Hi. I’m Carmen Jones (not my real name, obviously, but the 9 to 5 doesn’t need to know all of my dirt). A creative, impulsive, semi-traditional Southern gal/Brooklyn transplant and who somehow found herself starring in what often feels like a real-life romantic comedy. You see, when it comes to love, I am more of a fan or a junkie than I am an expert. I don’t pretend to have all the answers because if I did, I'd be laid up with a man to please (and to please me) instead of sitting here chatting with you. Yet here I am. So what qualifies me to sit up here and talk to you? Experience.
Looks and youth ain't everything/Experience is a quality that counts for a lot/The sad thing 'bout experience is/By the time you've got it/It's usually all you've got…
-Belle, The Sleeping Car Starlight Express
As Wendy Williams says “Mother has LIVED”, honey. You hear me? I’ve LIVED! At 27, I had the type of big, fancy wedding that so many young women dream about. I married a man I loved madly and would’ve done absolutely anything for him…until “anything” included turning a blind eye while he lived out the Black male version of Sex and the City (Sidebar: what would that be? The Game?) I’d be lying if I acted like immediately after discovering his affair, I wasn’t a-b-s-o-l-u-t-el-y devastated. I mean, this was my husband, not some silly boy I was playing house with. I wasn’t his wifey, I had taken a vow to be his wife forever. Honey, if I’d known “forever” was only going to last for three years, I would’ve thought twice about signing up for it. After a serious attempt at allowing him to be in an open relationship with me- love will make you do some strange things, y’all-I decided to let it go and accept my love TKO.
I cried for months after the demise of my marriage until I decided that pitiful and defeated just don’t look good on me. Instead of allowing myself to become a cliché, I picked up my broken heart and decided to try again. So I was a divorcee’ before 35. So what? If Elizabeth Taylor could keep trying until she got it right, well gosh darn it, so could I…probably not the best logic, huh?
Instead of focusing on my much needed healing and recovery, I dove into a relationship with the first willing and eligible man I could find. We were off and on for the better part of two years until he’d had enough of my drama (you know, the drama that comes with being a recent divorcee who shouldn’t be seriously involved with anyone yet). I spent a few months waiting to see if he’d change his mind, then decided that I shouldn’t let someone else be in the driver’s seat for my happiness. It was time for me to break my serial monogamist flight pattern and try casual dating. I discovered ways to enjoy someone and live in the moment without fast-forwarding in my mind to what our china patterns and floral arrangements should be. No longer am I in the Ferrari of love, going from zero to taken in less than 2.5 seconds.
You see, darlings, I’d always been the proverbial ant in my dating life. The ant saved up all summer for the winter while the grasshopper lived in the moment. Whenever a brother has caught my eye, I’ve tried to force him into being the one that’d last through the winter. And where did it leave me? Owning stock in Kleenex and Ben and Jerry’s. Now, I am committed to enjoying life and enjoying who and what comes my way. I am now the grasshopper. I’ve become the woman who embraces life like it’s an adventure full of stories to be told, great loves to be found and great moments to be made. And I’m inviting you to take this journey with me…I promise I’ll make it worth your while.
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