Sometime After 2 a.m.


They tell me nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m., and I agree. Nothing good ever happens after that time, but surely, sometimes glorious and golden things do. Sometimes in the gray hours, the ones where night bleeds into morning and sin blends into sleep, we are our truest selves. Our most unlatched selves. In the gray hours, we let down the guards and open the gates, reprimanding our inhibitions and shoving them into the corner for a long overdue timeout.

WYAO April general promoThis Write Your Ass Off April post was published as part of my Sunday Kind of Love newsletter. Read the full essay here

Write Your Ass Off April is a 10-day writing challenge to create your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. Ready to do this thing? Learn about the challenge here and share your work on social media using the hashtag #WYAOApril. 

You Can’t Undo The Evolution: Thoughts From Five Years Of Being Single

single manifesto 2015

Author’s note: This is my annual “single girl’s manifesto.” The others dating back to 2011 are below.

2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

Writing this annual post used to mean something different to me. It used to affirm something for me. It used to be this rah rah moment of proclamation, declaration and confirmation. That’s probably why I used to call it a manifesto. I don’t anymore. Because it’s not that anymore. But, it is still one of the annual posts I return to each year, cringing at the things I wrote prior and returning to put a new spin on an old topic.

This year I have less of an emotional tie to the subject, and part of me thinks that’s a good thing. Part of me thinks that means being single has become far less of an inherent part of my identity and more something I grew in to, a coat that everyone else thought was ugly, and so I thought it was ugly too, until I realized this coat looks pretty good. It’s a comfortable place now. It’s a place that I stopped needing to shout about or write about (I hope this is one of about five relationship posts I intend to pen this year). Being single stopped requiring the validation of others. It stopped being an armor. It stopped being a topic of conversation. Being single stopped being anything other than a choice I made, and a choice I would be willing to forfeit if and when the time were right.

Sometimes I revisit my past work and this pit forms in the middle of my stomach when I realize just how much I used to write about dating and relationships. That pit forms in the middle of my stomach because it evidences how much I used to care about dating and relationships. We do not write about the things we don’t care about, not if we are the authentic writers we claim to be.

I forget when the shift happened, but at some point last year I abandoned the topic of dating and relationships in favor of writing about new things. I wanted to look at my own life through different vantage points other than who was sharing my sheets. I realized I had become part of the very problem I hated–all of the rhetoric, advice and hullabaloo aimed at single women.

Let’s set some context here (if you didn’t already gather it from the title of this post): I have not called someone my boyfriend in close to five years. I’ve had infatuations. I’ve met good guys I could just never get off the ground with because of distance or the typical ebb and flow of life. I’ve had friends with benefits. I’ve had unrequited like. I’ve had long stretches of nothing. I’ve headed down the relationship path with men I soon realized were an ill fit. I’ve had men I wanted to get serious with who didn’t feel the same way. I’ve been friend-zoned. I’ve made awful decisions with good people. I’ve made awful decisions with awful people. I’ve kicked it with some pretty cool guys who I do regret not hooking up with when given the opportunity (we all have some of those, right?) I have said I do want to get married, then retracted that statement, and then decided I will know when it’s time. In short, I’ve lived a life not too different from many twenty-something women–making mistakes, changing my mind, licking my wounds and then letting them heal.

But, when I think about the past five years, I don’t reduce them to my relationship status. Instead, I think about this beautiful, bizarre and transformative journey I’ve been on. I believe the Universe always knows what it’s doing. I believe the Universe is always working in our favor. And I believe the Universe knew what it was doing and was working in my favor when it decided I would be single for these five years (and perhaps many more). I believe I needed this time for myself not only to do the things I’ve been able to do, but to become the woman strong enough to do those very things.

I don’t think it’s a cop-out to say I know myself well enough to know that TU would not have become the space it is and the space it’s turning out to be if I were in a relationship when I started it. Because I would not have been the same woman, for better or worse. You learn about yourself and the world around you in a different way when you are single. You also learn about yourself and the world around you in a different way when you are in a relationship. Both provide crucial lessons. And once you’ve learned them, you can’t ever undo the evolution. You are forever changed. Sometimes people only say that about love. I beg to differ.

I don’t say any of this to diminish love or denounce relationships. There are plenty of times when I crave a consistent and loving relationship, a support system to help get me through this crazy, non-stop life I somehow constructed. Trust me, Twenties Unscripted is not wrapping its arms around me in the morning and holding on to my booty. TU is awesome, but I don’t think it’ll ever be that awesome. Get your baé. Compliment your happiness. All of that. I am a fan.

I also just trust that the Universe knows exactly what it’s doing in my world, so in the wise words of French Montana, don’t panic.

Maybe in the end, the happiest single people are just like the happiest people in relationships: they stop feeling a need to broadcast their joy to the world. They are there. They know how sacrosanct their joy is. They don’t need to live for likes. They trust and believe they are precisely where they are meant to be without requiring the approval of others. Life is good. They are firm in their path and purpose.

Maybe, just maybe, I became that happy single person when I stopped writing so much about dating and relationships, when I stopped feeling compelled to air my sentiments to the world (except, of course, in this annual post). If there is something I’ve learned about life, it is that if you have to flaunt, you probably don’t really have it. That theory applies most to happiness, money and men who say they have large penises.

Cheers, single ladies. Cheers, relationship ladies. Cheers to all of the ladies and cheers to never undoing the evolution.



For Single Women In 2014

This post is an excerpt from Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity. The full essay is available in the book, which is currently available for pre-sale here.

What I am going to tell you is to live your life. Don’t let anyone devalue you based on the status of one of your 10 fingers; you have nine other equally important fingers. I am going to tell you to get the fuck off Facebook. Because, unless you announce that you reincarnated Michael Jackson and he’s coming back for a farewell tour, your status will never get the 142 likes of an engagement ring photo. I am going to tell you to figure yourself and your shit out. I am going to tell you that welcoming another person into your life means naught if you don’t actually, well, have a life.

I am going to tell you that being single is a choice, and you should never lament that decision. I am going to tell you to take this juncture of your single status, whether it’s another year or another decade or just another day, and soak that shit up. Lie down in it and make snow angels. Dance in the mirror naked and blast the music as loudly as you want. Watch all of the ratchet TV shows you want without having to share the remote. Be selfish and indulgent and wild and all of the other adjectives you will one day miss. And, when that is said and done, silence the screams of society long enough to learn who you are, what you want, and why the hell you were put here. Being single is great for just that.


Please Define “Single And Ready To Mingle”

Wildflowers Unscripted Writing Challenge Day 8: A new/different city

I credit the city of Plano, Texas with teaching me how to be single.

I know what you’re thinking. Where the fuck is Plano, Texas? But, let me explain.

Two years ago I moved to Texas for work. I knew it would be an eight-month stint there and the move came at a much-needed time in my life. When I got to Plano, it was as though some ominous cloud lifted. I could see clearly now, the rain was gone, all that good stuff. During those eight months, I learned how to actually be single for the first time in my post-grad life.

Of course, saying I “learned how to be single” begs the question of what does it actually mean to be single?

That’s why I hate the term “single and ready to mingle.” I feel like that term should only be reserved for drunk sorority girls in college bars. Outside of that context, it just makes my skin crawl.

Being single means something different for every person who takes on that relationship status, which is usually each of us at some point in this life. While I lived in Texas, I learned how to fend for myself. I learned how to go out alone and talk to complete strangers. I learned how to quiet my life and focus on the things that mattered to me. I worked out. I started this blog. I worked a shit ton. I spent entire weekends alone. I cooked (well…on Sundays.) I rid my life of all the boy craziness that too often plagues it. And, maybe some of that sounds mildly depressing, but it was the definition of being single that worked for me.

We put a lot of pressure on people in relationships, but we also put pressure on people when they are single. We forget that each person defines the word and, more importantly, the lifestyle, differently. Single doesn’t have to mean ready to mingle. If you want to date multiple people, fine. If you have zero interest in dating anyone, fine. If you want to go out every weekend with your friends and imbibe adult beverages, awesome. If you want to stay in every weekend with a new book, also awesome. Single is whatever you choose to make it. You just have to make it work for you.

Plano, Texas was where I learned how to define my version of single. In some ways, that time in my life was the happiest and most zen-ed out I have ever been. I miss it. I know it would not be the same if I went back now. And, I have learned how to be content with where I am at this point in life. But, Plano, I miss you. Because you taught me how to be single. And, just with that, you taught me a lot.



Single, Smart, Successful…So What?

Listen. I hardly ever write about the dating landscape for black women. That is not my lane. I write about being in your twenties, a decade that does not know race or gender when it comes to its wrath. So, don’t quote me or call me a relationship expert or any of that shit. I’m just stepping out of my lane for one moment to pen (or…type) this post.

There is a lot of rhetoric out there about the dating scene for black women. And by a lot, I mean a lot. Like A LOT, a lot. And instead of you pouring through all the articles I just took five minutes to hyperlink, let me give you the bottom line of this narrative: dating for black women sucks. More or less.

I’ve had the conversation about this topic with many different people of many different races as I’ve treaded the waters of early adulthood dating. I don’t consider myself a statistic or focus group fodder and therefore I like to think I’m informed about things but not forever doomed. I’ll holler back at you in a decade and let you know how that thinking turned out for me.

The argument I’ve heard from a lot of women, not just exclusively black women, when it comes to their dating options and single status is something along the lines of “I’M INDEPENDENT, I HAVE A GOOD JOB AND I’M SMART; I’M A GOOD CATCH, DAMMIT!” Yes, all caps required.

In fact, that is the argument I used to once roar when I lamented my single status. It didn’t make much sense to me why I wasn’t getting picked up or bunned up or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I thought that I had good, no, great things going for me. I knew how to take care of myself. I was a self-sufficient adult. Hello, potential suitors? Where the hell are you?

And, then I had a few very simple but significant epiphanies.

1) Being an independent and self-sufficient adult is the bar, not the ceiling.

2) We fall in love with people, not their resume bullets.

When I think of the men I’ve liked or loved in my very short lifetime, it hasn’t ever been because of them being independent and self-sufficient human beings. Those are the things I expected of them. Yes, you should have a career. Yes, you should know how to fucking take of yourself and pay your bills. If you’re not bringing that to the table, then you are not in my potential dating pool. Because standards and shit.

I’m not sure why we assume we deserve gold stars because we’ve managed to navigate our way through adulthood and keep a roof over our heads. And by we, I mean women. Well, some women. Obviously no one reading this blog. Obviously.

I know some independent, self-reliant women who are absolutely foul creatures. Their upwardly-mobile careers and master’s degrees do nothing to disguise the fire-breathing dragons they are. Because the things that are good on paper don’t necessarily give you a personality.

Before all my single ladies come to crucify me, let me clarify. I’m not saying a career and your accomplishments shouldn’t be important to you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk about those things with your potential mate. My career is one of the most important things to me right now in my life and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not ashamed to talk about it or prioritize it over other things. But, what I am saying is that you can’t use your Miss Independent card as a crutch to not have a personality. You need a personality. You need interestingness. You need color. You need layers.

Because, that is how we fall in love. We gravitate to people with stories. People we find interesting. People with wit and character. People with something to say. That’s why you’re still reading this blog 650 words in. Because I’m saying something. I’m not listing out everything I did at my 9-5 today. I’m not telling you how I paid my rent this month. Because nobody gives a flying fuck. Independence is not a flag to wave; it is an expectation.

I get it. You’re smart. You’re single. You’re successful. But, so what? Who are you on the inside? Who are you when you strip off your power suit and lie across the bed at night? Because that person matters so much more than the one on your resume.