Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Dear 2011,

I want to say this was a great year for me. I would love to talk about how I stepped out on faith, did me and walked with greatness. But, I can't.

The truth is, I made some mistakes.

I allowed my pride to stand in the way. A lot. I flew halfway across the country and let my fear of rejection stop me from truly living in the moment. My anger caused me to lash out the people I love; my guilt kept me awake at night. I accepted every event invitation to The Pity Party--guest list, one.

Do I regret it? Nah. 2011 was just my Scrap Paper Year.

Back in high school, anytime a standardized test was administered, you got a sheet of scrap paper. You could work out math problems, brainstorm ideas or even doodle until you relaxed enough to finish the test. The scrap paper was never pretty or neat. There was always frenzied writing on both sides of the page, pencil smudges, eraser crumbs and scribbles. Sometimes, I even balled it up in a fit of frustration....usually over some preposterous word problem. But I never threw it away. That frenetic writing translated into answers I needed. The only way I could pass the test was by referring to the scrap paper.

So, 2011, thank you. I will refer back to the smudges of anxiety and the scribbles of anger. I will recall the eraser marks of pride and depression. I will put an asterisk next to that whole section about Mr. Big (he knows who he fact, he's probably reading this blog). Every situation, every circumstance is an answer I need:

D. All of the above
E. None of the above

I have shown my work.

In 2012, I'm passing the test.

Still Encouraged,


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It Will All Come Back To You

Tomorrow, my parents would have celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. Normally, I repost an essay I wrote a few years ago on the subject (Why Didn't I Get Married, for my FB friends). This year, I felt I needed to say more. As I look back on a year filled with highly publicized scandals and divorces, I feel like it is time to revisit my beliefs on love and marriage.

If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of Mike and Regenia Woodberry. As a married couple, they went through just about everything a couple can face: the loss of all four of their parents; the birth of four children and the tragic death of one; the loss of siblings and friends; literally, for richer and poorer and in sickness and health. In the thirteen years I spent observing their marriage, I did not see perfection.

I saw, however, more good days than bad days.
I saw a husband and wife who refused to quit, even when they could have.
I saw two people who were committed to God, to their children and to one another.
I saw love.

But times are different. Today, fewer and fewer Americans are willing to jump the broom. That's asking too much. We should settle for being tagged on Facebook and mentioned on Twitter. If we really like each other a lot, maybe we can sign a lease--but not a marriage certificate.

Every day, a politician or entertainer is releasing a statement to the media, apologizing for marital indiscretions. Deion and Pilar Sanders, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, Kris Humphries and Kimmy K, Matthew and Tina Knowles have all said "I don't" this year. Divorce attorneys are raking in more coins than Scrooge McDuck.

Domestic violence is now more common than ever. Men and women continually use their fists and weapons to voice their anger and frustration, leading to the demise of countless mothers, fathers and innocent children.

I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent woman. Knowing what I know, is marriage a risk I am willing to take?


Please believe me--the rose-colored glasses are off. I have been cheated on, disrespected, hurt and rejected more times than I'd care to admit. I no longer believe that Prince Charming is going to whisk me away from a world of despair into Happily Ever After.

I just believe in love.

A love that...

...laughs at the corniest jokes.
...will eat that disgusting enchilada casserole and pretend to love it!
...notices a new hairstyle or weight loss.
...pumps the gas because it's freezing outside. the courage to share anything.
...prays with me and for me.

A love that never fails.

On what would be the last anniversary my parents shared together, my father played a song for my mother: "When You Love Someone" by Anita Baker and James Ingram. I have had that song on a cassette tape, CD and every mp3 player I have ever owned. It has followed me from high school to college to the tail end of my twenties. Every year, I play that song on December 21. I close my eyes and let the tears fall as I think about my parents and their love...about my life and what I hope to have one day. If I'm by myself, I sing it at the top of my lungs.

Of course, I know the lyrics by heart:

When you love someone
And you love them with your heart
And it doesn't disappear
If you're apart
When you love someone
And you've done all you can do
Set them free
And if that love is true
When you love someone
It will all come back to you

FBRs, here's to the reciprocity of love.
May the love you have shared--and the love you will share--ALWAYS come back to you.