22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
November 27, 2016
It’s 1:00 p.m. I should be on my way to Philadelphia to see my boo thang but instead, I’m curled up on the floor of my studio apartment, blasting French Montana, trying to find the words to explain why I’m not coming to visit him today, as I promised last night.
Twenty-four hours ago, I found myself feigning for his touch, which I haven’t felt for over a week because I’ve been with my family in Pennsylvania.
Fast forward twenty-four hours and I’m here. Curled up on the floor. Blasting French Montana. Fighting the urge to succumb to my flesh.
Why the sudden change of heart?
Because today, my Pastor asked, “Have you ever laid down with the wrong one, because you’re lonely?”
I had that moment.
You know what I’m talking about. That moment when someone posts a tweet on Twitter and because the shoe fits you can’t help but think that punk done sub-tweeted you. That moment in church when you slowly shift your eyes left, then right to see if the Pastor was talking about you or if he was talking about me. At that moment, I felt like he was talking about me. In fact, I felt like he was even looking at me when he said it.
So not to address the issue at hand, in that moment, I checked out momentarily and went into my safe space: Feminist Mode.
Rather than sitting in my discomfort with what he said, I found myself thinking, as a pro-sex Feminist, “Who are you to question who I lay down with?” [Note: Neck roll should be assumed.]
Then I pumped my brakes and realized he wasn’t critiquing a woman’s choice to be sexual… or at least I think he wasn’t because he’s not one of those judgmental, shame you into submission type of pastors.
Instead, I think he was asking us to think about why we’re laying down with whomever we choose to lay down with.
The pro-sex Feminist in me says, “That’s an okay question to ask.”
Are you having sex because you’re in love? Great!
Are you having sex because you enjoy pleasure? Great!
Or, are you having sex because you’re lonely? That, in my opinion, is not as great.
As a pro-sex Feminist, I’m 100% okay with a woman’s choice to have sex for love and pleasure. In the words of the Great B.I.G., J. Cole and even Nelly (while I wouldn’t consider him a “great” lol): “If the head right, I’ll be there every night.” [p.s., Sorry for the ratchetness, Grammy].
I’ve come to notice that my Pastor likes to say, “you do you boo.” So taking a line from his book, I would say if sex is what you want, “you do you boo boo!”
However, I’d encourage you to stop and think about two things:
- Do you understand the difference between being alone and being lonely?
- Are you having sex for love and/or pleasure or out of loneliness?
Sidebar, real quick.
You know, it’s funny that my Pastor preached about the importance of being alone during today’s service.
For the first time in years, I am alone. After ending a six year relationship with a man I thought to be my soul mate, I’ve been learning how to be okay with being alone.
The funny thing is, my excuse to end our relationship was that “I needed time to be alone so I could grow.” I say excuse because that was not my true intent. I needed time to be alone because I fell in love… maybe lust… maybe love… I don’t know… with another man.
Despite the lie I told myself and my ex-partner, I actually ended up starting my journey towards growth. I only became committed to the idea of being alone during my transformation after attending Think Tank at Tabernacle Full Baptist Cathedral on November 1, 2016. That night, my Pastor said, “The worst thing in the world is if you can’t spend time with your self.”
It was that moment that I stopped to consider if I invited the “other man” into my life because I was lonely, even while being in a relationship with my current partner. I wasn’t physically lonely. But emotionally; yes, I was lonely.
The “other man” is a good brother. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t know what he was getting himself into when I walked into his life. He didn’t know about my mess because like most children do when their parent(s) tell them to clean their room, I shoved all my shit [p.s. Sorry for the language, Grammy] in the closet and fronted like my room was clean.
I was simply playing a game, to entertain myself, because I was lonely. I wasn’t thinking about how my actions would impact my ex-partner, the “other man,” myself and all of the innocent bystanders. I was just having fun playing the game.
Like Jacob, I was a gamer. And it stung me today when my pastor said, “you don’t have time to play games and you don’t have time for game players.” Once again, I had that moment. He was talking to me. I know this because both my ex-partner and the “other man” would tell me that I can’t keep playing games with people.
Eventually, the “other man” got tired of my games. He told me that he had to decide if he should “leave me” or “love me through the storm I was in.”
I think he chose to love me.
Not as a “lover” per say but as a friend, confidant and crucial member of my emotional support team. He helped me and continues to help me grow.
He tells me things I need to hear, like “You have to work on you ,before you invite another person in to your life.”
Even though I’m stubborn, I listen.
After my ex-partner moved out of the home we lived in together, I was alone. And lonely. I’ll keep it funky. I wallowed in my own self-pity; a lot. It took me a while to get through that storm and occasionally I slip back into that space.
However, I realized I had no choice but to clean up the shit I shoved in my closet [p.s. Sorry for the language, Grammy]. I also needed to get out of my house, live my life and enjoy the world; to avoid being lonely. I force myself to go to community events. Had I not found the strength to step away from my self-pity party, I probably would not have joined my church. The only reason I joined Tabernacle was because I heard Dr. Morton speak at a community/police relations event that I forced myself to attend.
During one of those hoodrat adventures, I reconnected with an old college fling.
Lord knows when we get what we want we say, “That’s God’s doing.” Now, maybe it was God’s doing. But then again, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe I just thought it was.
Today in church, my Pastor said, “The worst thing you can do is pick your own boo. You got to know who God sends you.”
So that brings me to where I’m at today:
- Still on the floor.
- Now blasting Jidenna.
- Trying to figure out if God sent my college fling back into my life or if I choose to continue seeing him because I’m lonely.
In the words of the Great B.I.G., J. Cole and yes, even the not-so-great Nelly, “I been there [basically] every night.” Aside from that, he’s a decent man. A good brother. Creative. Loving. A family man. A great father. Fun. Always down to do some hoodrat stuff. Most importantly, we vibe; like how I’d imagine you’d vibe with someone that God sent you.
Okay. That sidebar wasn’t as quick as I thought it would be. Let me get back on track and bring my rant full circle.
Today, my Pastor talked about the difference between being alone and being lonely. According to Mother Google, being alone means “having no one else present; being on one’s own.” Being lonely means “to be sad because one has no friends or company.”
He encouraged our congregation- praising in a local community center due to the lack of heat at our home on 5th and Washington- to do three things:
- Find comfort in being alone;
- Stop being desperate;
- Stop being so damn [p.s. Sorry for the language, Grammy] needy.
To be fair, he didn’t say “damn” but, in my journal, I did write “STOP BEING SO DAMN NEEDY” in caps because I am the Queen of Needy.
He went on to say, “When you have some alone time, God can deal with you.” During this time, we must be willing to, as Pastor Morton says, “surrender our strategies to God; to learn how to let God lead us.”
Being Type-A makes this difficult for me. I am a control freak. I know everything. I’m always right. Everything must be my way, so that I am comfortable. I have to get over that.
Pastor Donald Morton also urged us to “investigate our identities” and not “drag people into our existential identity crisis.”
I thought I was doing that.
I’ve been trying to understand and find myself simultaneously. But today’s sermon made me think: How can I really investigate my identity- or as I like to say, grasp the roots- when I’m giving my precious time to people-particularly men- who may or may not deserve it.
Now I’m really stuck.
How do I know if my college fling was sent to me by God? Or, the “other man.” Was he sent to me by God?
Note to self: Ask Pastor Morton how we know when we’re choosing our boo and when God is sending our boo.
How do I know who is or is not worth my time?
Since I don’t have these answers yet, I’m going to keep my behind home. Not go to Philadelphia. Not worry about the “other man.” Continue to lay on the floor. Blast what ever Ratchet music I so please and do something productive that will further me as I continue to strive towards becoming the person I’m trying to be.