Relishing A Sister’s Misfortune.

JAY-Z, 4:44Like most of you, I have been caught up in JAY-Z’s latest album, 4:44, all weekend. The album is dope, as are many of the think-pieces I’ve been reading, dissecting its dopeness. The album spoke to me and my reality on many levels (a separate post forthcoming), but interestingly, a think-piece about the album, highlighting a somewhat separate (at least on the surface) issue, has me feeling some kind of way.

Sis, We Gotta Stop Letting Black Men Ruin Us – Crystal deGregory Ph.D. – Medium

An open letter to black women who’ve listened to Jay-Z’s 4:44 and are waiting on an apology from the men who did you wrong. This could easily be a conversation about how Beyoncé lost her mind, her career, or her literal life behind Jay-Z. But, thankfully, it is not.

Honestly, the entire article speaks to me, but this quote is particularly poignant:

“That’s right. We gotta stop celebrating ruinous men ruining any woman —even a woman who has betrayed our Sisterhood’s” sacred trust. We made him and his situation look so good that Sister really thought she was getting herself a prize — a poison that looked like it tasted so good, she was willing to steal it because of her own desperate thirst.”

Okay. Those of you who read this blog know that I have had my share of experiences with no good, “ruinous”, ain’t shit men. Most particularly, my ex-FWB. I knew he wasn’t shit when I hooked up with him, but as you may recall, my ex-friend highlighted just how ain’t shit he was, and set into motion a set of sneaky, snaky events that ultimately ended our friendship.

To sum it up, she slept with him, lied about it, started a fraud ass relationship with him, got knocked up, and the rest is history. You may also recall that she ended up reaching out to me a bit after the baby was born, humbling herself to “apologize” and tell me just how ain’t shit she found out he was (a “you told me so” moment from which I took copious amounts of pleasure) — denying their baby, “cheating on her”, knocking up another woman. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Ex-FWB & some chick he knocked up.

Digressing a bit, you know when you’re bored, on social media, and you go down that rabbit hole, searching and scouring looking for shit? Well, last week, I went down that rabbit hole, and found this photo of ex-FWB from January, with some other broad he knocked up (likely, the woman my ex-friend mentioned). The petty in me wanted to anonymously e-mail it to my ex-friend. But, truth be told, she’s probably seen it. Point being, I took pleasure in imagining my ex-friend’s pain. Like a lot.

It was beautiful — glorious, really — being able to experience karma (and its justice being rightly served). However, reading the words in the aforementioned article really made me pause. I’m sitting with it for a while.

Claiming It — Goodness in Year Four.

“There are always and only two trains running. There is life and there is death. Each of us rides them both. To live life with dignity, to celebrate and accept responsibility for your presence in the world is all that can be asked of anyone.”
– August Wilson (Two Trains Running)

Damn, I’ve been a downer lately. Passive aggressive. Shit, aggressive period. Petty. Ruminating on past hurt. Vitriolic. Preoccupied with balancing others’ karma. It’s interesting, a good friend of mine pointed out that trying to balance others’ karma throws one’s own karma off kilter. And God knows, I need all of the good karma I can get. Atonement is where I am at these days.

Another friend of mine sent this to me yesterday, and I can’t stop watching it. I love Denzel, and all, but it’s his words — and the authority and conviction with which he says them that is captivating me.

“True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, to indicate that it’s yours already. You already have it. Claim it.” – Denzel Washington

And here’s the thing. I do desire good, and goodness. My heart isn’t simply filled with negativity and scars from my past hurt. Regardless of what some people think, my heart isn’t simply consumed with revenge fantasies of karma serving its justice. I want to be happy. I want to be content. I want peace.

Meditating on the idea that the good thoughts and desires in my heart are already mine (and sent beforehand), is comforting to me. More significantly, they’re proof from God. If I accept this as true, I can only imagine that the negative thoughts and desires that consume my mind are the opposite. I know they’re not of God (or from a place of goodness). So, I have to imagine that they’re mine, too — ready to be claimed. And I don’t want them.

I’ve been relatively zen the past few days — especially after I’ve become resolute in my desire for closure. And more importantly, balancing my own karma. Because Lord knows, I have a lot to do.

Man, 2016 has been awful. But honestly, it’s been par for the course, because the last three years have been terrible for me. It’s been getting to the point, lately, that I am wondering if I’ve been dealt a hand that I am just not equipped to play. Like, I’ve been ready to throw in my hand. Betrayal, deceit, heartbreak, serious illness — it’s just been too much.

But being spiritual, the number three sticks out to me. The past three years have been probably the most difficult that I’ve experienced in my life. But the number three gives me hope. Three represents wholeness (mind, body, soul), completeness (beginning, middle, end), the temporal (past, present future) — three is kind of deep.

After three years of chaos, I embrace this fourth year — four is spiritually significant, too. I will be turning 37 (7-3 = 4 — ha; I was just being facetious with that one); but seriously, four is also said to be/represent:

the number of stability, order and completion of justice; the number of the square, four phases of the moon, four seasons, four elements, four cardinal points — number four is a perfect number.

So as I end this three years of chaos, I will embrace good thoughts and desires — for they are already mine, as Denzel opined. I open my arms to 2017. My number four.

The World Owes You Nothing.

“It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.

When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.” – Harry Browne, “A Gift for My Daughter” | December 25, 1966

Alice Walker, in the book “The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart” (2000), writes, “Healing begins where the wound is made.” This sentiment is where my conundrum lies. Because a truism that I’ve recently had to accept, is that wounds may never be tended where they began, or from the person who caused the injury. We can’t expect that. We aren’t owed that.

2Today, I came across a letter, written by Harry Browne, a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate. He published this in a newspaper column on Christmas 1966 as a gift for his 9-year old daughter. I am not going to publish the entire thing in this post (the letter, in its entirety can be found here), but I want to focus on some of the points that particularly touched my soul, and in all honesty, are an eerily relevant complement to the rant I posted yesterday.

When I hear the word entitlement, I automatically think about rich (white men — or just white, period) folks who have had privileges that have shaped their worldviews in a way that leads them to believe that things like money, jobs, comfort, security, etc., are owed to them. That said, I do not view myself as an entitled person. I do not exist in a world that has shown me that people who look and live like me are owed anything — quite the contrary.

That said, upon further reflection, I had to check myself and realize that I do hold on to a sense of entitlement — on a more spiritual or moral level. And it’s affected my life in the most disastrous way.

Browne, in his letter to his daughter writes: “No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.”

Well, damn. So simple, yet so profound.

Yesterday, I was feeling some kind of way, and lamented, here, about the fact that my ex hasn’t shown me the courtesy (that I feel is owed to me) of facing me, in person — palpably facing the mess he created. In my mind, a phone apology doesn’t cut it. It’s been three years — he owes it to me to face his demons. Me.

There’s that word again — owes.

But when it all comes down to it, he doesn’t owe me a damn thing. 1Sure, we weren’t married, do not have children, or any real attachments — but, you’d think at the very least I was owed a proper ending. 5 years counts for something, right? But, I am not entitled to anything from him — not even respect. Thinking about this really hit me hard. But woke me up.

Brown confesses, “A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.” I think that many of us hold on to the notion that if we do our best, treat people kindly, give of our time and love — we are owed some basic courtesy or respect. The truth is, we aren’t owed anything. Coming to terms with this truth can be the stuff of anxiety, depression, panic and grief — all things that I have been wrestling with over the past few years.

Additionally, Browne writes, “Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel“. That said, what would give me the idea that someone has a responsibility to exit his comfort zone to enter into a situation that will have no immediate benefit for him? Would it be the courteous thing to do? I think so. Is it the right thing to do? It depends on who you ask.

But, is it necessary for him? No. Because he owes me nothing.

Here’s the kicker, though — Browne cautions, “But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.

This is hard. Self-care is important — necessary in fact. Coming to the realization that maintaining expectations of and relationships with folks who really don’t have your primary interest in mind can, in fact, be harming you (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually), means a choice has to be made.

Either make peace with it, or move around. You’ve got to tend your wounds yourself. Because the fact remains: no one owes you anything.

And if the latter is what is decided, you owe no explanation.

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.