Agency, Silence and Closure.

“Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
– Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)

One of my friends tweeted this last night.

It spoke to me. It was what I needed to read, even though closure is a loaded topic that triggers me. It’s something I’ve been denied. And three years later, I’m still not over it.

That said, perhaps a trigger stems from the lack of agency that I feel. Because when it comes down to it, I suppose closure is personal — the ball is in my court– it’s not something I should be expecting from someone else. And like a fool I’ve been waiting for it. It’s something that I’ll likely never get (for many reasons). Plus, I’m not owed it (because a truism that I’ve come to accept is that the world owes me nothing).

But I need it. I’m tired. I feel stuck.

So, today I came across an essay on my Facebook news feed about relationships, words, silence and closure (or the lack thereof). It’s interesting, because the article isn’t new — it was written by an author named Rania Naim back in October for Thought Catalog.

 

I wonder if it was meant for me to read today. Energy, the universe, divine intervention and all of that.

In any case, it spoke to me. It spoke to my soul. It encapsulates much of what I am feeling right now. It reads, to me, like an open letter of sorts. An open letter that I need to write to someone. I’d like to share some of the excerpts here. This beautiful essay serves as the open letter that I am too tired to write. I just don’t have the energy anymore.

“Don’t worry when I yell at you or when I blame you. Don’t worry when I throw tantrums and send you long essays explaining why I’m mad…Don’t worry when I cry at night because of something you said.

They’re all displays of love, they’re all cries for your attention and they’re all exhibits of how much I love you.

But worry when my messages become one word answers, worry when I no longer fight with you about what you say…worry when I stop crying, when I stop talking and when I stop reacting.

[…]

Because my silence is more dangerous than my words, my silence can destroy much more than my words ever will.

My silence means you’re no longer the one who’s occupying my thoughts and you’re no longer worth the noise.

You see, I love words, I live for words, I can keep writing words forever because I can feel them, because they come from my heart, because they represent my depth and because they’re honest.

But I hate silence. I’m not comfortable with the words left unsaid, with feelings left unattended and hearts being neglected.

My words are my love, my silence is my departure, it’s the beginning of the end.

[…]

So don’t fear my heated arguments, the ways I try to show you who I am, the tears I can’t hold back because you mean the world to me. Don’t fear them, appreciate them, they’re all the ways I want to stay, they’re all the ways I try to fight with you because I want to fight for you.

But fear the day it all stops, fear the day when everything goes quiet…”

Silence. I’m out of words. This author captured my sentiments with words I no longer have. I’m tired.

Staying Gold — Third Time’s the Charm.

Stevie Wonder’s song Stay Gold always makes me happy. In the song, he sings about reflecting on a place and time when we were young, and life was care free — while remembering that nothing lasts forever. But more importantly, he reminds us that we must always stay gold. Staying gold; or, being optimistic — staying encouraged — being buoyant — is tough.

Especially with a heart that’s been battered and abused more than once. And you’re left with the scars.

Song: “Stay Gold” by Stevie Wonder | Film: “The Outsiders” (dir. Francis Ford Coppola) © 1983

That said, I read a thought provoking article the other day, suggesting that we only fall in love with three people in our lifetimes — each for a specific reason. As you know (if you read my blog), love (and even things love-like) have been kind of disastrous for me. But suspending my belief, for a few moments, about love’s curse on me, I challenged myself to be open. The article paints an eerily accurate description of my love experiences, but leaves me hopeful.

More specifically, though, coming across this piece was ironic — considering I just 1spent the past week waxing poetic down memory lane about the two major loves that I’ve had in my life. So, according to this article, I’m due for the real thing this time. The love that will make the previous two disasters look like child’s play. And will be easy.  The one that will make it apparent why the other ones didn’t work out. Will the third time be the charm?

Before I start pining away and waiting patiently for the love that, according to Kate Rose, will come “so easy it doesn’t seem possible”, I should really reflect on what my other two loves have taught me, and how they prepared me for what I only hope will be real.

My first love. According to Rose, “This is the love that appeals to what we should be doing for society’s sake…We enter into it with the belief that this will be our only love and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel quite right, or if we find ourselves having to swallow down our personal truths to make it work because deep down we believe that this is what love is supposed to be.

Damn. She hit the nail on the head with this characterization. My first love was a guy who I was with for nearly 10 years — just because. There were major problems in our relationship (which began when I was only 17), which really should’ve ended it long before it blew up. But we were together for “so long” and our families liked each other and he bought be cute presents and, and, and…

Nevermind the fact that he body-shamed the hell out of me (I gained some weight, he dumped me for a while, and I starved myself to lose it), cheated on me, and did other creepy things that are just too weird to discuss in this post. But yeah, it ran its course.

If I have to reflect on what it taught me, and why this love entered into my life, I’d argue that it showed me what I didn’t want. I don’t want to discount all of the wonderful times I had with this man (he was my first…yeah, that first), and we experienced a lot together. But, even the sum of our experiences leaves me in an icky place, and when I made peace with how that relationship ended, I vowed that I deserved better.

I made peace with my body (despite his judgment), I learned how to live with a man, and did the domestic thing for a bit. Actually, as I think about it, I made an entire Thanksgiving dinner for our families the year that we lived together. So yeah. Love number one lessons = self-acceptance, the qualities not to accept in a man, men who spend their lives in the gym probably won’t appreciate a chubby girl, and time doesn’t mean much once the love has run its course.

Love number two. Damn, that still hurts. According to Rose, “The second is supposed to be our hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation.”

Man. As much as I am still hurt by how that relationship ended, I learned so much about myself from him. He motivated me to be my best. He challenged me in many ways (which made me a better partner and woman to live with). He accepted my flaws. He knew the kind of love that I needed — an attentive, protective, and fierce love. And it was lovely. But, oh the eventual lies and hurt.

Rose describes the second love as one filled with highs, lows, dramas, etc.; this roller coaster analogy sums up a lot of what I experienced with this person — both good and bad. Mainly good (until it got bad).

Rose cautions, “With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should. It’s the love that we wished was right.” This sentiment speaks to my need and want to maintain a friendship with this person who hurt me so very deeply. Damn, I wish it didn’t have to end like it did. I digress.

But oh, this elusive third love. Rose beautifully posits:

“This is the love where we come together with someone and it just fits—there aren’t any ideal 1expectations about how each person should be acting, nor is there pressure to become someone other than we are…It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. But still it shatters our preconceived notions and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true.”

This description completely challenges my ideas and expectations about a future partner. Primarily because there probably shouldn’t be expectations. The idea of not playing it safe is particularly intriguing to me in that as a Taurus, stability and safety are innate to me. That said, I may need to consider stretching my idea of what I believe my love will look like — act like — be like.

But being honest, I am still not ready to love again. I resist it, in fact. My musical chairs of questionable situations with men since my last love has shown me that I am not ready for anything real yet. For a long time, I shunned the idea of loving again — I was that hurt. But like Stevie says, I’ve got to stay gold.

Rose writes something about those who’ve loved and lost that leaves me very hopeful, “But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones…They are the ones who are tired of having to try and whose broken hearts lay beating in front of them wondering if there is just something inherently wrong with how they love…Just because it has never worked out before doesn’t mean that it won’t work out now.”

I’m not looking for love. I’m recovering. But, despite what my experiences have shown me, I am able to be loved, minus all of the drama, lying, nastiness & shame.

Though I’m broken now, I need to stay gold. The third time will be the charm.

Unfinished Business.

Do you remember the film, The Best Man (1999)? Taye Diggs’ character, “Harper Stewart” was writing a memoir recalling past experiences and sticky situations from his college days. In any case, there was drama, skeletons let out of the closet, and a little bit of petty all wrapped up in a cliché romantic comedy (I can’t front though, it’s one of my favorites).

I digress.

I bring this up, because my ex was reading my recent blog about him, and joked that my blog was the real Unfinished Business (because although I don’t use real names, those who are intimately acquainted with us know the deal, and exactly to whom I refer). Since I aired his dirty laundry (while he reminded me that I have quite a bit of my own — I am working up to sharing this truth), The Best Man analogy was kind of cute.

“Love is a Losing Game” | © 2006 Universal Island Records Ltd.

But, being the over-thinker that I am, the idea of unfinished business was a major trigger, and I can’t shake how it’s making me feel.

If you are a faithful reader, you recall the saga with my ex — over 3 years ago, finding out that he had a baby (and a whole new reality) outside of our relationship, in a different state.

Would you believe that this drama was uncovered in October of 2013 — it’s now November of 2016, and he has yet to face me. He has still yet to look me in my eyes, feel my energy and spirit, and own the mess he created. Talking on the phone is easy. When things get uncomfortable or messy, you can end the conversation. That’s a bit more difficult to do when you’re standing in the presence of someone you’ve wronged.

We were together for five years, and he has allowed three years of heartache to torment me without giving me the respect of a face to face meeting. Or an apology while being forced to watch my tears — or the look of utter disappointment and heartbreak on my face. Or, just a hug. Something palpable.

Meanwhile, he has begun a new life (while appearing to posture in the presence of white mediocrity, something that calls into question all that he purports to stand for — a completely different topic) while my life and health unraveled. Literally.

“Love is a Losing Game” | © 2006 Universal Island Records Ltd.

What we had was good while it lasted, and as hard as I’ve tried (to the dismay of many of my friends), I can’t hate him. I have tried my hardest to maintain a friendship with him — swallowing my pride and holding back tears as I hear his son (with our name) talking to him in the background. Editing projects for him. Being reminded (he doesn’t remind me — my mind wanders — I ruminate on shit like that) of trips I took out of town see him perform, still in the dark about his betrayal (as I slept alone in a hotel room). Being his biggest fan as I witness him accomplishing things he’s been working toward for years. Floating from one meaningless, destructive, casual relationship to the next because my heart is too raw to really feel. Trying to navigate alone in a world that once felt so complete with him in it.

But I suppose that at this point in time, nothing more needs to be said. I’ve said and done things that I am not proud of, in futile ways, to try and make his life as miserable as I was. That said, it hurts my heart and soul to believe that he is content living his life while he has loose ends — unfinished business to attend to.

Is it asking too much to expect proper ending that honors and respects the relationship that we once shared?

But, here’s the thing: you reap what you sow. There comes a proverbial and elusive day of reckoning for us all.

“Everything and everybody got to stand in the light.” – Aunt Ester  (“Gem of the Ocean” by August Wilson)

No Room for Love.

Why I involve myself with losers (criminals, unavailable men, serial cheaters, jerks — a combination of any of the aforementioned descriptors) boggles my mind.

13There’s this one stand-by friend (we’ll call him “Award”) who I’ve known for almost 18 years; he’s no drama, unattached, attentive, sweet, very attractive, smart, professional. Yeah, all that good stuff.

And guess what?

I blow him off because it irritates me that he brags about his son too much. I mean, how much more shallow and petty can I be? What does that say about me?

Oh, and he does this weird shrugging thing to demonstrate an it is what it is or oh well sentiment in conversation sometimes.

And he smokes plain Black & Mild cigars. Yes, plain.

He’s a bit arrogant, but so am I. 12

So essentially, there’s nothing really wrong with him. He’s perfect, actually — a great catch. No pressure for commitment, either.

So why, again, am I involving myself with losers? If I had to guess, I’d say that losers are easy. If I have made up my mind that there couldn’t possibly be a future, I save myself heartache, or something.

Or, maybe I do like drama. Worse yet, maybe my heart’s been so battered that I don’t think that true love can exist for me.

A travesty if I do say so myself.

Context, Part II (This Really Deserves a More Personal Title).

This is a continuation of the abridged version of my pertinent relationship history.

My second, and most recent real relationship started on shaky ground; it began about 2 years (give or take) after my first relationship ended (about 2008, or so). We met in a very innocent and endearing way. As things progressed fairly quickly, he revealed that he was married. He and his wife were separated, which is how I think I was able to justify doing exactly what was done to me in my last relationship (ironic, right?)

HB0, Def Poetry Jam | © 2006 BMG Rights Management US, LLC

I was smitten. Admittedly, I was so infatuated with this man, that I cornered him into an impossible situation. Though he wasn’t really in a position to commit to me in the right way, I forced it. I knew he was falling in love with me, and didn’t want to lose me — I certainly didn’t want to lose him. In hindsight, I realize that I took advantage of his feelings and vulnerability. But, as Nina Simone lamented, “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”

A bit of time passed, and I got my way (so to speak). We ended up making things as official as an unofficial union could get. We made things work for about 5 years (living in different apartments together, traveling, creating art, experiencing lots of firsts, and having lots of fun). We certainly had rough patches, but all in all, things were great. I adored him, and I truly believe he adored me. He was supportive, attentive, selfless, romantic, caring, protective, loving — all of the things I was missing in my previous relationship. He was my biggest fan.

One of my most cherished moments was his father giving me a hug and telling me (I can hear it now, it’s kind of haunting, actually): “You’ll always be my daughter-in-law.” We weren’t married, but he knew I loved his son. That really meant a lot to me.

All of that said, there were some major issues that I was never able to reconcile. He never divorced, he had children with his wife that I was never privy to meet — in other words, he didn’t seem to take me serious enough to “put a ring on it”. I looked past that, though — I really loved him.

Over the years, I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know his friends, members of his family (including his sister and nephews). I supported him through the death of his grandmother. I helped support him through the death of his father. Our connection was deep.

Fast forward a few months after his father passed away (about 4 years, now).

Short story. After several seemingly innocent extended trips out of state for work (he is a performing artist) and to visit his children, I found out that he knocked up another woman in said state (because of my amazing intuition, or maybe because for various reasons, I grew suspicious and logged into his e-mail to find messages from an unknown woman about lactation and all kinds of other baby stuff). It turns out he had sex with her, and ended up getting her pregnant while out of town “working” (so cliché). Oh, and through my social media investigation, all in the same sitting, I found out and named his son (who was 8 or so months at the time) what we had discussed naming our hypothetical future child. Damn.

Utter devastation. A punch in the gut that I can still feel to this day.

Needless to say, it was over as soon as I found out. I resisted the urge to bleach his clothes and break his valuables (he was out of town when I found out), and within three weeks, moved out of our apartment (leaving his possessions, save a few items for him to have someone pick up and store).

I can’t front, though, I’ve done some immature things to try and make his life (and the life of his “baby mama” who I later found out knew he was in a relationship, yet seemed to flaunt her newfound situation to the world) miserable since. Did it make me feel better in the moment? Yes. Now? Not so much.

It is very difficult to encapsulate the magnitude of this situation (even though I found out a little over three years ago), so I will have to return when my head is a bit clearer. It still stings.

That said, I was facing my karma. It’s interesting how that works.

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Click on the photo to be redirected to the article. It is an excellent read.

Someone sent me the aforementioned article  to help me get through the pain of this situation (and put it in a bit of perspective). It’s still relevant. And it still stings. A lot. In fact, I still can’t read it without tearing up. Three years later.

And folks wonder why I am over falling in love. Never again.