Ladies, I am going to start this article out with an admission – I am a shopaholic! Shoe shopping is one of my favorite pastimes. Subsequently, during one of my shopping excursions, I received the meat of this article. In one of my favorite department stores, I found a simply gorgeous “name brand” pair of brown ankle boots, pointed- toed, with a skinny 3-inch heel, which incidentally, were on sale. To my surprise, sitting on the same shelf, was an identical pair of “no-name brand” brown ankle boots that were priced fifty percent less. I tried them both on — both were as equally attractive and both appeared to be comfortable. The major difference was that the “name brand” was made of leather, and the “no name brand” was all man-made material. The leather indeed was more flexible, supple, and soft; however, I chose to buy the one that would save me the most money.
The next day, I put on my “no name brand” boots and headed out to a busy work day followed by an eventful social evening that require me to be on my feet for several hours. Midway through the day, I began to regret my decision to buy the “no name brand” shoes. My feet began to hurt so badly! The longer I stood on my feet, the tighter this man-made material began to feel. I began to think back on how soft and supple the “name-brand” shoes felt on my feet and began to think about one of the characteristics of leather. Leather usually softens as you wear it, instead of tightening up. Oh how, I truly wished that I had spent the extra dollars to purchase the name-brand shoes because in the long run it cost me more in other areas. What looked good, and initially felt good, was now causing me great pain. I had to face the revelation that I had settled for the counterfeit.
I decided to go back and purchase the “name brand” shoes, but you guessed it – they were no longer available. Ladies, how many of us have “missed opportunities” to experience the real thing because we settled for the counterfeit?
During one of my conversations, with my spiritual mother, Eloise Rump, about my desire for companionship, she said “Baby, be watchful! The counterfeit always come along before the real thing!” I chuckled within myself and said, “Well, I am really due for the real thing soon because I have had several counterfeit encounters. Little did I know that the “ultimate counterfeit” experience was just right around the corner!
Ladies, have you ever met the man who you thought was your “soul mate”? He had all the characteristics on your “romantic wish list”. You know that “must have” check list that we mentally pull out when we meet a man! The first and foremost requirement of my “wish list” is spirituality – He must have a relationship with God. Well this man “quoted scriptures” and talked affectionately about the Lord. Ladies, I became enlightened that the mere quoting of scriptures is not a foolproof indication that a person has a “personal” relationship with God; the real indication is if that person lives/abides by what he speaks”. Call me Missouri, show me, as well as tell me!
My second requirement is that he has to have a fairly decent job. Well, he had an exceptionally high six-figure salary, so that requirement was exceeded. He certainly had the finest personal possessions – a nice house, a luxurious car, and other nice amenities, as well. Although, I love nice things, this requirement is not at the top of my list. However, at this point in my life, financial security is important to me, and he apparently met that requirement.
Of course, my third requirement is that I preferred him to be handsome. I feel that I am an attractive sister so I want someone who would compliment me. I know that sounds like vanity, but please admit ladies, most of us dream about having a Denzel Washington or Shemar Moore in our lives. Remember, this is my “wish list”! Ladies, I must tell you that this man is fine, fine, fine! To me, he has facial attributes comparable to Denzel Washington but a shade darker and the physique of Ving Rhimes both who are on my list of “hotties”! (I am single-I can dream!)
Last, but not least, one of my top attributes is that my potential partner has to be a great conversationalist! I love great conversation–it stimulates me when a man can articulate his feelings to me! I love a man who is confident and assured of himself. I love a man who is wise and implants pearls of wisdom that enrich my life. Well ladies, this man stimulated me intellectually with his broad range of knowledge of national, international, and cultural affairs. My God, he appeared to be perfect, just like my “no name” brand of boots. But as time progressed, I realize that what appeared to be “perfect” was actually counterfeit.
The first revelation was that although this man appeared bold and confident, and as if he was completely in charge of his life, he was carrying baggage from his past. A man who has not forgiven, forgotten, or forgone his past, will not release himself to start something new. He has not given himself permission to love again without inhibitions – the way he loved before that “one” hurt him. In fact, he has made a vow that no one will ever get that close to him to EVER hurt him again, like she did, so he is encased in a protective shield. He has what I describe in my first book The Art of Forgiving – Turtle Mentality. He only sticks his head out so far and then retreats or throws up the red caution flag when he finds his affections getting too deep. His behavior is inconsistent – one day he is loving, kind, smiling, and chatting away. However, without warning, you do not hear from him for days – he does not call you, e-mail you, text you – nothing. Face it ladies, you cannot compete with a ghost. Yes, I said ghost! Merriam Webster (on-line) defines “ghost” as the spirit of a dead person, especially one believed to appear in bodily likeness to living persons or to haunt former habitats. Answers.com defines “ghost” as a returning memory or image.
What I am trying to say is when you interact with this person; there are actually three people always present – you, he, and she (the ghost). Even though the relationship appears to be dead, the memories of her are very much alive. This looming image of her and the residue of the hurt that she previously imposed, returns, haunt him, and affect his potential relationships. There could be a look, a word, an action – unbeknown to you – that may cause him to retreat into that shell because it resembles “her”. An attempt to validate his actions may sound like, “I am content with my life the way it is, I do not have to answer to anyone but me, and I am at peace with that!” Another explanation, “I went out with “my boys” to shoot some hoops.” My interpretation of these excuses is “I like you and I am scared that you might get too close and hurt me the way that she did; I cannot let that happen, so I rather avoid contact with you and spend times with “my boys”, or in the case of my counterfeit, he spent time with his child. Both incidents, whether spending time with “the boys” or a child, is a recoil to safety and does not require taking a risk with his feelings! However, as women, we see the recoil as rejection, which sends us on an emotional mental rollercoaster because we do not know what to make of this sudden change of behavior. We look for some type of flaw in ourselves that may have caused him to retreat; unaware of the unresolved issues he is carrying that he has not communicated to you – that is verbally anyway.
At any rate, unless he makes an attempt to commit to the relationship; there is no REAL relationship; it is counterfeit; and before you know it, he will begin to make you feel uncomfortable, just like my no name brand shoes. The longer you stay in the situation, the tighter it will become. The tighter it becomes; the more hurt and pain you will feel. But if you wait for the “real thing”, it will be soft and supple-easily entreated, and a joy to be around. No relationships are without problems; but when you have two committed individuals who are ready and willing to work together-free of baggage and ghosts, you will have a comfortable fit that will be long lasting. Ladies, do not settle for the counterfeit. As the late duos, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell expressed-Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby! Wear the right shoes for the journey!