#25 - Embrace the Difference

This post originally appeared on Lucy's Pearls Ghost Writer Wednesday series, where she gives readers an opportunity to submit a post on their topic of choice.  Please be sure to check out her blog. It's dope!! And Thanks, Lucy, for giving us the chance to rap in your corner of the web!

Valentine’s Day is here and judging from Twitter, everyone is wading waist-deep in zee feels. Shoot, I’m emotionally eating RETNAH because of Scandal withdrawals, not to mention the fact that I’m getting married in 6 months which has me in a perpetual state of romance, or som’n like that.

If you would’ve told my 18-year-old self that at 26, I’d be writing a wedding blog while preparing to marry my ol’ lady of 7+ years, I would’ve yell-laughed!

My fiancĂ©e, Kellie, and I are polar opposites in every way imaginable. As much as we bump heads, though, I’ve learned a lot, particularly about the value of having a partition in your car embracing someone who is plenty different than yourself.

Initially, I think what I wanted in a partner was someone who was just like me and, because of our commonalities, would satisfy all my needs WHILE not requiring me to change a whole lot. I think that’s what a lot of us search for.

I came to the realization that I stand to gain nothing from a mirror image of myself except comfort (complacency and eventually boredom, too, if I’m honest). Embracing differences rooted in gender, and experiences, and upbringings, interests, ideologies, and disposition has grown me up. It’s a continuous cycle of vulnerability → discussion → acceptance → growth. Can’eem front, it’s stressfuuuuuh at times but definitely well worth it.

She sees in all my blind spots. As a result, I’ve become well rounded, while still remaining true to myself.

For instance, I’ve learned how to dance like nobody is watching. We recently went to a Beyonce concert, something I NEVER would have done before. If I recall correctly, at one point, I had involuntarily thrown BOTH my hands in the air and was doing the Single Ladies hand wave like a woman with a full tank of gas who had just got her eyebrows done. And when Kellie ‘bout passed out due to heat exhaustion, I was there to hold her up. I just wish I could've held onto my dignity that night, too.

I’ve learned how to express myself emotionally. When we started dating, I began experiencing emotions that I hadn’t felt before--good, bad, and in between. So, I would write her these long Facebook messages trying to be smooth like them poems on the end of Wale songs. It really helped me to look inward and figure out how to communicate my feelings.

I’ve learned how to slow down. She’s gonna kill me when she reads this, but anywho. Kelz is the King and Queen of Lazy Saturday. Waking up past noon, no shower, head wrapped, pizza and Netflix on a THOU. I, on the other hand, consider 8am “sleeping in” and can’t sit still to save my life. But more and more I’m appreciating the occasional chill day, devoid of to-do lists and stress.

I’ve learned how to dress better. One day she looked at me and said, “Men throw on a polo and think they’re doing something.” Though not referring to me directly, I stood there...in a polo...stunned because I thought EYE was killing the game at the time.

I’m Sway to this thing called love; I ‘on’t have all the answers, b. But over time, Kellie and I have managed to carve out our own little impenetrable space and fill it with love, protection, consistency, affirmation, transparency, and lots of lots of growing pains. Feminism. Travel. Cooking. Empathy. Forgiveness. There’s an endless list of things I’ve gained perspective on and experience in because I started looking at our differences as opportunities instead of obstacles.

 So, at the risk of sounding like a self-purported “expert,” if I had one piece of advice on this Vday, it’d be to embrace the differences of those around you--friends, #bae or otherwise!