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

“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

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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.

 

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Dating a creative can be quite the adventure, but only if you avail yourself to experience it. Dating a creative can also require a lot of patience and TLC when necessary. As a creative, there are specific wants and needs that we have that might different from a “normal” relationship because at times we are far from normal and that’s not such a bad thing, but if you are dating a creative, if you’re attracted to one and is thinking of pursuing it, here are some things you should know beforehand.

We Love Spontaneity. 

Seriously if we wanted to date a Grandpa Joe or a Grandma Jane we could’ve just went to a nursing home. As a creative, routine and predictability are slow killers to our vibes. Our sense of adventure is much like our thought process, sporadic and unplanned. We get bored with the same thing day in and day out and often need an escape to get our creative juices flowing again. We love surprises and to be able to just get up and go do something fun without hesitation.

Simple, Creative Dates Trump Traditional, Expensive Ones.

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Even though we like spontaneity, that doesn’t mean we’re materialistic. We’d actually prefer a simple and creative date over a traditional and expensive one. Rather than going out to a fancy restaurant for brunch or lunch, we’d prefer a picnic at a park or near a harbor. Rather than taking us to the movies we’d prefer going to a free movie night in the park if the weather is permitting. We love free concerts and music festivals. We love flea markets and thrifting. We love when the person we are dating can think outside the box because we often live life outside the box.

We Value Space. 

Sometime you might find us in a creative bubble where we completely tune everything out. We might not text you or call you or see you for a day or two. Sometimes we need a clear and creative space to do what we do. We aren’t avoiding you, but unless you’re a creative yourself and we can bound ideas back and forth we’d prefer to be left alone. We’d prefer you leave us in our creative fog and don’t try to disturb us.

Late Night are Inevitable. 

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Our college days are over, but pulling all-nighters certainly aren’t. There was a time when I had a regular job that I went to everyday. I would get home around 8pm every night and rather than going to bed, I would open up my laptop and just write. I would be up until three in the morning. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to sleep at all. It comes with the territory. There are times when I’ll be in bed and an idea will come to be and force me to get up. The goal usually is to get it out of our mind and on to paper before we forget it.

Emotions Are Everything. 

One of the things that come with being a creative or a deep thinker is that when we feel things…we REALLY feel them and it is often fuel for another poem, song, article, painting, story, etc. We don’t just feel things, we experience them. We sit in it, they consume us. So be prepared to deal with an array of emotions.

We are Scatterbrains.

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Sometimes we’re messy and you’ll have to clean up after us. Sometimes we forget to make that phone call. Sometimes we forget to respond to an important email. Sometimes we forget we were supposed to meet you somewhere. Sometimes we forget our thoughts mid-sentence. It’s not that we don’t care or that we have a disregard for others, our minds are literally on 100 all the time. So be prepared to give us reminders and repeat yourself often. Sorry.

We Didn’t Ask for Your Opinion Until We Ask For Your Opinion.

Keep in mind we’re artist and we sensitive bout our ish so unless we ask for your opinion please save the bootleg art critiques. Don’t tell us how to write our stories, don’t tell us how to paint a portrait, don’t tell us how we should sing that song UNLESS we asked you to.

Big Kid Moments Happen Often.

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Telling us we need to grow up often falls on deaf ears. What fun is life if you’re not getting a little silly and immature? We play too much, we enjoy laughter. We enjoy being kiddie at times. Sometimes we like to sit and watch the Adventure Time marathon. Don’t rain on our parade just because you prefer to be a prude.

We Follow Our Gut. 

We might say one thing, but end up doing a completely different thing because following our gut is telling us to. It’s just something we do. Being an artist and a creative is about taking a risk, often again societal norms and expectations.

Don’t Make Us Choose.

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Photo Cred: Arnold Butler IG: @ab2ether

Do NOT give us an ultimatum. Do not force us to choose between what we create and you because that is a battle you will lose every time.