Category Archives: love

On Loving and Writing

August 12, 2018

Photo by Dalal Nizam on Unsplash

Originally published in Aug. 5 Sunday Kind of Love newsletter

I.
Loving you is something like swimming in still waters and driving with the windows down. Easy. Calm. Even. Smooth. I once believed that love was more of a roller coaster, with skyrocket moments and precipitous drops. Perhaps that is why I was so afraid of it, convinced that any sort of love would come complete with complicated emotions and an ongoing rumble of anxiety. I only ever knew relationships that involved waiting with bated breath for text messages that only sometimes arrived and squeezing substance out of small exchanges. My sole sign that things had crashed and burned came from a stream of silence on the other end—forcing me to read in between the lines, pour a glass or two of Cabernet Sauvignon, listen to SZA on an endless loop, and pick up whatever shards were left.

II.
But, then I met you. I used to think people were full of it when they would say “And then you just meet someone.” It seemed to oversimplify the kind of shift I imagine would only ever be tangled, difficult, and impossible to find. But, everything I once believed about love shattered and is now being to rebuilt. I’m still putting the bricks together. I’m still remembering to stop holding my breath or waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m still savoring the taste of “I love you” on my lips. I’m still soaking up the way it sounds coming from your end. I’m still learning how to be kinder and softer, unarmed and not so sharp at the tongue. I’m still learning the responsibility that comes with holding another person’s heart in your hands. I’m still learning. My sweet love, I am still learning.

III.
I fell in love with you early on a Friday afternoon, in a one-bedroom apartment on the other side of the world. 74 Franklin Street in Adelaide, South Australia. It was gray and overcast, the kind of day destined for curling up in a ball and flipping through television. I would fly to Sydney later that night, but not before I sent you a voice memo, with the phrase “I’m falling in love with you” cutting in somewhere around the one-minute mark. We were two weeks in to the trip by then, with another three remaining before we would see each other again. The weeks we spent apart did not necessarily make us, nor did they break us. As we both would probably put it now, we survived and are glad it’s over. But, with an ocean and a 13.5 hour time difference between us, I learned that there is something unwavering about you. There is something that lifts me up and keeps me steady. Perhaps this is not the stuff that fairy tales are made of. But, I do believe it’s the stuff that lives are built on and upon which lasting commitments are forged.

IV.
The Buddhist says if you meet someone and your heart pounds, your hands shake, and your knees go weak, then that’s not the one. So often, my past relationships felt like walking across dilapidated drawbridges that could give way at any moment. High highs and ground zero lows. I’ve now learned that love is much more balanced and rooted. Love should not leave you flailing or fighting for air.

V.
I spent five years writing about heartache and aching for connection. It seems strange to say that finding love has now made it more difficult to write, at least in a public forum. It’s strange, but true. In fact I’ve been doctoring these words for a few weeks, afraid to relinquish them to any of the online spaces that I’ve abandoned for the greater part of the year. I’m trying to uncover where I go from here—how I transition from lovelorn to in love, from lost to a little more found—and still manage to tell stories that resonate, roar, and ring true. I’m not sure if I even want to tell some of these recent love stories, now that they have shape, soul, and another person I admire attached to the end of them. I want less of my life out there now. Some days, I wish I could collect every morsel I ever left on the Internet and take it all back.

VI.
And I wonder if some of the magnetism and magic of my writing from these past few years was because heartache is so easy to understand; pain is a story we’re drawn to because we can so easily identify it in ourselves. Sometimes I flirt with the idea of writing about past lovers just so I can still sound like the same girl and writer I used to be. I’m still learning how to write from the vantage point of the woman I am now, a woman who feels a bit more grounded, somewhat more judicious, and a lot less willing to surrender her life to the Internet. I’m uncovering the voice of a woman who is searching less and discovering more.

VII.
Joy and love aren’t always easy for others to access. But, isn’t that the work of a writer, to take any sort of human experience and distill it from abstract to accessible? Maybe that is where I begin again. Love is a much more complex language for me to write in—harder to learn firsthand, tough to scribe in, and even more difficult at times to understand.

Xoxo,
Tyece

There Is More Love Left.

December 28, 2017

 

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

I’m about to hop on I-83 and head back home after Christmas when two iMessages from my best friend pop up. Enclosed are screenshots from what I presume is some sort of horoscope website. The blurbs do exactly what blurbs like that are intended to do–reaffirming things I’ve believed or wanted to believe, corroborating my truths, and resurrecting sentiments I’ve felt somewhere deep underneath my skin.

2018: You are supposed to learn how to let your garden feed you. This year is about finishing up what began in 2016, and allowing yourself to thrive in it. It is about making serious relationship commitments, becoming more financially stable than ever, and adjusting to your highest vision of yourself – because deep down, that’s who you’ve been all along.

I almost don’t want to absorb the paragraph. I would rather let it slide off my shoulders and land in puddles on the pavement. I don’t want to think about my garden or how, as the previous paragraph stated, I’ve been stomping all over it this year. I don’t want to consider how many more flights of stairs lead to the highest vision of myself. I don’t want to remember how much I’ve been clawing to become a financially solvent, real-life adult. And, I certainly don’t want to think about serious relationships commitments. But, somehow, the paragraph attaches itself to me and I can’t quite seem to let it go.

Finishing up what began in 2016 implies returning to the most free and unencumbered version of myself. I loved that woman. Some days, I miss that woman and I wonder where she went. And then I remember that I locked her neatly in a treasure chest this year, alongside vulnerability and trust and openness. 2017 was the year of folding myself up into ornate and beautiful stacks that could not be destroyed. Because somewhere along the line I learned that love, or anything that resembles it, requires you to undo yourself. And, this year, my heart and my stomach and my knees and my elbows could not withstand the weight of unfolding once more.

But, something tells me there is more love left.

There is more love left on each of the puzzle pieces of the woman I became this year. Fragments of that woman are wedged in between the couch cushions of a therapist’s office on the plaza level of a high-rise condo. Bits of that woman are sprinkled on the balcony stairs of Alfred Street Baptist Church. Parts of that woman are stuck in between the pages of GRE books. Slivers of that woman are still on this blog. Scraps of that woman are somewhere in the sand of Virginia Beach. That woman is both everywhere and nowhere, scattered and contained, here and already on her way to the next stop.

Yes, there is more love left.

There is more love left somewhere in the canyon of my belly and the chasm of my laugh. Somewhere on the right side of my body, sandwiched in between the loopy curves of a tattoo. Somewhere on the left side of my body, sprawled across a sea of bare skin. There is more love left on my lips and my thighs and my neck and my spine and all of the other residences where sometimes I swore that there could not possibly be any more love left.

There is more love left.

There is more love left underneath the layers I bundle up in and the masks I wear and the walls I build. There is more love left behind my eyes, a pair that stared into the mirror of a bar bathroom not too long ago as I wondered whether I’m designed for the kind of love so many of my friends have already seized and sealed. There has got to be more love left somewhere in my tangled hair and my tender heart.

Yes, there is more love left.

There is more love left even after breakdowns in the bathroom and nights spend switching between SZA and Solange. There is more love left even after that one evening in a Philadelphia hotel where I played Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams on repeat and woke up in the middle of the night with my tummy twisted into one million knots. There is more love left even after I ripped my way through a bevy of lovelorn emotions with the soundtrack to prove it.

My God, there is more love left.

And, I do not know whether that love is in crevices or ravines or corners. I don’t know whether that love is hiding or standing in broad daylight. I don’t always know where that love will come from, nor do I know where it will lead. But, all I know is that somewhere underneath the sun there has got to be more love left.

Xoxo,
Tyece

The Responsibility of Being Loved [By Yetti]

July 12, 2017

For the Twenties Unscripted fifth anniversary, I’ve invited five writers who have been anchors throughout my journey to contribute guest posts during the month. I asked each writer to pen whatever they’d like relative to the theme of transformation and turning tides.

Next up is Yetti. 

Yetti is the thunder. From penning positive affirmations on post its to tackling self-care long before it became a trend, Yetti brings a boom to everything she does. Our relationship as bloggers-turned-friends is one that I’m most proud of. Because where we are today reflects mountains of personal evolution, intentional growth and shared understanding. Yetti is also a web wizard; when my blog crashed over the weekend a few months ago, she stayed on the phone with me, working tirelessly to get some semblance of my site back up. I’m incredibly grateful to know her and to have grown with her over the lifespan of Twenties Unscripted. I hope you enjoy her piece, “The Responsibility of Being Loved.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“I feel like you have one foot in and the other out when it comes to us.”

He sat across from me in my office chair, and I sat in our new bed. He was doing that thing he does–requesting a response by searching my face. I, on the other hand, made a point to avoid giving him the eye contact I knew he was looking for. It had been two days since the blow up about our dresser but the blow up wasn’t really about the dresser. Doors were slammed, voices were raised, and after two days of bare minimal conversation, he decided to break the ice.

“Us ending is never a thought of mine. But it’s clearly a viable solution for you. Maybe I’m just naïve, but breaking up isn’t something I see for us.”

Again, I avoided eye-contact. This wasn’t Petty Yetti coming out to play, this was Yetti ashamed that this conversation was even happening.

We sat in an uncomfortable silence. Him staring at me. Me staring at our comforter. He was waiting to be proven wrong. And I was trying to build up the courage to deliver it. He was waiting for me to state that this wasn’t the case. And I tried to, I really did, but my pride couldn’t give him that satisfaction. Not because what he was saying was definitely true, but because letting him know that I have my feet firmly planted within our relationship means dismantling a wall around my heart. Giving him 100% means stripping myself of the protective layer I have struggled to maneuver into place. Standing hand in hand with him in this relationship means standing with him bare, mind and heart wide-open.

It means I must come undone.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” I responded, finally making eye contact. He got up and left the bedroom.

 


 

I’ve come undone for a man once before. Laid out all of my secrets, my insecurities, my fears, and my dreams. I gave him my all. I trustingly stuffed it into his palms where he promised to protect it, and he ruled my heart from my late teen years to my early twenties. I loved that man more than I loved myself and he knew it. And he abused it. And after transitioning from heartbroken to full blown crazy and conniving (which I take absolute full credit for), I created a distance I should’ve created many moons ago and made a promise that I would never put myself in that kind of situation again.

But I landed in Love’s Den once again, wanting to prove to the universe that I can have the magic of love while remaining absolutely whole in the process. To be honest, I had slowly become comfortable with the thought of being single indefinitely. Dating was hard, and managing the anxiety that came along with it was even harder. But then he happened, and he happened swiftly. He came in with the intention of a relationship, bypassing all that extra hard stuff of trying to figure out what we were and if we both were on the same page. In fact, I played coy the first couple of weeks, dodging the exclusivity statements instead of simply going with the flow. I had prepared myself to remain in control no matter how our situation may pan out. I had trained myself to protect my ability to bounce back and be okay if love decided now wasn’t the time again.

But being in control for one’s own selfish reasons and being rooted in a relationship doesn’t mix well. It’s a recipe for delayed failure.

 


 

“Your love language will be understood by those fluent enough to listen and reciprocate. It’s not your duty to teach people how to love you.” – Billy Chapta

After a few more hours of uncomfortable silence within our home, we ended that argument with make-up sex. No secondary conversation was attempted, and he never did receive those words of assurance he sought after. He accepted it as this was how I needed to protect myself. He accepted it as another thing Yetti needed to be skeptical of, even though he knew he didn’t deserve it. And as he made peace with my inability to think of forever, I promised myself to be better for him and to love him the way he ought to be loved. I promised to make peace with my insecurities of happily ever after. I committed to learning to unravel with him while not losing me in the process.

I guess this is a part of the responsibility of being loved: making sure the love that ties both hearts together is pure, selfless, passionate and fearless.

Yetti, creator of yettisays.com, provides the uncensored truth sometimes served with a side of wit, sarcasm, and a few curse words. She is passionate about storytelling, mental health advocacy, and striving to live ones best life always.

 

For The Days When It Feels Like Love Eludes Me

May 22, 2017

One.

You were never a little girl who dreamed of white dresses or picket fences, but you are a now woman who dreams of love. Lately your dreams have transformed into hunger, an insatiable abyss at the pit of your stomach that you simply can’t seem to ignore.

Two.

You’ve written this story one million times before. You don’t want to write it anymore. Each time your fingers curl to pen this narrative, you tell yourself that these words are the flesh a horse you’ve beaten to death. You don’t want to keep shouting and screaming on the Internet that you are yearning to be loved; it’s a chapter of your memoir that has grown stale. Yet you will write this story again and again because you know that you aren’t the only one. You can’t be the only one. There are other people out there starving just like you.

Three.

Some days you are fragile and easily shattered, unable to swallow the flurry of wedding photos that now dance across your newsfeed. You don’t want to be that person who can’t muster up a double tap to co-sign someone else’s happiness. But some days you are that person simply because you are a human being, a thread of emotions that do not always connect and can’t always be contained. Forgive yourself and log off. Pick up your broken pieces.

Four.

One afternoon you will write, “What I judge in others that is in me is a proclivity to plant deep roots with men who are unattainable, or will never have the capacity to love me in ways that truly nourish and nurture all the parts of me.” You will ink those words on the unlined pages of a book during Ashley’s writing workshop. It will be the first time you confess to yourself and to a small room of women that you are a willing participant in your own disarray. It will both liberate and trouble you to know that the pattern of men you’ve tethered yourself to is not coincidental.

Five.

The process is defined as a “systematic series of actions directed to some end.” Perhaps the greatest action in that systematic series is scraping through your wreckage and finding a way to love yourself, time and time again. Let the love for yourself rise from every cave you’ve traversed and every corner you once overlooked. The most savory love peeks out from behind hidden places.

Six.

Forego the impulse to fill your life to the brim with distractions. Sit quietly with your demons. Listen to the stories each one of them has to tell.

Seven.

Drape yourself in a kimono of grace. Let it cover your shoulders and drip down your arms. For the days when you keep asking yourself why it seems like love is this golden thing that keeps eluding you, wear an extra armor of tenderness. Those are the days to believe that the Universe is simply doing its work. Those are the days to trust the process. Those are the days to remember that you are flawed, fragile, beautiful and complex, deserving of love just like everyone else and on a jagged journey to uncover it some day.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Field Notes From the Fallout

January 24, 2017

Photo by Pedro de Sousa, www.unsplash.com

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

One. You must let your heart break. Your strong will and your rock solid resilience are not a match for the tornado winds of heartache. Your precious hands will not hold your heart together. So let go. Tilt back. Fall free. Crash hard. Resistance does not serve a heart that’s already splintered.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Two. Your heart knows things long before your mind will accept them. Your heart, your intuition, that feeling you get at the pit of your belly – those are your strongest compasses, and yet you still question them. But your heart knows. It always does. Your heart knows the very moment a connection bears a crack. Your heart knows that in the grand scheme of human connection, those cracks often times become craters.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Three. There are the shifts that happen and the courage it takes to recognize them. There is the moment two people break and the moment they choose to articulate it. These two moments are hardly ever the same. The tug of war between reality and reluctance has almost always resulted in a ripped rope.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Four. Your heart’s somewhere in between the breakdown and the breakthrough. She vacillates between letting go of something old and holding out for something new. So let the pendulum swing of the present teach you what it will. Allow the in-between moments to minister to you in the ways that only they can.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Five. Your heart will break one thousand times over in one life span. It will break because of lovers and friends and half-lovers and family. It will break because of the Universe’s relentlessness and the unpredictable ways in which the wind blows. It will break when you expect it and it will break while you are fast asleep. We do not get through the tunnels unscarred; we do not sail across the seas unscathed. So, yes, your heart will break one thousand times over. But it will mend itself one thousand times more.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Six. There is something beautiful about the way the ground rips apart when your heart breaks. It splits your world wide open and gives way to new galaxies.

Gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. This place is no longer your home.

Seven. You are every last one of your broken bits. You are the sacredness of your shattered pieces, the patchwork quilt of your tattered threads. You are the magic of your split skies and the grace of your new galaxies. You are the sum of your jagged edges, enchanting in the way your experiences melt together.

So, gather up your broken bits. Your shattered glass. Your tattered threads. Build castles from your fractured pieces and call this new place your home.

Xoxo,
Tyece