By H. Roberta Williams
It’s been a little while since my last self-soul searching note, so here goes nothng. I’d love to read your thoughts about this particular post in the comments section when you get a chance.
In the process of getting back on my feet and recovering from a particularly difficult personal ordeal, I’ve been cautiously allowing a few men to get beyond the “Hey, how are you?” surface level of my time. Typically, when a brother comes to the door of my heart, it remains closed, but I’ll speak through it to see what he wants. With a few gentlemen, I’ve allowed the door to crack open a bit, but the chain is still on it.
Many have said, “Harriet, girl, just jump back out there and go for the gusto!” As much as I would love to take that kind of risk, I just got out of the frying pan. I’m not all that eager to find myself in a fire, and the vulnerability I feel will more than likely put me there if I’m not careful.
Case in point: there’s this one brother I went to high school with, right? He calls often, and never fails to put a smile on my face. My mom noticed one day and asked, “Do you have a boyfriend now?” My response was a quick, “No! Why?” She said she’d noticed that the moment I saw his name on the caller ID, my whole face lit up.
Wow. I’m really easy to read, but it’s embarassing when moms takes notice. LOL She proceeded to ask me innocent questions about who he is, where he’s from, how’d we meet, who are his parents, what does he do, etc. After answering with generalities, she threw a doozie at me:
“What do you like about him?”
Lord, have mercy. My answer to that simple question became the judge regarding my readiness to “go for the gusto.” I’ll let you be the judge as well before I give you my own personal assessment.
I replied, “Well, he’s thoughtful, a hard worker, he makes me laugh, he respects me, and our conversations challenge me to be a better person and a better Christian.”
Boom. The recipe for a man worthy of my attention, right?
These are the baseline things that a man should offer from the get go…but here I am, giving extra credit for things that should the minimum standard. He’s SUPPOSED to be thoughtful! He’s SUPPOSED to have a sense of humor! He’s SUPPOSED to be respectful! He’s SUPPOSED to be intellectually, emotionally and spiritually challenging and uplifting!
So although I thought I was ready, realistically I’m not. When I start getting excited about a brother presenting to me the bare minimum requirements of what it should take to be in an adult relationship, then I need to step back, regroup and try again later.
I’m going back to the basics of love, y’all.
The basics for me look like this:
1) Loving God enough to allow Him to guide my steps instead of me trying to get Him to cosign on my foolishness
2) Loving myself enough to know that I’m worth the baseline standard and THEN some…not just settling for the minimum
3) Respecting a man enough to not make him pay for another man’s mistakes…whether purposely or subconsciously.
These fundamentals will be my guide to opening the door to my heart again.
Harriet Hairston is a woman who slips and slides in and out of labels (military officer, human resource manager, minister, mentor, spoken word artist and teacher). The only one that has stuck so far is “mother” (the most important in her estimation). The rest have taught her well that only what she does for Christ will last. Her transparent style chops away at the proverbial “elephants in the living room” that no one wants to talk about. She has made her own life an open door, so others will be willing to look at themselves and their humanity unashamedly and keep pressing forward in spite of the obstacles encountered. You can read more of her work on her site MY LIFE: THE AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL or you can contact her at email@example.com.