love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
Instead of waxing poetically (or so I think) about growth and liberation, today I bring you the words of another writer. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Shaquea for about thirteen years (whew!) and always find truth (and definitely humor) in her direct, bold, and honest observations about herself and the world. Read what she shares about her own realizations about fear, commitment, and how growth in one area doesn’t equate to progress in others.
Today I find myself pondering my fear of commitment. I’ve managed to pinpoint a major accomplishment as well as a major failure.
ACCOMPLISHMENT: I am SO proud of the behavior I exhibited in my last relationship. Even though it did not end well, I walked away immensely satisfied with myself because it was obvious I’d finally overcome many of my commitment issues. You see, when I told this woman who I loved her, I didn’t break out in a sweat and feel nervous, nor did I mind saying it first. I also did not feel stupid or upset for saying anything if she didn’t say it back. And when we talked about being in a relationship, instead of being tempted to lie about what I really felt, I instead found myself feeling comfortable and confident to express my feelings. Most importantly, when the time came to actually BE in a relationship, which meant I had responsibilities to this woman, I did not instantly want to run away or change my mind. While it’s unfortunate that I attained this level of growth with that ol’ evil ass heffa, I am still very happy for its occurrence!
So imagine my surprise when, upon signing up for a months worth of first-time homebuyers classes, I felt my heart beating fast and I began to procrastinate on turning in the forms. And after I FINALLY turned them in, damn if the moment I thought about owning a home and thus being responsible for it, I didn’t begin to change my mind about the whole process! Now, the old Shaquea would’ve taken this to mean that I didn’t want a house, just as I was always telling myself I didn’t want a committed relationship. However, the older, more mature Shaquea knows that my fear of committing to responsibility is cowardice. It’s an issue rooted in fear of abandonment and while that does make my issue understandable, it is not an acceptable excuse for not taking steps to move forward. Growing up, in any capacity, can be frightening, but it is necessary. To every woman who ever dated me…it really was me, not you.
Now, I’m not saying I’m actually going to buy a house when these classes are over, but I am saying that I won’t let it be the fear of committing to something that holds me back!
EPIC DAMN FAILURE: Well, after making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because I can be a better girlfriend, now I’m going to tell you why I can suck as a friend. I have a whole list of people who I need to call, and yet, I still haven’t gotten to a single name on the list. I have valid reasons for needing to make these calls, whether it’s to catch up, provide encouragement or congratulate, say happy birthday or simply because I said I’d call or return a call. I also have 54 voicemail that I haven’t listened to and 4 that I have, but they might as well be unheard, because I didn’t taken action upon listening to them. In addition, at work, I have unheard voicemail. And since I refuse to pick up the phone and dial in, I’m not aware of how many…and that little red light stares at me accusingly every morning for not checking. For all of my rants on communication and its importance, I’m famously good at checking out myself. That’s a Pisces for ya!
Most people would call this issue procrastination. It is not. Procrastination implies that I am putting off or delaying something. I am not putting those calls or voicemail off. I just don’t really want to deal with them. Unless there is an emergency situation, I’m not calling anybody until I damn well please and voicemail annoy me. I like to talk to a person, not be talked at. Plus, I happen to lead a very busy life, and I’m forgetful, so half the time it’s just slipped my mind. (Don’t ask me what I’m doing that has me so busy because I can’t tell you, but I know it’s got me caught up in the game!)
Now, let me make this understood: I am aware that it’s some selfish shit. I am not proud and I really try to do better, but mostly I fail and I’m okay with that. I’d like to think I have a healthy self-acceptance level about my flaws. Besides, why don’t YOU pick up the dang phone and call ME if you want to talk so damn bad! Pride keeps us from doing things, but pride can really mess you up with people. If you’re the type of person that likes to talk on the phone all the dang time, do not get mad at a person who hates to do so, and thus never calls you. Just pick up the phone and call them yourself. Sometimes you have to be the bigger person. Sometimes you have to say I love you or I miss you or I want to talk to you first. That’s how I feel about it and that’s what I’m sticking to. Inbox me if you need my digits. I will be very happy to hear from you, lol, but I may not call you back!
MORAL OF THE STORY: Overcoming an issue in one aspect of your life will not guarantee that it is overcome in all aspects of life. Problems or flaws affect you as a whole. However, given that nobody is perfect, perhaps it’s smarter to figure out what part of your life is negatively affected in the worst way and attack the flaw there. For instance, my fear of commitment was ruining my ability to have a healthy relationship or move towards new and exciting endeavors. That had to be worked on and I will continue to monitor it. As for my failure to utilize my phone… well, everybody ain’t a phone person! Sometimes you have to prioritize change and I’ve decided that phones are least important on the “Make Shaquea Even More Pimp Ass” scale.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This morning I happened to look on the back of my Frank’s Hot Sauce bottle and noticed that they’d printed the slogan “I put that on everything” on the back. Given the popularity of this slogan in the black community, I can’t help but wonder: Did we steal this phrase from Franks or did they steal it from us?
Shaquea Moore is an opinionated, pseudo superhero that masquerades as an Assistant Art Director by day, so that she can afford to rant at night. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.