Dating the Dozen

Can I tell you guys that I started year 24 with a lot of hope. I was determined that it would be my best year yet especially, as my supervisor reminded me, it was my year according to the Chinese. Year 24 has been challenging, frustrating and rewarding. Most importantly, it is the year that I’ve learned to be brave and to find, define and focus on the positives.
 After almost three years of chosen singleness, I felt ready to be open and step out again. Fear and indecisiveness ruled me until my friends took matters into their own hands. Before I had time to think, I was agreeing to do to something different. My friends would ensure that I went on at least one date per month! 
That challenge was successful in a way that I didn’t expect! It turns out that my friends’ taste in men may be as atrocious as mine but these were experiences worth having. I didn’t find “the one” but some of these experiences forced me to find positives in some very dark clouds.

  1. Mr. April, a friend, reminded me to listen. I was blown away by the simple yet considerate touches he made to ensure our picnic date was memorable. Read more about that experience here.
  2. Mr. May, the lawyer who boasted constantly about himself and his successes reminded me of the grace and dignity which exists in being humble. 
  3. Mr. June, the guy who felt the need to tell me exactly where he thought a woman’s place is – in the home and breeding – reminded me of the importance of chasing after what i believed and never letting anyone, but God, stick a label on me.
  4. Mr. July, the guy who made me laugh until I cried, reminded me of the joy that came with smiling from within and being silly just because and the joy that exists in sharing that light. 
  5. Mr. August, the guy with the gap in his teeth who tried to grope me, gave me two lessons. The gap reminded me of a close friend I had a few years ago who disconnected when we had a major fall -out. Realizing how much I missed him, I reached out and we reconnected. He also reminded me of the importance of treating persons in the way that I expected to be treated. I walked away without giving him the kick my indignation said he deserved.
  6. Mr. September taught me to be open to expressing myself and slowing down and taking the time to savour the things I enjoy. I now ensure that I take the time to stop and smell the roses and, most importantly, to relax.
  7. I didn’t go on a date with Mr. October but, whilst he intrigued and challenged me and made me want more, he also served as the biggest and most painful lesson of all. Crying, even in bathrooms, when disappointed or hurt is not an indication of weakness or defeat but of strength, especially when after you are done, you get up and get back in the game swinging with all your might. Weakness is your unwillingness or inability to deal with the hurt/disappointment and allowing it to take root and fester inside. He reminded me to BE BRAVE!
  8. Following Mr. October, I took November off to ensure that I did not suffer any emotional ill-effects. I stepped back in the game after meeting Mr. December on my cruise. He reminded me to embrace the woman I am but not be afraid to let my inner child out to play. Guys, being chased, screaming and laughing in the rain is exhilarating! An added bonus is when, though you are soaked, the guy you are on a date with catches you and then looks and proclaims you the most beautiful sight he has ever seen. In that moment, I found myself wishing I could bring him back to Jamaica with me.

More than 3/4s of my experiences so far haven’t been anything to write home about but they have been very eye-opening. In fact, I look forward to continuing the challenge right up to the end of March 2018. You see guys, no matter how despairing, disheartening and disappointing the situation may seem, it’s all about perspective. 

I prefer to believe that there is a good reason or positive light to every negative. God has too much in store for you for you to only focus on the negative side of any experience you have!

The glass is only half-empty if you choose to see it that way. As for me? I prefer my glass half-full with a lot of room for possibilities, opportunities and…good wine. šŸ˜‰ What about you?

XOXO
ChaƱel.

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I will wait for you

For the past few weeks, much to my chagrin, I’ve found myself in a couple conversations that run along the lines of:

Person: Hi!

Me
: Hey what’s up long time don’t seen!

Person
: Girl, you nuh married yet? When you planning to tie the knot?

Me
: *speechlessness*

ORĀ 

Random Person: Girl you so busy chasing you career, yuh no want a man?

Me
: Obviously I am sporting a “I NEED A MAN” sign that I’m not aware of.

It seems persons are under the impression that this is the 1800s and so, if at 23, I don’t have a man in the wings or I am not preparing to get married and heralding the bells, I am weird and abnormal.

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He Will Help You Choose.

I was having a conversation with a friend last night. Somewhere along the way we started discussing times when we have discovered that persons we considered friends were otherwise. My mind replayed the conversation as I sat in bed, reflecting. The Lord brought back to memory something that I had read the previous night during my Bible study. I opened my Bible app and as I reviewed the scripture He gave me a new perspective.

When anyone remember Gideon, we remember the story of the fearful man who, though he doubted, God used along with 300 men to deliver Israel from the Midianities. Many times we overlook the process it took to get to that victory. There was something integral in that process. A choice had to be made.

When it was up to Gideon, he chose the strongest and the greatest of numbers to go to war. Remember, these were men who would be expected to watch his back in the heat of battle. These would have been the ones he expected not to desert him in the midst of a crisis and a tense stand-off. The men Gideon ended up with would need to be ones he thought he could depend on.

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A man after God’s own heart

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I don’t know about you guys but this summer seems to be the engagement season! I turn my back for a few seconds and by the time I turn around, I hear that another friend or acquaintance is married! Okay, okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but you get the point.

In recent times, I’ve not been really concerned about marriage but this season have found me giving the entire institution some thought. This is due primarily to the fact that persons have suddenly seen it fit to constantly remind me that I am now nearer to 25 than 20 and thus, I needed to get cracking.

As I knelt praying, early Monday morning, I found myself thinking about how my perception of my perfect guy has changed over the years. When I first discovered guys, I envisioned my ideal husband to be all looks and no substance. I had it all planned and nothing else mattered as long as we both looked good. As I grew older, I started to realize that the substance mattered and my prayer changed to focus not so much on looks but more on his substance and character. By this point it was all about WHAT I WANTED.

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Male-Female Friendships

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One of the theories that I’m positively tired of hearing is that females cannot have male friends without either party wanting to “do the tango” with the other. Well that’s a load of bull! I have two male friends who are my wingmen, my protectors, my trustees, my advisors, my psychologists, etc, etc all rolled in one…well two ;).

I trust these guys implicitly. They give superb advice. If I got in trouble, I could call one to come and bail me. If I needed a getaway car, I could call one of my guys and he would come if only to give me a lecture and then help. They have been there through most of my dating mishaps too. Whether to console me, threaten a beating to the unlucky guy, offer emotional support after a “I told you so”, help with homework or participate in my random debates, these guys have been my wingmen for years.

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The Fears of Yesterday

All of us, as human beings, have tasted the frightening effects of fear. The sad part is that some of us allow the fear to dominate us to the point where we don’t even try the things we have wanted the most and thus, it cripples and prevents us from being the best versions of ourselves. One quote that I’ve kept constantly in my heart is”

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

The first and only time I came across this quote was some years ago while watching the Hillary Duff movie “Cinderella Story”. I don’t even remember much of the plot of the movie but I have never forgotten the quote.

This week, I touched a milestone and found myself reminiscing on the fears I had to overcome to get to it. Today, I will be listing some of these fearsĀ  and telling why I have no regrets in moving past them.

  1. I feared losing my best friend: I eventually lost my best friend despite all I did to prevent it but you know what? I survived! While in the process of learning to come back from the abyss of emotional despair, I picked up a few lessons. Not everyone who comes into your life is meant to stay, some are just to teach you lessons and go. That was the role of my best friend. I also learned who were the persons in my life I could lean on for support.

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Lift them cheeks. Show some teeth

Today I want to talk about one of my most favorite things to do in the whole world… If you said or thoughtĀ  “SMILING” then you are most definitely correct! Whether a full or half smile, I just can’t seem to help myself! I just love to smile and you know what? This inability to stop this ability comes with the most amazing benefits.

  1. Smiling makes you more approachable People generally avoid strangers but if they need help, they are more likely to approach a person who looks nice and approachable. Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile is an inviting facial expression that tells people you are willing to talk and interact with them.
  1. Smiling improves your mood I’ve had cases where I started my day badly and even though I don’t feel like it, I put on a smile. You would be amazed at how many persons will respond to a smile and “good morning”. Within the 20 minutes it takes me to get to work, I begin to feel a lot better and my smile becomes totally genuine! This is because endorphins (endorphins are the same chemicals you get from working out or running, resulting in what is known as a runnerā€™s high) released lift your mood.

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