I have been sitting with myself. Sitting with my woman and finding my way back to me. As I was evaluating my relationships with the men I love, and have loved, I saw how I lost myself in some of them.

That seems like an untruth to those who know me because the first thing they all say about me is “Dana is fully Dana. She is all her. That girl does exactly what she wants to do!”

I guess that is true when you compare me to most women who are in hiding in plain sight but when I compare the me that I had become to the me that is me, I can plainly see.

In the picture below, I was 25 years old. Celebrating a milestone birthday in the Bahamas. I was getting ready to para sail which is fascinating! My boyfriend at the time, did not want to go so I booked my flight without him. He was pissed. He got over it.

This photo has hung in every bedroom closet for 21 years with that beautiful quote and my location stamp at the bottom of it. I have a box full of post cards of all the places I traveled before I became a mother. My kids marvel. “Mom, you went everywhere”.

Yeap.

As I danced, and traveled the Island, everyone was giving me a high five for being such a courageous American woman on the trip alone. I was not scared. I had a ball. One of the best vacations in my life and those Island men, can they dance.

Umm hmm. They can dance!

As I reflect back, I remember the countless conversations I had with my older sisters about how I did not want to get married and wasn’t sure if I wanted to have children. My mother would give me the side eye, and my Dad just shook his head. He was always shaking his head at me. He was extremely proud of me but I confused the hell out of him. He in part was responsible for this woman I was becoming.

He wanted a boy. He got me. But he raised me like he was raising a boy…although I do not think he was consciously aware of it. My dad taught me independence, my mother taught me survival. My dad showed me the world, my mom showed me how to coupon. My dad taught me how to shoot a gun, my mother showed me how to dial 911.

My mother showed me how to keep a home while dazzling with bootylicious grace, my dad taught me what putting a gun to a mans head that touched me without permission looked like.

I was this sweet, soft, powerful, warring seductive mess. I still am.

In those conversations with my sisters, my life was well formed and shaped in my mind. I was born in 1972 and in the 70’s and early 80’s television was ripe with all of these fascinating shows. Lucille Ball, Lavern and Shirley, Cagney and Lacey, Mary Tyler Moore and WONDER WOMAN! I soaked them all in, taking in bits of pieces of what I wanted my woman to look like. Oh, and I loved Dukes and Hazzard. Daisy and her Dukes, was rocking it out and that white boy with the blonde hair, was my first wet dream.

Then comes the explosion of rap music and Salt n Pepa. As a young black girl, I was free to express and dance and shake my thang. By the time, I was 23, I was earning 40K plus a year, and all of my girlfriends had babies. I was traveling and they were changing pampers. I drove a fiery red Ford convertible and had an apartment in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

If I wanted to party, I partied. If I wanted to go away for the weekend, I went away for the weekend. If I wanted someone in my bed, someone was in my bed and when I wanted to sleep alone, I slept alone and did not answer my phone.

I explained nothing to anyone and sure in the hell was not getting permission slips from some negro to do what I wanted to do.

I was in free in the marrow of my bone.

But as I got older, the questions about marriage and children became more frequent and the conflict grew louder in my soul and a good guy who I was dating asked me to marry him (not the same guy) and at 30 I was married and 5 months or so later, pregnant and at that time, I had a silver Ford convertible that I traded for a Se bring Convertible because I could not get a car seat in the back seat.

I had just been recruited to Miami and my whole life changed in a year. I struggled to be a wife, and mother. I got the mother thing right, quickly because I was in love with my son. He was the joy and delight of my life. I had no idea I could love someone so much. He still takes my breath away.

I never got the wife thang down.

I did not fit his expectations and he did not fit mine. I was not submissive enough, quiet enough, mediocre enough. I was always too much of something and always too damn naked.

My ex husband is a good guy. He really is. He just wasn’t good for me.

In retrospect, I am just not traditional wife material. Nothing about it appeals to me and I concluded a while ago, that I just do not want to be married….although I love love and companionship.

And I do not want someone in my face and in my bed everyday.

Go home sometimes.

Please.

It takes a special kind of dude to love me and let me be.

I am happy to say, I am back on track. I know who I am and I am living out who I am and the freedom is amazing.

I appreciate the journey….and I am glad I am a Mommy. I could have done the Mommy thing without the marriage thing but then that puts my soul in conflict with what does God say?

Lord, Jesus.

Just when I think I have it all figured out, I am back on my knees at that altar and in the Creator’s face. Two things are for sure. I love me some Master, Creator and I love me some me…so even when I go wrong, I can’t go wrong…at least not for long.

D.L.P.

Living My Truth