Being young, queer, and navigating life at a transitional time

It’s so funny how life changes so quickly whether you’re ready for it to or not.  JR has been gone two weeks and my life is nothing like what I thought it would be.  I didn’t realize how much of myself I was missing but that’s a topic for a future blog entry 🙂

I spent the weekend being spoiled by two of the greatest women I know. My friend, M from Albany, came down to spend the weekend with me. She’s so amazing.  She came Friday night, she took me out to dinner and shopping and we partied (where we had a dreaded run-in with the ex-wife which was interesting but, again, a future blog topic).  She met the potential “next”, Anita, and gave her blessings for us to move forward.  She thinks Anita is everything she always thought I deserved but that I never had.  On that note, M left early Saturday afternoon so that Anita and I could spend some quality time together.  We had the most amazing weekend.  We drove all over the city, she took me to eat, we went grocery shopping — just genuinely enjoying our time together.  She left a little while ago to review some readings she has to complete for a seminar she’s taking for the next weeks. I’m still swooning. That’s a developing story.  I’ll keep you posted.

I’m so happy with myself, my life, my work, my family, my friends, everything and I’m not sorry for that.  I realized that I was compromising that for a very long time.  I absolutely will not do that again.  I have a lot to write on this topic so it will likely be continued in a follow up entry.

I’m so ready for this week.  I feel at peace and so relaxed.  I hope you all have a wonderful week as well.

Love.

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Update

Phew!!! What a crazy few months but I am BACK!  Me and JR are on a break/break up.  I don’t really want to tell the reasons why but the moral of the story is I’M SINGLE!  Being single, at first, felt like I was going to die.  I was so used to being half of a couple and caring for JR because she had needs and I genuinely loved being around her.  As the days go on and I get into my own routine, I love it more and more.  It’s so fulfilling to be on my own schedule, doing my own thing, and loving myself.  I cried it out for the first few days but then I started being grateful for all of the things in my life that I still have. Life is so beautiful.  Work is going well. I have such a fantastic family. I have a lot to offer this world because my light shines so bright.  Women have been coming out of the woodwork wanting to share space and build with me and although I’m not ready for all of that, I am grateful for the fact that I’m not irreparably damaged by the actions of others/that people can still appreciate what I have to offer and can be happy with nothing more than sharing space with me.  

My week is shaping up nicely.  I’ve been to a barbeque with friends, been taken out to dinner at an incredible restaurant, been to yoga, and had a movie night with myself (and some GOOD pinot grigio). Plans for the rest of the week include having a girls night out, hair appointment, mani/pedi appointment, brunch at my favorite spot and the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met.  I’m so excited. Getting to know myself again is completely fulfilling. I’m happy with who I am and have set goals that I plan on accomplishing.  Whether or not I share this life with someone else is irrelevant.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that the list of characteristics that I want in my next partner, I may not find but I refuse to settle. I will wait until SHE comes along.  Otherwise, me and Lucky (my cat) will live our life to the fullest.  I rather that than to live a life full of regrets.

Love.

Faith

I haven’t been writing lately because I’ve been going through some very personal struggles.  It’s just been an extremely difficult time. However, this blog isn’t to vent about that.  I decided to write about Faith.  That’s a very interesting topic for me since I’m considered to be not a “person of faith” (which I think is a very misleading but interesting phrase).  No I’m not religious but I believe that faith isn’t reserved for a god or a religion —  you can have faith in worldly things.  For example, I have faith in the strength of me and my father’s relationship and I know that if I was ever in need, I have faith in the fact that he’d drop whatever he’s doing to be at my side.

It’s more concrete than hoping, wishing, and praying.  It’s more connected to your soul and deep down than just knowing something.  Think about it — if I said something like, “When I’m going through a tough time in life, I hope that my friends will be around to pick me up”, that sounds wishy-washy.  If I said, “When I’m going through a tough time in life, I know that my friends will be around to pick me up”, people will give you the side eye and question you about how you KNOW these things.  However, if I said, “When I’m going through a tough time in life, I have faith that my friends will be around to pick me up”, who will question that?

You can’t question faith.  That is the great thing about it. I spent a lot of my life questioning other people’s faiths and realizing that it’s a losing battle because if someone deeply believes something for whatever reason, who are you to question it? So I’ve embraced that concept and decided to work with it.  Since I’ve realized the power of faith, I’ve realized that there are very few things that I have faith in.  I have faith in my friends, who were so supportive during these weeks of uncertainty.  My friend “A” gave me a stern talking to that I both needed to hear and dreaded hearing at the same time.  It was blunt and honest but she didn’t kick me while I was down or give me the “I told you so”. I vented, she listened.  I told her the whole story to because I had faith that instead of a judgement, I’d get advice and love in exchange and that’s exactly what I got. I spoke to “M” and she knows the whole story too.  I told her because, again, I had faith that she would not judge and she’s good at hearing me vent.  “M” listened and reaffirmed me of my worth and told me that there is a difference between compromising and settling and to figure out which side I’m on.  My co-workers were surprisingly supportive.  I would never tell them my business in the real world but after walking into work crying and breaking down in tears a handful of times at my desk, they got the edited version of the story.  They sent me texts messages throughout the night, telling me that I’m strong and wonderful and if they can help in anyway, even if I needed to get out the house, they offered me room and board, liquor, a rant session, everything.  I believed them and had faith that if I called in on one of those offers, it would’ve been provided with no additional questions asked.  I didn’t tell Nic or K what was happening but they didn’t need to know.  I had faith that they would just take care of me anyway and they did.  They saw it on my face or heard it in my voice and distracted me from it.  I love them so much for that.  After a while, you get tired of talking about it or thinking about it so you just want to run away from it.  So these ladies took me out and talked to me about any and everything but that.

I have faith in my family.  They are some seriously flawed individuals but they love me endlessly.  My dad and step-mom are some amazing people.  We don’t always agree on stuff but they are there for me, night or day, and I am convinced that they can feel me.  The day that was the climax of craziness, my dad called me and my step-mom called me and texted me all day.  I didn’t tell them anything.  They just called to say hello.  Texted me saying “hey I just wanted to check up on you. r u ok?” My dad called to ask when I’m coming by the house because he said that they all missed me and needed my physical presence.  My siblings are the light of my life.  We are all living our lives but I have faith that when I truly need them, I can get my sisters on a conference call to bitch and moan about our lives or to get the army on my side.  I have faith that if we ever aligned our powers, us girls could really change the world.  My brothers while they are too young (and frankly, are boys), I have faith that whenever it’s needed, I can get a wonderful and warm hug from them.  They’re getting older so I’m hoping that they don’t outgrow my hugs.  That would make me sad.

Other things that I have faith in is that the Universe conspires for the better of good people. I’m a good person so I try to go with the current wave that my life is on.  It may hurt and may cause me to make difficult decisions but I acknowledge that and am preparing myself for that in advance.  I have faith that whatever happens, I will end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Love and light,

Shaina

Forgiveness

I’ve been hurt something terrible in my past relationships. I’ve been to a depression so deep that I hated the sunrise because it meant having to drag myself through another day.  I hated her for breaking my heart.  I hated myself for being so open to her to the point where she was able to hurt me that way. I hated my heart for being broken in 1,000 pieces instead of 999 so it would hurt just that much less. It was a rough time and there just didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

The time has passed quickly and the pain has faded.  I’ve met and fell in love with a wonderful new woman.  It’s easy to feel like the past hurt and relationship are closed  because you don’t feel that crippling sting whenever you think about the situation anymore.  The question is “do you forgive yourself and the ex for the situation?” and “do you even have to?”

I live in one of the biggest cities in the world but it truly resembles a small town when you want to avoid someone.  I’ve literally bumped into my ex more times than is normal in a city of 10 million.  I won’t think about her for months and BAM! – randomly see her in Harlem or Union Square or on the train.  I took that to be the Universe’s way of shaking me and telling me that I had unfinished business.

Soon I started to notice how the scars left by that relationship were affecting me and JR’s relationship.  I always suspected her of having ulterior motives because underneath it all, I didn’t feel like I was worthy of being genuinely loved.  She had to want me for another reason.  I didn’t feel like I deserved more than that.  My logical self knew that was wrong but my emotional self was just so damaged.

A and KD initially planted the seeds of forgiveness in my mind but I was resisting.  It finally took root when my (so much wiser)  grandmother very simply told me that forgiveness equals freedom.  It releases you spiritually.  That’s all I needed to hear.  It all clicked. I forgave her for what she did but most importantly, I forgave myself for my part in the downfall of the relationship and for loving such a damaged individual.  I had to.  Otherwise, I couldn’t enjoy my current relationship in all its richness.  It would be the equivalent of strolling along the most beautiful beach in the world in a sweat suit rather than frolicking in my bathing suit (or knowing me, in the nude).

So the journey of forgiveness has been a rough one.  Although I truly feel no animosity for my past and have come along on this path, it’s still a daily struggle but definitely worth it. I love and experience love a little more honestly every day. 🙂

I was inspired to share this today because I came home realizing that I still had my engagement ring from my last relationship.  It was exquisite and I loved it but I had to let it go (for many reasons) — so I pawned it.  I got pennies for it but I still think I came out of the deal free and richer than I did when I went into the pawn shop.  🙂

Shaina

Friends

Why is it so difficult to maintain friendships in this community?  Finding meaningful friendships in the gay community and then again, in the sub-culture of the black, gay community has become a task in itself. I’m a very social person.  If I click with you on some level, I’ll embrace you and build with you.  However, for some reason, it seems that a lot of women in the LGBTQ community have lost what it means to be a friend.  They simply don’t know how.  I’m not sure who, if anybody is to blame for these women not valuing or engaging in friendships but I do know that it hurts all of us in the long run.

I believe in having a circle of sisters that emotionally support and love you outside of your romantic relationships and who uplift you through rough times.  I think that it is crucial to who you are and who you develop into throughout your life.  I’m a firm believer in having a family that you chose. I’ve seen this benefit the older generations.  My grandma has her church sisters who all congregate and hold each other up during deaths of husbands, births of great-grandchildren, and fatal diagnoses.  My older aunts have sister-friends who are each others’ backbones through divorces, births, marriages, sicknesses, and when they spouses “don’t act right”.  So what’s up with our generation.  Why don’t we have that?  Is it a gay thing specifically?

I’ve run into a number of issues with lesbian- or queer- identified women.

There are the women who only become your friend because they want to sleep with you.  They’re cool, they inquire about your relationship, they want to hang out, they’ll text you — they’re accessible.  Then when you get into a relationship (or they do), you express sternly that you don’t want them in “that way” or you become less available emotionally to them, they ditch you. If you’re not going to be sexually available to them, they have no use for you.

There are the women who are shady and are just your friend to try and come between what you and your partner have built — not because they truly want either one of you but because they’re bitter and alone and want you to be too.

There are the women who genuinely try to be what their idea of a “friend” is but when the friendship becomes intense — i.e. you experience a loss, a breakup, an illness, etc — they can’t deal.  They can’t be emotionally supportive because they don’t know how to be.  It’s not their fault but it still leaves you with your ass out during a rough time.

Lastly, there are women who are your exes.  On one hand, I can see why so many lesbians or queers are friends with their exes — the community is so small and, because of that, you can’t let go of your attachments that easily or you’ll find yourself without any gay friends.  HOWEVER, being friends with your ex has a certain ick factor to me.  I’m not saying that you can’t be cordial to your ex or even that you can’t check in to see how they’re doing from time to time.  What I’m saying is “can you have a meaningful, soul connection, genuine friendship with someone you made orgasm once upon a time?”  If you have seen her vagina, how can that not cause issues in your friendship from the beginning?

I’ve been lucky enough to weed out the bad seeds and have a group of phenomenal women who I trust and who I hope to be drinking and laughing with in 20 years.  None of them (so far) have fallen into any of these categories.  I try to stress the meaning of true friendships to my younger siblings because tv and the media have succeeded in falsely convincing them that black women aren’t worthy of friendship and will stab you in the back or are catty.

Anyways, that’s what’s been on my mind today.  Lately, I’ve been going through a rough time and I’m just so grateful for the ladies in my life. 🙂

Blessings,

Shaina

Hello World!!!

I’ve been thinking about blogging for a long time because I find that I have a lot to say and not necessarily a lot of people to say it too.  This could be my expression board.  That’s so exciting!!!

Anyways, my name is Shaina.  I’m a woman who constantly finds herself lost in her thoughts.  That’s easy to do when you live in a city of 10 million people.  You rarely bump into people you know randomly so while you’re out and about, you occupy yourself with your iPod and your thoughts.  So this is an inside look into what swirls through my head and how it all plays into this wonderful yet scary transitional period of my life.

So here are the players —

Me — Shaina, Bronx born and raised. I’m the first to admit that I’m flawed.  I’m smart, ambitious, sensitive, giving, loving, a work in progress, a hopeless romantic.

JR — my fiancée, Chicago born and raised, somewhat of a hippie, artist (writer, performing poet, musician). She’s smart, moody, funny, observant, sweet, needy yet independent, strong personality.  She actually my perfect complement.

I have an army of family members who I’m very close to and will probably show up in posts.  I have a mom and stepdad (not so close to them), a dad and stepmom (who I love more than life and who are so supportive of me emotionally), three sisters (aged 21,19, and 14) and three brothers (aged 15, 10, and 6).

I also have a circle of sister friends who I love and adore.  They are definitely my sister spirits.

M — Basketball player from Albany, unlucky in love, we have a bond that people don’t understand but that is very dear to me

A — My sister from Atlanta, older and wiser, married to the love of her life “Charlie”, I’ve never actually met her in real life only online and via phone but she’s so wonderful and confident and everything I hope to be one day

K — Diplomatic security officer, army vet, married to a NYPD detective and has a son who’ll be 1 yrs old in August, very confident and very blunt but very protective of me and our friendship.

KD — One of my more interesting friendship stories, she’s kind of a hippie, our love lives are mirror images of each other, she’s a doula and an activist for reproductive freedom, and a hopeless romantic.

Nic — Ivy League grad (Penn and Columbia), super smart and sometimes pretentious but I love her anyway :), she’s sweet, naive about life, funny, currently works in finance but a hippie at heart (sings like an angel).

That’s all for right now.  I’ll talk to you soon.  Thanks for listening.

Love and light.

Shaina