Standing in the Light, Part I.

I may lose some friends, associates and respect over this, but I’ve got to, as Aunt Ester (Gem of the Ocean, August Wilson) suggested — stand in the light:Everything and everyone got to stand in the light.” When Wilson wrote the aforementioned play, he juxtaposed the rule of law with the moral and natural order of things. As I center myself in the scheme of things, I think that my story juxtaposes betrayal (and its consequences) with justice (and its consequences). Maybe I’m trying to be too deep (to deflect), but it is what it is (plus, I’m an overthinker).

Stepping out on a limb, and holding myself to a certain level of accountability (and essentially not caring about folks’ judgment), I need to speak my truth. Plus, it’s only fair.

I’ve ranted about my ex and his foul actions that pretty much caused my complete emotional breakdown, but if I am being completely honest, I was no angel in this saga. Not by any stretch of the imagination. And I don’t want to be completely one-sided.

I had a 2-year not-so-secret thing (definitely not a relationship, but all things considered, an extended inappropriate situation) with my ex’s best friend of 20 years (and was a catalyst for a broken friendship). Not that it makes it any better, but this started after his betrayal. Yes, I was that woman (any name you want to call me).

Without getting into the gritty details of how this began (it’s complicated), suffice it to say that as soon I found out about my ex’s betrayal, all bets were off. And I was determined to do whatever I could to hurt him was badly as he hurt me — regardless of how it affected me in the process.

We’ll call my ex’s friend The Homie. The Homie and I were cool, because he and my man were cool. They spent a decent amount of time together at our place, so over the years, I got to know him fairly well. There was never anything inappropriate about our interactions — in fact, we never had any interactions absent my man. We even went on double dates with The Homie and the women he was cheating on his girlfriend with. Yeah, he was that dude.

Being perfectly honest, I did find him attractive, but I never thought about him like that (in a serious way, at least). But let’s be real. We’re grown, and it’s easy to pick up on unspoken chemistry — and I’ll just say that he was the type of guy who I knew would exploit a chance, if given, to test his boundaries with me.

Additionally, The Homie is a whore. He had a girlfriend with whom he was completely unfaithful, several kids with several women, and just an overall shady dude (sounds kind of like my FWB, who would come into my life later…interesting).

Admittedly, when my ex was out of town (I didn’t yet know the significance of all of these trips, but I was getting suspicious — hence, my eventual decision to check his e-mail), The Homie and I very innocently hung out a time or two (along with other people — times of which my man was aware). Now, I know what you’re thinking — there’s no reason why you and your man’s friend should have any interaction without him, but as I said, it was innocent.

For brevity’s sake, I’m skipping over a short amount of time (from about March to November — and no, I wasn’t hanging with The Homie all this time — this is just the time frame my man was out of town) — until the infamous bomb was dropped on me.

So, November.

A few days after everything was revealed to me, I ran into The Homie when I was out and about. I must’ve looked terrible and distraught, because when he saw me, he immediately asked what was 3wrong. On the verge of tears, I told him what was going on. I don’t think he even knew about it (my man was pretty private, and I know he wasn’t proud — at the time — of the situation). He was surprised, yet at the same time took kind of a conciliatory tone, and suggested that maybe we could work it out. On a side note, The Homie has had a couple children while in (or outside of, depending on perspective) relationships, so I guess hearing what my ex had pulled probably didn’t shake him too much. For him it was essentially, “been there, done that.” I digress.

We talked a bit more, and went our separate ways. Later that evening, he texted me, and asked if I was up. He worked fairly close to my apartment, and asked if I wanted company.

Here’s the thing: The Homie is a sleaze, he’s an opportunist, he has no conscience, he knew I was vulnerable, there was a certain kind of competition I had always sensed between he and my man; plus, he wanted to test the boundaries (or lack thereof).

And let me be frank. I am not an idiot. I knew what was up. But honestly, in that moment, I didn’t care.

In that moment, my integrity, my reputation, morality, and sense of right and wrong went out the window. Retribution and selfishness motivated me.

I was hurt. And damn it, even though he didn’t know it at that moment, my ex was going to be hurt, too.

The British poet, William Congreve, in the 1697 poem The Mourning Bride writes, “And all those ills which thou so long hast mourn’d /  Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d / Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.”

You do the math. Form your opinions. Make your judgments. Or, wait until the conclusion — it’s up to you.

But, remember the Aunt Ester quote I referenced above? Caywood and Floyd (2009) suggest that, “August Wilson proclaimed the centuries old matriarch, Aunt Ester, his most significant character. Her presence incarnates a key Wilson idea: The need for African Americans to move forward into the future through embracing their past.

Don’t get it twisted, I’m not suggesting that my story is that deep or prolific. That said, though, as I stand in my light — shame and all, perhaps it’s a way to move forward.

Caywood, C. & Floyd, C. (2009). “She make you right with yourself”: Aunt Ester, masculine loss and cultural redemption in August Wilson’s cycle plays. College Literature , 36 (2).

REWIND: Kryptonite.

So, I wrote this well over two years ago, in regards to the good old FWB (even after I knew he had involved himself with my ex-friend, but before I knew she was pregnant). I guess her being pregnant really shouldn’t have mattered to me (and frankly it wouldn’t have), because my involvement with him, at that point, had more to do with power than anything.

Bear with me, gentle readers, I realize that it may be difficult to keep up with what I’m writing (the sequence of my posts), but this is more or less a stream of consciousness, as this point. I guess this is one of my “woe is me with a broken heart” moments, blaming my dumb decisions on my ex. Yeah, I recognize it. But, this is my blog. I am center.

“You Know I’m No Good” | © 2006 Universal Island Records Ltd.

So the bad news is that I am still dealing with my sleazy FWB. Yep, the guy who supposedly only got  a bj (but we now know the truth, don’t we) from my ex friend. I know it probably seems absurd that I’d still bother with him, but, you can’t rationalize something that’s irrational, so why try?

I am not the type of woman who blames the other woman for a man’s indiscretions (maybe because I’ve been the other woman in other situations). But this girl was a close friend who knew I had trust issues and was vulnerable. Yet, she would lower herself to be intimate with a guy who she knew her friend was dealing with?

Let’s be realistic. Most folks say that I’m lowering myself for dealing with him in the first place; but, especially after the nonsense discussed herein, it’s laughable. And they’re right.

He and I weren’t committed; however, his involvement in this situation with my friend was beyond disrespectful. I know this. It’s inexcusable. I think our lack of an explicit commitment allowed me to give him a little pass (certainly not in my respect files). But he’s my kryptonite.

My friend, on the other hand, was committed to me.

What’s really sick is that in an effort to sabotage what I had going on with him, she told him all of my business (told to her in confidence) — about how he was just a fling, that I didn’t want a relationship, how I was involved with other people, etc.

What kind of friend does that? As far as I’m concerned, she’s dead to me.

But him, on the other hand. Why I entertain his nonsense is inexplicable.

Again, he’s my kryptonite.

So after I saw him (for the last time, or so I told him), he said something very interesting.

Since I lied to him about being involved with someone else, and he was intimate with my friend, he says: “I guess you broke the glass, and I shattered it.”

I need to just clean up the glass and move around.

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)

REWIND: Karma’s Revenge, Part II.

This was written several months ago, but never shared publicly. There’s a lesson here, folks. The Universe works things out in its own time, but rarely do we ever get to witness justice served. The Gods and Ancestors were looking down on me, in this instance, and granted me a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Remember my ex-friend — the one who got knocked up by my ex-FWB? Well, look at the text I got today:

____ Your revenge was delivered. You were absolutely right about him. The true hurt will forever sit in my baby’s heart. I’m truly sorry and I miss you!

Girl, bye. Too little, too late. That said, it is lovely to be able to experience karma biting one’s wrong-doer in the butt. I think we all, at one point in time, have had revenge fantasies that help us cope with tough times and betrayal; but, it’s rare to be handed that justice on silver platter. Satisfaction beyond belief.

So, in her text, she divulged that the ex-FWB “cheated on her” (the whole idea of her conceptualizing what they had as a relationship is laughable – read: delusional) and has another baby on the way (theirs is only 9-months old). Oh, and that she threw him out and is no longer “with him” (how you can be “with” a man who doesn’t even claim your child is puzzling to me — oh yeah, she confessed that, too).

I asked her if she really believed that she could have something serious with him, knowing what a low-down jerk he is. She, without hesitation, replied “yes” (while repeatedly apologizing for ruining our friendship).

Here’s the thing. I can go from zero to one-hundred in a heartbeat (meaning, I will unleash wrath like you’ve never seen without hesitation), but I am actually quite the forgiving person (I am able to maintain a semblance of a friendship with my ex — the ultimate betrayer, so that should say something); however, I have no room in my heart for a friend who would sacrifice a real friendship for, let’s be honest, some dick.

This woman was one of the few people who knew what I had just dealt with in my last rela423b15534f16ece6ac9609b2a0269fcdtionship. She witnessed my breakdown. She knew my heart was raw. She knew that trust was important. Yet, she chose to lie and pursue, quite frankly, something that I would’ve been okay with if she would have kept it real with me. FWB and I were not in a relationship, and if you recall in an earlier post, intentions and honesty mean everything to me. So, if she was that hard up for sex, and she would’ve been up front, I would have been completely ambivalent about it.

But don’t get it twisted; I would have given her the low-key side eye in perpetuity, and I would’ve kept him at a distance (because sloppy seconds really aren’t my thing). But, she would’ve kept our friendship in tact.

So, I didn’t accept her apology. I don’t forgive her. But, I wish her well.

You reap what you sow.

James Baldwin once wrote, “My memory stammers, but my soul is a witness” — forgiving and forgetting is irrelevant; my soul was assaulted. For what it’s worth.


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.

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.