Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Hate Myself for Loving You- Toya

No, for once this is not about my love life. Well not entirely. I mean this is about love; an intense, deep, "if loving you is wrong I don't want to be right" kind of love. This is about my love for Diet Coke.

I have been on a diet (Sacred Heart Diet) for 2 whole days that prohibits Diet Coke or any other carbonated beverage. When I found out that I could not drink my daily dose of Diet Coke (I actually pour it into a mug in the morning as everyone pours their coffee into their mugs), I contemplated making my friends aware ahead of time so they could put me on suicide watch. I have tried to quit before and always, ALWAYS at the wrong time. I always get this gust of courage to quit the day before PMS starts.  I don't think I have ever made it past an afternoon due to headaches and mood swings. I used to be so afraid to go a day without it that I kept a 12 pack in the trunk of my car at all times. Yes, it's an illness that I am well aware of.

In looking in some recent pictures of myself, I realized that I had gained over 20 pounds in two years.  I am pretty sure I have gained 10 pounds this summer alone. I stressed about this for days and thought that if I didn't climb out of whatever depression I was in, I could be back to my highest weight of 177 in no time.  I started to get weird about food and guilty about eating everything.  So Tuesday night I decided that I had had enough. I couldn't wait for me to feel better about me. I just needed to do it. So driving down to Super Wal-mart at 10:30 at night, I loaded up on a butt load of fruits and vegetables and gave myself a pep talk the entire time.  "Feeling like it" had zero to do with it. Forget how I feel, my jeans don't fit me. It's time to get serious. 

No bread, no soda, no cheese, good Lord. When my co-worker asked me how I was holding up, I told him that I would push his grandmother down 4 flights of steps for a cupcake with sprinkles.  That wasn't me talking, I am sure. It is my caffeine deficiency. 

To be completely honest, I do feel better physically and have been somewhat calmer.  I do believe that caffeine and eating terribly has had something to do with my mood and overall well being.  If I don't handle this now at 33, it is only going to get more difficult.

Here's to celery, balsamic vinegar and getting back to my pre-college weight while not drinking Diet Coke for at least 2 weeks. Jesus be a caffeine IV drip. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SOOO not the target demographic - Tia

I just finishing reading the last book of the Twilight series. I'm clearly not the target demographic for the books. They're in the young adults section at Borders.

In my defense I only got involved because I'm a total anglophile. I've had a crush on that kid who plays Cedric Diggort for close to forever and I was stalking him online and saw that he was in a new movie called Twilight that was based on book. I stumbled across the book in an airport and got sucked in. I read them all in less than a month. And yes, I'm about twice the age of the targeted reader but I don't care. They were good.

And since I've decided to be a "young adult" I went and saw Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Again, probably not the target audience. SOOOO don't care.

Ummm...but I will say that the highlight of the movie, the part when every girl in the theater starting tapping, shaking or tugging on her female companion that she was seeing the movie with, came when Jesse Williams walked on the screen and about 40 seconds later starting taking off his clothes.

This picture doesn't even BEGIN to do him justice. Every girl in the place started gasping when he was out of his clothes. I actually had to thank the Lord for his creation. Where was THIS GUY when I was in high school or college?

I need him to do more movies or shows or something...
Why NCMO doesn't work for me anymore - Tia
We are nothing else if not honest here. No one can ever read this and say, "You know, they just never seemed to open up."

I guess I should start with defining NCMO for those who don't know. NCMO is an acronym for Non-Committal Make Out.(Pronounced Nick-mo) Yeah, it's a bit juvenile, but it's easier to say and it's one of those things that just stuck.

I used to be a make-out whore. I kissed a lot of boys, guys, and a few men in my olden days. In my mind since I was wasn't having sex (but I am HUMAN), the least I could do was kiss the boys I wanted. And I wanted. Some of the guys were boyfriends. Some of them were random guys in the club. (My first spring break in college was ridiculous. Seriously...? 18-year olds in Daytona??? Sexless but ridiculous.) And then there were the guy friends. You know the ones you've been friends with for almost forever and kissing them is almost incestuous. But it's not quite, so you do it. Yeah, I was that girl. If kissing were an Olympic sport, I would have been Michael Phelps. (I said what?)

As I got older I became more selective in who I would kiss. While I still loved a good make-out session, I wasn't so quick to just do it with anyone. As the years ticked by after college I started to long more for relationships rather than the momentary thrill. But of course there were the random..."happenings" if you will.

I started noticing a pattern, though. It seemed that depending on the number of NCMO happenings I had with a guy, one of us would start catching feelings. Regardless of how adamantly both of us agreed that it was NCMO and nothing else, somehow feelings got involved. Enter awkwardness. 99% of the time the feelings aren't mutual and the other person ends up hurt.

After hurting and being hurt I began to take a step back from the NCMO. I guess with maturity came clarity. While the desire was no less (still human) the outcome didn't seem to be worth it, regardless if I were the hurter or the hurtee.

Enter Edward

A few months ago I was at Best Buy minding my own business. That's usually how it starts. This tattoo, pierced white guy walks up to me and asked me if I needed any help. I was looking at car stereos and needed something that would be compatible with my iPod. We talked shop for about 15 minutes. Then we talked for about an hour. Apparently tattoo, pierced, convicted of a computer felony (wait, a SMART reformed thug...HELL YEAH!!!) Edward likes blacks girls. But of course you do. And you would love to take me out on a date. Well, yeah, that makes sense.

Other than a several run-ins at Best Buy (since there aren't anymore Towers, it's Best Buy or Wal-Mart.) Edward was never more than my crush at Best Buy. And then he changed the game. His roommate was making dinner and was having some people over. Who I like to come? I figured it wouldn't be just the two of us and I would be safe. So I accepted the invitation. Fast forward 3 hours and Edward being the gentleman he is(and having the ulterior motives that he had) walked me to my car. And then, I kid you not, the NCMO popped off before I even saw it coming. I'm usually pretty good about seeing these things and dodging them accordingly. Edward was stealth.

As aforementioned, I'm human, and have been single for a REALLY long time. So the "happenings" went on a bit longer than they should have. But maturity and common sense took over and Edward and I parted ways.

I have lost track of how many texts that I have received from Edward. He has made it clear that he wants to be about me. I don't feel the same way. So, yea for me!!!!, I get to be the hurter. I think he is a great guy but dinner pre-NCMO proved that he's not the guy for me. There are too many things to list that would ultimately make a relationship between us end badly. I'm not picky. But I am selective and there are things that I'm not willing to waiver on that he just doesn't have.

Part of me, the long time single, slightly lonely part of me, knows that I could probably convince Edward that NCMO is the way to go. That we really aren't meant for each other but a little kissing never hurt anyone. But reality says that if he's this into me now after one kiss, he won't be any less into me later with more kisses. And being the girl who broke a nice guy's heart is not a good look.

I spent most of the day thinking about Edward and thinking about some previous situations and I realized that a big part of why I was so into giving my kisses away was because I wasn't getting what I wanted. In my heyday of NCMO, the one thing that I wanted more than the rush of feelings that came with it was the option to be able to share the rush with someone I really cared about and was committed to. But NCMO by it's definition negates commitment. I was lonely and so to fill the void I made out with boys.

I recently turned 31. (July was a rough month, I tell ya...) I'm been on the road with work at almost 100%. The church I go to is just..."MEH"...most of the time. Between work and work I haven't had time to do much, let alone meet people. So I again find myself feeling isolated in a city knowing very few people with little time to change that. It feels like LA all over again except without the colossal disdain for the city itself. (I LOVE Atlanta.) Part of me wants to move back to Nashville to be closer to friends and friends who are like family, but part of me wants to stay. This city literally mesmerizes me. I love driving through downtown at night and looking at the skyline. It's beautiful. But the part of me that wants to stay is also afraid that things will not get better on the relationship front. Part of me fears that there will be more NCMO but no commitment (And the huge number of gays, God bless 'em, ain't really helping me.)

But fears aside, I do have hope. I was watching Joel Osteen last Sunday (I didn't feel like going to "Meh" church.) and he began to talk about the dreams in our hearts. He explained that the dreams of our hearts were placed there by God in some shape or form. Sometimes through happenstance or our own choices a dream doesn't come true. But it's the ones that linger that we should hold on to. (I'm not doing what he said nearly enough justice. But what are you gonna do? I'm not Joel Osteen.) He said that the way we see are dreams is nothing like the way God sees them. The dreams and plans that God has for our lives are so much bigger than we realize. We're so limited in what we see. I know that I often get frustrated because I can't see the end. I know that there's a plan. But because I don't know how it unfolds I get antsy and sometimes petulant and try to do it my way. My "If I can't have this than I'll take that" attitude has gotten me in trouble and left me and others feeling hurt. And maybe it's my grown-up side but I just can't see doing that to myself of someone else.

So I will choose to be mindful of my heart and be mindful of the hearts of those around me. I will choose to believe that God has something greater for me than random NCMO. I have to trust that regardless of location, job, random feelings of loneliness and any other circumstance that the dream in my heart will some day come to fruition. I won't have to settle for the temporary rush. I will still get the rush. But the temporary will be replaced by something lasting: the excitement of knowing that I get to share my kisses with someone who's committed. That, to me, is one of the most exciting, rush inducing things I can think of.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (Message Bible)
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
NBA on least for a little while - Tia
(This post is for the true basketball fans. And I'm not talking about the new fans. I'm talking about the people that remember when the Lakers playing the Celtics was the business. And not because of Kobe.)

I grew up watching basketball. I come from a basketball family. My father played. Both of my brothers play. My uncle used to play for the Rockets. And I even attempted to play. (When you're tall it's either basketball or volleyball...until they figure out you have no natural ability other than height. Then they let you join the swim team.)

I spent the majority of my weekends as a child watching NBA basketball with one of my parents. I grew up on the great players of the 80-90s. Kareem, Magic, Larry, Michael. I knew the entire starting line-up of the LA Lakers in the 80s. (Kurt Rambis, anyone?)

Every Sunday had a ritual, depending on which parent I was with. If I was at my mom's it was church, Sunday lunch/dinner, basketball. If I was at my dad's it was Sunday morning pancakes, a nap and then basketball. The end was always the same.

I always knew it was game time because of that unmistakable intro. I literally would get giddy when it would start to play and I would run into the living room, hop on the couch and settle in for some basketball and the inevitable screams of protest at the referee's bad calls.

In recent years I haven't watched as much as I used to. Part of it is...well life. You get busy and things just happen. But I can honestly say, with no hesitation, that part of it is also the location. There was something about the theme song and the announcers and the just the whole NBA package when it was on NBC that made it a brand. It wasn't just basketball. It was the "NBA on NBC." When it moved to ABC/TNT/ESPN, some of the appeal was gone. It was the end of an era. I remember the last time Bob Costas announced a game on NBC, "And for one last time, you've been watching the NBA on NBC." I felt like one of my friends had moved away or something.

A few days ago I was watching the US team whoop up on China. I came in on the middle of the game because it started before I was even awake. So I was unaware of the joy that was about to wash over me at the commercial break.

It took only a split second. The unmistakable NBA on NBC theme song began to play as the Chinese called a time out. I literally started jumping up and down. Who knew that a few simple cords could bring so much joy? I was late for work but I didn't care. I sat and watched until the end of the game. Not because I was all that interested in the US beating China (we all saw that coming) but because with every commercial break I was transported back to a time in my childhood when basketball players were great, when the love of the game instead of the love of money motivated players and when Bob Costas and all of the other announcers made every little kid watching an NBA telecast want to be a basketball player when they grew up.

For those of you who know what I'm talking about:
I think I may be coming out of my writer's block...maybe


Monday, August 18, 2008

I Guess He Told Yall- Toya

Now. I normally don't care about who John Mayer is dating. Quite honestly, I don't care to know of too much about his personal life because I love his music so much that if he turned out to be a complete jerk, I am afraid I wouldn't be able to enjoy his music the same. I put no gossip above "Split Screen Sadness". However, this bit of news is interesting.

Numerous reports (ok, China and E! Online that I checked) said that Pastor John had this to say about his and Jennifer Aniston's breakup...

"If you guys are going to run stuff and run every lie under the sun, have somebody stand up for somebody," the singer said, according to Us Weekly. "Have me as a man who ended a relationship stand here and write some truth. Have me stand up for somebody and write that she is the smartest, most sophisticated person I think I've ever met..."

"She's one of the most lovely people I've ever met in my life and I'm going through something that's a very personal thing and you have to give that up. You have to give everything up because you can't have it all and it sucks.

"I'm sorry that the story's not interesting," Mayer added. "But it's about time that somebody stands up for that girl and I think she's great. Now, RUNTELLDAT SNITCHES!!!!"

Ok, yall know the "RUNTELLDAT SNITCHES" part was what I WISH he would've said. I seriously don't know how I would've lived my life if he would've said RUNTELLDAT. I applaud him for honoring her like that in public when he very well could've kept his mouth shut. People will believe what they want to. Hey, everyone believes. Maybe he just needed some clarity.  I guess he couldn't trust himself with loving her while he is in repair. I will stop this train now. In print anyway, I could do this all night. That's the way this wheel keeps turning round, man. I could do this until St. Patrick's Day....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oh Yall Were SERIOUS!!!!!!- Toya

I mean, go big or go home is what Tia and I usually say. (Hold up:I know Donnie just didn't hit a vocal riff at 2:29. Pro-Tools is a wonder). Anyway, as I was saying if you are going to come back why not get the boy genius Ne-Yo on board. This is a much better collab idea than Dirty Dawg with Nice 'n Smooth. I'm just sayin'...

I don't hate it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amazing Grace- Toya
Disclaimer: I would appreciate it if no one would inquire as to what has happened, not even those that are close to me. I definitely understand people being concerned and I appreciate that and just ask that you pray for me and encourage me not to beat myself up if you really want to help. In the event I write a memoir or something perhaps I will share. Until then, I believe that what I am required to share is a message of forgiveness for one's self. The matters surrounding aren't really of importance. I believe that recounting what has actually happened would raise more questions than answer any and I don't want to get into that.  Truthfully, I don't wish to share any of this at all but I can't sleep so I am thinking that I am supposed to share this for someone.

It was the morning after I made the most shameful mistake of my life that I found myself walking to my car. As I crossed the street, I noticed a truck coming. I inwardly wished that I would get hit by it. Seriously, if the driver swerved to the right a bit as I was coming to the sidewalk, I can't say that I would have moved out of the way. As extreme as that sounds, I just could not see how I was supposed to get through the new day knowing what I had willingly walked into. I could look back over the past few months and see how this setup was planned all along. For weeks I had been feeling attacked. I kept fighting thoughts and temptations but outwardly would jest about what would happen if I just gave in. Then one day I just got so tired of fighting. While the bible says that God will always provide a way of escape and He kept His end of the bargain, I did not. I just wanted to get it over with. And besides, how was I better than anyone else? Why am I expected to be?

I used to think that people didn't make mistakes. Really. I think it's because my father used to not accept my apologies. He would say this stupid thing, "If you were really sorry, you wouldn't have done it." I think it's taken this experience for me to truly understand what a mistake is. You can intentionally do something wrong but it turns out to be the biggest mistake because while you anticipated what you thought to be the greatest consequence, the actual unforeseen consequences (one being the inescapable heavy guilt)that come let you know that you have made a huge mistake. When you realize that what you did is not worth the way you feel afterwards is when you can say that you made a mistake. I remember telling a friend of mine that was running into an empty elevator shaft of a plan that clearly the enemy had designed for him that he has no idea the pain that he will feel when he comes to. He told me that he just wanted to see "how it all pans out". Setups don't pan out. They aren't designed to work for you and you can't push a rewind button or get a do over. But for some reason or another we think that if we can just satisfy this one temptation, we can act like it never happened immediately afterward. That is so not true.

Amazingly enough, I had started to write a blog not too long ago entitled "Don't Drink the Water". All around me I see people making the worst mistakes when it comes to relationships and it made me feel like if that is what this whole thing is about I want no part. But now I have a greater understanding of what people will do while bearing the pains of rejection, loneliness, and insecurity of who they are and what they were created to be. It is a serious, serious thing to not be secure in who you are and not understand that God truly loves you whether you feel it or not. You can do anything as small as being a constantly jealous person to something as extreme as walking into a public place and killing dozens of people because you don't feel like you belong. The common root is that somewhere along the way, people that act out in both cases have not grasped that they are loved and how they are to love themselves and others.

Although accusations come up in my mind often about what has happened and I feel broken, I don't think I have ever been stronger and more secure in the love of Jesus. I couldn't wait until I actually felt it. I just knew that I better acknowledge it as truth quickly so I could function throughout the day. Today is also the first day I looked into the mirror and did not hate my body. While it is not bikini ready by any means, I have come to realize that it is hard to take care of what you hate. Inwardly, I have hated a lot of things about myself and I feel that had a hand in my making this mistake and some others in retrospect. I now feel that I have no choice but to love myself, take care of myself, and affirm myself. I remember telling myself that I had no choice but to have confidence because if I got any weaker, I don't even want to know what I was liable to do since I had already hit an all time low. It was like when I decided that I was not going to allow my father to make me feel a certain way. If my standing up for myself and battling for my self esteem with harsh words meant that he felt disrespected then that was what had to be. My self esteem meant more to me than him being revered. Oh and let me add that my father is no monster, He is an absolutely great man and father who has changed a lot since I was younger. I am just referring to how he used to be.

And while I feel strong, the guilt has been heavy. I took the time to write in my Adam journal what had happened and apologized to him for blaming him for my problems. I think a lot of us dwell on the fact that we think things would be easier if we weren't single. If he would just show up, we wouldn't be lonely, broke, insecure, empty, purposeless, I mean pick one. I found myself thinking that while I was ready he must not be and this hold up is his fault. It wasn't too long after that I was driving and praying to God for my husband. Not in a please send him to save me kind of way. I told God that I no longer saw him as a necessity but a gift. It is a gift to be entrusted with the heart of another. It is a gift to have someone by your side who has made a covenant with you and God that they will love you for better for worse and will not leave. What I need, I already have. I can stand alone but if God can look past all of the mess and I believe He has because of his amazing grace, I sincerely ask that He would bless me with that gift and I will patiently wait for it in His time.

It is hard for me to be around people because I feel as if I have this thing hanging over my head that they don't even know about. I even feel ashamed around the few people that do know. The word satan means accuser and so I know that the constant thought of "What do they REALLY think of me now?" is nothing more than his way to keep me in shame. Cause really, it doesn't matter. One of the good things that has come from this is that I have been able to look back and see specifically how the enemy sets things up little by little. See he is patient, when we are not. I heard not too long ago that the very thing satan tempts you with is the very thing he uses to beat you up with. Think about it in regards of food. How many of us have wanted a certain food so badly, make excuses for why we should eat it, convince ourselves that it wouldn't hurt and then not long after eating it, beat ourselves up for indulging? Indulging wrong temptations always wind up like that. For some reason or another we catch amnesia, forget the way we felt and how we were led there and continue the cycle.

If you have a friend struggling with guilt I suggest praying with them and not saying that you will pray for them. It wasn't until someone prayed with me today and I heard words of strength being prayed over me did I think that I could make it through the day without crying. Faith comes by hearing so to fight the inward radio of guilt that I fight to turn off in my head, I have to make certain that what I am feeding myself from the outside counteracts those thoughts.

To some, what has happened is not a big deal at all but for me it is a huge deal. It has also been quite humbling and has made me more compassionate towards those that I know that are consistently making bad choices. On one hand I am compassionate because I don't think that they know how bad the end will be when they are left to themselves. On the other hand, I think some of them do know and they continue to numb themselves by continuing to do things to attempt to satisfy an insatiable need. The dangerous thing about numbing ones self is that while you numb yourself from pain you also numb yourself from feeling the love of God that heals. That's dangerous. That's why detox is so painful for drug addicts. In order for them to be healed, they must go without the drug, deal with the pain of detoxing from what their body has grown accustomed to as well as the inward struggle to not alleviate the pain by going back to using again. Drug addicts do receive a form of medication to get through detox without dying but it's not the drugs that the body wants to have. This is much like grace. Grace, I most recently learned, is what God gives us when we reap what we sow. Reaping and sowing is a universal law. It happens regardless of whatever your belief system is. It's inevitable. However, it is the medication of grace that gets us through.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Marvin Gaye. In a hoodie and black rimmed glasses.
I will refrain from sharing the vicious thoughts I am now having about his father. 
God knew what He was doing by making sure I was born no sooner because I would have had every last one of this man's babies.  Marvin was finer than errybody.
*Sigh* Toya