Monday, July 25, 2011

Bougie Confession: I don't believe in Soul Mates


Oh Lawd... I hope I didn't just trash my 3rd quarter book sales with that title. But I have to keep it real - I'm a writer of relationship fiction and I do not believe in Soul Mates. Or rather I don't believe we only get one.

From Wiki: A soulmate ( or soul mate) is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity, similarity, love, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, or compatibility. A related concept is that of the twin flame or twin soul, which is thought to be the ultimate soulmate. In New Age spirituality, the ultimate soulmate is the one and only other half of one's soul.

All that? Doing. Too. Much.  

I do believe in love lust at first sight. I believe you can meet a person and know immediately that they are going to be a game-changer in your life. I do believe in instant attraction. I believe in chemistry. I believe in the power of love. I believe in partnership. I believe in synergy. I do believe in fate, destiny and serendipity. One of my favorite (though little known) Usher songs is called "It Is What It Is"  and though the song is a little scandalous, the title speaks to me. But soul mates? One person slated for one person, forever and ever? One shot at the gold ring? Only one hit at the plate? (I could go on) But I don't buy it.

The theory that there is only one person that is meant for you and you alone and nobody else in the world will do? Hogwash. 

The other day I tipped past a predominantly male blog and dude was trying to sell Ye Olde "Girl, you let him get away and now you're going to be alone... FOREVER" meme. Kisseth mine azz with that one. First of all, just because you "let" someone get away, doesn't mean they won't be back. Secondly, who's to say what's waiting around the corner? Maybe you needed to move his hindparts out of your way so the path would be clear for someone better.

I also had occasion to listen in to some sassy sisters getting their preach on over on BlogTalkRadio the only day. They were deep into the "I'm the best you ever had and you'll regret the day you left me" programming. Ladies, let's not kid ourselves. There's always someone out there willing to do more, do it better, faster and with fawning enthusiasm. Please lose that "You'll RUE the DAY!" speech. Maybe he will rue the day, maybe he won't - either way he's onto the next and you need to be also.

Gents, I don't want to leave you out. I've met so many of you who are on the hunt for perfection and won't settle for anything less. Some of you have a definition of a soul mate that comes wrapped up in such a perfect unattainable package, I wonder what woman will ever live up to the dream. Perfection is divine. We're all just human. Let's move on, shall we?

I have several issues with the soul mate fallacy:
1. It's a little too Cinderella for me. Cindy couldn't have hooked up with the baker or the butcher to get her up out the rodent-infested attic? She just had to wait on the Prince, huh? Seriously, in dire straits, isn't the coach driver starting to look real good? I bet the stable boy had a wicked sense of humor and buns of steel. But no, Cindy up in the house waiting on uncomfortable pumps and a high-fallutin' prince. You ever wonder how that happily ever turned out? What if the Prince was a spoiled Mama's Boy expecting Cindy to prance around in those glass shoes with the tiara on all the time? Hmm? Trust and believe, Cindy's fairy godmother would have done her a favor by hooking her up with some random dude one kingdom over and being done with it. 
2. It suggests a passive inevitability. The notion of waiting on That One True Love leans a mite too heavily on the waiting. Almost as if who you love is beyond your control. The cosmos has picked out this one person and you have to wait for their arrival. Hmmm... but in the meantime? 
3. It's limiting. Perfection and the search for it is a narrow trail to exhaustion. Seriously, if you are eyeing up people wondering "Is this my Soul Mate? Is it Him? It is Her? Are they The Perfect One for me?" - you've got too much time on your hands. Lookie here, find someone who puts up with your shiggity, you put up with theirs and have some laughs and cocoa along the way. 
4. The second guessing. Banking that the person you've found is The One, sets you up to wonder if there isn't a Better One out there somewhere. Let go of that whole "The One" and go with - I've found someone I love who loves me back... we in this.  
5. And then what happens... when your Soul Mate doesn't work out. When it all falls down? Are you done? That was your One, right? None other in the world? No sir, No ma'am. Some things are for a season.  Onto da next.
6. You complete me - No. You. Don't. Damn some Jerry Maguire. Please people, be a complete person in and amongst yourself. Pull your Me, Myself, and I together and make it work. If you are broken, shattered, tattered, halved or torn asunder... can't no man/woman put you to rights. You are in charge in you. So endeth the lesson.
Well BougieLand... those are my thoughts. What say you? Am I too cynical, mayhaps a tad snarky? Do you believe in soul mates? Do you feel you've found yours? Do share...

74 comments:

Lady Ngo said...

I wouldn't say that i don't believe in soulmates per se, but i don't think that you should hold your breath thinking that he/she is just going to magically swoop into your life. And even if you only have 1 true soul mate, that doesn't mean that there aren't other people out there with whom you can have a loving, long-lasting, blissful relationship with.

Penny said...

Great post-I am so with you on Nos. 3 & 4. 

Got a few girlfriends you are on the "You'll rue the day..." trip.   Could be, could be not-who's to say?  It does not matter what you did, can do, or are willing to do for someone-if they don't want YOU, it does not matter.    

Jubilance said...

I'm with you Chele, I'm not a believer in the idea of soulmates at all. It's way too Hollywood, plus it relieves folks of any kind of responsibility. A lot of folks think their soulmate will come & they will have this magical relationship that requires no work on either of their parts. Hecks naw - relationships are hard & require work! And I'm definitely not a fan of the idea that I need someone else to complete me. I always say I would like a man who complements me - I'm a complete person already, but I'd like a partner that is strong where I am weak & vice versa.

GrownAzzMan said...

"Kisseth mine azz with that one."

What she said. All of it. Can we move off of this please?

blackprofessor said...

Cosign! For me, it is all about mutuality, compatibility and integrity; forget the fairy tales.

BlackButterfly said...

I believe that is possible to have an instant connection.  The term soul mate is fine with me as long as it is not implying that I get only one chance at it.  I love the principle of love and understand that it can come and go in some instances.  But, for anyone to imply that that's it--one is all you get in this life--seems rather ridiculous to me.

Oh, I have a friend that I am definitely referring to numbers 2, 5 and 6.

Natasha Hunter said...

Has anyone else ever noticed that when people say so and so is their soulmate, there's usually alot of drama in that relationship? I honestly can't think of one soulmate relationship I know about where there isn't some murky doo-doo involved.  

GuessImJay said...

This right here>>> Damn some Jerry Maguire. Please people, be a complete person in and amongst yourself. You need to amplify, speak it, drop mic, and exit stage left. FTMFW, Chele.

Pure Choco said...

The concept that there is one train outta Dodge and if you miss it, it's gone forever - yeah no

Claire Huxtable said...

Fabulous! I couldn't agree with you more. I believe in soulmates in a nonconventional manner. I don't believe your soulmate has to be your one true love. (Hogwash!) I do feel there are people you connect with instantly.  "We just click" "We vibe" "We get each other" type stuff.

 I believe you can find and build a loving, fulfilling, everlasting relationship with an equally willing partner. PERIOD. 

LikeLena said...

Woooo! You came out the game on a Monday morning like BOOM!
Where do I start:
Kisseth mine azz with that one. <Put it in a T-shirt
either way he's onto the next and you need to be also <Tabbernacle
Cindy couldn't have hooked up with the baker or the butcher to get her up out the rodent-infested attic? <BWAHAHA
Pull your Me, Myself, and I together and make it work <Doing victory laps around my cube

Cosign, cosign, cosign

ASmith said...

Lemme make a concerted effort not to write a blog post in the comment box.

I'm feeling you Chele.  I so am and this is so timely.  Just the other day Monica's "One In A Lifetime" came on my iPod and I got so irritated for some reason.  I changed that song as fast as I could thinking, "what a crock of shiggity..."  I feel like this idea that there's only one person out here for us is so... whew... pie in the sky.  I don't disbelieve that there may be a person who is optimal, but I do believe that there are plenty you can really make it work, and make it work fabulously, with.

I like your number 2.  It allows us to be passive and just wait for life (love) to happen to us when we should be out here getting our hands dirty.  Oh and it also lets us think we're better than we are.  You can't be everybody's perfect match so that means everybody ain't missing you.  People come, people go live your life, b.

Me likey.  Me likey a lot.

Brandon St.Randy said...

I think the term soul mate is fine, I just have a different idea about what that is. I think when a lot of people think of the concept of a soul mate of some random stranger falling from the sky butt naked (yet still a virgin) with the keys to a Bentley and a delicious ice cream sandwich in hand to fulfill all their dreams. Which is nice because it takes all the onus off us personally to do any work. In realty, the people I know have the soul mate vibe going on in their relationship do so because of all the shared sacrifice, going through hell and back, and decisions to push through that they've made. Having and keeping a soul mate is a conscious decision to do what needs to be done with another person, not some gift-wrapped Festivus present.

Anetra said...

Totally agree! One shot at the gold ring. No way. Great post Chele!

thinklikeRiley said...

Walt Disney has done some of ya ladies wrong. Snow White's pale azz, Rapunzel with the weave from hell, Cindeffinella? Fok need to sit dey Tinkerbell azz done and get a reality check.

Grace said...

The romantic in me still loves the thought of two souls searching for their perfect match and then they met and live happily ever after. The realist in me knows that they is definitely more than one person that can make you happy and that ever after thing.. well, we'll just have to see about that.

Hannington said...

This is my situation. I was wondering about waiting til I turn 30 to get my first girlfriend. My reasoning was that I figured I'd be more mature then. I kinda want that first one to be the one who lasts forever-just like my grandparents. But I'm starting to reconsider my thoughts. Soul mates can exist though. But they're pretty rare.

Paul on Ice said...

I think you could do a whole post on the end-of-relationship fallback chant "You ain't neva gonna find nobody like me!" Guys say it, girls say it and 90% of the time, it's so not true.

Deb B said...

I think this realization comes at a "certain age" when you've had more than one "true love" in your life and you realize that if there have been two, there could be a third.

maureen said...

 I was walking around Harlem one day and saw this  on a  wall :" I think it is possible for one to have more than one soul mate, and  it is not necessarily sexual, and the idea of one  soul mate  for us obliterates the possibility of having a  REAL relationship with ourselves and others."
Loving numbers 2, 4 & 5. Great post Chele, thanks for always making these topics entertaining and intellectual.

Nicole said...

Oh Riley!! *e-swoons!*

BB Waite said...

I was going to go all biblical on you and talk about God selecting the One for you but I've seen so many people getting a second, third, fourth chance at happiness that I now think there are multiple options out there. It's your role to select and allow that person to fit into your soul and be your mate.

FreeBlackMan said...

I don't believe even in the concept. I think two people vibe and build from there. That's it. No great mystery, no predestination, none of that.

daisy said...

Well don't know that I agree with that. The mystery is - what makes the vibe happen? Why this one and not that one?

William Martin said...

That's the magic. The indefinable thing that causes "The Click" - who knows. Is it chemistry, is written in the stars, is it dumb luck? Chele needs to write us a few posts digging into that one.

William Martin said...

*DEAD* at Cindeffinella

Leon X said...

I thought about writing an essay titled "My Soul Mate Died At Birth" for years. The soul is an energy that knows nothing about race, creed, class, or gender. The idea that someone else's soul (of the opposite sex) is hard wired to yours is pretty self-centered. In fact I've been thinking lately a lot of our ideas of love are self-centered.

Earthangel172 said...

Agreed.

blackprofessor said...

This all day ---- "It's your role to select and allow that person to fit into your soul and be your mate."

Page Bartlett said...

I have to admit when I first read this, I thought you were being cynical and ubersnarky but re-reading, I see where you're coming from. The one and only in the world for you to find is a little hard to swallow. But the thought that you meet someone and know they are for you I still think is valid.

Natasha Hunter said...

And really...if we're breaking up, isn't the point to "neva find nobody like you!?!"  I mean I might find better or worse (which still might be better suited FOR ME) so it's kind of a superfluous statement.

OwenCinDallas said...

I don't like the Wiki definition. If it's a soulmate than the affinity has to be about more than sexuality. A deep sexual affinity is a fling.That being said, I'm glad you used the words synergy and serendipity because that's have the battle right there.

OneChele said...

Welcome out of lurkerdom, this comment rocks... hard!

Sasha Iman said...

Thanks for the welcoming. I've since edited my post, but I'm hopeful it still rocks.

C Nelson said...

I believe in love at first sight, and love that changes but doesn't die. When I was twelve, someone held his hand out to me and I took it, and doing so saved my life. When I was barely seventeen, I walked past a stranger who looked sad, and that one look told me he was going to be deeply important to me for the rest of my life. If I was wrong that morning, I haven't lived long enough to know it yet.

Mind you, lust at first sight is just as valid, too -- I lost my best friend in college in part because his parents wanted me to turn him straight but it was his younger brother who fascinated me (and me him) instantly -- but they're not the same thing, and you can tell them apart.

For the rest, though, I agree. There is not just one chance and that's all you'll ever have; there are billions of people in this world, and even a bare 5000-piece puzzle's got some pieces that fit so close to perfectly that it takes looking pretty hard at the picture to find fault. Find the best fit, and then stop looking too hard to find fault. It won't be magic and moon-dust and roses, but you'll do just fine.

AnnettePearl said...

I think you're attracted to someone almost immediately on one level or another and then deeper, richer emotions can be built on that.

Trey Charles said...

Numba 6, Numba Six, NUMBA SIX! I once had a woman say she wanted me to be her everything. I left skidmarks backtracking out of that relationship. I don't want to be anybody's everything. I can be a lot of things but E-VER-Ythang? No. Thank. You.

If that's what a soul mate is I. Don't. Want.

AishaOaktree1122 said...

Thank you!!! What if your 'perfect' someone lived somewhere else and you never ever ever left your town?? Are you supposed to be doomed because of it?? I don't think so damn Greeks and their myths about twin souls. I do think there are many soul mates out there, some become lovers, some are good friends, and some are those who for no other reason seem to click with you the instant you meet, and you become best of friends. I think people put too much stock in the belief that one person should be your be all and end all, no you have different people for each thing and that's how you stay sane and happy. IMHO

keishabrown said...

when the wound is fresh.. trust me.. Deborah Cox's "you dont miss me now" was MOST DEF on repeat. 

i'd rather go through that process, alone and re-boosting my own self of steam (giggle) than rebound to another dude in hopes of feeling better about myself. 

i dont think there is just 1 person for us, because i am not ever the same person! i am different today, then i was yesterday, last week, month and year. the things i know now, give me new, better, fresher perspective. what im willing to compromise on is different at 31 than at 21. 

i think your life trajectory also makes you think differently about things. i've never been married, so cannot say what it is like, but most people who do it, do it with the intention of being with that person forever. and when it doesn't work out - your view point changes. 

i dunno..that's just my 2 cents...

David Chase said...

I don't believe one person completes another but I do believe that there are people that you meet and they add something to your life that makes you say "Wow, this is what I've been missing" from there I think you work to make them feel the same way about you and keep them around. I think people have compatible souls and people can be lifelong mates. But a soulmate per se seems too fabricated to me.

Andrea M said...

I like the concept of soulmates, the practical application eludes me.

Bryan Anthony said...

I believe there are people who are destined to come into your life. Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad. Sometimes it's for a season, sometimes it's for a second.

That's all I got.
Kinda deep, Chele.

Sasha in Stilettos said...

First of all, it does my cynical heart good to see so many of the fellas actually discussing things like this.
Next up, I'm torn. I think you can have a soul mate just in a more broad way.

Cha Keziah said...

I think the thing I dislike most about the soulmate thing is that I've seen it used as the "out" or justification for poor behaviour/cheating in relationships. You know..."well, he/she's my [true] soulmate, not you. So I had to, I had no choice but to break your heart, stomp all over our children, disregard the feelings of all, and act poorly. WE'RE SOULMATES!" Um. No. You made a poor choice. (I know. Woosah. Let's just say, I've seen family members dealing with this).

So while the romantic who grew up on Disney and enjoys nothing as much as a good cup of hot chocolate and a romance novel with 'Say Yes to the Dress' in the background would love to believe that there's only one person created for each other - yeah, I can't. And while the christian in me would like to say that God makes one personfor each of us... I haven't seen that in the Bible, so i can't. So. Looks like we'll just keep finding someone that loves us, puts up with the crap, meets the non-negotiables (and hopefully a few negotiables) and roll up our sleeves to put in the hard work. Because knowing you love me enough to put in the hard work - that's what seems truly romantic.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

The soul mates idea sounds like fodder for sappy romance novels, Disney Princess flicks, and cliched rom-coms. Real life? Not so much.

Man's World said...

*fist bump*

Man's World said...

Man, listen...

JoycelynC said...

This "Maybe he will rue the day, maybe he won't - either way he's onto the next and you need to be also" and this "If you are broken, shattered, tattered, halved or torn asunder... can't no man/woman put you to rights" gave me all I needed for today.  I tend to take the belief that some people are definitely game-changers but not necessarily in a soul mate way.  Some people are meant to come into your life to assist in some lesson you have to learn or simply to teach you about yourself in some way so no, I don't think you are being too cynical about the soul mate thing. 

Cocoa Winston said...

iQuit. She said I bet the stable boy had a wicked sense of humor and buns of steel.

Mykeia said...

I just believe in love.  That simple.  I used to say that there was someone out there for everyone, and then the spouse was like, "Why do you keep saying that? Where is that written in the Bible?"  I left it alone after that.
REAL TALK==> " Ladies, let's not kid ourselves. There's always someone out there willing to do more, do it better, faster and with fawning enthusiasm."  So, so, so true!

SingLikeSassy said...

Hm. Before April of last year I might have said, "Me and Mr. SLS are soul mates!" *barf*

But last night when he picked me up from the airport (admittedly doing me a favor) and it was hot as hell in his car and there was road construction so we were in stop and go traffic and he couldn't cut the air on cause it was broken (WTF?!) and then he gets mad at me cause he is a terrible driver and where he sees a fork in the road I see an off ramp so why are you going that damn way?!! and asking me a whole bunch of stupid azz questions about the little thank you for doing the airport dropoff/pickup souvenir I brought him back forcing me to smack him upside the head causing him to threaten to put me and my pink and green suitcase out on the side of the road, when he rolled up to my house I got out of the car before it stopped moving telling him I didn't need him to carry my ish in the house, I got it, thanks and bye and was glad to see him drive the hell on.

The soulmate stuff is some shiggity, yo.

OneChele said...

The Airport Pick-Up Struggle is real. Many a friendship has cracked under the pressure. Trust.

AppleBerryMIA said...

I was about to go all emo - I found my soulmate, it's real. Then we fought about crusty toothpaste in the bathroom and someone's inability to remove foods that have turned into science experiments from the fridge and I will say- there are people who touch your soul and you will mate. The rest is hard work.

rozb said...

The only kind of soul mate for me is that for every left shoe there is a right shoe (HA! Get it?)

Seriously - that soul mate stuff is too much pressure to put on someone. Yeah, there probably is someone for everyone, but for some of us, there may be several. AND guess what - there may be no one sometimes. So you make sure you are whole and can take care of you, and you won't be waiting for your prince or princess to come. If and when they do? It's all gravy!

Jason P said...

Almost broke up over an aiport pick-up gone wrong one. It's no joke!

SBChitownChick said...

Okay?!

SBChitownChick said...

Bougie Brothren always come through

SBChitownChick said...

Amen and Amen

SBChitownChick said...

*cuts and pastes for future usage*

SBChitownChick said...

Oh Trey, your dating life... skidmarks?

SBChitownChick said...

Still does!

SBChitownChick said...

He said Rapunzel with the weave from hell...

mutemia said...

This post is on fire. I believe in soul mates, rather than just one person  with billions of people on the planet you're going to find more plenty of people that you who's just right for you. They may be right for you at the moment and eventually you'll both have to move on. Or they'll the person that's you'll change  and grow with, the person you're still passionate about 50 years from now, and more importantly they're willing to deal with your quirks/flaws-that aren't dealbreakers and you would for them.  However, I will say true wuv, I never believed that a prince will magically come to me and I'll fall for him  at first site. 

Lady4Real said...

"Lookie here, find someone who puts up with your shiggity, you put up with theirs and have some laughs and cocoa along the way. "<-----this right here is golden.
I know I feel like my hubby is my 'soulmate' but at the end of the day we are just this; he puts up with my shiggity, I put up with his, we laugh together, enjoy each others cocoa and all in all are best friends. I've known the man since he was a boy, a 10 year old boy and for 18 years we have been friends, 4 of those 18 years we were a couple, 6 of those 18 we were not a couple and now for 2 of those 18 we have been together, and come the 31st it will be 1 year that we have been legally bonded as man and wife. I'm still young and a part of me believes in soulmates, but I see soulmate as a kindred spirit, not always a love interest, just that our souls will always be bonded in love and friendship.

GammasWorld said...

You said that thang girl!  

Rob said...

The toothpaste was totally a mistake. The fridge well... never mind.

Linnon said...

I believe in soul mates, but I don't think that there is only *one* for each of us, nor do I believe it is immediate.  Chemistry is immediate, but my definition of soul mate is when I'm in a relationship, in love, and my soul is at peace with hers.  Relationships are work; but with your soul mate it doesn't *always* feel like work.

Regardless of chemistry, compatibility, and a host of other things, relationships require work.  It's usually when we ignore this fact, that we find trouble in paradise.

JojoRaze said...

Loving this post in so many ways.  But I am church-jogging off of this:
You complete me - No. You. Don't. Damn some Jerry Maguire.
Please people, be a complete person in and amongst yourself. Pull your
Me, Myself, and I together and make it work. If you are broken,
shattered, tattered, halved or torn asunder... can't no man/woman put
you to rights. You are in charge in you. So endeth the lesson.


Tell it! Tell it all!

Michele said...

The idea of soul mates is just a little too hokey for me.  We have the ability to connect with countless numbers of people.  It shouldn't be limited to that *special* one.  I believe in love and I believe in monogamy.  Soul mates?  Not so much

Lady4Real said...

YES! YES! YES!

Ekwenzi Gray said...

Just a poem that I wrote a few years ago based on this very idea and I think it captures what my response would be better than anything else I might say...



11/27/05 Perfection's Myth


I saw her


My perfect woman


Her eyes, her hair


Her figure, her
smile


Her interests, her
laugh


Her goals, her ass


But the perfect
woman


That I had just seen


Obviously was not
perfect for me


If she was, then
with me


Is where she would
be


But she's not


So obviously


There was something
I missed


Something that made
her


Not perfect for me


Yes, for the eyes,
it was all good to see


But maybe inside


Was a conflict for
me


But either way you
look at it


The simple reality


Is the one that I
thought


Would be mine for
eternity


Is not the perfect
woman for me


© Freeman 2005, All Rights Reserved

Singlelif said...

I belive the term Soulmates is a romanticized idea. People are fallible, and so is love.  Just be happy that you like somebody alot, and he likes you back. Work on that..

Angel Blanca said...

I have met a few men I believed to be "the one," but who were not as consistent in that designation after some time elapsed.  I'm sure they would say the same of me, too.

The idea of a soulmate captures my imagination and the romantic I am at heart, but it's something that seems to be misapplied in general.  Rather than there being just one person with whom we can, or will, find ourselves enmeshed on a soul-deep level, I believe we have instances throughout our lives where these others become part of the journey on which we find ourselves.  Sometimes these deep soul ties reflect through abiding friendships, sexual involvement, or even marital relationships, not all elements have to be present, and when they are, it doesn't necessarily reflect a connection that exists without others with whom we are similarly connected.

I love the point you make, Chele, about buying into this idea being one that limits us, as we're always waiting to see what will happen, rather than enjoying where, when, and with whom we find ourselves.

Now I see me taking this post and my thoughts and working it into my own writings on this subject.  What a great way to start the week!

One Chele said...

I'm not feeling the Soul Mate idea either. My biggest issue being the "one and only" stipulation it rests upon, and the "I've found you, and now life's gonna be easy, breezy, beautiful cover girl " implication.

As far as I'm concerned, unless you're the world's most difficult person to please, there's more than one person in which you either click with, or have that instant chemistry/lust at first sight moment. This whole Soul Mate noise can go sit down because of that alone. However, what really does it for me is the Happily Ever After, magic unicorns and fairy dust painting of marriage. While it shouldn't be hard all or even most of the time, trust and believe it takes a concerted effort to foster a healthy, lasting union.

BTW, why does this Soul Mate ideology leave me walking around with only half a soul? Needing someone else to complete, rather than complement me?

Sidebar: Hey Bougie Land, I don't wanna be a player lurker no more.

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