Falling Out of Love Explained

I wish I knew how to start this one. I wish I had some smart catchphrase or witty joke, but today, I can’t find the exact words. The topic at hand is something that I find pretty hard to tackle and that is probably because it’s all too familiar. It’s the art of falling out of love.

Now, this is for the broken-hearted. Not just those who are coming out of romantic relationships, but friendships as well. Because, let’s face it… love is a powerful component that makes any relationship what it is. So after all the great memories and loving each other until your heart feels like it will explode, you’re hit by an unexpected emotion that leaves you almost paralyzed. You look at the person you love and the unthinkable comes to mind: you don’t feel the same way as before. You don’t love them anymore. It’s like a solid snowball to the face during a snowball fight. It will hurt. It’s cold. You will feel numb. And for a good ten minutes, you just want to curl up in a warm corner and cry.

While reading Zora Neale Hurtson’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, I wanted to hug Janie and eat tubs of ice-cream with her (Vanilla ice-cream, to be specific. With loads of fudge and whipped cream) as Sam Smith plays in the background. She goes into these relationships thinking it would be for the best. In the beginning, it would always seem to feel right; and at a point I did see Janie love the men she was with. Maybe not the extravagant, “till death do us part” kind of love, but a love that was worth something. Even if the first two husbands were good-for-nothings in my book, Janie chose to stay for as long as she could. But then, she had that falling out of love phase, especially with her second husband Joe Starks. The man she married was not the same man who she fell for in the early stage of the relationship. The snowball had hit her pretty hard in the face.

Janie stood where he left her for unmeasured time and thought. She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over. In a way she turned her back upon the image where it lay and looked further. She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them. (Chapter 6)

How heartbreaking was it to read that? Now, imagine experiencing it.

We tend to put the people we love on a pedestal, well at least that’s what I and Janie did. There’s this picture-perfect image of them inside us that we are completely connected to, but then when the snowball comes flying towards you, expect that image to shatter. Whether it was something they said, something they did, or often times, something they didn’t do or say, your love for them shifts. You start to reevaluate the relationship, look for answers that are impossible to find, and try to trace back to the starting line that’s miles away.

But when you’re falling out of love, you don’t push the re-play button. It doesn’t exit. Instead you have to look past the shattered pieces and accept that the picture will never be the same. It wasn’t the photograph you envisioned. You realize the love you were experiencing was a one-way street. And relationships are never supposed to be a one-way street. You are supposed to grow, express yourself, and learn to accept another person as a part of you; not as a separate component.

When your ‘insides and outsides’ don’t mix, you fall out of love.

Sometimes, it just has to happen. It’s the only time you learn to fall in love with yourself and feel how great it is.

Once you’ve finished crying over the pain of a frozen snowball to the face, you’ll see that you’re still alive. You can pick up a patch of snow for yourself, form it into a ball with no one else’s help, and throw like a pro.

You learn a lot by being hurt, but grow by being smart enough to know that you have to dust off your skirt and move forward. Falling out of love sucks, but you can’t fall forever.

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A Grandmother’s Love Explained

Family is everything to me.

My parents were my first teachers and my brother was my first best friend (besides my teddy bear named… Teddy). But my grandma was different. She’s my rock. I told myself that if ever she leaves our home, I was to move in with her. Can’t nobody take my grandmama away from me! I could go on forever about the sacrifices, love, and care that she has exerted throughout her life, but my words wouldn’t do her justice. If there is one thing you should know about my grandma, it’s that she takes so much pride in her grandchildren (all nine of us).  As her first granddaughter, she doesn’t shy away from talking about relationships and who she believes I should be with; especially now that I am older.

Here are some qualities my dear grandmother expects from my future husband:

  • He has to have a good job. Or as she likes to repeat, “Marry a doctor or a lawyer.” 
  • He has to come from a good family.
  • Loves me unconditionally.
  • He needs to be a man of faith.
  • He must be respectful.
  • HANDSOME (oh, grandma).

This list doesn’t even sound that bad. Actually, I like it. But to put a man through such a list can be a task, because it sounds pretty much perfect. And perfect just doesn’t exist. However, I ask myself why she is so worked up about me having this ideal man. Her answer to me once went a little something like this, “because my granddaughter is worth it.” Of course I wanted to flip my hair and smile in agreement… and I did. But thinking about it now causes my heart to break a little. My worth stands next to a man with a law degree, whose family name is on the Forbes 100, and has a body hot enough to kick Adam Levine off of the “Sexiest Man Alive” throne? My worth is reflected on a person other than myself? I don’t think so.

In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s grandmother (Nanny) has given her a similar list as mine. Nanny wants her granddaughter to marry quick, to a man who is of quality, but Jeanie was confused. She was still so young and saw marriage as a love-relationship, not something that is produced out of a mere list. So when Jeanie did marry she said this, “Husbands and wives always loved each other, and that was what marriage meant” (Chapter 3). Despite rushing into her relationship with Logan and doubting her feelings for him, she believed that a marriage built on love can be learned. Marriage ideals take the couple out of the situation and views it as only institutional, perhaps just necessity. It is often seen that women are expected to be housewives and mothers. That because they are given such roles, their companions must also be a certain way. I think that Nanny was aware that these gender roles are inescapable, but what could make it better is having a good partner. Then the goal of getting into a marriage is not for love, but a title.

However, let’s try not to criticize our grandmothers too much. I know they mean well.

My grandmother wants me to be my own person. She wants me to grow. She wants me to grab every opportunity thrown at me. She wants to see me succeed in life. She wants me to be happy. I think her main purpose in giving me her list of expectations is to teach me to aim high. It was never about the ideals, but the reason why we form them. As long as I don’t settle for someone who can pass as a good guy and be with someone who actually is, I know she can live with that. So, she won’t disown me if I marry a writer than a doctor. 

Grandmothers have this wisdom that us grandkids can’t always understand, but need to trust that it’s fruitful. Sometimes they go about expressing themselves to us wrongly, but it is all because they are one of the few people on this planet that have our best interest in mind. We are their successors, whether you feel like you are obligated or not. It’s a component in being family. My grandmother has taught me so many life lessons, that I am forever thankful. But the best gift she gave me is her love. It overflows. Like Nanny, her soul is strong. Because she has been through so much, she wants her grandchild to know that the world will give you choices. It’s about weeding out the bad and picking the one that suits you.

Giving Love Explained.


Let me just say a few things before I really go into this post.

  1. Kyle Hanagami is a BEAST. Period.
  2. This song gives me the “feels” beyond explanation.
  3. Ed Sheeran is pretty much thee Ginger Jesus and he is here to save the music industry. I’m not even kidding, he’s one of the best artists our generation has to offer. I was blessed enough to go to a live show and I was pretty much re-born.
  4. I’ve over-played this video so many times, I’m probably why it has thousands of views (or everyone else who swims in the Ocean of Awesome has found it and hit play) on YouTube.
  5. What came out of this video: the donation to cancer research, participation with the audience, the emotion exerted into the choreography, the visuals, and overall message is incredible. Please redirect back to my first point.

Love is such a hard thing to explain but such a great feeling to experience. In my previous post, Relationships Explained, I tried  to find the right words and bring this kind of topic to justice. I want to go a bit deeper and touch on how love isn’t just found in a romantic relationship. Love is feeling valued, like you actually matter, because someone cares about your well-being and wants to ensure that you never forget you are worth it. In Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, I stated how love was absent in relationships. But it is more important to dive into how important that feeling is. In the beginning of the video we see that Kyle receives a letter that is full of negativity, which he then rips, and goes to break into his choreography. I feel like the novel’s character Linda, is just like Kyle in the start of the clip. She has been hurt and ridiculed for so long. Derogatory words on paper were lived in reality and constantly attached to her name. The song “Give Me Love” is pretty self-explanatory… it’s asking you to give him/her love. I think the voice really calls out the cry that Linda makes. I feel the desperation in her story like I feel the desperation in the song. Linda wants to be valued and truly feel love, because the pain has to give hope to a more positive emotion. There’s gotta be some pay off. Love is a sort of liberation, freedom in the constraints of pain. Not only does this apply to Linda, but also to her mistress, Mrs. Flint. As jealous as she is, she too, wants love. This paranoia she experiences is because of her desire of love. Mrs. Flint is aware of her husband’s unfaithfulness, but continues to work towards acquiring his affection, even if her ways of reaching them are wrong. Still, I understand her longing to be seen as her husband’s love, not just a wife. The partnership is not enough, it is missing that special connection to really be one.

Believe it or not, this video/song/post, applies to Dr.Flint as well. I’ve expressed how much I dislike his character (because I hate cheaters, creeps, and abusive people. Who doesn’t?) But it was as if this song was created by Dr. Flint.

Give me love like never before,
‘Cause lately I’ve been craving more,
And it’s been a while but I still feel the same,
Maybe I should let you go,

You know I’ll fight my corner,
And that tonight I’ll call ya,
After my blood is drowning in alcohol,
No, I just wanna hold ya.

I pictured him in a more vulnerable state as I listened to this song, particularly as the lyrics above played. He’s a character that seems to be stuck in this life of misery. Because of slavery, he has developed this mindset of having to rule, being the emotionless, harsh authority figure who is immovable.  He needs something different, something that has depth like he has never felt before. Dr. Flint needs a damn hug. This song expresses the same desperation of Linda’s for Dr. Flint. Perhaps if he had received love that was so pure, he wouldn’t be this horrible man. Had his upbringing been full of affection and learning to reciprocate this attitude, and not about how slavery can benefit him, Dr. Flint can be more likable. Perhaps he would respect Linda and his wife. I’d even dare to say he would be capable to love another. This song explains, as well as serves as Dr. Flint’s apology to why he is the way he is. Intense right?

This pain reflects on so many of us and the solution to it all is love.

If you read my About Me, you’d see I attend St. John’s University… and we are required to take a few Theology courses. So, my professor from my Christian Marriage course would give me a whole repeat lecture on how love is definitely not an emotion but “a voluntary decision to act upon the good of another.” And I get it! But I would like to think that because we act for the good of another, we value them. Love is why we act.

Kyle’s video throws a punch right to my gut, in both a good and bad way, where bad… is actually a little good too. Follow me? At my lowest points, I just want someone to pick me up and tell me I’ll be okay. I want someone to tell me they are there for me. I need assurance that I am loved. In my highest point, I feel closely related to the end of the video. I feel so liberated. I want to throw confetti in the air or jump up and down, because I have people who love me and we are in celebration (of whatever it is) together. During Ed’s live performance of this song, the whole Hammerstein Ballroom felt like it was floating on air. People were singing at the top of their lungs, some had their hands in the air like they were praying to God above, others I even saw crying. It’s because it connected. We all know what pain feels like. But when we are given love, things change. That’s because love is freeing. It feels great to be free and it feels amazing to be loved.

Relationships Explained.

As a girl in her 20s, I’ve probably had more phone calls and conversations about relationships than those actually hired to give any “professional” advice get. Can you believe that? People are paid to give relationship/love advice. I do it for free! Hm, maybe that’s why they come running to me. But if there’s a job for it, then it must be a real issue. Oh humans and their emotions. 

After collecting my mental archive of advice and recalling the situations expressed to me by my “clients” there is one thing that I believe is a major issue: none of them really understand what a relationship demands. This would make sense, because there are more whys, what does it mean, and how can I change it questions than there are answers. There are more times trying to make it work, than it actually working out. There are more doubts then there is trust. There is more intellect than there are feelings. And if there is anything you should take away from this post, it’s this: A relationship will not work if your mind is the only one calling the shots. No, I’m not telling you to let your heart take the wheel in a relationship, but I am telling you to allow it to be the compass; because your mind will know what to do. They are a team, as are you and your partner. So, when I say don’t let your mind call the shots, I mean you have to be unselfish and let your partner in on things.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be emotionally invested in a relationship. It is not a business deal! You absolutely cannot go into it thinking that the outcome will be exactly as you mapped it out to be. It definitely is a learning process, somewhat contractual, risky, rewarding, and overall crazy, but if your heart isn’t in it… then why are you even there?

Let’s take relationships in Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl for example. Dr. Flint tries to bribe Linda for her affection. Now, Dr. Flint is in no ways a real man. He is abusive and unfaithful. Despite having this “fondness” for Linda, he constantly reminds her that she is nothing but his slave. It is obvious that Dr. Flint wants Linda to be another one of his women, but this also proves that he wants to own her completely, not only physically but emotionally as well. He promises to take care of her and even starts to build a home where she will stay. However, Linda already loves someone else and cannot ever imagine being with a brute like Dr. Flint. Let us again note, this guy is married! Remember when I said you need to be unselfish? Yeah, there is no way Dr. Flint understands that idea. The courtship between Dr. Flint and Linda (if you even call it that) is all a mental game. Seeing it that way messes up the real meaning of a relationship. It’s not about a power-trip or how can you buy one’s affection, it is about unity. Because Dr. Flint lacks a real sense of affection for Linda, she does not even entertain the thought of being with him.

As for Dr. Flint’s wife, emotion is the only thing that controls her. She knows her husband is being unfaithful to her, but still she brushes it aside. Marriage is the most important relationship you can choose. Vows made by you and your partner are not just any promises, but real affirmations of love… an eternal agreement. Because Mrs. Flint cannot allow her mind to make the decision to leave him, she is further consumed with jealousy and no longer love. She will always doubt her husband, feel insecure, and paranoid of what Dr. Flint will do next. I can honestly say, I feel bad for her. She knows that the bond of marriage seals her and Dr. Flint together, but that doesn’t guarantee his fidelity.

Relationships themselves can be seen as a form of submission. It’s just another way to be bound to something, someone. But the most liberating thing about relationships is the freedom to really express how you feel to the person you are with. It shouldn’t feel like an obligation. In the context of the novel, slavery proves to be the evil seed that grows to rip not only individuals, but families apart. Relationships, specifically romantic ones, are rooted in love. This love is not solely an emotion but an action to willing do what is best for another. Slavery rejects this, because it, in no ways, works for the betterment of another. It entraps everyone into misery.

In both cases we see that the relationships lack this sense of love. It’s anything but love that binds these people together. With the story of Linda and Mrs. Flint, I can feel like they are desperate for love. The relationship is so one-sided and all about it being a title, that the most beautiful thing about having one is absent. As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” However, for a tango to be convincing, we need to feel the spark. The partners need to work as one to make the dance complete.

Men Explained (at least an attempt to).

First off, I want to give a quick disclaimer: I am by no means an expert when it comes to the mind of a man.

But here’s some reassurance: For as long as I’ve been alive, all the books, movies, real-life experiences, and rants read on Twitter, I do know a little something about the female counterpart. They thoroughly express how women are so confusing and I, somehow, agree. However, I think I speak for my ladies out there when I say: “Men are just as confusing!” So the pressure is expressed both ways, all thanks to this predetermined idea of what make men, men and women, women.  It’s not entirely our fault! These ideas have been passed down, forced into action, and “accepted.”

Here’s a set of qualities / expectations of a man (expressed by many, but not entirely by me):

  1. A man is supposed to be the breadwinner of the family. He’s the money-maker. The guy who does all the heavy lifting when it comes to providing food and income to the household.
  2. He wears the pants in the relationship. What he says goes and there should be no questions asked. Since he is the provider, he is also the law. A man is trusted to make the best decision for his family and for the overall well-being of others.
  3. A man should remain faithful. This is in regards to everything: family, job, religion, etc.
  4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. If he isn’t singing that song, then you better go on and hit next. A man is expected to respect others, especially his better half: his spouse. He must hear you out, defend you, and learn when his ideas are not always rational. He might have the final say, but he should also value opinion.
  5. He is drama-free. Maturity is what separates a boy from a man. He knows what he wants and goes for it. This goal-oriented mentality is so important because that drive pushes him through all the over-analysis, whining, and contemplation. He goes straight for the finish line. Once he is there, he holds on to that idea and protects it for dear life.

Now all of the above has been argued for and against, both by women and men. Men are pressured to be the stone hard figure with a loving heart, and when they fall even slightly out of the square box we label “Man,” they are ridiculed. I mean, I’ve heard so many complaints about guys and how men will never change… it’s insane! I get it, trust me I do. I’ve had my share of badmouthing men, but I’ve grown up and surpassed the whole “I’m blaming all of them because my little heart was broken by a tool” phase. Not everyone is like that. We have to be more open about gender roles and expectancies because times have changed.

In Harriet Wilson E. Wilson’s Our nig or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, In A Two-Story White House, North the expectations of man is manifested in James. Go down that list and you’ll find how he can fit in each one. He’s a family man and stays true to his beliefs and moral values. Reading past novels and observing the master-servant relationship, male figures were always the brutal force. Remember when I said they are the law? Well, these “men” took that idea to an extreme. They over-worked, beat and mentally abused their slaves as if they weren’t human. Men were feared, and because of this many had to respect them. However, James was the exception. He took what was mentioned on the list and used it for the good. He cared for the well-being of Frado and didn’t look at her as a mere servant. James protected, cared for, and respected her despite his mother’s indifference towards the girl. James was a man because he stood loyal to what was right.

I think the expectation of man then, is not so different now. Many still expect them to fall into this kind of ideal. To be honest, I think they kind of work. Now before I get shunned out of existence let me explain. Tie all of the qualities you want in a man and expect him to be, then tell me what it all means. What should men be? Come on, give me one sentence. Hm, maybe answering what they shouldn’t be would help?

We make up these guidelines because we want to prevent something from being what we don’t want. Like, if you follow all these steps, everything would be as they should. So, what do these guidelines prevent men from being? JERKS. A-HOLES. DEADBEATS. LAZY. Whatever doesn’t make them useless. 

This list can easily work for women. Actually, this whole argument can be viewed as a female’s issue as well. We go through just as much as men do, in fact, a lot more. However, I want men to know that not every female in this universe expects them to be perfect. We invest time, love, and hope in you guys because we know your capabilities. We want you in our lives. But we don’t want to have just anybody, we want you to be the best YOU that you can be. So we push, push, push you guys to the limit, and I am sorry if it gets a little crazy. A man is expected to be whatever he wants to be, with a little less Jerk involved. If you have even the slightest bit of compassion James expresses in Wilson’s novel, consider yourself in the winners’ circle. You’re already doing better than those who have yet to learn what manhood is about.