Reclaiming Self

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

My Love Life According to Maslow

“How’s a girl like you still single? You’re so dope!” 

“I bet plenty of men are after you huh?” 

“You could probably have any man you wanted to couldn’t you?” 

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*rolls eyes* If I had to sit and recount or recall all of the times I’ve had conversations with men that revolve around those questions, I’d have to brew us some tea because we’d be here all night.

But anyway, I’ve found myself so disinterested in men and dating lately. The thought of going out on dates is exhausting and when I do agree to one, I immediately regret it and want to cancel on him. I find myself bored and put off by them and I’m sure they’re not boring at all, it’s just that I’ve already shut my mind off before anything has even begun.

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On the flipside, I’ve sat on my couch and watched The Holiday, three days in a row…well four if you count today and have swooned and made my self sick with giddy over the budding love between Jude Law’s and Cameron Diaz’s character (seriously why am I watching this everyday).

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I mean DEEP down somewhere in that heart of mines I’d like to be with someone genuine. I really would. I’d love to enjoy that infatuation phase that comes with new love. I’d love to build with someone. I’d love a romantic relationship where we’re also partners in everything, even in our careers. But, I don’t have the mental capacity for it right now. I really can’t wrap my brain around.

After some soul searching and talking to friends and even coming across a few inspirational articles, I figured out why I was having this problem. So when men ask me if I’m looking for a relationship right now, or if I want something serious, or even if I want to date, my answer is “No, I don’t want to.” So to better explain this reasoning, I put on my fake psychologist hat and let my nerd flag fly. So pay attention, there’s levels to this ish…

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So there was this Russian Jewish guy named Abraham Maslow right, who one day decided he was going to do some research on human motivation. He wanted to know what human needed in order to achieve our fullest potential. So he came up with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

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The chart begins at the bottom where our physiological needs such as food, water, rest and health are at the forefront. Once we achieve those basic things, we then move on to finding security and safety in our lives and so on until we reach that level of self-actualization…our fullest potential.

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I must say that sir Maslow was definitely on to something with his analysis and theories, but of course being me, my order is a tad bit different. So when I tell people that I’m not ready for a relationship here’s why:

Deja’s Hierarchy of Needs

Dej's Hierarchy of Needs

Some people believe that you don’t have to have it all together in order to have a successful and healthy relationship and while in some cases that may be true, I believe that my freedom has allowed me to unapologetically achieve some things I probably couldn’t in a relationship. Life is a never ending journey, so if I waited until I had it all the way together before I settled down I probably never will, so that’s not what my hierarchy is about…it’s about having something established for myself. It’s about leaving my own footprints in the sand. It’s about establishing Deja’s legacy. Granted, I will build with the man I get into a committed relationship with, but I’ll also have my own foundation to stand on my own two feet as well. So when people ask me how come I’m single or why don’t I want a relationship right now…it’s because my efforts and focus is elsewhere at the moment.

 

5 LGBT Films for the Open-Minded

This week has left a lot of at a loss of words, emotionally and mentally drained due to the tragedy in Orlando. What’s left a bunch of us even more exhausted are the responses and messages that are being plastered all over social media. It’s become a debate rooted in several different religious beliefs, people personal biases against LGBT culture and hate. I’ve seen so many hurtful and harmful messages this week that’s forced me to step back from a few of my social media channels for a bit. It’s really sad that such a tragic event has caused such division rather than unity among us as humans.

Any who, tired of having the same conversations with folks who view life from a single, narrow lens, I’ve decided to stop talking, but today on my break, I decided to watch a movie on Netflix. I made a random pick, but I thought that it was ironic that the film had an LGBT story line and I couldn’t help but shed a few tears throughout.

Jenny’s Wedding 

Plot: Jenny Farrell has led an openly gay life – except with her conventional family. When she finally decides to start a family and marry the woman they thought was just her roommate, the small, safe world the Farrells’ inhabited changes forever. They are left with a simple and difficult choice – either change with it or drown.

We Were Here 

Plot: During the 1970’s, San Francisco became a safe haven for the gay and lesbian community, providing a place where one could live openly, away from discrimination. But, after almost a decade of celebration, the city was hit by a wave of shock and grief when it became ground zero of the AIDS epidemic, with hundreds of gay men falling victim to the disease. Director David Weissman explores the incredible story of love and loss through the eyes of five men and women who experienced it firsthand.

Pariah 

Plot: Teenage Alike (Adepero Oduye) lives in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood with her parents (Charles Parnell, Kim Wayans) and younger sister (Sahra Mellesse). A lesbian, Alike quietly embraces her identity and is looking for her first lover, but she wonders how much she can truly confide in her family, especially with her parents’ marriage already strained. When Alike’s mother presses her to befriend a colleague’s daughter (Aasha Davis), Alike finds the gal to be a pleasant companion.

RENT 

Plot: In this musical, set at the dawn of the 1990s, a group of New Yorkers struggle with their careers, love lives and the effects of the AIDS epidemic on their community. Mark (Anthony Rapp), an aspiring filmmaker, and Roger (Adam Pascal), an HIV-positive musician, scramble for money to pay rent to their landlord and former roommate, Benny (Taye Diggs). Meanwhile, their friend Tom (Jesse L. Martin), a professor, has fallen for Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), who is slowly dying of AIDS.

The Out List 

Plot: A documentary about being among the LGBT community in modern society, told through interviews with LGBT celebrities and community leaders.