 24 years old. I was young, heavily involved in grad school.

Over the years, there were many problem. He clubbed too much. He drank too much. He was terrible with him money at times. At times he dealt with the wrong people.

...Sold a little weed when he, you know, needed a little extra money to get by.

I couldn't get mad about that. Hell, I smoked some of his stuff when I needed to relax.

Can't get bent out of shape about that, right?

Right?

Hmm...

I can tell you the very time that I knew I needed to step away from him and go on with my life.

I'd just moved in with Oldboy. It was when the liquor store called about a $69 check that had bounced when Oldboy wrote a check off our joint account.

The liquor store peeps were talking trash to ME, threatening to put it in collections and put it on MY credit if the money wasn't paid.

I responded by yelling, "I didn't write that check! I drink Boones and Gold Champale, and it don't cost that much!"

I should've been gone after that.

But instead I settled.

I paid the check plus the 25 dollar bounce fee. And I promptly removed my name and money from his account and got my own.

I settled.

I placed a band-aid on a bullet wound...

Any which way you look at it, I settled for what was beneath me and not up to my standard.

I think I was just young. He was a decent guy. Kind and very funny. A good lover.

I loved him. He loved me.

But he didn't know what he wanted in life. I didn't either. My only goal was getting through school. Period. I'd worry about that life thing later.

We'd been together 5 years. And at the age of 29, against my better judgement, we got married.

My reasoning: I have been with Oldboy for 5 years. That's a lot of time. I don't plan on getting with anyone else, so oh well... Might as well get married.

Dumb mistake.

The gist of it: I settled.

People like to talk to me about things. Not sure why, because I am a bit stringent when it comes to certain areas of my life, one of them is not wasting ANY time on a dude that is not worth my time. PERIOD.

Makes for a less than exciting life... Well, not for me, but for other people. What folks think of me is several orders of magnitude less important that what I think of myself.

But I do have the life experience of making the crucial mistakes. We all do, in some way or another.

You want to hear my biggest advice?

Let's do a little exercise.

Close your eyes. For only a couple of seconds.

Think about your current situation with that man.

Now open your eyes.

Imagine that it is NOT a few seconds later... It is 10 years later.

Do you like what you see? Do you want to be in that very same situation 10 years later? Can you keep going through the same ish? Do you see yourself growing over that 10 year period?

Because let's face it: We gotta get off this ish about "I'ma change him."

No you ain't.

Stuff gonna get worse.

He's slapping you around. He cussing you out. He's got a slight cheating problem. He can't find a goal if it was sitting there staring him in the face. He jealous of you. He don't have a life, but pissed at you because you are enjoying yours. His friends are shady. He don't like your friends. Heck, he don't even have friends. He's lazy. He's disrespectful to others. He's just plain stupid.
There's nothing about him that makes him unique. Negro is CRAZY.

All of that is alright, though. Just means he loves me.

Nope. And you know, if you are being honest with yourself, that this is simply not the case.

For we all have something deep down inside, an alarm, that goes off that signals...

"Something here is not right..."

We can choose to ignore the loud blaring of the alarm...

We can choose to keep hitting the snooze button, i.e., keep making excuses, put off removing ourselves from the situation.

Or we can shut off the alarm, get up, and get ta stepping. We can choose not to settle.

After settling and getting married, I promised myself that I wouldn't do that again. I am not saying I'll never get married. I am saying that I would go into it fully satisfied that I haven't lowered my standards, knowing that I have increased as a person as a result of this man being in my life. I have grown. In turn, he has grown as a result of being with me.

Of course, this sends mixed signals.

And this is when you see a man's true character come to light. Just like we saw in Aretha's post.

Dudes swear you are harboring baggage, afraid of getting hurt... Man, I've heard all KINDS of explanations for my ways. I've heard some creative explanations that I myself would have NEVER thought of. sigh.

Dudes know they can come with the mighty deep psychoanalyses, don't they? lol

All with the central goal of NOT building you up as a person...

But simply getting you to lower your standard.

But the bottom line is: I am choosing not to settle. You are not what I want.

I caught a clue when I spent 9 years with a man that I had no business being with.

And I knew it was time to go when we were having conversations about having a baby, and I said

"I'm a woman. I want to have a baby. I want to be a mother. I want to experience that.

I want to have a baby... just not with you."

(You can imagine the problems that THAT statement caused.)

And I think that's the reason why Aretha's response to the livid suitor resonated with me.

I had said something similar, albeit in a different situation.

Overall, the stance was the same: We both chose not to settle.

So the question is. "To Settle or Not to Settle?"

I'll let you pontificate that for yourself.

I do have a bit more to say on this... on the spiritual tip.

We're gonna brang this issue home, knock it out the park... on purpose.

But this post is already too long.

To be continued... sometime this week.

13 comments:

  1. "...sometime this week"...as in tomorrow? You DID commit yourself to posting everyday.

    Great post, indeed. Now I need to go and ponder on this in the corner for a minute.

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  2. This post is NOT too long.

    Settling is but one side of the sword when it comes to self sabotage.

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  3. @The LBeezy...

    Gee... it's the OTHER chicken.

    Stop your squawking.

    Look here, honey. I'm posting everyday. Tomorrow might be something smurfy. I will pick up on this on Thursday. I need to figure out how to get everything in one post.

    Gotta break it down real propa like, where you have to be deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid NOT not to get it.

    And get this, I have to do it on a self-assessment tip.

    Hmm...

    Now, go sit in a corner and ponder...

    @Ms.Blackliterature.com...

    Stop playing, Celie. This post was as long as the check-out line at the Black people's Kroger on a Saturday afternoon.

    "Settling is but one side of the sword when it comes to self sabotage."

    Oh yeah, babes... you dropped some serious knowledge with that statement.

    We may need for you to come on over to the House of LadyLee and tack a guest post up on the wall. Really.

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  4. I don't think I was expecting to read your thoughts today. And really, I think I knew what I needed to know long before this post was published. My "first" mind never steers me wrong. It's the second and third thoughts or the voices of the peanut gallery that I need to stop listening to. I firmly know that I can't change a man. I learned that lesson the hard way. I think when we think of settling, we think of the lesser of two evils. While we should be thinking, "I don't want A, B nor C and I'll hold out for D…" It's like when you are a kid and someone is presenting some snacks to you. You don't like chocolate and you don't want chips. Do you take one or the other just to say you have a snack, even if its not what you like or do you say, "Naw, I'm good." It's really that simple. Thanks for sharing your insight. Patience is something that's always a thorn in my side.

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  5. Why I get misty-eye reading this post? Don't know why but I did.

    I settle for over 3 yrs. Like you, I will never do that again. I know the exact moment when I should have ended the relationship but I didn't. I was reading a book. One of the characters posed the question to her friend b/c she was having doubts about her relationship: "is there anyone else you could see yourself with or want to be with?" That was my ephiphany.

    I learned in the past few yrs, you must fully understand who you truly are as a person and figure out what your self worth is. Until you understand this, you shouldn't be preceding into a serious relationship.

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  6. *coming out of lurkerville* Very insightful post.

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  7. Long? Yes. But I wouldn't expect anything else. This was some great food for thought.

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  8. I'm an over-analyzer by nature...so I I'm not going to ponder this at all..right or wrong...

    Do you settle? No --especially when you know...and sometimes you know from life experiences --or that alarm you talked about starts to buzzing loudly.

    Have I settled? Sometimes I think I have...Is that bad?..maybe; maybe not -- depends on when you ask me and what I'm experiencing at the time.

    My sound advice for most chickas--the younger set and the more refined with time ladies (LOL!) -- is to never settle. BUD do take a look in at the (wo)man in the mirror...

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  9. You see, THIS is why I love you sis...

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  10. @Serenity...

    "My "first" mind never steers me wrong. It's the second and third thoughts or the voices of the peanut gallery that I need to stop listening to."

    Yeah. Ya said a mouthful there, gal...

    That's what's key. I'm STILL fighting with that in various areas of my life... I get a hold of that- listening to that inner voice, and trusting in it- well... I am on my way to being successful in all that attempt to do...

    @That Southern Black Gal...

    Here, Southern Black gal... have a tissha. Don't get all misty on me!

    Ain't it strange how we all know that very exact moment where we're like "I ain't suppose to be here."?

    And listening that first time... man, I can't tell you the amount of time and emotion I would've saved if I knew to listen to myself and get to stepping. Period. And we just can't get all that time back. We have to learn the hard way.

    @K... Thanks for delurking:)

    @That Oldgirl Chele... See, THAT'S what I'm talking about. I can depend on you to tell me when it is LONG. lol

    @My Cyncere Sista... We're not looking for right or wrong here. Just me pontificating and giving my thoughts according to my own bootleg life experiences, lol.

    Plus I'm trying to eloquently put some stuff down so that I can come back and read it in my many weak moments.

    Looking at the woman in the mirror - so important...

    For that is where the truth is, and that is where change and growth starts...

    @That Oldboy Hassan... I love you too, Brutha!!

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  11. You know I am Sister for discernment!

    I loved this post!

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  12. I've been packing and moving stuff all day, so I'm just now making my blog rounds.

    Why do we think we can change ppl or wait them out (until they change themselves)...I tried that not once but twice and it was a disaster, for me not them, both times.

    Oooh, I thought it was just me who has been told foolishness to make me seems crazy just because I know what I do and don't want. I have some girlfriends that even try to get in my head about these things. I will not be made to feel crazy just because there are character traits I don't want in a mate.

    That situation with LL was crazy. We dated for about 7 months and while I knew I didn't want more from about month 3...I still shouldn't have waited so long to end all communication. That's another thing that helps us settle...we get comfortable cause a dude is treating us halfway decent.

    This was a great post! I love the way you break things down :)

    Sorry for the long comment.

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Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!