A different day, a different city, a different bed- my own. It was barely after 6am and I was wide awake, playing footsies with myself under the billows of white blankets smiling. I had a great time in DC. It was exactly what I needed.
I laid there replaying the details of my trip, from the smooth scenic train ride to the sweetness of being able to check into my hotel room early, from delicious sweet and spicy Mexican eats from a food truck to the man supporting the breast cancer walk by wearing an inflatable pink bra pair of his own (if you think I’m kidding be sure to check the blog on Wednesday for a picture). There were the parks. The one right across the street from my hotel and the one only a block further where I sat for almost an hour sipping the same tall vanilla soy chai tea latte, people watching, praying, smiling, pondering, breathing. And then there was a guy. A handsome guy at that.
I finished my hour in the park and headed back to my hotel to change and prepare for a day of boutique hopping, museum visiting, and awe being. It was another hour at the most before I was on the red line headed in the direction of the National Portrait Gallery which is one of the few Smithsonian museums not located on the National mall. it is instead located by all types of shops like Anthropologie, J.Crew, Lou Lou Boutique, Zara, Barnes and Noble, Loft, Forever 21, etc. I was a little too early for the museum, and so I made use of my time by stopping in some of the shops. I rounded 11th street Zara bound when I happened upon the guy. Tall (which isn’t hard since I only stand a few inches over five feet), chocolate complexion, warm deep eyes, lean build, and an inviting smile. We exchanged glances, smiles, and hellos. He asked if I was in a rush and i said I wasn’t. Clearly my legs were because I kept walking to Zara (as if they were giving away their spring line, but thy weren’t) and he was already headed in the opposite direction.
|Photo courtesy of Ian Rusiana for Luckmag.com|
In my head I already gave myself a hard time for the automatic shut down. “Really Ahyana, he could have been a perfectly normal decent guy and that’s how you respond?” I was in Zara a this point. completely enamored by the white and ivory pallet that adorned much of the women’s section on the first floor. “Ahyana, you were just telling Jen that the thought of dating right now makes you cringe. You don’t want to have to be “on” for anyone right now. ” I was oohing and ahhing over the clothes and my exchange with the guy.
I made my way to the second floor of the store and was not nearly as impressed as I was with the first floor. It was a few minutes before my heels pivot turned, I smiled awkwardly (at least it felt awkward) at the sales associate, and headed for the escalator. Only I didn’t quite make it to the escalator before being approached by the guy.
I stopped and laughed to which he responded “So we ran into each other again I see.” Now, I don’t know how much of it was running into each other again. although his style does suggest he could appreciate the European mens wear at Zara. I am a little more inclined to think that he saw me go into Zara and decided he’d at least take a chance at introducing himself. He introduced himself (and yes I will continue to refer to him as “the guy”), sharing his name (he has the same first and last name as a guy I dated in the past), past work (he’s a former athlete with a couple championships/titles under his belt. I googled him so he wasn’t lying and I also found he is a bit older than I am), current work (he’s an entrepreneur focusing on fitness), and reiterated attraction and his attraction to me. He asked where I was from, “Philadelphia”, I shared. When he asked how long I was in DC and I said I was leaving later that evening he responded “Well here’s my contact information. I don’t mind traveling.”
|Photo courtesy of Brittish GQ March 2013|
Now the point of the post is not to at all bore you with the encounter with the guy. In fact let’s come back to me waking up at about 6am and reflecting on my time away including the guy. Specifically I kept thinking of his response to where I lived. For those of you who have no idea how close Philadelphia, PA is to Washington DC it’s about a two and half hour drive each way depending on traffic. It’s not terribly far but it’s not right around the corner either. Where I lived was certainly not convenient for the guy yet he didn’t seem inconvenienced by it.
I reflected on that for the next fifteen or twenty minutes. In fact it had me thinking about another friend of mine from the DC area who two birthdays ago worked with my mom and sister to surprise me by visiting and taking me to dinner. I was ridiculously surprised and undone by the thoughtfulness. I remember telling my counselor about it who agreed it was both sweet and sad. I gave her the “Say what now?!” face when she added sad to describe the experience. Her justification “Ahyana I am happy for you and that was really sweet. But you don’t think it’s just a little sad that you’re so happy that someone drove a little over two hours to take you to dinner for your birthday? And I mean it wasn’t even any of the people that you have gone out of your way for or hosted celebrations for . That is sad. You deserve more people who want to do all types of things to celebrate you.” Mhmm, yup. When you put it like that, it was sad.
I started to feel sad again as I thought about the guy. Then I was pissed. And then I was motivated. I was sad because I could hear my counselor’s voice and see her face. It was the same as the birthday incident. I was pissed because here it is almost two years later and I am still remotely moved by the fact that someone, the guy, would even consider me worth enough to spend his time, energy, and gas money to visit. Now I know. You’re probably thinking hold up Juliet. Romeo hasn’t visited yet. You’re right. But neither have a lot of people I have known for years, I have visited, and consistently put forth effort in maintaining my relationships with them. And that doesn’t even include family. I was pissed because “I don’t mind traveling.” only highlighted for me all the people I have chosen to keep in my life who totally do mind traveling, texting, emailing, snail mailing, or calling. Ooooo, even writing that just pissed me off. The truth does that I guess.
|Photo courtesy of Ezra Shaw for Getty Images|
I also said I was motivated. The point of me going to DC was to reset. It was to spend some time purposefully being. Not doing, planning, organizing, applying, or strategizing. It was time for me to default to the Ahyana I was created to be. The Ahyana who sits on park benches and slows down enough to notice her own pulse and the pulse of nature. The Ahyana who people watches and as she sees homeless person after homeless person only wonders “What makes us different?” knowing that our humanness unifies us. The Ahyana who tries on gorgeous dresses with no intent to buy and no place to wear them but they make me feel gorgeously fierce. The Ahyana who spends hours in museums and is in worship of the God who created the artist, photographer, sculptor, and engineer of the work that is before her. I went to reset myself and in so doing I defaulted to the Ahyana who is worth more than convenience, the Ahyana who is worth reciprocity, who is worth the continued work she must do to dismantle those things that would suggest otherwise.
I was also motivated to write this post. I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. Trust me. But I couldn’t. The thought of not using the pissed and motivated energy to write this and hopefully remind you that you are not a convenience wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t subdue the thought that either out of ignorance,tiredness, or willful tolerance, there just might be people who have bought into being a prized convenience for many of the people in their lives from boos to bosses and bffs to the kids.
Life isn’t convenient. I mean it. Have you ever been in labor or even seen labor? There is nothing about labor (the entire birthing process) that is convenient. Yet we keep doing it. Everyday new life is brought into this world. Furthermore raising life isn’t convenient. Have you talked to a parent or caregiver who is actively engaged in the life of their child or other young children they are committed to raising? There’s sickness, doctors appointments, communication challenges (pre verbal and post verbal, the two month old and the 12 year old), cheer leading, soccer, report cards with parent teach conferences, science fares (don’t even get me started on those), and the list goes on. I don’t remember the last parent or caregiver that said “Heck yes, child rearing is as convenient for me as breathing. I just do it.” They don’t say it cause it’s not yet people do it and keep doing it- keep baby making, labor enduring, child rearing, life shaping. That’s why we’re not extinct as a species.
|Photo courtesy of American Express|
You are not convenient. Stop treating yourself as such. Stop being the side chick, jawn, girl, woman, or or mistress. Stop being the one who is constantly staying late, working 60 hour weeks for 25 hour pay. Stop doing all of the house work. It’s 2014. You’re partner can wash a dish, and so can the 10 year old and the 14 year old. The five year old can put their clothes in the hamper and their toys in the box. Stop hosting the book club meetings because “You’re house is always so tidy and you make the best oatmeal raisin cookies”- tell them to clean their houses or pay you for it (ain’t nothing wrong with aside hustle) and buy some break and bake cookies. Stop saying yes to just about everything and start saying no even if it seems weird and means that others will have to put in some work. Stop saying no to things that bother you because an adult conversation about necessary endings and changes would be inconvenient for someone else.
I think I might still be pissed. But hopefully you’re a little motivated. I know I sure am.
This week would you do yourself a favor? Don’t be a 7 eleven, a gas station mini mart, a WAWA, or any other type of one stop low quality but over priced straight path to obesity and diabetes convenience store. Do be the person worth the effort. Be the person worth the manager reworking the schedule so that all staff members have a monthly rotation of a few late evenings. Do be the partner who gets to soak in the tub because the other partner is washing the dishes from the amazing lasagna you baked. Do be the mom who’s feet are up watching tv and not stepping on toys because you’re five year old put them away before bed. Be the friend who talks with the other friend about reciprocity in friendships and that it’s been lacking. Bring a schedule to the next book club meeting for people to sign up to host it at their house or wherever they find space as long as it isn’t your space. Finally, do be the main chick, jawn, girl, woman, etc. Seriously be the one and only or be nothing. Plus, who is the 1am booty call really convenient for?
|Photo courtesy of Irving Penn|