Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Should've Known Better-Toya
Say what you will, Richard Marx is STILL the man.

Late one night I was checking my email after not being home all day. One of my favorite and most sweet readers sent me this message:

hey hon, so i was reading the latest at BGLU and was totally inspired by the fact that you followed God's will with all that Tag stuff. i've kinda had the same thing goin on with a good friend of mine, and i've been so torn. but you're lil post was such an inspiration on the situation :) .

I felt like crap knowing that that same night she wrote that I was in Tag's car about to make a huge mistake. Would that also be an inspiration? I hope so. Hopefully it would be an inspiration to not make the same mistakes I have.

Before I go into my "See what had happened was..." story let me just say this: I for real, quite honestly did not see this coming. AT ALL. I know that in my posts, crossing the line was something I feared but it was the desire that scared me and not the fact that it could possibly be a reality.

On one particular night we had a blast. We went to a show, we laughed together, we prayed together and we just loved being together. I didn't want to leave. To make a looooong story just long, at the end of the night we hugged a little longer than usual, exchanged I love yous (not our regular "hey love ya's")and almost kissed. Almost. I knew when we hugged that it wasn't our normal hug. I still don't know how it didn't happen. I am not going to lie. Some days I wish we did but every day I am glad we didn't because with us just almost kissing, things got so weird between us that I wish I could take that night back.

I know, I know. I just said the VERY night before that Tag was like my little brother. But as I put it to him the night we finally talked about what was going on between us, he's 20 not 8 and he's beautiful, he loves the Lord and he is one of my closest friends that I unexpectedly had just completely given my heart too. I don't even know when. Neither one of us knows how we got so close this fast. We haven't a clue.

The day after, I spoke with a mentor of mine and we talked about setting boundaries in business relationships. It reminded me that Tag and I needed some boundaries in our friendship. So when he called me late that night, I brought up the fact that maybe we needed to think about setting some boundaries within our friendship because there was a possibility that we were already too close. He was NOT having it. "WHYYYYYY" he interrupted (a funny thing about Tag is that when he gets upset he sounds really country. I told him that the word Why should not have that many syllables.) I couldn't really explain why. He wouldn't let me explain why. He just went clean OFF. He told me that what we had was so beautiful and that things did not need to change. It's not like we've kissed. It's not like he caught feelings for me and I had feelings for him. Right? I started to back down and take back what I meant. I got embarrassed because I was thinking "So I am TOTALLY alone here and what I felt last night was just me?" We got off of the phone and I went upstairs to tell Tia. I was in shock. "He threw a tantrum didn't he?" She asked rather matter of factly, barely looking up from her computer. "Yeah!" I answered, completely puzzled because I felt like I didn't even know the person that I was just on the phone with. "Hmm. Just like my Tag?" OH SNAP. I forgot that when Tia told her Tag that they needed to cool it, he did all but sit in the corner rocking back and forth sucking his thumb. Tia told me flat out that I had to tell him that I almost kissed him. I started getting dressed. "Where are you going?" Tia asked. "Downtown. We have to talk this out. I don't care if it is just me, he needs to know how I feel." I knew I loved him too much as a friend to not tell him the truth. I called him back and said "Our conversation over the phone just now was a train wreck. How long will you be downtown?" "I'll be here" he said. "I"ll be there in 15 minutes", I replied and high tailed it downtown.

We met downtown and we didn't even bring "it" up for almost an hour. He finally brought it up by saying "I am going to miss being here with you. I am gonna miss us chillin' like this. That' s why when you started talking about boundaries and stuff , I panicked." "You never even let me tell you why, Tag".I said. He denied that. I told him that he never let me even say what the boundaries were. He apologized, pulled his cap down over his eyes and told me to go ahead. I asked him to move his hat because I wanted to see his face. He agreed and sat there uncomfortably. I then went into this spiel about how I was older and wiser and knew a little bit more than he did about the hazards in platonic relationships. I said that it would be wise to be proactive...or some crap. Hey it sounded good to me. Evidently, he knew it was crap because this boy started to change on me. He sat straight up and looked me dead in my eye. I think he even grew a little because all of the sudden he just got real, um, manly.

"You know what?" he asserted" Don't sugar coat it Toya, I want you to say it. Say exactly what's on your mind".

"What? I just think that maybe we should be careful." He didn't want me to say IT, did he?

"Just say it, Toya."

Frustrated, I looked at him like I was about to drop the bomb heard around the world and said"You want me to say it? Fine. Fine! I'll say it. I almost kissed you last night and it freaked me out."

He calmly looked at me and said"Well, I almost kissed you last night and it freaked me out too."

Wait, what?

I asked him why he said what he said about neither of us having feelings for one another. "That's because I would have never thought that you would feel the same way." Oh no. How did we get here, I thought. After we both came clean, he went on to say some of the most beautiful things that anyone has ever said about me in my life. "It was inevitable. You're beautiful. You are so much of what I want and if you were any younger I would be absolutely in love with you. I wasn't afraid that if we kissed it would be awkward. I was afraid that if we kissed it would be amazing and I would be jacked up." He then went onto tell me exactly what I meant to him and how much he depended on me. That the reason why he panicked is because he could not imagine his life without me. I have never been so touched in my life.

What has happened within the last few weeks is way too long of a story to tell and I don't really want to relive it. I did that too much after things got squirrelly between us. So instead of writing a novel on the whole situation, I will give some key points on what I have learned.

Every one of my friends asked me "Are you sure that there isn't something a little more going on with you two?" Naaaaah!!! Tag???!! He's practically 12 years old. The age thing was a safe front for the both of us. Even his mom asked. Later, every one of my friends, guy and girl said "You know, I saw this coming." I have been the only one freaked out about this. Even Tag said that he knew the second night we hung out that it was inevitable. He told me"I said to myself 'You are walking in a minefield'". I was in such denial. What I didn't expect was that any sort of feelings would go both ways. Sure I had a little crush on Tag. EVERYBODY who has met Tag has a little crush on Tag! A few of my friends saw us getting too close too soon and I just didn't see how I could put the breaks on us. I didn't want to. I didn't want things to change even though I was starting to wonder if our relationship was becoming an unhealthy one for a man and a woman regardless of age. I am no stranger to hard to break emotional attachments. This is not the first time that one of my friendships have gotten squirrelly and these are the kind of situations that are the hardest and take the longest to get over.

2. Just Because Your Feelings Change about a Situation Does Not Mean that the Situation has Changed and You Should Let Your Guard Down
A very wise friend of mine previously advised me to not be in the car alone with him so late at night. This was when I just had thoughts. I just had "what ifs". But because I felt like things were so different, I thought I was in the clear after just feeling different one day. Not so.

3. Swallow Your Pride or You Will Always Be in Denial
I felt like I had embarrassed myself in front of everyone. I had to force myself to talk about it because I needed to know where the breakdown was. How am I, Toya, wrestling with feelings for this child? Well he's not a child and told me point blank that I hurt his feelings when I say things like "But it's YOU! This is not even supposed to be a problem cause well, it's YOU! Your like my little brother!" No he's not. Because for the first time in our relationship, when we came clean about it all, I realized that he is a man. A man that truly loves me and cherishes me as a woman and as a friend.

However, point 4...

4. Ladies, When Guys Tell You These Beautiful Things About You, Them Saying It Does Not MAKE them True!!!! They (the ones with good intentions anyway)are Saying These Things Because They ARE True. That night when Tag shared with me how much I mean to him, he made me feel like I was the most beautiful girl walking, inside and out. What woman does not want to be told that they are irresistibly beautiful and that a guy just couldn't help himself? Not just that but he told me so many things about me that he cherishes. And those were the things that I know that most women want to hear that they are to a man. However, these are things that God has designed us to be. The very things that make each woman a woman. We can so easily get emotionally attached to a man that tells us how they see us and it shouldn't DEFINE us, it should REMIND us. Heck yeah, I am going to be a great wife because I am supportive and thoughtful, secure, godly and beautiful. I was before Tag and I am without Tag. I can't wish that things were different with him because of a lack of faith that can creep in that no one is ever going to see me how he sees me. That's a lie. We can't let ourselves get sucked into something that we can't get out of because of how someone makes us feel. I love me some Tag but we both know good and well that we do not want to be together. Which leads me to my last point...

5. Let Your Yea Be Your Yea and Your Nay Be Your Nay
The next couple of nights that we hung out together were the hardest even after we set the boundary of no more alone time in the car (for the record, cold showers are not overrated). It seemed that everytime we said goodbye the thought of us finally kissing was in the back of my mind and I played with that thought a bit too much. It was almost like who was going to give in first? We were pretty open about it. TOO OPEN. One night it was definitely me trying to get him to give in and even though he looked at me for a while, he didn't do it. He later told me that that was the hardest time he has had trying to not kiss me. Damn him and his willpower! Why does he respect me so much especially when I am not acting respectable? What kind of man does that? A godly man that loves me and our friendship more than his desire to kiss me and screw it up. So when I realized that, i felt like the biggest horny Jezebel and apologized. I called him freaking out (high drama) "Is this how it is going to be everytime we say goodbye? Is this always going to be an issue?" He was like "I don't know what to tell you, Toya. Do you want me to turn the car around so we can just get it over with?" I was so mad at myself. "NO! I don't. I don't believe this. If this was any other guy there would be no back and forth on this." And it's true. I would have been kissed him if this was almost anyone else. He said the same thing. We just can't. "This is what I don't understand" he confessed. "Why are we going through all of this and we don't even want to be together?" "I KNOW!!!!!" I said. I mean we really don't. It's not just the age thing either. We are not even compatible that way. We are truly like brother and sister. I would STRANGLE him on a DAILY basis. If it was just the age difference this would be harder to deal with.

We are so good now. We are better than back to normal because we are better than where we were. I told him that this has proven how strong our friendship really is. This whole thing has made me officially tired. Has anyone ever felt like they have liked so many guys and have given so much emotionally that they just want to give their heart a rest? It's like you heart is screaming ENOUGH. If anyone has been reading our blog a while, you know that I have gone through my fair share of boy drama. These past two years have been crazy because I went from being totally closed off to the thought of love and commitment to being more vulnerable than I ever could imagine. So while praying the other day after church where I was greeted by Guy A and his new fiance' ("Hey did you get one of our invitations? You look so nice in that color!") I told God that my heart just feels stretched out of shape. I mean it has been beat up and I just want a break. God is truly, truly changing me. I have been spending a lot more time alone reading and watching close to no television. I actually got back on my turntables last night to help me relax. Half of the time I don't answer the phone. I am not depressed at all. I just need to do me right now and make myself available to God so He can change me. Only He can prepare me to not make the same mistakes again.

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