As I am getting older I am becoming more aware of just how unhappy we allow ourselves to be in the name of love. When you’re 16 and your friend tells you some dumb stuff her boyfriend did, you let it go.
When you’re 21 and your homeboy is crying about how some girl is using him, and you both know it, but he can’t let it go, you chalk it up to “their business”. But I have reached the point where I am literally exhausted from hearing about all the foolishness that we put up with in relationships. Seriously people, we must love and respect OURSELVES. Then, we must demand that same love and respect from the people we choose to share our beds, lives, and love with.
Love does not give a person license to treat you like shit. Neither do kids, marriage, or preaching the gospel of forgiveness. Forgiveness is great. However, the act of forgiveness does not mean that we act as if it never happened. You still move forward with the KNOWLEDGE of what happened and act accordingly. Acting accordingly means we must use LOGIC and good ol’ common sense. If we decide to act without common sense, we then become responsible for any hurt the person causes us in the future. When a person shows you who they are, believe them. I am not saying a person cannot change. But, it is more difficult for a person to change than to remain the same. So, to believe change, we must first see change. Not change for the past 5 hours, but lasting, permanent change. And a fundamental showing of respect. Forgive? CERTAINLY. But forget? Forgetfullness has never been considered a sign of intelligence or any sort of virtue. Some mistakes cannot be recovered from. Case in point: Whitney Houston’s voice.
Sometimes, we have to let GO (and let GOD for my religious folk). Chalk it up to a learning experience. Grieve over it. Pray over it. Bury it. Forgive it. And move forward. Forgive for our own sake so that we don’t dwell on it. But, forgiving someone doesn’t mean they are not accountable for their actions. Hold those feet to the fire! Having to accept responsibility and our punishment is a part of learning and growing. Think about it: would you have learned to behave as a child if you could get out of your punishment just by saying “I’m sorry, Mama. I’ve changed. I’ll never do it again”? Hell to the no! It takes more than having to muster up puppy-dog eyes for you to truly learn from a mistake.
So, if you’re my friend, and I’m putting up with a man who is not worth my time and space, please tell me. Don’t let me be blinded by love, mandingo, sweet talk, or whatever voodoo he has over me. I can’t imagine a man raising his hand to me, but dammit if I tell u I ran into a door, tell me I’m a “dumb, self-loathing, bitch”. (Not because abused women are dumb, self-loathing bitches, but because you saying that to me as a black woman would stick in my mind as an “oh-no-she-didn’t” slap in the face and make me likely to re-think my life). Don’t tell me to eat the cake. Tell me to whip his ass, or at least put him UNDER the jail. If I walk up to you 5 years from now and say some dumb shit like, “He love me though! Keisha and him was just sex. We have something special”. Please, refer me back to this post, leave STD pamphlets on my doorstep, and if all else fails, tell me you heard that Keisha had herpes.