“When God gives you a vision, you must set boundaries.”
This was the first message I heard after arriving in California for the first time in March 2018. They are also the words that inspired my blog post, Protect Your Space – a letter and declaration for me to set boundaries to safeguard my physical and spiritual space. I got to revisit California during a 10-day West Coast excursion in November 2022. After leaving Las Vegas, I spent a few days in the Bay Area kicking it in Napa Valley, eating Roundtable Pizza (might be the second greatest pizza on earth), and attending the South Carolina vs Stanford WBB game!
This trip continued in Los Angeles– where I spent my remaining days in California exploring the SoCal region. I visited muscle beach in Santa Monica, attended the LA Kings hockey game, and rode a scooter through Downtown LA to Highland Park brewery – located right outside of Chinatown. I also got to finally meet my friend Kavonna and during our time together she reiterated that “at the end of the day, you gotta live and lead with love.”
This was the moment.
This was the moment I realized that while I was protecting physical and spiritual boundaries, I failed to fortify psychological, emotional, and social boundaries. Not coincidentally, these are the same three areas in which I was getting my ass kicked over the last few months.
Love. Live and lead with love.
I believe I’ve done a phenomenal job leading with love over the years. I give people their flowers, create opportunities to amplify others voices, and ground empathy in my practices as an educator, student, and friend. Through therapy and over time, I’m healing through abandonment issues that stemmed from the relationship or lack thereof I had with my biological father. Today I am in a healthier place where I am open and learning how to receive and live in love in all its forms – especially those outside of my top love languages.
Where I’ve been inconsistent is how I’ve chosen to love myself.
Walk with me.
Because if we’ve ever spoken or been in the same room together, you know I love Tim Bryson – I literally talk about myself in 3rd person. If you’ve been walking with me from the beginning, you know I’ve talked about Tim’s 10% and Reclaiming My Time – two pieces that discuss how I’m unapologetically prioritizing myself and being deliberate in who and what has access to my heart. In fact, many of my blogs were written in 2018 – the year I claim and echo to be THE BEST year of my life. Why? Because I was doing me.
No partners, no new friends, no school.
The year 2022 was shaping up to be very similar. Dynamic start to the year, the summer of “Floral No Buttons”, and the beginning of year three of #FutureDrTFB. I was traveling via car and plane on a consistent basis, started a new job, took time off from my podcast and coursework to invest in things I wanted to do, and fitnessed my way into the best physical shape of my life.
I was good – really, REALLY good.
But in those silent moments between tequila shots, I thought about whether my future wife would enjoy blanco or reposado tequila more.
Behind the blue tint sunglass lenses, I was envisioning what life would be like with my right hand, more specifically where we would choose to live and which traditions we’d start together. (P.S. Christmas Eve at Sonder is a non-negotiable.)
Dancing on the Las Vegas Strip and on Chicago rooftops, I was secretly choreographing my wedding entrance to Teenage Fever.
Okay, I’m kidding. But not fr.
Because just like everyone else, I just want my peace. But I also yearn for a lifelong purpose mate.
I care about my career progression and want to make a lot of fucking money. But I also want to travel the world and create infinite memories with my best friend.
ESPN and Twitter are my most used apps. But I can literally see wifey looking at me in the morning before asking if I saw Ja Morant’s latest dunk highlight.
I got a career and a business and a PhD program that takes my time away from women, but I get lonely too.
I told y’all Ima lover boy.
I learned in therapy that although I do not have time for a committed relationship, I still crave connection, community, and affection. I learned in 2022 that I was trying to connect with people who did not know themselves and refused to pursue wholeness in their own life. I also learned that community is co-constructed, and I cannot convince women that I care and am committed to a greater purpose that starts with “us” and “we.” Affection, guided by shared vulnerability, cannot be reached when my partner is carrying baggage from previous relationships that should have been dropped off at therapy, a journal, or another healthy coping practice.
It’s my fault.
Because I know better. And I knew better.
I know who I am and whose I am. I know what I like and what I despise. I know where I need to grow and how I want to grow as a man, partner, and leader. And I now know that when someone says, “that’s just who I am,” believe them.
It’s my fault for once.
I am at an age when family and friends are asking more frequently when I’m getting married and if I’m considering children in the future. This blog was supposed to drop in early December 2022, and I am glad it didn’t because there were increased conversations with family over the holidays about marriage and children. I appreciate the dialogue and want to add that though partnership and kids are on my mind, I am not pressed to expedite a process that God has His hand over. In fact, these questions can induce real and perceived pressure to skip steps and overlook red flags to satisfy societal standards that are being challenged and changing every day.
Instead of asking your single friends about when they are going to join their life with someone else or produce children, I encourage you to ask one of the following questions:
How are you choosing to love yourself during this season in your life?
Which boundaries are you choosing to (re)fortify in your life right now?
What are you learning about yourself during this season of solitude?
How can I best show up for you during the holidays?
Do you want to go get drinks/dinner? It’s on me.
I love Tim Bryson. But I don’t love me enough for the both of us. And won’t.
Entering 2023, I’ve never felt more grounded and confident in who I am. Since 2016, I’ve watched my best friends get married and have children. I stood next to my brother Brian as he said, “I do.” I celebrate my friends going on first dates and send drinks from the bar when they’re on their second and third dates. I’m not jealous. I’m not envious. I’m here and I’m the happiest I’ve been since I was conceived in Summer ‘92, and that includes 2018.
I’m in a different place and I choose to embrace it. My prayers are being answered and my career is provoking a global awakening. I’m changing my environments to stimulate continued growth and evolution into the person God called me to be. I’m still on the go but I am listening to my grandma and choosing to create connected moments in stillness – so that I may clearly hear God’s voice directing me on which step to take next in my walk with Him.
In previous dating experiences, I’d share with sis that my toxic trait is that “I search for something I’m missing and disappear when I’m bored.” Not no more.
I’m no longer chasing, I attract.
I won’t ever get bored learning parts of me I’ve yet to explore, embrace, and unapologetically love.
I’m not abandoning myself to show up for people who are unable to sustain safe environments for me to just be, me.
Ja Morant got it tatted but I’m really him. And we are in the golden ages of the TFB era.
I am confident my soulmate’s somewhere out in the world just waiting on me.
I’m know I’ll meet her as I continue to love myself first, shore up my psychological, emotional, and social boundaries, and walk in my evolving purpose.
You were lost until me.
Encourage somebody to be great today!
Future Dr. TFB
P.S. Granny said y’all got til 2026 or she stepping in! LOL