In my mind … I’ve been married for a long time. I’d committed myself to Shelli long ago. I didn’t need the government, our friends, or family to validate my love. God knew my heart and my commitment. Shelli also knew I was married … in my mind. I told Shelli all the time, “You’re my wife.” Not in a creepy, over-possessive, “it puts on the lotion” kinda way. Moreso, in a voice of reassurance. Letting her know that my love is forever and that I was committed and wasn’t going anywhere.
Because of my love and commitment to her, when she let me know that a legal marriage would make her happy, I didn’t fight it. I can’t say it was a no brainer though. In my mind, I’m a little revolutionary and can be kind of anti-establishment. When I realized how happy it would make her, I knew what had to be done. Then, on December 12, 2013, I did it. I said those words … “I DO.” And no, I didn’t go the Kevin Hart route and “say it with my chest,” but, I meant it with all my heart. I wake up daily and say it to myself as a reminder. But now what? What happens after “I DO?”
When I decided that I was getting married, I sought wisdom and advice from as many people as I could. I talked to a bunch of people, both male and female, about the dynamic that marriage brings to a relationship. Many of them said that after you say “I do” and the honeymoon is over, things change. And they said that we’ve got to work on learning how to evolve and grow as individuals and together as a unit. The great thing about that is, since we’re both people with positive spirits, positive change is inevitable! AND lucky for us, we plan to live the rest of our lives in a honeymoon like bliss!*
*please do not equate the honeymoon like bliss with ignorant bliss!
We’ll just have to wait to find out what happens as time goes on. We are 6 months in today and I’m ji like, still excited about it all! I’ll try to keep you posted on things, but y’all should let me know when you would like an update too. Until then (and forevermore), join us as we rejoice in love. And know that we are in honeymoon mode … eternally! At least in my mind!
(p.s. In case you were wondering, “ji like”is not a typo, it is slang for “jive like,” which is DC’centeric slang for “kind of like.”
AND … I’m sorry if you are getting tired of them but … I will continue to write pieces about and use pictures from our wedding … FOREVER! I LOVE SHOWING OFF OUR LOVE!
I looked back and saw that my first post of 2013 was about claiming space in the madness of a product junky’s bathroom. As we are almost half of the way through the year, and I review my vision and plan for 2014, I think there is a need for another Claiming Space post. This time, it’s about what is called …
“MAN CAVE” noun: humorous 1. a room or other part of a home regarded as a refuge for the man or men of a household.
It’s important that your home feels and looks like a space that you would want to live, BUT if a Man lives with a S.O. (Significant Other), then they know rule #1 is … Keep them Happy to Keep a Happy Home! This may mean that at any given time, when you look around, you may not realize that you even live in a space. This is, in part, due to the FACT that discussion about aesthetic conflicts are more than likely tabled (or trashed) because there will undoubtedly be “more important things to discuss.” Anyway … earlier this year, I visited a friend and he had a new man cave. The wall behind his comfy couch said, “Life is Beautiful.” Some of his other friends thought that this was a little too “soft” in the midst of the lounge chairs, flat screen, and booming bass heavy sound system. But, it made sense to me. It was the man cave of a married man. He’s a happily married man, and little touches like that remind you that there are other things in life that make you happy besides food, drinks, music, and sports. And this is important to remember in the midst of testosterone-filled man cave interactions.
There are a few simple reasons why having a man cave is a goal for me in upcoming months …
1. Solitude: I love Shelli’s smile and sometimes we man cave dwellers need to get away and find a place of comfort and inspiration … without distractions. You know how easily we can be distracted! And sometimes … you just want us to get out of your way!
2. Library: Real men read. ‘Nuff said! 3. History: I think of a Man Cave as one of the places that will one day be a historic landmark. “The Office of Weusi Baraka.” “Weusi Baraka Slept Here.” The Man Cave is a museum space. It speaks to your interests, personality, and where the Smithsonian will come to collect archival pieces of one’s history. I want to be able to define how I will be remembered. I want a role in writing my history (see the Kwanzaa principle of Kujichagulia: self-determination).
My dream man cave is part office, part library, part music studio, and part creative laboratory. This sounds fancy, but in its simplest manifestation, this just means it’s a space that has a desk with a computer, pens and paper (I have my analog moments), books, speakers/good headphones, some space to pace and either a dry erase board or a chalkboard. A TV would be cool, but it can be a hindrance. Although a bar would be mandatory for most, there isn’t really a NEED for a bar or furniture because I don’t do well with entertaining, nor do I really enjoy it. I know to some this sounds weird, but I like to be alone at home. I’m kind of an oxymoronic social recluse?!?
I share all this with you because it is important that you know that when you share space with Significant Others and agree to a Man Cave, it’s not because we’re trying to avoid you … It’s because we love you so much that when we share space with you, you easily steal our focus. Sometimes we need to excuse ourselves from the presence of your spellbinding beauty so that we can get things in perspective. A smile is a helluva thing! Ok … and yes … sometimes, we do want to just get away and/or refuel our superpowers. We’re not asking for a Batcave! We just want a spot to go read, play a video game, and/or maybe watch a sport’s game!
(You know he’s reading an e-book in this picture right!?!)
SO … ask me about how my Man Cave planning is going in September!
Oh, and when I say I like to be alone … I mean alone … with Shelli! (We’re still honeymooning newlyweds … what do you expect?)
I am not proud of myself right now, so I am going to try to make this a little funny.
We have been pretty carefree about sharing things about our relationship with readers. When things are good, we have no problem letting people know. So … what do we do now? Since Shelli has just allowed me to post my own blogs and since she spends more of her time and energy with you through her online presence via the blog, Facebook and Instagram, I figured why not communicate with her here. I’ve kinda cheated … and my reason why is confusing.
A quick troll of the internet and these are some of the things that come up as reasons why men cheat …
They’re avoiding intimacy. They crave intimacy. They want to know that they still “got it.” They want variety. They are not in love anymore. They are not “getting any.” They didn’t think it was cheating. “My significant other encouraged me to do it.” They lack willpower.
These are interesting excuses, because it seems that there is a sense of opposition and duality in some of the logic. This is also known as two-faced BS. There were two answers that kinda made SOME sense to me. One … they lack willpower. The other … She made me do it.
As for me, since connecting with Shelli, she gets most of my focus. When she is not with me, I walk around with the mindset of, “Shelli is my wife and my actions should be the same as if Shelli was right here.” Now, I think like that all of the time … and, in part, because of the fact that I have been blessed to almost always have a circle of beautiful women around me. And I mean FINE sisters of all shapes, shades, styles, backgrounds and of course … hair textures!
The kind of circle of friends that not only makes other people jealous, but also makes strangers start all kinds of rumors. Because of them, I have been able to develop one of my superpowers: the ability to not fall prey to the smiles, curves and feminine delights that others see as temptations.
(Check out the homey Whitney Mero’s fashions ONION by Whitney Mero)
Well actually, not all of them. Here is my confession … I have strayed.
And, although this is a lack of willpower that has broken me, I can and will not take the full blame for this. Shelli is to blame … and you too! I know this sounds like a bunch of junk, but it’s true. I will explain.
I had barely even looked at a sister’s hair. Most of the time, I couldn’t tell a lace-front from a perm or blowout or braids or locs or natural. Well … unless it was messed up. Then, I met Shelli and … and it was all of you that got me caught up in the spectacle that is NATURAL HAIR. The blogs. The products. The process. The people. The events. And not just the outcomes. You have me wondering about process too. How did she do that? Is that a twist-out? What does she use? I was feeling guilty, so I need to say it …
This is my confession. I lustfully look at other women’s hair … BUT they don’t mean anything to me!
Right from the beginning, I knew I was gonna write about it. Excuse me? What did you ask? Why am I so enthralled by this particular video? Well, because there are a bunch of things about the video that I can relate to and appreciate. Like what, you ask? Oh … I’ll be honored to let you know. SO … in no particular order …
THE TOP 5 REASONS WHY I LOVE THESE VIDEOS
I relate to knowing a few natural hair terms and feeling pride when I get a chance to use them … even when I am wrong when trying to slide them into a conversation!
When Shelli finally noticed me, there was someone else trying to impress her. I had to sit there and watch. It wasn’t too bad though. I just paid attention to her fine ass!
I believe in the idea of wanting to do your Significant Other’s hair as an act of love and not as an act of beautification. BUT … I also understand why it doesn’t happen!
I believe in creativity … and the HARP METHOD and in the SPRAY & PRAY! The HARP METHOD is like a multi-tasking, multi-finger detangling method. And the SPRAY & PRAY is … well … it is what it sounds like. Spray something and pray that it works! I make a motion that we immediately include them both in the natural hair care lexicon!
The main reason I love this video is because it was made to share love and laughter! And I support the sharing of love and laughter. (See her face at the 2:40 mark in part 1!)
And in conclusion … My suggestion for the week ahead is calculate how much time you spend on hair porn and make sure that you spend AT LEAST that amount of QUALITY TIME with your Significant Other. You can even offer to wash your S.O.’s hair or massage their scalp! (Be careful … the scalp massage is a SERIOUS MATTER! I’ll tell you about that at another time!)
Have a great week!
p.s. … NO .. I am not doing Shelli’s hair … I like her smile … Messing with her hair would create a non-smile reaction … possibly tears … so … NAH!!!
This is in response to Shelli’s post last night and her hair last week …
I LOVE Shelli … like … I love her-love her … like … there really aren’t ANY words that can explain it.
She’s smart, hard-working, mature, a great communicator and just an incredible woman. And you’ve seen the pictures … she’s got a smile that makes the sun jealous!
She’s creative and a logic wizard that engages life with a zestful vigilance that makes my heart smile.
Then there’s the but … that’s not a typo … everyone has a but and a butt.
Shelli’s “but” is … is … is … is … that THING! That THING in life that I can’t tell you how I feel about, because there are no words to describe it! Just know that it’s not right … I love your natural hair …
YOUR natural hair … not the hair of someone else that you purchased, so it’s in your possession right now. I love you and YOUR hair. But, ummm … nah … I have no love for the hair extensions!
And no, I don’t hide it. But, she knows that I don’t dig that thing. It kinda creeps me out. I saw a piece of Chris Rock’s movie, Good Hair. That hair is someone else’s natural hair! That’s not cool! That’s creepy! Hair extensions are not right! And is there any federal regulations around hair? You don’t know if that hair is healthy! And according to that survey I did (see here), that was a major reason that people were wearing their hair natural. Why would you put sickly hair in your healthy hair? It’s SO not right! Wait … there’s more!
Actually … I don’t know what else to say except to warn you …
If your S.O. likes your natural hair, they will not like your hair extension … and, come on … you can’t really be mad at them about it, can you!?!
Now, the reality of the situation is that we know that you are gonna do what you do, so we will tolerate it. But, supporting the use of it … NAH … not even in a ponytail!
And, for real … isn’t this the best title of a blog post ever?!?! I think it’s hilarious!
Oh, and for the record … I’m not a butt man. I was so oblivious to Shelli’s butt that it took a gay dude to point out her curves to me! I was caught in the glow of her smile and the mystery of her eyes.
But now … it’s her wisdom too.
What? Did you think that I was gonna objectify this queen and talk about her butt? I told you already, I’m not a butt man!
We went on vacation … and YES, it was a SPECIAL vacation! Shelli has alluded to how it was filled with both tears and smiles. I’ll tell you the full story here.
There’s a lot going on, so please be patient with me.
Let’s start with us on the road to the home of Shelli’s parents at midnight. We get a call from her mother informing us that the there was a storm brewing around her and that they were saying that it was going to pretty bad. She says the rain is crazy, the winds are wild and that the sky is bright with lightning. Now mind you, our drive is pretty peaceful. Then, as we grew closer to our destination, we start to see random debris strewn on the highway’s shoulder. As we approach the exit a little closer to her parents’ house, things change a bit. It seems that things are more serious than her mother hinted.
The roads were a mess! The streets to her mother’s house are not passable. The random debris has turned into immoveable branches, downed power lines and massive country trees that I’m sure held more history in one branch than I hold in my entire body.
After about a 15 minute detour, we arrived at the house. As we park in front, it kicks in. The 60+ foot black walnut tree that towered in the front yard is laying almost horizontal across the yard. The only reason that is has a lean and isn’t laying flat across the driveway is because of her mother’s car and her father’s truck beneath it! Yeah, CRAZY!
But then there is the back yard too …
Usually this is an open space for Penelope, the 3 year old, hyperactive, 70 lb, pink-nosed pit bull, that thinks she’s still a 10 lb puppy, to frolic and be the bull in the china shop.
But now, it’s unrecognizable. There are so many branches from fallen limbs of the neighbors’ trees that there is only a small patch of grass that is visible in the nice southern yard. And, these aren’t the kind of branches that can be moved by hand. I’m talking about the kind that take a chainsaw to clear them!
Then, it gets worse …
I learn that Mrs. Gillis has just returned from her vacation getaway in Playa del Carmen earlier that day. I’m thinking, “This sucks.” And in my mind I’m like … “This sucks for Mrs. Gillis, but Mr. Gillis is gonna love this! In addition to being able to sell some firewood, he and Mrs. Gillis might get new rides out of all this!”
Then things gets even worse … Mr. Gillis isn’t around …
I find out that, when Mrs. Gillis got off the flight, she was informed that Mr. Gillis had been rushed to the local hospital via ambulance that day after passing out in front of the house. It seems that, amongst other things, he became dehydrated and collapsed just as he and one of his friends were preparing to head to tend to the animals at the farm. He’s fine now.
But Shelli’s mother hasn’t been to sleep. She had been at the hospital all day with him. But, she’s cool as a cucumber. Ok … actually she’s kind of a spark plug, but that’s normal for her. In my mind, it looks like the only thing on her mind is getting us to the airport.
So, being the TROOPER she is, Shelli’s mother left her car in the driveway (well it couldn’t go anywhere) and Shelli drove us around all of the fallen debris and got us to the airport for our 6:30 am flight out of Atlantic City … early!
And then, it gets even worse …
Here … I approach the ticket counter with boarding pass and passport in hand. Here … the ticket clerk notices that my passport was washed … a few times. Here … the ticket clerk tells me that there are two countries that they deny passports that are even slightly damaged … and that we’re trying to go to one. Here, my passport is denied. Shelli starts to cry. Here, my heart breaks. Shelli, her sister and the rest of those going on vacations make their way down the hall to the security check. They are out of my view. Here … my heart breaks again.
I’m sad that Shelli has left me and I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing her for a week. I’m mad that I was told 3 weeks prior that my passport would be fine. I’m disappointed in myself that I wasn’t 110% on top of my game and let this happen. I jump in the car with Shelli’s mother and devise a plan to go to Philadelphia on Monday morning to get a new passport.
Then, I’m reminded that Shelli’s mother just got home from vacation, hasn’t slept, her husband is in the hospital and her car is crushed under a tree. The ride back to her house reminded me that life isn’t always about our plan or our ideas of good and bad. I realized that it just wasn’t meant for me to be in that plane. I was supposed to be where I was. Assisting Shelli’s mom with her hardships made my issues so mundane and unworthy of any complaints about not going on vacation. There are other things that are much more important.
I’m not gonna stretch this out into a blog that’s all preachy about thanking God for the blessings we’ve been given. Instead, I’m just gonna leave you with an abbreviated end of the story …
In the end … a natural disaster and uncomfortable time away from Shelli turned into the great gift of quality one-on-one time with Shelli’s mother, father and cousin. Loss of electricity segues into quiet recovery and introspective time. (Oh yeah, the electricity was out at Shelli’s parents house the entire time I was there!). Hard conversations are turned into grand ideas and, hopefully, plans for a better future. A mad dash to Philly to get a passport turns into a viewing of Moonrise Kingdom (if you like youthful, quirky artsy kinda films, go see this INCREDIBLE film).
And then, on Wednesday morning, I was on a flight! While in the air, I had more time to think about what really happened. And simply put … God placed me where I needed to be … when I needed to be there. I was reminded that everything happens for a reason and that each day, moment and person that you encounter is a special blessing. When I landed, I was extra happy to see Shelli.
I wanted to do something to make this vacation extra special for her. I couldn’t think of anything worthy of her greatness … so …
After the closest thing we’ve had to an argument in 3 years (about me not knowing if I should have had flip-flops … I had water shoes!?!) … I decided that my gift would be … I’d just follow her lead. Well, as much as I could. I mean, how much could go wrong? We only had a few days to share on vacation.
Well … let’s just say a few things did go wrong! Yes … great pictures like this did have a cost! Let’s just say that I should have taken the camera out of my pocket before we rolled around in the sea smiling at the camera!
The camera recovered and the pictures were fine … See …
What? Did you really think that we were gonna run away and get married or something? Sorry …
What made this special? We lived through the cliché, “When life gives you lemons … you make lemonade!”
Not only did we live through it … we smiled through it. This sets the tone to how we’re gonna live our life together.
Think positively and optimistically (know that God has a plan!).
Share good communication with each other.
Don’t complain … be pro-active in your planning to change the things that you don’t like.
Do what you can do, but know that God has a plan that may or may not link with your own plan!
Know that God has a plan!
Ok … so it did get kinda drawn out and preachy, but hey … sometimes what God wants us to do isn’t gonna fit within our guidelines/expectations/plan/logic. Sometimes we have to trust that everything happens for a reason.
PS … the electricity JUST went out in the house and there will be no complaints from me!
First they said … “Just wait … once you say ‘I do,’ things will change.” I didn’t want that to be me. So I asked questions to my friends and family that were married and/or had been married. THEN, I got more words of advice (along with some heartfelt chuckles). “Once you become engaged things start to change.” I didn’t believe it.
After about a week of being engaged, over and over, I found myself laughing at myself when I corrected the mistake of speaking about Shelli as my girlfriend. There were moments when I literally could not stop myself from smiling and/or giggling out loud as I said, “I mean … My fiancé!” That’s when it hit me … Yeah … things have indeed changed! Not only am I changing my language from girlfriend to fiancé, but I’ve changed from words and thoughts of I & me to US & WE. The idea that “I” is the last letter in my name after WE & US really kicked in! And I’m cool with that. I embrace the idea of WE and look forward to a life of US. I am more than committed to this. This realization had me rethinking life … re-evaluating what dedication is.
Now you have to understand something about me. When I commit, I commit 110%! I’ve invested all of myself into projects and people. I’ve sacrificed love, friendships and finances in the past. I’ve won sometimes and I’ve lost at times. I go pretty hard. I know what it means to be dedicated … or so I thought. Then I asked Shelli to be my wife.
In the past, I have loved, but recently I realized that it wasn’t about ME loving Shelli. This isn’t about me being committed to marriage. Those things are easy to do and are unquestionable and solid in this relationship. What changed is that now I understand that this commitment is about US dedicating ourselves, collectively as ONE, to marriage. After this epiphany, I understand commitment and dedication differently now.
OK so … Shelli and I continue to talk about enjoying this time being engaged without the headache of wedding planning. In my mind, that would last for about 4-6 weeks. But NOW … I’m 6+ weeks deep into this engagement thing! Sunday, we took a step forward and set a date to finally get our families all together. Allowing ourselves to take our time to make these plans has importance. Well, at least in my mind it has importance. It allowed the reality of the process to kick in. (I have work to do!) The other reason that it was important to me was that I wanted to make sure that we stayed rooted in the reality of our love before we jumped into the headaches and fantasy of wedding planning. WE continue to talk about how we’re both fighting the urge to jump into wedding planning. But the truth is, neither of us really wants to do deal with the wedding planning headaches. But … we both want those fly pictures to document what WE know will be recognized as a historic love!!
And yes, my mind wanders at times.
I find myself listening to songs and thinking, “I could come down the aisle to that!” But I know that it would come with me dancing down the aisle so … this is more than likely a no go … but I still LOVE THIS song!
Or, “I gotta put that on the playlist at the reception!” I just heard that they are FINALLY (after 2 years!) getting this mastered. So, hopefully, I can get it on the playlist for real!
Or I find myself thinking other things such as, “I like the cut and details on that tuxedo!” and “I want a dessert bar in the mix with Twizzlers … and Red Vines!” or “Maybe we could have a really classy 1950s themed wedding!” Then there are those times when I am flipping channels or surfing the web and see something about dresses or a vacation/honeymoon spot and I stop and look for a while.
Yes, WE have a good thing happening here between US … and I want to make sure that it stays that way. I write this to say … for some of us testosterone-driven beings, having the time to settle in and get a grasp of the totality of things can be all we need so that we don’t lose it as wedding planning begins. We know it’s gotta happen and we know that it’s not easy work. But we also know that easing into the process may save the relationship a bunch of stress and extends things so that there is a little extra time to enjoy being engaged and in love. And, for real … I still smile when I get the opportunity to tell people that Shelli is my fiancé!
Although some would say that I’m kinda corny, I like to define those moments as proof that I’m happily in love!
I LOVE YOU SHELLI GILLIS!
Yes … things change … and sometimes that’s for the better!
(ARGGHHH … I guess WE have to talk more about that last name thing, huh?! Maybe that’s a future post?)