everyone has a story. some have a shitty beginning, middle, and it’s questionable how it will end. but the truth, if we were willing to share it, is that what our fellow sister is enduring we have lived and might still be living. we are incredible actors, hollywood missed out on true talent, women who have earned every stripe, scar, and wound. women who know how it feels to live black, fat, single, anorexic, physically afflicted, mentally imbalanced realities.
sometimes it feels like i’m a walking lint-roller; intimate bits about people’s lives find their way into my pockets, clings to my pant legs. the boyfriend who was a drunk for decades but got his life together after a revolving door in and out of prison; the woman whose long-term intermittent boyfriend came home to die; the 20-something SBF who finds herself in an abusive relationship, pregnant and has the baby; another 20-something woman whose boyfriend tells her he doesn’t want children but never accompanies her to the three clinic visits where she, alone, aborted their children.
there’s something about those 20s. that was the decade i was very much in love. he was my first everything and i was willing to go the distance with him. sure, there were times in the relationship i felt he was moody, like a bitch, and times when i journaled that i wasn’t sure how much togetherness i could take. but i stayed. i was in love. love is inexplicable. it consumes you, fills your nights with longing for the next day to see him, spend hours talking and doing what lovers do. betrayal does not alter love. i found that out. in fact, betrayal is like tug-of-war, you are determined to win the person’s love so you pull as hard as you can, you dig in your heels and heave, hand over hand inflicting rope burns and it’s all for naught. i didn’t realize that until many years later. what troubles the elder me is that no one knew how to help the younger me. surely folks saw me struggling with the rope, sliding toward a hopeless future with a man who was as confused as dallas weather in winter. he told me he was bisexual. pause. it’s ok, i did. i paused for a good long while to process what i was hearing. i won’t go into a bunch of detail about this but the short of it is, he is a gay man. and i’m betting that he has lived a pretty damned good life after he pushed that boulder off his chest (and onto mine). it took me a very long time to learn to live my own truth. to stop hiding from what happened between us, to release the shame and embarrassment, to brush the lint from my clothes. it’s been almost 20 years and to be honest i was a trainwreck. i pursued a destructive path for awhile,trying to heal by myself. i was afraid to tell anyone what happened. i was suspicious of every male and convinced they were all liars.
so many women carry shit around. getting fired, finding out your spouse/partner/lover is cheating, suffering through the loss of a child through abortion or miscarriage, bad credit, divorce. you think no one can see it, but it’s tied around you like a leash and when someone asks about your significant other, the one who didn’t come home last night, and you come unhinged, the leash just tightened.
if you see a woman striving for something (job, relationship, money, promotion) and wisdom has whispered in your ear, she is going to end up on her ass because he (that, they, it) is going to release the rope, or worse, she is going to wear herself out, possibly suffer injury pulling at that which is not meant for her; if you see this happening SPEAK. do not allow a fellow sister to struggle like an overturned turtle, legs kicking wildly but unable to right herself and continue down the path. reach out to her, share your story, tell her that all is not lost when it comes to love. even if you haven’t found love again, even if you are in the middle of your own story and it’s still sort of shitty, give another sister the benefit of your doubts; show her through your testimony that it is possible to smile again, to love again, to be hope-filled again.