Tried and True Friendships

What is friendship? Can it even be defined? A friendship encapsulates many different roles yet each friendship is defined differently based on the connection. Some friends are only for a season and some can remain in your life until the end. Now, the dynamic of those friendships will change based on life experiences and we should all learn to understand and respect the process. You may move away and live in different states or continents for work or relocate after marriage, whatever the case may be. Those changes can put a strain on the friendship or make it even stronger….that’s all up to the people involved.

I had some great friendships as a kid. I had friends who I would play hopscotch and jump rope with at recess and when school was out. Friends who would climb a mango tree with me and sit on the grass and eat mangos ’til we were full. Friends that I did homework with and made up dance steps to any song we heard. Those friendships all ended when I moved from Belize to Boston. We didn’t have IG and Facebook then to keep in touch (I’m showing my age lol but I’m not ashamed of it). Mailing letters was an option but money for stamps wasn’t always available. Then in high school I made new friends. Friends that I would talk about boys with. We would go to school and complain about our parents/guardians unfair parenting rules. We would schedule what time we would be on AIM after school to chat and remind each other to call our cell phones before 7pm because that’s when the free minutes came to an end. But there were also the “friends” who made fun of my weight, my hair, my nerdiness and my accent…..yup, my accent. I remember these Jamaican girls speaking patois, and hearing them made me feel comfortable to join in with my Belizean Kriol (Creole) accent. Turns out, I was trying too hard to speak patois and I was saying everything wrong according to them. At that time, timid me didn’t stand up for myself and called them ignorant for not knowing that there are different dialects in the Caribbean so I just never spoke in my accent in school from that day on. But there was this one girl who didn’t make fun of my accent and that was the start of our friendship.

That friendship followed me into adulthood but with a few bumps and bruises on the way. A few years out of high school and we are both living in different states, speaking on the phone every day and texting when we were not calling each other. Then things began to change and neither of us saw it coming. We were both going through a lot financially and emotionally and would turn to each other to vent about whatever the issues were that day. Somewhere along the line I felt as if there wasn’t a balance in our venting sessions. She would express her tribulations and I would express mine but we would always end up back on her issues when I didn’t even get through all of my complaints about life. Then I realized all we were doing was complaining and that was no way to live! I would try to bring some light into the conversation but that was all overshadowed by darkness. This would continue for months and one day I just had enough and told her I needed a break from the friendship. I told her I couldn’t handle her being so negative all the time while I was dealing with issues of my own and I couldn’t handle her burden on top of my own. See, I had this habit of not speaking up for myself when I had an issue with someone, then I would let it fester and I would reach my breaking point unbeknownst to them. So to her, she was blindsided by my decision to press pause on our friendship while I was just mentally drained and fed up.

After a few weeks of not speaking she did reach out to me and I ignored every call and text. I was not ready to dive back into things because I did not think anything had changed. A few weeks turned into months and into a year. We formed new friendships and strengthened the ones we already had outside of each other. Then one day I missed my friend and something told me to call her….she answered. Sometimes you have to break some things apart to put them back together. Over the course of a couple weeks we discussed everything. Within the break we both grew tremendously. I had no reserves for speaking my mind on matters within the moment. I expressed myself wholeheartedly without fear of sounding mean. Our friendship now is not what it was when we were 17-18 years old, but we’re no longer those people either. We are women now with a greater understanding of who we are and our purpose. We recognize our triggers, speak openly of our anxieties and know when to give each other the space we deserve.

We recently had a conversation about boundaries. How we are learning how to set said boundaries and not feel guilty for doing so. I sent her a link on Instagram that had a caption saying “Feeling guilty because of the reaction you are getting once you establish new boundaries? Remember it is more about taking care of yourself as opposed to being mean to the other person.” A new boundary I have in place is choosing how much of my personal life I want to share with people….we had a conversation that went something like this…

Her: So are you going to give me more info on this subject?

Me: No

Her: Ok, I respect it.

It seems miniscule but I appreciated her not badgering me to tell her something I wasn’t willing to discuss. No questions about when I will be ready or why I wasn’t ready at that time or if I’ve given info about this specific topic to someone else. My decision as an adult was not dissected but simply respected.

My friendships now are exactly what I need them to be. Real when it’s time to talk about issues. Fun when it’s time to go to bottomless brunch. Encouraging when one of us feels like quitting school or work. Hilarious when we are sharing memes all day. Comforting when one of us has suffered a loss. Respectful when some things are not up for discussion. Supportive when we have an idea or want to make a change. Balanced….we don’t need to speak every day but those check-ins are golden. I know who I am and the type of energy I want around me and I am glad that I’ve grown into the woman I am today who can recognize what is feeding my soul and what is draining it. All our friends serve a purpose in our lives. We just need to decipher if that purpose is helping us grow or keeping us stagnant.

xoxo

Jess

My Life your Entertainment

“You the type to Instagram yo breakfast in the morning”, that’s what the little boy said to Chris Brown in his “No Guidance” music video. It’s funny to me because some people really make a living off of doing something like that. I salute the hustle, sometimes I wish I can “make it big” by being an “influencer” but then I think about how much of their daily lives they make public. As private as I am, I don’t think I can wholeheartedly be an influencer and provide the content that will elevate me to the highest level of popularity in the social media world.

Revealing your life on social media has become second nature to some. Those who take a picture before they take a bite of their food or a sip of their drink. Those who turn to their media platforms to vent about an issue they’re having with their family or friend. Those who travel simply to document their activities throughout the entire trip. Elaborate date nights and proposals recorded to show the world in hopes of going “viral”. New couples sometimes find themselves arguing over making their relationship known on social media as a way to solidify the union. Because, is the relationship even real if your “followers” don’t know about it?

For the non influencers like me, I think we can agree that we post what we want on social media. Some adventures of mine will make it on Instagram, you can even get my favorite song of the week or the infamous “in the gym mirror pic” when I’ve had an intense workout session. Some days I am enjoying my time and soaking in the moment so much that I will put my phone away, or record and save for later lol. I read an article that said people were renting private jets to take pictures to post on social media giving the illusion that they fly in style. These jets never left the tarmac!! If it’s not your career, live your life for you and not for the views of other people. *link to article attached* http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/10/you-can-rent-a-grounded-private-jet-to-take-instagram-photos.html

That fabrication made me think about how many other social media posts are fabricated….relationships maybe? I’ve heard of fake YouTube relationships just to get views. I know of some popular pages that will post a picture of a couple sporting the biggest smiles and looking very much in love but behind the scenes they are unhappy and arguing majority of the time. We should keep that in mind before we compare our lives to others and possibly envy what we see them post. It’s easier to post the happy times with smiles and a full heart. And that makes the “relationship goals” hashtag misleading. What we see on the forefront does not tell the story of what these couples had to overcome to be the unit they are today. In some cases, it is only just a picture and the relationship is in total disarray at that very moment.

We shouldn’t look to the internet for validation. We don’t need everyone to see that we are in that person’s life for us to believe that we mean something to them. Being a #MCM or #WCW does not mean the person loves you any more or less. Nor does it prove that your relationship is stronger than anyone else who hasn’t posted their bae on their page. It’s more than ok to keep some aspects of your life private. I am a firm believer in energies and some of those followers may not like seeing you happy with a partner. Their negative thoughts can transfer to your relationship energy and cause an imbalance.

Although social media has become a career source for influencers documenting their lives. It should not be confused with real unedited life. An Instagram post is not the blueprint for a happy life. I could personally do without the headache of who likes what picture or which picture to post to show how “happy” I am with a partner. I prefer the real life happiness. The brunches with your girls, the trips to the winery or beer garden or happy hour on a Thursday when y’all know damn well y’all got work in the morning. The movie date nights, the amusement park trips, or the cooking dinner together nights. The quality time spent can never be captured in a picture and portrayed properly on any social media platform.

If a relationship has no Title, does it even exist?

“What are we?” – A question that is asked many times as a way to validate a relationship. Sometimes it seems as if a title is more vital in defining a relationship than the dynamic of it. But I guess it can be justified because everyone else has a title right? My sister, my brother, my cousin, my friend etc., all titles we were born into or naturally occurred (my friend). Yet being in a mutually beneficial relationship with a friend is not enough. He has to be “my boyfriend”.



There’s no way I’m spending all this time and being intimate with someone without a definition for who we are together. I need to make sure that he knows he’s my man so he’s not out here entertaining other women. He needs to know that he’s mine and only mine because I don’t share anything! – and that’s the type of thinking that makes us forceful in getting a title. We make it a big deal early on, not taking into consideration his personality or feelings about the situation. We just know what we want and we’re going to get it.

I was talking to a guy for months and in casual conversation he mentions that we were a couple. It was cute, I’m not gon’ front, but I was so extra that I told him not to call us a couple because he never formally asked me to be his girlfriend lol. He thought it was the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard but I was persistent. So an hour or two later he finally decided to grant me my wish and ask me. I don’t know why I needed to be asked that question even after he already said we were a couple. Maybe it was the pressure from my friends and family who constantly saw us together and kept asking me if he was my boyfriend. I think I was tired of not having an answer or feeling as if “he’s my friend” wasn’t enough for them. Either way, I needed a title from him and I got it. We were together for about 3-4yrs give or take a few break ups in between lol. I don’t even think I used the title when speaking about him after the initial reveal. I would refer to him by his name, I was never the one to say “my boyfriend this” or “my boyfriend that”, he had a name and that’s what he was called.

Then there was another guy who asked me to be his girlfriend within a month, making me talk to his mom on WhatsApp and giving his sister my number so we can be friends and hang out. That relationship was over two months later and it didn’t even really get started in my opinion. This was Shawn (see blog post “My Online Boyfriend”), and he had no reservations for letting his friends know he had a “woman”. With him I barely heard my name unless he was upset about something (which was rare). It was always “I’m with my girl”, “my girl this”, one time he introduced me to one of his friends with “this is my girlfriend.” and that was it! Not “this is my girlfriend Jessica.”, nope, my name was simply girlfriend. Strangely enough I had a problem with that, I fought for a title in the relationship before him but now that I was given it so freely I wanted my identity back lol. I can be so complicated at times. We broke up and never spoke to each other again, while I am still friends with the one before him to this day. Even though the coupledom of Shawn and I was short lived, I learned that having a title early on and meeting the family doesn’t solidify the relationship. The connection you have with them is more important than showing people that you finally have someone. We should have taken our time, I see that now, but I was just so eager to have someone that I didn’t take a moment to think things through.



Those guys were completely different in every way. One was meticulous with making decisions and did not like feeling owned or possessed by someone (which was his reasoning for not seeing the big deal in titles). The other yearned for that possession and assigned a title instantly to secure me, to make it known that I belonged to him and no one else.

The way I see it, having a relationship with someone is deeper than “what are we?”. The understanding between two people holds more weight than the title you place on the relationship for the sake of introduction. God forbid you take your girlfriend home to meet your family and only introduce her by her name! She would have a fit! Her name is not enough, she’s not just her name anymore, she’s a girlfriend and that title must come before her given name! When friends ask “so y’all together?”, we must give the “correct” answer, and that answer is the validation of what they have witnessed. You’ve been spending a lot of time with this person so it must be more than “just friends” right? -seems pretty silly to me now that I’m older.



I’ve learned to enjoy the company around me. Someone I love spending time with can just be a positive energy that I gravitate to. A higher vibration that matches mine or simply pulls me to be on the same frequency. I want to experience someone for a good length of time without feeling like I need to slap on a title. I want comfort. I want peace.

XOXO

Jayelle