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Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing

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relationships

I saw a video today of a young lady who I truly believe had great intentions. The topic was things a woman needs to do to keep her man. I actually began to check out at the moment I heard “how to keep your man.” However, I’m working on practicing the art of non-judgment as well as being open to opinions and thoughts that differ from mine. So I watched. I was not impressed. There were some things she said that I could sort of, kind of, maybe, quite possibly agree with. However, there were more than a few things that I could not. One of those things involved fixing your man’s plate because, as she said, a man should never ever have to fix his own plate. The other thing that rubbed me the wrong was the mention that a woman should be so in tune with her man that she anticipates his needs so that he doesn’t even need to ask for what he wants. She’ll already know. Because she knows, she will do get whatever he needs.

Now, I could say I didn’t like what she said and I disagree because of sexism. I could say that I have grown tired of the trite “Wam-Bam, Get Your Man!” “Don’t Go To Sleep, If It’s Your Man You Want To Keep!” messaging geared toward women which speaks on how they need to get and keep a man. I can say it’s ridiculous to believe that one should be able to–and consequently can–read another’s mind. As if one is not responsible for speaking up for their needs and wants. I could say how illogical it is to think that it is actually possible to “keep” another person, since realistically speaking, one cannot do such a thing. People remain in relationships; and faithful or unfaithful to their beloved; by their own volition. However, those are not my issues with the video I saw today, or the many others out there like it.

No, none of those are truly my issue. I dislike and disagree with the message because I do not like the generalized nature of the message. Human beings are far too complex to simplify their behavior. While I understand that a 7 minute video, which I myself share from time to time ; ), requires one to get to the point quickly and succinctly, I cannot get with a step-by-step instructional on how to maintain a relationship. There are far too many complexities to even attempt to surmise that there is a certain number of steps that will guarantee your partner will want to remain in relationship with you. Let’s say you do all of these so-called steps, yet you and your partner part ways for reasons unrelated to those steps. Would one be able to surmise that you failed?

There is also the fact that relationships end for a multitude of reasons. Relationships are simply our very own intimate class, where we are provided opportunities for growth, death, rebirth, and more growth. Once the growth has stopped, the relationship ends. You reach a point where it is made evident that you can go no further together because you have gone as far as you can. For some, the end happens with a physical death of the body. For others, it happens when there is a death of love, trust, or respect. And yet for others, the relationship can simply change course.

The other reason I disagree is because I really dislike the transactional view of relationships. I cannot get with the idea of I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-and only if-you-scratch-mine in a relationship. I say that with the full understanding that in practical terms, there is a bit of transactional play in relationships. However, I don’t think it’s the least bit healthy to enter into relationships with the mindset of I’ll only do my part if you do yours. I think that mindset is what has cost many relationships. I’m not quite sure what it is about romantic love that makes us mere mortals lose our grip. We place a tremendous amount of pressure on our lovers and on our relationships. I think it’s far better and simpler to figure out what you desire, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you are willing/unwilling to do within the relationship. Once you’ve done those things, then you can seek to find someone who will not only accept all of those things in you, but also take you and stretch you to your limits. Only then can you know and experience real love. And that, my friends has nothing to do with any steps or instructions. That is all an unspoken language that only the heart can speak and comprehend.

So that’s just my two little cents. I don’t say any of this to disparage the messenger or anyone who agrees. I like to chew on and digest what speaks to me and leave the rest. That’s exactly what I did today. And I wholeheartedly believe that she had the best of intentions. And there were many people who, based on their comments, agreed with her. It was touted as conventional wisdom. But as a wise man I’ve heard once said, “Conventional wisdom is usually neither conventional or wise.” And again, that’s just me.

The People You Meet

I know some pretty amazing people. I know the kind of people that I just love to sit down with and listen to their musings on love, life, and everything in between. They offer such wisdom. One such person is my great friend, Marc. Marc is a really cool and funny guy. He also happens to be wise. He’s that friend who gets on me for being single. He loves to tell me, “You know how it pisses me off to see you as great as you are, yet you’re single. And then I see all these crap women out with good guys? Put yourself out there woman!” I laugh. And I laugh because I’ve always found it amusing that he’s more bothered by my single status than I am.

The truth of it is though, I like being single. And I’m the type of person who likes to have myself together before I decide to partner with somebody. And right now, I’m just not as together as I’d like to be. Hence, why I’m pulling an Al B. Sure! and getting off on my own, Girl, Girl, Girl!

But this isn’t about romantic love. Nope. It’s  about love, but not about love coupling with another for the purpose of romantic partnership. It’s about the everyday love we have for ourselves and our families.  In the time since my dad has passed, I have experienced tremendous heartbreak. Not simply because my dad died, but because other relationships died as well. Relationships that I held as sacred passed away almost immediately after my dad passed. And it seemed to become more of a reveal of the truth than anything else. People I loved with everything that I have betrayed me in horrendous ways. One such person was the last person I would have ever thought would hurt me. It pained me to realize that the betrayal by that person wasn’t a fluke, but more something she’d been itching to do probably my entire life. That meant the entire 30 years of our relationship were a lie. Every kiss, every embrace, every uttered “I love you,” has been just a ploy to keep me from realizing the truth. This person doesn’t like me very much, much less love me. So yeah, I’ve been heart broken for quite a while. The heartbreak has actually damaged me more than I realized. I did what I tend to do best when I go into defense mode. I retreated. And I retreated in an unconscious way. I really thought I was still putting myself out there. But I wasn’t. I was keeping myself at arms length from people because I didn’t think I could bear the pain of that type of heartbreak again. It was too much. It hurt too doggone bad and to be honest, I feel like I’ve had enough of pain for a while. I’m on a Sabbatical from pain and heartache. The problem when you take a Self Sabbatical from pain and heartbreak is that you close yourself off. Yeah, you eliminate your chances of being hurt, but you also eliminate your chances for experiencing joy.

Enter my friend, Marc. We were simply talking one day about a month ago, and he looked at me and said, as only he can say,

“Woman, what are you doing? Do you know what a gift you are to people? Do you know that you are robbing people when you decide to keep to yourself?” After I gave a half-hearted nod, he continued on. “Je’Niece, look here’s the simple truth. You’re going to meet a lot of people in your life. Cause you still have a lot of life left. And I promise you that some of those people are going to be assholes and hurt you. But they’re just a minority. You’re also going to meet some wonderful people who will see you and celebrate you, and love you for being who you are. You can’t live in fear of being hurt because the truth is you will be hurt. You will absolutely get hurt. You already have been. And you survived. So you know that you will survive another but you’ll also be loved and enjoyed. So stop worrying and paying attention to the few and put yourself out there. The world is waiting for you.”

Well damn! What could I say to that? Nothing. I could say absolutely nothing. And I didn’t say anything. I simply nodded my head in agreement. Ok, I think I shed a few tears too. Fun fact about me: I’m a thinker. When confronted with a loving truth, I will ponder it for a while. And this incident was no different. I thought about what Marc said (you see I said this was about a month ago).  And I thought some more about it, and I’ve concluded that he was–no is–correct.

The truth is, I have been hurt before and survived. And while the heartbreak is a most unpleasant feeling, it’s no excuse for allowing fear to rule my life. At this point, the pain is no longer there. Yes, I have the memories of it. But the pain doesn’t exist anymore. When I see the person who broke my heart, the one thing I’m quite clear on is that I love this person. While I hate the way this person has (and actually still continues to) treated me, I recognize that it’s because of her own issues and it has nothing to do with me. I wish she knew what I knew. Perhaps then we could have the relationship I thought we’d always had—or an even better one. But we don’t, and we can’t. And while it’s not my desired outcome, I know it’s ok. Marc is right. I’m going to meet new people, some of whom will hurt me. But others will not. And I now know enough to know that I can forge new relationships with those people who will not hurt, but instead will love me and accept me. And that’s exciting.

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