Memories

I can recount the details as if it happened yesterday. Loving. What it felt like to be in love and to have full faith that it was protected by God. That nothing could ruin it and that no other woman or man could penetrate it. I’d been consumed by the love that I felt surrounded me and I wrapped my unconditional love around another being. We play fought and roasted each other often to keep comedy and humor in the relationship, I even play bickered and nagged because the relationships on TV had them and we lacked that sense of petty. The arguing was always dramatic and his responses were always comedic. I woke up every day to the face of the man I knew I would marry someday. I went to sleep every night on the chest of, and listening to the heart beat of the man that I knew loved me as unconditionally as I loved him. Time away from him drove me up a wall and all I could think about being away is how my body would react when we were in each other’s presence again. I was happy. Happy to also know that he was happy. Without a shadow of doubt, I knew that he was faithful. I was secure in my looks and in my ability to be who I was in this world. I knew I was great and that he came from greatness so we would always be great together. I watched him breakdown and cry. I watched him grow. I know the gritty details of who he was. I knew his goals, dreams, desires and stood by him as he chose to pursue those things. When he fell down I was there lifting him up and ensuring that he was good. When he was without something I made sure to pick up the slack. We fucked often and made love too many times to count. We role played. We did everything under the sun. We snuck into movie theaters. We smoked weed. We cursed people out; he held me back, I calmed him down. When I was sick he nursed me and when he was sick I nursed him. We were there for each other.

Then something changed. Time went on.

I can recount the details as if it happened yesterday. Hurting. What it felt like to be betrayed and to be embarrassed by the one human that you had faith in. That more than a few women had come in between the love we had for each other. We argued every day. Sometimes we would yell so loud that we could not hear what the other person was saying. I worried. I worried every time he left the house if he would come back and hold me. If he would be back on time for dinner. If he would return and get straight into the shower. I’d been consumed by loneliness. It swept over me like a thief in the night, stealing my joy, happiness, confidence and bright outlook on the future. The arguing was dramatically painful, it was like I was in a Lifetime movie that Tyler Perry directed except there was no reconciliation. I woke up every day to my enemy. I went to sleep every night with my eyes focused on my enemy whose back was turned to me. I knew he didn’t mean to hurt me, he didn’t mean to burn me, he didn’t mean to lie, he didn’t mean to forget who I was or where his heart lived; he meant to look out for himself and the expense was my love to which no longer had value in his world. Time away from him was a weight lifted from my shoulders. I was hurt that he was content with his actions, that he was un-phased and that he could not see nor feel nor hear the pain that he caused me. After I forgave him, without a shadow of doubt, I knew he was still cheating. I was secure in my situation and fearful of what awaited me outside of it, so I stayed. I felt ugly on the outside and the more I tried to make sense of the situation, the uglier I became on the inside. I was drained. I had been his battery, his chargers and his crutch for years. I gave him money that never went towards paying the bills. He watched me breakdown multiple times. He watched me move backwards. He knows the gritty details of the psychotic break and he received the brunt of it. It was his comeuppance. He knew my goals, dreams, desires and took away all of the things that fueled the energy for me to pursue them. When I lost other things and people, he was nowhere to be found. At the bottom of it all; the true bottom; where you can’t see anything around you, anything in front or behind you and too afraid to look up, there I was alone.

Then something changed. Time went on.

I can recount the details as if it happened yesterday. Leaving. What it felt like to finally be free and to be alive again. To walk away from the things that no longer served me. That more than a few successes awaited me on the opposite side of this pain. The love that God had for me was greater than any love that I would ever seek or need from one of his creations. Sometimes I would plan a dramatic exit in my mind but there was no need for that; it was more so an escape. God introduced me to another of his strongest soldiers. She introduced me to a young man, who introduced me to his best friend and when it was time these two young men helped me leave. I rented a Uhaul. No longer fearful of strangers, although still hard to trust, I had a light conversation with the man. He was from the East coast too, I told him I was moving away from hell. He charged me $19.95 for the six hours I had the Uhaul. Before moving I requested that the former love of my life move his things from off of my furniture- I leave with what I came with. To my surprise our living area was spotless, everything was in its right place- he had made an effort. I cared for a split second before I threw his things on the bed we had shared for years that had now be contaminated with the sweat, hair, and bodily fluid of another. I grabbed all of my shit, not thinking to pack- everything went in the Uhaul. His mom came home with her boyfriend and asked where I was going- she said she’d miss me. She introduced herself to the two young men, paying special attention to the one that looked like he lived in a gym. I didn’t correct her flawed thinking. Everything was out. My linens off of the shelf he built me, my shoes off of the shoe rack we put together, my junk out of the headboard that now disgusted me, my bookshelf, storage shelves, dresser, mini fridge, clothing and sanity were finally safe. I had forgotten my Hookah and the little things around the house, but in that moment the only thing that mattered was freedom. It was more than a weight off of my shoulders. It was my mind being freed from being held captive by lies and deception. His text to me upon returning home was that he had not expected me to take everything, he was under the impression that I was simply moving a few things to my mother’s home. How bold of him to believe I’d stay knowing he had begun another relationship while we still shared a living space and while he pretended to still be there. In my new space. We tried to reconcile, I tried to ignore the hurt and hopeful that time away from me would show him that he would miss me. It did not work. I had already wasted a year trying to repair what I had not broken. I spent five more months after moving out, trying to believe the words that he told me. On February 14th 2016 a Vermont Teddy Bear was delivered to my mother’s home, he made me believe it was he who had sent it. With the note, ‘You deserve so much more’. He meant I deserved more pain, which he delivered. In that month, I gave up for the first time in my life and that was hard. But I was safe again. Still alone, I wept and prayed. I was finally free.

Then something changed. Time went on.

I can recount the details as if it happened yesterday. Excelling. I graduated from College. No big deal. I wrote my first article on LinkedIn for Generation Now. No big deal. I had solidified my position as a Prevention Specialist. No big deal. I traveled almost everywhere. No big deal. I made deals and learned to follow through. No big deal. I bought my website. No big deal. I made life long connections with people from a different world and background whom I was under the impression that I should not trust. I trusted them, and it led to my being recognized by those who were making a difference in the Cincinnati community. No big deal. I positively impacted the lives of thirty-seven young girls. No big deal. Why? I stopped myself one day and looked in the mirror. Why? I asked my reflection. Why are you downplaying your successes as if they are No big deal? This is not everyday normalcy. You are great! I wept. I’m great! It turns out, I wasn’t free. I had only been freed physically. The psychological and emotional toll that the previous relationship had on me was still a burden. I recognized it and confronted it. In place of his downplaying my successes, such as mustering up the courage to perform spoken word live in Northside; the inner ugly had surfaced and took his place to demean me. He had never been satisfied with me and now it was me who would not be satisfied and would not congratulate myself on my achievements. My mind was shackled to negativity. The smile I expected to return to normal was not there, or it was faked daily. The confidence I had been raised with and embraced and projected upon others was not there. That strong soldier. The God sent young woman had shown me how to get it back. Initially I perceived her hype man presence as mocking. In reality, it was encouragement and an example to follow. I became my own hype man. Every morning I woke up to kindness and love from and for myself. Every evening I went to bed with me and my successes and my hopes and my plans and my dreams. It was a big deal. I was active, I was living again and I could not get enough of it. Traveling between suburban and urban areas. Networking, with sweaty palms, I spoke to other people. I began to trust strangers again. Cautious and aware; but trusting. I recreated myself. From nothing and nowhere I was someone and going somewhere. I hid so well, in plain sight.

Then something changed. Time went on.

I can recount the details because it happened just yesterday. Actualizing. I planned often, I dreamt often, I spoke often and I prayed more than often. I knew where I was headed where I was going and each time I made it to ‘here’ I stopped to take a breath in the form of a vacation. In just a year I had become a manager, I had begun two after school programs for young girls, I had become a content writer for a start-up marketing firm, I had become a blogger for a non-profit, I had been accepted/welcomed into different organizations, I had received a scholarship from one of the oldest and largest women networks of American History, I wrote and had encouragement from a fan base overseas and at home. When I reach my ‘here’ I take a moment to breathe, to reflect and look back at where I was. I prayed for this, I worked hard for this and I stayed true to breaking the chains that held me back. I looked back, I read over that first paragraph to remember where I won’t ever be again. I look back to see just how far I have run. My network, my mentors, my friends recognize that I move swiftly. Not too many know the why. I have been running for so long, and I have no desire to stop.

One thought on “Memories

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  1. I finally got to check out your amazing site. I love it and I see you in a totally different light( a good light, very good light). Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. By far my favorite, most memorable, inspiring mentor. I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

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