I stumbled on this photograph. It kind of made me laugh. Now I'm slippin fast. Back down memory lane.
In the midst of cleaning out cobwebs, dust and tangible nothings, getting ready to pull out yet another suitcase for yet another trip, I literally stumbled on his photograph. It must have fallen out of a keepsake box. I didn't notice the slippery slope shaped like a polaroid tumbling to the ground. I yanked, with all my might, the suitcase out of it's assigned cubby, stepped back and slipped to the floor. You can imagine my surprise as I lifted my behind to see what I could possibly have slipped on. Imagine the irony...his face.
I hadn't thought of him in a long time. Except for when he called a few weeks ago to tell me of his new relationship. He was concerned I might know her. I might. Not so concerned that he didn't make it plain, in that very same conversation, that if I was willing...so was he. After confirming for the 3rd time that I wasn't willing, he told me the relationship had been going on for months. Funny, last month weren't you telling me you and a different chick were...same dude, different day. I'll pray for them. All of them. I've been in their shoes. They've never been in mine. So regardless of whatever forever words & whispers of "I still want to have children with you" he made to me that day - I'll pray he can create a better 2morrow for the one(s) he's with. I pray that he will settle down and get married. Be happy (even if not productive) and live better with the best he has to offer. But that's not what made me laugh. Naw. Truth - I even 4got about that conversation 5 minutes after saying "I gotta go". I was laughing at me.
I look at a pic of him and see the naivete' of who I used to be. The wishes I used to have. Probably the same ones his girl has now. Yep, I'll pray for her. I remember, when it was 1st revealed who he was, my inner battle between wishing I had never found out and realizing I had always known. I remember feeling like another human being had the power to take pieces of me. Now, I'm just happy (no matter what he took) he isn't here. LOL. I think back on the lesson and wonder why it took so long to leave in the 1st place. All the fighting and unrequited love & pain only boiled down to one soft spoken lesson.
If you are ready to leave and that man is not ready to let you go - there is no good way to leave him.
But when you love the idea of someone...listen to what I said...the idea of someone, you want everything (even the leaving) to be a reflection of that love. When I left him, I thought it was with that. My best wishes and hopes for him. I didn't realize if you were a good woman, he will always look for a door back in. If I had, I would have gone running for the hills and to hell with whether I left with a beautiful memory. But I was naive then. Didn't know me then. But you couldn't tell me that - then.
Nope, in my mind I was the self assured, strong in my convictions kinda girl. Even as far back as high school, when a male looked my way my first intinct was to be on guard. If he wanted to get at me, he had to convince me he was worth the energy it took to listen. Afterall, Grand always told me
there are three men you need to avoid at all times: The police, The politicians & the hustlers. All of 'em either want you dead or only let you live under assurances that can only benefit them.
To me, every male was at least a hustler if not a combo of all three. So I took great care in telling a man to go to hell. That was me. Or so I thought. Though I was long out of highschool when he and I met, the chick he met & mated was shaped by past lessons. Hmm...I wonder who my husband will meet when he and I finally breathe each other's air. But I digress...
Fast forward to now. Those days of coming into womanhood and discovering male energy seem like yesterday. Maybe, in truth, it was. But be it yesterday or yesteryear time has passed. And one thing's for sure about time, no matter how little of it passes, it changes things. Those experiences from then - to the chick the photograph reminds me of - to now, changed things. Just with that one male, I've been through cancer, heartache, disappointment, creating life and losing life. And God knows it didn't just change the way I saw him. It changed the way I honor me. As I looked at that pic I silently thanked God for all my exes because they kept me on the edge of self discovery, if nothing else.
Now, I'm quicker to say to a male interest "I don't know where you've been", "I don't trust what you're about" or ask "What is that about" when I see something twisted. Their defense tactic is to cquestion if I'm insecure. No. I'm very confident in & about me. Rest assured, it's you & your abilities I don't have any confidence in...
Now, I'm quicker to look at a situation and say "you're not for me" or "I'm not for you" and walk away with peace in the situation.
Now, when I do let a guy go and sister-friends ask "what happened?" I always say "enough". You see, I no longer have to wait for the shoe to drop or for something unchangeable to happen. Only enough! Enough for me to know that this right here isn't for me. I made the mistake with photograph of being unhappy for years and sticking around anyway because I had convinced myself if I love him than he has to do something drastic for me to leave. I ended up leaving anyway and finding out about the big stuff afterwards during reconciliation talks! LOL. I no longer find comfort in the state of "farther than I meant to go or longer than I meant to stay". I no longer look for validation for my reasons in staying or going. I don't need to breathe life into extremely damaged details for friend's too ooh and ahh over. They will surely here snatches on the street (no matter the twist on it) and convince themselves they know the situation to their satisfaction anyway.
There's so many ways the woman I am today, learned to honor me, from the men I knew yesterday. The photograph reminded me of that. Not of him. I quickly resumed packing but not before I threw the pic of him in the trash (hell, I always liked the idea of him rather than the reality of him anyway) and secured the keepsake box. Not before I realized, why hadn't I put a picture of myself in there? After all, it's a keepsake box. Why would I use it to keep someone else's image sacred?? LOLOL Then peered closer and realized, it was a box he'd given me and therefore may have more memoirs of him in there. That made me smile too. It was a beautiful box. Just needed the contents to be upgraded. Easy enough. Much like people over time. The framework is fine...it's the inside that needs to upgrade every few. So I dumped the contents of the box without even looking at it. Replaced the contents with pics of me. Safe, secure. New contents in a beautiful & strong structure with a weather proof foundation.
I stumbled on this photograph. It kind of made me laugh. Now I'm fading fast. Back down memory lane. I see the happiness. I see the pain.
...what I didn't see (despite the photos best intentions) was him. All I saw was the beauty of growth in me. And I loved her.
Song Lyrics are from Memory Lane by Minnie Ripperton