Built to Last

My friend and I were watching Selma last month and he said to me “See, they don’t make women like Coretta Scott King anymore. She stood by her husband when she knew he was being unfaithful. You present day women would leave your man in a heartbeat. You’re not built to last.” Yep, he actually said that BS. Really dude?

I had a WTH? look on my face as I tried to compose myself before responding. Believe it or not I can just respond and cut you with my words, but now that I’m 40 I’m trying to tame my tongue and think a full one minute before responding to foolishness.

106829-Kevin-Hart-dumbfounded-confuse-0aQE

But, I got myself together and said “Built to last? So, women should stand by a man who is unfaithful because we married him?” I almost choked on my water and then I couldn’t stop laughing because I realized that this man was serious.

Simon Cowell almost chokes on his drink laughing at X-Factor

I decided that my friend must be smoking some new and undetectable brand of crack for saying something so absolutely whack that I had to share it with all of you. I had to break down a few things to this man about what he thinks women should and shouldn’t put up with and dispel a few myths that he may be sharing among other men who may start believing this lie. Here are three of the myths that I came up with in response to his foolish belief.

Myth #1: Women Should Stand By an Unfaithful Partner

I’m saying partner instead of man because if you’re in a same sex relationship my advice would apply to you as well. You don’t have to stand by anyone who is being unfaithful to you. If YOU CHOOSE to stay in a relationship where you are being disrespected, it is your choice. But, not everyone is that strong. The thing about infidelity is that it cuts like a knife. I’ve been there. It hurts like hell. You want everyone in the situation to feel the same type of pain you have. No matter what, they don’t. Your pain is your pain. You own it. You have to nurture it. You have to heal from it.

I’m not suggesting you leave a marriage if they are unfaithful. This is a personal choice. However, there are a number of things that I would consider before staying in a marriage that was unfaithful: length of our marriage, the issues that we are having that made him seek someone outside of our marriage and can I truly forgive my partner. If I can’t forgive and not continuously bring it up then I need to leave the relationship. Your sanity will depend on it. But, there have been many couples who have stayed with an unfaithful partner and were able to fix their marriage. It’s your choice.

However, don’t think you weren’t built to last if you choose to leave. That is a myth. You just don’t want to continue being a relationship where your partner has broken your trust. It’s your choice.

Myth #2: Your Partner Expects You to Stay

This is a big myth. No one expects you to stay in a relationship where they’ve violated your trust unless they are smoking crack. If that is the case then you should definitely leave for their alleged drug use and not just because of their inability to stay faithful. Drug addiction is just as serious as infidelity. You make the choice to stay. No one can force you and if you want to work on your relationship, there is nothing wrong with that. Do what you want to do. But, a piece of advice….if your partner expects you to stay then there is a real problem. Either they will continue being unfaithful to you or they are a cold-hearted narcissist. Whatever it is you should run now. Trust me. Run!

Myth #3: You Are Not Built to Last

Yep, you are built to last. Whether you stay with an unfaithful partner or leave. You are fine. You are built to last. You’ve survived the pain of the betrayal and you will be okay. You don’t need medals advertising your pain. It’s okay to cry and go through it alone. You are a survivor. I believe that in Coretta’s case that she may have stayed not just because she loved her husband but in actuality for a self-serving purpose. Her husband was changing history. She knew this. His name would forever be emblazoned in history and hers too. She stayed because her purpose was his purpose. A shared purpose and therefore she prioritized. She chose to stay. Her choice. Individual choice. If you choose not to stay that doesn’t mean that you are less than someone else. You are still you.

Infidelity is a serious issue and I don’t want anyone to think that you have to stay in an unhealthy relationship with a cheater. If you forgive and stay that is your choice and no one is judging you for it. If you leave it is your choice as well but in either case understand that you are beautifully and wonderfully made and this pain that you’re in will heal and you will get better. I promise you.

 

Why I Won’t Love You

I won’t love you because your definition of love is vastly different from mine.

You see love as control and order. Everything must be in perfect alignment. No coloring outside of the lines.

You see love as a game where you chase, I submit and I live as you wish striving to make you happy.

You see love as a dance where you always lead and I have to follow whether or not I want to go.

You see love as an opportunity to brag and boast about the goodness of me without having to do anything.

You see love as something that you are required to have and not something you desire.

 

I see love as a smorgasbord of opportunities to improve the life of you.

I see love as my chance to color the rainbow on your heart just like a three year old. Why? Because sometimes love is messy.

I see love where you will chase, I will submit and WE will live each day trying to make each other happy.

I see love as a dance between two people wanting to put their best foot forward. Although I’m awkward in my love dance, I want someone who will create a new move with me.

I see love as a chance to wake up each day thanking God for you. Just you.

I see love as an opportunity to improve both of our lives by loving you without limits.

 

Do you see now why I won’t love you?

Our definitions of love differ.

You think of you and I think of US.

Imani Cezanne “Flowers”

Wow is all I can say!

I am so moved by this poet’s words that I had to share this. It touched my soul. As someone who is plus sized, grew up without her father, dealt with sexual abuse and all the manifestations of that trauma and life…food became my solace. It comforted me. It didn’t hurt me.

Some people may never understand the true pain of an emotional eater. We judge. We laugh. We act like they don’t exist. We was me when I used to hide behind big clothes to not be noticed. I tried to stop eating. To do fad diets. No results. I had to change me. I had to get to the root of the problem.

I did. I was camouflaging the pain. It is only then that I was able to understand what I was running from and how I could change. I have lost weight (45 pounds to be exact). It is a journey. It is something that I will never stop living. Each day is a gift and I understand it. I don’t use food as a crutch anymore. But, I will never forget.

A Song for Brennan

Because I am a mother. Because I am black. Because I feel pain. I wrote this piece.

 

“A Song for Brennan”

Almost seven years ago, I birthed a king

Difficult conception, difficult delivery, but I had faith

You see I knew death from diseases that you weren’t supposed to get

I knew what it was like to see someone you love lying in a casket as people wept

Silently

 

But I prayed

I prayed for peace

I prayed for my seed growing in my womb

I prayed for you my son

 

I imagined your face being a combination of me and your daddy’s

I imagined singing you to sleep every night with songs I created in my mind

Why?

Because Rock-a-Bye-Baby scared the hell out of me

No way were you going to be up in a tree in a cradle

With the dang wind blowing?

What kind of foolishness was that?

Mess I said

Besides I knew I would never let you fall

 

My job was to protect you

Like wings of an eagle, I would always be there

You were the angel in my womb

God’s favor over my life defined

My chance at redemption

 

I changed

I became a fanatic

Reading everything I could get my hands on

I wanted to nurture you physically, mentally and spiritually

I vowed to protect you

Always

No greater love

 

It’s been an incredible journey my sweet boy

You’ve taught me how to love beyond measure

You challenge me

You inspire me

You love me

You question me

 

But I’ve lied dear sweet boy

Not because I wanted too, but because I had too

I couldn’t tell you the truth when you asked me about the police

I smiled away my tears as allergies when you caught me crying

I laughed and kissed you and said “Mommy loves you so much”

When you questioned the sadness in my eyes the next morning

 

“Is it me Mommy?” You asked

“Are you mad at me?” You questioned

“No baby” I responded

 

Truth is love

That I’m crying for all those mothers that lose

Lose their sons

For walking home from the store

For playing in the park

For walking to school

For

For

 

Being black

Because being black in this damn world

Is killing me

It angers me

That our children are dying

That you will never know

That in the midst of my tears for injustice

That I scream the names

For Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner

Michael Brown, John Crawford,

Jonathan Ferrell, Tamir Rice and the countless others

Who have lost their life

Because my dear sweet baby boy

I want you to know that

Black lives matter

You matter

More: My Latest Poem

Recently, I’ve been accepting the fact that I want more and that it is okay to want it. Because realistically, I tend to accept the BS that I’m given and try to justify the BS as legitimate because I am thinking about the other person and not trying to appear selfish. But is it really selfish?

That being said, I started to write a poem and ended up realizing that what I wanted to say was that I want and deserve more and that it’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m selfish or self-centered. It means I’m human and I love me more. More is real and more says you’re worth it.

Pen to paper and my feelings became a poem that I entitled “More”.

 

More

Many months of dating and sexing and no commitment came

I wanted more

You cringed at the thought that you would have to share your heart

I walked away

Knowing and believing that I deserved more than a fleeting kiss

With an occasional promise of something more

“Stay with me” you asked

“Let me please you baby” you begged

“Let’s not define the undefinable and exist where we are” you said

“Don’t worry about the others” you whispered

“Just focus on us” you urged

 

I did

I tried

I focused on trying to change you

To make you into the man that would love only me

To show and prove that I was a down ass chick

Who would be your ride or die and

Never leave your side girl

Your homey/lover and your friend

I succumbed to the passion

And pushed more to the back of my mind

 

Why?

Because more didn’t matter

I was going to live in the present

Smile

Enjoy it

Booty calls, occasional dates and pillow talk

That was something right?

It was better than more

 

But more kept pushing and fighting for freedom

More didn’t like the space it was being confined too

More wanted to run wild and yell

More wanted to hold hands in public

More wanted to go to your house of worship and praise

More wanted to meet your family and friends

More wanted to define the terms of our relationship

More wanted to update its Facebook status

More wanted to be unleashed

 

More broke out

I ran crying because I couldn’t put more back

I stood there shaking because more demanded

We have a talk

 

More told me that

I deserve more

I have to choose me

More said I have to leave

More said you can’t stay being the supporting actress

When I was born to play the lead

 

So I listened to more

I left you

I am alone

But you know what?

More was right

I’m happy

In this place of peace

No ambiguity

No confusion

No heartbreak

No tears

No yelling

No screaming

No demanding

No convincing required

Nothing to prove

Because in this space where you don’t exist

I found more

No More

No more please. No more killing of our black babies and offering up excuses. I’m tired. As a mother to a black boy, this is my deepest fear. A fear that he will not be here on this Earth all the days of my life because of senseless violence. I mean Michael Brown and Ferguson is still fresh in my mind and now we hear about Tamir Rice? How could this happen?

A boy. A baby. Not even a teenager. A child. He is six years older than my son. He is a black boy. He is someone’s son. He is not going to go on his first date. He will not go to his prom. He will not graduate high school. He will not go to college. He will not get married. He will not be a father. He is dead.

How does this happen? Why are our children being used as target practice. No more. I can’t take it. I have a son. I don’t let him play with guns. I don’t let him play video games. I don’t allow him to play alone any where. I organize play dates and I organize outings. Why? Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that he will be used as target practice and there is nothing no one will be able to tell me.

I’m crying. Literally writing this piece with tears rolling down my face. I’m scared. Scared of looking into the eyes of my son and knowing that because he is a black boy that no matter what I do to prepare him to not be viewed as a threat, he may be killed senselessly by law enforcement. This is heartbreaking to me.

To make matters worse, how the heck can someone like former Mayor of NYC Rudy Giuliani even justify cops killing blacks by saying that “White police officers wouldn’t be in black neighborhoods, killing black men, if you weren’t killing each other.” Are you kidding me? Why would you even say that? To say that our tax dollars don’t buy us the right to have officers serve and protect without killing us or using the stop-and-frisk method because of the color of our skin is of true offense.

Understand this…I mourn all deaths due to senseless violence. But let’s get real, if my son was murdered by someone who is not a law enforcement official we would hopefully see some sort of justice. If it is law enforcement that murders him then the odds that something will happen are slim to none. He will still be dead and his murderer will be free.

My plea is simple:  Please stop killing our children. Please stop murdering my brothers, fathers, cousins and uncles. Please stop protecting those that kill the innocent. Please prosecute those who kill our children. I will go home and be able to kiss my munch, listen to him tell me about his day at school, listen to him tell me how he can’t wait to go to his grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and listen to him tell me that he loves me tonight. I will get to put him asleep, kissing his forehead and sending prayers of thanks to God for another day with him. Tamir’s parents do not have that luxury. They will have to plan a funeral.

Tamir Rice
Tamir Rice

 

The List

I’m fickle. I’m analytical. I’m not a great joke teller. I’m kind of nerdy. But, I’m divinely created and incredibly blessed. I have a wall up. I don’t let people in. I’m guarded. I’m annoying. I’m afraid of getting hurt. I’m human.

Recently, I’ve been going through a lot of emotional changes and my girlfriend asked me to do something. She asked me to write down what I want out of a partner and review my list to see if it’s reasonable. She said make revisions as you see fit, but keep it close and decide if the person you want to be with has those qualities. If not, thank them for the experience and keep it moving.

Simple huh? But, trying to date after being with someone so long has me feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m too ___ much? I’m too something. I can’t seem to figure out what. So, I struggle to define the undefinable and to try and confine that which can not be confined in hopes that I can figure it out.

What happened? Life. God. Conscious. That little voice that confirms what you know you need to do. It came in the form of Pandora. I was listening to my station and Lyfe Jennings song “Statistics” came on. I smiled. Confirmation of what my girlfriend said earlier rang in my ear. I had never heard this song.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

“Statistics”

Alright alright alright y’all settle down settle down settle down.

If you don’t know where you are this is STATISTICS 101
and I’m your teacher LYFE JENNINGS in the flesh baby.

Books out. Let’s go!

[CHORUS]

25% of all men are unstable
25% of all men can’t be faithful
30% of them don’t mean what they say
and 10% of the remaining 20 is gay

That leaves you a 10% chance of ever finding your mate

That means you better pay attention to these words that I say

I’m gonna teach you how expose the 90%

and show you what to do to keep the other 10.

RULE #1
Don’t be a booty call
If he don’t respect you girl he gon forget you girl

RULE #2
If he’s in a relationship
If he will cheat on her that means he will cheat on you

RULE #3
Tell him that you’re celibate
And if he wants some of your goodies he gon have to work for it

RULE #4
Be the person you wanna find
Don’t be a nickel out here lookin’ for a dime

STATISTICS!

15% of all men got a complex
15% of all men don’t practice safe sex
20% of them come from homes without a father
and there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll marry a coward

Something to think about when you’re taking a shower
Something to swallow when you’re drinking bottled water

I’m gonna teach you how to expose the 90%
and show you what to do to keep the other 10

[REPEAT CHORUS]

Be patient! He’s waiting!
You don’t gotta settle for that
Leave what is past alone!
Get you a backbone!
Stop being (sorry for) yourself!

Have you no checklist?
It’s gonna take patience
Time is still wastin’

Don’t be a booty call
If he don’t respect you girl he gon forget you girl

If he’s in a relationship
If he will cheat on her that means he will cheat on you

Tell him that you’re celibate
and if he wants some of your goodies he gon have to work for it.

Be the person you wanna find
Don’t be a nickel out here lookin’ for a dime.

I loved it. What part? The last line “Be the person you wanna find. Don’t be a nickel out here lookin’ for a dime.” It reminded me that I needed to find like minded people and get to work on my checklist. My checklist won’t be a list of the impossible. I’m not looking for a Superman. I want someone who is the Man and knows it. A partner. A friend.

This song is for all the ladies out there. Make a list. Listen to the song and be patient. Great things come to those who wait (or so I’m told). Be authentically you and if it is meant to be it will be. No trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Don’t settle for dysfunction.

So, I’m starting on my list today. No rush. Just laying out what I expect in a partner so that if I should ever meet someone who is a match, I will know it. I won’t run. I won’t stumble and I will accept it. Whatever it is. I’m going to know that I’m worth it and more importantly…he will know it too.