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Thursday
Mar122015

You're Playing With My Emotions--Why I've Never Solved A Single One Of My Wife's Problems

I’ve been sleep deprived lately—something I’ve come to accept as part of my life. My night owlism is at an all-time high since I began working from home, various libraries and outdoor spaces.

But with the lack of sleep comes prophecy. I get little moments of insight where the voice behind my ear says something that I don’t just know is true, but I feel it. The other night, between episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Luther, I came to realize something about my time spent with the lovely Jamilah Jeezy.

This something that I realized pertains to the glory days in good ol’ Virginia, when hard decisions revolved around which beach we’d be drinking wine at. It pertains to the dating days, when we’d browse Blockbuster (remember them?) and laugh at offensively horrible movies like The Watermelon Heist, en route to discovering slept-on gems like Dogma and Idiocracy—during the college days of trying to find something real in the world. That something, the little bit of prophetic wisdom that came to me while binging on Netflix, couldn’t have been more relevant during the early married days, when we both began learning that real is what you make it, and the very things that “they” say you have to do to be happy in life, are the very things that make you unhappy.

That little something is especially relevant today, while we’re in the city of Angels chasing and living the dream. The bit of prophecy that I discovered the other night which I’m unnecessarily belaboring was this…

I have never, at any point in my life, been able to solve a single one of her problems.

Not when she was batting her eyelashes and trying to get chose, not when she graduated from Down Ass Chick 101 into girlfriend territory and not even now, when we slit our wrists at the altar and told God that we’d be together forever. At least I think that’s how it went—I was also sleep deprived and stressed at the wedding. But I do remember she walked down the aisle to music by the sexy ageless wonder, Sade.

Chew on that for a second, though. You might be thinking, but Rone, aren’t relationships all about solving each other’s problems and making each other whole? Again, that’s what “they” would have you believe, and exactly what is going to keep you unhappy.

When I say I’ve never been able to solve a single one of my wife’s problems, I don’t mean that I haven’t exponentially changed her life for the better, and let her know that life is, in fact, worth living—that goes without saying. I’m a G Boy.

What I am saying is that in my years of being with her and in other situations of field research with other relationships and dealings with women, I’ve learned that it’s in a woman’s nature to express her issues in a way that, when they hit my ears, seem sound like insurmountable obstacles that spell doom around the corner.

Why do they do that? Because they’re crazy.

I’ve also noticed that in these situations, it is in a man’s nature to jump into problem solver mode and tell her what she’s feeling and what she’s not feeling and how to fix it.

Why do we, myself included, do that? Because we’re crazy.

Not in the same way that they’re crazy, though. God had some fun with that creation. But we’re crazy because we expect our ladies to communicate, feel and solve the same way that we communicate, feel and solve. Finding out that all women are crazy was the best thing that ever happened to me. It kept me from taking mine back to the store, thinking she was broken, and allowed me to regroup and recalibrate, so that I can get through to this other being that I’m choosing to share a life with.

When I say that women are crazy, it’s because they’re crazy to me. When in their natural habitat, amongst other women, they tend to understand each other’s communication styles, but if I didn’t know any better, I’d be doomed to a confused life.

In the early days, I would jump in with solutions before Mrs. G even got three sentences in. I know that when I come to someone to vent, I’m typically not just practicing my talking, I want some solutions, so that I can stop doing what I’m doing and feeling what I’m feeling.

What I learned is that cutting her off immediately with solutions, or trying to engineer her emotions, I’m doing the woman perceived equivalent of her nagging me.

Don’t forget to do X, because blah blah will happen

Are you going to do X? You know how last time blah blah happened

Why are you doing X? Have you thought about doing Y?

Her coming with a thousand questions or criticisms when I’m in chill mode, or when I have something under control makes me want to jump out of the window and try my luck with whatever happens on the way down. However, at the root of a nag 9 times out of 10 lies a good intention.

So even though I think I’m following the natural order of operations by providing solutions off the bat, it probably evokes the same feeling of a nag.

Any dude that has been with a woman long enough has gotten his head bitten off for providing solutions during one of these moments. It’s actually a rite of passage to learn not to do that.

The reason for this is that a woman’s level of comfort with emotions faaaaar exceeds a dude’s level of comfort with them. So while it might seem like she’s having a meltdown, she might just be having a Tuesday. Whereas if I was to vent my frustrations in the same manner, there might be a legit reason to be afraid.

It makes perfect sense.

A little girl infant recognizes from the very first time that she pees, that a lot of things with her happen internally. Her reproductive system for the most part revolves around organs that she’ll never see with her eyes or touch with her hand. For that reason, among many others, she learns to look within and find some comfort there. She adapts to sharing very intimate things with parents, doctors and trusted people really early in life. So it becomes easier to trust and believe in those gut instincts and come back to a sense of grounding after allowing herself to experience a wide range of those emotions in any given moment.

The first time a baby boy pees, there’s a good chance his pee got on someone else. By the age of six, he’s been hit in the nuts at least twice, if he plays outside enough. He takes more credence in the end result of exploring the outside, rather than exploring what happened inside of him on the way to that result. With his reproductive system, what you see is what you get. Because he looks at the world from outside in, he probably isn’t as comfortable with the inner workings of everything. It’s all about results, results, results. Because of that, he doesn’t have as many colors to paint his emotional portrait. 

So if he sees someone FEELING to that extent, his reaction is going to be “Whoa, something is wrong. Let me help you with that.” 

What he might not realize is that by getting it all out (rubbing one out, if you will), she’s able to re-center and help herself. On the flipside, he wouldn’t bother exploring those feelings on the way to his decision, partially in fear that actually feeling them would cloud or prevent him from making his decision. 

No one is necessarily right or wrong, but understanding this can save some arguments and headache.

One of my uncles put me on to a strategy that saved my life. It’s simply this:

Do you want me to help you solve the issue or are you just venting?

This way, he can proceed accordingly, without having to worry about being blindsided and stepping on a landmine. They both have their place, so it helps him, and since adopting it, helps me making sure the conversation doesn’t backfire. Solving and venting both have their place. 

So while I have HELPED my wife solve plenty of her problems, I’ve never solved a single one. Solve mode typically leads to missing each other’s point of view, without knowing why. So while my guidance has its place, I’ve found it helpful to weigh whether she needs me to step in or needs me to give her the emotional space to save herself. 

And with that, it’s nap time. 

Thursday
Jan222015

The Summer Of The Fist

One summer some years ago, my friends and I lived by a simple creed. It was a way of life that kept men honest, righted misunderstandings, built camaraderie and provided plenty of entertainment. 

This newfound way of life during that long, hot summer, came to life any time one of my band of misfits uttered the following four words: 

Get the boxing gloves. 

You’re running a platinum mouth, knowing you’ve got a gold heart? 

Get the boxing gloves. 

Someone threw out the obligatory promiscuous mom joke, when another someone wasn’t in the mood for that noise? 

Get the boxing gloves. 

The origin of the boxing gloves, like that of Spiderman, teaches that with great power, comes great responsibility. You see, we were all friends and family, so we had no interest in truly harming each other, but sometimes, when words and reason don’t work, the almighty gloves were summoned to set the nature of the animal kingdom back on track. 

The man who wields the gloves must do so with integrity. 

We started using the gloves when two of my friends were getting into an argument about some girl that they both knew. One friend was G-Checking the other, basically saying that he was letting this girl, who he had no attachment to, run him around in circles. The other friend took issue to the claims of simpdom and the jokes were starting to hit a little too close to home. 

So after driving around aimlessly for hours, because that’s a good time if you’re under age growing up in the Denbigh area of Newport News, Va., one of us got the idea to they settle this with the fisticuffs. 

Since we were all friends, we decided that the best way to go about it is to get a set of boxing gloves. So some time after midnight, we made a trip to Super K-Mart and bought the gloves. 

They did battle, if you could call it that. Neither friend had any training and never really played organized sports, so it basically boiled down to wild head hunting until they got too tired to remember why they were mad in the first place. 

But like Pops said in Friday—you win some, you lose some, but you live, son. You live to fight another day. 

After that night, getting the boxing gloves became the go-to move to settle any disputes. So when you have too much testosterone, mixed with too much heat, you’re going to get a lot of those moments. 

I had to put the gloves on after using a few too many adjectives to describe my friend’s magically delicious sister. The boxing gloves were summoned a few times over money disputes. My little brother even got in on it when a cousin came to town for a visit. He scored a first round TKO after I told him that the right hook would be open when he ducks under my cousin’s wild haymakers. 

Through the bruised egos and hurt feelings rose a unique brotherhood, weaved together under the respect of manhood and executed through the power of the gloves. 

Thursday
Jan152015

The Limp Handshake Haiku

Shoulda came with it

Your hand almost snapped in half

Serves you right. Ha-Ha!

Monday
Jan122015

When Keeping It Married Goes Wrong

I had to check my sweet Mrs. Graham the other day. 

I hadn't spoiled her in a while, so I decided to use a gift card and take her to this fine dining establishment in my hometown called Applebee's. Not sure if they have one of these in your town, but if they do, you should definitely check it out. Top notch stuff.

Anyway, it was the day before we were set to fly back out to SoCal, so we were talking about things we wanted to do once we got back to life. 

That's when it happened. 

She told me to remember to clear my colon since we had a long flight in front of us.  

I clenched my paper Applebee's napkin in my hands, composing myself, so that I wouldn't snap. We've been leveling up in our relationship lately, so I guess she forgot that we were 28 and not 68. I had to let her know we'd probably have a good 30 years of those kinds of conversations, so for now, refrain from getting familiar with the happenings of my large intestine. 

Once we're in the adult diaper demographic, then maybe It'll be time to seek her guidance on such matters. But that day is not today. In terms of being married and bored, I'd much rather talk about routes to work:

 

Monday
Jan052015

When Your People Ain't Your People: Another Entry Into The Book Of Friend Zone

 

In my next offering into the Book of Friend Zone, I take you back to my young whippersnapper days, when I was in the 7th grade. 

I had been friending my way into the attention of this girl who I had a bunch of classes with, including band. She was in all of my home room classes throughout middle school. 

Anyway, we were on this end of the year band trip to Busch Gardens, which is foreshadowing for why I was initially going to title this blog post “F-ck Tea Cups”. 

As referenced in another offering into the Book of the Friend Zone, this particular young lass had a strange way of becoming a horrible human being to me when an older, more sophisticated, more well traveled man, usually an 8th grader, happened to come along. And a young Lerone, not quite sure of himself enough yet to adopt the Rone G moniker, had an uncanny appetite for such punishment. 

Earlier in the year, I had offered up a most embarrassing moment to this young lass via AIM chat, because that’s what you do when you’re in middle school. You bond over secrets, so in my young friend zone mind, I figured that if I open up, I’ll be in there like swim wear. 

For the purpose of this Busch Gardens story (and for the sake of continuity throughout this blog), we’ll again refer to my middle school crush as Becky. 

So on AIM chat, Becky and I were sharing most embarrassing moments. I don’t remember hers, so it was probably lame, but I decided to go hard or go home with mine. I went hard, by telling her about the time I slow danced with the big booty Puerto Rican girl in my neighborhood and how excited it made me. 

Now J-Lo probably didn’t even notice my excitement, because school dances were tame back then and we had to have been entire arm lengths apart. 

But as a young’un, I think my voice probably changed immediately after having my hands on those hips for 3-and-a-half minutes. 

So Becky was nonchalant on AIM when I told her this deep, dark, dastardly secret. Little did I know that she was keeping it in the chamber for the next time she needed to put me out of my Friend Zone misery, as she upgraded to the next 8th grader she “like liked” in that moment. 

Imagine my surprise when, on the bus ride to Busch Gardens, the 8th grade dude that Becky had googly eyes for, brought up the topics of most embarrassing moments. So not only was he stealing my game, he was about to use it on my woman. 

I saw Becky’s eyes light up and knew that she was about to switch sides on me in a moment that would forever live in infamy. … Like when Hulk Hogan joined the nWo. Or Lebron joined the Heat

My throat tightened when I saw her giggling, as she leaned into the Dickhead 8th grader’s ear. His facial expression changed gradually as his brain processed what she was whispering. 

“He told you that?!” the dude asked, incredulously. 

The moment that followed put into perspective just how young middle school actually is. Back then, I distinctly remember feeling like me and my peers were coming into our own as grown ups. There were relationships, MTV Video Music Awards, people trying out for JV sports, listening to DMX and Wu-Tang—it felt like we were adults. 

But when nobody would get into the teacups at Busch Gardens with me because they were supposedly scared I might get hard, it let me know just how young those early teen years are.

So I’m sitting in a giant tea cup by myself, already pretty old to be in them in the first place—but spinning in circles felt even dumber when every few rotations you see people pointing and laughing.

 

I endured this dumb ride and watched as my woman cuddled up with another dude at my expense. Similar to that moment with the big booty Puerto Rican girl, I grew up a little in this moment, but for very different reasons this time. It’s like this was the 7th grade version of coming home and finding your wife in bed with another man. 

That’s why I’m like, f-ck teacups. 

I took a few lessons from this Friend Zone mishap. One, it’s on you to change your environment and the people you allow in it. This wasn’t the first time Becky switched sides on me and wouldn’t be the last, so it was my fault for allowing her to keep doing it, in the hopes that things would magically go my way and get better some day. 

Two, things that you think are catastrophes become laughable once you actually get through them. In my mind and I guess in their minds, there was something drastically wrong or embarrassing about the way my body responded to J-Lo. If I could have fast-forwarded mentally just 3 years or so, I would have known to hit them with the stale face and call them lame for being dumb enough to think it was “icky”. A world where my equipment doesn’t respond to having a big booty Puerto Rican girl in my clutches is not a world that I want to be apart of. 

I guess there’s a third lesson in this also. Uhhh, let’s see. Don’t respect women so much? I’m a gentleman to my core, but I had to learn that there is a time and place for putting my jacket over the puddle. 

I was always taught to take no nonsense from dudes, but I guess me liking Becky made me give her waaaay too much leeway. I’m sure if she was a dude, even back then, I woulda just told her to shut up. Actually, wrestling was at its peak back then, so I would have told Becky and her merry group of co-signers that “I’ve got two words for ya … suck it!”

Putting up with more nonsense from the opposite sex is the same thing that keeps women with black eyes “because he loves me”, so learning this lesson kept me from a life of having my testicles removed, I guess.

I think I’m about to go watch the Wonder Years and have a good cry.