Have you ever dated or married someone that you thought visually wasn’t on your level? You know, someone that you wouldn’t usually find attractive. I have, a couple of times. And I still ask myself till this day, ‘What was it that had me so head over heels for it to go that far?’ I’m talking riding by houses, dealing with cheating and disrespect on the regular. At the time I didn’t understand it. I thought I loved the man, but once I left him for good, I realized I couldn’t have loved him because I didn’t love myself. I think the real reason I was holding on to him so tight is do to seeing other women in my life constantly get disrespected by the men they were with. I think over time I expected any man that I was with to do me wrong, because of what I grew up seeing. But just because I expected it doesn’t mean I didn’t have my eyes open for something better.
Through friends of mine I started to see that good men did exist. The only question now was, ‘How was I going to get mine?’ I thought for a long time good men didn’t want women like me. They wanted eye candy and women that were going to give them a lot harder time than I was. That’s what it seemed like anyway. I remember man after man trying to date friends of mine, I know now it was because they wanted to sleep with them. I’ve realized some men will do anything for the chase. The funny thing is, one of my best friends at the time knew the reason for all the gifts and shopping sprees, and she played on their intelligence. Many times men would think she was naïve because she was young and a woman, but she was sitting back taking notes. There were so many times I wished to be like her, because she had the restraint to not let her heart get involved.
I can think back to when we were teens, she had one guy who meant a lot to her. After him she never really let herself get blinded by lust or love, ever again. She always had her plan A, B, or sometimes C. I can’t fault her for how she chose to deal with the breakup. She in so many words was a Playa, finessing men like a man would finesse a woman. She had game for days. She even had the intuition to know when a man was cheating or was no longer interested and she would get rid of them before they got rid of her. She was bad, but in a good way. I have to say I’ve learned a lot from her. But, I don’t think I could keep my feelings detached like she did.
There were countless times my heart got broken, because I wanted love so bad. She was always there to help pick up the pieces. At the time, the life she had was the one I wanted, but I couldn’t bring myself to be that in control or selfish. I still don’t think I could. But one thing I have to say is, she got me through a lot of tough times, and I her. She helped me realize it was okay for me to be me. She always told me don’t change, no matter what.
I remember getting in this very toxic relationship when I was nineteen, her, another close friend and my family tried talking me out of being with the guy. I never listened. He wasn’t even my type. The way we got together was weird, because his 50 maybe 60 year old uncle was trying to talk to me first. That already seemed a little off to me. So, he started talking to me for his uncle, didn’t help that we worked together. Over time, him talking to me for his uncle turned into him talking to me for himself. From that came a almost nine year “Relationship.” I put relationship in parentheses because I realized that wasn’t what that was, although I thought it was at the time. But it turned out being just two people spending time together and engaging in extra curricular activities.
Time after time friends and family told me he was no good for me and that I could do so much better. But by then it was too late. His hooks were already in me and at times I felt like I was at the bottom of an ocean struggling to breathe. Waves of emotion would wash over me, because of things he would say to me or about me and things he would do. I was young and had no clue how a man was suppose to treat a woman. As I told you before I had no positive examples growing up. Well, I guess you can say there were positive examples but they didn’t seem obtainable. Simply because they were on television.
In the end, this relationship turned out to be a learning experience for me. It help me to realize that beauty is only skin deep, and some people don’t even have that. But now I’ve learned to pay attention to the way a man treats me, rather than pay attention to his words. I’ve learned that words can be said by anyone, but action separates the men from the boys.
Always remember, ‘One monkey don’t stop no show. Love hard and love often.’