Archive | June, 2015

At the Back of the Closet (The Good Grit in Relationships the Old Heads Won’t Talk About)

29 Jun

“Fock you mean you beat me ‘cause you love me?!”

I remember the first time my mother hugged me after a spanking. Hell, let me call it what it was…she whooped me. For me, any kind of affection 5 minutes after a switch to the ass, was too soon. But the lesson of “love hurts” was effective for me. Kinda. It couldn’t have been in her plans, but with that simple show of grace, my mother also taught me that love was deceptive. You hurt, you heal and the cycle repeats itself. Imagine my confusion–Tuesday I’d be picking out my own switch and Thursday I was at the corner store with a wrinkle dollar being told to “Buy yourself a treat.” It was confusing. Something like a band aid covering the same wound it created. Problem is– 1 phase of puberty, 2 children and 1 marriage later, I realize there was a lot of shet my parents told me under a broad umbrella about love and relationships, and expected me to get it while leaving out the good grit. Come to think of it, perhaps their goal wasn’t for me to get it through my head, but for them to feel accomplished about getting it out. Yeah. Maybe that was it… The checklist of shet to teach your children before they learn it from the streets.
Got it.
It wasn’t until I was around age 12 when my pre-puberty body wandered upon the back of my parent’s closet. I cannot make this blog relatable by lying to you and saying I was in my parent’s closets looking for Christmas presents. I wasn’t. I’d overheard an argument between my folks the night before that led to the next day’s escapade. Through the crack under the door, I could hear my mom fuss at my dad for, “Leaving that filth where the kids can find it.” She went on, “If you’re going to watch that kind of stuff, at least hide it at the back of the closet.”
The end.
I won’t go into details of how my soul was lifted the day my young eyes first landed on pornographic pleasures. For months, maybe years, I would wait until the house was empty, sneak a peak and return the videos back to where they belonged. The stuff I viewed was NOTHING like the cuddly stuff my mom told me about the birds and the bugs. There goes that betrayal shet again.
It wasn’t until I was fully submerged into adulthood and my first real relationship, that I realized that love and all the interactions that come with, had its dirty side. The dark sides. The shet that makes the oil slick that nobody wants to talk about. The good grime that can only be found…

At the back of the closet.

*Throws on Superwoman cape*

But now you have me. Stick me under any light and you won’t find a hint of expert in me. I’m no relationship guru. If you asked me to play match maker, I would refer you to Eharmony or the local sex store. I’m no doctor in the studies of love and all that flows from it. I’m just an avid people watcher. Other than being kicked out of Barnes and Nobles once for my fetish, people watching has truly been of benefit to me. Because of my insane obsession with watching and analyzing (and a sprinkle of eavesdropping) I’m able to share with you lessons I’ve learned from couples that store their best practices…. at the back of the closet.

Go to Bed Mad
There, there. Don’t wave your fans at me you pew peppers. Lemme finish. Growing up, I was taught you should never go to bed mad at a loved one. Thing is, that’s a lot of pressure to put on an eleven year old kid wanting to be pissed at a sibling, but not wanting to wake up to them dead. Yeah, black mamas in the South do the most. In any relationship, you have to learn to take that anger to the bed. I’ll break it down for you young skeezers. HAVE ANGRY SEX…Ruffle the knuckles while you’re still angry. It’s likely that some sweat and regret won’t wipe away the issue at hand, but it’s also likely that you’ll be in a more “resting” state for talking it out. It also means that you probably weren’t mad in the first place. Rub some skin and let it go.

Talk about Your Spouse to Others
You know the one girl you follow on Facebook, that posts a million selfies of her square head, gapped teeth and spaced eyes? Under each pic, comments from friends and groupie followers glorify her appearance with things like, “Baddie” or “Gorgeous”. Ever wondered what your eyes are missing? Problem is, while in non-Facebook (aka real life) she may not be easy on the eyes…she’s rocking the one thing that compliments any fit. She is confident. She’s sporting the belief that she looks good. Somewhere in her morning routine, she’s taught herself to look in the mirror and see nothing less than enough. The one thing my momma preached in my house was, “There’s power in the tongue.” Simple psychology. The more you hear it, or say it, the more you believe it. Get where I’m going people?
The more you bad mouth your significant other to others, the more bad things, that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, start to flourish.
So on the contrary, the more you speak uplifting words regarding your other (to others), the more they come to fruition. In other words, brag. Now, I’m not telling you to go be the coworker who uses every lunch break to tell you about how her Romantic Reggie swept her off her feet again, but allow yourself to push positives about your significant other when the opportunity arises. “Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” —Rita Shiano

Bring up the Past
The present is treasure, the future is the shiznit but my Goodness, don’t we just give the past the ugliest wrap? One of the greatest mistakes we make in relationships or even friendships, is that we preach the whole, “leave the past in the past” concept. My issue with neglecting the past, is that we also abandon the beautiful stuff. We look at the past as a dark place and a place that can only lead to bad recollections. We overlook the fact that the past was the birthing spot of the relationship that now exists. While it may hold things better forgotten, it also harbors whatever shet holds you together. Allow yourself moments to revisit the good. If all you bear is bad memories, all your future will breed is bad moments.

Together. I remember about a month after I got married, shet got boring. I mean, take your side of the bed and don’t let your butt touch mine boring. That don’t look at me or talk to me unless you’re dying type boring. That National Geographic ty—-okay, you smell my drift. Finally, one morning after a conversation between myself and my Froot Loops was over, it hit me. It wasn’t the marriage that got boring. It wasn’t even the romance that was withered. The scenery became whack. Coming home to the same house, the same bed and the same routine got boring. In relationships we have to learn to LEAVE (together). Once a month, have sex in the car. Get a hotel room and role play. By the way, it’s 2015 people. *Pulls out megaphone* There are enough nurses and firefighters in the bedroom!!! Swap it up– You be the pastor, I’ll be the usher type shet. Leave. Try new things together. It’s okay to eat at restaurants that don’t offer complimentary rolls. Switch it up. Have “firsts” together. Never stop meeting each other. Ever.

Have an Affair…..
With yourself. Men- it matters not if your penis is stubbier than a top drawer rolled up sock. Women, who cares if your breasts hang so low they can tie your shoes before your hands? You must learn to view yourself as the person you would want your partner to have as a side piece with. Until you view yourself as one of a kind, you’ll always settle for any kind of one. In a relationship, you must learn how to have an affair with yourself. Before you’re able to turn your significant other on, take the time to look at yourself and ask, “Do I even turn ME on?” The old adage, “When you look good, you feel good” is true. However, when you feel good, you’re more likely to help others feel good—be a bigger asset to your love life. Allow yourself time to be someone you would want to be cheated on with. If it’s filling up your tank just to drive it out over some Lauren Hill and 60’s jazz, once a week, so be it. Men, find an outdoor secret man cave… “under the tree”, where you find time to steal away and chug a beer. Find pleasurable pastimes that you don’t share with your partner.

Let Your Friends’ Problems, Be Your Friends’ Problems
Somewhere we have picked up the belief that if it’s raining in our friends’ relationships, the sun we’re experiencing in ours, must be the wrong weather. I cannot even estimate how many times I’ve found flaws in my relationships only after my friends found them in theirs. QUIT IT. The act of picking up our friends’ problems has become one of the most crippling ailments to relationships. Learn to listen with an empathetic ear and not a shoulder. Too often we carry loads for others and forget to dump them before we walk across our threshold. Before you open your mouth for an argument, ask first, “Does it sound like someone else’s burden?”

What is a blog about relationships without some words of wisdom from my favorite married lady?
Chums and Bugs, I present… Mrs. Sherena Graham-Lloyd…

“Don’t lock that door…”
“You don’t pay any bills in this house.” UGHHH, the frustration behind those words. Well now, you do pay the bills and you can lock the door if you want…BUT YOU SHOULD NOT and here is why… If I had a penny for every time I saw an older woman twist her mouth, suck her teeth then blurt out “Some things you just keep to yourself”…then I’d probably only have like 10 cents but that is not the point. Tell it, tell it all. Get naked, right there, and expose you… all of you…that’s right, if you can show your entire outside, there shouldn’t be any reason to hold back the inside. Transparency is so good for a relationship.

Forget Those Kids
Really …but not really really! “Put your kids first, your husband can fend for himself and blah, blah, blah.” Eighteen years from now, when your kids are fending for themselves and your spouse has grown accustomed to doing the same, visit, the infamous, “They” that is forever giving out advice, or lack thereof, and give them a swift kick in the place where it came from…their ass! Tell them how empty your house, your life and your relationship is because you decided that the same kids who would grow up, get lives and wives (or husbands) of their own…those same kids that you focused your entire life and relationship around…they are grown, gone and you simply don’t know how to have an effective, kid free, relationship with your love…its ok to sneak of to the laundry room while the TV is babysitting your kids and not feel guilty about it. Building a strong bond between you and your SO will make a better life for those kids than if you revolve everything in your life around them now.

So all in all, there is no real prescription for keeping a relationship healthy other than keeping your faith first, your heart open and communication flowing. And most importantly, if you’re in a partnership with someone you can’t comfortably pass gas in front of, you’re wasting your years. 

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Hugs and backrubs…love always,