This popped into my head the other day. I’m not sure what sparked the memory, but it really has me thinking and reflecting on life, relationships, self-worth — deep stuff, basically.
About a year and a half ago, I had a long phone conversion with my ex (not the jerk, “FWB” that I’ve been writing about, but a genuine ex). I vented about the aimlessness that characterized my love life (I use that phrase loosely — facetiously, actually). Despite what he did to me (I’m not sure if I’ll write about it here, but it was heart breaking, foul, shady — just all around wrong), I’m in a relatively better place now, and I still value his insight. He may have hurt me, but he’s one of the wisest people I know.
In any case.
We had a long talk about my life, and I ended up telling him about the assorted, not so good, shenanigans that cluttered my world. Without being judgy, he offered the following thoughts:
1. He likened me offering myself too easily & giving too much information to insignificant men to a library book. He asked, “Wouldn’t you prefer to be a rare book in someone’s private collection, rather than a beat up library book from which people can read the introduction and skip right to the end? Your story is too valuable for that. You’re classic, rare and exclusive; not a library book that the public can check out, a book that might end up in someone’s trunk, and not returned on time, or ever.”
Now, I know what you may be thinking — there is an air of hotep in that sentiment; but, I assure you, respectability politics is not what framed his analogy. I honestly feel like it was a suggestion to reflect on how I value myself.
2. My ex used to watch “Sex and the City” with me. In one episode, Samantha was interviewing with Richard Wright about doing PR for his luxury hotels. In any case, Richard looked at her resume and said, “This is all fluff. It’s nothing but parties and social events.” He reminded me of that episode and using that as an analogy, asked if any of the men I’m dealing with are worthy enough to be put on my (hypothetical) resume, or to serve as references (for anything significant or real). Obviously, the answer is no. They’re all essentially… fluff (or at least our relationships are).
3. And finally, I reminded him how passive aggressive & non-confrontational I am, and whined that I didn’t know how to end things with certain people. He offered me the best gem of this conversation. He said, “You don’t owe anyone anything. Does a dope fiend owe the dope dealer an explanation for not buying his product anymore? All he offered you was (XYZ), and it’s doing you no good. You don’t owe him shit.”
So…in effort to (in the words of Iyanla Vanzant) do the work — my work, I stopped responding to the assorted, random “WYD” (etc.) texts from my fluff. It may not seem like much, but it was a start. Trust me, it didn’t eliminate anything, but it was a needed pause.
And a gentle reminder that reinventing my reality is possible whenever I choose.
“It ain’t nothing to find no starting place in the world. You start from where you find yourself.”
– August Wilson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone