Let’s rewind to about…two weeks ago…I’m on Thanksgiving Break spending the week in South Jersey with my family (I think Trenton is Central Jersey, but it’s debatable). I’ve just finished my third month of being a full time teacher and goodness knows I could use this break. As we (teachers) clocked out and say our good byes and engaged in small talk about what we had planned for the holiday to which we all agreed on “sleep” being the highlight, we set out…going our separate ways, closing the doors to our classrooms and checking out mentally.

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Yes! I thought to a mental break…a break away from teaching AND being a grad students. On Thanksgiving Break, I didn’t eat myself into multiple food comas, in fact, I barely ate (I had a Mexican food craving rather than Thanksgiving food..so what…fight me if you don’t like it) because I barely got up from my cozy bed at my parent’s house. I turned off work emails, but not my personal email account because you know…sometimes in the midst of all the junk mail, I actually find some cool shit in there somewhere. WHAT WASN’T COOL however was an email that I had gotten from an ex. YUP, you read that right…this year makes THREE years since we’d gone our separate ways so WHY IN THE NAME OF THE GOOD LORD WAS HE SENDING ME AN EMAIL?!?!?!?!? In summary, it was an email “seeking atonement” for his wrongdoing and telling me how proud he is of the woman I’ve become…and for a second, the old Dej that would’ve replied back in anger with some snappy and petty comments ALMOST surfaced, but then I realized how much I didn’t need that apology. The past three years in his absence have been about me reclaiming myself and my identity. It was about examining those six years and reflecting on the person I WAS when I was there, what I liked about myself when I was with him and what I didn’t like and during those reflections I realized that the things I didn’t like about myself when I was with him heavily outweighed the things that I did like about myself.

So I kindly responded telling him not to contact me again (I mean if I changed my number and blocked you on social media sites, why did you think email was the next best route?) and added his email to block sender with the help of several tweets and emails to the person behind the Google gmail social media account (I’m tech savvy, but sometimes I have a slow moment..sue me).

Point of the story is there is a purpose behind every. single. thing. that. happens. to. you. in. this. life. GOT THAT?! Every. single. thing. It’s an opportunity for you to RECLAIM YOURSELF!!! Even when you’ve fallen off, just experienced a horrible break up, got laid off from a job, or found yourself deep in the muddy swamps of unemployment…it’s an opportunity for you to rise from the ashes like a Phoenix (channeling my inner Dumbledore) and that’s exactly what the hell I did and you betta ZOO IT TOO BOO BOO.

xoxo

When life comes at you, sometimes it comes at you hard…and fast and there’s never a way to be prepared for it. Some days you just have to say f**k it and let the waves carry you. Sometimes what you thought you were scared of and weren’t ready to handle actually turns out to be quite a beautiful journey and a story.

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This story is about connecting dots. A few days ago I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. As usual, I was looking at the covers of the unorganized rows of magazines to see if there was anything interesting. So after checking out the food and bridal magazines, I saw tucked neatly near the register was a “connect the dots” book and I said wow I haven’t seen one of those in a long time. You know, the connect the dots activities where you have to find the consecutive numbers and trace them until what’s left is a picture. I thought about that in terms of my life.

At first glance the dots just look like a bunch of nothing. There’s dots everywhere and numbers everywhere and nothing makes sense. The 1 dot is next to the 50th dot and the 2 dot is next to the 30th dot but the more you connect the dots, the more clear things become and you begin to see the bigger picture.

I thought about why I had been so unhappy and why things just weren’t falling into place the way I wanted. I got lost in the jumble of dots and wanted so badly to leap from 1 to 40 so that I would be more than halfway there. There being my “destination.”

It wasn’t until I acknowledged the divine order over my life did I learn that fulfillment comes in the connecting of the dots. To stop looking to the future for my answers and instead be present. To peel away the layers to find the dots. They were there all along, as they are for each of us. If only we wouldn’t pave over them with messages of “I’m a failure” or “That was a big mistake” or “What’s next and where will I find it?”

What’s the moral of my story? Start at 1 and then 2 and then 3 and even if you have to erase a few lines and redo them…even when it feels like things are taking forever to make sense and even when things aren’t looking as neat as you’d like, just know that no matter how you began, life will come full circle because you can’t finish the bigger picture until you connected the final dot back to 1.

 

 

 

Life is a beautiful thing. There’s so much to see, so many places and things to explore and the wonderful thing about being single is that you can do these things freely. However, at some point in life we are bound to fall in love and it’s natural to want to do all the amazing things that you love with the person you love. You want to make sure that the grand life you had as a single person stays grand even after marriage. You want to make sure the person that you love is socially compatible with you or at least open to some of  your epic adventures. You want to leave enough time to figure out if you two have a similar vision of what your lives will look like together. I call this my “pre-hitched” checklist because seriously, who wants to be bored in love? Or as Martin would say, “clank clank, locked down” in love?

Travel the Globe, See Some World

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I’m a girl who loves soaking in different cultures whether through food, film, literature and music, but isn’t it more fun to soak in those things in their country, city or state? From past experience, traveling together can bring out the worst and good in a couple, but it can also be a learning experience, a shared experience. I mean home is where the heart is and that’s cool and all, but it’s even better being able to step away from your routine life for a bit for some foreign rejuvenation. Wouldn’t it be cool to just pick anywhere in the world to explore with your significant other? Someplace neither of you can pronounce? I think traveling together is important.

Have Some Very Adult Conversations

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Does your partner want children? How many? Do you not? Does your partner belong to a specific religion that you have no desire converting to? Have you two discussed future care plans? If the circumstance arose that a work relocation was offered how willing would you be to make accommodations? These are important things to discuss BEFORE being legally bound and be honest. Don’t trick your partner into a situation that would leave them unhappy in the end. The worst thing that can happen is you two get married to later find that you have some opposing ideals that are a huge deal. Talk about your financial status and any debts that you’re responsible for.

Take Care of Something Together

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In a perfect world I’d have two cats (Hyrules & Zelda) and a dog (Dottie)…maybe even a mini teacup pig (Juniper)…I love animals, but in all seriousness, taking care of something 100% dependent on you is something every couple should do before marriage and most definitely before kids. Pets are like a couple’s pre-trial period to kids. You learns each other’s nurturing styles, at times discipline styles, and how dedicated you two are to this dependent. If pets are too big a step for you, a plant will suffice.

Share Some Space

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Living together is debatable. Some feel that gives you a preview to what married life will be like while others believe that it’ll just unnecessarily speed things up in the relationship. I say whatever floats your boat. I dated a guy for 6 years before moving in with him and in those seven months of living together, it revealed so much to me about our relationship which caused me to call it quits. Moving forward I wouldn’t live with another person before marriage, but I did see the benefits of it. If you can share space with someone and not feel like killing them, they might be the one. If you can share space with someone and feel like killing them, but you don’t, that person is a keeper because self-control ain’t too easy to come by these days (just kidding).

In my journey to love I’ve learned that good things such as marriage shouldn’t be rushed, they take time, but in the meantime you have some tasks to tackle before the “She Said Yes” or “I Said Yes” social media post because you want to make sure what you’re saying yes to is what you really want and need.