There’s levels…

Shahs of Sunset S6E11

“There’s levels. There’s levels. There’s levels. There’s girls that you’re friends with. Girls that you sleep with. There’s girls that you date. There’s girls that you engage, and there’s girls that you’re gonna marry.” – Mike Shouhed, Shahs of Sunset

I’ve been living in the levels. All the levels. 

“Hello, my name is Leandrea, and I’ve been living in the levels.”

Sheesh. 

There’s girls that you’re friends with. I’m a great friend that’s a girl. I don’t need too much attention, just the occasional plus one, respond to my text, take most of my calls, and keep my favorite snacks and drinks at your place for hang outs. I’ll advise you on your relationships. I’ll support your courtships. I’ll stand up for you at your wedding. I know my place. 

Girls that you sleep with. AKA: Friends with benefits. One night stands. A hook up. Fuck boys. Fuck girls. I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to be that girl. Let’s be friends or not. Let’s date or not. But, I don’t wanna be a conquest. I’ve been that level, and it doesn’t sit well with me. It’s not a good look. 

There’s girls that you date. I’m perfect at this level. I’m an ideal dateable girl. I think I’m fun, a chameleon that can make most situations work. I’m available, with notice, and I’ll try almost anything once. I will hold you down. I’ll build you up. I’m charming with your family, and I’ll be friends with your friends. 

There’s girls that you engage, and there’s girls that you’re gonna marry. I’ve been engaged, twice even. Never married. Not yet. I don’t know that I’m even ready to be that girl. But, I’m down the street and around the corner from the final level, and it makes me want to vomit in my shoes…a little bit. 

Marriage isn’t necessarily the finale any more. Divorce is always on the back burner. It’s just simmering waiting for either person to turn up the heat. Sheesh. But, I’d like to think I’ll only do it once. I want to believe it will work until something like forever.

When I’m ready. 

Maybe I’m just the dateable girl. Converting into the live with girl. Always the plus one and vacation with girl. The never ending friends with girl. Maybe those are my levels. 

But, true success lives just outside of our comfort zone, right? Maybe? That could just be a clever self help slogan. 

We end up living through the levels. It’s life changing. It’s challenging. It can be overwhelming. 

So, I’m almost in the last level. Struggling, but I’m here. And, I’ll do my best to see it through. Because this is the plan. And before I got to this level, it was all I ever wanted. Now that I’m here and it doesn’t look the way I expected it to look or feel how I expected it to feel, I’m doubting everything. EVERYTHING. But, I’m going to try. 

 If it all goes to shit, I can just start over…right?

That’s not really how I’m moving into this, but it’s the truth. If it all goes to shit, we move forward…battered and bruised. That’s okay too. 

Side note: This post went in its own direction. Definitely organically written, zero planning, and off the cuff. 

“I’m in love with you. I’d die for you.”

  
“I’m in love with you. I’d die for you.” Rich in Faith on Oxygen

FYI: The first man who says this to me, in a believable way, has me. I’m yours. It’s done. It’s a wrap. I’m all in. 

I was hanging out on my couch, watching whatever was on TV when I turned it on, and too far from the remote to have options. When Rich in Faith came on. It’s a reality show about a preacher named Rich and his life. I’m guessing, though. I’ve never seen or heard of this show before today. Seems good, though. 

It opens with Rich and his wife discussing a situation he’s uncomfortable with. She’s telling him it’s no big deal, and he’s trying to make her understand why he’s so passionate about the situation and her safety. And he says, “I’m in love with you. I’d die for you.” Whoa. That’s what I’m waiting to hear! That’s the love I want to have and share. That’s it. Put it in a box and deliver it to me, ASAP. 

And then, The Bodyguard came on. Wow. 

That’s it. 

First Draft: “What do I want?”

  
What do I want?

I finally figured it out. And, it only took heartbreak, headache, and frustration.

This is the first draft. (More like the 99th draft over the years, but those didn’t really get me anywhere.)

I want to be adored. I want to be appreciated. I want to be valued. I want to be loved. I want to be respected. I want to be cared for. I want to be doted on. I want to be loved. I want to be safe. I want to be protected. I want to be motivated. I want to be loved. I want to be supported. I want stability. I want to be a priority. 

I deserve that.

Side note: A few small changes, and this could be my wedding vows. 

Magic 8 Ball, will I ever get married?

 

I want a wedding. 

  

Of course, I want a wedding.  I’ve been planning and designing it since I was a little girl.  Almost had one once. Asked to have one twice. Of course, I want a wedding.

I imagine styling my natural hair like something I’ve pinned from Pinterest. Maybe growing it long enough for a high bun or having it straightened like the old me. My make up will be understated. I want to look like me, but lots of lashes. I want my lashes to show in photographs. Individual lashes, nothing that screams falsies, done by a professional. 

I’ll wear diamond earrings. Something large, celebrity, and with the same cut as my engagement ring. Any other jewelry will be determined based on my hair, but I must have the earrings. 

My dress will be traditional, fitted. Classic with considerable beadwork or lace. And, I’ll wear flats everywhere but in pictures.

I’ll have just a few bridesmaids. I can only think of 3. They’ll wear different dresses based on their comfort level and body type. I really like olive green and coral. Something in one of those colors. We’ll make jewelry. Design it  with them. Make it with them. Sharing my passion. They’ll carry small bouquets in Fall colors. 

Fall wedding. I’m thinking late September to mid-October. 

My son will walk me down the aisle. He will wear a black tuxedo and white Converse. I love Converse. He doesn’t. Great opportunity to get him to wear them. I’ll pin a hot pink rose in his lapel just as the doors open for us. We will talk the entire way down. I’ll have a vintage handkerchief. He will have some  Kleenex in his pocket for me. He will tell me he’s happy. And, all my jitters will subside. We will stop at my parents. I’ll hug them both. And, they will all stand for me when the pastor asks who gives me to be married. 

The ceremony will be simple. Flower girl and ring bearer, but not all of those other roles. I know I want a soloist, but I have no idea what they would sing. I’m sure I don’t want any of those sand or water ceremonies. I hope my future husband isn’t counting on those. Also, no stand up comedy by the pastor. Romantic, comfortable, and simplistic. Straight to the point, and on to the reception. 

The wedding and reception will be at the same venue. Same room if I can make it work. No standing around. No waiting and boredom. As soon as we exit for picture taking and quiet moments, the music starts, appetizers round, and drinks start to flow. My husband, family, and wedding party get a little down time. We get a moment, but the party continues. No one notices I’ve stolen time with my new husband, taken a thousand pictures with the people I love, and I’m high-fiving my son in a corner because he wore the Converse and didn’t complain. 

Within an hour, we will make an entrance. Nothing too grand, I’m uncomfortable with too much attention. Shortly after, I’ll take the dance floor. My dad and I will dance, and Blaise will cut in. Then my new husband will cut in, the song will change to I’d Rather by Luther Vandross, and someone will announce our first dance. We will dance and talk about how perfect everything is, how we can’t believe we are pulling it all off, and how much we appreciate everyone coming. We will laugh, and he will spin me. Then everyone will join and we will dance until dinner arrives. And, we will dance again after dinner. And, we will dance until we cut the cake. And, we will dance again. Eventually, we will thank everyone who came. There will be wardrobe changes, make up updates, and garders and bouquets. We will do all of that too. 

I can’t decide if I’ll have a band or DJ. I’ve gone back and forth between the two. A band seems glamorous. A DJ seems much more practical. I don’t know, but probably a DJ. If so, he will have to dress better than DJs I’ve seen in the past at weddings. IJS

At the end of the night, we will all depart. My new husband and I will spend the night with close family. The honeymoon will be scheduled the next day. The family part will continue until then. Pictures will continue into the night. We will go to bed late, after more drinks, movies, and family fun stuff. We will be a family for awhile longer before we are just a couple on a vacation. At some point, teary eyed, I will declare that I married my bestfriend.

I can have a wedding, an incredible wedding even. I just don’t know how I feel about marriage. 

Love songs

Love songs are meant for weddings. I can’t remember ever listening to a love song and thinking, “Yep, that’s my relationship. That’s the epitome of US.”

I listen to love songs, much like I listen to the radio…mindlessly. I sing along with the words, memorize the melody, and have no idea what’s going on. They don’t speak to me. I’m not yearning for love through a song. I’m not jealous of what they found. I don’t even hear most of the words. 

But a sad break up song…AMEN!

I was driving back home after dropping my son off. 2 1/2 hours, varying speed limits, trapped in my Mini Cooper ALONE. The radio station, it took me 15 minutes to find, gave out as soon as I went back in the direction I’d come. 

Thank God for auxiliary cables and iTunes. 

I have this thing where I randomly pick from my artist collection and just listen to everything I have of theirs on shuffle. There’s a lot of good stuff that never makes it to the radio. And, I feel like the money I spent on the entire album is much better invested. 

Jazmine Sullivan, Fearless

“Lions, Tigers, & Bears”

“Bust Your Windows”

All I need is a good girlfriend to commerate with and a vodka and cranberry. She is singing my life…kinda. The stuff I think about, but can’t actually do because I’m protecting my clean criminal record. 

I knew almost every word to every song on the album. Was waving my hands, shaking my head, and hopelessly trying to harmonize. That’s what a good break up song will do for you. 

Who needs love songs…unless it’s that classic old school mix after the Electic Slide, while they’re serving us single girls cake. 

I’m in my 30s. Really in them.

It’s my birthday, a couple days past. Yep. I’m another year older. Hello 34. Do me right.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other night. Thanks Kels. And, we were talking about dating in our 30s. It’s different. It’s definitely different…for us.

Our priorities have changed. We bend, but we don’t break. We make sacrifices and honor our loved ones. We do the hard stuff now. The game changed.

I was a different person in my 20s. I was very self serving. I was focused on me. I thought I knew what I wanted, had trouble figuring out how to get it, but I thought I knew. I didn’t.

I had some unattainable dreams and goals. Thought the world was going to make a place for me. No more. I’m figuring it out, but I’ve stopped the dreaming and started the work.

You can’t date me haphazardly. You can’t just see what comes. You need to be intentional and honest. You need to do the work.

Let’s cut to the chase. I’m dating to marry. I’m dating for a family and longevity. I want to know where this is ultimately going. I’m not laying it all on the table at the first meeting, but it’s the route I’m going. What are your intentions? What’s your plan, pal?

In my 20s, I would fake a lot interest for feelings sake. I laughed at dumb jokes, and pretended to be interested in things I could care less about. Not anymore. You must earn my interest. Let’s discuss real topics, debate a little, and even agree to disagree.

I’ve said this all before, I’m sure, but I haven’t done well about living it. But in my 30s, I’d rather be upset and disappointed for a few days than live in it with anyone for a lifetime.

There’s no more wishes and big plans. I am who I am. I’m not selling who I hope to be one day. There aren’t any conversations about what I plan to be when I grow up or who I want to be. I am her. I’m fine tuning her, but my personality and views are pretty well established.

I’m demanding. I’m demanding you to say what you need to say and do what you need to do 100% of the time. I am practicing that, even when it seems impossible. You need to do the same.

Show up. Speak your mind. And know, that tomorrow is not promised. I’m not promised. In my 30s, I’m not leaving my choices up to hopefulness. Do the work.

Someone needed to hear this. I hope you figure it out. But if you don’t, I hope you are comfortable in the bed you made.

Plans are made to be changed, right?

2015/01/img_1170.jpg
Watching something Kardashian right now. Khloe is freaking out about turning 30 because she isn’t where she planned to be in her life. Me too, girl. Me. Too.

I thought, for sure, I’d be running my own business and juggling a husband and 2-3 kids by now. Ummm…nope. I was supposed to be in a different place, but I’m not.

I’m 33. I don’t have a husband. I DO have a perfect son, though. But, I didn’t have him in the situation I’d planned out. My career isn’t as planned. My business is sitting at a stalemate.

Nothing is according to plan. Nothing.

And, a HUGE part of me wants to pull it all back together. I want to fix it. I want another baby and a man (not sure about marriage anymore). I want my business to flourish. I want to let the retail life go to focus on the other stuff. I want things to get back on track…a decade late.

But what if it doesn’t happen? Am I interested in having a baby? Yes. But, am I interested in continuing as a single mom? I don’t know. I don’t like being a single mom. I don’t like it at all, but I can do it. I’ve been doing it. And, my son is perfect. He’s perfect. Seriously, he’s perfect.

And, marriage freaks me out. I want forever with someone. But, that same forever makes me anxious. Does that mean I just haven’t met the right person? I don’t know.

Planning is great, but you can plan all day, straight through the night, and into tomorrow and it just not work. Life is designed to rock you. You’re supposed to be thrown into the impossible to figure it out. Life is just that way.

So to all of you, to us, who’s plans didn’t work out, it’s okay. Instead of being stuck in what didn’t happen, let’s figure out what is happening. Pray over the change, and keep going. Time is going to keep moving, and God changes plans for better outcomes than what we could have ever imagined.

“So, I’m dating a widower. And, it feels like a competition.”

Whoa.

If you are competing with his deceased wife, YOU WILL LOSE!

In death, most people become saints. Her sins have been forgiven, and he’s going to mourn her forever.

You are still around to make mistakes. You lose.

This was all prompted by a conversation I had with a friend recently. She’s involved with a single dad who lost his wife during child birth. And although she does what she can to support them, it’s often met with accusations of wanting to replace the deceased, primarily by her family.

Step back. If you love him, and this child, you will wait when needed and give them the time necessary…all parties involved (this means her family). This doesn’t mean you leave the relationship or take unnecessary hits. It merely means that you tuck your feelings in, and don’t make the mourning about you.

Easier said than done? Quite possibly.

10 Habits of Happy Couples…

I recently read this article about the 10 Habits of Happy Couples. Interesting.

1. Go to bed at the same time.

This one is hard for me. I have a really strange sleeping pattern. I think #8 is more essential in my relationships.

6/17: Wait. I was watching, couldn’t find the remote, RHOC (I think that’s the right abbreviation for the Real Housewives of Orange County) and saw another side of this. One of the husband goes to bed REALLY early. I don’t know if this is attributed to his work schedule or what. I’m not really into this franchise anymore. But the wife was shown just kinda hanging out in their house alone. He goes down at their kids bed time. That changed things for me. I may not always go to bed when my partner does, but I’m gonna try much harder. It was sad watching her tuck her ENTIRE family into bed, grab her glass of wine, and go play solitaire on the family computer.

2. Cultivate common interests.

We should find things we enjoy doing together. Even things separate from our own personal interests. This could be simple or complex, but it will give us a common bond with an enjoyable experience, together.

3. Walk hand in hand or side by side.

Duh! Human contact is so important, and often it’s the little things that mean the most. Remember how much we loved holding our boyfriends hands when we were in junior high. It’s similar, and it’s a great Segway into #10.

4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode.

Have you ever been friends or involved with someone who never gave you benefit of the doubt? Have you ever been forced to defend yourself against ridiculous lies and accusations? We all know how that feels. How would it feel to be in that position with someone you loved?

5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong.

It’s so easy to focus on the negative. We are so quick to give it our attention. But what about all the positive. We barely acknowledge it. We probably appreciate the perfection in our lives, but fail to focus on it, point it out, and comment on it. But, the negative will evoke conversations, arguments, and two-cent comments from friends. Why?

It’s important to voice your concerns and issues, but don’t make that the only thing you have a voice on.

6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work.

For me, it’s not an actual hug, but I think it’s a great practice to ensure you’re acknowledging each other at the end of the day. When your partner comes home, or when you come home, both of you should make a point to seek out and acknowledge the other in your most comfortable way. For me, I need and give a quick smooch on the lips or cheek. It may be different in each relationship, but this speaks to human contact and connection every day when you get back together.

Doing it immediately when you get back to one another, ensures that you don’t miss this point of contact.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in household responsibilities and never physically acknowledge each other.

7. Say “I love you” and “have a good day” every morning.

Because we don’t know what the day may hold, it’s essential to send your loved ones out into the world with love and assurance each day.

8. Say “good night” every night, regardless of how you feel.

Is this meant to be the old don’t go to bed angry? Forcing you to say something to avoid going to bed as a two mutes. Maybe…

Saying goodnight, closes the day for both of you. Like #7, this should be a no-brainer. It’s the most basic contact with your partner. If you can’t start and end the day speaking to one another, when those options are available, you aren’t in an adult relationship anyway.

9. Do a weather check during the day.

AKA “check in” on each other throughout the day. The article speaks on making adjustments for the evening based on how your partner is feeling midday. Agreed. But, I think you check in just to check in. My day has been positively altered by hearing from “my guy” during both typical and difficult times.

10. Be proud to be seen with your partner.

Additional information: Most blog post take a couple revisions before I post them. No one wants to look like a fool on the internet.

I started this blog on 6/15, and had to revise it on 6/17 after seeing something that changed my view point.

Roles and Responsibilities

Do we not have roles anymore?

I’m kinda confused.

I’m kinda old school. I think there are some preferred male and female roles. It’s not that there are things either of us are unable to do. There are things we excel at.

My design is primarily that I’ll handle the house, and he can have everything outside. I can do most of the cooking and cleaning, laundry, organizing the points of our lives that overlap, and general household stuff, my domain. He can maintain the outside of our homes, lawn care, kill the bugs, take care of our vehicles, and all the other stuff that the 1950s suggested men do.

This was how I was raised. I never saw women catering to men in a docile way. I saw two people managing where their interest and strengths lie. My mother seldom stepped foot outside, unless it was to get the mail. And, I can’t remember my father ever doing any laundry. They weren’t incapable of doing certain things. But, they certainly weren’t interested. And, they didn’t ask extra of each other. They played to their strengths.

And my grandparents, married 1000 years, had roles and responsibilities too. Their marriage ran like a fine oiled machine. I appreciated that.

Naturally, I expected this in my life. So imagine my surprise to be talking to a man OFFENDED, by my desire to do OUR laundry, iron OUR clothes, and even pick and lay out OUR coordinating outfits when we have events to attend. Your only accessory is a tie. We were disagreeing over me picking the tie. Huh?

Where I’m from, this is what we do. It doesn’t mean he is anymore incapable of doing this than I am at getting my own oil changed. I’m just probably better at this. Much like he’s probably better at avoiding putting divets in the yard while mowing.

Despite me being sure I’m right, he disagreed. He said I was being controlling.

Well do everything yourself then, and I’m still gonna expect you to kill the bugs!

The breakdown: I want to feel needed and appreciated for more than just sexual favors and his standing plus one. I want a role in our relationship that solidifies him needing me in his life. Because I’m offering that, Captain Bug Slayer.

I know this understanding and arrangement takes time and an understanding. I’m not naive about that. I just like the end game.