Love Of My Life: An Ode to Hip Hop

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You know I can’t actually recall the moment that I fell in love with Hip Hop. It seems as though I was randomly introduced to it and at first I wasn’t concerned one way or another. It wasn’t like I didn’t have other types of music to hold my interest. Sure it stood out, but I mean honestly I think at the time I just wasn’t ready. I was struggling in a world of trying to figure out exactly what it is that I even like. I didn’t have time to step out and try anything new.

As I got to know Hip Hop I started to learn and understand how deep and intricate it really was. How it could take me from feeling one way to feeling another in a matter of minutes. One minute I’m deep in intellectualism from the rhymes of Mos Def or Black Thought then I’m being seduced by the smoothness of Common or Slum Village. When I’m feeling goofy and nostalgic about love I hear “Kiss Me Through The Phone” and instantly the little girl that still lives within me blushes. When I need Hip Hop’s encouragement to get up and be Successful, he’s always there to push me beyond the money, the cars, and the clothes. I didn’t realize how much I relied on Hip Hop until things got tough and Hip Hop was there to Brush My Shoulder off.

It’s funny how I missed when it got to the point where everyday I would wake up and anxiously await reconnecting with Hip Hop. We would go over what we shared the day before and I’d start looking to see if Hip Hop had anything new to offer to me. It always does. Something new to uplift me, get me crunk, or calm me down. Sure sometimes Hip Hop gets on my nerves, but I’ve learned to actually accept that and even though I hate to admit it, sometimes I love the “childish” side of Hip Hop.

I think I’m beginning to love the sides of Hip Hop that are different from me. Sometimes I do need a lil Goon motivation I suppose. I don’t always have to be so deep. Sometimes I just need to dance and not worry about what’s being said and I just need to go with the flow. Hip Hop helps me to understand that.

I seriously can’t say when it was that I fell in love with Hip Hop. It’s like I knew it was awesome all along, but I just didn’t take the time to stop and truly listen. Perhaps I was being so cautious about learning and growing with something new I missed out on some of Hip Hop’s greatness. I think I was being a bit “stuck up” and full of myself by glossing over what I considered to be Hip Hop’s less conscious contributions. In truth that’s what makes Hip Hop so eclectic, so unique. There’s always more than meets the eye with Hip Hop and I just need to continue to discover the layers.

Just like Hip Hop is there for me flaws and all, I think that’s how I have grown to be there for Hip Hop. I don’t want to be taken so seriously so maybe there is a time and a place to “party, party, party let’s all get wasted.” Hip Hop is very social, loved by many and hated by even more so I guess sometimes that plays a role too. But I’m way more of a lover than a hater so perhaps that’s why I’m falling….

I still can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened. But I truly feel as though it did, and now I can’t see my life without Hip Hop. I’ve actually learned so much about myself because of Hip Hop. The way that Hip Hop speaks directly to me about things I thought no one else understood. Hip Hop helps me be honest with myself. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly I think Hip Hop will continue to grow just like I have. Perhaps we can grow together continuously drawing upon the past as good samples to help build the future.

Replacing "It's not you, it's me."

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Here at One Fourth Random, I’ve made plenty of calls to the general public to cease and desist on certain words due to them having officially jumped the shark of relevancy. I’ve called for the discontinued use of the word Swagger, as well as offered a list of suggestions to use instead. I’ve pleaded for the death of the word Hater when used in situations in which one is not hating, but simply disagreeing. Unfortunately those attempts were fruitless and these words are still being used ad nauseum today.

Well today I’d like to tackle the phrase “It’s not you, it’s me.” Last night I was taking a shower and my iTunes was on DJ (TMI much?). A random Chris Brown song that I’ve never heard before flooded my bathroom, and I had to stop and chuckle. The song is titled “Say Goodbye” and I’m guessing C. Breezy was trying to explain to a girl why he was leaving her (hey! no jokes! Ok, go ahead, in the comments section). He sings:

There’s never a right time to say goodbye
But I gotta make the first move
‘Cause if I don’t you gonna start hating me
Cause I really don’t feel the way I once felt about you
Girl it’s not you, it’s me
I kinda gotta figure out what I need

This got me to thinking how overused this phrase is. Clearly in the above scenario the girl must have done SOMETHING for C. Breezy to see if he could run it. What’s funny is that this has been mocked and made fun of all over the place yet people still use it. The whole point of saying this is to hopefully deflect any anger that may come your way when breaking up with someone. Newsflash: It doesn’t work.

“It’s not you baby, it’s me” doesn’t work because (I’m speaking in the general here):

  • The truth is it IS you, but one of the reasons we’re breaking up is because you never believe a word that I say. If I told you the truth, you’d call me a lie.
  • The truth is it IS you, but I can’t say that because I’m hoping that I’ll be able circle back for random sex later.
  • The truth is it IS you, but you have some serious emotional issues, and I just bought new tires.
  • The truth is it IS you, but by telling you that it’s me instead your mother won’t hate me and it’s likely she’ll keep me in her will. I’ve been dying for the coat she knows I like.
  • Once this phrase is uttered, things will spiral out of control and the one on the receiving end will go to the ends of the earth to uncover the truths that you are hiding. Is it really worth all of that?

This list could go on and on and on for days, but it breaks down to one simple point. Whenever someone tells you that “It’s not you, it’s me” call a flag on the play. They are really trying to play you, because 1) they know that this doesn’t work and 2) it’s really you.

So let’s think of some phrases that we can use instead of “It’s not you, it’s me.” When breaking up with someone and you wish to do so sensitively, choose from these phrases instead.

  • Listen babe, this time I mean it. It really isn’t you, it’s me. I just discovered I have one of the “forevers”. (Think about it.)
  • Hun, I’m just not ready to be committed. (Add to that) I just don’t think I look good in a straight jacket.
  • *When he/she is starting to look at you in pain as the lightbulb starts to go off just look uneasy and yell* I LOVE LAMP!
  • I want to be with you, but I just found out that I got drafted and I have to report to Antarctica tomorrow. But we should do it one last time for our country.
  • Listen, I’m gay. (If they are into that sort of thing, reiterate this.)
  • If you are gay: Listen, I’m straight.
  • If you are a guy tell her “I have a sexual addiction. I have been trying to hide it but I can’t. I need to have sex at least 4 times  a day. Can you accept me and love me and satisfy that?” (She will probably run.)
  • If you are a woman tell him. “I am allergic to sex. I only wish to do it when I’m trying to have a child. Good news is I do want lots of children!” (He will be off before you even get to the children part.)

These are all ways to basically say “It’s not you, it’s me” without having to actually say those stupid words. At least be creative and dress it up a bit.

What are some other phrases we can use to replace I.N.Y.I.M?



Need Help Finding Your Winter Boo?

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So this week a dear friend told me that I do all this blogging about winter boos and spooning and such, but I don’t talk about how to actually find that (semi)special someone. Well, I took it to the twitter streets to get their opinions and then I’ll offer my own tips.

(Replace SuperBoo with WinterBoo. Works out beautifully!)

First I asked for definitions of winter boos and here’s what I got.

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I thought this was especially hilarious. But makes a great point. Winter boos are typically contractual situations. Take this tweet for example:

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There can be several ways to manipulate the clauses here clearly. Here one cold wintry day, gone the next “Mostly Sunny” day above 70. If you’re on the “employed” end of the contract, better hope the Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow. Or that he does…..I don’t know how that works.

Ok but on to the tips. Here are some helpful tweets from the twitterati on how to successfully fill the spot of winter boo, or find one for yourself.

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Clearly the people I follow are hilarious fools. However, they offer some really good tips. Really I don’t think it’s all that hard for one single person to find another. What makes it difficult is how you transform that newfound friend into a winter boo. Winter boos are different from real boos in that commitment is clearly not the driving force. For those out there wanting to just “do them” or who are afraid of being “locked down” this is the one time that you can hopefully have your cake and eat it too. So go out there and smile and bat those eyelashes at that cute hunny in the Starbucks, Kroger, Barnes & Noble line. Men, don’t be afraid to reach out and say a few short words (keep it simple) and express that you’re feeling that girl’s booty smile. Again, it’s really not that difficult.

Allow me to stress a few really important points. Winter Boodom is a situation in which communication is key. You do not want to have Spring roll around and like a seasonal employee at Target, the future is uncertain. There needs to be a clear understanding of how this season will go. I suggest drafting up an application to be distributed to potential winter boos. Really, this is a way to get quick and to the point. Scroll through your Facebook/Twitter friends lists and pluck some key email addresses. I found my application for boo-loving from last year and I am extremely tempted to post one that was filled out and returned to me, however I shall refrain. Instead I will simply post the screen shot of the prompt that I sent out.

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That is funny. The response I got back was more like 300 words, but it was positively hilarious. I followed up this portion of the application process with an interview just to make sure the ground rules were known and understood. Some have actual dates they use, others may go by temperatures (this can be tricky), but I say do whatever works for you. However, if your winter boo proves themselves worthy of all the praise, and you consider giving them another season, just know that you are setting yourself up for a relationship. I support this, but just keep a clear head. Don’t send out an invitation if you can’t handle the responsibilities!

For another contract template check this out.

I think that’s all for now, Good Boo Hunting, and let me know how this all turns out!

Protected: Closing the Book on the Ex. Pt 2.

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Guest Post: A few things on Marriage

***This is my last post from my Guest Post series. Thank you again for all of your submissions! I dedicate this post to Aseelah and Xavier as they countdown the days until their hearts are united together as one forever! I wish nothing but peace, blessings, and eternal love for those two! In the short time period of a hectic day that I spent with them, I felt nothing but love, endearment, and a strong sense of “this is what love is”. Their hearts welcomed me like family, and I can’t wait to see the pictures from what I know will be a beautiful wedding colored like fire. AOML Aseelah, and Xavier you are amazing take good care of her. 🙂

Diego Hodge is a Husband, Father of 6, and a Marketing Aficionado. He currently manages the Atlanta office of bLaBbErWoRkS Marketing Concepts, LLC (www.bLaBbErWoRkS.com). He is also the Author of How To Score with Credit: What They Don’t Teach You in High School about Credit. You can follow him at http://twitter.com/diegohodge and http://www.facebook.com/diegohodge.*****

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Crazy enough I somehow get into a lot of interesting conversations about relationships and marriages. Children come up a lot as well since I have six of them, 5 girls and 1 boy. While my wife of 15 years (not including meeting her when I was in 6th Grade) and I have learned a lot over a decade and some change, I have gathered quite a bit wisdom by mistake. So, I figured it would be best to share some thoughts with anyone that would listen or read it. For those that are getting married this is prudent information and geared towards you however anyone can consider it and apply to whatever relationship fits.

I must first warn you. Consider everything that you read after this paragraph a lie until you prove it for yourself. I bring to you the 3 things I’ve learned about marriage (A man’s perspective).

The reason you get married will not be the same reason you will stay married.
My wife and I married at the age of 21. We were truly in love at the time without the understanding of the actual term, better yet without the understanding of the type of love that we were really in. As most people we tried to find what we thought was the maximum expression of our love so the next obvious step was marriage. We both found out very soon that the love was conditional. At the very beginning it was about ME, her ego trip didn’t come until later. Eventually we reach a point where we were able to tone down our egos and experience and unconditional love, not totally but constantly improving. We married because we loved ourselves. We stayed married because we LEARNED how to love each other.

Trust each other to be human nothing more nothing less. This statement can be easily misconstrued so I will clear this up quickly. When two people get married you have a set way that a person is supposed to be. This is based on the information that you witnessed growing up coupled with your need to improve on your upbringing experience and how you were exposed to relationships. You can not help it as it is a natural tendency until it’s is interrupted with reality. What happens if you make a major error in your decision, the worst kind? Better yet what happens if your spouse makes that horrible decision? Your worlds will be crushed only because you expected something different then the reality which is at some point because both parties are maturing individually as well as a couple both parties will make a drastic mistake. If you trust a person to be human it will be easier to deal with and work through, if not you don’t have chance in hell to repair it and keep it moving. Don’t expect the worst just expect to grow with each other. Everyone forgets “Through Good Times and BAD Times”. We have are own idea of what “Bad” could be however it’s never your spouses definition.

Understand Relationship Chemistry. Chemistry in a marriage can be summed up into a very basic observation. Whatever age that you are when you are married is the most you will ever know about yourself at that point in time. Keep in mind that you will still be maturing as you age through your success and failures. This same condition refers to your spouse as well both of you are growing individually, like it or not. So here you have two individuals at a point of time in their life making a decision to combine their past experience and future expectations together. Not only do you have to constantly learn yourself but you have to learn this other person at the same time while you are learning how you both interact together. Trust and believe that Rocker Science is First Grade Math compared to this. The simple solution is to allow your spouse to grow to who they see themselves becoming with your support and encouragement (mistakes and all). This is important because if your spouse is prohibited from the act of maturing as an individual your relationship will truly be a lopsided one, as your spouse will not be able to bring anything of value to your union.

All three of these topics can be expounded however for the sake of time I summed them up as much as possible. I would like to thank @JGRunsthecity for the opportunity (ed. note: Thank you! And you’re welcome!); I hope I exceeded your expectations.

Guest Post: Breakfast In Bed.

***Today will be my last day of guest posts on my series dedicated to looking at love from the bright side. I was so pleased with all of the submissions I was almost moved to tears! Thank you all! I will try to take a more endearing look at love in my own life as I continue my journey on allowing my inner Michelle Obama to shine through and I encourage everyone to do the same. At some point we all grow up and we stop stunting and stop living the playa life. Think about it.

This post is written by a dear friend and Sorority sister of mine Nikki H. It’s beautiful and especially so since I’ve seen her love in person. It’s a wonderful thing when you have found that person that compliments you in every way. Like a puzzle piece you fit together. ****

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Love is many different things to many different people.  For me, one of the best things is cherishing the smallest gestures your partner makes, even when everything in you wants to do something different.  Below is one such example, originally posted on my in-hibernation blog http://www.xanga.com/dimpledgemini.

I was drifting off into slumberland all snuggled up in my bed.  It had been a while since I actually slept in it.  Between sleeping at MSP’s or falling asleep on the couch, I missed the feel of my sheets and the solitude of my bedroom.  This sleep would be well needed and much deserved after a long overdue morning of exercise at strip aerobics and a full day on my feet at the part-time gig.  The shrill noise of MSP’s ring on my phone crept into my mind.  I thought maybe I was imagining it.  Sometimes it’s hard to hear my phone, especially if I close the door to my room.  I heard it again. And again. And again. And yet again.  Mind you it rings 2 long rings before it deems the call “missed.”  I didn’t want to get out of the bed.

I called him an hour and a half ago.  I was leaving work – very drained.  It’s been a while since I’ve awaken before 12noon on a Saturday.  One of my book clubs planned to go to a strip aerobics class at a facility out in Arundel Mills.  The class was the free introductory one offered to give an overview of the facilities and what to expect in a typical session.  I have a newfound respect for those who work the poles.  I had a great workout, and unlike another facility in DC, I didn’t have the wobble legs that caused me to fall down the steps when leaving the studio.  I signed up for a 6 session class and receive specialty shoes and a yoga mat.  I also purchased a t-shirt that says “Pole Dancing is NOT a crime.”  I realized I was behind schedule in leaving in enough time to get home, shower, change, and go to work.  I called the manager to tell them I was running late and then realized that I needed to be at work an hour earlier than my normal shift for a staff meeting.  It was 1:15pm when I left Arundel Mills.  I showed up to work at 3:00pm, an hour late for my shift and 2 hours late for the staff meeting. sheesh.  That meant I forfeited my place in line for late night cuts.  Needless to say I left work after midnight, having to return the next day for my 12noon shift.  Not the end of the world, but nonetheless, not what I intended for the day.  Anyhoo back to my bed…..

My warm, soft, comfy bed.  I wanted to stay there and let my body just give into the comforts of rest.  To feel my chest rise and fall with the air of knowing that the day was finished.  I needed the clarity of sleep to help me figure out what the next chapter of Life has for me.

But the phone kept ringing.

I inched from under the covers and made my way to the couch where I rest the phone at night.  I had four missed calls from him, each being one minute apart.  He didn’t give me a chance to call back…

“Hello?” I said in my best ‘Youwokemeupouttamysleepandwarmbed’ voice.

“I wanna cook you breakfast in the morning.”

Cue the warm feeling of “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww” in my veins.

We discussed the menu and he said he was on the way to pick me up.  That meant I had to get up to get clothes ready for going to work the next day.  WAKE UP, Nikki.

Did I mention I was hungry?  On the way home from work I contemplated my late night dinner options.

#1 – McDonalds – I’m not a fan of fast food, especially McDonalds, but it was one of few options within my immediate vicinity.  I scratched it off the list when remembering that I lowered my standards earlier that day when hunger pains were battling in my stomach on the hurried way to work and it was the only food choice venue I saw on my commute.

#2 – Wendy’s – I will occasionally succumb to the fast food industry by way of Wendy’s, mostly because of their fries!  I decided against it because of the temptation I gave in to noted in #1.

#3 – Chez Nikki – I had a few pantry staple options that wouldn’t require too much time or energy at 12:30 in the morning.

I decided to go with the option of #3 and had every intent of opening up the cabinets until I walked into my apartment and had the chance to look at the complete disarray of the place.  Bags, clothes, and shoes, everywhere.  I have the habit of leaving things where they fall for days on end.  So I started to do a little bit to make the place cleaner.  Half an hour passed and the day overtook me.  I took off all my clothes and climbed in under the covers….tired and still hungry.  At least I could solve one of those problems easily.

So where was I? Okay….I’m gathering clothes for work and thinking about how hungry I am.  My phone rings and MSP is downstairs waiting.  On the way to his house he asks if I want ice-cream as he activates his turn signal for McDonalds.  UGGH.  Definitely don’t want ice-milk from Mickey D’s but I’ll settle for fries.

“Are you hungry now?” he asks.  I nod my head and yawn.  “Okay, no McDonalds.  How about IHOP?”

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Pancakes and Turkey sausage here I come.

“You’re gonna get breakfast twice,” he notices.

True, indeed.

It’s about 2:15am and, of course, IHOP is the club after the Club.  Everybody was in that place trying to get something good in their stomachs.  The wait wasn’t long, but we decided to get the food To Go instead.  The couple that came in behind us had just seen “Roscoe Jenkins” at the movie theater and said they died of laughter.  We talked with them until their table was ready.  Our conversation then turned to the various characters in the restaurant:  The Nighttime Police Officer, The Host running the waitlist, The Night Manager, the endless stream of drunk Light Skinned People coming in, the local club hopping cliques of women and gay Black men.

Then we saw a waitress walk over covered in some light colored liquid.  She motioned for the police officer and pointed to a heavy set light skinned man staggering toward the bathroom.  We heard him retch his stomach before reaching the door.

Yep.  You guessed it.  He emptied his binge drinking stomach on the poor waitress at the table and then at the bathroom door.  The officer put on surgical gloves and a mask and headed toward the bathroom.  The waitress stood in plain view of everyone as her manager told her to go home.

“Oh, I only live 3 blocks away.  I’m coming back after I change my clothes.”

The smell was awful (at least to me).  I seemed to be the only one who could smell that intense odor.  I walked out of the restaurant into the other waiting area and then outside when that didn’t help.  An empty stomach and that stench made me very queasy.  I walked up and down the sidewalk taking deep breaths.

“Hey, don’t walk down too far.  I can’t see you from the windows,”  MSP said when he stuck his head out.

I wrapped my scarf around my nose and mouth and sat in the other waiting area with him.  We were talking with others who came out to escape the creeping smell.

At his place I inhaled my food and got into bed.  It was 3:30am.  We talked about various things and nothing in particular.  I love our late night bedtime chats.  Something about the communication while on the verge of dreamland seems magical to me.  The last time I looked at the clock it said 4:23am

I was awaken by MSP tickling my nose.

“Here’s your tea.”  He remembered the honey, too.  I sipped a little and then drifted back to sleep.  I woke up with a craving when he came in to check on me.

“Can I have dessert first?”

He likes his dessert at night; I like my dessert in the morning.  He obliged me and then brought breakfast in on a tray.

It was delicious and satiating and wonderful.  I got up to get ready for work and kissed his sleeping face before leaving.

“Thank you for The Good Stuff, Double Edition,” I whispered in his ear.  We both grinned.

I looked at his face – his creased eyelids, ebony skin, full lips and squared cheeks.

I kissed him again, and whispered our code for “I Love You” before heading out the door.

Guest Post: Why Hearts Don't Break

*This post was submitted to me by uber-blogger extraordinaire Robin Monique.

Robin Monique is a blogger and freelance writer on a mission to conquer quarterlife, one crisis at a time. Her blog, The Life & Times of Robin Monique (http://robinmonique.com) discusses relationships, hip-hop, sports, politics, culture and life through the eyes of a 20something looking to tell her truth. She is also the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Polished Cleveland Magazine (http://polishedcleveland.com), an e-zine for young minority professionals in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area.  Whether editorial or fiction, Robin approaches her writing with a combination of wit, intelligence, passion and raw honesty.

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I am not the one to give relationship advice. This is because I’m in my 20s and thus entitled to a certain level of cluelessness about life in general.  I’m just figuring things out along the way.  However, as a consumer of Black Female Media I am bombarded with our obsession with relationships.  It’s constant.  And I’m sorry to say, but it’s also rather annoying.

Like many of you, I have read the magazine articles, run out to get the dating books (I practically broke down the door to Borders to get my copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You”) and had the roundtable discussions with both my male and female friends about the current state of relationships.  You know what I figured out?  None of that shit works.  At least not for me.

It took for my life to take some pretty drastic emotional turns (turns that didn’t have anything to do with my love life) for me to realize that the only way that I would gain any wisdom about life and love was to let myself go through it.  Some may look at that decision and say “Okay, you’re reckless with your emotions.”  But I do not agree.  When you go through a difficult time in life, you learn where your true strength lies: your heart.  Contrary to popular belief, your heart never breaks or leads you down the “wrong path.”  Your heart is all knowing and all trusting, which means that it will not lead you into any situation that it’s not strong enough to see you through.  When relationships don’t work out, the first thing we say is “My heart is broken.”  Your heart is fine.  It’s your ego that’s shattered and on the floor.

Your heart said “I love this person” and your mind said “I have to make this last.”  When it ends, it’s your mind that cannot accept that it’s over. Your mind needs a reason, or better yet, it needs someone to blame.  It has to be someone’s fault. Were you not pretty, smart, freaky, submissive, aggressive, honest, loving, strong enough?  Was he “not worth shit?”  Was it those trifling hoes of the world tempting him away from your goodness?  Why didn’t it work out?  Meanwhile, your heart says, “Who said it didn’t work out?  We got what we needed from that experience. We will be fine.”  You’re so preoccupied with your analysis that you cannot hear your heart saying “Hellloooo! Didn’t you hear me say I’m fine?”

Right now, I can honestly say that I am blessed to be with a person who makes me blissfully happy.  And it got to be that way once I stopped obsessing over how to hold on to it and just let it flow.  I stopped trying to label it or control it or predict it.  I stopped dogging it out when things weren’t going my way.  I stopped seeking advice.  I instead put all of my energy into enjoying every single moment that I am in the presence of this man.  Should the time come where it begins to flow away from me, I will mourn the loss, of course.  But I won’t call it a failure, because nothing that makes me feel this good could ever be a failure, regardless of how it ends up.  I trust that I’m strong enough to survive the fallout, whatever it may be.

I’m not saying that we should recklessly jump into situations that we know are bad for us.  What I am saying is that we need to give our hearts some credit.  They are way stronger than we think.

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The above post was written almost a year ago. I recently ended the aforementioned relationship because he and I grew apart. But the relationship ended exactly the way I described above. I love him for the wonderful memories that we created and the lessons learned from loving him. We parted on a high note and remain cordial, without any awkwardness. And while I treasure what he and I shared, I am also excited about being completely unattached and meeting my next Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now! I’m living proof that trusting your heart works. All it takes is a little faith!